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

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

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30 September, 2016

The whole State of South Australia blacked out during storm

This was expected.  The storm just pushed S.A. over the edge it was balanced on.  Their triumphant boast that they now rely on "green" power only had to lead to power loss. Green power only works under very favourable circumstances.  That the storm knocked down a few poles in one area should not have taken the whole State down.  Wind turbines have to be switched off during high winds so that was the most likely cause of the problem.  And once they were down, the lowered voltage would have hit hard the interconnector to Victoria and tripped it off

A “CATASTROPHIC” superstorm that left an entire state without power is far from over with warnings the worst of the wild weather is yet to come.

As the nation’s leaders stuggle to work out how South Australia was left in total blackout — causing travel chaos, hospital terror and reported looting of homes — forecasters say more is on the way.

The once-in-50-year storm is expected to move east through the south coast of Australia in the next 24 hours, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

Expect havoc across the country as the storm unleashes again, with flood warnings in place for five states as well as for the ACT.

It has already hit parts of Victoria and will move into NSW and Tasmania today. BoM senior meteorologist Craig Burke said a weather event of this size and intensity was unusual, especially when it affected so many locations.

“It’s extremely rare to see a low of this much pressure and intensity,” he said. “It’s fair to say it’s going to get extremely nasty again.”

The extreme weather saw gale-force winds, heavy rain and thunderstorms lash South Australia and parts of Victoria last night.

As the “worst storm in decades” struck the country with force, South Australia was plunged into darkness and triple-0 was down in isolated parts of the state.

SA Premier Jay Weatherill insisted it was not South Australia’s reliance on renewable energy that led to the blackout, as some have suggested.

“This was a weather event, this was not a renewable energy event,” he said, saying the whole electricity network was forced to shut down after a “catastrophic weather event” damaged infrastructure near Port Augusta at 3.48pm yesterday.

The Premier said powerful wind gusts and thunderstorms smashed 22 electricity transmission stations in the area, and the toppled towers were followed by a lightning strike, which triggered a shutdown for safety reasons.

“This is a catastrophic natural event which has destroyed our infrastructure,” he said in a press conference this afternoon. “These are events the Director of the Bureau of Meteorology has never seen in his whole career.

“There is no infrastructure that can be developed that can protected you against catastrophic events that take out three pieces of infrastructure.

He praised the rapid response of the Australian Energy Market Operator, SA Power and emergency services, as well as the “community spirit” among South Australians.

“This is certainly a system that was designed to get the system back up as quickly as possible. In a few hours we were beginning to restore power and now the lion’s share of the system has been restored.”

Ninety per cent of the power has been restored in the 38 hours after the blackout, with 75,000 still without power this morning.

Mr Weatherill warned about 40,000 households could be without power for the next two days. Large industrial users are among the last waiting to begin operating again.

“It’s not simply a storm, it’s an unprecedented weather event, the likes of which the bureau has not seen here,” he added. “There are things we have to reflect upon, but our present advice is this was an event which could not have been predicted, it was an extreme event.”

He said there would be a three-pronged inquiry into what went wrong, but said the priority now was to deal with people still suffering, particularly in the north of the state.

On reports of looting, he said: “There’s some isolated incidents the police commission might want to concern themselves with. If that’s happened, it’s disgusting.

“An isolated incident is disgusting and regrettable but I done think it reflects the overwhelming evidence of community spirit.”


Hospitals came under serious pressure as they switched to back-up power generators to assist people on life support. Handheld battery packs and hand-operated respirators were used as 17 patients had to be moved.

People using life-support devices at home headed to hospitals for extra power, with the wards focusing solely on those in life-threatening situations.

By 7pm (local time) yesterday power had started to be restored to some suburbs, mostly in the metropolitan area’s eastern districts.

Adelaide Hills and northern suburbs were among the worst affected.

Hail, winds and wild weather made travel impossible with traffic lights out of action and trams and trains cancelled.

The BoM has warned that gale-force winds of up to 120km/h and plenty more rain is expected across the state today.


First shipment of American shale gas arrives in Britain to open 'virtual pipeline' despite fierce protests from environmentalists

The first shipment of American shale gas arrived in Britain this morning amid fierce protest over the future of the controversial fracking process.

The tanker Ineos Insight passed beneath the Forth Bridge with 27,5000 cubic metres of ethane produced by fracking shale fields in the eastern United States.

It then docked at Grangemouth - the Scottish refinery and petrochemicals plant owned by global chemical giant Ineos.

Ineos bosses said the shipment represents the culmination of a £1.6billion ($2billion) investment, with eight tankers creating a virtual pipeline from America.

They hope shale gas will replace dwindling supplies of natural gas from the North Sea - where production has fallen by 60 per cent over the past decade - supporting 10,000 jobs.

The decline has forced petrochemical companies to source basic raw materials, such as ethane, from outside the UK.

Jim Ratcliffe, Ineos founder and chairman, said: 'This is a hugely important day for Ineos and the UK. Shale gas can help stop the decline of British manufacturing and today is a first step in that direction.'

But environmental campaigners have warned about the climate consequences associated with fracking.

Friends of the Earth Scotland's Head of Campaigns, Mary Church, said: 'It is completely unacceptable to attempt to prop up INEOS's petrochemicals plants on the back of human suffering and environmental destruction across the Atlantic.


Fake Nobel Laureate Uses Super PAC To Attack Trump On Global Warming

A handful of scientists are using a super PAC to get their colleagues to align against Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump over his “embrace of conspiracy theories, anti-science attitudes, and disregard for experts.”

“We urge our peers to join us in making it clear that Mr. Trump’s statements are not only at odds with scientific reality, but represent a dangerous rejection of scientific thinking,” reads an online petition started by anthropologist Eugenie Scott on the website of Not Who We Are PAC.

Scott, who made her name fighting against teaching creationism in schools, joined up with Penn State University climate scientist Michael Mann and three others to attack Trump for his beliefs on issues, like global warming, vaccines and evolution.

“Vaccines save lives every day, but Mr. Trump has stoked discredited fears about vaccines and autism and accused doctors of lying to people about them,” reads Scott’s petition.

“Every major country on Earth is adapting to a changing climate and reducing emissions from fossil fuels, but Mr. Trump has claimed it is a hoax, a statement that prompted a response from hundreds of members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the country’s leading scientific advisory body,” she wrote.

Scott also attacked Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, for giving “a speech to the House of Representatives challenging the teaching of evolutionary science in classrooms based on a misreading of how evolution works.”

Trump was recently criticized for trying to hide the fact he’s called global warming a “hoax.” Trump denied ever saying such a thing while debating Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on network television Monday night.

“Donald thinks that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese,” Clinton said during the debate. “I think it’s real.”

“I did not. I did not. I do not say that,” Trump responded.

The Trump campaign was quick to rebuff arguments Trump thought global warming was a hoax in the hours after the debate. Pence told CNN “the reality is that this climate change agenda that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton want to continue to expand is killing jobs in this country.”

This isn’t the first group of scientists to come out against Trump. Some 37 scientists affiliated with the National Academy of Sciences signed an open letter decrying Trump’s intention to pull out of a United Nations global warming treaty.

“People who embrace conspiracy theories, spread misinformation, and dismiss science should have no place in our government,” Scott wrote in her petition.

“We all have different political backgrounds and this isn’t about partisan politics for us. As Americans – and as members of the scientific community – Donald Trump is simply not who we are,” she wrote.

Not Who We Are PAC hasn’t done much this election, compared to the tens of millions spent by other super PACs. The group has only spent 23,000 on ads targeting Trump, according to federal filings.

So far, only five scientists have signed Scott’s petition, including Mann, the climate scientist who gained fame for his “hockey stick” graph showing global temperature rise. Mann was also involved in the “Climategate” email scandal, and he’s been repeatedly called out for falsely claiming to have been a “co-winner” of the Nobel Prize.

The Nobel committee has consistently gone on record that Mann and other climate scientists were not awarded the prize in 2007. That year, the Nobel Prize was awarded the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and former Vice President Al Gore for their “efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change”


Sen Dem Report Blasting EPA’s Critics Has Ties To Enviro-Group

EPA’s critics are in cahoots with shadowy figures in the fossil fuel industry, a report posted Monday on Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s website claimed.

The document appears to have been created by an attorney in conjuction with EarthJustice, a green legal group currently defending the EPA in the courts, according to data obtained by The Washington Free Beacon.

After reporters reached out to Whitehouse and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, a new version of the report materialized online, scrubbed of digital fingerprints and linked to David Baron, an EarthJustice attorney working on behalf of the Sierra Club.

The original report was released Monday by Whitehouse, Reid, and Sens. Barbara Boxer of California, and Ed Markey of Massachusetts, and is crafted to resemble a lawsuit challenging environmental regulations on carbon emissions.

Metadata of the report indicates that Baron assisted the Democratic senators in putting together the report. Baron is listed as the “author” of the report in the metadata.

The updated version of the report was submitted to the website at 9:42 a.m. Wednesday, according to the document’s metadata, and lists a White House staffer as its author.

While Baron is slated as the “author” of the initial report, there is clear evidence that he or EarthJustice explicitly had a hand in writing the report.

The report “demonstrates that the state officials, trade associations, front groups, and industry-funded scientists participating in the [EPA regulation legal] challenge actually represent the interests of the fossil fuel industry,” a press statement on Whitehouse’s website states.

Ironically, many of the same senators involved in Whitehouse’s report were also instrumental in carrying out a clandestine effort to publicly shame on the senate floor non-profit groups they considered global warming “denialists.”

Whitehouse directed 19 of his fellow Democratic senators July 11 to attack conservative and libertarian organizations such as Americans for Prosperity and the Cato Institute on the chamber floors for engaging in what the senators call a “web of denial.”

Democratic Sens. Al Franken of Minnesota, Boxer and Whitehouse needled various groups – the Heritage Foundation, the Reason Foundation, and the Hoover Institute among the various groups targeted.

Whitehouse is also known for browbeating groups into divorcing from the fossil fuel industry, in addition to those refusing to fall in line with environmental political narratives.

The American Geophysical Union (AGU), which boasts more than 62,000 members worldwide, announced in May, for instance, that it would review and possibly reconsider a decision it made in April to continue its relationship with Exxon after Whitehouse and California Rep. Ted Lieu, a Democrat, harassed the group into separating from the oil company.


Are The Promoters Of Global Warming 'Catastrophe' The True Deniers?

In a recent column for USA Today, climate writer Gregg Zoroya breathlessly asserted that the clock is ticking when it comes to saving the world from a climate-induced disaster.  Zoroya referenced interviews he’s conducted with climate scientists that have led him to the conclusion that even if world leaders follow every recommendation laid out in the Paris Agreement such that “global warming is slowed,” it’s not certain at this point that what he foresees as a climate “catastrophe” will be “averted.”

Zoroya concludes that “Tough love is needed on climate change,” but political and global realities make it certain that no substantial legislative action meant to slow so-called “global warming” is going to happen anytime soon.  This is certainly true if it’s expected that the U.S. will take the lead.

We know this simply because whatever readers think of Donald Trump, he’s on record as saying that all the talk of global warming is a “hoax.”  Market signals so far reveal Trump as correct, but that’s really not the point.  If Trump is elected, even he’s not so arrogant as to believe that he can centrally plan nature.  This will not be a legislative priority for him, but even if so, his polarizing countenance ensures that he’ll not be able to do much of anything about anything.  Amen.

Ok, but what if Hillary Clinton beats Trump? Polls show her as the likely victor in November. Yet if Clinton wins, she, like Trump, will happily have no legislative mandate.  With both candidates we’re talking about intensely weak competitors for the world’s top policy job such that either one will reach office as the least popular entering president in the history of the United States.  It’s worth rejoicing yet again that neither will have backing to do much of anything legislatively, not to mention that Democrats will raise billions to regain control of the House and Senate if Trump is elected, and Republicans will raise billions to maintain control of the House and Senate if Clinton wins.  The future is gridlock, not climate legislation.

As for other major economic powers not the U.S., lots of luck there.  The economically-sagging electorate in Europe is not about to vote for economy-crushing legislation meant to combat what remains a theory about catastrophe, and then countries that are new to prosperity like China are not about to anger their citizens with economy-sapping anti-carbon rules that are once again rooted in what is a scientific assumption.

In that case, let’s assume that Zoroya, along with warming alarmists like Nick Nuttall, Katherine Hayhoe, and Michael Mann are correct that failure to act ensures what Mann describes as a “dystopian” global scenario not unlike Hollywood depictions of the Soylent Green and The Hunger Games variety.  Well, if they’re right, market signals indicate that almost no one believes them.  In particular, those with the means to convince a President Clinton or Trump about the need for climate action truly don’t believe the apocalyptic scenarios imagined by the alarmists just mentioned.

How we know this concerns Clinton’s recent cancellation of fundraisers due to health reasons.  Two weeks ago she cancelled a few in California.  As is the case with every presidential election, while candidates stump for votes in the non-coastal states, they raise money on the coasts: Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York most notably.  This all rates mention because the climate alarmists have repeatedly stressed that coastal cities and states will be harmed most profoundly by any supposed climate catastrophe as sea levels put those locales under water.

Where presidential candidates raise money, and in particular where Democratic candidates raise money (the coasts), signals that while Clinton partisans may support candidates who spew rhetoric about the alleged horrors of global warming, their own belief level in looming climate catastrophe relating to warming is rather shallow.  We know this because if they at all bought into the hysteria being promoted by Mann et al, they wouldn’t have so much of their wealth – commercial and residential – located right where the alleged horrors of climate change are projected to have the greatest impact.

National Republican candidates similarly raise a lot of money on the coasts, and that’s once again because the biggest donors live and work in coastal cities and states.  Republicans are less prone to buy into the prevailing warming wisdom, at which point we can say that the smart money in the U.S. at least subconsciously thinks as Trump does, that the warming alarmism is a major hoax.  Lefties like to say that the rich are “greedy,” but if so their alleged greed doesn’t have them shielding their life’s work from climate change that, according to the climate alarmists, is soon to erase their wealth.

What about insurance companies? They’re supposedly greedy too, their profits spring from pricing risk of all kinds, including existential risks to houses and businesses, but no less an investor than Warren Buffett (no warming “denier” himself) has observed that the threat of so-called climate change hasn’t driven up the cost of insurance premiums.  As an owner of Geico, Buffett would know.

Are global investors fearful of the catastrophe scenarios offered up by certain members of the scientific community? Apparently not.  New York and Miami are seemingly overrun with foreign buyers of property; property that in Miami is very much on the water.  And then a recent article in the Los Angeles Times revealed abundant investment from China in Los Angeles’s booming downtown; the latter seemingly a sitting duck should the predictions of Zoroya and the rest come true.  Interesting there is that the Chinese investors, if the article is to be believed, view Los Angeles as a long-term play; this despite the near certainty that the Paris Agreement recommendations will not be acted on.

So while scientists are aggressively promoting their theories about a horrid future thanks to no serious global response to what has them alarmed, the smartest investors in the world are plainly ignoring them as though their theories are bogus.  Just once it would be nice if the scientific community might address why the very people who have the most to lose from so-called “global warming” work, invest and live as though its impact will prove a non-factor.

Barring that, Michael Mann and the rest of the climate alarmists at the very least owe the rest of us a date in the future (whether tomorrow, next year, or fifty years from now) when, if their predictions don’t materialize, they’ll admit to having been hysterical about something that was never really a problem.  For now, market signals are indicating that they’re embarrassingly wrong.  Unknown is if the catastrophe religion will ever admit what markets have long known.



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29 September, 2016

Greenie bank tottering

Germans are the original environmentalists.  They have been walking around naked in their forests -- and feeling good about it -- for over 100 years.  Even Hitler adopted Greenie ultimate goals of primitive bliss.  So modern environmentalism could well be said to be a German invention.

It is therefore no surprise that a major German bank, Deutsche Bank,  has been active in promoting environmentalism. They frequently proclaim the truth of Warmism, for instance.  And their investments must be "ecologically responsible", of course.  No building of dams to benefit poor people in India and Africa. Below is an excerpt from the front page blurb on their site:

Environmental and climate protection are among the most pressing global challenges of our time. We take these concerns into account in all aspects of our business, including minimising our own ecological footprint. Using our expertise in the areas of energy and climate change, we support the development of a more sustainable world economy

Pretty clear.  But it is an an old adage that if your theories are wrong, you won't get the results you expect.  And that seems to have happened to this group of cabbage-heads. We read:

"Deutsche Bank shares have finally climbed today after falling to a historic low amid mounting fears for the future of Germany's top bank.

Companies in the FTSE 100 index saw £23billion wiped off their value yesterday as investors dumped financial stocks.

The sell-off was triggered by reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel had ruled out a government rescue of troubled lender Deutsche Bank.

The bank has lost more than half its value in the past year as it struggles to cope with low interest rates and sluggish growth.

Deutsche Bank shares fell another 7.5 per cent to a record low yesterday, dragging other finance stocks down with it.

This morning they fell to €10.25 amid warnings that a dip below €10 per share would take the bank into the realm of a risky investment. However, by this afternoon, shares had risen to €10.63 before the market closed at €10.51 - down 0.4%.

The FTSE 100 Index was down 10.37 points to 6,807.67, as London-listed lenders were dragged lower by the negative sentiment surrounding the German bank"

Instead of lending money to foster "Green" projects, they should have lent to the most promising commercial projects.  And instead of worrying about the environment, they should have been worrying about cyclic downturns in the economy.  But they did not do that so they got results they did not expect.  Their theories about what was important were wrong.

Deutsche could have learned from Australian banks. Australian banks are the world's soundest banks.  In 2008 when banks worldwide were falling over and being rescued by their governments, Australian banks just kept on making profits as usual.  I know.  I had and have shares in most of them.

So how did the Oz banks do it?  By sticking to their knitting.  They just concentrated on lending to people who were most likely to pay it back.  No political lending. No Greenie activism.  Pretty simple!

Will lobster soon be off the menu for good? Scientists warn warmer waters could kill off crustaceans

Yet another stupid food shortage scare. In a warmer world, heat intolerant organisms would simply move polewards.  And lobsters can swim, you know, so that would not challenge them.  The lobsters studied below could not swim North because scientists had them trapped in tanks.  It was a totally unnatural environment of zero generalizability

Baby lobsters might not be able to survive in the ocean's waters if the ocean continues to warm at the expected rate.

That is the key finding of a study performed by scientists in Maine, the state most closely associated with lobster.

The scientists, who are affiliated with the University of Maine Darling Marine Center and Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, said the discovery could mean bad news for the future of one of America's most beloved seafood treats, as well as the industry lobsters support.

The scientists found that lobster larvae struggled to survive when they were reared in water 5 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the temperatures that are currently typical of the western Gulf of Maine, a key lobster fishing area off of New England.

Five degrees is how much the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change expects the Gulf of Maine's temperature to warm by the year 2100.

The paper appears this month in the scientific journal ICES Journal of Marine Science.

According to a new study in Maine, lobster larvae struggle to survive in waters just 5 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than current temperatures in the western Gulf of Maine.

And, this is just how much these waters are expected to warm by the year 2100.

The study's authors found higher temperatures caused baby lobsters to develop faster — something that could help them avoid predators in the wild — but few survived.

But, acidification had almost no effect on young lobsters' survival.

It could serve as a wake-up call that the lobster fishery faces a looming climate crisis that is already visible in southern New England, said Jesica Waller, one of the study's authors.

'There has been a near total collapse in Rhode Island, the southern end of the fishery, and we know our waters are getting warmer,' Waller said.

'We are hoping this research can be a jumping off point for more research into how lobsters might do over the next century.'

Right now, the country's lobster catch is strong, prices are high and steady and the industry is opening up new markets in Asia, where a growing middle class is hungry for one of America's seafood status symbols.

U.S. fishermen have topped 100 million pounds of lobster for seven years in a row after having never previously reached that mark, and their catch topped a half billion dollars in value at the docks for the first time in 2014.

But signs of the toll warming waters can do to the fishery are noticeable in its southern reaches, where scientists have said rising temperatures are contributing to the lobsters' decline.

The lobster catch south of Cape Cod fell to about 3.3 million pounds in 2013, 16 years have it peaked at about 22 million in 1997.

The study's authors found higher temperatures caused baby lobsters to develop faster — something that could help them avoid predators in the wild — but few survived.

They performed the work by raising more than 3,000 baby lobsters from the moment they hatched.

The authors said the study is the first of its kind to focus on how American lobsters will be impacted by warming waters and the increasing acidification of the ocean in tandem.

The study found that acidification had almost no effect on young lobsters' survival, Waller said.

Michael Tlusty, an ocean scientist with the Anderson Cabot Center at the New England Aquarium, said the study is especially important because it considered both warming and changing ocean chemistry.

'This is the type of work that really needs to be done,' said Tlusty, who was not affiliated with the study.

'The oceans are not changing one parameter at a time.'


Who is guarding the (dictatorial) guards?

Regulators mete out fines and stymie growth, but are rarely punished for their own misconduct

Paul Driessen

Several years ago, Wells Fargo Bank discovered that employees had boosted sales, by opening some 2 million deposit and credit card accounts without customer knowledge or authorization. Over the next few years, the bank fired more than 5,000 employees for misconduct and reimbursed customers $2.6 million in fees that they may have incurred on the bogus accounts.

Insufficient response and retribution, regulators and politicians howled. They played no role in uncovering the fraud, but they are hounding bank officials and demanding $185 million in fines.

In another action, the Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Trade Commission and State of California agreed to a $14.7 billion settlement with Volkswagen, to compensate 482,000 buyers who bought diesel cars that the company illegally made appear less polluting than they actually were.

“This settlement shows that EPA is committed to upholding standards to protect public health, enforce the law and protect clean air,” said Administrator Gina McCarthy. But it’s just a “partial settlement,” a “first step” in holding VW accountable for breaching “the public’s trust,” added DOJ Deputy AG Sally Yates.

Meanwhile, Ms. Yates wants prosecutors to employ the Responsible Corporate Officers Doctrine (or Park Doctrine) more often, to hold executives individually accountable for the actions of company employees, without requiring that the government prove the execs intended to break any laws – or even that senior managers were negligent or didn’t even know someone in the company was violating a law.

Hillary Clinton is incredibly lucky the Park Doctrine doesn’t apply to her. Just imagine FBI Director James Comey’s dilemma if he couldn’t use the “no intent to violate the law” excuse. In fact, countless government officials – including Ms. McCarthy and IRS Commissioner John Koskinen – are blessed beyond measure that standards they routinely use against American citizens don’t apply to them. In fact, very few laws or regulations apply to the lawmakers and regulators who concoct and impose them.

No one should be victimized by corporate fraud, negligence or incompetence. But neither should they be victimized by negligent, incompetent or criminal actions of government agencies and bureaucrats, or of third parties they hire to validate their policies and agendas. Those actions also breach the public trust.

Equally fundamental and essential, policies and rules that affect our livelihoods, living standards and liberties must be based on honesty, accountability, evenhanded application, and verifiable evidence.

Those basic guidelines are patently ignored today, as countless examples demonstrate beyond doubt.

The IRS repeatedly abused its power in targeting conservative groups. But then Lois Lerner’s emails mysteriously disappeared, she took the Fifth and retired with full pension, “two employees on the night shift” deleted the email backup tapes (with no repercussions) and Mr. Koskinen steadfastly refuses to cooperate with congressional investigators. No Park Doctrine for any of them.

Abuses are rampant throughout federal, state and local governments, as news accounts constantly attest. Incompetence, fraud and public trust violations just in the environmental arena are mind-numbing.

On August 5, 2015, an EPA-hired crew negligently reopened the Gold King Mine above Silverton, Colorado and unleashed a 3,000,000-gallon toxic flashflood that contaminated rivers all the way to Lake Powell in Utah. EPA waited an entire day before notifying the public, offered apologies but only minimal compensation, refused to fire, fine or demote anyone – and issued a report that whitewashed the agency’s incompetence and even scrubbed the names of EPA on-site coordinator Hayes Griswold and his team.

But it’s on the regulatory front that the duplicity, exaggeration, fabrication and betrayal of our public trust are really outrageous – and used to amass more power and control over our energy, economy, job creation and living standards, close down companies and industries that regulators detest, and advance crony corporatist deals with favored entities, regardless of costs or impacts on jobs, health and welfare.

EPA is determined to make our air not merely safe or healthy, but pristine, with no human pollutants. Since 1970, US cars have reduced tailpipe pollutants by 99% and coal-fired power plants have eliminated 92% of their particulate, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions. That’s still not enough, says EPA.

To promote its claim that any soot and dust particles are deadly, the agency employs “epidemiological” studies that attempt to link slightly higher death and pollution rates in different locales – and attribute the difference to manmade particulates. However, it is impossible to distinguish health effects due to vehicle, refinery or power plant pollutants from scores of natural pollutants, or to tell whether a death was caused by pollution or by bacteria, obesity, smoking, diabetes or countless other factors.

So to augment its baseless claims, EPA employed illegal experiments on people. But even when its human guinea pigs breathed up to 30 times more particulates than the agency insists are lethal, no one died. Apparently, air pollutants are a health hazard when they come from cars, refineries or coal-fired power plants – but not when they are administered in massive quantities by researchers hired by EPA.

EPA gets away with this by having activist groups posing as scientific bodies rubberstamp its pseudo-science. Since 2000, it has paid the American Lung Association more than $25 million, given its “independent” Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee members over $181 million, and let CASAC deny membership to industry or other experts who might question EPA findings.

EPA also wants to regulate all ponds, puddles, creeks, ditches and other “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) that are even remotely connected to a navigable waterway. That way it can control nearly all land uses and family, farm and industrial activities in the USA – based on equally specious “science” regarding supposedly dangerous pollutants that might get into drinking water or wildlife habitats.

The junk science really goes into hyperdrive on climate change. Of course, it’s not just EPA. Virtually every Executive Branch agency has been enlisted in President Obama’s campaign to use “dangerous manmade climate change” to justify fundamentally transforming our nation’s energy, economic, legal and constitutional systems: from NASA and NOAA, to Agriculture and Interior, and even the Defense Department and Securities and Exchange Commission. The agenda overrides science and ethics.

EPA’s 54.5 mpg dictate for vehicles will force millions into smaller, lighter, plasticized cars that will not survive collisions with walls, trees, trucks and buses – causing thousands more serious injuries and deaths every year. That human toll is ignored in the agency’s “social cost of carbon” reports. So are the absence of hurricanes hitting the US mainland for 11 years, no rise in average global temperatures for 18 years, followed by a couple tenths of a degree since then, and the barely seven inches per century in Real World sea level rise, contrary to climate models and White House, EPA, IPCC and Al Gore assertions.

Equally absurd, these regulators are hobbling the US economy, while China, India and other developing nations produce and use increasing amounts of oil, natural gas and coal every year. Perhaps worse:

Federal regulations cost US businesses and families $1.9 trillion per year – with EPA alone accounting for $353 billion of that. This is a major reason for America’s anemic 1.1% annual economic growth and its worst labor participation rate in decades. As always, poor and minority families are hit hardest. And far too many of these regulations and costs are based on questionable, fabricated, even fraudulent science.

To top it off, illegal, unethical collusion has also become rampant at EPA: in sue and settle lawsuits, Alaska’s Pebble Mine permits, the Clean Power Plan, and helping climate activists with fund raising.

If these actions were committed by a private corporation, EPA and Justice Department SWAT teams would come after its executives, with no intent, negligence or knowledge required. But Ms. McCarthy and her staff have not been held to any such Park Doctrine standards – at least not yet.

Perhaps that explains why so many DC insiders are outraged (and maybe quaking in their boots) over the prospect that an unpredictable Washington outsider might become the next US sheriff.

Via email

Political Science: A Reply to the 375 Concerned Members of the National Academy of Sciences


Some 375 political activists attached to the National Academy of Sciences, supporting the totalitarian view on the climate question, have recently issued an open letter saying we “caused most of the historical increase in atmospheric levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.”

In fact, the extent of our influence on climate is not “settled science.” Only 0.3% of twelve thousand papers published in learned journals claimed that recent warming was mostly manmade. The 375 activists are entitled to their opinion, but the scientific community’s peer-reviewed results overwhelmingly fail to endorse their narrow view that recent warming was predominately manmade.

True, we influence climate, by returning to the air some of the carbon dioxide that was there before. But so do termites, by emitting more methane than all the world’s farm animals combined. So do plants, by taking carbon dioxide; storing the carbon in leaves, stems, and trunks; and returning the oxygen to the air. So does the Sun, by supplying nearly all the Earth’s radiant energy. So do volcanoes, by emitting hot rocks that warm the air and ejecta that shade the Earth from the Sun and cause cooling. So do the oceans, by helping to keep the Earth’s temperature within a few degrees either side of the period mean for more than 800,000 years.

The activists say we are warming the oceans. But in the first 11 full years of the least ill-resolved dataset we have, the 3500+ Argo bathythermograph buoys, the upper mile and a quarter of the world’s oceans warmed at a rate equivalent to just 1 Celsius degree every 430 years, and the warming rate, negligible at the surface, rises faster the deeper the measurements are taken. The oceans are warming not from above, which they would if we were warming the air and the air was warming the oceans, but from below.

The activists say we are warming the lower atmosphere. Yet on all datasets, the atmosphere is warming at less than half the rate originally predicted by their fellow-activists at the error-prone Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — who have a vested interest in overstating the supposed extent of our influence on climate. For, otherwise, the Panel would be – as it should now be – abolished. The Panel is political, but science is not science unless it is scientific, and unless it is free, in particular, from the political totalitarianism that sullenly insists that only one opinion – the Party Line – may be uttered.

The activists say the oceans are “acidifying.” The truth is that, aside from a few transects and a few local studies, science has no idea whether or at what rate the oceans are “acidifying.” What is known, however, is that the oceans are not acid (as rainwater is): they are pronouncedly alkaline. It is also known that, under anything like modern conditions, they are so powerfully buffered that alkaline they must remain.

The activists say our influence on climate is evident in “altered rainfall patterns,” but in this they are at odds with their fellow-activists at the ill-fated Intergovernmental Panel, whose special report on extreme weather (2012) and whose fifth and most recent (2013) Assessment Report on the climate question find little or no evidence of a link between our industries and enterprises on the one hand and global rainfall patterns on the other.

The activists say we are to blame for retreating Arctic sea ice. But Arctic sea ice variations, if objectively quantified with proper error estimates, are fully within the large natural range of changes that have no need of any unique explanation by rising atmospheric carbon dioxide. In addition, Antarctic sea ice, which they somehow do not mention, has largely offset the loss of Arctic ice.

True scientists, like any other citizens, are entitled and even encouraged to take part in the political process, and to state their opinions. This applies to non-USA-citizens, which many of the 375 are. What true scientists must not do, however, is pretend, as the activists did, that their totalitarian point of view is unchallengeable. In all material respects, unfolding events have proven their extremist viewpoint prodigiously exaggerated at best, plain wrong at worst.

Specifically, the activists complain that, during the presidential primary campaign, “claims were made that the Earth is not warming.” Yet early in the primary campaign it was correct to say the Earth had not been warming for almost 19 years. More recently there has been a naturally-occurring El Ni?o event, which has raised the trend a little, but it remains true that the early predictions of medium-term warming were badly exaggerated.

The activists declare their faith in the doctrine “that the problem of human-caused climate change is real, serious and immediate, and that this problem poses significant risks” to everything from national security via health and agriculture to biodiversity. But this statement is based wholly on faith and is unsupported by reality. We know this because of the serially failed predictions made by alarmists.

The activists say, “We know that the climate system has tipping points.” Yet, revealingly, “Tipping point” is not a scientific but a political term. The activists say that “rapid warming of the planet increases the risk of crossing climatic points of no return,” but there is no evidence for rapid warming of the planet today. At the end of the Maunder Minimum, the Earth’s atmosphere warmed more rapidly in response to the naturally-occurring recovery of solar activity from 1695-1735 than it has warmed in any subsequent 40-year period. There is nothing unprecedented either about today’s global temperatures or about the rate at which those temperatures have been changing.

The activists say warmer weather will “possibly” set in motion “large-scale ocean circulation changes.” The scientific truth is that, while the wind blows, the Earth rotates and its land-masses are approximately where they are, the ocean circulation must remain much as it is now. To suggest otherwise is mere rodomontade.

The activists say warmer weather will cause “the loss of major ice sheets.” But if the great ice sheet that covered most of North America to a depth of two miles had not melted owing to naturally-occurring global warming 10,000 years ago, where would the United States be today? Antarctic snowfall accumulation has not exhibited a massive meltdown over the past 40 to 60 years, and there has been no change to speak of in northern-hemisphere snow cover. There is little evidence that the tiny global warming that has occurred is at all likely to have major effects, whether on the cryosphere or on anything else, and still less evidence that those effects would be deleterious, and still less that, even if they were deleterious, the proposed measures to prevent them would make any detectable difference, and still less that, even if proposed measures might work, the imagined benefits would exceed the extravagant cost of their implementation.

The activists are also wrong in their assertion that any appreciable human influence on the climate will be detectable for many thousands of years. Their fellow activists on the Panel say that very nearly all of the feedbacks from the small warming that may be caused by our enriching the atmosphere with plant food act over timescales of hours to – at most – decades.

The activists are wrong to state that “it is of great concern that the Republican nominee for President has advocated U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Accord.” On the scientific evidence to date, it is abundantly clear that the original predictions made by the totalitarians were extreme exaggerations; that, though the world may warm a little, it will not warm a lot; that adding CO2 to the air will be of benefit to plants in reducing their need for water, which is why the world’s desert regions are beginning to green; and that the cost of futilely playing Canute with the climate is 10-100 times greater than the cost of any realistically foreseeable net disbenefit from warmer weather.

It would, therefore, be entirely proper for a presidential candidate to argue that the United States should withdraw from the Paris climate treaty, except for one inconvenient truth. The United States has not ratified the treaty. Any such ratification requires a two-thirds majority of the Senate, and the collapse of the totalitarians’ scientific case for “climate action” now renders any such two-thirds majority impossible to achieve.

Though the activists have attempted – falsely and improperly – to convey the impression that it is somehow illegal, immoral or damaging to the planet to vote for the Republican party’s candidate in the forthcoming presidential election because he disagrees with the totalitarian position on the climate question that they espouse with such religious fervor and such disregard for science, in truth it is not the business of scientists to abuse the authority of their white lab-coats by collectively suggesting that “Science” demands the voters should or should not cast their vote in any particular direction.

Therefore, the signatories hereto repudiate the letter issued by the 375 activists as reflecting not scientific truth but quasi-religious dogma and totalitarian error; we urge the voters to disregard that regrettable and anti-scientific letter; and we invite every citizen to make up his or her own mind whom to elect to the nation’s highest office without fear of the multifarious bugaboos conjured into terrifying but scientifically unjustifiable existence by the totalitarian activists who have for decades so disrespected, disgraced and disfigured climate science.


Comunity organizer and high school dropout meet to discuss the weather

President Obama will meet with actor Leonardo DiCaprio at an upcoming White House-sponsored arts festival to discuss the dangers posed by climate change.

The two will meet at South by South Lawn (a play on the media and music festival South by Southwest) on Oct. 3 to talk about "the importance of protecting the one planet we've got for future generations," according to the White House website.

Joining them will be climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe. The festival also will include the U.S. premiere screening of "Before the Flood," DiCaprio's National Geographic documentary about his time raising climate change awareness around the globe as a U.N. ambassador of peace. Many scientists blame greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels for driving manmade climate change.

DiCaprio has made combating climate change his pet project, which he made abundantly clear last year when he dedicated his Oscar acceptance speech to the issue.

South by South Lawn also will feature appearances from the young cast of Netflix's "Stranger Things" and folk group the Lumineers, among others.



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, 2016

Earth is warmer that it has been in 120,000 years - and is 'locked in' to hit its hottest mark in more than 2 million years, study claims

Amusing stuff.  The paper I led with yesterday sets out why it is too difficult to get accurate parameter estimates from paleoclimate data.  So this study is basically just a huge exercise in guesswork.  I have always been critical of paleoclimte estimates derived from ice-cores, tree rings etc. so would always have rubbished this study.  As it happens however, even some prominent Warmists have dismissed the study as incapable of giving accurate estimates of anything.  See the next article below this one

A new study paints a picture of an Earth that is warmer than it has been in about 120,000 years, and is locked into eventually hitting its hottest mark in more than 2 million years.

As part of her doctoral dissertation at Stanford University, Carolyn Snyder , now a climate policy official at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, created a continuous 2 million year temperature record, much longer than a previous 22,000 year record.

Snyder's temperature reconstruction, published Monday in the journal Nature , doesn't estimate temperature for a single year, but averages 5,000-year time periods going back a couple million years.

Carolyn Snyder uses a network of over 20,000 sea surface temperature reconstructions from 59 ocean sediment cores to reconstruct GAST for the past two million years at 1,000-year intervals. 

Snyder based her reconstruction on 61 different sea surface temperature proxies from across the globe, such as ratios between magnesium and calcium, species makeup and acidity.

But the further the study goes back in time, especially after half a million years, the fewer of those proxies are available, making the estimates less certain, she said.

These are rough estimates with large margins of errors, she said.

But she also found that the temperature changes correlated well to carbon dioxide levels.

Temperatures averaged out over the most recent 5,000 years — which includes the last 125 years or so of industrial emissions of heat-trapping gases — are generally warmer than they have been since about 120,000 years ago or so, Snyder found.

And two interglacial time periods, the one 120,000 years ago and another just about 2 million years ago, were the warmest Snyder tracked.

They were about 3.6 degrees (2 degrees Celsius) warmer than the current 5,000-year average.

With the link to carbon dioxide levels and taking into account other factors and past trends, Snyder calculated how much warming can be expected in the future.

Snyder said if climate factors are the same as in the past — and that's a big if — Earth is already committed to another 7 degrees or so (about 4 degrees Celsius) of warming over the next few thousand years.

'This is based on what happened in the past,' Snyder said. 'In the past it wasn't humans messing with the atmosphere.'

Scientists give various reasons for past changes in carbon dioxide and heat levels, including regular slight shifts in Earth's orbital tilt.


Mann and Schmidt on Snyder's 2 million year study

The study estimates what is known as the "Earth system sensitivity," which encompasses a variety of feedbacks within the climate system, from the response of the atmosphere and oceans to fluctuations in greenhouse gases to the ways that ice sheet expansion or melting can alter global temperatures.

However, this metric is a correlation between events, and doesn't pinpoint whether one event caused another. Still, the study estimates an Earth system sensitivity of 9 degrees Celsius, or 16.2 degrees Fahrenheit, per a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels over millennium timescales.

In more simple terms, this means that over the long, long-term, our planet will see its global average surface temperature increase by up to 9 degrees Celsius if greenhouse gases in the atmosphere were to double, which they are currently on course to do.

The study found that if all greenhouse gas emissions were to cease today, the climate would still warm by about 5 degrees Celsius, or 9 degrees Fahrenheit, during the next several centuries.

However, the Earth system sensitivity metric is not the same as the similarly named, but altogether different, scientific metric known as climate sensitivity. That metric is defined as how much the globe would warm if greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere were to double.

Climate sensitivity considers the influence of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, alone, while Earth system sensitivity involves a variety of feedbacks between the land, oceans and atmosphere, some of which are not well understood.

With climate sensitivity, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are in the driver’s seat, whereas with Earth system sensitivity, there are many drivers, with cars going in different directions and sometimes colliding head on.

Estimates of climate sensitivity tend to be much lower than 9 degrees Celsius, closer to about 3 degrees Celsius.

The problem, Snyder as well as several outside scientists told Mashable, is that it's not clear exactly what was driving temperature changes during some time periods in the past.

"[Earth system sensitivity] is a useful metric that summarizes a combination of interactive feedbacks in the climate system (including temperature, greenhouse gases, ice sheets, vegetation, and dust)," Snyder said in an email.

"But it is a correlation observed in the past, not a test of causation," she said.

Michael Mann, a climate researcher at Penn State University who has published influential studies on the planet's climate history, said he views the new study as "somewhat of an outlier." Mann was not involved in the new research.

"The estimate of earth system sensitivity (9C for CO2 doubling) is so much higher than the prevailing estimates (5-6C) that one has to consider it somewhat of an outlier, and treat it with an appropriate level of skepticism," he told Mashable in an email.

One major problem with the study, Mann said, is that the sensitivity estimate is dominated by glacial and interglacial cycles during the past 800,000 years, and it's tough to untangle the roles played by carbon dioxide in such variations.

This is because carbon dioxide both causes and responds to temperature changes that are driven by other factors, such as variations in Earth's orbit around the sun.

"It is unclear that an estimate of the relationship between global temperature and carbon dioxide under those circumstances is an appropriate measure of the response of temperature when carbon dioxide alone is the major driving force, as it true today," Mann said.

"So I regard the study as provocative and interesting, but the quantitative findings must be viewed rather skeptically until the analysis has been thoroughly vetted by the scientific community."

Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist who directs NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, was more blunt in his views on the new publication.

"The temperature reconstruction is great, but the claims about sensitivity are just wrong," Schmidt, who was not involved in the new research, said in an email. "This is not an argument about methods or what to present in public or whether you like models or observations, it is just wrong."


Where is Earth's oxygen going? Vital gas has vanished from the atmosphere over the past 800,000 years leaving experts baffled

There is no puzzle here.  The only puzzle is why some people think they can use paleoclimate data to make such precise estimates

Something strange is going on with the planet’s oxygen levels, which has left researchers scratching their heads as to the cause.

Scientists testing the concentration of oxygen in the atmosphere have found that levels have dropped by almost 0.7 per cent over the past 800,000 years, compared to modern levels.

What’s more, the rate of this decline has sped up over the last century, dropping by a further 0.1 per cent.

Oxygen levels currently stand at around 21 per cent, but have fluctuated greatly over the planet’s 4.3 billion-year history, with two major spikes linked with the explosion of life.

To sample the ancient atmosphere, a team led by researchers at Princeton University in New Jersey, studied bubbles of gas frozen in the ice of Greenland and Antarctica thousands of years ago.

By measuring changes in the atmospheric concentrations of oxygen and nitrogen, they showed a subtle declining trend over thousands of years.

The researchers believe that burning fossil fuels has led to the rapid increase seen over the last century – by consuming oxygen and releasing large quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere – but the cause of the longer term decline has been trickier to pin down.

One potential explanation put forward by the scientists for the declining oxygen in the recent geological past is an increase in erosion, which would lead to freshly exposed sediment being oxidised by the atmosphere, reducing atmospheric oxygen levels.

Another long term process which is interaction with the oceans. With lower average global temperatures in the past, the world’s oceans would have been able to absorb more oxygen, with cooler waters able to soak up more gas.

The researchers believe a series of slow chemical reactions between the atmosphere and rocks, known as silicate weathering, could explain the apparent lack of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Unlike the recent decline, there is no evidence to suggest carbon dioxide levels increased substantially during the period.

But the researchers believe a series of slow chemical reactions between the atmosphere and rocks, known as silicate weathering, could explain this lack of carbon dioxide.

‘The planet has various processes that can keep carbon dioxide levels in check,’ said Dr Daniel Stolper, a geoscientist at Princeton.

Over thousands of years, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reacts with exposed rock to form calcium carbonate minerals, trapping the carbon in a solid form. In geological timescales, this process soaks up atmospheric carbon, locking it away in rock.

Scientists believe that as more carbon dioxide has been released into atmosphere from burning fossil fuels, the increasing temperature has led to the weathering process occurring more rapidly.

But human activity is releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere so quickly that we may cause this slow, long-term geological process to ‘short-circuit’, and so they cannot keep up.

One potential explanation put forward for the declining oxygen in the recent geological past is an increase in erosion, which would lead to freshly exposed sediment being oxidised by the atmosphere, reducing atmospheric oxygen levels.

Another long term process to factor in is interaction with the oceans.

With lower average global temperatures in the past, the world’s oceans would have been able to absorb more oxygen, as cooler waters able to soak up more gas.

‘This record represents an important benchmark for the study of the history of atmospheric oxygen,’ said Dr John Higgins, co-author of the study.

‘Understanding the history of oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere is intimately connected to understanding the evolution of complex life. It’s one of these big, fundamental ongoing questions in Earth science’

The findings were published recently in the journal Science.


Could you really catch a tropical disease on UK SHORES? Experts warn global warming may create ideal conditions for deadly diseases on our very doorsteps

I can see no chance of Britain ever being warm enough for tropical diseases to flourish there but let's play the game and see what a warmer Britain would imply.  It would imply very little.  I was born and bred in the tropics amid a population derived overwhelmingly from the British Isles.  So did we all die of disease?  Far from it.  As far as I can see were as healthy as anyone else.

We did have such tropical nasties as Ross River fever and Dengue fever endemic among us but for most of us attacks of them were just another cold or flu.  And when the kids in my class at school were given the Mantoux skin test all but one of us tested positive -- meaning we had all had TB without realizing but had thrown it off.  Reality sure beats theory, doesn't it?

Cold is the big health hazard so our warm environment presumably  kept us healthy despite bacterial and viral challenges.  A tropical Britain should fare similarly

Britain may be chilly, but at least a trip to the seaside here is unlikely to leave you with anything more serious than an ear infection.

But could that change? Last week it was reported that some experts fear Britain is on course to be warmer and wetter as global temperatures rise.

According to a report from the Department of Health, Health Effects Of Climate Change In The UK, British winters will become less cold but wetter, whereas summers will become warmer and probably drier in some places.

Some warn that these changes could create ideal conditions for some of the world’s most unpleasant and deadlier diseases to get a hold in the Mediterranean and even the UK.

These include cholera and zika, which is linked to microcephaly (a devastating brain defect) in babies.

And a study, Explaining Ocean Warming, published this month by the International Union for Conservation of Nature suggested that a form of tropical food poisoning known as ciguatera — caused by eating fish that have consumed toxins released in seawater by algae — could soon be common around the UK’s coastline.

Water temperatures on the South Coast in July and August are already edging up to the 15c needed to support a bloom of the algae.

Warmer temperatures ‘will have far reaching effects on a whole range of public health in the UK’, says Dr Nick Watts, director of the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change.

‘This includes increased risk of water-borne diseases across Europe such as cholera, as well as those that are carried by insects that thrive in warmer temperatures.’


The real lesson from South Australia’s electricity ‘crisis’: we need better climate policy

The guy below is certainly right about that  but he waffles a lot and is very timid about saying exactly what policy is needed.  He knows perfectly well what is needed if big spikes in power prices are to be avoided:  Backup generators fired by coal (cheapest) or natural gas (dearest). And only government subsidies will keep them available.  Once you distort the market by subsidizing one source of power, you have to subsidize the rest of the market too.  Otherwise your backup generators will go out of business, which is what happened in South Australia

Australia’s energy markets got a big shock in July this year, when wholesale electricity prices spiked in South Australia, alarming the state government and major industrial customers. Commentators rushed to find the immediate culprits. But the real issues lie elsewhere.

As shown by the Grattan Institute’s latest report the market worked. Having soared, prices fell back to more manageable levels. The lights stayed on.

Yet South Australia’s power shock exposed a looming problem in Australia’s electricity system – not high prices or the threat of blackouts, but an emerging conflict between Australia’s climate change policies and the demands of our energy market.
A perfect storm

On the evening of July 7, the wind wasn’t blowing, the sun wasn’t shining, and the electricity connector that supplies power from Victoria was down for maintenance. This meant gas set the wholesale price, and gas is expensive these days, especially during a cold winter. At 7.30pm wholesale spot prices soared close to A$9,000 per megawatt hour. For the whole month they averaged A$230 a megawatt hour. They were closer to A$65 in the rest of the country.

Australia has committed to a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030. Despite this well known and significant target, the national debate on climate change has been so toxic and so destructive that almost no policy remains to reduce emissions from the power sector in line with that target.

By 2014 the much maligned renewable energy target (RET), a Howard government industry policy to support renewable energy, remained as the only policy with any real impact on the sector’s emissions.

Wind power has been the winning technology from the RET, and South Australia has been the winning state. Wind now supplies 40% of electricity in South Australia due to highly favourable local conditions. Because wind has no fuel costs it suppressed wholesale prices in the state and forced the shutdown of all coal plants and the mothballing of some gas plants. But wind is intermittent – it generates power only when it is blowing, and the night of July 7 it barely was.

A report by the Australian Energy Market Operator noted that the market did deliver on reliability and security of supply in July. It reviewed the behaviour of market participants and concluded there were “no departures from normal market rules and procedures”.

The events of July do not expose an immediate crisis, but they have exposed the potential consequences of a disconnection between climate change policy and energy markets. If it is not addressed, the goals of reliable, affordable and sustainable energy may not be achieved.
The bigger problem

Climate change policy should work with and not outside the electricity market. With a fixed generation target of 33,000 gigawatt hours of renewable electricity by 2020 and a market for renewable energy credits outside the wholesale spot market under the RET, the conditions for problems were established some time ago.

The specific issues that arose from the design of the RET would have been far less problematic if one of the attempts over the last ten years to implement a national climate policy had been successful. A rising carbon price would have steadily changed the relative competitiveness of high and low emissions electricity sources and the RET would have quietly faded.

The first lesson for governments is that we need to establish a credible, scalable and predictable national climate change policy to have a chance of achieving emissions reduction targets without compromising power reliability or security of supply. A national emissions trading scheme would be best, but pragmatism and urgency mean we need to consider second best.

While such an outcome is the first priority, it will not provide all the answers. The rapid introduction of a very large proportion of new intermittent electricity supply creates problems that were not foreseen when traditional generation from coal and gas supplied the bulk of Australia’s power needs.

All of the wind farms in one state could be offline at the same time – a far less likely event with traditional generation. The problem can be solved by investment in storage and in flexible responses such as gas and other fast-start generators. Commercial deals with consumers paid to reduce demand could also contribute.

Lower average prices combined with infrequent big price spikes are not an obvious way to encourage long-term investors. The market may find solutions with new forms of contracts for flexibility or the market operator could introduce new structures or regulations to complement the existing wholesale spot market.

Much uncertainty exists, no easy fixes are in sight and the consequences of failure are high. Getting it right will provide clear signals for new investment or for withdrawal of coal plants as flagged by speculation over the future of the Hazelwood power station in Victoria.

Josh Frydenberg, as the new minister for the environment and energy, and his fellow ministers on the COAG Energy Council would be unwise to waste a near crisis.



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

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


27 September, 2016

Why correlations of CO2 and Temperature over ice age cycles don’t define climate sensitivity

This paper from a great headquarters of Warmism is something of a mess.  Its conclusion -- that there are so many unknowns in the paleoclimate record that it should not be used as a basis for generalizations -- most skeptics would wildly applaud.  The authors  limit themselves to talking about only one type of generalization but the same considerations surely throw all paleoclimate generalizations into doubt.

The other thing of interest is their comment on the long-term correlation beteween CO2 levels and temperature.  Skeptics have never questioned that.  Instead they point to the time lag involved:  Temperature rises PRECEDED CO2 rises -- exactly the opposite of what Warmist theory prescribes but fully understandable as warming oceans outgassing CO2 -- a normal physical effect

We’ve all seen how well temperature proxies and CO2 concentrations are correlated in the Antarctic ice cores – this has been known since the early 1990’s and has featured in many high-profile discussions of climate change.

For obvious reasons, we are interested in how the climate system will respond to an increase in CO2 and that depends on time-scale and what feedbacks we consider:

The “Charney” sensitivity is generally thought of as the medium-term response of the system, including all the fast feedbacks and some of the longer term ones (like the ocean). This is usually what is meant by climate sensitivity in normal conversation. On longer (multi-millennial) timescales we expect changes in vegetation and ice-sheets to occur and alter the response and that sensitivity is often described as the Earth System Sensitivity (ESS).

But let’s go back to the correlation from EPICA Dome C:

Using local temperatures, the straight line regression is ~3.9 ?C/(W/m2). Assuming that global temperature changes on these timescales are roughly half as large, that implies ~2 ?C/(W/m2) at the global scale, and given that 2xCO2 forcing is about 4 W/m2, that means a ‘sensitivity’ of ~8?C for a doubling of CO2. This is very much larger than any of the standard numbers that are usually discussed. So what is going on?

The first point to recognize is that the ice age/interglacial variations are being driven by Milankovitch forcings (“orbital wobbles”). These have an almost zero effect in the global mean radiative forcing but make huge differences to the seasonal and regional solar fluxes. This makes these drivers almost uniquely effective at impacting ice sheets, hence temperature, the circulation, the biosphere, and therefore the carbon cycle. Notably, these drivers don’t fit neatly into a global forcing/global response paradigm.

Second, the relationship we are seeing in the ice cores is made up of two independent factors: the sensitivity of the CO2 to temperature over the ice age cycle – roughly ~100 ppmv/4?C or ~25 ppmv/?C – and the sensitivity of the climate to CO2, which we’d like to know.

The problem is perhaps made clearer with two thought experiments. Imagine a world where the sensitivity of the climate system to carbon dioxide was zero (note this is not Planet Earth!). Then the records discussed above would show a reduced amplitude cycle, but a strong correlation between CO2 radiative forcing and temperature. This relationship would be exactly the T to CO2 function. To take another extreme case, assume that that carbon cycle was insensitive to climate, but climate still responded to CO22, then we’d see no CO2 change and zero regression. In neither case would the raw T/CO2 regression tell you what the sensitivity to CO2 alone was.

Instead, to constrain the Charney sensitivity from the ice age cycle you need to specifically extract out those long term changes (in ice sheets, vegetation, sea level etc.) and then estimate the total radiative forcing including these changes as forcing, not responses. In most assessments of this, you end up with 2.5?C to 3?C in response to 2xCO2. To estimate the ESS from these cycles you’d need to know what the separate impacts the CO2 and the orbital forcing had on the ice sheets, and that is not possible just from these data. Constraints on ESS have thus come from the Pliocene (3 million years ago) or even longer Cenezoic time scales – giving a range roughly 4.5?C to 6?C. Lunt et al (2010) and Hansen et al (2008) have good discussions of this and we discussed it here too.

The bottom line is that you can’t estimate Earth System Sensitivity solely from correlations over ice age cycles, no matter how well put together the temperature data set is.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)


As I discussed in the last post, a new paper titled, "The ‘Alice in Wonderland’ mechanics of the rejection of (climate) science: simulating coherence by conspiracism" with John Cook and Stephan Lewandowsky has a number of problems, including the one where Cook falsely claimed his own work and the work of others shows there is a consensus global warming is a "global problem." Cook and his co-authors know fully well none of the work they cite shows anything of the sort.

Another issue I commented on is how the paper claims global warming "contrarians" have incoherent belief systems in which they are content to believe contradictory things. This concept is founded on a paper by Michael Wood in which he misused basic statistical tests to draw conclusions about groups of people he had 0 data for. Lewandowsky has also used this same bogus approach to statistics in papers to portray global warming skeptics are conspiracy nuts even when his subjects overwhelmingly said they didn't believe in the conspiracies he smeared them with.

A related issue to this is how these authors give specific examples of how "contrarians" supposedly contradict themselves. In the previous post, I pointed out one key problem to this - the paper cites arguments from different people. That two different "contrarians" might hold contradictory beliefs is completely uninformative. Even climate scientists hold contradictory beliefs. It's called disagreement. It's a normal part of life.

Given that, the only real basis for this paper's headline is the set of examples where an individual supposedly contradicts himself. I discussed the headline example used in the paper in that last post, but today, I'm going to discuss a few of the other ones the authors offer.

In addition to the headline example, the paper lists nine supposed contradictions in its Table 2. Three are attributed to Ian Plimer, the same person the headline example comes from. Two more are attributed to Anthony Watts and the last is attributed to John Christy. All told, there are four people said to contradict themselves. That is not an impressive sample.

It gets worse when you look at the actual examples. For instance, Monckton is said to contradict himself because one time he said this:

Warming at the very much reduced rate that measured (as opposed to merely modeled) results suggest would be 0.7-00.8 K CO2 doubling. That would be harmless and beneficial

Before showing what that supposedly contradicts, I should point out looking at the source of the quote shows that typo was added by the authors of the paper. The source correctly writes "0.7-0.8 K" not "0.7-00.8 K." That doesn't matter for the idea the quote contradicts this:

Throughout most of the past half billion years, global temperatures were 7? C ...warmer than the present

The authors offer no explanation for how these two quotes contradict one another. Perhaps a reader could guess at what the authors were thinking, but the simple reality is believing past temperatures were significantly higher than they are now does not contradict the idea the planet would warm by less than a degree if CO2 levels in the atmosphere would double. A person who things other than CO2 have a far greater influence on temperatures may believe this without there being any contradiction.

Similarly, the authors say Monckton contradicts himself because he said:

Since late in 2001, when a naturally-occurring reduction in cloud cover that had caused rapid warming over the previous 18 years came to an end, there has been nearly a decade with virtually no change in temperature

Showing in 2010 Monckton believed there had been virtually no warming for nearly a decade. The authors claim this contradicts what he said the next year:

His GISS surface-temperature dataset, on which he bases his claims, not only suffers from insufficient adjustment for the artificial warmth given off by cities (the urban heat-island effect), but also from evidence of repeated, successive tamperings with the data from earlier decades this century so as artificially to increase the apparent overall rate of “global warming”

Again, the authors do nothing to explain how these ideas are contradictory. They are not. Believing there has been virtually no warming for about ten years in no way contradicts the idea a particular data set (GISS) suffers from data problems and inappropriate adjustments which increase the apparent rate of global warming.

The only "contradiction" is Monckton said there had been virtually no warming for about 10 years and GISS has inflated the rate of warming. That's not a contradiction though. The GISS record extends over 100 years. The rate of warming in it could be inflated even if a particular 10 year period didn't show any warming at all.

The final supposed contradiction by Monckton is he said:

...the Greenland ice sheet rests in a depression in the bedrock created by its own weight, wherefore “dynamical ice flow” is impossible, and the IPCC says that temperature would have to be sustained at more than 5.5 C above its present level for several millennia before half the Greenland ice sheet could melt


Since the warming itself has not yet brought global temperatures to the levels seen in the mediaeval warm period, when we were growing wine-grapes in Scotland and our Viking cousins were farming parts of south-western Greenland that remain under permafrost today, and since the warming has now ceased, it is nonsensical to suggest that the effects of that warming are anything other than insignificant and generally beneficial

I cannot begin to guess what the supposed contradiction here is supposed to be. Monckton says there were parts of Greenland which were used for farmland hundreds of years ago that are now covered in ice. He also says "dynamical ice flow" is impossible and it would take extreme circumstances for half of Greenland's ice sheet to melt.

None of that is contradictory. According to Monckton, hundreds of years ago when it was warmer a small part of the Greenland ice sheet (far less than the half he says would take enormous warming to melt) wasn't there, either because it had melted or hadn't existed in the first place. Colder temperature since then have caused the ice sheet to grow and cover those areas. That's not contradictory at all.

Neither is it contradictory for Anthony Watts to say:

The reality is that the Earth’s climate system is far more complex than that: It isn’t just a linear relationship between CO2 and temperature, it is a dynamic ever-changing one, and climate is tremendously complex with hundreds of interactive variables and feedbacks


“Global warming” suggests a steady linear increase in temperature, but since that isn’t happening, proponents have shifted to the more universal term “climate change,” which can be liberally applied to just about anything observable in the atmosphere

Saying the earth's climate system is extremely complex cannot possibly contradict beliefs about semantic meanings and choices. What words means and which words people use cannot possibly contradict the idea our planet's climate is complex. The quotes simply have nothing to do with one another.

The next "contradiction" by Watts at least involves two quotes dealing with the same general subject. First:

As attested by a number of studies, near-surface temperature records are often affected by time-varying biases ...To address such problems, climatologists have developed various methods for detecting discontinuities in time series, characterizing and/or removing various nonclimatic biases that affect temperature records in order to obtain homogeneous data and create reliable long-term time series


In the business and trading world, people go to jail for such manipulations of data

Interestingly, the authors provide a faulty reference for the second of these quotes. I've provided the correct link just above, but this is the one the authors gave. A hyphen is missing in it.

The URL given by the authors does not have a hyphen between "hottest" and "year" like it should have. Anyone who tried to check this reference would have found it didn't work. That's a bit weird.

Anyway, there is simply no contradiction here. Simply stating climatologists have developed methods of adjusting data to "create reliable long-term time series" does not mean you believe that is okay or that in the business or trading world a person could do such without going to jail. A person can describe what other people do without endorsing it as okay. On their face, these quotes simply cannot contradict one another.

The real problem, however, is these quotes are not discussing the same thing. The authors of this paper left out important context for the interview they quoted. Here is an expanded quote:

"Is history malleable? Can temperature data of the past be molded to fit a purpose? It certainly seems to be the case here, where the temperature for July 1936 reported ... changes with the moment," Watts told

"In the business and trading world, people go to jail for such manipulations of data."

This is a reference to the fact past temperature data continuously changes. That is, rather than just look at past data for problems and fix them, the methodologies used may look at past data for problems to fix, adjust the data, then re-visit the next day and adjust it in a different way. A person can easily believe it is okay to adjust past data for problems without believing it is okay to keep adjusting that data in different ways every month, week or day.

This post is running long. I hope you'll forgive me for that. However, nearly every single "contradiction" the authors list in this table is fake, and I feel it is worth demonstrating this. People need to understand just because two quotes are placed side-by-side and labeled, "Contradictory and incoherent arguments advanced by the same individuals" does not mean the quotes are actually contradictory. For instance, when Ian Plimer is quoted as saying:

Replacement of high altitude forests by mixing with low altitude forests to create greater species diversity has happened in previous times of warming and would be expected in another warming event

This is a simple claim. If the planet warms, the habitable range for forests will increase. That would cause trees to spread into areas they hadn't been before and mixing with the trees of those areas. Because I wasted $15 on the quoted book by Plimer, I can tell you the reason he brought this up is the increase in number of species he believes this mixing would cause. His idea in no way contradicts:

Even if the planet warms due to increased atmospheric CO2, it is clear that plants will not feel the need to migrate to cooler parts of our planet

Even though the authors claim it does. Migration involves leaving one area and moving to another. That is not what happens when plants' or even animals' habitable range increases. Trees spreading to other areas while still also existing in the original area have spread out and expanded, but they haven't migrated.

That these quotes don't contradict one another should have been obvious to the editor and reviewers of this paper. For instance, this quote by Plimer:

The proof that CO2 does not drive climate is shown by previous glaciations

Cannot possibly contradict:

The global warmth of the Cretaceous has been attributed to elevated levels of CO2 in the atmosphere

That Plimer says past warmth "has been attributed to elevated levels of CO2" in no way means he believes that attribution is correct. In fact, anyone who is unfortunate enough to waste money buying this terrible book will find Plimer followed that statement by saying:

However, there are some suggestions that the Cretaceous climate was decoupled from the CO2 content of the atmosphere.

The authors of this paper conveniently leave that out though. Because they do, their readers won't know Plimer said some people have attributed past warmth to CO2 levels while other people disagree. They'll just think he said some people have attributed past warmth to CO2 levels.

There are still two more entries in this table, and I don't think either constitutes an actual contradiction. I think this post has ran on long enough though, and the last two examples are a bit murkier. I'll let you readers examine them for yourselves. Before I go though, I want to highlight a remarkable detail of what the source of one of the remaining quotes used is. You can find it here:

Based on emails from both Steven Sherwood and John Christy, and based on Carl Mears’ blogpost, I can report that all three agree that

1) Yes, amplified warming in the tropical troposphere is expected.

And that

2) No, the hot spot in the tropics is not specific to a greenhouse mechanism.

Notice that I changed the wording of question/statement 2 here, because the word “fingerprint” was interpreted differently by John Christy than how we meant it.

In his email to us, John Christy wrote regarding Q1: “Yes, the hot spot is expected via the traditional view that the lapse rate feedback operates on both short and long time scales.” Regarding Q2 he wrote: “it [the hot spot] is broader than just the enhanced greenhouse effect because any thermal forcing should elicit a response such as the “expected” hot spot.” Further elaborations in the email exchange, e.g. regarding whether to call this a fingerprint, involved interpretations as to the meaning of (a lack of) a hot spot, which we will defer for the moment.

The next issue that we’ll take up is encapsulated in Q3:

3) Is there a significant difference between modelled and observed amplification of surface trends in the tropical troposphere (i.e. between the modelled and the observed hot spot)?

That is a comment on a blog post by one Bart Verheggen. Verheggen has not been mentioned in this post. The reason is this "contradiction" is supposedly by John Christy. Verheggen's quote is used as a source because his comment says, "In his email to us, John Christy wrote...."

Yes, that's right. John Cook and Stephan Lewandowsky published a paper claiming global warming "contrarians" contradict themselves in which they rely on sources like secondhand quotes from people provided by commenters on blog sites. In any realm other than science, that would be considered hearsay.


The Media Was Totally WRONG Predicting Global Warming Would Cause This Island ‘To Vanish’

Rolling Stone Magazine published a lengthy write-up of the national security dangers of global warming in 2015, and claimed the strategically located Diego Garcia atoll was “sure to vanish” as sea levels rose.

A recent study, however, completely contradicts that claim and casts doubt on other predictions global warming-induced sea level rise will swallow up whole islands and force thousands to  leave their homes.

“If rising oceans are indeed linked to global warming and are a force to be reckoned with, then the oft-described (by climate alarmists) unprecedented global warming and sea level rise of the past few decades should surely have made their mark on these low-lying land areas by now,” reads a blog post on science site CO2 Science.

“But is this really the case?” asks the blog run by the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, a group chaired by climate researcher Dr. Craig Idso.

CO2 Science cited a recent study spearheaded by scientists with the National Coral Reef Institute in Dania Beach, Fla. Their study found that while Diego Garcia’s physical coastline has changed over the past five decades, the island’s net area has not.

Researchers found, “the amount of erosion on Diego Garcia over the last 50 years is almost exactly balanced by the amount of accretion, suggesting the island to be in a state of equilibrium.”

“[T]he areas of shoreline erosion and extension bear little relationship to prevailing ocean climate, a finding which should guard against attempts to predict sites of future land loss through natural processes.”

In other words, the island hasn’t really shrunk, despite a reported sea level rise of five millimeters per year. The study comes more than a year after Rolling Stone said the Indian Ocean atoll was “sure to vanish.”

“The U.S. naval base on Diego Garcia, a small coral atoll in the Indian Ocean, like the nearby Maldives, is sure to vanish,” Rolling Stone reported in 2015 in a lengthy article on how global warming will overwhelm U.S. military bases.

Diego Garcia still has a military installation and played a key role during the Cold War in keeping a U.S. presence in the region. It also protected shipping lanes coming out of the Middle East.

Rolling Stone put Diego Garcia on a long list of military bases vulnerable to global warming. The magazine published the article just one month after President Barack Obama linked global warming to national security in his State of the Union address.

“The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security,” Obama said. “We should act like it.”

Obama has been sounding the alarm on global warming and national security for years. His Pentagon has called it a “threat multiplier,” warning that extreme weather could help topple unstable governments and spur refugee crises.

Indeed, scientists and environmentalists often point to island nations some of the world’s first “climate refugees.” Fiji, Kiribati and other islands are begging rich countries for aid and even a place to resettle should sea levels overwhelm them.

But Rolling Stone’s prediction Diego Garcia will “vanish” may be overblown, if recent research holds.

“It delivers is a damming indictment of alarmist projections of low-lying island demise in response to CO2-induced global warming,” CO2 science reported.

Studies are mixed on the fate of low-lying island nations.

A study by scientists from Australia and New Zealand found that despite the 33-island Funafuti Atoll seeing “some of the highest rates of sea-level rise… over the past 60 [years],” the island chain has actually grown in size.

“Despite the magnitude of this rise, no islands have been lost, the majority have enlarged, and there has been a 7.3% increase in net island area over the past century (A.D. 1897–2013),” reads the study on the South Pacific islands. “There is no evidence of heightened erosion over the past half-century as sea-level rise accelerated.”

The Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands saw accelerated sea level rise since 2000, sparking concerns the island would soon be swallowed up by the seas.

Sea level rise rapidly decelerated in recent years, and the atoll seemed to be going through an El Nino-sparked trend — as opposed to an accelerating trend from global warming.

“It’s obvious that the apparent acceleration in sea-level at Kwajalein was transient, and did not indicate the beginning of an accelerating trend in sea-level rise,” Anthony Watts, a veteran meteorologist, wrote in March.

“To me, it looks like sea-level at Kwajalein is inversely correlated with ENSO. When the current El Ni?o ends, so will the current dip in sea-level at Kwajalein, probably,” Watts wrote.


Germany’s All-Time Record High Set In 2015 Looks Dubious …Likely Due To UHI / Instrumentation Error

At the Germany-based European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE), Helmut Kuntz writes that Germany’s all-time record high temperature recorded last year, 2015, is likely an artifact of the urban heat island effect (UHI) and instrumentation error margins.

In 2015 the Kitzingen weather station located in southern Germany set a new all-time high when it reached 40.3°C — twice: on July 5 and August 7 — breaking the earlier record of 40.2°C set on 27 July 1983 in G?rmersdorf. The whopping margin: a whole 0.1°C! Photo right: Kitzingen station.

So why is Kitzingen suddenly so hot?

EIKE guest writer Josef Kowatsch has often claimed that the UHI has played a major role in producing the warming effect over the past decades. Recently that claim got a boost of support from University of Wurzburg climate researcher Prof. Heiko Paeth, who in an interview with MAIN POST daily here on September 7, 2016, stated that it likely has more to do with station siting then it does with a climate trend.

According to Prof. Paeth, the high reading can be traced back to Kitzingen having certain special features.

First the town of Kitzingen is located at a relatively low elevation some 20 km east of Wurzburg — situated in the Main Valley at the bottom of a sort of a bowl where heat can collect.

Secondly, he tells the MAIN POST that fresh, westerly winds that normally act to cool Germany in the summertime have been obstructed by a commercial district built not long ago where once a US base had been located. The Main Post writes:

What remains is an obstacle for the air flow from the west. The town has blocked off its fresh air feed-in duct, says Paeth. ‘That could be an explanation for the heat.'”


Grinding westerners under the federal boot

The federal government owns an estimated one-third of all the land in the United States. But this is only a rough estimate, because even the federal government does not actually know how much land it controls.

For those living on the East Coast who rarely encounter federal land, this may not seem like an important issue, but in western states, the vast amounts of land owned or controlled by the federal government are among the most important issues that states must face.

And the Obama administration is using the power of that land ownership to grind westerners under the federal boot, a kind of neo-feudalism where an absentee landlord federal government keeps western states and the citizens who live there as vassals and serfs.

Federal land ownership is heavily concentrated in the western states: in the 13 states west of Texas, the federal government owns or administers more than half of all land. In San Juan County, Utah, for example, only 8 percent of the land is privately owned, with only another 8 percent owned by the state of Utah.

And this land is overwhelmingly not used for national parks or military bases, which only amount to about 12 percent of federal land nationwide, and just 10 percent in San Juan County.

Federal lands are administered by a constellation of federal bureaus and agencies — with sometimes overlapping ownership and regulatory responsibilities — which compete to restrict and harass the people who live on or near federally controlled land.

Often already poor, western counties that contain federal land are deprived of tax revenues from those lands, leaving even less revenue to provide basic services to their citizens. Life in much of the West is a constant struggle with the federal bureaucracy simply to live and work.

While the oppressive burden of federal land is not a new issue in the West, the Obama administration — often in service to its far-left environmentalist allies — has taken a particularly aggressive and destructive attitude toward life in the West.

The Interior Department, in particular, has repeatedly sought to restrict or eliminate agricultural activities and energy development on federally administered land. In rural western counties like San Juan County, these industries often are the only sources of decent-paying jobs.

These federal efforts have frequently been stymied by litigation or the intervention of western members of Congress seeking to protect their constituents.

Rather than be deterred, however, the Obama administration has reached for a tool beyond the power of the courts or Congress known as the Antiquities Act. This act, passed in 1906, allows the president to unilaterally designate so-called national monuments to protect antiquities or historic sites.

In areas designated national monuments, productive activities are heavily restricted or even banned. These are precisely the sorts of restrictions that federal agencies have been prevented from imposing through traditional means.

Last year, Garfield County, Utah, declared a state of emergency owing to restrictive federal land-management policies, particularly stemming from the Grand Staircase National Monument designation declared by President Clinton in 1996, which was done without consultation or notification of local Utahans.

Twenty years later, timber harvesting has been eliminated, livestock are being pushed off the range, and mineral development has ceased. In an ominous sign for the future health of the community, the county has seen school enrollment plunge by 67 percent since the monument designation, leaving the county struggling to afford to keep schools open.

San Juan County, one of the poorest counties in the country and adjacent to Garfield County, is the next target of these anti-development monument-makers. Not content with the economic damage to southern Utah that resulted from the previous monument designation, radical environmentalists are lobbying for the creation of another massive monument in San Juan County to be called Bears Ears.

The Antiquities Act specifically notes that designated monuments should be confined to the smallest possible area to protect the targeted antiquities. The proposed Bear Ears monument would cover nearly 2 million acres, about the size of Delaware and Rhode Island combined.

It is laughable to pretend that this huge area is needed to protect antiquities. Rather it’s yet another step in the crusade by radical environmentalists to put as much land off limits to productive use as possible, a pattern that is repeated all across the western states.

These national monument designations are just regulation by another means. Though couched in the flowery language of conservation, monument designations are about the raw exercise of presidential power, seizing control of land without regard to the impact on the affected states and citizens.

Feudalism was abolished in Europe hundreds of years ago. The Obama administration should learn from history and abandon its neo-feudalism in the West.



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, 2016

Recalculating the Climate Math

Below is the opening salvo of a new article by the obsessed Bill McKibben. It sounds scientific and hence scary but it is in fact pure theory. There are no new facts behind it at all. The "report" on which Bill relies says this: 

"The basic climate science involved is simple: cumulative carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions over time are the key determinant
of how much global warming occurs"

That certainly is simple but there is no proof for it and much to suggest it is wrong.  Bill's article is just old stuff in new drag

The future of humanity depends on math. And the numbers in a new study released Thursday are the most ominous yet.

Those numbers spell out, in simple arithmetic, how much of the fossil fuel in the world’s existing coal mines and oil wells we can burn if we want to prevent global warming from cooking the planet. In other words, if our goal is to keep the Earth’s temperature from rising more than two degrees Celsius—the upper limit identified by the nations of the world—how much more new digging and drilling can we do?

Here’s the answer: zero.

That’s right: If we’re serious about preventing catastrophic warming, the new study shows, we can’t dig any new coal mines, drill any new fields, build any more pipelines. Not a single one. We’re done expanding the fossil fuel frontier. Our only hope is a swift, managed decline in the production of all carbon-based energy from the fields we’ve already put in production.

The new numbers are startling. Only four years ago, I wrote an essay called “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math.” In the piece, I drew on research from a London-based think tank, the Carbon Tracker Initiative. The research showed that the untapped reserves of coal, oil, and gas identified by the world’s fossil fuel industry contained five times more carbon than we can burn if we want to keep from raising the planet’s temperature by more than two degrees Celsius. That is, if energy companies eventually dug up and burned everything they’d laid claim to, the planet would cook five times over. That math kicked off a widespread campaign of divestment from fossil fuel stocks by universities, churches, and foundations. And it’s since become the conventional wisdom: Many central bankers and world leaders now agree that we need to keep the bulk of fossil fuel reserves underground.

But the new new math is even more explosive. It draws on a report by Oil Change International, a Washington-based think tank, using data from the Norwegian energy consultants Rystad. For a fee—$54,000 in this case—Rystad will sell anyone its numbers on the world’s existing fossil fuel sources. Most of the customers are oil companies, investment banks, and government agencies. But OCI wanted the numbers for a different reason: to figure out how close to the edge of catastrophe we’ve already come.

Scientists say that to have even a two-thirds chance of staying below a global increase of two degrees Celsius, we can release 800 gigatons more CO2 into the atmosphere. But the Rystad data shows coal mines and oil and gas wells currently in operation worldwide contain 942 gigatons worth of CO2.



Climate change demands close watch, accurate measures in Arctic

So says Kathryn Sullivan.  Fair enough. But why the Arctic only? The Antarctic contains 92% of the word's glacial ice.  So isn't it what we should be watching?  Would the fact that it is GAINING ice be why the excellent Ms Sulivan is ignoring it?  Warmism has an amazing ability to make crooks out of people

In October 1984, I watched the sun illuminate Alaska's Malaspina Glacier from 200 miles above earth. Looking down from the space shuttle Challenger, I was able to fully appreciate the scale and magnitude of a piece of ice 40 miles wide and 28 miles long, roughly 50 times the size of Manhattan Island.

Today's space station astronauts see a very different landscape. Malaspina is melting, just like nearly every other glacier on our planet. Each year the Malaspina and other glaciers in the St. Elias Mountain Range in Southeast Alaska send about 84 gigatons of water into the ocean. That's the equivalent of the approximately 200-mile-long Chesapeake Bay, and it's just a small fraction of the water that is entering the oceans from an unprecedented melting of Arctic ice.

More than anywhere else on Earth, the Arctic has changed dramatically over the past three decades, and there is new urgency in addressing both these changes and their immense global reach. For these reasons, government ministers, scientists, and representatives of indigenous groups from more than 25 nations will hold the first Arctic Science Ministerial on Wednesday at the White House. This meeting is a significant step in recognizing the Arctic as a pivotal, yet vastly underobserved and poorly understood region of our planet.

Concerns around the world are growing because the Arctic's rapid changes are unprecedented. Temperatures are warming at least twice as fast as the global average. Melting ice sheets and glaciers are draining water into the sea at the fastest rate in recorded history, contributing to rising sea levels around the world.


EPA Mandate Created A $1 Billion Market In Fraudulent Biofuel Credits, Says Criminal Investigator

There may be $1 billion worth of fraudulent biofuel credits circulating in the U.S., according to a former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) criminal investigator.

“Based on my experience, I believe the cost of these fraud schemes to victims and consumers, including taxpayers and obligated parties, is approaching $1 billion,” Doug Parker, the president of E&W Strategies, wrote in a report on biofuel fraud, commissioned by the oil refining Valero Corporation.

Parker, who initiated investigations into biofuel credit fraud while at EPA, argued the federal ethanol mandate, or Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), is “susceptible to large scale fraud” based on analyses conducted while he worked for the government.

Parker argued RFS fraud risks have grown as the credit, or RIN, market grew 15-fold in the last six years from $1 billion to $15 billion as federal law requires refiners to blend more ethanol into the fuel supply. It’s also an “opaque” market that allows fraud to flourish, he wrote.

“This level of transparency and market regulation is not present in the RINs market, and the opaqueness of the market is a critical factor that allows criminal conduct to continue,” Parker wrote.

Parker argues shifting the “point of obligation” of complying with the RFS from refiners to those further downstream would help reduce the risk of fraud, advocating for a policy being pushed by refiners as part of an effort to reform the RFS.

Refiners are asking EPA to move the onus of complying with the RFS from their industry to those further downstream. Refiners say complying with the RFS cost them $1 billion in 2015, making it one of their largest costs.

Energy experts expect RFS compliance costs to grow as the EPA mandates refiners blend more biofuels into the fuel supply. But ethanol lobbyists say fear of more fraud are overblown, since virtually all of it has taken place in the biodiesel market, not for conventional ethanol-blended gasoline.

“RIN fraud has not been a reality for ethanol used in the RFS program,” Bob Dinneen, president of the Renewable Fuels Association, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Parker catalogued $271 million worth of biofuel credit fraud and $71 million in illicit profit seizures by federal agents — all of which has involved biodiesel credits.

“The author is correct that there have been instances of fraud with biodiesel,” Dinneen said. “But those have been successfully prosecuted, and changes to the program put in place to protect against future abuse.”

Dinneen said the report gives a distorted picture of the ethanol market, which has handled more than 90 billion RINs since its inception.

“We do not believe RIN fraud is a legitimate concern,” Dinneen said. “The RFS is and has been a tremendous success for this nation’s energy and economic future, and consumers across the country.”

Even so, Parker says the breaching of the so-called biofuel “blend wall” has opened the door to more fraud as prices increase.

“Investigators and prosecutors are now also seeing evidence of more traditional organized criminal activity in this sector as the frauds have become larger and more complex, Parker wrote.


The view from 1975

The view from 1922

Big melt of Arctic ice.  Big Arctic melts are nothing new

Greenie blindness in Australia

Yesterday I raised the issue of the Greens staging a pre-planned walkout during Pauline Hanson’s first speech last week.  The Greens came seriously unstuck. What was obvious to everyone is that the Greens just hate the idea of anyone saying anything to contradict their own twisted view of the world.  And why is it that the Greens are so keen to defend Moslems from even gentle criticism?

The Greens are hostile to our Christian civilisation, and they instinctively ally themselves with anyone else who is hostile to Christian civilisation.

Following yesterday’s editorial I received a flood of favourable comment, so here is some more on the same subject.

Pauline Hanson’s Senate speech was bold and courageous in the face of the bland faces of opposition parties who have no stomach for the difficult truths Australia faces in the future. Pauline represents the silent majority who are reluctant to speak out because of our anti-free-speech laws.  Many fear retribution from the very people Australia welcomed as citizens and various Muslims openly stating they have no respect for our laws or society and advocating the introduction of sharia law.

It is a sad state of affairs when in the twenty first century human beings have to deal with archaic beliefs supported by embittered people including even deranged individuals with no regard for human life. Australian governments have been asleep at the wheel when it comes to immigration from the third world. One of the main drawcards to Australia is the ridiculous welfare support given to these people. Once in the system they can manipulate and maneuver with many never working in their lifetime getting huge government payments to support their multiple spouses and numerous children. And then they tell us they don’t like us!

As for the Greens, these self-righteous pompous individuals lack the basic common senses to realise their country and their lifestyles are in danger of being hijacked. Open your eyes and ears, read the news occasionally and consider the innocent Australians whose lives have been destroyed by criminals that openly support sharia law and other Islamic militants who exploit Australia’s gullibility. How strange it is that some people still vote for a political party which supports such activity.

Australia is a wonderful country with many beautiful aspects and it should be kept that way. Australians don’t want to live in a lawless society divided by violence and aggression so let’s support the sensible politicians, like Senator Pauline Hanson, The Member for Melbourne Ports Michael Danby MP, Senator Corey Bernardi, Senator Brian Burston, Senator Jacquie Lambie, Senator Bob Day AO and the Federal Member for Dawson in Queensland, George Christensen MP.  All of these proudly uphold and support the Australian way of life instead of condoning subversion.

Save Australia before it’s too late!



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, 2016

Green Energy Revolution Folly

President Obama recently set a goal to double renewable power generation in the U.S. by 2020. At the same time, he suggested ending oil company tax breaks and using them, instead, to bolster solar and wind industries. The U.S. government is investing more than $1 trillion in green energy, the so-called "clean" energy alternative, while choking off coal and natural gas production with increasingly onerous regulations.

In their book, Fueling Freedom:  Exposing the Mad War on Energy, authors Stephen Moore and Kathleen Hartnett White argue against the shift to renewables.  Using energy-production statistics and the historic contributions of fossil fuels, they explode the myths promulgated by renewables cheerleaders.  They expose the extensive misinformation on clean energy resources to effectively argue against what they believe would be a disastrous, energy production shift that would have serious lifestyle and geopolitical consequences for Americans.

Promoters of renewable energy sources -- the supposed "low environmental impact" alternative to fossil fuels -- are putting forth a false narrative, Moore and White assert.

Rather than worrying that carbon energy resources are destroying the planet and looking to renewable energy as an alternative, the authors suggest we should celebrate the vast contributions fossil fuels made during the past century, advancing mankind and making our lives safer, more productive and economically and politically secure.  The U.S. has more recoverable energy supplies than any nation on earth, the authors posit.  With fairly recent shale oil and natural gas discoveries and newer technologies of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracking, we are in no danger of running out any time soon.  It should be welcome news, they urge, that the U.S. can be energy independent within the next few years and be the world's dominant energy producer.  Freedom from OPEC manipulations and the potential for millions of jobs that would substantially add to our gross domestic product, benefits our national security and would be a welcome boon to our relatively stagnant economy.

Moore and White explain how the Industrial Revolution, fueled by carbon energy usage, broke through decades of static human existence and brought significant and historic, upward trends for the average person, including a tripling of life expectancy and a 10- to 30-fold increase in per-capita, real income.  Coal and petroleum transformed into energy for mechanical power was the most important energy conversion in industrial civilization.  With coal-powered machines, man was suddenly liberated from the physical limitations of muscle and beasts of burden.  When electricity became available, heat, power and countless household appliances, industrial motors and electronics were developed, generating a second, energy revolution.

Carbon-resource usage (and the invention of the internal combustion engine) brought liberty, mobility and choice, enabling sustained productivity and economic growth, the authors maintain.  Additionally, it revolutionized the science and practice of metallurgy and dramatically transformed textile production.  Previously expensive and tedious to produce, clothing became more affordable and warmer; winter clothing became available.  Today, 60% of global fibers come from fossil fuels.  In addition, fossil fuels played and continue to play an important role in reducing food supply loss by refrigeration, packaging and containers.

The authors marvel at the transformation that took place in a newly industrialized society. Until coal was harnessed on a massive scale, humans were dependent on energy from plants, wood, animals and human muscle, as well as wind and water flows.  The dramatic shift from diffuse and variable flows of energy -- wind and water -- to massive stores of hydrocarbon minerals was a turning point for human progress.  Energy became transportable, controllable, affordable, dense, reliable and versatile.

Fossil fuels have also dramatically benefited agriculture.  The authors detail that U.S. food production has tripled, using 1/3 of the land, 1/3 the labor, and at 1/3 the cost of pre-fossil-fuel agriculture.  In the past, over 50% of the U.S. population was involved in agriculture and food was scarce and expensive.  Today, only 3% of the country's population produces our plentiful food supply.

The economic implications for today's shale revolution are equally extensive, especially if drilling is allowed on federal lands.  The authors estimate tax revenues in the trillions of dollars.  They cite the economic prosperity of North Dakota, with potentially greater oil resources than Saudi Arabia and currently more millionaires per capita than any other state.  The Great Plains state has already surpassed California and Alaska in oil production and is second behind Texas.

The U.S. currently has 50% more oil reserves than in 1950.  Technology and innovation have increased our supply so that we discover new sources faster than we deplete known reserves.  Further, economic efficiencies in extraction, processing and conversion of energy result in less spending for greater energy output and a continuing reduction in the energy infrastructure physical footprint.

By comparison, non-fossil-fuel energy sources -- wood, wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, biomass and nuclear -make up only 15% of the world's total primary energy supply and provide significantly lower energy yield and potential.  For example, the power density -- power per unit of volume -- of natural-gas-fired, electric generation is almost 2,000 times greater than that of wind-generated electricity.  Using ethanol produced from corn to power a vehicle's internal combustion system creates a net energy loss when the energy used in planting, fertilizing, harvesting, distilling and transporting is factored in.  Further, the diversion of 40% of the U.S. corn crop to ethanol, a less efficient fuel than gasoline, has raised corn prices and prompted more farmers to grow corn instead of other vital crops.  Biomass energy production, with its accompanying upticks in tractor and farm vehicle usage and chemicals, reduces the food supply, increases fertilizer and water use, and adds to pollution.  Production of wind, solar and biofuels uses thousands more acres of land than coal, natural gas and nuclear power. According to Jess Ausubel,1 an average wind system uses 460 metric tons of steel and 870 cubic meters of concrete per megawatt. In contrast, a natural gas combined cycle plant uses about three metric tons of steel and twenty-seven cubic meters of concrete.

As for carbon dioxide falsely classified as pollutant, Moore and White remind readers of basic eighth grade science:  Carbon dioxide is essential to plant life, on which all human and animal lives depend for food.  Plants inhale carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen used in human respiration.  Commercial greenhouses actually use elevated levels of CO2 to stimulate plant growth and that plant life flourished during past periods of higher CO2 levels. 

The authors criticize the misguided trend to replace our fossil-fuel-based, electric system with wind, solar or biomass.  They argue that green energy can't compete in a free market without bringing scarcity, economic decline, physical suffering and geopolitical crises.  The reliability of renewable energy suffers from weather vagaries whereas coal, natural gas and nuclear power deliver energy precisely as needed.

Moore and White bemoan the political clout of the Environmental Protection Agency and its myriad regulations and question its integrity and usefulness.  They assert that emissions actually began to fall in the 1960s, nearly a decade before the establishment of the EPA.  During the same time as the EPA's anti-industrial "back to nature" philosophy took root, air quality actually improved despite a doubling of fossil fuel use with an accompanying 200% increase in the GDP.

These improvements came from emission reductions and controls made by private business rather than EPA mandates, the authors maintain.  Between 1980 and 2010, airborne sulfur dioxide declined by 89%, carbon monoxide by 82%, nitrogen dioxide by 52%, ozone by 27%, particulate matter by 27% and mercury by 65%.  Over the past few decades, tailpipe emissions declined by more than 90% with miles traveled increasing by 180%.

In recent years, a massive, wind and solar renewables program failed miserably in Europe.  It caused precipitously higher prices and scarcities, prompting hundreds of thousands of families to turn to wood burning in desperation (thus inflating furniture and paper prices) and spurring construction of new coal plants.  The threat of blackouts, unacceptably high utility bills and corporate flight resulting from this renewables program, threatened the very stability of Europe.  Citing Europe's dismal example, Moore and White explain that contrary to the popular exaltation of renewables, a prosperous American future will be driven by abundant, reliable and inexpensive fossil fuels.


UK: Hinkley Point: how not to go nuclear

This costly project could set back the energy revolution we need

On Thursday afternoon, I went upstairs, closed the curtains and had a lie down for a while. Something shocking had happened and I needed a few minutes to recover. The traumatic event? I read an article by George Monbiot and largely agreed with it. Truly, a once-in-a-blue-moonbat moment.

It’s not an experience I am accustomed to. Monbiot has for a decade been the most consistent and high-profile proponent of misanthropic environmentalism in the UK. But here we were in agreement: nuclear power is a good idea and we need more of it, but the deal to build Hinkley Point C is a bad one. A really bad one. So bad, in fact, that it could put future governments off the idea of nuclear power for years to come. Yet, after a pause for reconsideration, the UK prime minister, Theresa May, decided last week to give Hinkley Point the green light.

Nuclear power has made a comeback largely because of the obsession with greenhouse-gas emissions. Renewables are still relatively expensive compared with burning fossil fuels (though getting cheaper as technology improves), but they are also intermittent. Solar, obviously, only works during the day and produces less energy when it is cloudy. Wind works both day and night, but only when the wind blows. Renewables are thus both intermittent and unpredictable. As a result, both solar and wind need to be backed up by gas-powered stations – but running such stations on a start-stop basis to fill in the gaps is expensive, too.

Nuclear is comparable with renewables in terms of greenhouse-gas emissions, but it is at least reliable. In fact, since fuel costs are relatively low and capital costs are high, the best thing to do is to run nuclear power stations flat out, providing ‘base load’ to the electricity network. Nuclear isn’t so good at adapting to the ups and downs of electricity demand as gas, but it could still provide a big chunk of Britain’s energy needs.

But building nuclear power stations is an expensive, long-term project – just the kind of thing Britain seems to be bad at. To persuade ?lectricité de France (EdF) to build Hinkley Point C, the government was forced, to echo a line from Nye Bevan, to stuff their mouths with gold. In the case of Hinkley Point, that meant guaranteeing EdF a high price for the electricity it would produce: £92.50 per megawatt-hour (MWh), index-linked to inflation, plus providing billions in loan guarantees.

Even when the deal was struck, the price for EdF’s electricity looked steep. Now it looks embarrassing. The justification for the price was that gas prices were expected to rise sharply, making the effective subsidy to EdF look relatively small – about £6 billion over the lifetime of the plant. Now, with gas prices having fallen, that subsidy could be as high as £30 billion.

That might be justified for a well-established and reliable technology. But the reactor design proposed by EdF has been around for quite some time – and is still yet to produce any electricity. The first such project, in Finland, commenced in 2005. Between constant design changes, technical problems and difficulties with Finnish regulators, the project has run massively over budget and won’t become operational until at least 2018. Similar problems have dogged the plant in Flamanville in France, started in 2007, which again might only produce power at the end of 2018. But, if anything, the problems at Flamanville are even worse, leading to suggestions that the plant might be scrapped.

And to put the tin lid on things, the Hinkley Point project has put such a strain on EdF’s creaking finances that the plant will now be one-third funded by the Chinese, who signed up on the expectation of being able to build plants of their own at Bradwell and Sizewell in years to come. It was security concerns about this Chinese involvement that apparently led to Theresa May’s decision to review the project. The result has been that the UK government will in future take a stake in such projects to ensure that ownership is fully transparent. In truth, May and her advisers may have been looking for a way out of the deal. In the end, politics prevailed over economics.

To sum up: Hinkley Point C is a power station that the UK government no longer wants to pay for, the French company building it doesn’t want to build, the Chinese partners are only supporting in order to build their own power plants in the future, and which may never get built if the technological and engineering problems can’t be solved. But the UK government doesn’t want to offend the French with Brexit negotiations imminent, nor does it want to annoy the Chinese when trade deals might be needed in the future. The French are desperately trying to save face by refusing to admit that their nuclear technology isn’t going to work. So everyone ploughs on. Politics has trumped common sense.

If our first attempt in decades at building a nuclear plant ends in complete farce – and it is quite possible it will – it would surely make it very difficult to win support for nuclear power plants in the future. Which is very bad news, because nuclear power offers the possibility of producing the huge quantities of energy we need to transform our world. Here’s where I disagree with Monbiot: he wants nuclear power to reduce humanity’s ‘footprint’ on the world; I want nuclear power to create the possibility of massively increasing that footprint. That’s something renewables are unlikely to be able to do in the UK, unless we are prepared to turn our countryside and coastline into an ugly monoculture of wind turbines.

Whether it is the current nuclear-fission technology, thorium-based reactors, new nuclear-waste-gobbling designs or even the holy grail itself – nuclear fusion – it is only such concentrated power sources that could really transform the world. Let’s hope that Hinkley Point C does get built and does produce electricity, as promised. At least we could write it off as an expensive mistake, learn some lessons from the process, and then get on with the job of building cost-effective nuclear stations for the future.


Obama Directs Federal Agencies to Consider Climate Change As a National Security Issue

In a Sept. 21 memo to his department heads, President Obama instructed all federal departments and agencies to consider the impact of climate change on national security.

Obama states that it is the policy of the U.S. government to ensure that current and anticipated impacts of climate change be "identified and considered" in developing national security doctrine, policies and plans.

"Climate change poses a significant and growing threat to national security, both at home and abroad," the memo says. Those threats, according to Obama, include flooding, drought, heat waves, intense precipitation, pest outbreaks, disease, and electricity problems, all of which can "affect economic prosperity, public health and safety, and international stability."

Obama also says those anticipated climate change issues could adversely affect military readiness; negatively affect military facilities and training; increase demands for federal support to civil defense authorities,; and increase the need to maintain international stability and provide humanitarian assistance needs.

He has directed his national security and science/technology chiefs to chair an interagency working group to study climate-related impacts on national security and develop plans to deal with those impacts.

The working group will include high-ranking officials from the Departments of State, Treasury, Defense, Justice, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Transportation, Energy, Homeland Security, Agency for International Development, NASA, Director of National Intelligence, U.S. Mission to the U.N., Office of Management and Budget, Council on Environmental Quality, Millennium Change Corporation, and "any other agencies or offices as designated by the co-chairs."

Among other things, this bureaucratic working group will "develop recommendations for climate and social science data...that support or should be considered in the development of national security doctrine, policy, and plans."

The working group will create data repositories, climate modeling, and simulation and projection capabilities.

The presidential memo lays out a total 17 action points for the working group, all of them premised on the notion that human-caused climate change is indisputable fact.

The working group has been given 90 days to develop an action plan, which must include "specific objectives, milestones, timelines, and identification of agencies responsible for completion of all actions described therein."

And the working group has 150 days to "develop implementation plans" for the action plans. (Some of those implementation plans may be classified because they deal with national security.)

Section 7 of the presidential memo defines various terms, such as climate, climate change, climate modeling, and "fragility."

"'Fragility' refers to a condition that results from a dysfunctional relationship between state and society and the extent to which that relationship fails to produce policy outcomes that are considered effective or legitimate." (Considered "effective and legitimate" by the government, apparently.)

"'Resilience'" refers to the ability to anticipate, prepare for, and adapt to changing conditions and to withstand, respond to, and recover rapidly from disruptions.


Cutting Through the Doom and Gloom: We’re Nature’s Caretakers, Not Undertakers

One environmentalist says if we want to actually help the planet, we humans need to get over ourselves

Imagine a team of paleontologists eons from now, excavating the remains of ancient life. “Aha!” says one, holding up a finger stained with petroleum grease. “Look here,” says another, brandishing a petrified Coca-Cola bottle. “Yes, this confirms it,” remarks a third, holding up a fossilized chicken bone. “This layer is Anthropocene.”

That’s precisely the scene one group of experts seemed to have in mind at this summer’s meeting of the International Geological Congress. The group’s chair, a professor at the University of Leicester, argued that human beings have so profoundly altered our planet that we have entered a new geologic era. The so-called “Anthropocene,” or “era of man,” will be easy to recognize in future rock layers by its distinctive strata of garbage, radioactive fallout, carbon pollution, and yes—chicken bones. At least, that’s what these scientists claim.

And there’s another marker of the Anthropocene: a so-called “Sixth Extinction.” The current die-off of species at the hands of human beings is so severe, say some scientists, that it’s comparable to the extinction of the dinosaurs and other major die-offs in Earth’s history.

“Nature is dead,” we might paraphrase Nietzsche, “and we have killed her.” But is this bleak picture of our relationship with all other life really accurate? Are we really entering the geologic era of man?

Let’s not flatter ourselves, says environmentalist and author Stewart Brand. In a recent essay at Aeon, Brand argues that notions like the “Anthropocene” and the “sixth extinction” aren’t just wrong. They’re a recipe for panic and paralysis when it comes to protecting our still-beautiful and wild Earth.

“Viewing every conservation issue through the lens of extinction threat is simplistic and usually irrelevant,” Brand writes. “Worse, it introduces an emotional charge that makes the problem seem cosmic and overwhelming rather than local and solvable.”

If doctors talked to their patients the way most environmentalists talk to the public, they’d begin every session by saying, “Well, you’re dying. Let’s see if we can do anything to slow that down a little.”

Brand argues that the “lazy romanticism about impending doom” undergirding notions like the “Anthropocene” and the “sixth extinction” is a “formula for hopelessness,” and therefore, failure.

Instead he offers a dose of reality: Almost all of the most recent extinctions have taken place on tiny ocean islands. And those species, while worth mourning, were of almost no ecological importance to the majority of the planet.

Meanwhile, stories like the recovery of the giant panda, which was recently removed from the endangered species list, show that when we focus on incremental and local solutions, humans can undo much of our own damage.

This idea that nature is “extremely fragile or already hopelessly broken” isn’t remotely the case, Brand writes. Nature is resilient, and if given the chance, it will rebound with remarkable speed.

It turns out our understanding of ourselves and our place in the environment is crucial to preserving that environment. We’re caretakers, not undertakers. And naming geologic eras after ourselves does nothing to preserve or tend the world over which God has placed us as stewards.

Will future paleontologists identify our era by its abundant chicken bones? Well, maybe. But if we cut the doom and gloom and see our relationship with nature accurately, they may just find plentiful evidence of pandas, as well.


Powering countries, empowering people

Affordable energy brings jobs, improved living standards and pursuit of happiness 

Paul Driessen

For 16 years, in a scene out of pre-industrial America, Thabo Molubi and his partner made furniture in South Africa’s outback, known locally as the “veld.” Lacking even a stream to turn a water wheel and machinery, they depended solely on hand and foot power. But then an electrical line reached the area.

The two installed lights, and power saws and drills. Their productivity increased fourfold. They hired local workers to make, sell and ship more tables and chairs, of better quality, at higher prices, to local and far away customers. Workers had more money to spend, thereby benefitting still more families.

Living standards climbed, as families bought lights, refrigerators, televisions, computers and other technologies that many Americans and Europeans simply take for granted. The community was propelled into the modern era, entrepreneurial spirits were unleashed, new businesses opened, and newly employed and connected families joined the global economy.

People benefited even on the very edge of the newly electrified area. Bheki Vilakazi opened a small shop so people could charge their cell phones before heading into the veld, where rapid communication can mean life or death in the event of an accident, automobile breakdown or encounter with wild animals.

Two hundred miles away, near Tzaneen, other South African entrepreneurs realized their soil and tropical climate produced superb bananas. After their rural area got electricity, they launched the Du Roi Nursery and banana cloning laboratory, where scientists develop superior quality, disease-free seedlings that are placed in gel in sealed containers and shipped all over Africa and other parts of the world.

Educated in a rural school only through tenth grade, Jane Ramothwala was a hotel maid before becoming a general nursery worker with the company. Over the ensuing decades, she worked hard to learn every facet of business operations, taught herself English, and took adult training and education courses – eventually attaining the position of manager for the company’s plant laboratory.

She now earns five times more than she did previously. During that time, the lab grew from 800,000 plants to 10 million, and today the laboratory, nursery and shipment center provide employment for several college graduates and 45 workers with limited educations. Their lives have been transformed, many have built modern homes, and their children have far brighter futures than anyone could have dreamed of a mere generation ago.

Access to electricity, Jane says, “has had a huge impact on the quality of life for many families in rural parts of Limpopo Province.” It has improved her and her neighbors’ lifestyles, learning opportunities and access to information many times over.

These scenes are being repeated all around the world, from Nigeria and Kenya, to Chile, Peru, China, India, Indonesia and dozens of other countries. Thousands of other communities, millions of other families, want the same opportunities. But for now many must continue to live without electricity, or have it only sporadically and unpredictably a few hours each week.

Across the globe, nearly three billion people – almost half the world’s population – still lack regular, reliable electricity. Nearly 1.3 billion people have no access to electricity.

In sub-Saharan Africa, over 600 million people – almost twice the population of the United States, and 70% of the region’s population – still have no or only limited, sporadic electricity. Over 80% of its inhabitants still relies on wood, dung and charcoal fires for most or all of their heating and cooking needs, resulting in extensive smoke and pollution in their homes and villages.

In India, more than 300 million people (almost as many as in Mexico and the United States) still have no electricity at all; tens of millions more have it only a few hours a day.

Countless people in these communities live in abject poverty, often on just a few dollars a day. Sub-Saharan Africa’s per capita income is roughly $1 per day, Zambia-born economist Dambisa Moyo writes, giving it the highest proportion of poor families in the world.

Mothers in these communities spend hours every day bent over open fires, their babies strapped on their backs, breathing poisonous fumes day after day. Many are struck down by debilitating and often fatal lung diseases. Their homes, schools, shops, clinics and hospitals lack the most rudimentary electricity-based technologies: lights, refrigerators, radios, televisions, computers and safe running water.

Their mud-and-thatch, cinderblock and other traditional houses allow flies and mosquitoes to zoom in, feast on human blood, and infect victims with malaria and other killer diseases. Women and children must walk miles, carrying untreated water that swarms with bacteria and parasites that cause cholera, diarrhea and river blindness. Unrefrigerated food spoils rapidly, causing still more intestinal diseases.

Hundreds of millions get horribly sick and five million die every year from lung and intestinal diseases, due to breathing smoke from open fires and not having refrigeration, clean water and safe food.

When the sun goes down, their lives largely shut down, except to the extent that they can work or study by candlelight, flashlight or kerosene lamp.

The environmental costs are equally high. Rwanda’s gorilla habitats are being turned into charcoal, to fuel cooking fires. In Zambia and elsewhere, entrepreneurs harvest trees by the thousands along highways, turning forest habitats into grasslands, and selling logs to motorists heading back to their non-electrified homes in rural areas and even large sections of cities.

As quickly as rich-country charities hold plant-a-tree fund raisers, people around the world cut trees for essential cooking and heating.

Unless reliable, affordable electricity comes, it will be like this for decades to come. Little by little, acre by acre, forest habitats will become grasslands, or simply be swept away by rains and winds. And people will remain trapped by poverty, misery, disease and premature death.

That unsustainable human and ecological destruction can be reversed, just as it was in the United States. A vital part of the solution is power plants that come equipped with steadily improving pollution controls – and burn coal or natural gas that packs hundreds of times more energy per pound than wood or dung or plant-based biofuels.

“Access to the benefits that come with ample energy trumps concerns about their tiny contribution of greenhouse gas emissions,” New York Times columnist Andrew Revkin observed in his DotEarth blog. Africa sits on vast deposits of coal, natural gas and liquid condensates that are largely ignored or simply burned as unwanted byproducts, as companies produce crude oil. Can someone find a business model that can lead to capturing, instead of flaring, those “orphan fuels,” he wondered.

Ultimately, the energy, environmental, climate change and economic debate is about two things:

Whether the world’s poor will take their rightful places among the Earth’s healthy and prosperous people – or must give up their hopes and dreams, because of misplaced health and environmental concerns.

And whether poor countries, communities and families will determine their own futures – or the decisions will be made for them by politicians and activists who use phony environmental disaster claims to justify treaties, laws, regulations and policies that limit or deny access to dependable, affordable electricity and other modern, life-saving technologies … thereby perpetuating poverty, disease and premature death.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (, and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death and other books on environmental issues.



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, 2016

A more moderate version of the usual food panic

They admit that some crops would do better.  Their modelling assumes that farmers will continue to do the same thing if their yields decline.  They won't.  They will plant different strains of their crop to get their yields back up.  And for commercial crops there are many cultivars available

As climate change continues to alter our planet, humans will soon be forced to find new ways to feed the growing population.

It’s estimated that the amount of food produced will have to double in order to meet the needs of over nine billion people that could occupy Earth in the next 30 years – but climate change threatens much of the land needed to support these crops.

In a new study, researchers explain which areas are expected to be hit hardest, and reveal the future locations that may become more suitable to host wheat, corn, and rice.

The study found that 43 percent of the world’s corn and roughly a third of all wheat and rice are grown in vulnerable areas, with the worst seen in Sub-Saharan Africa, South America, and the Eastern US.

But, climate change may increase the yield potential of croplands in temperate locations, the researchers say.

This includes western and central Russia, and central Canada.

The areas currently used to grow these crops could suffer major drops in productivity by 2050, according to the study, published in the journal Nature Communications.

To determine this, the researchers combined climate change models with maximum land productivity data, allowing them to estimate the changes that could come in the next few decades.

According to the researchers, the effects will be seen all around the globe, influencing the poorest areas in the world along with developed countries.

The study found that 43 percent of the world’s corn and roughly a third of all wheat and rice (33 percent and 37 percent respectively) are grown in vulnerable areas.

Sub-Saharan Africa, South America, and the Eastern US are expected to experience the most dramatic effects.

But, climate change may increase the yield potential of croplands in temperate locations, the researchers say. This includes western and central Russia, and central Canada.

‘Our model shows that on many areas of land currently used to grow crops, the potential to improve yields is greatly decreased as a result of the effects of climate change,’ says Dr Tom Pugh, lead researcher and University of Birmingham academic.

‘But it raises an interesting opportunity for some countries in temperate areas, where the suitability of climate to grow these major crops is likely to increase over the same time period.’

The researchers also say that highly developed counties may be hit harder by this effect, as they have a much smaller yield gap.

And, they say many other factors will influence future crops as well.

‘Of course, climate is just one factor when looking at the future of global agricultural practices,’ Pugh says.

‘Local factors such as soil quality and water availability also have a very important effect on crop yields in real terms.

‘But production of the world’s three major cereal crops need to keep up with demand, and if we can’t do that by making our existing land more efficient, then the only other option is to increase the amount of land that we use.’


Attributing Louisiana Floods to Global Warming


In mid-August a slow moving unnamed tropical system dumped copious amounts of precipitation in the Baton Rouge region of Louisiana. Reports were of some locations receiving over 30 inches of rain during the event. Louisiana’s governor John Bel Edwards called the resultant floods “historic” and “unprecedented.”

Some elements in the media were quick to link in human-caused climate change (just as they are to seemingly every extreme weather event). The New York Times, for example, ran a piece titled “Flooding in the South Looks a Lot Like Climate Change.”

We were equally quick to point out that there was no need to invoke global warming in that the central Gulf Coast is prime country for big rain events and that similar, and even larger, rainfall totals have been racked up there during times when there were far fewer greenhouse gases in the atmosphere—like in 1979 when 45 inches of precipitation fell over Alvin, TX from the slow passage of tropical storm Claudette, or in 1940 when 37.5 in. fell on Miller Island, LA from another stalled unnamed tropical system.

But we suspected that this wouldn’t be the end of it, and we were right.

All the while, an “international partnership” funded in part by the U.S. government (through grants to climate change cheerleader Climate Central), called World Weather Attribution (“international effort designed to sharpen and accelerate the scientific community’s ability to analyze and communicate the possible influence of climate change on extreme-weather events such as storms, floods, heat waves and droughts”) and was fervently working to formally (i.e., through a scientific journal publication) “attribute” the Louisiana rains to climate change.

The results of their efforts were made public a couple of weeks ago in parallel with the submission (we’ll note: not acceptance) of their article to the journal Hydrology and Earth System Science Discussions.

Their “attribution” can well, be attributed, to two factors. First, their finding that there has been a large increase in the observed probability of extreme rainfall along the central Gulf Coast—an increase that they claim can be directly related to the rise in the global (!) average temperature. And second, their finding that basically the single (!) climate model they examined also projects an increase in the probably of heavy rainfall in the region as a result of human-induced climate changes. Add the two together, throw in a splashy press release from a well-funded climate change propaganda machine and headlines like the AP’s “Global warming increased odds for Louisiana downpour” are the result.

As you have probably guessed  a closer look finds some major shortcomings to this conclusion.

For example, big rains are part of the region’s history—and most (but not all) are result from meandering tropical weather systems whose progress has been slowed by mid-latitude circulation features. In most cases, the intensity of the tropical system itself (as measured by central pressure or maximum wind speed) is not all that great, but rather the abundant feed of moisture feed from the Gulf of Mexico and slow progress of the storm combine to produce some eye-popping, or rather boot-soaking, precipitation totals.  Here is a table of the top 10 rainfall event totals from the passage of tropical systems through the contiguous U.S. since 1921 (note that all are in the Gulf Coast region). Bear in mind that the further you go back in time, the sparser the observed record becomes (which means an increased chance that the highest rainfall amounts are missed). The August 2016 Louisiana event cracks the top 10 as number 10. A truly impressive event—but hardly atypical during the past 100 years.

As the table shows, big events occurred throughout the record. But due to the rare nature of the events as well as the spotty (and changing) observational coverage, doing a formal statistical analysis of frequency changes over time is very challenging. One way to approach it is to use only the stations with the longest period of record—this suffers from missing the biggest totals from the biggest events, but at least it provides some consistency in observational coverage.  Using the same set of long-term stations analyzed by the World Weather Attribution group, we plotted the annual maximum precipitation in the station group as a function of time (rather than global average temperature). Figure 1 is our result. We’ll point out that there is not a statistically significant change over time—in other words, the intensity of the most extreme precipitation event each year has not systematically changed in a robust way since 1930. It’s a hard sell link this non-change to human-caused global warming.

Admittedly, there is a positive correlation in these data with the global average surface temperature, but correlation does not imply causation. There is a world of distance between local weather phenomena and global average temperature. In the central Gulf Coast, influential denizens of the climate space, as we’ve discussed, are tropical cyclones—events whose details (frequency, intensity, speed, track, etc.) are highly variable from year to year (decade to decade, century to century) for reasons related to many facets of natural variability. How the complex interplay of these natural influencers may change in a climate warmed by human greenhouse gas emissions is far from certain and can be barely even be speculated upon. For example, the El Ni?o/La Ni?a cycle in the central Pacific has been shown to influence Gulf Coast tropical cyclone events, yet the future characteristics of this important factor vary considerably from climate model to climate model and confidence in climate model expectations of future impacts is low according to the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Which means that using a single climate model family in an “attribution” study of extreme Gulf Coast rainfall events is a recipe for distortion—at best, a too limited analysis, at worse, a misrepresentation of the bigger picture.

So, instead of the widely advertised combination in which climate models and observations are in strong agreement as to the role of global warming, what we really have is a situation in which the observational analysis and the model analysis are both extremely limited and possibly (probably) unrepresentative of the actual state of affairs.

Therefore, for their overly optimistic view of the validity, applicability, and robustness of their findings that global warming has increased the frequency of extreme precipitation events in central Louisiana, we rate Climate Central’s World Weather Attribution’s degree of spin as “Slightly Soiled” and award them two Spin Cycles.

"Slightly Soiled" = Over-the-top rhetoric. An example is the common meme that some obnoxious weather element is new, thanks to anthropogenic global warming, when it’s in fact as old as the earth. An example would the president’s science advisor John Holdren’s claim the “polar vortex,” a circumpolar westerly wind that separates polar cold from tropical warmth, is a man-made phenomenon. It waves and wiggles all over the place, sometimes over your head, thanks to the fact that the atmosphere behaves like a fluid, complete with waves, eddies, and stalls. It’s been around since the earth first acquired an atmosphere and rotation, somewhere around the beginning of the Book of Genesis. Two spin cycles.


Brown passes cow fart law, compares fighting climate change to building 'Noah's Ark'

California’s Governor Jerry Brown (D) has just signed the first legislation in U.S. history to control cow flatulence as his state's economy suffers from anemic growth and high taxes. The new law would target 'short-lived' greenhouse-gas emissions from dairy cows and landfills.

The new law is part of Brown’s ongoing crusade to fight #Climate Change. Meanwhile, voters are wondering what he is doing to fix the state’s lackluster economy now that this legislative session has officially ended.

The short-lived emissions targeted include methane, refrigerant gases (HFCs), diesel tractor emissions (black carbon), etc. Methane is believed to have a global warming potential 23 times higher than carbon dioxide (CO2). Most modern landfills have vents that capture methane emissions and use the gas to generate electricity or to burn raw sewage.

"When Noah wanted to build his ark,” Brown said at the signing ceremony, “Most of the people laughed at him. We've got to build our ark, too, by stopping [these] dangerous pollutants.” Brown said Senate Bill 1383 will protect people’s health and their lungs, though any correlation to poor health is still being investigated.

Part of the problem, he says, is how cow farts and manure impact the #Environment. Under the new law, “farmers have to cut methane emissions to 40 percent below 2013 levels by 2030.” Because this is California, farmers can get assistance from the $50 million brought in under its stringent carbon tax.

Dairy farmers can use the money to buy technology that burns methane and sell the excess electricity back to power companies. All of which is going to take time as they acclimate to being mini-electrical power generators as well as milk and butter producers.

Called “methane digesters,” this type of technology is very expensive and will be funded by money from the state’s carbon tax and other fees. It also penalizes one industry (dairy) at the expense of another (agriculture), which the latter emits far more methane per acreage.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) says regulating bovine flatulence can be done by reducing the cows' belching and breaking wind. Others say it’s a way to make favored donors wealthier by rewarding ‘big green.’ Environmental activists have also had a hand in writing the new regulations and hope that tackling these short-lived gases will avert warming long enough for new technologies to be created.

The bill was passed entirely by state Democrats. The current law, however, wasn’t good enough for some anti-fossil fuel activists, who demanded stronger language, more ambitious goals, and not postponing mandates until 2024, which gives farmers time to put in place the new technology.

The National Federation of Independent Businesses wrote in a statement that the “mandated 40 percent reduction in methane and 50 percent reduction in [man-made] black carbon gas” was a “direct assault on California’s dairy industry and will hurt manufacturing.”

The new cow and landfill emission law is also tied to a spending bill for the dairy industry and landfill owners that total $90 million.

California Republicans have denounced the new measures as being onerous, saying they will hurt farmers and other businesses. This new legislation is part of the governor’s far-reaching climate change fight that scientists say will do little to avert warming.


Global warming to trigger financial crisis?

Move over mortgages. There’s now something much, much bigger to worry about, and harder to curtail, and far more likely to cause the next financial crisis: global warming.

That’s the conclusion of a new report published recently by the Bank of Canada.

The report is mainly focused on the reinsurance industry, a shadowy corner of the insurance business, and the fact that what the last financial crisis showed us was that when insurance companies aren’t properly regulated or the risks they take on are poorly understood, the results can be disastrous. On top of that, the report’s authors argue that in an era when climate change is causing natural disasters to be more severe, the risks that reinsurance are taking on could be larger than they appear.

The authors argument focuses on the role of retrocession, which are the risk-sharing arrangements among reinsurers. They are often not fully detailed in insurers accounting statements. “An important feature of the retrocession market is its opacity to both to market participants and regulators,” the report reads, adding that the big problem is that reinsurers often don’t know how much risk or what kinds of risks other insurers or reinsurers are taking on. “It is possible for contagion . . . to occur, in which the losses of one party cascade to others in the network.”

Still, a lot would have to go wrong for a failure in the reinsurance industry to spread to the broader economy. The authors, after running a series of stress tests that evaluate the effect of various scenarios on the industry, argue that the stability of the financial industry appears to fairly robust and that “it would take a catastrophic event larger than any experienced in recent history to result in material failures within the industry.”

Unfortunately for the industry, scientists are predicting that natural disasters, and particularly hurricanes, are going to grow in intensity as the effects of climate change grow. For instance, forecasters are predicting Miami—the twelfth largest metropolitan economy in the United States—will have anywhere from 4 to 8 hurricanes this year. The incidence will only grow over time, as will the chances of unprecedented property damage.

Of course, this is the worst-case scenario, and therefore not the most likely to happen.


Steinem: ‘Forced childbirth is the single biggest cause of global warming’

So abortion will cure global warming?

Gloria Steinem helped Planned Parenthood launch a $12 million fundraising campaign last week by saying “nothing is more important” than expanding abortion and “forced childbirth is the single biggest cause of global warming.”

Speaking to a room of 600 people at a gala celebrating Memphis Planned Parenthood’s 75th anniversary, Steinem said, “Nothing but nothing is more important than ensuring our fundamental right to reproductive freedom,” which is “the principle that government power stops at our skin.”

“Forced childbirth is the single biggest cause of global warming,” Steinem told the crowd.

She also trashed members of the pro-life movement for opposing contraception and sodomy.

“Why is it that the same people who are against birth control and abortion are also against sex between two women or two men?” Steinem asked. It’s because those people “are against any sex that cannot end in reproduction,” she said.

Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region told local media they’ve already raised $9.8 million in gifts and pledges. Their $12 million fundraising campaign will fund a second Memphis abortion facility and $1.5 million worth of “education” and “advocacy.”

Half of all funds raised are supposed to go toward “sustainability” to keep the Planned Parenthood’s mission alive “for future generations.”

That’ll be difficult given most of what Planned Parenthood does is abort future generations.



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, 2016

New study undercuts favorite climate myth ‘more CO2 is good for plants’(?)

I have commented on this before but now that The Grauniad has got hold of it, I think I should note it again.  The grasses in the Stanford experiment showed little response to enhanced CO2 because the soil in the area was phosphorous deficient -- and that stopped the plants from taking much advantage of the other growth factors. See here.  There is nothing in the experiment to upset the thousands of studies that show high levels of CO2 enhancing growth.

And the authors below are confused.  In their desperation to show corroboration for the badly implemented Stanford study, they quote a study of corn growth in France.  But that study showed an adverse effect of high temperature, not high levels of CO2.  So it corroborates nothing.  All plants do have a temperature range within which they function best so it is no surprise that the corn cultivars mostly used in France were adversely affected by unusually high temperatures.  Corn grows in a lot of quite warm areas in Latin America and India so it is just a matter of choosing the right cultivar for the climate.  In some places the optimum temperature for maize (corn) germination is given as 33 degrees C!  Toasty!

And the prophecy about wheat yields is just modelling, and we know how good Warmist models are. But wheat cultivars vary too so again the only potential challenge posed by a temperature change as small as one degree would be to choose the right cultivar

And in the grand tradition of Green/Left cherry picking, the crooks below ignore the other effects that a temperature rise would bring -- in particular the larger area that would become available for cropping. Canadian wheat farmers are enormously productive despite farming right up to where the cold limits them.  A temperature rise would open up vast new areas of croplands for them -- leading to glut rather than any shortage of grain crops

A new study by scientists at Stanford University, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, tested whether hotter temperatures and higher carbon dioxide levels that we’ll see post-2050 will benefit the kinds of plants that live in California grasslands. They found that carbon dioxide at higher levels than today (400 ppm) did not significantly change plant growth, while higher temperatures had a negative effect.

The oversimplified myth of ‘CO2 is plant food’
Those who benefit from the status quo of burning copious amounts of fossil fuels love to argue that more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will benefit plant life. It’s a favorite claim of climate contrarians like Matt Ridley and Rupert Murdoch.

It seems like a great counter-argument to the fact that carbon dioxide is a dangerous pollutant – a fact that contrarians often dispute. However, reality is far more complicated than the oversimplification of ‘CO2 is plant food.’ Unlike in the controlled environment of a greenhouse, the increasing greenhouse effect on Earth causes temperatures to rise and the climate to change in various ways that can be bad for plant life. We can’t control all the other variables the way we can in a greenhouse.

So far, as contrarians like Rupert Murdoch love to point out, the plant food effect has won out. Earth has become greener in recent decades (although that trend may now be reversing). The situation is not unlike a human diet – at relatively low calorie levels, more food is beneficial. But as calorie intake continues to rise, at a certain point it’s no longer benefiting the human body. More food is good, but only up to a certain point, as the global obesity epidemic makes clear.

The experiment

The Stanford scientists set up 132 plots of flowers and grass in California and introduced varying levels of carbon dioxide, temperature, water, and nitrogen. The scientists conducted the experiments over 16 growing seasons between 1998 and 2014. They found that only higher nitrogen levels resulted in higher plant productivity, while higher temperatures caused it to decline.

While this experiment was specific to California grasslands, other studies have similarly undermined the ‘more CO2 is great’ myth. For example, a 2012 paper found that higher temperatures are detrimental to French corn yields. While French corn production has increased steadily in recent decades due to a combination of technological improvements and CO2 fertilization (the former far more than the latter), yields have leveled off in recent years, and were particularly low when struck by heat waves.

Another study published in Nature Climate Change last week concluded that higher temperatures will cause wheat production to decline. Just a 1°C rise in global temperature will decrease wheat yields by about 5% (approximately 35 million tons). Climate change is bad news for several of our staple crops.


After Eight Years, Obama's Energy Secretary Visits West Virginia

A visit much earlier in the administration's tenure might have made some difference

Those who lived in or near the southern West Virginia and/or southwest Virginia coalfields during the peak of the coal business in the 1950s and ‘60s know that state and local economies thrived because of the tens of thousands of people employed by mining companies and the dozens of companies that supported the industry.

The Norfolk and Western Railway yard in Bluefield, WV, was always filled with coal cars — many of them full of the world’s most widely used fossil fuel — that were bound for the port in Norfolk, VA, or ready to be unloaded into trucks for delivery. The rest were empty, heading back into the coalfields to be refilled and brought back for distribution.

They remember the bustling downtown that was the financial, shopping and recreational center of the region’s coalfields and Bluefield’s population of well over 20,000 residents during the time of peak coal. These are valued memories of the good times.

Today’s population is half that size, and the rail yard is often empty. To those who have seen firsthand the decline of the industry and its effects on local communities, the industry’s decline is a very real and painful thing.

The decline began with natural technological advances, as mechanization gradually began putting hundreds of miners out of work. Over time other forces developed that affected the industry, including the very recent rise of cheap natural gas. Through all of that, there was always a market for coal.

But the federal government’s assault on coal through excessive environmental regulation, spurred by the hotly debated idea that burning coal pours too much carbon dioxide — a gas essential for life on Earth — into the atmosphere, is the greatest problem. Barack Obama put this attack into high gear. However, today our air is cleaner than it’s been in 100 years, mostly because of evolving technological improvements.

Cloistered away in their comfortable offices in Washington, DC, our public servants frequently have no idea what life is like for those toiling away to pay the taxes that fund their salaries. Perhaps if they got out of Washington more they would understand the problems they create for the people they serve.

This may be the case with Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, who at the invitation of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) finally visited the state after many invitations over the eight painful years of the Obama administration. But while in the state last week, Moniz suggested there is no war on coal, arguing to the contrary that the Obama administration is working to keep coal as an important part of a low-carbon energy future. He also said that cheap natural gas prices are primarily responsible for coal’s downturn.

The absurd idea that there is no war on coal today would be hilarious if the reality wasn’t so tragic, and the suggestion that the very recent drop in natural gas prices is the principal reason for coal’s decline is simply false.

This general situation was foretold by Barack Obama back in the 2008 campaign. “So, if somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can — it’s just that it will bankrupt them, because they are going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted,” Obama declared.

Assuming that Moniz has the capacity to recognize the misery the administration for which he works has caused for this region or really cares about the people affected by its policies, visiting West Virginia much earlier in the administration’s tenure might have made some difference.

Hillary Clinton is on that same path. While campaigning in Ohio earlier this year, she said, “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” Trying to make that sound better, she said she favored funding to retrain those put out of work, but she didn’t say what kind of jobs and how many of them are currently waiting for trained workers.

Shortly thereafter, while campaigning in West Virginia, Clinton was asked about that comment by a tearful out-of-work coal miner, to whom she responded that what she meant was that coal job losses will continue. See the difference?

Obama’s energy policy is like putting a square peg in a round hole. If you want to put a square peg in a round hole, take some time and think it through: You should gradually and gently reshape the square peg so it will comfortably and appropriately fit into the round hole. Obama’s method is to place the peg on top of the hole and beat it with a hammer until enough of the corners are destroyed that the peg will go into the hole. And even then, it is a poor fit.

Just as horse-drawn wagons and carriages gave way to motorized vehicles when they came to be, coal’s role as a primary fuel would have changed as better methods evolved. Such a process would have been not only more humane and less destructive but infinitely smarter than what has transpired.

Through the centuries humans solved life’s problems and improved their lives through applied intelligence. Somehow, they managed to do this without Barack Obama and the EPA.


A Climate Plan Many Don't Want to Fund

The United Nations is getting closer to garnering enough participation to officially kick-start last year’s Paris climate agreement. According to the Washington Examiner, “The U.N. is expecting about 20 countries to send their ratification documents in the coming days, with Morocco, which is hosting the next round of meetings on the Paris deal in November, saying it plans to ratify the climate accord Wednesday. Brazil, Mexico and other countries are also expected to ratify the deal during the special Wednesday ceremony at U.N. headquarters in New York during the week-long General Assembly.”

The report explains the significance: “As of [last] week, 27 countries, including the U.S., China and Norway, have ratified the agreement. With [this] week’s moves, it would be close to going into effect, but would be just shy of the 55 countries required, representing 55 percent of the world’s emissions, to enter into full force.” However, the UN’s David Nabarro says he’s “absolutely certain” enough countries will formally join within the next few months.

The future of Obama’s Clean Power Plan — or what the Examiner describes as “the central ingredient in Obama’s plan to meet the Paris agreement’s goal” — is questionable, but even assuming it survives legal challenges, a new poll shows that, though most Americans accept so-called climate change, a large percentage are not at all on board with personally funding a plan to mitigate it. According to the recent survey: “Sixty-five percent of Americans say climate change is a problem the U.S. government should address.” However, “When asked whether they would support a monthly fee on their electric bill to combat climate change, 42 percent of respondents are unwilling to pay even $1.”

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Sam Ori offers an explanation: “The reality may be that while most Americans see climate change as a collective threat, they don’t see it as a threat to them personally.” Perhaps that’s because the atmospheric in the real world is far less hostile than the outlandish claims people see in the mainstream media. But what Americans know is unequivocally hostile was seen just prior to the UN climate summit last November, when Islamists tore through Paris, killing 130 innocent people. That’s a threat most are willing to fight against with their tax dollars in the form of military prowess, which Barack Obama is working diligently to deplete. He’d rather spend your money on other things. Even if you don’t want to.


History keeps proving prophets of eco-apocalypse wrong

We might as well stop panicking. After all, it isn’t good for our health, and it’s probably too late to panic anyway. The avalanche of eco-cataclysm predictions that have proven to be wrong certainly left an imprint on the public mind.
If we do not reverse global warming by the year 2000, “entire nations could be wiped off the face of the earth by rising sea levels”, warned Noel Brown, a director of the United Nations Environment Programme, in 1989.

It is common cause that sea levels have been rising ever since the start of the Holocene at the end of the last Ice Age, about 11,700 years ago. Throughout the 20th century, tide gauge data has shown this rise to be fairly steady at about 1.5mm/year, and largely unaffected by changes in temperature or atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Since 1993, satellite altimetry has determined a fairly constant sea level rise of just over 3mm/year. However, it is far from clear whether this represents an acceleration or an artefact of how sea level is measured with respect to surrounding land.

A 2016 paper by Australian scientists Albert Parker and Cliff Ollier suggests that the altimetry record suffers from errors larger than its trends, and “returns a noisy signal so that a +3.2 mm/year trend is only achieved by arbitrary ‘corrections’”.

“We conclude that if the sea levels are only oscillating about constant trends everywhere as suggested by the tide gauges, then the effects of climate change are negligible,” they write, “and the local patterns may be used for local coastal planning without any need of purely speculative global trends based on emission scenarios. Ocean and coastal management should acknowledge all these facts. As the relative rates of rises are stable worldwide, coastal protection should be introduced only where the rate of rise of sea levels as determined from historical data show a tangible short term threat. As the first signs the sea levels will rise catastrophically within a few years are nowhere to be seen, people should start really thinking about the warnings not to demolish everything for a case nobody knows will indeed happen.”

Clearly, history proved Noel Brown wrong.

In 2002, George Monbiot urged the rich to give up meat, fish and dairy, writing: “Within as little as 10 years, the world will be faced with a choice: arable farming either continues to feed the world’s animals or it continues to feed the world’s people. It cannot do both.”

In 2002, 908-million people worldwide suffered hunger. Ten years later, that number had declined to 805-million, according to the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation. Because of continued population growth, this nominal decrease represents a much larger decline in the prevalence of undernourishment, from 18.2% of the world’s population in 2002 to 14.1% in 2012. Hunger remains steadily on the decline. Famines, once so common, are rare nowadays.

Clearly, history proved George Monbiot wrong.

In 2008, the US television channel ABC promoted an apocalyptic “documentary” called Earth 2100, hosted by Bob Woodruff. The film cites a host of scientists, including such perennial alarmists as James Hansen, formerly head of Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Science, and John Holdren, the US science czar who in the 1970s thought population control might be necessary to ward off mass starvation (see Prophets of doom in high places).

The show depicts the world at various times in the future, leading up to a collapse of civilisation “within this century, and perhaps your lifetime”. By 2015, it said, agricultural production would be dropping because of rising temperatures and the number of malnourished people “just continually grows”. We’ve already seen that the latter prediction proved to be false. Agricultural output also remains on a strong upward trend worldwide, and most of that is because of rising productivity, and not a rise in land use, irrigation, labour or other capital inputs.

A carton of milk would cost $12.99 by 2015, the film said, and a gallon of fuel would cost over $9. In reality, milk cost $3.39 and fuel cost $2.75 in 2015. Much of New York and surroundings would be inundated by rising sea levels, they said.

Clearly, history proved Bob Woodruff and his famous scientific sources wrong.

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

Coal still in demand

Some new from Australia

Miner New Hope Group expects a recent lift in coal prices will be sustained and boost its earnings in the current financial year.

Weak global oil and gas prices contributed to a $53.7 million loss for 2015/16 for the Queensland-based company, more than double the $21.8 million loss in the prior year, although costs from a new mine acquisition were also a big driver.

New Hope lost $22.6 million to sliding coal and oil prices and in foreign exchange impacts during the 12 months to July 31, but managing director Shane Stephan says better times are ahead after the Chinese government restricted thermal coal supplies - a move that has driven prices up 40 per cent since the start of July.

"Last year, around 50 per cent of the Australian thermal coal industry was not making cash," Mr Stephan told AAP.

"Most importantly, over 90 per cent of the Chinese domestic thermal coal industry was not making cash. That is simply not sustainable."

He said he expected the better coal prices to hold steady.

"We can't see the Chinese government going backwards from the action they have taken in order to constrain supply," he said.

Japan Taiwan and South Korea were also driving demand for thermal coal, he said, with future opportunities expected in the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

New Hope recorded earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of $81.3 million in 2015/16, down from $132.8 million a year earlier.

In the 12 months to July 31, New Hope's profit before extraordinary items was $5.03 million, down from $51.7 million in 2014/15.

Revenue was up 5.1 per cent at $531.5 million but New Hope's bottom line was hit by $52.1 million in acquisition costs, including costs related to its purchase of a 40 per cent stake in the Bengallla coal mine in NSW.

Mr Stephan said the company was benefiting from firmer prices in the current financial year and from its "well-timed" Bengalla acquisition.

The benchmark Newcastle spot price for coal was $US51 a tonne in March when the Bengalla transaction was completed, he said, and was now $US70 a tonne.

During the five months of New Hope's ownership, Bengalla production contributed 1.5 million tonnes to coal sales and earnings of $21.3 million.

Fat Prophets analyst David Lennox said the group's operational result was solid.

"The balance sheet is reasonable with an operating cash surplus of $61 million which is a good result given the sector has been under considerable price pressure," he said.



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, 2016

CO2-caused global warming, invalidated … conclusively

There's nothing in the data to confirm it and much to contradict it

The US EPA will be shuddering following this research announcement by a large group of scientists and reviewers. The most important assumption in EPA’s CO2 Endangerment Finding has been conclusively invalidated

Research Report Executive Summary


On December 15, 2009, EPA issued its Green House Gas (GHG) Endangerment Finding, which has driven very significant and costly regulations beginning with CO2. Focusing primarily on the time period since 1950, EPA’s Endangerment Finding predicated on Three Lines of Evidence, claims that Higher CO2 Emissions have led to dangerously Higher Global Average Surface Temperatures.

Relevance of this Research

The assumption of the existence of a “Tropical Hot Spot (THS){ is critical to all Three Lines of Evidence in EPA’s GHG/CO2 Endangerment Finding.

Stated simply, first, the THS is claimed to be a fingerprint or signature of atmospheric and Global Average Surface Temperatures (GAST) warming caused by increasing GHG/CO2 concentrations[1]. The proper test for the existence of the THS in the real world is very simple. Are the slopes of the three temperature trend lines (upper & lower troposphere and surface) all positive, statistically significant and do they have the proper top down rank order?

Second, higher atmospheric CO2 and other GHGs concentrations are claimed to have been the primary cause of the claimed record setting GAST over the past 50 plus years.

Third, the THS assumption is imbedded in all of the climate models that EPA still relies upon in its policy analysis supporting, for example, its Clean Power Planrecently put on hold by a Supreme Court Stay. These climate models are also critical to EPA’s Social Cost of Carbon estimates used to justify a multitude of regulations across many U.S. Government agencies.

Objectives of the Research

The objective of this research was to determine whether or not a straightforward application of the proper mathematical methods would support EPA’s basic claim that CO2 is a pollutant. Stated simply, their claim is that GAST is primarily a function of four explanatory variables: Atmospheric CO2 Levels, Solar Activity, Volcanic Activity, and a coupled ocean-atmosphere phenomenon called the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO.)

The first objective of this research was to determine, based on the very considerable relevant and credible tropical temperature data evidence, whether or not the assumed THS actually exists in the real world.

The second related objective was to determine whether, adjusting ONLY for ENSO impacts, anything at all unusual with the Earth’s temperatures seemed to be occurring in the Tropics, Contiguous U.S. or Globally. It is a well-known meteorological fact that, other things equal, El Ninos lead to a global scale warming and La Ninas a global scale cooling, whose magnitudes are related to their ENSO strengths.

The third objective was to determine whether the rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations alone can be shown to have had a statistically significant impact on the trend slopes of often -publically -quoted temperature data.

It should be noted that in carrying out this research project, every effort was made to minimize complaints that this analysis was performed on so-called “cherry picked temperature data”. To avoid even the appearance of such activity, the authors divided up responsibilities, where Dr. Christy was tasked to provide temperature data sets that he felt were most appropriate and credible for testing the THS as well as the two other EPA Endangerment Finding hypotheses. All told, thirteen temperature time series (9 Tropics, 1 Contiguous U.S. and 3 Global) were analyzed in this research. The econometric analysis was done by Jim Wallace & Associates, LLC, and when completed, cross checked by the two other authors as well as seven reviewers.

Findings of the Research

These analysis results would appear to leave very, very little doubt but that EPA’s claim of a Tropical Hot Spot (THS), caused by rising atmospheric CO2 levels, simply does not exist in the real world. Also critically important, even on an all-other-things-equal basis, this analysis failed to find that the steadily rising Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations have had a statistically significant impact on any of the 13 critically important temperature time series data analyzed.

Thus, the analysis results invalidate each of the Three Lines of Evidence in its CO2 Endangerment Finding. Once EPAs THS assumption is invalidated, it is obvious why the climate models they claim can be relied upon, are also invalid. And, these results clearly demonstrate13 times in factthat once just the ENSO impacts on temperature data are accounted for, there is no “record setting” warming to be concerned about. In fact, there is no ENSO-Adjusted Warming at all. These natural ENSO impacts are shown in this research to involve both changes in solar activity and the well-known 1977 Pacific Climate Shift.

Moreover, on an all-other-things-equal basis, the research strongly implies that there is no statistically valid proof that past increases in Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations have caused the officially reported rising, even claimed record setting temperatures.

Finally, regarding the credibility of these research findings, the temperature data measurements that were analyzed were taken by many different entities using balloons, satellites, buoys and various land based techniques. Needless to say, if regardless of data source, the results are the same, the analysis findings should be considered highly credible.


“Dakota Access Pipeline” Opponents Deliver Nonsense

Spanning 1,172 miles from North Dakota to Central Illinois, and with a daily carrying capacity of approximately half a million barrels of crude oil, the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is one of the most significant energy projects underway. It is also one of the most controversial: The $3.8 billion pipeline is the subject of ongoing lawsuits, federal injunctions, and protests. Much of the opposition, unfortunately, rests on misunderstandings about the relative risk posed by the pipeline as well as unlawful tactics by demonstrators, according to Independent Institute Senior Fellow William F. Shughart II.

“Trespassing demonstrators, who have tried to prevent pipeline workers from doing their jobs and at one point caused the closure of a state highway, have gone too far, especially since many of them did not bother to attend public meetings or file comments before DAPL’s construction began,” Shughart writes in a recent op-ed.

Moreover, those demonstrators fail to acknowledge the environmental benefits from the completion of the DAPL. “What the activists apparently fail to grasp,” Shughart continues, “is that the alternative to transporting crude oil by pipeline is shipping it by railcar or over the road—much less safe or environmentally friendly transportation modes.” One can only hope that the ill-informed, ill-mannered protestors run out of gas.


Polar bear tragedy porn dressed up as science features in new BBC Earth video

This new effort by the BBC would make the PR department of the Center for Biological Diversity proud, with it’s prominent use of animal tragedy porn pretending to be science. In contrast, the actual science shows something quite different: though summer sea ice since 2007 has declined to levels not predicted until 2040-2070, there has been virtually no negative impact on polar bear health or survival, a result no one predicted back in 2005.

Bizarrely entitled  “A 3-million-year ice age is coming to an end“ (15 September 2016), this slick video pretends it’s promoting the recently released paper by Harry Stern and Kristen Laidre (2016) that got a lot of media attention last week (see here and here).

Who exactly suggested the profound prophesy stated in their chosen title, the BBC Earth folks don’t say: the Stern and Laidre paper certainly does not. And the use of a bear that appears to drown before our eyes is Hollywood-style emotional manipulation. Note the careful use of “might” (above) and “could” (below).

“A 3-million-year ice age is coming to an end : A dramatic animation shows how much of the Arctic sea ice has melted away in the last 35 years. The ice loss poses a terminal threat to polar bears” (15 September 2016, BBC Earth).

That summer ice loss has occurred is not news: this paper simply defines a new standardized method of describing summer sea ice loss across all polar bear habitats. As I pointed out previously, the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG) added this metric to it’s polar bear status table in early 2015 (more than a year before this paper describing the method was submitted for peer review).


La Ni?a is on its way

The global cooling weather phenomenon La Ni?a in the equatorial Pacific is steadily increasing in strength – and the NOAA has not recognized this: NOAA Cancels La Ni?a Watch While La Ni?a Conditions Exist.

The NOAA has even removed its “La Ni?a-Watch” last week from its ENSO weekly reports even though the sea surface temperature anomalies (SSTA) in the main Ni?o-area 3.4 around August 31 had -0.7 K.

The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) is considered as the two-month leading indicator for the development of the easterly trade winds at the equatorial Pacific, and thus for the development of the ENSO. The 30-day index shows the difference between the surface atmospheric pressure between Tahiti and Darwin (Australia).

Currently it’s at +10.6 and thus clearly in the La Ni?a range of over +7 and rising steeply:

The warm surface water of the Pacific is driven westwards topwards Australia, and thus bringing cooler water from the depths to the sea surface: Cold upwelling is created and leads to the La Ni?a.

The SOI shows a clear La Ni?a path for at least the coming two months.

The cold upwelling phase can also be seen (at least by most of us) through the measured/calculated subsurface temperatures down to 300m depth at the equatorial Pacific:

Despite these clear indications in both the atmosphere and in the water at the equatorial Pacific region, the ENSO models remain completely in dispute over the development up to November.

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

New paper finds sea levels rising by at most 1.4mm p.a. or 5.5 inches per century

Are long tide gauge records in the wrong place to measure global mean sea level rise?

P. R. Thompson et al.

Ocean dynamics, land motion, and changes in Earth’s gravitational and rotational fields cause local sea level change to deviate from the rate of global mean sea level rise. Here, we use observations and simulations of spatial structure in sea level change to estimate the likelihood that these processes cause sea level trends in the longest and highest-quality tide gauge records to be systematically biased relative to the true global mean rate. The analyzed records have an average 20th century rate of approximately 1.6 mm/yr, but based on the locations of these gauges, we show the simple average underestimates the 20th century global mean rate by 0.1?  ± ?0.2 mm/yr. Given the distribution of potential sampling biases, we find  < 1% probability that observed trends from the longest and highest-quality TG records are consistent with global mean rates less than 1.4 mm/yr.


Is the Arctic sea ice ‘spiral of death’ dead?

This year, as every year, there has been much excitement in the media about ‘catastrophic’ melting of Arctic sea-ice, run-away melting, tipping points, death spirals and “ice-free” summers.

There has been the usual guessing game about when exactly the minimum will / has occurred and what the ice area or extent will be on that day.

Claims of ‘ice-free’ conditions at some time in the summer have been bandied about for years in various forms but as the reality sinks in that it’s not as bad as some had claimed, the dates when this is expected happen have often been pushed out beyond the life expectancy of those making the claims.

The meaning of “ice-free” has also been the subject of some serious goal-post relocation efforts, we are now told that ‘ice-free’ does not actually mean free of ice, it means there will be less than one million square km of ice left.

This special branch of mathematics is apparently based on the axiom that zero = 10 6

The problem with this obsessive focusing on one single data point out of 365, is that there is a lot of short term, weather driven variability that can affect the exact timing and size of the minimum in ice coverage. Since the main interest ( outside maritime navigational requirements ) is the hope to find some indications of long term changes in climate, this is not a very instructive way to use the detailed data available.

There have been three notably low summer minima in recent years: 2007, 2012 and 2016. The 2012 event was the lowest in the satellite record going back to 1979. The other two years tie for second place, meaning the current minimum is indistinguishable from the one which occurred nine years previously and the lowest one lies between the two. This incompatible with claims of run-away melting. This was a reasonable hypothesis and cause for concern in 2007 when the relatively short record could be characterised as an increasing rate of change but this interpretation is not compatible with what has happened since.

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


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

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


20 September, 2016

Sarkozy sparks storm over claims man 'not sole cause' of climate change

Nicolas Sarkozy was accused of "dragging France 15 years backwards" on climate for insisting that man is not "the sole cause" of global warming.

The 61-year-old ex-president is on the campaign trail ahead of primaries in November in his Republicans party, and opinion polls suggest he has closed the gap with the current favorite, Alain Juppé.

On Wednesday night, in a speech at a business institute, Mr Sarkozy said: "We had a conference on climate (the historic COP 21 summit in Paris earlier in December in which ambitious new targets to cut global warming were agreed)."

"People talked a lot about climate change. That's very interesting but the climate has been changing for the past 4.5 billion years. Man is not the sole cause of this change."

His main party rival, Mr Juppé, for his part said he was "convinced that human activity bears a heavy responsibility in the production of greenhouse gases and thus in global warming".

"To deny this is to deny reality," he said.

The Socialist government slammed his comment as a "serious strategic error".  Emmanuel Cosse, the housing minister, said: "Sarkozy is dragging us 15 years backwards."  Barbara Pompili, minister in charge of biodiversity accused the Right-winger of being "regressive and retrograde".

Besides criticism from politicians, climate expert Valérie Masson-Delmotte, who is part of the prestigious Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change, expressed her "deep concern" at his comments.

"In 2009, Mr  Sarkozy gave a speech at the UN saying the scientific conclusions were clear and it was urgent to act.  Our developed societies have been built on a pact between scientists and politicians," she said, suggesting he was flouting this pact.

"The influence of man on climate change has been clearly established. There is no doubt that the level of green house gases is down to our activity."

"The scientific evidence is there, it is solid, and it was transmitted to Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007 (when he was elected president)."

Mr Sarkozy has irked environmentalists by suggesting France should be open to drilling for shale gas.

However, Luc Chatel, an MP and Sarkozy supporter played down the fuss as a "false controversy" as he was merely pointing out an "edifying truth", namely that "the climate has been evolving since the origin of man, that's a reality."

The ex-president has tacked Right in his primary campaign, making a string of statements designed to woo wavering far-Right voters.


A UN and tribal takeover?

Hidden provisions in congressional energy bills undermine America’s water and property rights

Lawrence Kogan

A massive 792-page Senate Energy Committee bill threatens to authorize federal bureaucrats to cede extensive control over western state water and property rights, energy development and forest management to Native American tribes, local UN sustainability councils and radical environmentalist groups. Certain provisions could undermine the foundations of our nation from within our nation.

S.2012, the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2016, incorporates some 393 amendments. Incredibly, it is being driven forward by U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and other members of Congress behind closed doors. Probably very few have read the bill in its entirety. Virtually none understand its likely impacts on western and other rural land, water and property rights, potentially throughout America, or on the families and communities whose lives will be upended.

This secretive approach – with no opportunities for meaningful public examination or comment, even by those who will be most affected – is almost unprecedented. It could well become another example of “we have to pass it to find out what’s in it.” But numerous people will have to live with the consequences, while the authors and implementers walk away exempted, unscathed and unaccountable.

The bill’s tribal government forest management provisions are extremely harmful and could severely diminish the constitutionally protected rights of private property owners throughout the United States, the Western States Constitutional Rights consortium emphasizes. Indeed, the pending legislation is itself unconstitutional, as explained in a legal memorandum the consortium sent to 13 members of Congress.

This Montana-based nonprofit was formed to safeguard the property rights of farmers, ranchers and other land and business owners against reckless federal, state and local government laws, regulations and policies. WSCR members live on or near the Flathead Irrigation Project within the Flathead Indian Reservation, and in other parts of northwestern Montana. But their concerns are widely shared by many citizens throughout the western and rural United States. It has a long, hard road ahead on these issues.

The apparent “shell game” is likely intended to disguise a hidden agenda and confuse people. In fact, Congress is quietly considering two versions: a Senate-passed Murkowski version without forestry measures and a House of Representatives version with both forestry and tribal forest management measures (H.R. 2647, the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2015, sponsored by Representative Bruce Westerman (R-AR) and cosponsored by 11 Republicans and 2 Democrats). Bipartisan chicanery.

On September 8, the two versions were submitted to a conference committee, to be reconciled so that both chambers can pass a bill and President Obama can sign it into law. The problems are extensive.

The House/Senate versions’ forestry measures embrace Euro-UN-Agenda 21 sustainable forest management principles, plus United Nations Indigenous Peoples Rights policies that would supersede the U.S. Constitution – while implementing unscientific climate change and sustainability objectives devised by the White House and “Forest Service Strategic Energy Framework.”

Tribal Forest Management (TFM) provisions in House/Senate S.2012 are more problematic, because they would racially discriminate in favor of Native American tribes. They would do so by using the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to recognize off-reservation aboriginal pre-European land and water rights – where none exist in U.S. law – at the expense of all other Americans’ constitutionally protected private property rights. S.2012s’ TFM provisions would also:

* Supplant states’ authority and jurisdiction over their natural resources, as recognized by the Tenth Amendment requirement that these resources be held in “public trust” for the benefit of each state’s citizens – including incredibly hard-working western ranchers who put so much food on your table.

* Enable Native American Tribes to treat “Federal Forest Lands” (including national forests and national parks belonging to all Americans) as “Indian Forest Lands,” merely by establishing that “the Federal forest land is located within, or mostly within, a geographical area that presents a feature or involves circumstances principally relevant to that Indian tribe.” That means a tribe only has to show that the lands are covered by an Indian treaty, are part of a current or former Indian reservation, or were once adjudicated by the former Indian Claims Commission as part of a “tribal homeland.”

* Provide Native American Tribes near U.S. national forest and park lands with federal “638” contracts to manage, oversee and control such lands and appurtenant water resources for federal regulatory and other purposes, even when they are well beyond the boundaries of Indian reservations.

* Expand tribal political sovereignty and legal jurisdiction and control, especially over mountainous forest lands – the source of most snowpack and other waters that farmers, ranchers, and even towns and cities rely on for irrigation, drinking and other water needs.

* Enable tribes to impose new federal fiduciary trust obligations on the U.S. government to protect their religious, cultural and spiritual rights to fish, waters and lands located beyond the boundaries of Indian reservations, by severely curtailing non-tribal members’ constitutionally protected private water and land rights, without paying “just compensation” as required by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

A recently filed federal lawsuit by the Hoopa Valley Tribe of northern California against the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and National Marine Fisheries Service underscores the importance of this so-called federal fiduciary trust obligation. The tribe wants to compel the agencies to protect the tribe’s alleged off-reservation aboriginal pre-European water and fishing rights in southern Oregon’s Klamath River and Upper Klamath Lake – even though their reservation is more than 240 miles southwest of the lake!

A tribal court victory would severely curtail Klamath irrigators’ ability to exercise their rights to vitally needed water. Northern California’s Yurok Tribe says it will soon file its own lawsuit. A cascade of such legal actions would disrupt or destroy the entire western water rights system.

Combined with S.3013 (Montana Democrat Senator John Tester’s Salish and Kootenai Water Rights Settlement Act), the TFM provisions would expand and codify into federal law off-reservation aboriginal water and fishing rights that the tribes now claim. That precedent could then be used by other litigious tribes to override water and private property public trust obligations that Montana, Oregon, California and other western states owe their citizens under state constitutions. It could happen throughout America!

S.2012 would cause even more problems if Congress adds a Wyden-Merkley Amendment that provides federal funding and implementation for the controversial Klamath Basin Agreements Tribal Rights Settlement. That would greatly expand tribal water rights, in violation of U.S. constitutional requirements that any such expansion be pursuant to Congress’s authority to approve or reject interstate compacts or regulate commerce with Indian tribes.

It would also create a federal and interstate template for greatly diminishing regional – and potentially all irrigators’ – state-based private property rights, in favor of Native American tribes. Its proponents have grossly misrepresented the settlement’s alleged benefits and substantially understated the damage it would impose on Klamath Basin residents.

If S.2012 is enacted into law with the tribal forest management, Wyden-Merkley Amendment and Salish-Kootenai Settlement, Congress will cede control over western and rural lands and waters to Native American tribes in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth, Ninth, Tenth and Fourteenth Amendments.

This year’s presidential and congressional elections are a referendum on the role and performance of government. We the People must demand an end to the secrecy, shady backroom deals, and usurpation of our natural and constitutional freedoms and property rights. Congress’ immediate withdrawal or modification of this grotesque omnibus energy bill would be a good first step in this direction.

Via email

How Much Will Americans Pay to Battle Climate Change?

A Warmist mourns

When economists and policymakers want to assess the benefits of an environmental policy, they often turn to the concept of “willingness to pay.” Think of it this way: if you knew someone was coming to your house tonight to steal $20, how much would you pay to avoid that? You would almost certainly be willing to pay up to nearly $20, right?

This is what researchers from the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) and the Associated Press—NORC Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Chicago set out to better understand. Their nationally representative poll found that 43% of Americans were unwilling to pay an additional $1 per month in their electricity bill to combat climate change—and a large majority were unwilling to pay $10 per month. That’s despite the fact that a whopping 77% said they think climate change is happening and 65% think it is a problem the government should do something about. Support plummets as the amount of the fee increases.

This is an upside-down result. The best available science tells us that Americans should be willing to pay considerably more, because the damages from climate change are so great—including to them personally. If we use the federal government’s estimate of the combined social cost of carbon pollution and apply it to the typical U.S. household’s electricity consumption on today’s national grid mix, the average household faces damages of almost $20 per month. Yet just 29% of respondents said they would be willing to pay at least that much.

The reality may be that while most Americans see climate change as a collective threat, they don’t see it as a threat to them personally. When people do understand personal threats, they are willing to pay more. Take, for example, air pollution. In one analysis of the Clean Air Act, my colleague Michael Greenstone and his co-author found that property values were higher in counties where there was less air pollution. In other words, people in these specific counties were willing to pay more for a house when the air was cleaner, and by a wide margin—in these cleaner zones property values increased by $45 billion in total between 1970 and 1980.

More recently, an innovative analysis by my colleague Koichiro Ito and his co-author examined how much consumers in China were willing to pay for cleaner air through their buying habits of air purifiers. The study’s analysis suggests that residents of Northern China would be willing to spend about $491 over five years to bring their air quality in line with national standards. That’s more than the real-world policies implemented by governments in the region actually cost.

This suggests that despite the massive flooding,  long droughts and extreme weather that scientists have linked to a changing climate, many Americans are still not associating their personal damages from these events with climate change. This is potentially bad news for climate policy. After all, if 43% of Americans are unwilling to pay even $1 to solve  a $20 problem, the policy landscape is likely to be challenging.



We have regularly over the years been regaled by the BBC with the exploits of those intrepid climate activists who travel up to the Arctic to prove that, thanks to global warming, its ice is melting away so fast that there will soon be none left.

In 2008 there was the bid by Gordon Pugh to paddle a kayak all the way to the North Pole. Alas, after only a few days he found it was so cold and the ice so thick that he had hastily to be rescued.

In 2009 it was the expedition led by Pen Hadow which planned to walk 600 miles to the Pole, measuring just how rapidly the ice was thinning. They too found it so cold and the ice so dangerously thick that they soon had to be airlifted to safety.

This year’s expedition, led by David Hempleman-Adams, hoped to make history by sailing right round the north of Europe and North America, guided by a legendary Russian yachtsman, Nikolai Litau. Last week they triumphantly ended their journey in Canada; but only after several hairy weeks dodging huge lumps of ice in the Laptev Sea off Siberia. They were lucky, because this September the Arctic has begun its annual refreeze earlier than at any time for 19 years.

In fact the Danish Meteorological Institute’s satellite record shows that there is now 22 per cent more ice than there was at this time in 2012. And, far from these people being the first ever to sail in a yacht through both the North West and North East Passages, Nikolai Litau himself – as revealed by Paul Homewood on his Notalotofpeopleknowthat website – not only made both those journeys between 1996 and 2002; he took in the Antarctic as well. But we didn’t hear about that from the BBC. It wouldn’t have fitted their “narrative”.


New Australian coalmine recommended for approval

The controversial Drayton South open-cut coal mine planned for the Hunter Valley has been given the green light by the NSW department of planning, taking the battle between the region’s prestigious horse studs and mining giant Anglo American to an independent commission.

Despite being rejected three times in the past by the NSW Planning Assessment Commission, the planning and environment department said it believes the coal mining and thoroughbred stud industries can “operate as neighbours without major impact on either industry.”

“Based on new independent reports, new evidence … the department has concluded that, with appropriate management and mitigation measures, the two industries can continue to operate in proximity,” a spokesperson for the Department said.

The Coolmore and Darley stud properties are across a road from the proposed mine site, and have previously said that if approved, the project could force them to move.

In a detailed report released today, the department recommended the project for approval, subject to 23 measures to manage dust, noise, blasting and water.

Strict air quality controls, noise criteria and water management performance measures would mean the mine would have minimal impact on the surrounding properties.

Anglo American commissioned a report by Dr Greg Houston, who concluded the thoroughbred industry would still exist even in the unlikely event Coolmore and Darley chose to leave the Upper Hunter.

An independent peer-review of Dr Houston’s report, commissioned by the department and written by the Australian National University’s Professor Jeff Bennett, broadly supported the findings. “I am in agreement with the major conclusions drawn by (Dr Houston’s) Report,” Professor Bennett wrote.

He also said “the Stud’s operational potential will not be compromised by the Drayton South operation.”

The Upper Hunter thoroughbred industry contributes an estimated $5 billion a year to the economy, and ranks alongside Kentucky in the US and Newmarket in Britain as a high-quality breeding area.



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, 2016

Nearly every one of these is routinely violated by Warmists

Does the El Nino Cycle Reveal a Flaw in Man-Made Global Warming Theory?

Increased humidity is NOT self-sustaining

Most people are unaware that the bulk of anthropogenic (man-made) global warming theory (AGW) is built on the concept of atmospheric water vapor feedback—not rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels. Plenty of climate critics have questioned the soundness of this assumption, however, and evidence of its flaws may be more obvious than we realize.

Here’s the essence of AGW theory: CO2 is something of a limited greenhouse gas, in that it rapidly becomes saturated in the atmosphere. CO2’s limitations stem from the fact that, even in minute concentrations, it quickly renders the atmosphere opaque to a certain spectrum band of infrared radiation. And past that saturation point, additional concentrations of CO2 can offer only a minuscule and ever-diminishing amount of further heat-trapping function.

However, climate alarmists propose that the small amount of additional heat that CO2 traps in the atmosphere (before it becomes saturated) can sustain a corresponding rise in atmospheric water vapor content. Notably, water vapor is the primary “greenhouse” gas in the atmosphere and accounts for the overwhelming majority of atmospheric “greenhouse” function.

This additional quantity of atmospheric water vapor is expected to trap more heat, leading to a positive feedback “loop” of further heat-trapping, which will sustain yet more atmospheric water vapor, further raising temperatures, etc.

The obvious question mark in all of this is the issue of cloud formation. Atmospheric water vapor inevitably condenses into clouds, and transitions to rainfall that exercises some of this trapped energy. And cumulus clouds in the troposphere also reflect sunlight back into space.

Thus, the only way for water vapor to succeed as a positive feedback is for relative humidity to remain constant—that is, for the proportion of moisture forming into clouds to remain perpetually constant, no matter the increase in temperature—and not yield additional cloud cover.

The need for relative humidity to remain constant puts climate scientists in a bit of a quandary, however, since cloud formation is an inevitable result of atmospheric humidity.

Suppose, though, that we could look at an example of a massive injection of heat and humidity into the atmosphere, and then study the results. What might we find?

Fortunately, it’s not hard to conduct such an experiment, since El Nino weather patterns offer exactly the sort of warming needed to consider the impacts of added heat and humidity.

In 1998, the planet experienced a major El Nino, with temperatures spiking by several tenths of a degree for almost a year. A 2010 El Nino was more muted. But the recent 2015-2016 El Nino was a massive occurrence, with temperatures soaring globally to potentially record heights.

It’s important to consider that El Ninos are not simply ephemeral, and they are not random occurrences. They do in fact represent a profound shift in Pacific Ocean circulation patterns.

Typically, equatorial winds blow east to west in the Pacific. These winds continually push warm surface water toward the western Pacific. Over time, a large surplus of this warm water accumulates in the west. When this pile of warmer water begins to leak back eastward it can shift rising convection patterns, helping to shut down the prevailing east-to-west winds.

Once that happens, the warm, trapped water in the west comes spilling back, unfurling a massive surface area of trapped heat—which rises upward, carrying tremendous amounts of heat (and humidity) into the atmosphere. This huge, added volume of heat content not only raises global temperatures but also succeeds in shifting weather patterns worldwide. (The recent El Nino yielded such strange occurrences as the Northeast United States experiencing balmy winter days at the same time that the Southwest was plunged into unusually cold weather.)

Significantly, the injection of such a whopping amount of heat into the atmosphere, along with far more atmospheric humidity, duplicates some of the presumptions of AGW theory. Not only did global temperatures rise, but the added humidity helped to trap additional heat at the same time—further spiking temperatures. And the overall process took months to build, with temperatures progressively rising during that time.

But as was seen with even the most recent El Nino, these higher temperatures inevitably wash out. There are obvious weather disturbances during an El Nino, but cycles of rainfall help to gradually equalize conditions, eventually leading to a sharp drop off, as global temperatures fall back to their “starting point.”

Meteorologists often watch for a post-El Nino transition to a “La Nina,” wherein east-to-west winds reinitiate, drawing up colder, underlying waters in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. La Nina activity can drive an accompanying drop in global temperatures as these colder, upwelling waters absorb surface heat.

While no apparent La Nina has yet developed after the most recent El Nino, global temperatures still dropped precipitously at the end.

What’s interesting to ponder in watching this El Nino cycle is how clearly the additional heat and humidity failed to sustain itself, or drive a concurrent, longer-term rise in temperatures. Some of the elements of projected water vapor feedback (as expressed by AGW theory) were indeed present, yet atmospheric processes inevitably countervailed, and temperatures eventually fell.

If AGW theory trusts that an ongoing rise in atmospheric heat content will support an accompanying rise in evaporated water content, and thus lead to positive feedback for further warming, the El Nino cycle demonstrates that the mechanism to do so is more tenuous than presumed. Indeed, the global weather cycle readily demonstrates that evaporation and rain cycles innately tend to “wash out” such added humidity.

Overall, the water vapor feedback of AGW theory assumes a very high climate “sensitivity” to CO2. But just as the issue of cloud formation makes the issue more problematic, El Nino cycles show that water vapor feedback has obvious limits. And so, we see another reason to scrutinize man-made global warming theory, and to question its overall plausibility.


API Chief on Obama Halting Dakota Access Pipeline: ‘We No Longer Honor the Rule of Law in the United States’

Jack Gerard, CEO and president of the trade association American Petroleum Institution (API), said on Thursday that President Barack Obama’s decision to override a federal judge’s ruling to allow the Dakota Access Pipeline construction to go forward in South Dakota violates “the rule of law.”

“The reaction on the part of the administration is really stunning and makes people raise the fundamental question that we no longer honor the rule of law in the United States,” Gerard told in an exclusive interview on Capitol Hill.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg ruled that the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, which sought an injunction to halt the pipeline, “had not demonstrated that an injunction is warranted here,” and that the project should continue.

Shortly after the decision was released, the Obama administration – through the Departments of Justice and Interior and the Army Corps of Engineers – said in a statement that while the court ruling was “appreciated,” the project should not proceed until consultations were made with the tribe.

"This case has highlighted the need for a serious discussion on whether there should be nationwide reform with respect to considering tribes' views on these types of infrastructure projects," the federal agencies said in the joint statement.

Gerard, who noted that the judge in the case was appointed to review the project by the president, said the pipeline project isn’t on the tribe’s reservation and that the pipeline passing over the Missouri River – cited as a threat by the tribe -- is no different than other pipelines that already cross the river.

Gerard also said that the decision to halt this pipeline project would have a “chilling effect” on a much broader segment of the U.S. economy.

“A recent study shows that in this nation, in the United States, because of our American energy renaissance, there will be as much as $1.1 trillion over the next 11 years invested in just energy infrastructure,” Gerard said. “This will have a chilling effect on that investment if people believe that we no longer honor the rule the law, that we can make arbitrary decisions at any time to withdraw what has been demonstrated by courts and by government agencies to have met the rule of law.”

Gerard said that as many as 8,000 jobs are related to the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Meanwhile, Reuters reported recently that the decision could affect the oil industry as a whole.

“With the U.S. government siding in favor of Native American protests against a key North Dakota pipeline, local oil producers and shippers are facing the possibility of greater delays in getting a quick route to ship oil to the Gulf of Mexico,” Reuters reported, regarding the 40-mile stretch of the pipeline through North Dakota.

“The 1,100-mile (1,770 km), $3.7 billion Dakota Access pipeline was originally expected to start up later this year, to deliver more than 470,000 barrels per day of crude from North Dakota’s prolific Bakken shale play through Illinois and toward refinery row in the U.S. Gulf Coast,” Reuters reported.

“Should the pipeline be delayed for a substantial period, it would affect producers who had counted on demand for oil to be rapidly shipped to the U.S. Gulf, as well as shippers who could find themselves stuck with crude, putting them at risk of unloading it at a loss.”

Gerard also said that the claim that the pipeline poses a threat to water and other resources is an “unfounded allegation.”

“Today we move 99.999 percent of all products safely through our pipeline system. They’re state of the art. They’re environmentally sound,” Gerard said.

“It’s a scare tactic driven by professional agitators to discourage the development of oil and natural gas,” Gerard said.

The Sioux tribe, however, praised the Obama administration for its decision.

"Our hearts are full, this an historic day for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and for tribes across the nation," said tribal chairman Dave Archambault II. "Our voices have been heard."


France becomes first country to BAN non-biodegradable plastic cups, cutlery and plates

What's wrong with landfills?  A lot of parks and sports fields were once landfills

France has become the first country to pass a law banning plastic cups, cutlery and plates.  From 2020, producers will have to ensure all disposable crockery can be composted and is made from biologically-sourced materials.

The law aims to reduce the energy consumed and waste produced by the plastic processing industry, as well as the pollution caused by plastic litter. 

The law, which was originally proposed by the Europe Ecologie-Greens Party, follows a ban on plastic bags in place since July.

Although environmental campaigners have lauded the ban, opponents argue it hurts consumers and violate European Union rules on free movement of goods.

Pack2Go Europe, a Brussels-based organization representing European packaging manufacturers, will fight the ban to stop it spreading to other countries.

Secretary general Eamonn Bates said: 'We are urging the European Commission to do the right thing and to take legal action against France for infringing European law.

The measures will ban sales of single-use plastic cups, plates and glasses unless they are made of bio-sourced materials that can be composted in a home composter.

But Mr Bates claimed no products made from bio-sourced plastics will degrade in a domestic composting unit.

He also said the ban 'will be understood by consumers to mean that it is OK to leave this packaging behind in the countryside after use' because it would quickly decompose.

French Environment Minister Segolene Royal was initially opposition to the law. She deemed it an 'anti-social' measure, arguing that families struggling financially make regular use of disposable tableware.

While several other countries and some U.S. states have also banned plastic bags, France appears to be the first country to introduce a blanket ban on plastic crockery.

It comes after Paris hosted a landmark conference last year on fighting global warming.   


Losses and corruption in the wind power business

A machine translation from Swedish below

A few days ago we read in the newspapers about wind power in Sweden is on its knees. Vattenfall's investments in wind power provides poor profitability, in spite of all subsidies. The value of wind farms is written down and the facilities that are only a few years old must start to be dismantled at great expense. So the company can no longer pay any dividends to the State says CEO Magnus Hall.

Vattenfall is not alone to go bad. This applies to almost all wind power companies that they have difficulties with profitability - some have gone bankrupt, leaving the cost to the landowners. The diagram below (which I wrote about here ), it is clear that investment in "sustainable" energy has fallen since 2011 in all of Europe. Although venture capitalists have pulled in their horns a long time ago, writes the Wall Street Journal.


The poor profitability and the losses due to government subsidies decreased over time. Wind power is namely an industry that can not stand on its own feet. Since 35 years, they have never been able to stand on their own but have always been dependent on the taxpayer billions. And when state finances are no longer able to finance further expansion falters as the entire industry.

So now is the wind industry desperate and increasing its lobbying against the public and politicians. One writes opinion articles in newspapers (and will thus free advertising), visiting communities around the country, promising jobs and income to the municipality, to support environmental organizations and university centers obediently for the message out about climate change and how the Green Energy Act can save us all. And they have their little green parties in parliament who willingly and cheerfully carry one madcap energy policy initiative after another.

But it's not enough. The wind power industry is still in disrepair. Now, even some old media in the believer Germany realized that the industry is corrupt . It is matter of sheer corruption when politicians decide on new wind projects that are in direct violation of its own voter preferences but which benefit themselves financially. Many of the local and regional climate minded politicians who decide on new wind farms are also landowners and therefore can rake in lot of beautiful treasure million.

We have similar cases in Sweden where municipal management goes against a clear majority as expressed in a referendum. I am thinking in particular on Sorseles con men in municipal government ( here and here ).

Disappointed environmentalists leaving environmental organizations once they realize that these are corrupt and go in the wind power industry ligaments. NGO leadership does not listen anymore when members across the country are sounding the alarm about how the wind turbines kill birds and destroying the countryside. Public support for wind power is falling rapidly in Germany. But the wind industry know how to remedy this. Instead of having the grassroots demonstrations calling for more and more political intervention against nuclear and fossil power so you pay the people who work with the wind to go out on the streets. Travel and accommodation are of course paid.

Follow the money

The wind industry is becoming increasingly brutal in order to get their business to make ends meet. TV series " Follow the Money " suddenly sounds more credible and realistic.


Your Time Is Up “Professor” Wadhams

Time’s up, so-called Professor Wadhams.  It is now exactly four years ago that you forecast the demise of Arctic sea ice this summer:

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

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

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

So, what does the Arctic actually look like now? Still higher than 2012

Of course, this was not the first time you made a fool of yourself, was it? At various times in the last few years, you have issued many predictions of ice free Arctics by 2013, and then 2015.

Even as recently as June this year, you were still forecasting:

“The Arctic is on track to be free of sea ice this year or next for the first time in more than 100,000 years”

Be honest. You are not actually very good at your job, are you?

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)


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, 2016

No logic in claim that Arctic sea ice shows global warming

Doesn't the fact that 2016 levels of Arctic ice are HIGHER than in 2012 indicate RECOVERY from melting?  And doesn't the fact that 2016 levels were the same as 2007 simply indicate erratic natural fluctuations from year to year?  It certainly does not indicate a steady warming trend

Paul Homewood additionally notes:  "2016 ice was the earliest minimum since 1997;  This year's extent was 22% above 2012, despite two massive storms; Thickness is way up on 2010 and 2011;  We are looking at one of the fastest ice growths in September on record".  That too certainly does not indicate a steady warming trend

Arctic sea ice this summer shrank to its second lowest level since scientists started to monitor it by satellite, with scientists saying it is another ominous signal of global warming.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado said the sea ice reached its summer low point on Saturday, extending 1.6 million square miles (4.14 million square kilometers).

That's behind only the mark set in 2012, 1.31 million square miles (3.39 million square kilometers).

Center director Mark Serreze said this year's level technically was 3,800 square miles (10,000 square kilometers) less than 2007, but that's so close the two years are essentially tied.

Even though this year didn't set a record, 'we have reinforced the overall downward trend. There is no evidence of recovery here,' Serreze said.

Serreze said he wouldn't be surprised if the Arctic was essentially ice free in the summer by 2030, something that will affect international security.


Climate change 'significant and direct' threat to U.S. military

You can see how absurd the prophecies of this small clique of officials are if you note their statement:  "the current trajectory of climatic change presents a strategically-significant risk".  What trajectory?  There is none.  Until last year's El Nino, the global temperature was plateaued,  just bobbing up and down by hundredths of one degree only. What we read below is just a statement of faith, not a reasonable projection

The effects of climate change endanger U.S. military operations and could increase the danger of international conflict, according to three new documents endorsed by retired top U.S. military officers and former national security officials.

"There are few easy answers, but one thing is clear: the current trajectory of climatic change presents a strategically-significant risk to U.S. national security, and inaction is not a viable option," said a statement published on Wednesday by the Center for Climate and Security, a Washington-based think tank.

It was signed by more than a dozen former senior military and national security officials, including retired General Anthony Zinni, former commander of the U.S. Central Command, and retired Admiral Samuel Locklear, head of the Pacific Command until last year.

They called on the next U.S. president to create a cabinet level position to deal with climate change and its impact on national security.

A separate report by a panel of retired military officials, also published on Wednesday by the Center for Climate and Security, said more frequent extreme weather is a threat to U.S. coastal military installations.

"The complex relationship between sea level rise, storm surge and global readiness and responsiveness must be explored down to the operational level, across the Services and Joint forces, and up to a strategic level as well," the report said.

Earlier this year, another report said faster sea level rises in the second half of this century could make tidal flooding a daily occurrence for some installations.

Francesco Femia, co-founder and president of the Center for Climate and Security, said the reports show bipartisan national security and military officials think the existing U.S. response to climate change "is not commensurate to the threat".

The fact that a large and bipartisan number of former officials signed the reports could increase pressure on future U.S. administrations to place greater emphasis and dedicate more resources to combat climate change.


The science deniers’ greatest hits

Science is a process, not a destination, and must not be immune to falsification by experiment -- Bill Frezza

“And yet, it moves.”  Thus muttered Galileo Galilei under his breath, after being forced by the Inquisition to recant his claim that the Earth moved around the Sun, rather than the other way round. The public vindication of Copernican heliocentrism would have to wait another day.

Today, Galileo’s story is a well-known illustration of the dangers of both unchecked power and declaring scientific matters “settled.” Yet, throughout history, Galileo wasn’t alone.

Scientists once knew that light moved through space via the luminiferous aether – how else could its waves travel? In 1887 Albert Michelson and Edward Morley proved that it wasn’t so, thanks to a “failed” experiment that was actually designed to conclusively demonstrate the existence of this invisible medium. Poor Michelson suffered a nervous breakdown when faced with such unexpected results.

In 1931 a book published in Germany, One Hundred Authors against Einstein, defended the “settled science” of Newtonian physics and proclaimed that Einstein’s theory of relativity was a fraud. Einstein was reported to have replied, “Why one hundred? If I were wrong, one would have been enough.”

On these pages I recently recounted the story of the early twentieth century belief in Eugenics, a “science” widely adopted by governments around the world as a basis for social policy – with horrifying results.

Australian physicians Barry Marshall and Robin Warrens were ridiculed when they hypothesized that ulcers were caused by microbes, which “every scientist knew” couldn’t survive in stomach acid. Doctors were sure that peptic ulcers were caused by stress and spicy foods. In frustration, Marshall drank a Petri dish full of cultured H. pylori, proving the “settled science” wrong.

Hopefully, the Nobel Prize he and Warrens received compensated for the illness that resulted.

And remember the government’s dietary guidelines, including the warnings against salt and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Pyramid urging Americans to eat more carbs and fewer fats? That didn’t work out so well, did it?

We all grew up knowing that life began in the “primordial soup” of the seas, sparked by lightning. A recent paper in Nature casts doubt on that theory, producing evidence that life may have begun in hydrothermal vents in the ocean floor. The jury is still out on this one.

And that’s the point.

It’s worth keeping the above examples in mind, when someone proclaims that surely we are much smarter today than we were in the past. That we can finally put our faith in scientific certainty, especially when journalists and politicians and subsidized scientists tell us that 97 percent of scientists agree on something. That once consensus is reached among experts, it’s important to stop listening to criticism.

If you have any doubts, just Google up the phrase “Science Says,” and view the parade of claims that carry that new and improved Good Housekeeping Seal of Infallibility.

Yes, reactionaries on the payroll of nefarious forces insist on reminding us that science is a process, not a destination. What difference does it make if a hypothesis has been artfully constructed to render itself immune to falsification by experiment?

Who cares if computer simulations enshrined at the heart of public policy have never made a correct forecast? How dare anyone imply that billions of dollars in government grant funding create perverse incentives for researchers to support the party line?

The important thing is that “settled science” can be used to spur the public to act.

And exactly what has the “settled science” of cataclysmic anthropogenic global warming convinced us to do? One thing above all: Deliver unprecedented power to politicians, activists and bureaucrats.

Power to commandeer entire industries. Power to pump billions of taxpayer dollars into half-baked schemes cooked up by crony corporatists. Power to redistribute income on a global scale.

And to maintain this power, when cracks begin to show in the narrative, power to criminalize dissent, much as the Inquisition did to Galileo.

Real science is characterized by healthy skepticism, relentless questioning, and a constant testing and re-testing of theories, systems and models. Casting dogma in stone – and then stoning non-believers – is a hallmark of intolerant religion, not science.

And when we finally wake up from our global warming-inspired public hysteria, our progeny will pat themselves on the back for being so much more advanced than we were. Before, alas, the cycle repeats again.

Via email

“Toxic chromium” fear-mongering

Detecting Cr-6 droplets in Olympic-sized swimming pool doesn’t equal health or cancer risks

Paul Driessen

Erin Brockovich became rich and famous by promoting the notion that people in Hinkley, CA got cancer because of hexavalent chromium (Chromium-6) in drinking water. Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) settled a 1993 lawsuit for $333 million, rather than risk trial by a jury frightened by a steady drumbeat of horror stories from lawyers, activists, celebrities, “journalists” and hired “experts.” The lawyers got $134 million in fees, and Ms. Brockovich pocketed a cool $2-million bonus – plus movie royalties and other cash.

Now Ms. B is trying to reprise her California success, by bringing the Cr-6 saga to North Carolina. She and the eco-activist organization Environmental Working Group have sent a well-publicized letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, urging it to set tougher standards for Cr-6. They and certain NC health officials claim as few as 0.07 parts per billion of chromium-6 in drinking water may cause cancer.

Not long ago, scientific instruments couldn’t even detect parts per billion (ppb). That’s not surprising, since 1 ppb is equivalent to 1 second in 33 years or 50 drops of water in an official Olympic-sized swimming pool (50 by 25 by 2 meters – 2 teaspoons in 660,000 gallons).

Many fruits and vegetables carry carcinogenic toxins to help them combat viruses and insect pests, Oakland Research Institute senior scientist Bruce Ames points out. Apple seeds and juice contain arsenic (about 8 ppb in juice), coffee and tea also contain carcinogens, and numerous chemicals associated with industrial processes (lead, zinc, mercury, chromium and others) are also found naturally in the soils, rocks and waters around us. Those toxins can cause cancer in rodents, when fed in large enough doses.

We also know 80 milligrams (mg) of aspirin can help prevent strokes, and 650 mg can relieve headaches. But 4,000 mg in 24 hours can be toxic, and 100 regular strength tablets can kill a 150-pound adult. Even swallowing seawater can be deadly. So can guzzling 1.6 gallons of pure water.

For all of us, the relevant questions are: What level of chromium-6 is safe in drinking water? And is Cr-6 in water really a concern at all, since any real risk that may exist appears to be from the airborne variety?

North Carolina state toxicologist Kenneth Rudo says levels detected in state waters represent risks higher than what he and some other public health experts consider safe. Some say there is “no safe level” for exposure to “geotoxic carcinogens” like Cr-6. Dr. Rudo wants the state to retain a 0.07 ppb threshold level, which he says represents a maximum acceptable adult lifetime cancer risk of one in one million.

He persuaded the state to issue “do not drink” letters for people who were using water from wells near Duke Energy coal ash disposal sites. Other state and national experts disagreed, noting that there clearly are safe levels for most chemicals and radiation. Indeed, many actually improve human health.

It is now well known that improved health, stress tolerance and resistance to cancer and other diseases often results from exposure to low doses of chemicals or radiation that would be toxic or lethal at higher levels. This phenomenon is known as hormesis. Similarly, multivitamins often include chromium and other metals that are toxic at high doses, but essential for good bodily health.

Many peer-reviewed studies support chromium-6 levels at least as high as North Carolina’s puzzling dual standard of 10 ppb for well water and 100 ppb for drinking water. The EPA itself sets 100 ppb for drinking water and says airborne Cr-6 is much more worrisome than waterborne varieties.

No one else uses a 0.07 standard, which is equal to 3.5 drops in an Olympic pool or 1 second in 467 years. Even ultra-cautious California sets its standard at 10 ppb, though some want it reduced to 0.06 ppb.

Equally important, ability to detect a substance does not mean it poses a risk. Cancer is certainly scary, but the risk of getting cancer is not the same as dying from it. And people routinely accept risks of dying from activities they happily engage in daily.

The National Safety Council puts the lifetime risk of dying in a motor vehicle crash at 1 in 113 – 8,850 times greater than Dr. Rudo’s lifetime risk of contracting cancer from Cr-6. The lifetime risk of dying from a lightning strike is 1 in 136,011 – while the risk of dying next year from accidental drowning is roughly equal to the Rudo lifetime risk of getting cancer from chromium in water. See this chart.

That brings us back to the 1993 Brockovich case. It blamed Chromium-6 for an entire smorgasbord of diseases afflicting Hinkley residents, but never linked to this chemical. Indeed, Cr-6 has actually been linked only to lung and nasal cancer, and only when inhaled in high doses over many years. Ingestion via drinking water has not resulted in ill effects among study subjects, according to EPA and other experts.

In fact, as investigative reporter Michael Fumento learned, no ill effects were found even in rodents given Cr-6 at 25 parts per million – 250 times higher than EPA’s 100 ppb safety standard, and 357,000 times higher than the 0.07 parts per billion that Dr. Rudo wants for North Carolina. Other studies evaluated people living next to landfills that had very high Cr-6 concentrations, and likewise found no ill effects.

Perhaps most telling, a Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine study evaluated 52,000 workers employed for up to 25 years at several PG&E plants, including the Hinkley facility. Not only was their incidence of cancer no higher than for California residents in general; the PG&E workers’ death rates were actually much lower than for California’s population at large. Hormesis, perhaps?

Equally relevant: In 2015, the NC Department of Environmental Quality tested 24 wells located two to five miles away from the nearest coal plant or coal ash deposit. Twenty of those wells received “do not drink” advisories, because their Cr-6 levels exceeded Rudo-recommended thresholds.

Citing those tests and further examination of relevant scientific studies, state Health Director Randall Williams, MD later decided the advisories should be rescinded. Cr-6 levels in wells far away from coal facilities mean naturally occurring chromium affects water all around North Carolina, he noted, and risks associated with drinking the water are actually extremely low.

Williams also pointed out that chromium-6 is found in some 70% to 90% of all water supplies in the United States. Telling tens of millions of people not to drink their water makes little sense. Neither does holding several hundred North Carolina well owners to a standard that applies virtually nowhere else; nor does holding NC well water to a much stricter standard than the state applies to its drinking water.

Many activist groups use climate, chemical and cancer scares to advance campaigns to shut down coal-fired power plants. Forcing utility companies to spend billions of dollars relocating millions of tons of coal ash is a good tactic, especially when it involves the “precautionary principle,” which essentially says:

We must avoid any risks of using chemicals, fossil fuels and other technologies – but not even discuss the risks of not using them. We must emphasize minor, alleged, manageable, exaggerated and even fabricated risks that a technology might cause – but ignore the risks the technology would reduce or prevent.

That double standard helps advance activist agendas – at high costs. Forcing utility companies to spend billions relocating coal ash would shut down many coal-fired power plants, causing electricity prices to soar, severely impacting factories, businesses, hospitals, schools, minorities and blue-collar families.

Numerous workers would be laid off or forced to take multiple lower-paying part-time jobs, with few or no healthcare or other benefits. Medical experts say this would bring greater stress and depression, reduced nutrition, sleep deprivation, greater alcohol, drug, spousal and child abuse, and higher suicide, stroke, heart attack and cancer rates. It would mean every life supposedly saved by shutting down power plants would be offset by impaired health and real lives lost as a result.

Simply put, chromium risks are not as dire as Dr. Rudo and Ms. Brockovich have been saying. Indeed, eliminating coal-based electricity is likely to cause far more serious and widespread problems.

Via email

Australia: Huge cost of electricity self-sufficiency

WHILE some people are contemplating investing $13,500 for a Tesla Powerwall, one man has decided to go all in and create the largest residential battery storage system in Australia. Gold Coast local Clayton Lyndon recently invested $80,000 to have six residential Tesla Powerwalls installed, essentially making a mini battery power station in his home.

“I had Natural Solar look at my energy usage and they told me it was very high and I would need six Tesla Powerwalls to offset the amount we were consuming,” he told  “I knew it was going to be a large investment, but I also knew it would make financial sense in the long run.”

When operating at full efficiency, Mr Lyndon’s installation could produce 36,355 kWh each year, while also reducing carbon emissions and offset coal fired power by 34,173.7kg annually.

“At the moment we have been producing around 674 kWh of energy and using about 428 kWh of electricity at home and exporting the rest back into the grid,” he said. “I expect over time I will no longer be paying an electricity bill and will pick up more money selling the excess back to the wholesale grid.”

When asked how it felt to have the first mini power station in Australia, Mr Lyndon has mixed emotions. “It’s a little embarrassing our household power consumption is so high, although I do feel positive the financial risk will pan out and it’s nice to be doing our part for the environment.

“I would recommend people to make the switch, I already have some of my mates considering after checking out my monitoring system.”

Natural Solar managing director Chris Williams said the installation signified an evolution of the industry.  “Multiple batteries are becoming more common with people from high energy consuming households,” he said.  “In the case of this installation, the household now has storage for 99 per cent of their consumption.”

Mr Williams said he expected Mr Lyndon will break even in four to five years based on full consumption.



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, 2016

Last Year the Federal Government Said This Species Did Not Need to Be Regulated, but Now They Are Going to Regulate Anyway

Last year the Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the greater sage grouse did not qualify for coverage under the Endangered Species Act (ESA),perhaps because the observed numbers of male grouse had increased by 63% from 2013-2015. This decision was met with relief across the western United States, where livelihoods were threatened with destruction by draconian ESA regulations. But regulators can never be content with not regulating, so last week the Department of Interior (DOI) announced new guidelines to restrict economic activity in the name of protecting the grouse.

Evidence abounds that the grouse continues to do well, with counts increasing for the third year, indicating that state-based efforts to help the grouse are succeeding. But the federal government cannot leave well-enough alone. It is insisting on imposing new regulations on land across the western United States, regulations that could end up actually hindering state conservation. If the grouse is recovering and state efforts succeeding, one might wonder why the federal government is still insisting on meddling. Two answers: power and radical ideology.

For a federal regulator, of course, the concept of a problem being solved without the involvement of the federal government is difficult to grasp. For them, the answer to any question and any problem is more government. This is why the DOI insists on proceeding to regulate for no reason.

The more relevant rationale for these new regulations, however, is radical environmentalist ideology. This ideology despises productive activity like oil and gas drilling, farming, or raising livestock. Across the country, radical environmentalists have sought to use the power of the federal government to suppress or destroy productive enterprise in the name of the environment. In this crusade, they have had the willing support and collusion of the Obama administration. These new regulations are merely the latest developments in the Obama administration’s war on the economy.

A large percentage of the range of the grouse is located on federal land, an opening that the radical environmentalists are seizing upon to advance their cause. The guidelines announced by the DOI place new restrictions and hurdles for anyone seeking to put federal leases to productive use, and will bury ranchers, miners, and oil and gas producers under a mountain of paperwork. These rules are purported to be for the protection of the grouse, but the real reason is to further squeeze those businesses which are out of favor with radical environmentalists.

This is the power of the regulatory state in action. The law does not call for regulatory action, so instead they find a work around and impose new rules anyway. Curbing the size and power of the regulatory state to prevent this kind of overreach should be an imperative for all Americans.


British weather the same as it was a century ago -- due to climate change

 Britain recorded its warmest September day in more than 100 years on Tuesday with temperatures rising to over 34 degrees Celsius in the southern county of Kent.

The Met Office said on its Twitter page the town of Gravesend recorded a temperature of 34.4 degrees Celsius (93.92°Fahrenheit), making it the hottest day of the year. "This makes it the warmest September day since 1911," it said.

London's Heathrow airport and Kew Gardens recorded temperatures of 32.8 Celsius, The Met said earlier.

Londoners took to the city's numerous parks to make the most of the sunshine while in the southern city of Brighton, swimmers headed to the beach.

At London Zoo, keepers sought to cool animals down from the heat, such as giving ice cubes packed with tasty morsels to the meerkats.

"They come from the Kalahari desert in southern Africa so it can get very warm during the day but they weren't born in the Kalahari desert so they are quite acclimatised to the UK weather," zookeeper Grant Kother said.

"So although they are quite hardy when it comes to warm weather, it is always nice to give them an option to cool down."

Worldwide, this year is set to be the hottest since records began in the late 19th century, due to a build-up of man-made greenhouse gases and an El Nino event that has warmed the Pacific Ocean, the U.N. weather agency says.

And NASA said on Monday that last month was the warmest August on record. Last year, world leaders meeting in Paris agreed a sweeping plan to shift from fossil fuels this century to limit climate change.


A conversation with Jill Stein: what the Green Party candidate believes

If it hurts the US and takes our freedoms away, Jill is for it.

Usually, when reporters interview the long-shot Green Party presidential candidate, they ask about her low poll numbers, or about whether she’ll spoil the election for Hillary Clinton, and about how she plans to attract Bernie Sanders’s voters.

I wanted to ask a different set of questions: Exactly what would Stein want to do if elected president? How does she think about America’s public policy problems? Does she have a detailed understanding of the trade-offs involved in governance — or does she rely on hand-waving and oversimplified panaceas?

Stein and I sat down in Vox’s offices in New York City this summer to talk about these issues. She went over her proposal to instantly cancel $1.3 trillion in student debt and outlined her argument that the EPA should stop all new fossil-fuel infrastructure right now (even without congressional approval). These proposals tend to be way outside the mainstream policy conversation, so I asked her to talk through her reasoning.

More HERE   

Who's Up for a Carbon Tax?

Most Beltway dwellers are notoriously oblivious to the needs of people in less affluent regions of America. Therefore most of them don’t understand the importance of inflation. Take low gas prices. Taxpayer-subsidized public transit makes price swings less noticeable on the wallets of workers in large metropolitan areas and even less so for those making six-figure salaries, including your senator and representative. But for most of middle class America, the difference between spending $3 or $4 for a gallon of gasoline and $1.95 can be prodigious.

So it’s hugely disappointing to see leftists exploiting low gas prices caused by the oil glut by calling for more red tape to curb driver behavior. The Washington Post editorial board laments the fact that “when oil prices sink, people worry less about conservation, no matter how environmentally desirable. In fact, higher fuel efficiency might also encourage some people to drive more than they would have otherwise, because their gas bills are lower.” And though the editors believe firmly in fuel efficiency standards, lower gas prices make them less than fully effective. So why not add another disincentive in the form of a carbon tax?

“A carbon tax would put a lower ceiling on national gasoline use without more aggressive regulatory interventions,” the Post writes, totally neglecting to mention that said tax is a very aggressive regulatory intervention. Hot Air’s Jazz Shaw highlights a few issues: “First of all, higher gas prices disproportionately affect low income people far more than the more affluent. Wealthy citizens aren’t staying up at night worrying about how much gas costs. And where are the poorer commuters going? For the vast majority of travel they are shuffling back and forth to work. … Hourly workers of modest means have to make every penny count and if you jack up their cost of commuting they take the biggest hit. Also, gas prices aren’t going to be low forever.”

In a free market, competition drives innovation. But the government is going about it completely opposite by attempting to lower emissions through coercion. We’re all poorer and less free as a result.


Critics Protest Obama Administration Overriding Court To Halt Dakota Access Pipeline

Greenies hate pipelines

Critics say the Obama Administration’s decision to override a federal court’s decision -- to allow construction of an oil pipeline in Dakota to continue after an Indian Tribe sought an injunction to halt the project – will hurt working Americans and the economy.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg ruled that, after careful consideration, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe “had not demonstrated that an injunction is warranted here,” and the pipeline project should contine.

Shortly after the decision was released, the Obama administration said it “appreciated” the court ruling but called for the project to come to a halt.

“The Obama administration just made the decision to put politics above jobs, trying to stall, obfuscate, and scapegoat in order to block this job-creating energy infrastructure project,” National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons said in a statement.

“The administration has ignored the rule of law because it doesn’t like the court’s findings that the project can move forward,” said Timmons.

“This sets a bad precedent that could threaten future infrastructure projects of all types,” he said. “For manufacturers, this means the men and women supplying steel pipe, coatings, construction equipment, compressor motors, gauges and instruments, sand and gravel and other key components to the Dakota Access project are sitting idle, without work.”

“We understand there are concerns, and above all, we want discussions about this project to be peaceful, productive and respectful,” Timmons said. “But it’s time for the administration to put its political agenda aside.”

“It’s time to put people to work, including the many manufacturers who will build the components of this project,” he said. “Let’s come together to move forward, create jobs, strengthen our economy and boost manufacturing.”

“The joint statement issued by the Department of Justice, the Department of the Army, and the Department of the Interior immediately after Judge Boasberg’s ruling is deeply troubling and could have a long-lasting chilling effect on private infrastructure development in the United States,” Craig Stevens, spokesman for the Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now (MAIN), said in a statement.

“Judge Boasberg had already issued a thoughtful, thorough decision agreeing that the Army Corps had done its job and had adequately consulted with and considered Tribal concerns,” said Stevens,  “which in turn led to more than $1.4 billion in investments by Energy Transfer Partners – the pipeline construction company.”

“It is also concerning that the federal government would threaten the livelihoods of thousands of workers who rely on good governance to support a stable workplace,” Stevens said. “Based on the Administration’s actions today, these workers’ jobs are in peril.”

“Should the Administration ultimately stop this construction, it would set a horrific precedent,” he said. “No sane American company would dare expend years of effort and billions of dollars weaving through an onerous regulatory process receiving all necessary permits and agreements, only to be faced with additional regulatory impediments and be shutdown halfway through completion of its project.”

“We hope and trust that the government will base its final decision on sound science and engineering, not political winds or pressure,” Stevens said.

But the Obama administration sided with the tribe.

"This case has highlighted the need for a serious discussion on whether there should be nationwide reform with respect to considering tribes' views on these types of infrastructure projects," the federal agencies said in the joint statement.

“Therefore, this fall, we will invite tribes to formal, government-to-government consultations on two questions:  (1) within the existing statutory framework, what should the federal government do to better ensure meaningful tribal input into infrastructure-related reviews and decisions and the protection of tribal lands, resources, and treaty rights; and (2) should new legislation be proposed to Congress to alter that statutory framework and promote those goals,” the joint statement said.

In his ruling, Judge Boasberg said: “As it has previously mentioned, this Court does not lightly countenance any depredation of lands that hold significance to the Standing Rock Sioux. Aware of the indignities visited upon the Tribe over the last centuries, the Court scrutinizes the permitting process here with particular care. Having done so, the Court must nonetheless conclude that the Tribe has not demonstrated that an injunction is warranted here. The Court, therefore, will issue a contemporaneous Order denying the Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction.”

After the statement by the Obama administration, the tribe issued its own statement.

"Our hearts are full, this an historic day for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and for tribes across the nation," said tribal chairman Dave Archambault II. "Our voices have been heard."

Reuters reported that jobs are not the only segment of the economy to be affected by the Obama administration’s decision.

“With the U.S. government siding in favor of Native American protests against a key North Dakota pipeline, local oil producers and shippers are facing the possibility of greater delays in getting a quick route to ship oil to the Gulf of Mexico,” said Reuters regarding the 40-mile stretch of the pipeline through North Dakota.

“The 1,100-mile (1,770 km), $3.7 billion Dakota Access pipeline was originally expected to start up later this year, to deliver more than 470,000 barrels per day of crude from North Dakota’s prolific Bakken shale play through Illinois and toward refinery row in the U.S. Gulf Coast,” said Reuters.

“Should the pipeline be delayed for a substantial period, it would affect producers who had counted on demand for oil to be rapidly shipped to the U.S. Gulf, as well as shippers who could find themselves stuck with crude, putting them at risk of unloading it at a loss.”



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, 2016

August ties July as hottest month ever on record (??)

Reality is so regularly unkind to Warmists that I knew that there had to be some fun in this. And there is.  Below are the actual gobal temperature numbers for 2016 as given by GISS -- in hundredths of a degree above the reference period.

Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr   May  Jun  Jul  Aug
115  132  128  108   93   80   85   98

So August did NOT equal July.  It substantially exceeded it.  And as they say below that was quite a surprise -- unexpected.  So CO2 must have LEAPED that month, according to Warmist theory?

Wrong.  According to Mauna Loa it DROPPED substantially.  In ppm, June was 406.81, July 404.39 and August was 402.25

You wouldn't read about it, would you (except that you just did).  The OPPOSITE of what Warmists claim has just happened.  Unusual warmth goes with REDUCED CO2.  Warmists can't take a trick!  So why we had a couple of unusually warm months nobody knows.  The only thing we DO know is that it was not due to a rise in CO2. 

As a good scientist I do love looking at the numbers. I always have.  It gave me plenty of laughs in my own research career.  Most people conclude what they want to conclude -- regardless of what the numbers show.  I stick with the numbers.

In what has become a common refrain this year, last month ranked as the hottest August on record, according to NASA data released Monday. Not only that, but the month tied July as the hottest month the world has seen in the last 136 years.

August came in at 1.76?F (0.98?C) above the average from 1951-1980, 0.16C above August 2014, the previous record holder. The record keeps 2016 on track to be the hottest year in the books by a fair margin.

That August continued the streak of record hot months this year and tied July as the hottest month was somewhat unexpected. The seasonal temperature cycle generally reaches a peak in July, as it did this year. But August was so anomalously warm — more so even than July — that it tied that month’s overall temperature.

It was also thought that July would likely be the last record hot month of the year, given the dissipation of El Ni?o.

In NASA’s dataset, August marks the 11th record-setting month in a row. That streak goes back 15 months through July in data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Each agency handles the global temperature data slightly differently and uses a different period of comparison, leading to slight differences in the monthly and yearly temperature numbers. Overall, though, both datasets show clear agreement in the overall warming trend.

That trend is what Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and other climate scientists emphasize. It is that excess heat that has accumulated over decades thanks to rising levels of greenhouse gases that accounts for the bulk of this year’s record warmth, with El Ni?o providing only a small boost.


Wheat, one of the world’s most important crops, is being threatened by climate change (??)

How brain-dead can you get?  Wheat crops are actually at record highs.  And what in the whole of farming says that warming is bad for wheat?  Outback Australia is a VERY hot place yet it is a major wheat producer.  And the study excluded effects from CO2 levels and water, both of which are good for crops and both of which would be more abundant in the hypothesized anthropogenically warmed world.  This is a champion example of concluding what you want to conclude and damn the facts

One of the biggest concerns about climate change is the effect it will have on agriculture. Many studies have suggested that rising temperatures could be harmful to farms around the world, although there’s plenty of uncertainty about how bad things will get and which food supplies we should worry about most. 

Now, a new study published Monday in Nature Climate Change reiterates concerns that wheat — the most significant single crop in terms of human consumption  — might be in big trouble. After comparing multiple studies used to predict the future of global crop production, researchers have found that they all agree on one point: rising temperatures are going to be really bad for wheat production.

Scientists use a wide range of techniques to make predictions about the future of the environment, including a variety of models and statistical analyses. Often, though, there’s debate about which technique produces the most accurate results. 

The authors of the new study, who included dozens of scientists from institutions in China, the U.S., Europe and elsewhere around the world, decided to compare three different methods used to assess the impact of temperature changes on wheat production. These included a type of statistical analysis that relies on historical observations of climate and global wheat yields to make inferences about the future, as well as two different types of model simulations.

For the purposes of this comparison, the researchers focused only on the effects of temperature, without incorporating other climate-related factors such as rising carbon dioxide levels or changes in precipitation. Specifically, all the techniques suggested that a global temperature increase of 1 degree Celsius would lead to a worldwide decline in wheat yield by between 4.1 and 6.4 percent. The world currently produces more than 700 million tons of wheat annually, which is converted into all kinds of products for human consumption, including flour for bread, pasta, cakes, breakfast cereals and more. A reduction of just 5 percent would translate to a loss of about 35 million tons each year.

And that could spell big trouble for the global food supply. A new report from the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) projected that world wheat production for the 2016/17 year would hit 741 million tons, nearly 500 million of which is destined to be used directly for human consumption. While global production of coarse grains, including corn, does outweigh the production of wheat, a significantly smaller proportion of it goes to human consumption worldwide, with the rest being used for animal feed and industrial purposes. According to the FAO, global human consumption of coarse grains comes to about 200 million tons annually.

The various studies also produce similar findings on a country level for the world’s largest wheat producers, including the U.S., China, India and France. For instance, all of the study methods suggested that China will see yield reductions of about 3.0 percent per 1 degree Celsius increase in global temperature. And India was projected to experience much greater declines of about 8.0 percent. 

In general, the results suggest that warmer regions of the world will experience the greatest temperature-related losses. However, the agreement among the different study methods on exactly what these losses will be was less consistent for smaller countries than for the larger producers.

“The consistent negative impact from increasing temperatures confirmed by three independent methods warrants critical needed investment in climate change adaptation strategies to counteract the adverse effects of rising temperatures on global wheat production, including genetic improvement and management adjustments,” the researchers wrote in the paper. 

There are still some major uncertainties, though. For one thing, the researchers note, the agreement among the different types of studies became less consistent above 1 degree Celsius of warming. And there was also less agreement at local and regional levels. 


The planet is going through a wilderness loss, study says

So what?  Why should it concern us?  Many nations are putting aside large areas as nature reserves.  Why is that not sufficient?  The only argument offered in the full paper is that untouched areas are better at storing carbon.  But you have to think carbon is a bad thing for that to matter

Just over 20 percent of the world can still be considered wilderness. A tenth of the planet’s wilderness was eradicated in the last two decades and conservation efforts are failing to keep pace with the rate of wilderness loss, according to a new study.

The loss recorded since 1990 is equivalent to an area twice the size of Alaska and half the size of the Amazon, according to the study published Thursday in Current Biology. Most of the depletion is happening in South America, which experienced a nearly 30 percent loss, and Africa, which lost 14 percent of untouched ecosystems.

“Even though 10 percent is quite a small number in some ways, it really means that if we keep this trajectory going we will lose all wilderness in the next 50 years,” said James Watson, lead author and director of science and research initiative at the Wildlife Conservation Society, in an interview with ThinkProgress.

”Without any policies to protect these areas, they are falling victim to widespread development,” he said. “We probably have one to two decades to turn this around.”

Wilderness is defined as largely intact landscapes that are mostly free of human disturbance. These areas do not exclude people; instead, they are free of large-scale land conversion, industrial activity, or infrastructure development.
The study, titled “Catastrophic Declines in Wilderness Areas Undermine Global Environment Targets,” is the first mapping of global change in wilderness over time, researchers said. To evaluate this decline, scientists measured changes in global wilderness maps that have become more accurate as satellite technology and global positioning systems have evolved. Researchers then compared their measurements against comparable data from the early 1990s.

According to the study, some 23 percent of the world can still be considered wilderness, and most of it is located in North America, North Asia, North Africa, and Australia.
“You cannot restore wilderness … the only option is to proactively protect what is left.”

But while the study notes protected areas have expanded over the past two decades, conservation has ultimately lagged. Since 1990, some 2.5 million square kilometers?—?slightly less than a million square miles?—?became protected worldwide. In contrast, about 3.3 million square kilometers of wilderness —roughly 1.2 million square miles?—?were lost.

“The amount of wilderness loss in just two decades is staggering,” Oscar Venter, co-author and researcher at the University of Northern British Columbia, said in a statement. “You cannot restore wilderness … the only option is to proactively protect what is left.”

The findings show an immediate need for policies to recognize the value of wild areas, researchers said, and address massive losses particularly as human-caused climate change continues.

Intact ecosystems like rainforests can regulate local and global weather through the absorption and creation of rainfall, and their exchange of atmospheric gases. Forests also sequester carbon that can otherwise exacerbate climate change.

“Losing these places means that we are going to suffer the consequences of climate change more,” Watson, who presented his findings during the International Union for Conservation of Nature now happening in Hawaii, said. “Especially more extreme events, such as storms and droughts.”

The study comes as mounting research shows humans are gobbling natural spaces at an accelerated pace. Earlier this year, the Center for American Progress and Conservation Science Partners found that every 2.5 minutes the American West loses a football field worth of natural area to human development.

And last year, a North Carolina State University researcher and others found that the Brazilian Amazon and the Congo Basin are the last two areas with major untouched forests on the planet. They also found that some 70 percent of all remaining global forest cover is within one kilometer, or 0.6 miles, of human development.

Watson said saving wilderness will happen if countries like the United States, Australia, Brazil, and others with vast natural resources take a prominent stand. And indeed, some countries are ramping up their conservation efforts. Just last month, President Obama expanded the Papah?naumoku?kea Marine National Monument in Hawaii, the world’s largest natural sanctuary.

And in South America, the Amazon Region Protected Areas, or ARPA program, is creating sustainable natural resource management reserves in Brazil, Peru, and Colombia, according to Thursday’s study. Meanwhile, the Canadian Boreal Forest Conservation Framework aims to protect at least 50 percent of the Boreal forest, the world’s largest land-based biome.

Still, much more needs to happen, researchers said, since losses continue in major wilderness strongholds in the Amazon, the Congo Basin, and the forests of New Guinea. “We are running out of space for wilderness and we are running out of time,” Watson said.


William Briggs commentary: His actual employment letter to the NY Times

Below is an actual, legitimate letter to the New York Times, responding to its search for a new climate change editor. It may strike you as a tongue-in-cheek put-on, but its author assured that he really is interested in the position … and really did submit this letter as part of his employment application. He just couldn’t resist employing his typical sense of humor, which is not what most folks might expect from a statistician.

That humorous streak includes taking a few jabs at the NY Times, Climate Chaos Industry, and climate cataclysm computer modelers and “bamboozlers"

Dean Baquet and Sam Dolnick New York Times New York, NY

Re: Climate Change Editor

Dear Misters Baquet and Dolnick: Please accept my application for the position of Climate Change Editor, the details of which I saw online.

About the material your paper has been printing about global warming, I’ve concluded that you guys need me as badly as Bill Clinton needs an audience. Better, just as you want in a new editor, I’m “obsessed with finding new ways to connect with readers and new ways to tell this vital story.”

For instance, here’s an angle you haven’t so far considered. We could show readers that global warming models have failed at higher rates than Larry King’s marriages. Budget forecasts by President Obama are more accurate than the temperatures predicted by global climate models (GCMs). A smart man would trust a GCM as much as he would a politician’s campaign promise.

Five’ll get you twenty, your readers don’t know how lousy the models are. And I’d bet my first-year’s salary (I heard you pay well) that they’ll cheer when reminded that it was once a firm scientific principle that rotten models imply busted theories. In this case, it means the existence of serially unskillful GCMs are nearly certain proof that carbon dioxide is not the demon gas it’s been painted.

We’d run this headline: “Wonderful News: Global-Warming-Of-Doom Proved Almost Surely False.” We’d lead with a cheering paragraph that we don’t need to be as nearly panicked as your (and I hope soon my) paper has been.

I know what you’re thinking. Same thing our readers will be thinking. “But how can this be? I thought it was certain that the world was soon to end unless massive government programs were instituted.” We’d have them hooked! Guaranteed boost in circulation.

I envision a series in which we expose the schemers, hangers-on, band-wagoners, activists, fund-raisers, self-deluded, egos (I almost said “politicians,” which would have been redundant), and even frauds and bamboozlers whose claimed knowledge of fluid physics on a rotating sphere is as artificial as that thing perched on Donald Trump’s cranium. Let’s call out these folks who have turned “climate change” into an unhealthy living.

How many times have we heard psychologists, sociologists, philosophers, economists, and other un-trained scientifically ignorant (I use this word in its technical sense) academics lecture us on the horrors that await us under “climate change,” when they wouldn’t know a cloud parameterization from a sigma coordinate? I’ll tell you: too often.

I do know, though. It is the Times’s tremendous luck that I’m at liberty, ready, and willing to take on this monumental task. Together we can screw people’s heads back on straight and get them to worry about something really important. Like the rise of politics dictating science and the corrupting influence of money.

I am an actual bona fide scientist. I have published actual articles in the Journal of Climate, among many others. My specialty is in the value and goodness of models, and the expense and badness of bad science. I’ve written a best-seller (my mom bought two copies) on the subject: Uncertainty: The Soul of Modeling, Probability & Statistics. I know this is a presumptuous questions, but if I get the job can I get this reviewed in the Book Review? Might boost sales.

Climate models have the stink of old garlic on them, but they smell like the purest roses next to the putrescence of some models loved by academics driven beyond their ability to resist to publish (or perish). There is limitless material we can mine, exposing scientism, correcting massive over-certainty, putting science back on rational grounds.

Given its tone, it’s understandable if you think this application is a lark. It isn’t. I’m earnest. If offered, I’d take the job and do better with it than anybody else you’d find. With me, you’re assured of always getting my true and honest opinion. Bonus: Roger Kimball called me “the civilized world’s most amusing statistician.” Here’s a list of pieces I’ve written at The Stream: All these were meant for a general audience. And I have hundreds at my place:

Many of these are more technical or difficult, and do not illustrate how I’d write for a Times audience; nevertheless, they give you an idea of the scope and range of my interests.

I look forward to hearing from you. I can start any time. I’m only a few blocks north of your offices.

Sincerely yours,
William M. Briggs


Senator Malcolm Roberts:  Maiden speech to the Australian Senate:
A speech giving a strong summary of climate skepticism. He represents a minor conservative party that is very critical of immigration.  The Greens walked out, much to his satisfaction, but most of the mainstream conservatives would have listened with interest.  Roberts has been studying the climate hoax for many years so is very familiar with his subject

    My qualifications include an honours engineering degree - covering atmospheric gases including carbon dioxide - from the University of Queensland. Also, an MBA from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, famous for rigorous statistical analysis.

    In the real world I obtained statutory qualifications covering atmospheric gases with rigorous responsibilities for hundreds of people’s lives.

    My studies reinforced the importance of relying on empirical facts – hard data and physical observations – needed to prove cause and effect. My area of studies focused on earth sciences and geology.

    Australians should be able to rely on the information from Australian government bodies and institutions, but we can’t.

    I have used FOI requests, correspondence and reports from the heads of CSIRO, Bureau of Meteorology, UN, and universities to show there is no data proving human use of hydrocarbon fuels effects climate.

    We use Australia’s resources - that is gas, coal, oil — to produce energy. These resources contain hydrogen and carbon that produce water and carbon dioxide. Both are essential for life on earth. Yet the core climate claim is that carbon dioxide from human activity will catastrophically warm our planet.

    Like Socrates I love asking questions to get to the truth.

    So I ask the question; over the last 130 years what was the longest single temperature trend? Is not the inconvenient truth this .... that from the 1930’s to the 70’s during the period of the greatest industrialisation in human history when our carbon dioxide output increased greatly, atmospheric temperatures cooled for forty years straight?

    Another inconvenient fact; temperatures statistically have not been warming since 1995. Records show there have been warmer periods in Australia’s history then the current decade.

    Temperatures are now cooler than 130 years ago. This is the reverse of what we’re blatantly told by the Bureau of Metrology that has manipulated cooling trends into false warming trends.

    Mr President here are more undeniable facts proven by data; firstly, changes in the carbon dioxide level are a result of changes in temperature, not a cause. That’s the reverse of what we’re told. Second, we do not and cannot affect the level of carbon dioxide in air. Reverse of what we’re told. We cannot and do not affect global climate. Third, warming is beneficial – after all science classifies past warmer periods as climate optimums. Again, the reverse of what we’re told.

    It’s basic. The sun warms earth’s surface. The surface by contact warms the moving circulating atmosphere. • That means the atmosphere cools the surface. • How can anything that cools the surface warm it? It can’t. • That’s why their computer models are wrong. The UN’s claim is absurd.

    Instead of science, activists invoke morality, imply natural weather events are unusual, appeal to authority, use name calling-ridicule-and emotion, avoid discussing facts, and rely on pictures of cute smiling dolphins. These are not evidence of human effect on climate.

    If it is clear that climate change is a scam, and also our prosperity relies on the human endeavours of industry and production, then why is it that in this great parliament there are extremist advocates of an agenda to de-industrialise our nation? Let me make it clear, I will stand firm against any political organisation whose primary aim is to destroy our prosperity and future.

More HERE 


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

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


14 September, 2016

Another false prophecy

The excerpt below is from a 2007 article.  It correctly predicts that global CO2 levels will hit 400 ppm by 2015.  Unlike temperature, CO2 has been rising fairly steadily so that was easy.  What is amusing is what was predicted to happen when we got to 400ppm.  Southern Spain was to be emptied out by the extreme heat, for instance.  Someone tell the Gibraltarians! 

Warmists are very attached to their prophecies.  It's a good thing. The failure of a prediction is the normal scientific criterion for the theory that generated it being wrong.  In that way, Warmist theories have repeatedly been shown as wrong.  So a continued belief in anthropogenic global warming is a rejection  of science. 

One failed prediction might be just an aberration but the slew of uniformly wrong predictions we have seen from Warmists would be enough to kill any other theory stone dead. Warmist models have zero predictive skill, meaning that a rational person would ignore them

Environmentalist writer Mark Lynas’ new book about global warming takes for its metaphor Dante’s descent through the circles of hell. But while Dante was guided by the poetics of Virgil, Lynas follows the research findings of scientists; and while Dante plotted a route down through the unbaptised, gluttonous, slothful and treacherous, Lynas descends through one, two, three or even six degrees rise in global warming (we’re spared Dante’s final three circles of hell because the Intergovernmental Planet on Climate Change (IPCC) only estimated a rise in temperature of up to six degrees).

Dante dealt in moral failings such as betrayal and faithlessness; Lynas deals with the more anodyne stuff of car journeys to work and buying tropical fruit at the supermarket. Regardless, we will be visited with the results of our sinful actions, as daily energy usage is repaid in the rising of the planet’s mercury. The events described in the book will be our future, says Lynas, unless we ‘repent’ and cut back on energy consumption. His predictions go like this:

At one degree rise in temperature, the western USA is wracked by droughts: powerful dust and sandstorms ‘turn day into night across thousands of miles of former prairie’, while ‘farmsteads, roads and even entire towns will find themselves engulfed by blowing sand’. At two degrees, southern Spain will empty, with a ‘mass scramble to abandon barely habitable temperatures, as Saharan heatwaves sweep across the Med’. At three degrees, Texas is hit by ‘Super-Hurricane’ Odessa: ‘the winds from the storm’s eyewall slam into Houston, the gleaming towers of the central business district begin to sway ominously’. Four and five degrees are worse still. Then at six degrees there will be mass extinction, something approaching ‘global apocalypse and doom’ (it is ‘unlikely’ that humanity will be wiped out completely, but there will not be many of us left).

Each of these outcomes corresponds to a carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions scenario. A two degrees rise corresponds to a CO2 concentration of 400 parts per million, which means peaking global emissions by 2015 – eight years’ time – and cutting emissions to 90 per cent by 2050. A three degrees rise corresponds to peaking global emissions by 2030; four degrees to peaking by 2050. But in actual fact, says Lynas, if we want to avoid global apocalypse and doom we would have to keep within the ‘magic two-degree threshold’.

This is because environmental feedback systems will mean that the temperature will tip upwards, irrespective of our carbon dioxide outputs. As temperature rises, says Lynas, some ecosystems increasingly stop absorbing CO2 and they start to release it (or other greenhouse gases) instead. At three degrees, says Lynas, there is the collapse of the Amazon ecosystem, and soils start to release stored CO2; at four degrees, there is the release of methane from Siberia. ‘If we reach three degrees, therefore, that leads inexorably to four degrees, which leads inexorably to five.’ And at five there is an even more powerful feedback mechanism, the release of methane hydrate from the sea. The result is ‘runaway global warming’, against which ‘humanity would be powerless to intervene’. So it’s two degrees – 90 per cent cuts in carbon emissions by 2050 – or it’s apocalypse.


More nukes for South Africa

The Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa (NIASA) has welcomed the request for proposal (RFP) start date for procurement of new nuclear power plants. It called for localization to be a key factor in the selection of a vendor through a "fair and transparent" procurement process.

South Africa's Integrated Resource Plan for 2010-2030 calls for construction of 9.6 GWe of new nuclear capacity - supplying 23% of the country's electricity - with the first reactor to come online by 2023. Energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson told parliament on 7 September the long-awaited RFP for procurement will be issued on 30 September.

"Nuclear is an efficient and environmentally safe way to generate sufficient baseload power for our rapidly growing energy demands and necessary to grow our economy. It is not the only solution, but a critical component of the entire energy mix," NIASA said in response to Joemat-Petterson's announcement.

The South African cabinet gave the Department of Energy permission to issue the RFP in December 2015. Five reactor vendors are expected to be invited to submit proposals: China's SNPTC, France's EDF/Areva, Russia's Rosatom, South Korea's KEPCO, and the USA's Westinghouse. South Africa has signed intergovernmental agreements with all five countries concerned. Proposals are to specify reactor design, the degree of localization, financing and price.

NIASA said it supported calls for transparency in the nuclear new build program "in its entirety", but further called for an emphasis on local content and skills development as "founding principals" for selection of the winning vendor, or vendors, in order to secure "tangible development and meaningful employment" in the communities where the plants will be built and in the country as a whole.

"The nuclear project will not only support industry and create much needed employment, it will also create a platform upon which our economy can grow and develop," Knox Msbenzi, NIASA managing director, said.

The association also called for a "more robust debate" and "meaningful public participation in all key decision making milestones" throughout the procurement and construction process, taking into account lessons learned from previous large-scale South African infrastructure projects. "As a country we have experience of large-scale projects and we have varied experts to advise and guide us towards the successful delivery of the project over the next 20 years. We can draw valuable insights from both our successful projects, and the not so successful ones, and improve on our performance accordingly," Msebenzi said.

A final funding model for the project will be developed after the RFP process has been completed. NIASA said RFP and the responses of vendors would indicate the cost of the project and inform the debate on financing and risk mitigation models. "Whichever model is chosen, it should ideally have sufficient flexibility to allow for adjustments to the timing of construction of the fleet over the planned horizon.’ Msebenzi said.

Earlier this year South African utility Eskom, operator of the country's existing nuclear capacity at Koeberg, submitted site applications for nuclear installations at Thyspunt, in the Eastern Cape, and Duynefontein, in the Western Cape, to the country's National Nuclear Regulator. The applications are now undergoing public comment as part of the regulator's public participation process.


Eleven State Attorneys General Side With ExxonMobil in Climate Change Case

Attorneys general in 11 states have filed an amicus brief siding with ExxonMobil in a climate change case brought against the company by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

Healey, a member of AGs United for Clean Power, attended a March 29 press conference in New York with other attorneys general and former Vice President Al Gore.

At the press conference, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that “an unprecedented coalition” of state attorneys general from 18 states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands were taking legal action against companies like ExxonMobil that opposed President Obama’s Clean Power Plan and challenged the idea that human activity is causing catastrophic global warming.

Healey then issued a civil investigative demand (CID) for 40 years’ worth of ExxonMobil’s records to determine whether the company had violated her state’s consumer protection laws by not informing consumers and shareholders about the alleged dangers of global warming.

ExxonMobil responded in June by filing a complaint in federal district court in Fort Worth, Texas asking the court to stop Healey’s office from enforcing the CID.

“The statements by the attorneys general at the press conference, their meetings with climate activists and a plaintiffs’ attorney, and the remarkably broad scope of the CID unmask the investigation launched by the Massachusetts Attorney General for what it is: a prextextual use of law enforcement power to deter ExxonMobil from participating in ongoing public deliberation in the hope of finding some ammunition to enhance the Massachusetts Attorney General’s position in the policy debate concerning how to respond to climate change,” the court document stated.

It added that “Healey is abusing the power of government to silence a speaker she disfavors.”

On August 8, Healey countered that “the CID is premised on the Attorney General’s reasonable belief that Exxon violated or is violating Chapter 93A by making false, misleading, and fraudulent statements about climate change to Massachusetts consumers and investors.”

However, the 11 state attorneys general agreed with ExxonMobil that the CID is an encroachment on the company’s First Amendment rights.

“The authority attorneys general have to investigate fraud does not allow them to encroach on the constitutional freedom of others to engage in an ongoing public policy debate of international importance,” said the amicus brief, which was signed by the attorneys general of Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.

“At the “AGs United for Clean Power” press conference, a coalition of liberal state attorneys general announced they were going to use their official authority to go after one side of the policy debate on climate change. This overt use of governmental power to shut down particular viewpoints is a blatant violation of the Constitution,” said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who filed the amicus brief Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

“The Constitution was written to protect citizens from government witch-hunts that are nothing more than an attempt to suppress speech on an issue of public importance, just because a government official happens to disagree with that particular viewpoint,” Paxton said.

Citing the First Amendment as “a bulwark against Government action designed to suppress ideas or information, or to manipulate the public debate through coercion rather than persuasion,” the amicus brief argues that “Massachusetts labeling its so-called investigation (into an unsettled area of science and public policy) as related to ‘fraud’ certainly ‘raises the specter that the Government may effectively drive certain ideas or viewpoints from the marketplace’.

“Massachusetts presumes that the scientific debate regarding climate change is somehow settled, along with the related and equally important public policy debate on how to respond to what science has found. Yet, neither is true,” the brief states.

“Using law enforcement authority to resolve a public policy debate undermines the trust invested in our offices and threatens free speech,” the 11 AGs argued.

“As most must recognize, vigorous debate exists in this country regarding the risks of climate change and the appropriate response to those risks. Both sides are well-funded and sophisticated public policy participants. Whatever our country’s response, it will affect people, communities, and businesses that all have a right to participate in this debate. Thus, attorneys general should stop policing viewpoints,” the amicus brief concludes.

In July, House Science, Space and Technology Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) subpoenaed documents from Healey and other members of the group after emails surfaced indicating a “coordinated” attack on climate change skeptics.

Healey cited various legal privileges as state attorney general in her refusal to comply with the congressional subpoena. But in an August 24 letter, Smith informed her that “the Committee finds these objections without merit and rejects your claims of privilege.”


The EPA Uses New Math to Justify Costly Global Warming Regulation

When calculating the future impacts of government action, the federal government has very specific rules about how the calculation should be done. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) clearly states that when calculating the cost of future impacts a standard “discount rate” of 7% should be used (a discount rate is used to take account of the fact that $10 today is worth more than $20 10 years from now). But when it comes to global warming regulation, that 7% rate is a problem for bureaucrats. With a 7% discount rate, the present cost of future global warming is virtually zero, even using the federal government’s excessively alarmist models. What’s a radical federal bureaucrat to do when math says that global warming will have virtually no negative economic effect? Well, they take a page from Common Core and change how they do the math.

In 2010, global warming alarmists in the Obama administration set out to find a way to justify the huge costs of the global warming regulations they wanted to pursue. This effort focused on creating a “social cost of carbon,” which purports to put a dollar figure on the alleged future economic harms of global warming. The bureaucrats could then take this theoretical “cost” and use it to claim that their regulations were actually saving the economy from future damage.

To estimate future costs, the government selected three integrated assessment models which try to project the economic future. Not surprisingly, all three tend to estimate substantial harms from global warming, even though there is still a great deal of debate over both how much warming might happen in the future and whether any such warming will be harmful (but for the purposes of this discussion that can be left aside). When the federal government’s standard 7% discount rate was applied to these theorized future harms, the present value of those costs dwindled to insignificance. Indeed, applied to one of the models, the present “cost” is actually negative, implying that taking no action to reduce carbon dioxide could actually be economically beneficial. In other words, more economic growth today will be more beneficial to future Americans than restrictive regulation, even if we assume significant future harm from global warming.

Of course this result could not be allowed to stand. The whole point of a social cost of carbon is to artificially inflate the benefits of global warming regulation. So the bureaucrats do what they do best: change the rules to get the outcome they wanted. In this case, the Obama administration used different, much smaller discount rates. The administration publicized a calculated social cost of carbon for discount rates of 5%, 3% and 2.5%, completely disregarding the required 7%. Then they chose the “mid-range” of their new three lower rates, and announced a social cost of carbon of $36 per ton of carbon dioxide (in contrast to close to $0 per ton at a 7% rate).

The upshot is that now for every global warming regulation that claims to reduce carbon dioxide (a colorless, non-toxic, non-polluting gas that is necessary for plant life on earth) is considered to be providing benefits of $36 for every ton of reduction. Given that virtually every human activity, including breathing, generates carbon dioxide, the federal government can now claim “climate benefits” for almost any regulatory action it undertakes. And just last month, a federal court deferred to the federal government’s decision to use this value for social cost of carbon.

The dishonesty and inside-dealing here is obvious. A group of global warming alarmists, using exaggerated models, disregarded federal guidelines and cooked the books until they got an outcome they liked. And there are even some radical environmentalists that say that this inflated number they manufactured is still too low! Talk about rigging the system.


In new book, scholar peels back layers of deception on global warming

Michael Hart is a former official in Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and now emeritus professor of international affairs at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, where he has taught courses on the laws and institutions of international trade, Canadian foreign policy, and the politics of climate change. He held the Fulbright-Woodrow Wilson Center Visiting Research Chair in Canada-U.S. Relations and was Scholar-in-Residence in the School of International Service, Senior Fellow at American University in Washington, and is the founder and director emeritus of Carleton University’s Centre for Trade Policy and Law. In addition, he has taught courses in several other countries. He is the author, editor, or co-editor of more than a dozen books and several hundred articles.

LifeSiteNews interviewed him during a conference on Catholic Perspectives on the Environment, sponsored by the Wojtyla Institute for Teachers, held at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom in Barry’s Bay, Ontario, August  4-6, 2016.

1)  Professor Hart, your book Hubris: The Troubling Science, Economics, and Politics of Climate Change, has recently been published. In it, you challenge a worldwide project that has become something of a sacred cow. Can you tell our readers what motivated you to begin your research into the subject?

I was initially motivated by questions from my students – and my wife – about the policy implications of climate change. The more I looked into it, however, the more I learned the extent to which it fit with one of my research interests: the extent to which modern health, safety, and environmental regulatory activity relies on poor science advanced by activists to push an agenda. I learned that both domestic and international actors had succeeded in using the poorly understood science of climate change to advance an ambitious environmental agenda focused on increasing centralized control over people’s daily lives.

2) How long did the research and writing stages take?

I started researching the issue 10 years ago, and found myself engaged in a project that was both challenging and critical to understanding a movement determined to use the climate issue to advance a utopian agenda.

3) Your critique of the problems involved in climate change theory is wide ranging. Your approach is lucid and fastidiously documented, an eminently reasonable assessment of the scientific data that have been used and misused to support the theory. How is the “science” being misused?

The global climate is one of the most complex, chaotic, non-linear natural systems we know. It is in a constant state of flux due to such factors as changes in the output of the sun, changes in Earth’s orbit around the sun, and oscillations in ocean heat uptake. The alarm movement has taken one such factor – growth in the minor atmospheric greenhouse gas carbon dioxide – to claim that human activity is changing the atmosphere to an alarming degree, leading inexorably to a much warmer climate. While increased atmospheric carbon dioxide – from .03 to .04 percent of the atmosphere – should lead to some warming, the extent of that warming within the context of a complex system that is in a constant state of flux due to numerous forcings and feedbacks is highly exaggerated. As UK science journalist Matt Ridley points out, “Environmental researchers are increasingly looking for evidence that fits their ideology rather than seeking the truth.” The best evidence indicates that the mild warming at the end of the 20th century was well within historical and geologic experience. Over the first decade and a half of the 21st century, there has been no net warming. The alarmist movement relies extensively on flawed computer models to make its case.

4) Equally important is your in-depth analysis of the sociological pressures, and one might say, the psychological pressures and manipulation brought to bear upon scientists. In the chapter titled “Science and its Pathologies,” we read about how this is done on numerous levels in the academic and scientific communities. Why is a theory that is supported by so little empirical data being promoted as fact?

More than one motivation drives the abuse of science. Among scientists, the primary reasons are money, career advancement, and prestige. In order to pursue their research programs, scientists need money from governments and foundations. They have learned that satisfying the agenda of both helps funds to flow. As a result, they have learned to adapt their research to the desired outcomes. Related to money and careers is the need to publish in so-called prestige journals on the basis of peer review of their work. As I explain in my book, over the years, much of peer review has degenerated into pal review that maintains the dominant perspective. Views that challenge that perspective are ruthlessly weeded out. Additionally, a significant amount of published research fails numerous tests of reliability due to sloppy methods, misuse and abuse of statistics, ignored negative findings, and other failings in scientific integrity. Climate change science has been particularly prone to these failings. Nobel Prize winners such as Robert Jastrow and Freeman Dyson have become increasingly critical of the course of modern science. Many indicate that the insights that led to their Nobel Prize would never have passed current peer review.

5) In addition, there are very disturbing propaganda techniques being used to promote the theory to the general public. Who is behind this?

The leaders driving the climate change movement come from a variety of persuasions. The environmental movement found in the alarm about global warming – now climate change – a potent new way in which to raise funds and increase awareness of its broader concerns about the state of the environment. UN officials learned that concern about climate change could be harnessed to bolster support for UN social and economic programs and to advance the UN’s goal of world governance by experts. Left-wing politicians discovered in climate change renewed ways to press their agenda of social and economic justice through coercive government programs. As John Sununu, the former governor of New Hampshire, sees it, “The alarmists have learned well from the past. They saw what motivates policy makers is not necessarily just hard science, but a well-orchestrated symphony of effort … announce a disaster; cherry pick some results; back it up with computer modeling; proclaim a consensus; stifle the opposition; take over the process and control the funding; and roll the policy makers.” In their more candid moments, movement leaders agree, as did Timothy Wirth, former U.S. Senator and chief climate envoy during the Clinton administration: “We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing.”

6) Obviously, throughout history climate has always been in a state of change. Is the current obsession with it symptomatic of something deeper in contemporary human consciousness?

Alarm over a changing climate leading to malign results is in many ways the product of the hunger for stability and direction in a post-Christian world. Humans have a deep, innate need for a transcendent authority. Having rejected the precepts of Christianity, people in the advanced economies of the West are turning to other forms of authority. Putting aside those who cynically exploit the issue for their own gain – from scientists and politicians to UN leaders and green businesses – most activists are deeply committed to a secular, statist, anti-human, earth-centric set of beliefs which drives their claims of a planet in imminent danger from human activity. To them, a planet with fewer people is the ultimate goal, achievable only through centralized direction and control. As philosopher of science Jeffrey Foss points out, “Environmental science conceives and expresses humankind’s relationship to nature in a manner that is – as a matter of observable fact – religious.” It “prophesies an environmental apocalypse. It tells us that the reason we confront apocalypse is our own environmental sinfulness. Our sin is one of impurity. We have fouled a pure, ‘pristine’ nature with our dirty household and industrial wastes. The apocalypse will take the form of an environmental backlash, a payback for our sins. … environmental scientists tell people what they must do to be blameless before nature.”

7) Is it a case of over-focus on one aspect of life on this planet to the detriment of other aspects? Or is it purely a device being used for political purposes?

I think it is both. For some, such as movement leaders, UN officials, and many politicians, the issue is being cynically exploited to advance their agenda of greater control over human lives. For others, particularly rank and file environmental activists, climate change serves to reinforce and validate their broader concerns to the exclusion of many other dimensions of human life.

8) Those of us who are older recall the “urban legend” (or global myth), one might say, created by books such as Future Shock and The Population Bomb, which swept the world in the late 1960s and 70s, fostering a sense of panic regarding the future of mankind. At the very least, they spread an atmosphere of alarmism, forcing people to look for radical solutions to the human condition. They were based on questionable science and yet were promoted as authentic. Is our current favorite cause the same kind of passing phenomenon, or is something more serious happening?

I believe it is a similar phenomenon, but one that has captured the imagination and concerns of more people and has more support among elites. In my view, it is potentially more troubling and damaging than these earlier alarms.

9) You state that “official science,” the alliance of governments and bogus science, is a form of immorality pretending to be virtue. You conclude the book with a warning: The apparently idealistic combat against climate change, you assert, may well prove to be the mechanism for ushering in a Utopia. You maintain that utopian dreams may appear in the beginning to be about freedom and quality of life and yet will degenerate into what you and other thinkers have called “totalitarian democracy” — which means the destruction of authentic liberal democracy. Is this inevitable?

I am optimistic. I do not think its long-term success is inevitable, but it will take a determined effort by people of faith and conscience to point to its darker motives and its sinister exploitation of populist fears. We know from history that such movements have a predictable life cycle: They emerge with much enthusiasm among intellectual elites, they gain a broad following by focusing on alarmist predictions before becoming part of the political mainstream, and then decline into a minor movement among fringe intellectuals as a new alarm movement takes its place. The problem is that such movements can do a lot of damage and remain embedded within the intellectual community with the ability to rise, phoenix-like, as a new alarm. Former adherents of the eugenics movement and its successor, population control, for example, are now an integral part of the climate change alarm movement.

10) Numerous thinkers, as diverse as the atheist Aldous Huxley and the Catholic philosopher Josef Pieper, have warned that this kind of totalitarianism is the most dangerous of all, because it can always argue that it is not what, in fact, it is. Are we there yet? Or is the process still reversible?

I remain cautiously optimistic. Popular support for climate change action peaked a few years ago. In Europe, which has gone furthest in implementing climate change policies, politicians are beginning to look for ways to moderate earlier initiatives. In North America, rhetoric has far outstripped actions while the Obama administration has relied on stealth to implement its climate change agenda. At the same time, climate change has added to the momentum of the broader secularization of society and the pursuit of anti-human policies and programs. We are, sadly, farther down that road than we have ever been before.



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

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


13 September, 2016

Global warming causing bumpy aircraft rides?

Global Warming Causing Airline Turbulence! And guess what, it’s due to climate change!  From the Guardian:

“It is predicted there will be more and more incidents of severe clear-air turbulence, which typically comes out of the blue with no warning, occurring in the near future as climate change takes its effect in the stratosphere,” Dr Paul Williams, a Royal Society research fellow at Reading University, said last week. “There has already been a steady rise in incidents of severe turbulence affecting flights over the past few decades. Globally, turbulence causes dozens of fatalities a year on small private planes and hundreds of injuries to passengers in big jets. And as carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere keep on rising, so will the numbers of incidents.”

Readers may recall that Paul Williams is the same guy who claimed that the jet stream was getting stronger a few months ago, even though other junk scientists such as Jennifer Francis and John Holdren say the opposite is happening.

It is also the same Paul Williams who has been in receipt of £700K worth of Royal Society Fellowship grants since 2009.

Unfortunately for the credibility of Dr Williams, he also wrote this paper in 2013.  In it, he states:

Worse still, FAA statistics show no evidence at all of turbulence worsening, despite air travel becoming more common:

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

Is The Ozone Hole Really Mending?

The ozone hole has become one of the great scientific stories of our time. In the mid-1980s it was realised that chlorofluorocarbons -  released from such things as refrigerators – were making their way into the stratosphere, concentrating at the poles and destroying the UV-protective ozone.

The problem called for an international response. The subsequent 1987 Montreal Protocol banned ozone-destroying chemicals, which has led to the size of the ozone hole at the poles stabilising. But is it starting to reduce in size? Are we seeing the first signs of recovery and an eventual restoration of normal ozone levels in a few decades?

A recent study published in the journal Science says, ‘yes’. The researchers claim to have detected the first signs of healing in the southern hemisphere’s ozone hole. They conclude that the ozone concentration has increased since 2000, and that since then the size of the ozone hole has decreased by 4.5 m sq km.

The ozone hole appears in the austral spring – September and October. In the polar night, cfc’s wait for the sunlight when they release chlorine atoms, which then destroy the ozone.

The researchers used balloon observations taken from the south pole and from a Japanese research station on the coast of Maud Land. They say that October may not be the best month to see evidence of healing. October shows the deepest ozone depletion, but is subject to large fluctuations due to the state of the atmosphere.

They argue that signs of increasing ozone concentration is only visible in the September data since 2000.

The research was widely reported across the media, but the researchers’ own low estimates of confidence  should have caused reporters to treat the story with more caution.

As the researchers themselves point out, data taken in October shows no improvement, and data from September shows an increase only at the 10% significance level, which is generally considered not reliable enough to make confident statements.

The problem is that there is too much variation on ozone from year to year to pick out, reliably, such a small trend in the data.

According to Susan Strathan of NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center, the paper’s results are, ‘a small piece of the puzzle, and we expect that in years to come we’ll see stronger evidence.’

Consequently, claims of an ozone recovery are premature. Many expect to see such a recovery in the future, but it hasn’t been reliably seen just yet.


Record September Heatwave in Britain over 100 years ago

The start of September 1906 saw one of the most exceptional heatwaves to ever occurred in the UK. It stands together with the heatwaves of August 2003, 1990 and 1911 and what is the most remarkable about it is that it occurred at the beginning of September.

The intense heatwave started at the end of August with low pressure to the west and this pumped a very hot continental southerly across the UK. Temperatures rocketed in the brilliant sunshine with 35C recorded on the 1st in London, 35.6C at Bawtry in South Yorkshire, 34.8C at Old Southgate in London and 34.7C at Wryde in Cambridgeshire on the 2nd, 34.2C at Westley in Suffolk on the 3rd. A cooler air flow toppled over the UK as the ridge over the UK began to retreat

30th August: 31.7C at Jersey, 30C at Maidenhead

31st August: 34.9C at Maidenhead, 34.8C at Wryde, Cambs

The heatwave reached it's peak at the beginning of September

1st September: 35.0C at Collyweston and New Malden

2nd September: 35.6C at Bawtry Hall, S Yorks; 34.8C at Old Southgate, London; 34.7C at Wryde

3rd September: 34.2C at Westley, Suffolk\


It was hot in Australia too

From the "Hobart Mercury" of 14 January, 1905

Carbon dioxide level at the time was 290 parts per million.


[...] A few days ago at Science Mag, a post notes the huge financial risks faced by universities in the States if their employees engage in scientific deceptions to obtain federal funding:

The Duke case “should scare all [academic] institutions around the country,” says attorney Joel Androphy of Berg & Androphy in Houston, Texas, who specializes in false claims litigation. It appears to be one of the largest FCA suits ever to focus on research misconduct in academia, he says, and, if successful, could “open the floodgates” to other whistleblowing cases.

Here, FCA denotes the ‘False Claims Act’, a piece of legislation that can require repayment of of up to three times the amount of any grant awarded by the government, and ‘produce a multimillion dollar payout to the whisteblower’:

False claims lawsuits, also known as qui tam suits, are a growing part of the U.S. legal landscape. Under an 1863 law, citizen whistleblowers can go to court on behalf of the government to try to recoup federal funds that were fraudulently obtained. Winners can earn big payoffs, getting up to 30% of any award, with the rest going to the government. Whistleblowers filed a record 754 FCA cases in 2013, and last year alone won nearly $600 million. The U.S. government, meanwhile, has recouped more than $3.5 billion annually from FCA cases in recent years.

Several comments below this Science piece suggest that academic climate campaigners may be in danger of costing their employers a fortune. The Climategate Revelations are cited as general evidence of deviousness in climate science circles – a position also taken by some climate research insiders such as Garth Paltridge in Australia who recently wrote this:

The general public learnt from the Climategate and “hockey-stick” scandals that activist climate scientists are quite willing to cherry-pick and manipulate real world data in support of their efforts to save the world. The scientists on their part have learnt that they can get away with it. Their cause is politically correct, and is shaping up well to be the basis for a trillion-dollar industry. That sort of backing automatically provides plenty of protection.

There is little doubt that vast sums of government money in the US have been disbursed for climate studies. There is little doubt that at least some of the associated research is of low quality. But have federal funds ever been ‘fraudulently obtained’? That would be for the courts to decide, if and when climate whistle-blowers emerge to make prosecutions.

Has this now very broad field (including economics, politics, and many areas of science) become that corrupt? I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the answer turns out to be yes.


Climate Cargo Cult Circles the Pacific

By Viv Forbes

The World Economic Forum in 2015 had a prophetic vision that unless the world mends its wicked ways “global warming will become catastrophic and irreversible”.

In July 2016 the U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, claimed that global warming was as dangerous to the world as Islamic terrorism.

At the recent G20 summit in China, the world leader of the Global Warming Religion, Ban Ki-moon, canonised two new cardinals -- Cardinal Obama (who seeks political sainthood in his afterlife), and Cardinal Xi Jinping (who seeks to crucify western industry on the climate cross). Both signed the Paris Pledge.

Then at the ASEAN Economic Forum, ordained Minister Turnbull of Australia joined worshippers to pray for a saviour from Global Warming.

Global warming to hit Asia hardest -- “Hundreds of millions of people are likely to lose their homes as flooding, famine and rising sea levels sweep the region.”

Finally, at the Pacific Island Forum in Vanuatu last week, the Global Warming service commenced with a rousing rendition of the hymn “Repent and Pay, or the Seas will Devour Us”.

As a sign of his devotion, Australia’s Global Warming Minister Turnbull dropped a cool $80M into the Global Warming Collection Plate. Islanders who truly believe will now receive total donations of A$300M from the pious Australian government.

John Kerry was right -- this new Global Warming religion is spreading faster than radical Islam. It is the new Cargo Cult.



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, 2016

Confusion, muddle, obfuscation and racism

As Obama, UN and EPA seek to dictate our lives and livelihoods, the real issue is green racism

Paul Driessen

Winston Churchill called Russia a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. We could say Obama’s energy and climate policy is confusion wrapped in muddled thinking inside obfuscation – and driven by autocratic diktats that bring job-killing, economy-strangling, racist and deadly outcomes.

President Obama was recently in China, where his vainglorious arrival turned into an inglorious snub, when he had to use Air Force 1’s rear exit. He was there mostly to join Chinese President Xi Jinping and UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon, to formally sign the Paris climate treaty that Mr. Obama insists is not a treaty (and thus does not require Senate “advice and consent” under Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution) because it is not binding – yet.

However, once it has been “signed and delivered” by 55 nations representing 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions, it will be hailed as binding. China and the US alone represent 38% of total emissions, so adding a few more big nations (Argentina, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Japan and Germany, eg) would reach the emission threshold. Adding a bunch of countries that merely want their “fair share” of the billions of dollars in annual climate “adaptation, mitigation and reparation” cash would hit the country minimum.

Few if any developing nations will reduce their oil, natural gas or coal use anytime soon. That would be economic and political suicide. In fact, China and India plan to build some 1,600 new coal-fired power plants by 2030, Japan 43, Turkey 80, Poland a dozen, and the list goes on and on, around the globe.

Meanwhile, the United States is shutting down its coal-fueled units. Under Obama’s treaty, the USA will be required to go even further, slashing its carbon dioxide emissions by 28% below 2005 levels by 2025. That will unleash energy, economic and environmental impacts far beyond what the Administration’s endless, baseless climate decrees are already imposing.

Federal agencies constantly harp on wildly exaggerated and fabricated “social costs of carbon” – but completely and deliberately ignore the incredible benefits of carbon-based energy.

The battle is now shifting to natural gas – methane. Hillary Clinton and Democrats promise to regulate drilling and fracking into oblivion on federal lands. California regulators are targeting cow flatulence!

EPA continues to expand ethanol requirements, even though this fuel additive reduces mileage, damages small engines, uses acreage equivalent to Iowa, requires enormous amounts of water, fertilizer, pesticides, gasoline, methane and diesel fuel – and releases more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than it removes.

Wind turbines, photovoltaic solar arrays and their interminable transmission lines already blanket millions of acres of farmland and wildlife habitats. They kill millions of birds and bats (but are exempt from endangered species laws), to provide expensive, subsidized, unreliable electricity. Expanding wind, solar and biofuel programs to reach the 28% CO2 reduction target would increase these impacts exponentially.

But all this is necessary, we’re told, to prevent climate cataclysms, like an Arctic meltdown. “Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone,” the Washington Post reported. Icebergs are becoming scarcer, in some places seals are finding the water too hot, and within a few years rising seas “will make most coastal cities uninhabitable.” The situation could hardly be more dire. Oh, wait. My mistake.

That was in November 1922! Recent warming and cooling episodes are not so unprecedented, after all.

However, all this climate confusion, obfuscation, fabrication and prevarication are merely prelude, a sideshow. The real issues here are eco-imperialism, racism and racially disparate impacts.

Not the kind of racism the Washington Post alludes to by putting a front-page story about Donald Trump going to a black church in Detroit next to a piece about a black soldier being horrifically lynched at Fort Benning, Georgia in 1941. Nor absurd claims by Detroit Free Press writer Stephen Henderson that Trump is racist for daring to go to that church to “boost his stock among white middle-class voters,” when he has “no interest” in addressing inner city problems.

This racism is the sneaky, subtle, green variety: of government policies that inflict their worst impacts on the poorest among us, huge numbers of them minorities – while insisting that the gravest risks those families face are from climate change or barely detectable pollutants in their air and water.

In the Real World, soaring energy prices mean poor families cannot afford adequate heating and air conditioning, cannot save or afford proper nutrition, and must rely on schools, hospitals and businesses whose energy costs are also climbing – bringing higher prices, reduced services and lost jobs.

Workers who are laid off, dumped on welfare rolls or forced to take multiple lower-paying part-time jobs face greater stress and depression, reduced nutrition, sleep deprivation, greater alcohol, drug, spousal and child abuse, and higher suicide, stroke, heart attack and cancer rates. That means every life supposedly saved by anti-fossil fuel policies is offset by real lives lost due to government actions.

Unemployment among minorities, especially black teens, is already far higher than for the population at large. Crime and other inner city problems are far worse than elsewhere. Policies that further cripple economic growth, job creation and revenue generation will make their situation infinitely worse.

Of course, legislators, regulators, lobbyists, eco-activists, crony capitalists, judges and celebrities are rarely affected. Their communities are far from those that bear the brunt of their edicts, so they’re shielded from most impacts of policies they impose. They know what is happening, but are almost never held accountable for actions that are racist in their outcomes, if not in their supposed “good intentions.”

To them, a planet free from inflated, hypothetical dangers from modern technologies is more important than lives improved or saved by those technologies. In Earth’s poorest countries, the outcomes are lethal on a daily basis. There, billions live on a few dollars a day, rarely or never have electricity, and are wracked by joblessness, malnutrition, disease and despair. Millions die every year from malaria, lung infections, malnutrition, severe diarrhea, and countless other diseases of poverty and eco-imperialism.

And yet, President Obama, the UN, its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and myriad environmental pressure groups tell impoverished dark-skinned people they should rely on “clean energy strategies” to improve their lives, but not “too much,” since anything more would not be “sustainable.”

“If everybody has got a car and air conditioning and a big house,” Mr. Obama told South Africans, “the planet will boil over.” He can jet, live and golf all over the planet, but they must limit their aspirations.

Thus his Overseas Private Investment Corporation refused to support a gas-fired power plant in Ghana, and the United States “abstained” from supporting a World Bank loan for South Africa’s state-of-the-art Medupi coal-fired power plant. Meanwhile, radical environmentalist campaigns limit the ability of African and other nations to use DDT and insecticides to control malaria, dengue fever and Zika – or GMO seeds and even hybrid seeds and modern fertilizers to improve crop yields and nutrition.

No wonder Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said his country will not ratify the Paris climate treaty. “Now that we’re developing, you will impose a limit? That’s absurd,” he snorted. He’s absolutely right.

These anti-technology campaigns are akin to denying chemotherapy to cancer patients. They result in racist eco-manslaughter and must no longer be tolerated – no matter how “caring” and “well-intended” supposed “climate cataclysm prevention” policies might be.

If we’re going to discuss race, racism, disparate impacts, black and all lives mattering, and protecting people and planet from manmade risks, let’s make sure all these topics become part of that discussion.

Via email

Obama aides visit Mass. to strengthen offshore wind efforts

Deepwater Wind just finished the first offshore wind farm in the country, a five-turbine project off Block Island’s coast. The Obama administration wants to make sure it won’t be the last one.

Two members of President Obama’s Cabinet, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, came to the Wind Technology Testing Center in Charlestown on Friday to unveil the administration’s new blueprint for developing a significant offshore wind industry over the next few decades.

“We’ve made important strides,” Jewell said. “We’re very hopeful we’ll see steel in the ground again, beyond what’s happened at Block Island, relatively soon.”

Their goal: putting more than 80 gigawatts of offshore wind in motion by 2050. That’s slightly more than the capacity of all the wind farms located on US soil today.

Two years ago, on another sunny September day, the testing center served as the backdrop for the announcement of a major milestone in the Cape Wind project. The center is a cavernous building where giant blades for wind turbines are subjected to stress checks. But the Cape Wind project has since collapsed, and many industry insiders view it as dead.

Now, the industry is moving beyond Cape Wind, once the only utility-scale offshore wind proposal in the country. The 30-megawatt, $300 million Block Island project, for example, is scheduled to start generating power this fall. The Massachusetts Legislature this summer passed a law compelling utilities to buy as much as 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind power over the course of a decade.

And three energy developers, including Deepwater Wind, have secured rights to federal waters south of Massachusetts, much farther from shore than Cape Wind would have been. Those developers — the others are DONG Energy and OffshoreMW — this week signed a letter of intent to stage work at a terminal in New Bedford that was once slated for Cape Wind.

Those milestones are what drew Jewell and Moniz to Boston on Friday. Essentially, their report calls for reducing bureaucratic red tape: expediting wind-farm permitting, stepping up inter-agency coordination, standardizing data collection, and the like.

Moniz spoke about technological advances, in part spurred by research projects funded by his agency, that will reduce offshore wind farm costs and bring the price of their electricity closer to that of other sources.

Thomas Brostrom, the head of DONG Energy’s US operations, was encouraged by what he heard. The federal proposals are “absolutely important for offshore wind,” Brostrom said. “There are things you can streamline a little bit more, and the collaboration between the agencies can still be improved a little bit, but it’s a fantastic job in a short period of time.”


University official wants answers on whether climate professors are ‘indoctrinating’ students

The University of Colorado professors who shut down climate change debate in class have landed on the radar of a top school official, who says he wants to make sure students are being “educated, not indoctrinated.”

John Carson, a member of the University of Colorado Board of Regents, said he plans to make inquires Thursday about an email from three University of Colorado at Colorado Springs professors who advised students to drop the class if they dispute climate change.

“I have a lot of questions after reading this reported email sent to students,” Mr. Carson told The Washington Times. “We should be encouraging debate and dialogue at the university, not discouraging or forbidding it. Students deserve more respect than this. They come to the university to be educated, not indoctrinated.”

He said several constituents asked him Wednesday about reports on the email, in which professors told students that the course would be based on “the scientific premise that human induced climate change is valid and occurring,” and that anyone disputing that premise may want to drop out.

“We will not, at any time, debate the science of climate change, nor will the ‘other side’ of the climate change debate be taught or discussed in this course,” said the email posted online Wednesday by the College Fix.

The professors — Wendy Haggen, Rebecca Laroche and Eileen Skahill — are team-teaching the fall online course, “Medical Humanities in the Digital Age.”

Mr. Carson, a Republican, said he also was concerned about limits on student research based on another statement in the email: “We ask that any outside sources that are used be peer-reviewed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,” which falls under the auspices of the United Nations.

“If it’s accurate, the email even limits the sources of research that students can use,” Mr. Carson said. “For there to be a prohibition on debate and dialogue on a particular public policy issue at the university is certainly alarming.”

The nine-member Board of Regents, an elected body that oversees the University of Colorado system, has a 5-4 Republican majority. The board is scheduled to meet Sept. 8 at the UCCS campus.
“The meeting may be pretty timely,” Mr. Carson said.

UCCS spokesman Tom Hutton defended the professors Wednesday, describing the class as a “special topics course with multiple choices for students to take when fulfilling requirements.”

“By clearly stating the class focus, the faculty are allowing students to choose if they wish to enroll in the course or seek an alternative,” Mr. Hutton said. “Additionally, the faculty who are leading the course have offered to discuss it with students who have concerns or differing opinions.”

In their email, the professors also say 98 percent of climate scientists agree on climate change, referring to the so-called “97 percent consensus,” a figure that has been widely cited as well as hotly disputed.


Peak Solar Activity Drove 2015/16 El Ni?o, Chinese Scientists Say

Chinese Academy of Science physicists find link between solar peaks and strong El Ni?os

Wen-Juan Huo and Zi-Niu Xiao, two physicists at the Chinese Academy of Science, have published new research today suggesting that the strong 2015/16 El Ni?o event occurred right after the 2014 solar peak and may be directly linked to strong solar activity. The Chinese scientists found a significant positive correlation between sunspot numbers and the El Ni?o Modoki index, with a lag of two years.

Moreover, strong El Ni?o events were found within 1–3 years following each solar peak year during the past 126 years, suggesting that anomalously strong solar activity during solar peak periods may be the key trigger of such El Ni?o events.

These findings may help explain the rapid rise and fall of global temperatures over the last 2 years.

Recent SST and atmospheric circulation anomaly data suggest that the 2015/16 El Ni?o event is quickly decaying. Some researchers have predicted a forthcoming La Ni?a event in late summer or early fall 2016. From the perspective of the modulation of tropical SST by solar activity, the authors studied the evolution of the 2015/16 El Ni?o event, which occurred right after the 2014 solar peak year. Based on statistical and composite analysis, a significant positive correlation was found between sunspot number index and El Ni?o Modoki index, with a lag of two years. A clear evolution of El Ni?o Modoki events was found within 1–3 years following each solar peak year during the past 126 years, suggesting that anomalously strong solar activity during solar peak periods favors the triggering of an El Ni?o Modoki event. The patterns of seasonal mean SST and wind anomalies since 2014 are more like a mixture of two types of El Ni?o (i.e., eastern Pacific El Ni?o and El Ni?o Modoki), which is similar to the pattern modulated by solar activity during the years following a solar peak. Therefore, the El Ni?o Modoki component in the 2015/16 El Ni?o event may be a consequence of solar activity, which probably will not decay as quickly as the eastern Pacific El Ni?o component. The positive SST anomaly will probably sustain in the central equatorial Pacific (around the dateline) and the northeastern Pacific along the coast of North America, with a low-intensity level, during the second half of 2016. [...]

4. Conclusion

This study investigated the modulation of El Ni?o Modoki events by solar activity, and analyzed the possible impact of solar activity on the 2015/16 El Ni?o event. The 2015/16 El Ni?o event is more like a mixture of two types of El Ni?o; namely, EP El Ni?o and El Ni?o Modoki. The EMI has a clear decadal period, similar to the solar cycle, and demonstrates a significant positive correlation with sunspot numbers. Statistical analysis revealed that an El Ni?o Modoki event will most likely occur in the one to three years following a solar peak year. The solar cycle reached a peak in 2014—the 24th solar cycle since 1755. The evolution of the SST and wind anomalies are similar to the typical features found from historical data composites in peak years and the following one to three years after a solar peak. Therefore, the El Ni?o Modoki component of the 2015/16 El Ni?o event might also have resulted from high solar activity. Considering the impact of high solar activity, the El Ni?o Modoki component in the 2015/16 El Ni?o event may not decay as quickly as the EP El Ni?o event. It will likely sustain in the central Pacific, with a low-intensity level, in the second half of 2016.


India Wants US Assurance On NSG Membership Before Ratifying Paris Agreement

India will test the waters to know whether the US is keen on ‘redoubling’ the efforts for membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) by November, before taking a call on ratifying the Paris climate deal.

After China also ratified the accord, which President Barack Obama sees as part of his presidency’s legacy, the US is pushing India to ratify the agreement at an early date. India had linked its membership of the NSG, an elite club of countries dealing with trade in nuclear technologies and fissile materials, to ratifying Paris climate agreement.

“An early positive decision by the NSG would have allowed us to move forward on the Paris Agreement,” external affairs ministry had said after India failed to make the cut at the NSG in June.

Americans didn’t take kindly to this. According to sources, at the last strategic dialogue and subsequent high level interactions, the US pressed for India’s consent for an early ratification of the pact.

“External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj made it clear that Indian commitment is firm (for ratifying the Paris accord) and India will compress the internal processes for the same. But the US needs to walk the talk on NSG membership, which has a direct bearing on our pursuit of clean energy,” said a government official. India hopes that the US will step up its efforts in this regard by November.

The US has assured India that it will redouble efforts but sources said whether the “US would do enough at the highest levels to lobby for India is an important question”. Also, how much “leverage” an outgoing president would have on countries, most importantly on China, is the key question.


Australia pays heavy cost for its policies of protecting sharks

Another week, another three shark attacks on recreational ocean lovers.

One was fatal: West Australian kitesurfer David Jewell, 50, died after being bitten in New Caledonia, 1500km across the Coral Sea from the Gold Coast, on Tuesday.

Another attack — the previous day, at ­Injidup, near Yallingup, Western Australia — will be ­remembered for the sheer luck of the surfer ­involved. Fraser Penman, 22, was thrown off his surfboard by a shark that attacked from beneath. The force of the ­impact, which ­almost broke his surfboard in two, suggests the shark had a lethal ­intention.

Surfer Mick Corbett, who was sitting only metres away, said Penman landed on the back of the shark, which he estimated to be 5m long. The attack continued. "The guy is going up and down, he’s screaming, his brother is screaming," Corbett recalled. "I thought he was actually getting properly eaten … I kept thinking, this is f..ked."

Australia spends millions of dollars researching the movements and behaviour of sharks but no researcher has yet shown even the slightest curiosity in why some shark attacks go on for minutes and others end with the beast moving on, which is what happened in this instance. There is no doubt, though, that Penman owes a lot to his surfboard taking the ­initial hit. Had the shark ­attacked one of his limbs instead, Penman would now be permanently maimed, physically and psychologically, or dead — another statistic in a toll to which we become increasingly ­accustomed.

Yesterday, Penman’s attack had still not been recorded at the Australian Shark Attack File’s website, even under its seemingly benign "uninjured" column. Such indifference to maintaining the file, which is funded by taxpayers and should be the most reliable guide to the present safety or otherwise of our nation’s beaches, reflects the wider nonchalance of the shark research community ­towards the safety of people.

Almost everywhere one looks — the CSIRO, universities and the various departments of primary industries or fishing — one sees a higher priority given to sharks than surfers, divers or swimmers. This misanthropism springs from the common perception that humans are a blight on our planet and that a few casualties from interactions with nature are an acceptable price in the quest to save the Earth from ­rapacious humans. Such a deliberate lack of ­humanity is usually assoc­iated only with religious ­delusions or witchcraft. But, then, you "believe" in "saving" the environment or you don’t.

The longer this goes on, the more absurd our behaviour. In this respect, Reunion Island provides a worrying sign of where Australia is heading. ­Reunion introduced a marine park on the west side of the island in 2007 and implemented a ban on shark fishing. Since 2011, the effect of these policies has ­become apparent.

The island has had 19 attacks in six years, seven of them fatal, from a population of 850,000. Most surfers on the ­island have known not just one but several friends who have been killed or badly injured. Most parents in the tight surfing community have ­attended the funeral of several friends’ children, if not their own.

And it was on Reunion where this week’s third attack occurred. This one encapsulates how neurotic the debate about sharks has become. A bodyboarder named Laurent Chardard arrived at Boucan Canot beach last Saturday to see, apart from large and good-quality surf, red flags on the sand.

Boucan has a 700m net around it, built last year. It is one of two netted beaches, the only places where it is considered safe to surf on an island that until recently was on every surfer’s bucket list of dream destinations. However, ­that morning inspectors had noticed a 2m hole in the net and erected the flags — not warning of a shark, just the potential of one.

Fifteen surfers paddled out anyway. Chardard was one of them. He was attacked by a bull shark and lost his right arm and leg. "Just let me die — I don’t want to live like this," he told the brave fellow surfers who came to his rescue. (Since waking up in hospital, Chardard has developed a wonderfully admirable optimism and is "ready to live again" with prosthetic limbs, one of his friends told me.) Like the luckier Penman, Chardard is only 22 years old.

The day after the attack, the owner of the Petit Boucan, one of five restaurants on the beach, went on radio to complain he’d had almost no customers since the attack and that Chardard should be charged with a criminal offence. He also floated the idea of suing Chardard for damages. In Australia it’s common to blame the victim of a shark attack but threatening to sue one takes this antagonism to a new level.

The restaurateur has since apologised — a smart move considering his clientele consists mostly of surfers, who angrily proposed a prolonged boycott. However, the restaurateur’s grievance is understandable. He has a business to run and bills to pay. His restaurant is at one of the few ­places on the island where it was presumably safe to swim or surf. Now that beach has been stigmatised.

Arriving at this negative outcome has not been cheap for Reunion. The net at Boucan cost about $1.5 million to build (but was still damaged by one of the first large swells to hit it), and about half that a year to maintain. The island’s tourism industry has been cut dramatically. And, of course, Chardard and his family and friends have paid a heavy price.

All this for … a fish. Why can’t we treat sharks like other fish, or cattle, or rats? Why are they ­exempt from our usual attitude towards animals? Why do we go to such pains to ensure these fish thrive at the cost of young lives?

The usual response to these questions is that sharks are an "apex predator" and that tampering with them has a "cascading" effect that would lead to the "collapse" of the marine environment.

But a landmark report published by the West Australian ­Department of Fisheries this year, the result of one of the most comprehensive studies into shark movement, disputes this. The report, bearing the catchy title of Evaluation of ­Passive Acoustic Telemetry ­Approaches for Monitoring Shark Hazards Off the Coast of Western Australia, says the movement of great whites is "highly variable" and "not consis­tent". So a beach visited by a great white one day might not see ­another for a week, or a year, or a decade. Whether the shark ­returns or not, the environment adapts, just as Charles Darwin explained it would more than 150 years ago.

Besides, the marine environment is less predictable than ­researchers lead us to believe. One would expect, for example, that the protection of great whites in South Australia would keep the population of fur seals (also protected) under control, but it hasn’t. Instead, fur seals are reaching plague proportions and are devastating the state’s fishing industry.

These outcomes are not quite as tragically counter-productive as those on Reunion but we are getting close. As part of its highly publicised $16m plan to protect surfers on the state’s north coast, the NSW government included the construction of a net, similar to the one at Boucan, at North Wall, Ballina. Local surfers told the government the plan was ludicrous and the net would be in ­pieces on the beach after the first big swell. The government persevered anyway, abandoning the idea after three attempts.

Five days after that plan was dropped, the government ­released to The Daily Telegraph details of an exciting new plan to keep sharks away from people: dropping Shark Shields, which emit electric pulses that make sharks uncomfortable, on them from drones. If this sounds like another ridiculously complex, time-consuming, expensive and ineffective idea, it’s because it is.

Meanwhile, the nation’s coastline is dotted with fishing ports in which hi-tech boats capable of profitably reducing the number of lethal sharks in our waters lay idle, or are used to catch fish that pose no threat to us.

It’s going to be a long summer.



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

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11 September, 2016

New amazing discovery:  Warming is GOOD for coral

I have been pointing that out for years

Coral reefs on the Great Barrier Reef grow better in the summer and in northern areas, a major ocean chemistry monitoring project has found.

The Future Reef 2.0 project is helping to identify which parts of the reef are most vulnerable to ocean acidification change and has just been extended for another three years.

CSIRO scientists have been running an advanced sensor system from a Rio Tinto vessel as part of the research, which also involves the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

CSIRO ocean carbon research scientist Dr Bronte Tilbrook said the research has found ocean chemistry remains positive for coral growth.

Dr Tilbrook said it had also found there were strong seasonal changes, with the best coral growing conditions in summer.

Conditions were also better in the outer regions of the reef and there was more coral growth in the northern parts, he said.

Specifically, the project has been examining how the entire reef is responding to ocean acidification, bleaching and cyclones.

"The data is going to help us understand how the reef is growing and how it's responding to certain stresses," he told AAP.

"We need to get the big picture and that's the thing the ship is allowing us to do."


How Global Warming Threatens Labor Productivity (?)

Lots of nice theory below but not much reality contact.  I was born and bred in the tropics, where temperatures over 100F were common.  But life just went on much as it would anywhere.  People acclimatize to higher temperatures

Global warming is projected to have a serious negative impact on outdoor labor productivity this century. That impact could well exceed the “combined cost of all other projected economic losses” from climate change, as one expert has explained. Yet it has “never been included in economic models of future warming”!

At the same time, higher carbon dioxide (CO2) levels threaten indoor productivity, as I reported last year. The Harvard School of Public Health has found that CO2 has a direct and negative impact on human cognition and decision-making at CO2 levels that most Americans are routinely exposed to today.

A 2013 NOAA study concluded that “heat-stress related labor capacity losses will double globally by 2050 with a warming climate.” If we don’t get off our current path of carbon pollution emissions, we face as much as a 50 percent drop in labor capacity in peak months by century’s end.

A number of recent studies have projected a collapse in labor productivity from business-as-usual carbon emissions and warming.

Here’s a key chart from a 2010 Ziven-Neidell paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research, “Temperature and the Allocation of Time: Implications for Climate Change.” It plots “the number of minutes in a day that individuals (who work in outdoor or temperature-exposed sectors in the USA) spent working as a function of maximum temperature (in Fahrenheit) that day.”

Productivity starts to nose-dive at 90°F and falls off the cliff at 100°F.

Andrew Gelman, director of the Applied Statistics Center at Columbia University, summed up the research this way: “2% per degree Celsius … the magic number for how worker productivity responds to warm/hot temperatures.” The negative impact appears to start at about 26°C (79°F).

So what does this mean for productivity? Prof. Solomon M. Hsiang has explained: “In my 2010 PNAS paper, I found that labor-intensive sectors of national economies decreased output by roughly 2.4% per degree C and argued that this looked suspiciously like it came from reductions in worker output. Using a totally different method and dataset, Matt Neidell and Josh Graff Zivin found that labor supply in micro data fell by 1.8% per degree C. Both responses kicked in at around 26C.”

Here is the key chart from Hsiang’s own work showing “national output in several [non-agricultural] industries … declining more rapidly at very high daily temperatures.”

Hsiang states the central point. His calculations show that the productivity loss from warming could exceed the “combined cost of all other projected economic losses” from climate change?—?and yet it has “never been included in economic models of future warming.”

So the next time you see a projection of the economic cost from climate change?—?and a resulting social cost of carbon?—?you might want to double the numbers to get a more accurate picture of what we are risking by our callous failure to sharply restrict carbon pollution.


Comment from a reader

The article seems to conclude that the entire world will drop to 50% productivity  ...  IF climate change brings about higher temperatures

My company often does work in freezers and cold storage systems. We pay a 25% premium to our labor for freezer work and we charge the customer for this. The reason.....productivity drops 25%, job satisfaction drops, errors increase and people even resign in spite of the premium pay.  The premium pay does not improve productivity but does help somewhat with job satisfaction and reduction in errors. It does not prevent resignations. We have had many people forfeit the "freezer pay" and quit rather than work at subzero temperatures. If a worker quits during a cold storage job he looses all of his travel allowance and his "freezer pay". We have yet to have someone continue on so as to collect the premiums but then later decline to work on a cold storage job, in which case we would not discharge a person for declining the work option.

Most jobs the USA are not conducted at temperatures above 78 deg F. not since the wide use of HVAC. The hardships of winter take a bigger toll .......rain, snow, ice, sickness, absenteeism, etc.  The reminder of the world works under all kinds of conditions, some with HVAC, some without. The human body was designed to take higher temperatures but had to innovate and adapt to handle lower temperatures.  The cradle of humanity was the tropics.  A 6 degree increase in temperature over the whole world will be addressed with HVAC in the tropics and subtropics and will be a welcome relief elsewhere. Only a few warmist will resist and go without heat or air.

As a boy, I grew up on a farm in East Texas. The hay field was my summer job with outdoor temperatures of 96 deg F and a metal hay barn...........more like 120 deg F. I would agree, above 100 deg F............. I was willing to spend 50% of my time in the shade but my Dad did not agree.

 From my current study of desert temperatures I have not seen any increases in ground level temperatures (Death Valley, California).  I have also looked at temperatures from various famous deserts around the world. They do not match the high levels reached in Death Valley.  Libya comes close but has never matched the record high of 1913 in Death Valley, but then neither has Death Valley.  I was expecting to see some very high numbers this summer in Death Valley but the July August numbers are just more average (maybe even below average) even though the world is crying about how hot it has been.

We happen to now be living in a world of maximum communication. Anyone can publish and find an audience. They can publish any kind of rubbish, draw outlandish conclusions, be embellished and quoted by believers without fact checks, used as reference  material and paid with all kinds of grants. Fortunately, the opposition enjoys the same freedom so long as they are not prosecuted for conspiracy.........also a two way street.

Why the Media’s Portrayal of Carbon Dioxide Is Often Wrong

The media is helping governments wage an all-out war on carbon dioxide while distorting the truth about the colorless gas. This blitz could come with considerable costs for Americans with negligible benefits, at most.

Over the weekend, the United States officially joined the Paris Protocol to combat manmade global warming while President Obama was in China.  The South China Morning Post was first to report story earlier last week. The news outlet, however, was not the first to misrepresent carbon dioxide as a harmful pollutant.

The picture used by the South China Morning Post illustrates a problem with how the media portrays carbon dioxide emissions generally. If you click on the link, the news story will show a picture of factories spewing out nasty, harmful black smoke. The caption of the photo from Reuters is: “Smoke billows from chimneys at a chemical factory in Hefei, Anhui province.”

But the entire story is about reducing carbon dioxide emissions and combatting man-made global warming. Carbon dioxide is a colorless, odorless, nontoxic gas. We exhale it. Carbon dioxide is a necessary component for photosynthesis and the growth of green vegetation. The reason behind the regulatory agenda to close existing coal-fired power plants in the United States and push for an international crusade against conventional fuels is because of carbon dioxide’s alleged impact on the climate.

The South China Morning Post is hardly the first to inaccurately portray carbon dioxide emissions. Australia’s Eco News reporting on China being poorly prepared for climate change plasters a large photo of cyclists peddling in a sea of smog with face masks. Time posts an aerial shot of a thick smog settling over Beijing in its story. The federal government has done its fair share of deceiving too through its messaging.

Rarely do you hear the words “global warming” out of President Barack Obama’s mouth. Even “climate change” is less frequent in speeches, unless it’s to facetiously tell the “flat-earth society” that climate change is real.

We all know the climate changes. The debate, which is very much open, is how fast the climate is changing, why it’s changing, and what is man’s impact.

For some time, the message from the White House evolved to “carbon pollution” to convey the very image the media uses—carbon dioxide has harmful, dirty pollutants.

China, without a doubt, has serious air and water quality problems. But people aren’t wearing masks in China because they’re worried about carbon dioxide. If there’s a pressing environmental issue Obama should be addressing while on his final Asia tour, it’s reducing the real pollutants like smog that we know have adverse health impacts.

These are environmental issues the United States has addressed. Through individual choice, regulation, and technological innovation, and having the wealth to address environmental concerns, the U.S. has largely addressed pollutants like black carbon and smog.

There’s a point where regulations go too far, and the regulators in the U.S. are so far past that line that they can’t even see it. The U.S. has been at a point where regulations have extremely steep costs for negligible improvements to air or water quality.

For instance, the increased stringency of the Obama administration’s new ozone standard and mercury air and toxics standard has exorbitant compliance costs passed onto the consumer and very little, if any, direct environmental benefit.

Global warming regulations have similarly high costs for no meaningful impact on global temperatures. The Paris agreement will curtail the use of conventional fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas and increase energy costs for developing countries. Furthermore, it will prohibit access to affordable electricity for countries that have yet to reliably flip a light switch on and off.

So, if you want to look at some pictures, look at ones where global warming policies will prevent better standards of living. Look at the group of boys studying by lantern in Chowkipur, India, as they are just a few of the 1.3 billion people without access to electricity. Look at the images of North Korea and South Korea at night. South Koreans use 10,162 kilowatt hours (kWh) of power per person in a year. Energy-poor North Koreans each use a paltry 739 kWh.  The poorest in the world are those most harmed by global warming policies.

To make matters worse,  the developed and developing world will be making economic sacrifices to maybe reduce the earth’s temperature a few tenths of a degree Celsius over the next 80 years.

As a colorless gas, it’s not easy to show a picture of carbon dioxide. A smokestack with nothing emitted from it, or even with water vapor, doesn’t have the same fear-mongering feel to it. But instead of taking deceptive and salacious shortcuts, news outlets and the Obama administration alike should stop misleading the public about what carbon dioxide really is.


Berlin delivers new decarbonisation proposal but lack of detail on coal phaseout and electric cars anger green groups

Germany has dropped plans to stop using coal.

Environmental organisations have responded to a government proposal to decarbonise the economy with outrage.

They say the Climate Action Plan 2050 will fall well short of meeting climate targets, and accuse the environment ministry of caving in to pressure from the economics ministry and Angela Merkel’s Chancellery to water down ambitious plans and drop important details, like a deadline for the coal exit.

The final version of the German Environment Ministry’s Climate Action Plan has been published. But concrete targets included in previous drafts have been removed, prompting the Green Party to describe the document as an “admission of government failure”.

The Climate Action Plan was announced at the Paris Climate Summit as a framework for how Germany was to reach its goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 80 to 95 percent by 2050.

Germany is already struggling to meet its 2020 climate targets, and is under additional pressure after Chancellor Angela Merkel repeatedly said she would make climate policy a priority of Germany’s G20 presidency next year.

The environment ministry’s final version of the plan is still to be coordinated with other ministries. But critics say it had already been watered down under pressure from Sigmar Gabriel’s Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, which insisted on the omission of a date for the coal exit.

Environment minister Barbara Hendricks said Merkel’s Chancellery asked for further changes to the plan.

“I have accepted these amendments to avoid further delays to the necessary discussions within the federal government,” Hendricks said in a statement posted on the ministry’s website.

But the Green Party and environmental organisations said the Climate Action Plan has lost all power as a blueprint for decarbonising Germany.

“Hendrick’s Climate Action Plan started as a tiger, but turned out to be a toothless tiger-skin rug,” said Green parliamentarians B?rbel H?hn and Oliver Krischer.

Changes to the Climate Action Plan 2050 came after industry associations repeatedly voiced their criticism of sector targets and the listed measures they feared would harm Germany’s economy and competitiveness.

Among other changes, Hendricks made concessions on the transition to renewable transport, one of the weak spots of Germany’s Energiewende.

A June draft said that by 2030 “a large majority of newly registered cars” would have to be powered by electricity or biofuels. But the new plan only states that “the government aims to significantly lower car emissions by 2030” and that e-cars would contribute to that goal.

Greenpeace energy expert Tobias Austrup said the plan’s soft stance on transport put the future of the car industry at risk.

“As long as an emission-free transport sector is not defined as a matter of course, carmakers will continue to dream of a future for the combustion engine – a future that will not exist.”

He added that without a coal exit and specific targets for different business sectors, the plan “lampooned” the spirit of the Paris Climate Conference.

While the environment ministry has repeatedly called for a managed coal exit by 2045 or 2050, other ministries, state premiers in coal mining regions and trade unions have resisted.

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Environmental NGOs praised Merkel for pushing G7 leaders to commit to decarbonisation, and for fighting to make the Paris Climate Conference a success.

But the “Climate Chancellor’s” real commitment is under question because of her failure to push for an end to Germany’s dependence on highly polluting brown coal.

Germany increased power production from renewables to over 30 percent in 2015, yet overall CO2 emissions, as well as emissions from the power and transport sector, have stagnated or increased slightly over the last five years.

The plan’s preamble, added on request of the Chancellery, says the document “shows the basic parameters for the realisation of Germany’s long-term climate protection strategy, providing the necessary orientation for all actors in business, science, and society.”

It adds that “the Climate Action Plan 2050 does not contain rigid guidelines”, and that the government will “make it a key focus to preserve the competitiveness of German industry, including functioning, innovative and complete value chains.”

Environmental NGO Germanwatch said that government had postponed urgent decisions until after the parliamentary elections next year, and in doing so failed to provide planning security.

Policy director Christoph Bals said “the government appears to lack the necessary courage to agree on a clear strategy” to implement the Paris Climate Agreement, adding that the pending consultation with other ministries was a last chance to create a Climate Action Plan “worthy of its name”.

The cabinet is scheduled to approve the Plan by early November. The Climate Action Plan will not be a law – and so will not be put to a vote in parliament – but rather become part of the government’s energy transition strategy.


Ethanol is the wrong solution

By Marita Noon

University of Michigan’s Energy Institute research professor John DeCicco, Ph.D., believes that rising carbon dioxide emissions are causing global warming and, therefore, humans must find a way to reduce its levels in the atmosphere — but ethanol is the wrong solution. According to his just-released study, political support for biofuels, particularly ethanol, has exacerbated the problem instead of being the cure it was advertised to be.

DeCicco and his co-authors assert: “Contrary to popular belief, the heat-trapping carbon dioxide gas emitted when biofuels are burned is not fully balanced by the CO2 uptake that occurs as the plants grow.” The presumption that biofuels emit significantly fewer greenhouse gases (GHG) than gasoline does is, according to DeCicco: “misguided.”

His research, three years in the making, including extensive peer-review, has upended the conventional wisdom and angered the alternative fuel lobbyists. The headline-grabbing claim is that biofuels are worse for the climate than gasoline.

Past bipartisan support for ethanol was based on two, now false, assumptions.

First, based on fears of waning oil supplies, alternative fuels were promoted to increase energy security. DeCicco points out: “Every U.S. president since Ronald Reagan has backed programs to develop alternative transportation fuels.” Now, in the midst of a global oil glut, we know that hydraulic fracturing has been the biggest factor in America’s new era of energy abundance — not biofuels. Additionally, ethanol has been championed for its perceived reduction in GHG. Using a new approach, DeCicco and his researchers, conclude: “rising U.S. biofuel use has been associated with a net increase rather than a net decrease in CO2 emissions.”

DeCicco has been focused on this topic for nearly a decade. In 2007, when the Energy Independence and Security Act (also known as the expanded ethanol mandate) was in the works, he told me: “I realized that something seemed horribly amiss with a law that established a sweeping mandate which rested on assumptions, not scientific fact, that were unverified and might be quite wrong, even though they were commonly accepted and politically correct (and politically convenient).” Having spent 20 years as a green group scientist, DeCicco has qualified green bona fides. From that perspective he saw that while biofuels sounded good, no one had checked the math.

Previously, based on life cycle analysis (LCA), it has been assumed that crop-based biofuels, were not just carbon neutral, but actually offered modest net GHG reductions. This, DeCicco says, is the “premise of most climate related fuel policies promulgated to date, including measures such as the LCFS [California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard] and RFS [the federal Renewable Fuel Standard passed in 2005 and expanded in 2007].”

The DeCicco study differs from LCA — which assumes that any carbon dioxide released from a vehicle’s tailpipe as a result of burning biofuel is absorbed from the atmosphere by the growing of the crop. In LCA, biofuel use is modeled as a static system, one presumed to be in equilibrium with the atmosphere in terms of its material carbon flow. The Carbon balance effects of U.S. biofuel production and use study uses Annual Basis Carbon (ABC) accounting — which does not treat biofuels as inherently carbon neutral. Instead, it treats biofuels as “part of a dynamic stock-and-flow system.” Its methodology “tallies CO2 emissions based on the chemistry in the specific locations where they occur.” In May, on my radio program, DeCicco explained: “Life Cycle Analysis is wrong because it fails to actually look at what is going on at the farms.”

In short, DeCicco told me: “Biofuels get a credit they didn’t deserve; instead they leave a debit.”

The concept behind DeCicco’s premise is that the idea of ethanol being carbon neutral assumes that the ground where the corn is grown was barren dirt (without any plants removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere) before the farmer decided to plant corn for ethanol. If that were the case, then, yes, planting corn on that land, converting that corn to ethanol that is then burned as a vehicle fuel, might come close to being carbon neutral. But the reality is that land already had corn, or some other crop, growing on it — so that land’s use was already absorbing CO2. You can’t count it twice.

DeCicco explains “Growing the corn that becomes ethanol absorbs no more carbon from the air than the corn that goes into cattle feed or corn flakes. Burning the ethanol releases essentially the same amount of CO2 as burning gasoline. No less CO2 went into the air from the tailpipe; no more CO2 was removed from the air at the cornfield. So where’s the climate benefit?”

Much of that farmland was growing corn to feed cattle and chickens — also known as feedstock. The RFS requires an ever-increasing amount of ethanol be blended into the nation’s fuel supply. Since the RFS became law in 2005, the amount of land dedicated to growing corn for ethanol has increased from 12.4 percent of the overall corn crop to 38.6 percent. While the annual supply of corn has increased by 17 percent, the amount going into feedstock has decreased from 57.5 percent to 37.98 percent — as a graphic from the Detroit Free Press illustrates.

The rub comes from the fact that we are not eating less. Globally, more food is required, not less. The livestock still needs to be fed. So while the percentage of corn going into feedstock in the U.S. has decreased because of the RFS, that corn is now grown somewhere else. DeCicco explained: “When you rob Peter to pay Paul, Peter has to get his resource from someplace else.” One such place is Brazil where previous pasture land, because it is already flat, has been converted to growing corps. Ranchers have been pushed out to what was forest and deforestation is taking place.

Adding to the biofuels-are-worse-than-gasoline accounting are the effects from producing ethanol. You have to cook it and ferment it — which requires energy. In the process, CO2 bubbles off. By expanding the quantity of corn grown, prairie land is busted up and stored CO2 is released.

DeCicco says: “it is this domino effect that makes ethanol worse.”

How much worse?

The study looks at the period with the highest increase in ethanol production due to the RFS: 2005-2013 (remember, the study took three years). The research provides an overview of eight years of overall climate impacts of America’s multibillion-dollar biofuel industry. It doesn’t address issues such as increased fertilizer use and the subsequent water pollution.

The conclusion is that the increased carbon dioxide uptake by the crops was only enough to offset 37 percent of the CO2 emissions due to biofuel combustion — meaning “rising U.S. biofuel use has been associated with a net increase rather than a net decrease in CO2 emissions.”

Instead of a “disco-era ‘anything but oil’ energy policy,” DeCicco’s research finds, that while further work is needed to examine the research and policy implications going forward, “it makes more sense to soak up CO2 through reforestation and redouble efforts to protect forests rather than producing biofuels, which puts carbon rich lands at risk.”

Regardless of differing views on climate change, we can generally agree that more trees are a good thing and that “using government mandates and subsidies to promote politically favored fuels de jour is a waste of taxpayers’ money.”


America's Greens: the party of paranoia

As the US edges closer to the 2016 presidential election, many voters are at a loss about who to support. According to a recent national survey conducted by Monmouth University, 33 per cent of people polled had a positive view of Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton, and 24 per cent had a positive view of Republican nominee Donald Trump. The survey revealed a plurality of respondents – 35 per cent in total – who didn’t like either candidate.

On election day, most of this 35 per cent will no doubt hold their noses and begrudgingly vote for either Clinton or Trump. However, the historic unpopularity of both the Republican and Democrat picks has raised the hopes of third-party and independent candidates. Beltway conservatives – a la William Kristol – hope an independent, right-leaning candidate will come to the rescue, while other conservatives have jumped ship to Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson.

Many of the Democrats who supported Vermont senator Bernie Sanders in the primaries have now reluctantly closed ranks around Hillary, for fear of a Trump victory. The memories of Ralph Nader taking votes from Al Gore in the 2000 election still haunt them. Nevertheless, a sizeable number of left-leaning Bernie Sanders supporters still can’t bring themselves to vote for Clinton. Now, many in the so-called ‘Bernie or bust’ camp are turning to the Green Party.

As spiked has often argued, environmentalism, despite presenting itself as left-wing and progressive, is nothing of the sort. Greens’ anti-growth, conservationist outlook is far removed from previous left-wing demands for material abundance. Yet, unfortunately, green parties in many Western countries are now significant forces on the so-called left. The Green Party of the United States, however, is even more bizarre than its international counterparts. In this election cycle, it’s been less an environmentalist party, and more a full-blown conspiracy-theory party.

The Green Party’s nominee, Jill Stein, has already courted controversy for her statements on vaccination. Although she now claims to support it, she has often, in the past, pandered to the conspiracy theories of the anti-vaccination movement. She has floated the idea that the Food and Drug Administration and the Center for Disease Control, which approve vaccines, are not to be trusted, because they are institutions ‘where corporate influence and the pharmaceutical industry has a lot of influence’. The implication being that evil drug companies are out to poison children. Stein also thinks that wifi signals are potentially harmful, and has suggested restricting wifi in schools.

Yet when it comes to conspiratorial paranoia, Stein’s vice-presidential pick, Ajamu Baraka, takes the tinfoil crown. Baraka seems to have spent years floating around the US conspiracy theory and ‘truther’ scene, regularly appearing on oddball websites and radio shows. Just this year, Baraka contributed an essay to a book entitled Another French False Flag?: Bloody Tracks from Paris to San Bernardino. Baraka’s essay, it should be noted, did not allege that the Paris attacks were a state conspiracy. But many of the other essays did. The book is replete with outlandish conspiracy theories concerning the Paris attacks, and includes contributions from outright anti-Semites like Ken O’Keefe.

Baraka himself seems to find a conspiracy in nearly every news event. He has claimed that the 2014 murder of three Israeli teenagers by Hamas was a ‘false flag’ attack. He has also suggested that the reason prosecutors are pushing for racist mass shooter Dylann Roof to be sentenced to death is to bolster African-American support for the death penalty. And he thinks the kidnapping of hundreds of schoolgirls in Chibok, Nigeria by Boko Haram was a conspiracy by the powers that be. The man’s paranoia, his tendency to see dark forces lurking behind every major event, appears to know no bounds

Green parties across the world are often prone to conspiratorial thinking about the supposed machinations of energy firms. The US Green Party, however, has gone a step further. The Stein-Baraka ticket is plucking its talking points from the deepest, darkest recesses of online politics. That the Greens are actually considered a viable alternative by some disaffected progressives is testament to how bizarre this election cycle has been – and how distorted progressivism has become.



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, 2016

Warmer, wetter climate would impair California grasslands, 17-year experiment finds

The Greenies love this claim.  It overturns just about everything we know about plant growth.  There have been any number of experiments showing that CO2 makes plants grow bigger and we know why.  And greenhouse owners routinely add CO2 to their greenhouses to improve growth of their crops.  So what happened on the occasion below?  Apparently the soil in the area was phosphorous deficient and that stopped the plants from taking advantage of the other growth factors. See here

Grassland at Stanford University's Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve. An examination of 17 years of experimental data from the preserve is helping scientists from Rice University, Stanford and the Carnegie Institution for Science better …more
Results from one of the longest-running and most extensive experiments to examine how climate change will affect agricultural productivity show that California grasslands will become less productive if the temperature or precipitation increases substantially above average conditions from the past 40 years.

That's one conclusion from a new study in this week's Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by researchers from Rice University, Stanford University and the Carnegie Institution for Science. The research team analyzed data from the Jasper Ridge Global Change Experiment, which has run continuously since 1998. The experiment simulates the effect of warmer temperatures, increased atmospheric carbon dioxide, increased nitrogen pollution and increased rainfall on a 1.8-acre tract at Stanford's Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve.

"There's been some hope that changing climate conditions would lead to increased productivity of grasses and other plants that draw down carbon dioxide from the atmosphere," said study lead author Kai Zhu, a global ecologist and data scientist at Rice "In northern California, it was hypothesized that net grassland productivity might increase under the warmer, wetter conditions that are predicted by most long-term climate models. Our evidence disproves that idea."

The Jasper Ridge experiment involves 136 test plots where scientists can study how grass will grow under conditions that are predicted to occur later this century due to climate change. The experiment allows scientists to test four variables: higher temperatures, increased precipitation, increased atmospheric CO2 levels and increased nitrogen levels. The plots are configured in such a way that scientists can test each of the variables independently and in combination.

"Global change is quite complicated," said Zhu, who spent almost two years analyzing Jasper Ridge data during a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford and the Carnegie Institution for Science from 2014 to 2016. "It does not just mean change in temperature. There are also changes in rainfall, atmospheric CO2, nitrogen and many other things. If we want to get a comprehensive understanding of everything, it is important to have experiments like Jasper Ridge, which manipulate more than one variable, both singly and in combination."

One clear finding from the data is that increased levels of CO2 did not increase grass production. Instead, the amount of grass grown at sites with elevated CO2 remained flat, even at CO2 levels almost twice the present atmospheric concentration.
"The nonresponse to CO2 is as important as any of our other findings," Zhu said. "That finding may surprise people because a lot have said that if you have more CO2 in the atmosphere, you'll get better growth because CO2 is a resource for plants. That's a popular hypothesis."

By examining data from all the test plots, including those where CO2 increased in conjunction with higher temperature, rainfall and nitrogen levels, and incorporating more than 40 years of climate records from the Jasper Ridge site, Zhu was able to deduce the optimal temperature and moisture levels for production under all conditions. His analysis showed that average conditions from the past 40 years are near optimal for grass production, and any significant deviation toward warmer or wetter conditions will cause the land to be less productive.

"Experiments like Jasper Ridge are designed to examine the interactive and unexpected effects that are likely to arise from global environmental change," said study co-author Chris Field, the founding director of the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology and the Melvin and Joan Lane Professor for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies at Stanford University. "The nonlinear, interactive effects of temperature and precipitation on grassland primary production revealed by this analysis highlight the value of this experimental approach and suggest that it could be useful in studying how global change will affect other types of ecosystems."


Warming improves tree growth

Using dendrochrononlogy, the researchers looked at climate change since 1760, over which time there has been some warming.  There may also have been some local warming at times

Word of mouth from nomadic herders led Lucas Silva into Tibetan forests and grasslands. What his team found was startling: Rapid forest growth in tune with what scientists had been expecting from climatic changes triggered by rising levels of carbon dioxide.

Actual scientific findings to date, however, had been turning up declining growths in many forests in the face of climatic changes. Such had also been the case for Silva, who joined the UO's Environmental Studies Program and Department of Geography in August.

On the eastern Tibetan Plateau -- in an area where it was thought that "climatically induced ecological thresholds had not yet been crossed" -- Silva's team found that the increasing availability of soil nutrients and water from thawing permafrost is stimulating the chemistry of the wood in a species of fir trees.

"Our results confirmed the reports of local herders and showed a recent increase in tree growth that has been unprecedented since the year 1760," Silva said. "These result demonstrate that under a specific set of conditions, forests can respond positively to human-induced changes in climate."

The findings were published Aug. 31 in Science Advances, an online, open-access publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Nomads had reported their observations to study co-author Geng Sun of China's Chengdu Institute of Biology in Sichuan, China. The research team traveled to the region in eastern Tibet where they found old-growth forests, smaller patches of trees and trees isolated on the perimeter of the forests.

"We wanted to take a long term view of changes in tree growth across this gradient," Silva said. "To do so, we combined tree-ring measurements with laboratory analyses to look for changes in growth as well as chemical signals of climatic change."

Those techniques provided a window on the history of the area's tree growth. Dramatic increases in growth have coincided with pulses of tree establishment just outside of the forest range but apparently not yet on a broader regional scale, he said. Growth was rapid between the 1930s and 1960s, but even more accelerated in the last three decades.


CO2-Enrichment Boosts the Growth and Water Use Efficiency of Two Tomato Cultivars
Paper Reviewed: Pazzagli, P.T., Weiner, J. and Liu, F. 2016. Effects of CO2 elevation and irrigation regimes on leaf gas exchange, plant water relations, and water use efficiency of two tomato cultivars. Agricultural Water Management 169: 26-33.

Model projections suggest that mid-latitude regions could experience a higher frequency of seasonal drought as a result of CO2-induced global warming. Therefore, in the words of Pazzagli et al. (2016), "an understanding of plant responses to rising CO2 concentration and limited water availability is necessary for maximizing crop yield and quality under future climate scenarios."

And to help move our understanding forward in this regard, the team of three researchers from Denmark set out to investigate "the independent and combined effects of CO2 enrichment and reduced irrigation on two tomato cultivars with potentially different responses to drought and heat stress."

To accomplish their objective, Pazzagli et al. grew two tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) cultivars -- one potentially drought tolerant (ST 22) and one thought to be heat tolerant (ST 52) -- in a controlled greenhouse environment from March to June 2014 at the experimental farm of the University of Copenhagen located in Taastrup, Denmark.

Therein, the plants were subjected to three different irrigation regimes (full irrigation, deficit irrigation and partial root-zone drying) and two atmospheric CO2 concentrations (380 and 590 ppm). And what did their study reveal?

Statistical analyses indicated there was a significant CO2 effect on both cultivars for net photosynthetic rate, intrinsic water use efficiency (WUEi, photosynthetic rate/stomatal conductance), plant water use efficiency (WUEp, aboveground biomass/plant water use), root water potential, stem dry weight, leaf dry weight, total dry weight (see figure below) and flower number.

More specifically, the photosynthetic rate was 30% higher in plants grown at 590 ppm compared to those grown 380 ppm, total plant dry weight averaged 13.5% higher (18% for ST 52 and 9% for ST 22) and WUEp increased by 25% in ST22 and 13% in ST 52.

In summing up their findings, Pazzagli et al. write that "despite large differences between the cultivars, both of them showed significant improvements in plant water use efficiency under both reduced irrigation and CO2 enrichment, as well as under the combination of the two treatments." In the future, therefore, these two tomato cultivars should benefit from Earth's rising atmospheric CO2 concentration.


Sorry Alarmists, Even Joe Romm Confirms The Pause

Paul Homewood compares present temperatures with those of the previous El Nino in 1998

Joe Romm continues to make an idiot of himself.   He uses this graph from UAH to show that even satellites confirm his apocalyptic version of events.

He cherry picks the latest 12 month average, which just so happens to be a miniscule 0.074C higher than at the same stage in 1998. He forgets to tell you though that the current El Nino has been much longer lasting than 1998’s, and consequently temperatures in late 2015 were already comparatively elevated.

He also forgets to tell you that August 2016 is 0.07C cooler than the same month in 1998, or that the last five months have also been cooler this year.

In reality, these differences are no more than weather, and have no significance either way.

He then goes on to label Roy Spencer and John Christy as “deniers”, which is one of the most ludicrous epithets I have ever come across, and just shows how politicised climate science has become.

Romm then goes on to mention that there is another satellite dataset, RSS, which somehow disproves the “deniers’” UAH. Unfortunately for the discredited Romm, the RSS data show exactly the same as UAH’s – the current 12-month average is 0.081 higher than in 1998, but again we find no statistically warming since 1998.

Romm’s only answer to this is to say that there has been warming since 1979:

You will no doubt be shocked, shocked to learn that the satellite data has, in fact, confirmed global warming for a long time. Indeed Dr. Roy Spencer and Dr. John Christy of the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH) reported earlier this year that the satellite data shows a “Global climate trend since Nov. 16, 1978 [of] +0.12 C [0.22F] per decade.” And Spencer and Christy are both leading deniers themselves!

Please Joe, do keep up. We all accept that there was warming between 1979 and 1998, which coincided with the PDO switch and the movement of the AMO from its coldest state to its warmest.

It is what has happened since that matters. You know, that thing called the “Pause”, that even the UK Met Office, in July 2013, accepted was real, prior, of course, to the latest super El Nino. Indeed, it was so real, they even wrote a paper about it.

But even if we assume that the rise in temperature since 1998 is part of an underlying change, then so what?

A change of 0.07C over 18 years equates to 0.4C/century. This is way below anything forecast by the IPCC, Joe Romm or any of his well rewarded cohorts, as John Christy points out:


Clinton says Hurricane Hermine was caused by climate change as hurricane drought persists

In an apparent effort to entice Bernie Sanders’ supporters, #Hillary Clinton blamed #Climate Change for Hurricane Hermine, the first hurricane to hit Florida since 2005. At a rally yesterday in Tampa, Florida, Clinton warned that more storms like Hermine were on the horizon despite all indicators pointing in the opposite direction. For those wondering if Clinton would be President #Obama’s third term, putting the climate above the stalled economy is further proof of her priorities.

At the rally, Clinton railed: “Another threat to our country is climate change. 2015 was the hottest year on record, and the science is clear. It’s real. It’s wreaking havoc on communities across America. Last week’s hurricane was another reminder of the devastation that extreme weather can cause, and I send my thoughts and prayers to everyone affected by Hermine.”

No, 2015 wasn’t the hottest year ever

First, 2015 was a warm year because of a strong, naturally occurring El Ni?o, which elevated temperatures worldwide. It was also not the hottest year on record because the 1930s is still the reigning champ for hottest years since recordkeeping began in the mid-1800s. Since 2000, there has been no statistical warming as acknowledged by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) last assessment report, numerous journal articles, and 37 years of satellite temperature records.

Climate experts have noted there has also been no increase in extreme weather events, which include long-term droughts, heavy floods, accelerated sea level rise, more tornadoes, and specifically, hurricanes. In fact, Hermine didn’t break the 11-year hurricane drought in the United States. No major hurricane—category 3 or higher—has made landfall since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. And the first to strike Florida was Hurricane Wilma in October 2005, which devolved into a category 2 after it made landfall.

Hermine, which peaked briefly as a category 1 hurricane before reaching land near St. Marks, Florida, quickly devolved into a tropical depression as the storm flitted across Georgia and into the Atlantic Ocean. All the computer models projected a long-lasting, devastating storm over the busy Labor Day weekend up and down the East Coast. These are the same computer models predicting our climate in 75 years.

Labor Day weekend a bust

Because Hermine was such a rare happenstance after enjoying over a decade without a hurricane hitting Florida, the media covered it like it was an ‘unnatural’ event. Couple that with the pessimistic (and wrong) forecasts, and many people abandoned their Labor Day weekend getaways. Millions stayed at home and coastal hotels stayed largely vacant. But major hurricanes should be occurring much more often even in a non-warming world. The warm ocean water is their fuel, but this drought has been long-running and persistent.

Hillary’s fundraising gambit

More troubling, while Hermine was forecasted to impact Long Island and New York’s long expanse of coastline, Clinton was busily fundraising in the Hamptons, which was directly in Hermine’s path. But with hundreds of millions (of dollars) at stake, even Clinton gambled it wouldn’t be a soaker. She also unveiled her new jet, which she took to Tampa rail for ‘gun control’ and ‘climate change.'

If Clinton was truly concerned about the climate, she would not have unveiled a new charter jet (a Boeing 737) before heading to Tampa. Instead, she should have flown to Louisiana to bring much-needed attention the flood victims. But it’s not a battleground state so why should Clinton, as Louisiana's The Advocate noted, bother to visit their flood-ravaged state? Whether it’s talking points or actual beliefs, the facts are rarely on Hillary’s side.


Northeast US Used To Be In Drought Most Of The Time

People in the Northeastern US have gotten used to wet weather, but from 1910 to 1979 the Northeast was in drought most of the time. Most likely due to your SUV.

Climate at a Glance | National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI)



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, 2016

Global warming is causing Europe's glaciers to retreat by hundreds of feet a year (?)

The article below is a bit of a mish-mash.  It reports glacier retreat from 1850 and then skips to the year 2015.  It is true that there has been some warming since 1850 so some retreat due to that might be expected.  And it is true that 2015 was an anomalously hot year. 

But other details are omitted.  The fact that Hannibal walked elephants over the Alps in the Roman warm period -- where glaciers are now -- suggests that glacial fluctuations are a natural phenomenon and that warming does not have to be anthropogenic.

And something that is admitted below is not properly confronted.  It is admitted that glacial retreat is partly due to reduced precipitation.  In fact, the global temperature changes have been so  small that precipitation has to bear the main burden of explanation. 

But what does reduced precipitation imply?  COOLING.  A warmer world would evaporate more water off the oceans, which would come down again as rain/snow.  So it is clearly regional COOLING that lies behind shrinkage of Alpine glaciers.  The authors have just not thought through the cause of the reduced precipitation that they admit.  To get reduced precipitation during warming would be anomalous

It is the longest glacier in the Eastern Alps, weaving through the scoured valley beneath Austria's highest mountain. But the Pasterze glacier, near Heiligenblut at the Grossglockner in Austria's High Tauern mountain range, is a shadow of its former self, having diminished by half in the past 150 years.

The retreat of this once mighty glacier is being repeated across Europe where the vast majority have lost approximately two thirds of their volume since 1850.

Scientists blame rising temperatures due to global warming for the increased melting of these rivers of frozen water that have helped to grind out the Alps' dramatic landscape since the last ice age.

In Austria glaciers retreated an average of 72 feet in 2015 – more than twice the rate of the previous year – with 96 per cent of the country's 92 major glaciers receding.

The Austrian Alpine Association's annual glacier survey showed that three of the country's glaciers retreated by more than 320 feet.

Warm summer temperatures have been compounded by poor winter snowfall in recent years.

According to the survey the Pasterz retreated by 177 feet in 2015 while the Hornkees in the Zillertal Alps retreated by 446 feet last year.

The Mittlerer Guslarferner in the Otztal Alps of Austria has shown a particularly rapid disintegration into four parts since 2003.

Dr Andrea Fischer, a glaciologist and head of the Aplenverein-Glacier Monitoring Service, said: 'Summer 2015 was warmer by more than 2°C above the long term average.

'Long lasting anticyclones and the lack of summer snowfall, these are the ingredients for a much too warm measuring year and therefore reason for the current glaciers declines.'


Global warming in 167 maps: Climate scientist reveals chilling artwork showing how the planet has warmed since 1850

Pretty pictures are no substitute for the actual numbers, which show that the changes were tiny.  The text does give numerical identities to the colors  but the temperature range  given is 5 degrees C ("-2.5C to + 2.5C."), which no-one claims.  Two thirds of one degree is the generally agreed change over the last 150 years.  So this is very strange work indeed.

Climate change has become one of the most hotly debated topics in recent years, but in a powerful new visualization, a climate scientist lets the evidence speak for itself.

Ed Hawkins, creator of the viral ‘spiral global temperatures’ animation, has now mapped global temperature changes dating back to 1850, presenting a side-by-side view of the yearly anomalies.

This simple presentation reveals the stark reality of our warming planet, showing an overall trend of rising temperatures that has accelerated in recent decades.

The visualization created by the University of Reading climate scientist complies 167 maps, plotting every year from 1850 to 2016 using the HadCRUT4.4 dataset from the Met Office Hadley Centre.

The data show global historical surface temperature anomalies relative to a 1961-1990 baseline, with a colour scale of roughly -2.5C to + 2.5C.

In the maps, blue indicates cooler temperatures while red shows warmth. Those without enough data are coloured grey.

‘The visualisation technique of ‘small multiples’ is often used to communicate a simple message,’ Hawkins wrote in a post for Climate Lab Book.

And, the message in this case is clear – over the years, surface temperatures risen dramatically, especially since the 1990s.
In the maps, blue indicates cooler temperatures while red shows warmth, and, those without enough data are coloured grey

In the maps, blue indicates cooler temperatures while red shows warmth, and, those without enough data are coloured grey

This isn’t the first time Hawkins has highlighted climate change through a unique visualization.

In May, the climate scientist revealed the ‘Spiralling global temperatures’ animation, which shows how global temperatures have changed month-by-month between 1850 and 2016.

A similar animation even made an appearance at the Rio Olympics opening ceremony.

In the graphic, the global temperature change remains relatively small until the 1930s, but starts growing slowly after that. The animation shows how global temperatures have changed month-to-month since 1850

When the GIF reaches the late 1990s, however, the temperature change increases considerably.

Speaking to MailOnline in May, Dr Ed Hawkins said, 'I wanted to try to visualise the global changes we have seen in different ways to learn about how we might improve our communication.

'The pace of change is immediately obvious, especially over the past few decades, and the relationship between current global temperatures and the internationally discussed limits are also clear.'

Within the animation it is also possible to see how global events such as the El Nino phenomenon alter temperatures around the world.

For example, there is a small amount of cooling between the 1880s and 1910 due to volcanic eruptions before warming again between 1910 and the 1940s.

Dr Hawkins said this warming was due to a small increase in solar output and natural variability and recovery from the volcanic eruptions.

Temperatures also remain largely flat between the 1950s and the 1970s, he explained in his blog, because aerosols released into the atmosphere mask the impact of greenhouse gases.

The researcher cautions that this technique is not meant to suggest the downfall of our planet, but instead to spur efforts toward reversing the human-induced damage.

Dr Hawkins said: 'Some have used the graphic to suggest that temperatures are "spiralling out of control", but I disagree - human activities are largely responsible for past warming so we do have control over what happens next.'


Fracking Didn't Cause Oklahoma Earthquake

The earth moved for environmental extremists Saturday when a 5.6 magnitude earthquake struck Oklahoma. As soon as the first aftershock, the greenies were in full voice blaming fracking, the technology that has fueled America’s oil and natural gas boom.

Oklahoma state regulators ordered 37 disposal wells used by frackers shut down and Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein tweeted:

Fracking causes polluted drinking water + earthquakes. The #GreenNewDeal comes with none of these side effects, Oklahoma. #BanFracking

Hydraulic fracturing, the technical term, does not cause earthquakes nor has there ever been evidence that it contaminates drinking water. Fracking has been used in oil and gas production in Oklahoma since 1949 and now, more than six decades later, the chicken littles of the left are claiming it now causes major destructive earthquakes? As Investor’s Business Daily editorialized:

"So desperate have the greenies become to stop the oil and natural gas boom produced by the use of fracking that they resorted to claims that fracking can cause earthquakes. A recent report by the National Research Council dispelled that notion. U.S. Geological Survey seismologist William Ellsworth says he agrees with the research council that "hydraulic fracturing does not seem to pose much risk for earthquake activity."

The mixture used to fracture shale is in fact a benign blend of 90% water, 9.5% sand and 0.5% chemicals such as the sodium chloride of table salt and the citric acid of the orange juice you had for breakfast. Shale formations in which fracking is employed are thousands of feet deep. Drinking-water aquifers are generally only a hundred feet deep. There's a lot of solid rock between them….

"This 60-year-old technique has been responsible for 7 billion barrels of oil and 600 trillion cubic feet of natural gas," according to James Inhofe, R-Okla., ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and in whose state fracking was first commercially applied in 1949. "In hydraulic fracturing's 60-year-history," he says, "there has not been a single documented case of contamination."

Fracking involves the injection under pressure of the aforementioned mixture of common elements, mainly water itself, to shatter the porous shale rock and releasing trapped oil and natural gas which is then extracted to the surface. Disposal wells do sometimes disturb the earth, but does not cause major destructive earthquakes, according to a study by the National Research Council, part of the National Academies of Science:

Does hydraulic fracturing -- the process of forcing water, sand and a few chemicals down the bore hole and into shale formations -- cause earthquakes? The National Research Council (NRC), part of the National Academies of Science, says the answer to that would be “no, fracking does not cause earthquakes.” That’s according to a new study just released by the NRC titled “Induced Seismicity Potential in Energy Technologies”….

The study found that out of a sample size of 35,000 oil and gas wells that have been horizontally fracked, earthquakes have been detected -- get ready -- in one instance. One. Which is statistically dead zero.

But what about those earthquakes in Ohio? And the ones down in Arkansas? That was from fracking, right? No, it wasn’t. It was from injecting wastewater from Marcellus drilling deep underground into what are called injection wells -- a method of disposing leftover fracking water. There are over 30,000 active injection wells in the United States. When an injection well is located near or over top of a fault and fluid is forced down into the well and the fluid leaks into the fault, guess what happens? An earthquake. According to the NRC study how many earthquakes have resulted from those 30,000 injection wells? Eight. Once again, statistically zero.

It is fracking that has produced a boom in the production of natural gas, a fossil fuel, that has produced a significant reduction in the U.S. of so-called “greenhouse gases”. As the Washington Times reported:

White House senior advisor Brian Deese cheered the falling carbon dioxide levels at a Monday press conference without mentioning the outsize role played by natural gas, as the cleaner-burning fuel increasingly overtakes coal in electricity generation.

“For those of you who are not breathlessly following the most recent data that has come out, I would note recent data that we’ve seen suggests or finds that for the first half of 2016, energy sector emissions in the United States are actually down 6 percent from last year, and 15 percent from 2005,” said Mr. Deese. “And they’re at their lowest level in nearly 20 years.”

He said nothing about the U.S. natural gas boom, an omission that critics say has become par for the course as the Obama administration highlights renewable energy and emissions restrictions without acknowledging the role of fracking in natural gas extraction.

“To add dishonesty to injury, his administration is bragging about the reduced CO2 emissions of [the] U.S. industry without crediting the fracking for natural gas, a fossil fuel, that largely caused it,” said Alex Epstein, author of the book “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels.”

Fracking itself is in fact saving the environment by reducing the emission of greenhouse gases the greenies hate. It does not slice and dice birds, including endangered species, en masse like wind turbines, nor does it fry them to a crisp like solar panel farms have done. And it does not cause major disastrous earthquakes.


Nutty far-Leftist in Britain  pledges to ban fracking as part of Labour Party's new green agenda

A Labour government under Jeremy Corbyn would ban fracking, ditch all coal-fired power stations and massively increase renewable energy, his leadership campaign has announced.

In the clearest signal yet that the party intends to embrace an ambitious environmental agenda and break its traditional strong links to mining and fossil fuel extraction, the Labour leader has pledged to phase out all coal power stations by the “early 2020s” and invest heavily in energy-saving to avoid building many new power stations.

His environment and energy manifesto, to be launched on Wednesday in Nottingham, a former centre of the mining industry and a potential future site of fracking, states that the controversial technique for extracting shale gas “is not compatible with climate change prevention”.

He is expected to say in Nottingham: “Research shows that as much as 80% of known fossil fuel reserves must remain unburned if the world is to keep global temperature rises to 2C [above pre-industrial levels]”.

“When Labour gets back into power, Britain will lead the world in action on climate change. We will act to protect the future of our planet, with social justice at the heart of our environment policies, and take our fair share of action to meet the Paris climate agreement – starting by getting on track with our climate change act goals.

“We want Britain to be the world’s leading producer of renewables technology. To achieve this we will accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy, and drive the expansion of the green industries and jobs of the future.”

The manifesto includes a commitment to create over 300,000 renewable energy jobs and to set a target of 65% of UK electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

In addition, Labour would invest heavily in energy saving, making building insulation a national infrastructure priority.

“We will launch a publicly funded National Home Insulation programme that would see at least 4m homes insulated. This would create tens of thousands of jobs across every community, reducing the need for expensive new energy generation, and helping millions of people to save money on their bills,” Corbyn will say.

The party would also commit to matching all EU environmental directives if Britain leaves the EU and refuse to agree to any Brexit deal that reduces protection of nature. This would include the Birds and Habitats directives, and air pollution standards.

Other initiatives pledged include reinstating the energy and climate change department, which was abolished in July, and supporting a proposal to mobilise schools and communities to help plant 64m trees in 10 years to help to tackle the UK’s air pollution crisis.

In addition to promoting the growth of over 200 ‘local energy companies’ and making public, not-for-profit companies and co-ops the centrepiece of a new energy economics, the Labour manifesto intends to support the development of 1,000 community energy co-operatives, with rights to sell energy directly to the localities they serve.


Bat-ageddon: Wind Industry Slaughters Millions of Bats – all to ‘Save’ the Planet

Bats are known to be some of the world’s savviest aerial acrobats. Using their mysterious sonar system and shape-shifting wings, bats adeptly swerve and swoop and dive in flight to avoid collisions with both stable and moving objects.

And yet bats stand no chance against a 200-meter high wind turbine with blades the length of a football field, spinning at speeds up to 275 km per hour. Even if their tiny bodies can avoid a blunt-force collision with one of these merciless steel beasts, just the act of drawing near to a wind turbine may nonetheless expose bats to jarring air pressure changes that cause fatal lung damage (barotrauma).  The latter is the main reason why bat carcasses can be found scattered beneath wind turbines at locations across the world.

The slaughtering of bats by wind turbines isn’t slowing down; it’s getting worse. The 21st century wind turbine bat-killing rate has already begun to seriously threaten the long-term survival of the world’s 172 endangered bat species. According to scientists publishing in the journal Mammal Review (O’Shea et al., 2016), the spinning blades of wind turbines (together with white noise syndrome) are now the leading cause of multiple mortality events in bats.

O’Shea et al., 2016

Two factors led to a major shift in causes of MMEs [multiple mortality events] in bats at around 2000: the global increase of industrial wind-power facilities and the outbreak of white-nose syndrome in North America. Collisions with wind turbines and white-nose syndrome are now the leading causes of reported MMEs [multiple mortality events]  in bats.”

Canada: 15.5 bats killed annually by each individual wind turbine

The global-scale slaughter of bats promises to get even worse in the coming few decades. In Canada alone, for example, scientists Zimmerling and Francis (2016) have determined that an average of 15.5 bats are killed at each individual wind turbine site every year.  At current (2013) installed wind capacity, 15.5 killings per turbine per year means that 47,400 bats are killed annually in Canada.  With the 350% increase in installed wind capacity intended for Canada within the next 15 years, about 166,000 bats are projected to be slaughtered on a yearly basis by about 2030.

Zimmerling and Francis, 2016

Bat mortality due to wind turbines in Canada

On average, 15.5?±?3.8 (95% CI) bats were killed per turbine per year at these sites (range?=?0?103 bats/turbine/yr at individual wind farms). Based on 4,019 installed turbines (the no. installed in Canada by Dec 2013), an estimated 47,400 bats (95% CI?=?32,100?62,700) are killed by wind turbines each year in Canada. Installed wind capacity is growing rapidly in Canada, and is predicted to increase approximately 3.5-fold over the next 15 years, which could lead to direct mortality of approximately 166,000 bats/year. … The little brown myotis (Myotis lucifugus), which was listed as Endangered in 2014 under the Species At Risk Act (SARA), accounted for 13% of all mortalities from wind turbines”

U.S.: 750,000 bats killed by wind turbines annually

And that’s just Canada. The Canadian wind turbine bat-killing rate is likely similar to the bat-killing rate in the United States, with some evidence suggesting the U.S. rate could be higher.  For example, Davila (2016) found that there were an average of 10.8 bat carcasses under each of the four Illinois wind turbines studied — over a span of just 20 weeks.

Davila, 2016

Our study focused on four single-standing turbines found in Erie, IL, Sherrard, IL, and two in Geneseo, IL. We searched for dead bat carcasses within a 48 m radius of the turbine base to determine frequency of bat mortality each week from 6/8/2015 to 10/31/2015 [20 weeks] to include summer roosting and fall migration periods. Dead bats located within the circular plot were marked with GPS, and species were identified. Anabat acoustic detectors were used to determine species present in the surrounding habitat.  …Forty-three carcasses were found at the sites“

An average of 10.8 bats killed per turbine in 20 weeks would extrapolate to an average of 28 bats slaughtered by each wind turbine per year — almost double the Canadian bat-killing rate.

As of December, 2015, there were 48,500 wind turbines installed in the U.S. according to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC)1, up from 46,600 as of September, 2014 (Hutchins and Leopold, 2016)2.   The U.S. will be installing tens of thousands more wind turbines in the coming decades to meet the U.S. Dept. of Energy goal that says 10% of supplied electrical energy must come from wind by 2020, 20% by 2030, and 35% by 20503.  As of 2015, wind accounted for just 4.7% of supplied electrical energy in the U.S4.  The share of electrical energy supplied by wind will therefore need to more than double in the next 5 years just to meet the first of the U.S. Dept. of Energy goals.

Using the conservative determination of 15.5 bats killed per wind turbine (Zimmerling and Francis, 2016) described above, the 48,500 currently operating U.S. wind turbines are now slaughtering over 750,000 bats per year. This bat-killing rate appears to fall in line with other published estimates.  For example, Hein and Schirmacher (2016) indicate that recent studies suggest U.S. wind turbines were slaughtering between 600,000 and 880,000 bats per year as of 2012.

Hein and Schirmacher, 2016

Two recent attempts were made to estimate bat fatality in the United States for 2012. Hayes (2013) followed a similar approach to Cryan (2011) and based his analysis primarily on the limited dataset from Arnet et al. (2008). Hayes (2013) indicated that >600,000 bats were killed at wind energy facilities in 2012 and suggested that this was a conservative estimate. Smallwood (2013) estimated up to 888,000 bats were killed in the United States in 2012.”

But this is just Canada and the U.S; there were only about 53,000 wind turbines installed in these two North American countries combined as of 2015. Worldwide, there are currently (2015) 314,0001 wind turbines spinning and slaughtering bats by the millions.   Yes, by the millions … every year.

Using the conservative average of 15.5 bats killed yearly by each wind turbine (Zimmerling and Francis, 2016), it can be estimated that there are now about 4.9 million bats slaughtered every year by the world’s 314,000 wind turbines. Even if the killing rate per individual wind turbine was generously reduced to ten bats killed per year instead of 15.5, wind turbine bat slaughter rates would still exceed 3 million per year.

But a rough estimate of 3 to 5 million bats killed yearly by wind turbines is only the current rate.  As of 2015, just 2.5% of electrical energy was supplied by wind worldwide1, 5.  There are deliberate plans to have wind turbines “realistically” generate 18% to 34% of the world’s supplied electrical energy by 20505, 6.  To achieve this massive expansion, installed wind capacity will need to double and triple and quadruple in the coming decades.  The number of bats slaughtered by wind turbines could easily grow to a rate of more than10 million annually within ten to 15 years.  At some point, there may not be enough species of bats left to kill.

The immeasurable ecological value of bats…may soon disappear

Bat species can be found dwelling in a wide variety of terrestrial habitats, including deserts and along sea coasts. Each species may play a fundamental role in its local ecosystem.  For example, Kuntz et al. (2011)7 indicate that 528 different plant species rely on bat pollination and seed dispersal for sustainability.  Boyles et al. (2011)8 estimated that by controlling pest populations (insects), the agricultural benefits of bats may reach $22.9 billion (U.S.D.) annually in the continental U.S. alone.

Bat population at risk

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, five species of bats have already been classified as extinct as of 2015, and another 172 species are listed as “critically endangered, endangered, or vulnerable” (Hoffmaster et al., 2016)9.  The prospect of losing bat species to wind turbine slaughter has increasingly become an acute topic in recently published scientific literature.   For example, Hein and Schirmacher (2016) indicate that the current rate of wind turbine bat fatalities has become “unsustainable” for the already fragile maintenance of many of their species, and that actions to reduce wind turbine slaughter should be “implemented immediately”.

Hein and Schirmacher, 2016

Given that bats have a low reproductive rate—typically only having 1 or 2 pups/year—and require high adult survivorship to avoid population declines (Barclay and Harder 2003), this level of impact [hundreds of thousands of bats killed by wind turbines per year in the U.S. alone] presumably puts bat populations at risk. Moreover, many species were thought to be declining prior to the onset and expansion of wind energy development, including species impacted by white-nose syndrome (Winhold et al. 2008, Frick et al. 2010). Although population data are sparse or lacking for many bat species, current and presumed future level of fatality is considered to be unsustainable, and actions to reduce impact of wind turbines on bats should be implemented immediately.”


Black Lives Matter UK says climate change is racist

Everything the Left disagrees with is racist

In Britain on Tuesday, members of Black Lives Matter UK gained access to London City Airport, where they chained themselves together on the runway in protest. Flights into the capital were diverted for several hours. Nine activists were arrested.

It followed a similar demonstration on a road outside Heathrow, London’s largest airport, last month.

But while the activists at Heathrow emphasized police brutality, the group at City Airport wanted to highlight something else: climate change. A statement from the group said climate change has a disproportionate effect on people of color in the developing world. "Black people are the first to die, not the first to fly, in this racist climate crisis," the group said.

In videos released online, Black Lives Matter UK has also drawn attention to the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean. They argue that this is another area where black people are disproportionately victimized by Western governments.

Joseph Harker, the Guardian's deputy opinion editor and a former editor of the Black Briton newspaper, isn't surprised that BLM has grown in Britain. “It has been such a successful movement in the States ... so it's natural that its success has led people to want to reproduce that," Harker said.

He sees parallels between the black British experience and the situation for African Americans, particularly when it comes to racism. But he believes there are essential differences. "The backdrop in Britain is very similar — the black population in Britain is traditionally a Caribbean population, which was also enslaved for generations," he says. "But there's not the same levels of shootings of unarmed people. So it's more difficult to get that same level of engagement in Britain."

Harker also questions whether a new environmental or migration agenda will resonate with the wider black community in the UK. "If you asked a hundred black British people what their top 10 issues are in terms of racism and discrimination in Britain, environment and climate change will come very low on the list — if at all," he says.

Critics of Black Lives Matter UK have also noted that most of the activists involved in the runway protest appear to be white. The group has posted a series of tweets that appear to respond to this.  "UKBLM is and always has been black led," said one. "Today's protest is an example of white allyship under black leadership," said another.

"There's a need for white people to take responsibility in a society that privileges them through racism and anti-black racism in particular."



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

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7 September, 2016

Latest ‘sick oceans’ report absurd

Global warming is making the oceans sicker than ever before, spreading disease among animals and humans and threatening food security across the planet, a major scientific report said on Monday.

The report lists several consequences of warming they claim are “absolutely massive.” The scientists say we are “making the oceans sick,” “drastically altering the rhythm of life” and “changing the seasons in the ocean.” Yet when we examine the observed warming, these claims are shown to be ridiculous. How can we trust scientists when they make statements like this on the slenderest evidence:

"the hotter oceans have killed off coral reefs at an unprecedented rate, reducing fish species by eliminating their habitats"

Earlier this year some bleached coral prompted claims that 93% of the Great Barrier Reef were damaged. But just two weeks ago teams of divers surveyed 300 km of the worst-hit portions of the reef and reported:

Everywhere we have been we have found healthy reefs.

No more than perhaps 7% had been damaged. The Great Barrier Reef was in fine condition, recovering nicely from an entirely natural bleaching event. Maybe a few coral reefs elsewhere have experienced a similar event.

So I don’t believe these claims of apocalyptic damage to the oceans. This graph of ocean temperatures over 35 years shows insignificant warming of just 0.15 °C. The same as 0.42 °C over a century. Not nearly enough for the dramatic changes claimed in this report. The normal diurnal range of surface temperatures can be over 5 °C, which makes 0.15 °C less than trivial.

Also in the report:

It documents evidence of jellyfish, seabirds and plankton shifting toward the cooler poles by up to 10 degrees latitude.

But ten degrees of latitude is only about 1100 km — completely insignificant for many marine species. Some penguins range over territory 6000 km wide and they can travel up to 15,000 km in six months. They’ll all be back when summer is over. Huge numbers of fish and other creatures follow the warmth, not the cold.

Anyway, if movements like these are real and turn out to be permanent, they weren’t caused by the sea water warming, because it hasn’t warmed, which means we didn’t cause it, which means this is all perfectly natural.


G20: US-China Climate ‘Deal’ Is A Sham

If you believe the BBC, the US and Chinese presidents signed a major deal on climate at the G20 summit in China today.

Actually, though, the deal means nothing because it’s non-binding and anyway the agreed targets – set at the COP21 fiasco in Paris last year – are a total waste of time.

Yes, of course, papers like the New York Times have tried to put a brave face on it:

    At a ceremony in this picturesque lakefront city, the two leaders hailed the adoption of the Paris agreement as a critical step toward bringing it into force worldwide. Together, China and the United States generate nearly 40 percent of the world’s emissions, not far from the threshold of 55 percent required for the global pact to take effect.

    “Despite our differences on other issues, we hope our willingness to work together on this issue will inspire further ambition and further action around the world,” Mr. Obama declared.

    Mr. Xi praised the Paris agreement as a milestone, adding, “It was under Chinese leadership that much of this progress was made.”

But the reality, as this analysis earlier in the year from the Global Warming Policy Foundation made clear, is that the agreement made in Paris – and now being endorsed by Presidents Obama and Xi – is toothless and therefore meaningless.

As the author of the analysis, Professor David Campbell of Lancaster University explains, the agreement gave China (and other “developing” countries like India) carte blanche to go on producing as much CO2 as they like. Otherwise China would never have signed it.

    The devil lies in Article 4 (7) of the Paris agreement:

    The extent to which developing country Parties will effectively implement their commitments under the Convention. . .will take fully into account that economic and social development and poverty eradication are the first and overriding priorities of the developing country Parties.

    Both India and China count as “developing” countries. What this subclause means is that no matter what commitments they may make to reduce their CO2 emissions, these must take second place to economic growth. So basically they can produce as much CO2 as they like without being in breach of the Paris Agreement. No wonder they put up so little resistance.

Not even “developed” countries are obliged to do anything, either. That’s because – at the behest of the US delegation in Paris – the word “should” was inserted into a key clause instead of “shall.” Otherwise, as Paul Homewood explains, it would have become legally binding and would have had to be ratified by Congress.

But here’s the most stupid thing of all: even if all the countries in the world were to hold true to the vague, non-binding commitments they made in Paris – which of course they won’t – the resultant reduction in global warming would be 0.048 degrees C by the end of the century.

All this fanfare, all this regulation, all this expense to reduce “global warming” by less than one twentieth of a degree.


EVs: An Ancient, Not Infant, Industry

Energy history takes the wind out of the sails of the advocates of forced energy transformation. Proponents of government- enabled renewable energies must contend with the fact that for most of mankind’s (impoverished) history, the market share of biomass, wind, solar, and falling water was 100 percent. (The carbon-based energy era is only a couple of hundred years old.)

And proponents of government-enabled electric vehicles (not golf carts) must know that their technology was beat fair and square than a century ago.

Here are some quotations on the rise and fall of EVs (or EEVs–emission elsewhere vehicles).

“Nothing fails like failure. Following the collapse of the Electric Vehicle Company, internal combustion began to assume a dominant position in the developing motor vehicle market.”

David Kirsch, The Electric Vehicle and The Burden of History (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 2000), p. 238.

“The ‘electric cab and carriage service’ described in the epigraph was inaugurated in New York City in March 1897 by Henry Morris and Pedro Salom, two Philadelphia-based engineers, with financial and logistical support from the Electric Storage Battery Company.”

David Kirsch, The Electric Vehicle and The Burden of History (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 2000), p. 29.

“Electrical World [in 1898] opined that, in spite of recent improvements, the storage battery ‘will spatter, fume, give out on the road, leak, buckle, disintegrate, corrode, short-circuit and do many other undesirable things under the sever conditions of automobile work.'”

David Kirsch, The Electric Vehicle and The Burden of History (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 2000), p. 46.

“Many would-be electric drivers either bought no car at all or bought an internal combustion vehicle. As one participant in the March 1909 meeting of the Pacific Coast Electric Automobile Association observed, ‘the unwarranted promise by the daily newspapers of a 200-mile battery has proved a serious obstacle to the introduction of electric vehicles.'”

David Kirsch, The Electric Vehicle and The Burden of History (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 2000), p. 200.

“The electric vehicle of 1914 was no longer competing against a crude, unreliable, gasoline-powered horseless carriage. Rather, by 1910 the internal combustion vehicle industry had itself evolved.  Leading firms such as Ford, Buick, and Studebaker were producing many thousands of vehicles each year.  Numerous advances in design, technology, and manufacturing had propelled the industry forward.

As of 1914, therefore, the electric vehicle industry confronted the following dilemma: the electric vehicle of 1902 (that is, after the initial kinks had been worked out of the Exide battery) was actually more acceptable to consumers than was the electric vehicle of 1910.  In absolute terms the electric vehicle of 1910 was vastly superior to the first-generation vehicles produced at the turn of the century; but relative to both expectations and the internal combustion vehicle of 1910, the passenger electric car was actually further from commercial viability than was its predecessor.”

David Kirsch, The Electric Vehicle and The Burden of History (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 2000), p. 201.

“Not only were electric vehicles incapable of meeting expectations, but the success of internal combustion created a moving target. As the internal combustion bandwagon gathered momentum, the threshold for minimum required performance continued to ratchet upward, thereby solidifying public perception of the electric vehicle as a technological failure.”

David Kirsch, The Electric Vehicle and The Burden of History (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 2000), p. 203.

“No electric car since 1902, regardless of battery or drive train, had been able to compete effectively against its contemporary internal combustion counterpart.”

David Kirsch, The Electric Vehicle and The Burden of History (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 2000), p. 203.

“The Electric Vehicle Association of America (EVAA) [was] a full-fledged trade organization representing electric vehicle manufacturers, battery makers, and electric companies. During its six-year existence as an independent entity, the EVAA helped underwrite a modest resurgence of interest in the electric vehicle, especially for commercial delivery and haulage.”

David Kirsch, The Electric Vehicle and The Burden of History (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 2000), p. 8.

“Early electric vehicle enthusiasts had many reasons to hope for a revolutionary breakthrough in energy storage technology; their generation had lived through the last quarter of the nineteenth century, an age of technological miracles. Initially, faith in the imminent solution to the battery problem ran high. Over time, however, hope gave way to a mixture of steadfast optimism and wistful resignation. Expectations were never fulfilled, even as incremental technological changes dramatically improved the capabilities of the typical electric vehicle.

All the while, internal combustion was consolidating its hold on the automobile market, further raising the bar for a successful electric passenger vehicle. Gradually, the electric car came to occupy a unique position; its prospects always seemed bright, even though memories were full of its history of unmet expectations.

David Kirsch, The Electric Vehicle and The Burden of History (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 2000), p. 9.

“In the late 1890s, at the dawn of the automobile era, steam, gasoline, and electric cars all competed to become the dominant automotive technology. By the early 1900s, the battle was over, and internal combustion was poised to become the prime mover of the twentieth century.”


Fracking Really Isn't So Bad

By James Conca: I write about nuclear, energy and the environment 

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
Chemists at the University of Texas at Arlington have published a new study that suggests the toxic organic vapor contamination in and around oil and gas fracking wells result more from sloppy drilling and operations, and are not inherent to the extraction process itself. Source: Hildenbrand et al. (2016)
Chemists at the University of Texas at Arlington have published a new study that suggests the toxic organic vapor contamination in and around oil and gas fracking wells result more from sloppy drilling and operations, and are not inherent to the extraction process itself. Source: Hildenbrand et al. (2016)

When Governor Andrew Cuomo announced last year that hydraulic fracturing would be banned in the State of New York, he cited the lack of scientific data on public health effects. He also said more study needed to be done to determine where emissions were coming from in the fracking and extraction cycle.

That study has now been done. Chemists at the University of Texas at Arlington published a study that indicates contamination from fracking wells are highly variable but result more from operational inefficiencies than from the extraction process itself.

In other words, it’s sloppy drilling methods that are the worst part of fracking.

The study, “Point source attribution of ambient contamination events near unconventional oil and gas development”, was published on Friday in the Science of the Total Environment. The researchers found highly variable levels of benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, and xylene compounds (BTEX) in and around fracking sites in the Eagle Ford shale region in South Texas. BTEX compounds in high concentrations can have harmful health effects in humans.

What was important was that the emissions were not from the fracking itself, but from a variety of onsite activities that were carried out in a poor or sloppy fashion.

Most studies on fracking have focused on rogue methane emissions. While methane is a potent greenhouse gas, rogue emissions do not have an immediate effect on human health because their concentrations are hundreds to thousands of times below what is required for acute health effects or asphyxiation.

But toxic vapors are another matter.

The authors presented an analysis of BTEX in the Eagle Ford shale region of southern Texas where fracking has increased enormously in the last decade. Using a novel mobile mass spectrometer mounted in the passenger seat of an electric hybrid car, real-time air quality measurements gave BTEX concentrations up to 5,000 parts per billion (ppb) originating from various onsite activities.

These include gas flaring units, condensate tanks, compressor units, and hydrogen sulfide scavengers. Mechanical inefficiencies in these systems, not the fracking process itself, cause the majority of emissions from these sites. While these measurements on their own do not fully portray emissions at all sites, they strongly suggest that contamination from fracking wells can be monitored, controlled, and reduced through better procedures and practices.

We’ve noticed this before with respect to fracked wells. Fugitive methane emissions come more from a poor cement job during sealing of the wells, than from fracking itself. EPA considers emissions from natural gas systems to be fairly low, even compared to agriculture and organic digesters (Duke University; Forbes Opinion).

Plus, no one believes fracking for gas to be anywhere near as environmentally destructive as getting coal or oil out of the ground by any means.

America’s carbon emissions are lower than at any time since 1989 and there are two big reasons for this – the Great Recession and the shale gas fracking craze.

Last year, EPA cut its estimates of methane emissions from natural gas production by 20%, bolstering industry claims that the fuel has a lower carbon footprint than coal and prompting new calls for the agency to soften its 2012 air rules for the sector (EPA).

Over the past ten years, electricity from coal has decreased by 25% and electricity from natural gas has increased 35%. Gas is being installed as the primary back-up to renewables. Gas is replacing nuclear in some unregulated markets. So expect natural gas use to double in the coming decades.


Studies blaming ailments on Pennsylvania fracking are flawed

Facing strong criticism, researchers at Johns Hopkins University, who have put out a number of studies blaming fracking in Pennsylvania for common ailments such as headaches, fatigue, asthma and sinus problems, published a defensive op-ed late last week attempting to justify their work.

Their damage control is partially in response to Energy In Depth's work, which has exposed the flaws in the research team's papers. EID actually dug into the data of their last three health studies and discovered that areas with no drilling showed much higher levels of symptoms than areas with shale development – contrary to the researchers' claims of a link between development and health impacts.

Their asthma study is contradicted by Pennsylvania Department of Health data, which show that heavily drilled counties have far lower rates of asthma hospitalizations than counties that have no shale production at all. The Department of Health data also show asthma hospitalizations declined by 26 percent from 2009 to 2013, when natural gas production in the state soared.

The researchers also claim living closer to shale wells increases the risk of premature birth, but their data show that 11 percent of women had premature deliveries in the area closest to shale wells. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 1 in every 9 babies is born prematurely in the United States – or about 11 percent of babies. The rates near wells were not elevated at all, as the researchers tried to suggest.

In their op-ed, the researchers try to deflect the criticism, claiming that they focused on the individual level, rather than producing an ecological study, which looks at community-wide effects.

Let's consider the individual angle for a moment. If you're trying to figure out whether someone's symptoms were caused by exposure to a particular event, one of your first research tasks is to find out if he or she had those symptoms prior to exposure. Yet in each study, the researchers went out of their way not to include this kind of baseline data.

In their study claiming a link between fracking and sinus problems, migraines and fatigue, the researchers did not even ask the patients if they had migraines or fatigue before shale development. There was no way to tell if they had suffered from these conditions all their lives – as many people do with these conditions – or if the onset was recent. They did obtain some baseline data for sinus problems, but admitted that there were only a "small number of subjects" that occurred after 2006 so they couldn't link those symptoms to fracking.

In their premature birth study, they "excluded births before 2009," so they had no way to tell if rates increased after shale development. They also failed to include data on several other major risk factors associated with preterm births, including smoking, poor nutrition, high blood pressure, diabetes and stress.

Dr. Tony Cox, a clinical professor of biostatistics at the University of Colorado-Boulder, recently penned a letter to the editor in the journal Epidemiology, noting that the researchers' interpretation in the preterm birth study is "unwarranted" and that "claiming that associations provide evidence for a causal conclusion is unjustified."

Dr. Gilbert Ross, senior director of medicine and public health at the American Council on Science and Health, also pointed out, "There is no possible way this retrospective study could have accounted for key issues, such as genetic factors, history of prior pregnancy issues, [or] drug or alcohol use in the parents, all of which have a large influence on birth weights and the duration of pregnancy."

One of the researchers, Dr. Brian Schwartz, is a fellow at the Post Carbon Institute, an anti-fossil fuel advocacy group that has called fracking a "virus." The researchers have attempted to dismiss this criticism because Schwartz is not currently being paid by the Post Carbon Institute, a fact that does nothing to address concerns about his voluntary affiliation with such an organization.

To their credit, the researchers recently wrote that fracking "has been an energy success story." But their willingness to link fracking with a variety of common health issues – even though their data suggest the complete opposite – is why they have attracted significant criticism.


Brits don't like electric cars

Motorists are shunning electric cars despite a generous subsidy, leaving MPs with "no confidence" that Britain will meet its climate change targets by the middle of the century.
Image result for climate target UK electric cars

Britain has a legally binding obligation to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 compared with 1990 levels. To meet these targets, about 60 per cent of the cars and lorries on the roads must be electric by 2030. [...]

Sales of electric vehicles are heavily subsided by the government, which offers up to £4,500 towards the purchase of a battery-driven car under a scheme due to expire in 2018.

But public take-up of the vehicles remains very low — at less than 1 per cent of new car sales — largely because of the lack of charging infrastructure and "range anxiety", where drivers are worried they will run out of power before reaching a charging station.



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

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


6 September, 2016

Storm Hermine's damage fueled by global warming, scientists say

The usual suspects Oppenheimer, Mann etc are lying again -- blaming sea level rise caused by subsidence on anthropogenic global warming

Storm surges pushed by Hermine, the hurricane-turned tropical storm that on Sunday was moving up the US eastern seaboard, could be even more damaging than previous such surges because sea levels have risen by a foot due to global warming, climate scientists said.

Michael Mann of the Pennsylvania State University noted that this century’s one-foot sea-level rise in New York City meant 25 more square miles flooded during Hurricane Sandy in 2012, causing billions more in damage.

"We are already experiencing more and more flooding due to climate change in every storm," said Michael Oppenheimer, a geosciences professor at Princeton University. "And it’s only the beginning."

Overnight, the center of the storm moved further east and away from the coast than previously forecast, said Rick Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center (NHC), in a webcast.

"That’s good news, but this is not over yet because we still are forecasting it to slow down and meander generally northward," Knabb said, adding that "we think it could become hurricane force again" as the storm was likely to strengthen as it moves over warm water.

The NHC maintained its tropical storm watch for Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket and said dangerous storm surges would continue along the coast from Virginia to New Jersey.

"The combination of a storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline," it said in a morning advisory.

Authorities up and down the coast ordered swimmers and surfers to stay out of treacherous waters on the Labor Day holiday weekend, when many Americans celebrate the end of summer. Projections showed the outer reaches of the storm could sweep the coastlines of Rhode Island or Massachusetts later in the week.

Hermine rose over the Gulf of Mexico and hit Florida on Friday as a category one hurricane before weakening to a tropical storm across Georgia, packing sustained winds of up to 65mph.

At 11am on Sunday, top sustained winds were 70mph as the storm moved east-northeast at 10mph. The storm was centered about 301 miles east-south-east of Ocean City, Maryland. Forecasters expected winds to return to hurricane force of more than 74mph by Sunday evening.

"It’s going to sit offshore and it is going to be a tremendous coastal event with a dangerous storm surge and lots of larger waves probably causing significant beach erosion, for the next few days," said senior NHC hurricane specialist Daniel Brown.


Methane release not likely to be a problem any time soon

Even in an era much warmer than today, methane release was slow

Mechanistic insights into a hydrate contribution to the Paleocene-Eocene carbon cycle perturbation from coupled thermohydraulic simulations

T. A. Minshull et al.


During the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), the carbon isotopic signature (?13C) of surface carbon-bearing phases decreased abruptly by at least 2.5 to 3.0‰. This carbon isotope excursion (CIE) has been attributed to widespread methane hydrate dissociation in response to rapid ocean warming. We ran a thermohydraulic modeling code to simulate hydrate dissociation due to ocean warming for various PETM scenarios. Our results show that hydrate dissociation in response to such warming can be rapid but suggest that methane release to the ocean is modest and delayed by hundreds to thousands of years after the onset of dissociation, limiting the potential for positive feedback from emission-induced warming. In all of our simulations at least half of the dissociated hydrate methane remains beneath the seabed, suggesting that the pre-PETM hydrate inventory needed to account for all of the CIE is at least double that required for isotopic mass balance.


Tell the Obama Administration to Stop Using a 1970's Relic to Pursue His Radical Environmental Agenda

Have you noticed how the price of electronics and appliances like TVs, refrigerators, computers, or cell phones have been continuous declining as a result of technological progress, but the cost of new cars has been increasing? This is not some special quirk of the car market; it is the result of a deliberate policy by the federal government, prodded by radical environmentalists, to increase the cost of purchasing a new car. One of the chief mechanisms for this war on affordability are Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) mandates, which cost consumers tens of billions of dollars per year. Punishingly high CAFE standards have become a weapon of choice for radical leftists in their efforts to dictate how Americans must live.

In the 1970’s after the Arab oil embargo, the federal government created the mandated fuel efficiency standards for cars known as CAFE standards. These mandates were one of many big government economic interferences imposed during that decade in an effort to be seen to be responding the embargo. Unlike similarly foolish price and supply controls, however, CAFE mandates were never repealed, lingering on as a market-distorting anachronism. In 2009, the new Obama administration found a novel use for these outdated regulations: as a tool for pushing its radical global warming agenda. The Obama administration proceeded to nearly double CAFE mandates, demanding radically higher mandates by 2025.

The results of this radical departure from previous practice will not surprise you. According to Salim Furth from the Heritage Foundation:

"When the Obama Administration began implementing stricter CAFE standards in 2009, scholars predicted that the standards would cost consumers at least $3,800 per vehicle. Vehicle prices, which had been falling, began rising in 2009 and have not stopped. The average vehicle now costs $6,200 more than if prices had followed their previous trend. Prices will continue to rise, by at least $3,400 per car through 2025, unless this costly policy mistake is undone."

As part of the decision to radically increase CAFE mandates, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTSA) were required to prepare a study on the implementation of these mandates in 2016. This study was released last month, and it is now open for public comment.

The study found that the CAFE mandates set by the Obama administration were unlikely to be reached, mainly because Americans continue to choose to buy SUVs, crossovers, and light trucks. While looked down upon by radical environmentalists, demand for these vehicles has continued with lower gas prices from the American energy boom.

In a logical world, the federal government would recognize reality and abandon this costly and unnecessary crusade, but bureaucrats have never been strong on logic. The Obama administration insists that it will press forward with its mandates. The administration’s radical environmentalist allies have even begun commenting on the EPA study demanding even higher CAFE mandates.

Don’t let the environmentalists have their way. Make your voice heard at this link and tell the federal regulators to abandon their radical, costly mandates.


College Profs Tell Students To Drop Out If They Don’t Believe In Global Warming

They can't hack dissent and debate, in a complete abandonment of science and scholarship

Three University of Colorado professors told students to drop out of class if they did not believe in man-made global warming, stressing in an email there will be no debates on the subject in class.

"The point of departure for this course is based on the scientific premise that human induced climate change is valid and occurring," reads the email from UC Colorado Springs professors to their students obtained by The College Fix.

"We will not, at any time, debate the science of climate change, nor will the ‘other side’ of the climate change debate be taught or discussed in this course," reads the email sent after some students voiced concern about their future in the class after the first online lecture on global warming.

"Opening up a debate that 98% of climate scientists unequivocally agree to be a non-debate would detract from the central concerns of environment and health addressed in this course," the professors wrote in their email.

"If you believe this premise to be an issue for you, we respectfully ask that you do not take this course, as there are options within the Humanities program for face to face this semester and online next," they wrote.

The three professors teach the online course "Medical Humanities in the Digital Age," but also delves into global warming and even the "health effects of fracking," according to the course syllabus. There’s also a lecture on "our relationship with the natural world and its healing power."

The lecture on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, relies on sources from environmental activists that want to ban the drilling technique despite federal and state studies finding little to no evidence it contaminates water or negatively impacts human health.

Professors even encourage students to measure their own carbon footprint, reports the College Fix, which notes the teachers even banned challenging global warming on online forums unless they cite research reviewed by the United Nations.

Public schools have also taken up the climate crusade. The Portland Public Schools Board voted in June to "abandon the use of any adopted text material that is found to express doubt about the severity of the climate crisis or its root in human activities."


Warmists force revision of Irish science textbook

Skeptical view purged

Ireland’s largest publisher of school books has revised a chapter in its sixth class school geography book after environmental group, An Taisce, raised concerns about what the book says about global warming.

'Unlocking Geography', published by Folens, quotes a fictional meteorological researcher, who suggests that global warming is caused by nature and that humans are not to blame.

The book was published four years ago and has been used for sixth class pupils in primary schools ever since.

In chapter ten of the book, 'Barry' a fictitious climate scientist outlines the effect that human activity is having on the environment.

He is followed by 'James', a fictitious meteorological researcher, who disagrees. James says "Most of the things that have led to Global Warming were caused by nature itself".  He goes on to say that "Humans are not to blame because we have very little control over nature.

The chapter asks children to discuss these points of view.  It quotes from blogs that state "All this talk of Global Warming is silly", and "Those scientists are always trying to scare us!".

The book came to the attention of An Taisce when the daughter of one of its members alerted her parents to its arguments. Following representations from An Taisce, Folens agreed to revise the chapter. Today a new booklet was sent to schools, replacing chapter ten of the book.

This new section was drawn up in conjunction with An Taisce and scientists. The fictitious meteorological researcher, and his arguments against global warming, are gone.

Folens has told RT? News that the original content reflected the "balanced opinion" on climate change which was prevalent a number of years ago.

Managing Director John Cadell said that scientific opinion had now changed and the company was happy to update its book. Folens has written to primary schools today asking them to replace chapter 10 with the new booklet that the publishers has issued.

Folens said it would be too expensive to republish the entire book.

An Taisce has welcomed the revision. Its Climate Change Spokesperson, John Gibbons, told RT? News it was incredibly important that children and their teachers were armed with the most accurate information.


EPA’s dangerous regulatory pollution

Agency’s deceptive practices, human experiments and unjustified regulations cost us dearly

Paul Driessen

If you’re wondering whether to trust the Environmental Protection Agency on mercury, ozone, climate change or other regulatory actions, you need look no further than how it has handled particulates.

EPA whitewashed the toxic flashflood it caused in Colorado. But it says particulate matter smaller than 10 microns (PM10) is risky and worries incessantly about 2.5-micron particles. (A human hair is 50-70 microns; dust, pollen and mold are around 10; combustion exhaust particles are 2.5 microns or smaller.)

The tinier specks, EPA asserts, "can get deep into your lungs, and some may even get into your bloodstream." Eliminating all such particles in our air is absolutely essential to human health, longevity and well-being, the agency insists. There is no threshold below which there is no risk, its advisors say.

Studies demonstrate "an association" between "premature mortality and fine particle pollution at the lowest levels measured," EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told Congress. They have not found a level "at which premature mortality effects do not occur." Reducing emissions and exposure always yields health benefits.

Broad population-based epidemiological evidence "links" short term PM2.5 exposures (hours or days) to cardiovascular and respiratory mortality, an EPA report claims. Long-term exposure (years or decades) has been "linked" to respiratory disease and cardiovascular and lung cancer mortality.

Particulate matter doesn’t just make you sick; it is directly related "to dying sooner than you should," former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson testified to Congress. "If we could reduce particulate matter to levels that are healthy," it would be like "finding a cure for cancer" – saving up to 570,000 lives a year.

Indeed, EPA says all but a sliver of the hundreds of billions of dollars in health and environmental benefits that it claims result from its mercury, climate change and "clean power" regulations are actually due to the "ancillary" benefits of reducing PM2.5 emissions from power plants, factories, refineries, petrochemical plants, cars, light trucks, and diesel-powered trucks, buses and heavy equipment.

But wait! Just when you thought life couldn’t get more dangerous, and thank the lord for EPA, the agency changed its rules and health advisories – though not its regulations for permissible particulate levels.

Epidemiological studies are corrupted by uncontrollable "confounding factors" and thus cannot reliably identify causes and effects, or attribute all the asserted deaths to particulates. How can you separate PM2.5 particles emitted by vehicles, power plants and factories from particles due to volcanoes, forest fires, construction projects, dust storms or pollen – or from cigarettes that rapidly send 1000 times more tiny particles into lungs than what EPA says is lethal if they come from other sources? It can’t be done.

How can you tell whether a death was caused by airborne particles – and not by viruses, bacteria, dietary habits, obesity, smoking, diabetes, cold weather and countless other factors? It’s impossible.

In fact, EPA has not even come up with a plausible biological explanation for why or how super-tiny particles can cause a plethora of diseases and deaths simply by getting into lungs or bloodstreams. Its concept of "premature" deaths primarily reflects the fact that more people die on some days than others.

So EPA needed additional studies, to back up its expansive, bogus epidemiological assertions. The new studies, director Steve Milloy discovered, involved human test subjects. They raised numerous new legal, ethical and scientific problems.

Not only do US laws, the Nuremberg Code, the Helsinki Accords and EPA Rule 1000.17 make it unethical or illegal to conduct toxicity experiments on humans. When California, Washington, Rutgers and other University researchers explained the experiments to their volunteers, they generally failed to advise them that EPA says the pollution they were going to breathe was toxic, carcinogenic and deadly.

Instead, volunteers were told they would face only "minimal risks," the kind they would ordinarily encounter in daily life, in performing routine physical activities. Others were told they might experience claustrophobia in the small study chambers, or some minor degree of airway irritation, shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing. There is no way such advisories can lead to "informed consent."

Moreover, the people who EPA claims are most at risk, most susceptible to getting horribly sick and even dying, from exposure to these particulates were precisely the same people recruited by EPA and its EPA-funded research teams: the elderly, asthmatics, diabetics, people with heart disease, children. And to top it off, the test subjects were exposed to eight, thirty or even sixty times more particulates per volume – for up to two hours – than they would breathe outdoors, and what EPA claims are dangerous or lethal.

So which is it?

How can it be that PM2.5 particulates are dangerous or lethal for Americans in general, every time they step outside – but harmless to human guinea pigs who were intentionally administered pollution dozens of times worse than what they would encounter outdoors? How can it be, as EPA-funded researchers now assert, that "acute, transient responses seen in clinical studies cannot necessarily be used to predict health effects of chronic or repeated exposure" – when that is precisely what EPA claims they can and do show?

If PM2.5 is lethal and there is no safe threshold, shouldn’t EPA officials, its researchers and their institutions be prosecuted for deliberately misleading volunteers and conning them into breathing the poisons? Shouldn’t they be prosecuted for experimenting on children, in direct violation of EPA’s own rules banning such experiments – and for deleting evidence describing those tests?

Thankfully, none of the test subjects died, or the charges would be much more serious.

But if no one died, doesn’t that mean EPA is lying when it says there is no safe level, that all PM2.5 particulates are toxic, that its regulations are saving countless lives, and that the direct and ancillary benefits vastly outweigh their multi-billion-dollar annual costs? And if that is the case, shouldn’t EPA officials be prosecuted for lying to Congress and public, and imposing all those costs for no real benefits?

Doesn’t it also mean there really are safe levels and PM2.5 particles are not really toxic or lethal? Doesn’t it mean EPA’s draconian standards should be significantly modified, and companies and communities should be compensated for their costs in complying with excessive, unjustified particulate regulations?

Shouldn’t EPA officials be prosecuted for imposing unnecessary regulations that cost billions of dollars, kill thousands of jobs, shut down electricity generation, reduce living standards, raise prices for food and construction projects, and actually lower health, welfare and life spans for numerous people?

In either event, shouldn’t the researchers and universities be compelled to return the hundreds of millions of dollars they received for these deceptive, unethical, illegal human experiments – and compensate the test subjects for subjecting them to emotional distress when they realize they received "lethal" doses? Shouldn’t EPA officials be fired and prosecuted for their roles in all of this?

And now, during the past few months, EPA has been trying to use the prestigious National Academy of Sciences to cover-up and whitewash the agency’s illegal experiments on humans. In secret, and with no public notice or opportunity to comment, the agencies held meetings and issued a draft report.

Milloy got wind of what was going on. He and four other experts sought and received an unprecedented opportunity to testify before the NAS on August 24. Their presentations and other information used in this article can be found here, here and here. Will their efforts bring change? Time will tell.

Up to now, EPA has said and done whatever it deems necessary or convenient to advance its regulatory agenda. The health, environmental and societal costs are unjustified and can no longer be tolerated. It’s time to clean house – and start enforcing laws against human experiments and fraudulent research.

Via email


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, 2016

Water wars?

The story below is yet another "resources running out" story and as silly as most.  There are two obvious replies to the scare:  One in Australia and one in Israel.

Australia is an unusually dry country on the whole, though there are some areas where it is very wet indeed.  The Southeast of the continent relies heavily on our great Southern rivers, with irrigation from them producing excellent crops.  But if everybody were allowed to take all they want from them, people in the Southern reaches of the rivers would be left high and dry. 

So the right to take water from the rivers has simply been made tradeable.  You buy water from them so only those who can make good money from the water will want to buy.  So the people who can use the water best are the one who do get to use it and there is as a result plenty of water available for productive uses.

Israel also has strategies that have solved their water problems.  Israel is in an area that has been very dry in recent years but in fact has plenty of water.  How come?  There are two main factors: A high rate of recycling "grey" water for irrigation purposes and desalination.  Israel is a world leader in desalination technology and now produces large flows of desalinated water at a very moderate cost.

A combination of the Australian and Israeli approaches should relieve any country of water problems as long as they decide to spend their money intelligently instead of blowing one-another up over religious disagreements

WE ALL think we know why wars are fought. Whether it’s the devastation in Syria, armed skirmishes in Africa or Russia’s expansionist leanings, armed conflicts are usually seen as falling into one of very few categories; capturing territory, a political ideology attempting to dominate another or, simply, for a country to get its hands on oilfields.

But, according to one theory, whatever the stated reason for most wars, they actually come down to one reason. Or rather, one resource, which is all around us.

And with stores of this resource dwindling in some parts of the world, things could be about to get a lot worse with a potential future flashpoint being between two of the world’s nuclear armed superpowers — India and China.

Alok Jha, a British journalist with a background in physics, will speak at this weekend’s Festival of Dangerous Ideas at the Sydney Opera House about the role water has played in a multitude of conflicts including both the Arab Spring and the civil war that has engulfed Syria.

"The Roman empire and the Persian empire would go to war for access to water and would live or die by that," Mr Jha tells "That doesn’t happen as blatantly anymore, it’s much more subtle."

Part of the problem, he argues in his new book The Water Book, is we’ve managed to hide water from view and have forgotten its importance.


"What we’ve done in modern society is make water invisible. Apart from when it’s falling from the sky or we’re having showers you don’t really think about it."

Yet, every major city — from Sydney on the harbour to Brisbane on the river — exists either on or close to a river or a coastline. A map of the world’s population centres, says Mr Jha, is actually a map of freshwater sources.

"Any civilisation marks its domination and power through control of water.

Ninety seven per cent of the earth’s water is in the oceans and salty and so unusable unless treated through energy sucking desalination plants.

"Of the remaining three per cent, two per cent is in the ice caps and one per cent is freshwater, most of which most sits underground in ice or permafrost and a vanishingly small percentage is the stuff all of life uses," explains Mr Jha.

So successful have we been at harnessing the power of water that cities and even entire nations have sprung from the desert soil, be that Las Vegas in the US or Dubai and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East. Each one far outstripping the water supply naturally occurring in the area.

But climate change, the inefficient use of water, and access to the oceans could stretch our ability to squeeze more H20 out of the supplies we have and could spark violence across borders.
Alik Jha argues the world is taking the risk of conflicts over water for granted.

Alik Jha argues the world is taking the risk of conflicts over water for granted.Source:Supplied


Conflicts concerning strategic bodies of water are nothing new. Indeed, a series of skirmishes in the 1960s between Israel, Syria and Lebanon about freshwater allocations from the Jordan Valley was called the ‘water war’.

But Mr Jha argues that far more conflicts have water at their core.

"There are conflicts and skirmishes all the time and they are often not described as a water war, sometimes people might fight over a bit of land or it may manifest as a trade dispute but underlying all of that is access to water.

"In the Middle East there are constant battles over (water) but it’s at a very low level and sometimes internal (to the country)," he says.

"The Arab Spring was exacerbated by failed crops. Syria, right now, is largely political and it’s about dictatorships and war but it’s exacerbated because of water shortages."

The spark for the genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region, which saw two million deaths and the country divided in two, is credited as the populated and parched north of the country looking to get its hands on water from the lush but culturally distinct south.
Rebel Sudanese Justice and Equality Movement fighters in the Darfur region of Sudan. The were needed in the 2000s when the country split in two. Picture: Scott Nelson/Getty Images

Rebel Sudanese Justice and Equality Movement fighters in the Darfur region of Sudan. The were needed in the 2000s when the country split in two. Picture: Scott Nelson/Getty ImagesSource:Supplied


"If you do not have access to water, it’s not just hard to have a shower in the morning, you can’t do anything, you can’t grow crops, you have no clothes, nothing works," he says.

If climate change continues, as scientists predict, there will be even less water in the Middle East, sub Saharan Africa, the southern US, the Mediterranean and, he says, Australia. And as the water moves, so will the people.

"If everything in a country dries up the people will look across international boundaries for jobs, food, for home. Richer countries will have to work out how to absorb these people.

Reasons for migration might seem diverse now, from looking for a better life to escaping conflict, "but in 20 years, if you look back you’ll see it was a water-led migration," says Mr Jha.

Conversely, massive global disruption could also occur because of too much water. Rising sea levels could swamp major world centres, like New York, London and Tokyo.


Flooding of Coast, Caused by Global Warming, Has Already Begun

JUSTIN GILLIS of the NYT is telling his tired old lies again.  That parts of the U.S. East coast are subsiding has long been recognized.  Parts of the U.K. East coast are receding too --  and have been doing so for many years.  The result is similar to a sea level rise but is not the same.  If it were a global sea level rise behind the phenomena below, how do we explain that,  along the coasts of Alaska, sea levels are FALLING?  Answer: the land surface there has been rapidly rising (uplift) for many decades.  Some land rises and some falls so to pick out just the falls is a typical Greenie lie

NORFOLK, Va. — Huge vertical rulers are sprouting beside low spots in the streets here, so people can judge if the tidal floods that increasingly inundate their roads are too deep to drive through.

Five hundred miles down the Atlantic Coast, the only road to Tybee Island, Ga., is disappearing beneath the sea several times a year, cutting the town off from the mainland.

And another 500 miles on, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., increased tidal flooding is forcing the city to spend millions fixing battered roads and drains — and, at times, to send out giant vacuum trucks to suck saltwater off the streets.

For decades, as the global warming created by human emissions caused land ice to melt and ocean water to expand, scientists warned that the accelerating rise of the sea would eventually imperil the United States’ coastline.

Now, those warnings are no longer theoretical: The inundation of the coast has begun. The sea has crept up to the point that a high tide and a brisk wind are all it takes to send water pouring into streets and homes.

Federal scientists have documented a sharp jump in this nuisance flooding — often called "sunny-day flooding" — along both the East Coast and the Gulf Coast in recent years. The sea is now so near the brim in many places that they believe the problem is likely to worsen quickly. Shifts in the Pacific Ocean mean that the West Coast, partly spared over the past two decades, may be hit hard, too.

These tidal floods are often just a foot or two deep, but they can stop traffic, swamp basements, damage cars, kill lawns and forests, and poison wells with salt. Moreover, the high seas interfere with the drainage of storm water.

In coastal regions, that compounds the damage from the increasingly heavy rains plaguing the country, like those that recently caused extensive flooding in Louisiana. Scientists say these rains are also a consequence of human greenhouse emissions.

"Once impacts become noticeable, they’re going to be upon you quickly," said William V. Sweet, a scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Silver Spring, Md., who is among the leaders in research on coastal inundation. "It’s not a hundred years off — it’s now."

Local governments, under pressure from annoyed citizens, are beginning to act. Elections are being won on promises to invest money to protect against flooding. Miami Beach is leading the way, increasing local fees to finance a $400 million plan that includes raising streets, installing pumps and elevating sea walls.

In many of the worst-hit cities, mayors of both parties are sounding an alarm.

"I’m a Republican, but I also realize, by any objective analysis, the sea level is rising," said Jason Buelterman, the mayor of tiny Tybee Island, one of the first Georgia communities to adopt a detailed climate plan.

But the local leaders say they cannot tackle this problem alone. They are pleading with state and federal governments for guidance and help, including billions to pay for flood walls, pumps and road improvements that would buy them time.

Yet Congress has largely ignored these pleas, and has even tried to block plans by the military to head off future problems at the numerous bases imperiled by a rising sea. A Republican congressman from Colorado, Ken Buck, recently called one military proposal part of a "radical climate change agenda."

The gridlock in Washington means the United States lacks not only a broad national policy on sea-level rise, it has something close to the opposite: The federal government spends billions of taxpayer dollars in ways that add to the risks, by subsidizing local governments and homeowners who build in imperiled locations along the coast.

As the problem worsens, experts are warning that national security is on the line. Naval bases, in particular, are threatened; they can hardly be moved away from the ocean, yet much of their land is at risk of disappearing within this century.

"It’s as if the country was being attacked along every border, simultaneously," said Andrea Dutton, a climate scientist at the University of Florida and one of the world’s leading experts on rising seas. "It’s a slow, gradual attack, but it threatens the safety and security of the United States."


Obama's "ratification" of the Paris climate treaty is a joke

There's some news. The Chinese and the U.S. president have met in China and "ratified" the Paris climate treaty. This brings the number of countries that have ratified it to 26. Additional 33 countries have promised to ratify before the end of the year. It means that the total number will exceed 55 which is needed. If they also exceed 55% of the world's production of CO2, the Paris climate treaty will come into force for the countries that have ratified it.

A map of the ratification status is available.

Recall that the Paris climate treaty is encouraging the countries to make individual commitments in the form of five-year plans to decarbonize their economies. Like communist parties, all the signatories should gather, talk about their experience with the five-year plans, criticize those who aren't sufficiently tough, and agree about new five-year plans. During communism, similar voluntary activities encouraged by the communist leadership were known as the Initiative Z.

The countries that have ratified may withdraw but the process of withdrawal takes at least 4 years in total. It's a lot of time to cause a significant harm to the country's economy.

It's interesting to look how the treaties were ratified by China and America.

More than eight years ago, on June 4th, 2008, Barack Obama said that it was the day when he slowed the rise of oceans. Today in China, Obama said that now is the moment when he saved our planet. You can see that it takes a bit over 8 years for a clown who has slowed the rise of the oceans to save the planet, too.

It would be sort of funny if that clown didn't mean it seriously.

We often say that China isn't a democracy – well, because it isn't one. Still, they have a legislature and yesterday, before the Chinese president signed the treaty during his today's "Planet Saved" comedy show with his U.S. counterpart, China's legislature actually voted to approve the treaty. If you want to know which words are being used for that, it was the "Standing Committee" of the "National People’s Congress" that was carefully thinking and finally adopted the agreement, according to the official Chinese press.

What about the process in the U.S., the self-described leader of the democratic world? Well, if it were one, the requirements would be analogous but more real than in China. Real representatives and not just a bunch of Chinese puppets who would be punished if they voted "incorrectly" would be really thinking about the merits of the agreement. The ratification of the treaty requires 2/3 of the votes in the Senate.

Instead, Barack Obama has declared that the salvation of the planet is no big deal legally. It is just an "executive agreement" which only requires the president's signature.

It is ludicrous but just try to think how terribly ludicrous this statement is. The executive branch of the government will be replaced by a different one when the treaty really comes into force around 2020. Well, the Obama administration will be gone in less than half a year. So how can an executive agreement or action of the current administration possibly affect how lawmakers, companies, and regular citizens behave in 2020 when the Paris treaty is supposed to be relevant?

It makes absolutely no sense. You clearly need some laws – adopted by lawmakers (they are called lawmakers because they make laws) – if you want some rules affecting the behavior of the U.S. citizens, companies, and politicians that survive the current administration.

Barack Obama is just mocking himself – and he is mocking his supporters, too. As an Obama supporter, Gene Day looks even nuttier than he did before. Not even in the non-democratic China, it would be possible to completely avoid the will of the voters and their representatives while changing the legal landscape of the country in this serious way. Barack, you would have to be at least the Führer to make similar decisions. Your signature will be ignored by every American worker, entrepreneur, and politician who has a brain.

Meanwhile, it's much safer for the other countries that haven't signed yet not to sign, ever. I wouldn't really call it "Clexit". To "Clexit", you must first be in, and then it takes 4 years to leave. You just shouldn't get in at all. In particular, Brexit gave some new sovereignty and democracy to the U.K. so that it could follow it with Clexit and restore its 18th century industrial leadership.

It's ludicrous to assume that this signature of Obama's will matter. But it's only ludicrous from the contemporary viewpoint – this scenario has nothing to do with the way how the republic works. However, the actual main goal of the Paris treaty and similar activity of the climate alarmists is to change the conditions, promote the climate hysterical politicians to Führers, and make it possible for them to control every fart of yours and your cow (California has banned or regulated cows' farts, no kidding) without any attention paid to any representatives, voters, or taxpayers.

The actual goal of the climate hysteria is to introduce a new totalitarian system and this is why its proponents must be treated in the same way as the Nazis.


Clexit:  Climate exit

Viv Forbes

For at least a decade we have been told by the UN/IPCC, by most government media and officials, by many politicians, and by the Green "charities" and their media friends that "the science is settled". We are lectured by Hollywood stars, failed politicians and billionaire speculators that anyone who opposes the World War on Carbon Dioxide is ignorant, mischievous or supporting some hidden vested interest. We endure calls for an end to free speech for climate sceptics, smearing with derogatory terms like "denier", and even aggressive punishments like dismissal and legal action against sceptics for speaking out. The new low is the use of anti-racketeer legislation against sceptics:

We notice the sudden and unexplained denial of pre-booked sceptic conference facilities and the steadfast refusal of alarmists to debate facts and issues.

Why are they so afraid of words? Surely this is a sign that their facts are shonky and their arguments are feeble? They fear they are losing the confidence of the public.

The tide is turning, and informed opposition is growing. It is time for the thinking media to give sceptical evidence and conclusions a fair go in the court of public opinion.

In a short time with no costly international meetings and very little publicity, Clexit has gathered the support of over 115 members in 20 countries. Please look at the list of Foundation Members and countries here

Look at the skills, qualifications, experience and wisdom of our founding members; and the many other well-qualified dissenters listed at the end. The science is not settled.

This global warming alarm started with UN sponsored groups such as the IPCC. But Clexit has members who were official IPCC reviewers but they dissented from the final public IPCC reports which were prepared by political appointees.

The climate alarm rests totally on computerised models of atmospheric physics. But Clexit has highly qualified meteorologists, physicists, astro-physicists, radiation experts, climate modellers and long-range forecasters who reject the science, maths, assumptions and forecasts of the greenhouse-driven computer models.

We are told that Earth’s climate is controlled by the gradual increase of a tiny trace of one colourless gas in the atmosphere. But Clexit has specialists who can show that the warm and cold currents in the deep and extensive oceans, the variable water vapour in the atmosphere and Earth’s changing cover of ice, snow and clouds have far more effect on weather and climate than carbon dioxide.

We are told that carbon dioxide is a pollutant. But Clexit has organic chemists, biologists, physicians, naturalists, graziers, foresters and farmers who know that extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is very beneficial for Earth’s biosphere – deserts are contracting, bush and forests are expanding, and crop yields are up.

We are told that sea levels are rising alarmingly. But Clexit has experts on sea level history and measurement who can prove that there is nothing unusual or alarming about current fluctuations in sea levels.

We are told that today’s climate is extreme and unusual. But Clexit has geologists and geographers who have studied eons of climate history via ice cores, stratigraphy, paleontology, deep-sea drilling, historical records, glaciers, ice sheets and landscapes and who say that climate change is normal and today’s climate is not extreme or unusual.

We are told to fear the coming global warming. But Clexit has geologists and researchers who have studied the cycles of the ice ages and the climate effects of the Milankovitch cycles in Earth’s orbit – obliquity, eccentricity and precession. They say we have passed the peak of this modern warm era and the long-term trend is now towards global cooling. We will still have short-term periods of hot and extreme weather, and some heat records may still be broken, but the 1,000 year climate averages are trending down towards the next glacial epoch of the Pleistocene Ice Age.

We are told repeatedly that the Great Barrier Reef is doomed by dangers that change annually – rising seas, river sediments, warm seas, ocean acidity, fertiliser run-off, coal port development, over-fishing or marauding star-fish. But Clexit has qualified members who have studied oceanography and ancient and modern corals and report that the Reef is healthy, and corals have survived far more dramatic changes in sea levels and climate in the past.

Solar cycles get no consideration in the IPCC climate models but Clexit has astro-physicists and long range weather forecasters who have demonstrated that solar and lunar cycles have big effects on Earth’s climate and weather cycles. In addition, while billions of dollars are spent fruitlessly on failed climate models and endless climate conferences, little is known about the strings of undersea volcanoes or how much geothermal heat is released from Earth’s molten interior during orogenic upheavals.

We are told that we must embrace green energy. But Clexit has power engineers and logistics experts who say that wind and solar can never run modern industrial societies, modern transport or big cities. Such a policy is a recipe for blackouts and starvation. Clexit also has naturalists and conservationists who see more harm than good in extensive wind, solar and bio-fuel developments.

Finally, we are told that to save the world we need to hand powerful taxing and regulating powers to unelected officials of the United Nations. But Clexit has politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen, columnists, lawyers, army officers and bloggers who see that this political agenda will destroy the freedoms we cherish.

Many Clexit members have held very senior positions in research, industry or academia but no longer have sensitive positions, careers or incomes to protect, so are free to express honest opinions, which they have done by supporting "Clexit".

We ask the media to give our soundly-based dissenting conclusions a fair hearing – there are two sides to most stories, but only one side is being aired.

The Clexit initiative was launched with no budget, promises or funds. So, unlike the alarmists with an agenda, those receiving rivers of government funds and those posing as tax-exempt charities, we cannot afford massive advertising costs.

We hope, in the interests of fair play, you see fit to give our valid concerns some space in the free media.

Note: The first informal meeting of many Clexit members will take place in London on Sept 8/9, 2016 at this conference (whose first booked venue was suddenly withdrawn):

Disclosure: The formation of Clexit was not prompted or supported by any industry, corporation, group or lobby nor have they had any say in our statements or conclusions.


There's No Winning the Gas Wars

One positive development in our generally lackluster economy has been low fuel costs. Economist Stephen Moore says, "The best rule of thumb is that every penny rise in gas prices at the pump takes about $1.5 billion out of the wallets of motorists." So taking into account how much per-gallon gasoline prices have plummeted over the years — by several dollars in most cases — consumers are saving many billions of dollars that can be used elsewhere. That’s welcome relief to consumers. But not so much to anti-fossil fuel antagonists.

Citing new statistics that show 35,092 car-related deaths from 2014 to 2015 — a 7% increase — Time magazine’s Justin Worland says, "[A]n increase in traffic deaths is just one of several negative side effects. More driving also means an increase in the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change and automobile pollution continues to lead to disease and death in America’s urban centers. Compounding those problems, low gas prices make Americans more likely to buy gas guzzlers."

So while low fuel prices are good for families struggling financially, Worland argues that an uptick in traffic deaths and "climate change" negate any monetary advantages. For starters, Hot Air’s Jazz Shaw sets the record straight with a look at the trend: "Since the 1970s, traffic fatalities in the United States have continued to fall, even as total population and the number of vehicles on the roadways have skyrocketed. Per capita traffic deaths are less than half what they were when Jimmy Carter was in office. And when compared to other western nations, we’re absolutely one of the safest." Besides, "When the economy is doing well and there are more new buildings being erected or existing ones extensively renovated we have more accidents on construction sites. As construction increases we produce more construction materials and factory injuries increase as employment goes up. Shall we cease all of those activities as well?"

As far as the environment is concerned, where’s the outrage toward hypocritical environmental scolds like Barack Obama, John Kerry, Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio, all of whom rack up multitudinous miles in their fancy airliners to lecture the rest of us about the dangers of greenhouse gas emissions?


From fracking to flatulence: the all-out assault on methane

What is the "biggest unfinished business for the Obama administration?" According to a report from Bill McKibben, the outspoken climate alarmist who calls for all fossil fuels to be kept in the ground, it is "to establish tight rules on methane emissions"—emissions that he blames on the "rapid spread of fracking."

McKibben calls methane emissions a "disaster." He claims "methane is much more efficient at trapping heat than carbon dioxide" and that it does more damage to the climate than coal. Methane, CH4, is the primary component of natural gas.

Apparently, his progressive friends in California agree, as they are now, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ): "seeking to curb the natural gas emanating from dairy farms"—more specifically cow manure and flatulence. The August 12 editorial says that the California Air Resources Board "suggests that dairy farms purchase technology to capture methane and then sell the biogas to customers." It acknowledges that the supposed cure would only be cost-effective with "substantial government subsidies and regulatory credits." WSJ points out that while California’s proposed regulations might produce the "least GHG intensive" gallon of milk in the world, it would also be the "most expensive."

To buttress his anti-fracking argument, McKibben is selective on which studies he cites. He starts with a paper from "Harvard researchers" that shows increased methane emissions between 2002 and 2014 but doesn’t pinpoint the source of the methane. He, then, relies heavily on "a series of papers" from known fracking opponents: Cornell Scientists Robert Howarth and Anthony Ingraffea. Within his report, McKibben mentions Howarth’s bias, but, I believe, intentionally never mentions Ingraffea’s. Earlier this year, in sworn testimony, Ingraffea admitted he’d be lying if he said that every one of his papers on shale gas was "entirely objective." Additionally, a group that Ingraffa co-founded and for which he serves as Board Chair, Emeritus: Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy, received, at least, tens of thousands of dollars in coordination with wealthy foundations to support the broad movement of opposition to shale gas drilling.

Because of bias, McKibben claims to reach out to an "impeccably moderate referee": Dan Lashof. Mckibben then goes on to report on Lashof as having been "in the inner circles of climate policy almost since it began." In addition to writing reports for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and crafting Obama’s plan to cut "coal plant pollution," Lashof was the "longtime head of the Clean Air Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council" and he now serves as COO for "billionaire Tom Steyer’s NextGen Climate America." Lashof is hardly an "impeccably moderate referee."

Because McKibben goes to great lengths trying to appear balanced in his conclusions, a casual reader of his report might think the research cited is all there is and, therefore, agree with his cataclysmic views. Fortunately, as a just-released paper makes clear, much more research needs to be considered before cementing public policy, such as the Environmental Protection Agency’s "tight rules on methane emissions."

In the 28 peer-reviewed pages (with nearly 70 footnotes) of Bill McKibben’s terrifying disregard for fracking facts, Isaac Orr, research fellow for energy and environment policy at The Heartland Institute, states: "Although McKibben—a journalist, not a scientist—accurately identifies methane as being exceptionally good at capturing heat in Earth’s atmosphere, his ‘the-sky-is-falling’ analysis is based on cherry-picking data useful to his cause, selectively interpreting the results of other studies, ignoring contradicting data, and failing to acknowledge the real uncertainties in our understanding of how much methane is entering the atmosphere. In the end, methane emissions aren’t nearly as terrifying as McKibben claims."

In the Heartland Institute Policy Brief, Orr explains why it has been difficult to achieve consistent readings on methane emissions: "Tools have been developed only recently to measure accurately methane emissions, with new and better equipment progressively replacing less perfect methods." He then details the various methods:

    Direct measurement of emissions, on-site, identifies methane emissions from specific sources;

    Ambient Air Monitoring uses aerial surveys, allows large areas to be surveyed, with results affected by uncertainties;

    Life-Cycle Analyses draw on multiple sources to provide an integrated measure of emissions from the entire natural gas value chain; and

    Meta-Analyses combine the results of multiple studies using different methodologies or databases to search for overarching trends, recurring facts, and robust findings.

Throughout the section on methodology, Orr draws attention to the results of the various techniques—which he says shows "great uncertainty about how much methane is entering the atmosphere, how much is produced by oil-and-natural gas production, and how emissions can be managed in the future." He also points out that more than 75 studies examining methane emissions from oil and gas systems have been done, yet "McKibben chose an outdated study [Howarth/Ingraffea] that used unrealistic assumptions and reached inaccurate conclusions." Additionally: "Natural gas producers have a powerful economic motive to reduce methane leakage and use technologies that capture methane emissions during the drilling and well completion phase."

Orr calls McKibben’s assertions that methane emissions are from the oil-and-gas sector: "simplistic" and "inappropriate." Regarding the Harvard study, he explains: "Estimating the contributions from different source types and regions is difficult because there are many different sources of methane, and those sources overlap in the same spatial area. For example, methane is produced naturally in wetlands—and it is worth noting that environmentalists support ‘restoring’ wetlands despite the increases in methane emissions this would cause. Methane also is produced by agriculture through growing rice and raising livestock, fast-growing activities in developing countries. This makes it difficult to calculate exactly where methane is coming from and what sources should be controlled."

Based on McKibben’s approach, other sections of The Heartland report include: Methane and Global Warming, Repeating Gasland Falsehoods, and What’s the Fracking Alternative?—with the latter being my favorite.

Because McKibben’s ultimate goal is to keep fossil fuels in the ground, he goes to great lengths to support how wind and solar—the fracking alternatives—have progressed (an argument that Orr takes apart). However, a careful read of McKibben’s version of the story reveals that he acknowledges that his preferred energy sources are uneconomic. Within his report, McKibben admits that fracking has "brought online new shale deposits across the continent." He sarcastically derides politicians who viewed fracking as a win-win situation by suggesting they were cynically saying they "could appease the environmentalists with their incessant yammering about climate change without having to run up the cost of electricity."

McKibben even attacks President Obama’s support of natural gas—made abundant thanks to the companion technologies of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. (He’s not too happy with Secretary Clinton’s efforts either.) Here are a few of the key phrases McKibben uses in that paragraph: (Note: McKibben sees these as negatives.)

    "The fracking boom offered one of the few economic bright spots";

    "Manufacturing jobs were actually returning from overseas, attracted by newly abundant energy"; and

    "The tool that made restrictions on coal palatable."

Combine these McKibben statements and he is clearly aware that his plan will take away one of the few economic bright spots; that due to higher priced electricity, manufacturing jobs will leave our shores; and coal regulations will be unpalatable. While McKibben touts the oft-mentioned line about Denmark generating 42 percent of its power from wind, Orr reminds us that the figure only accounts for electricity—not total energy. When factoring in all of Denmark’s energy consumption, wind, solar, and geothermal only account for 5 percent of the energy mix and, as Orr explains, Denmark has the highest electricity rates in Europe and is still dependent on fossil fuels for the vast majority of its energy.

I am often asked why the anti-fossil fuel crowd has so recently turned against the decades-old technology of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, that has provided such economic and environmental benefits and has become even safer due to ever-increasing advances. In his report, McKibben states what is essentially the answer I often give: "One of the nastiest side effects of the fracking boom, in fact, is that the expansion of natural gas has undercut the market for renewables." It has upset the entire world-view of people like McKibben who’d banked on oil and natural gas being scarce—and therefore expensive. In that paradigm, wind and solar power would be the saviors. Now they are an expensive redundancy.

Worrying about whether methane emissions come from oil-and-gas activities, from agriculture, such as cow flatulence or rice farming, or from naturally occurring seeps may seem irrelevant to the average energy consumer’s day. However, when you consider that long-term, expensive public policy is being based on this topic, it is important to be informed fairly and accurately—and to communicate with your elected officials accordingly.



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4 September, 2016

Whom to believe?

Some interesting excerpts below from a long article that spends a lot of time looking at old philosophical questions.  The author does make the point that decisions on some matters of alleged truth are easier to arrive at than others. And I think global warming is an example of that. Philosophical enquiries about "what is truth?" are largely irrelevant to assessing it.  Why?  Because it is a prophecy, not a fact.  There is no proof available about the future of the climate.  All we know is that sometimes it gets hotter and sometimes it gets colder. No other facts are available. So, from a philosophical viewpoint, it should not be seen as any kind of fact.  It is outside the purview of science

There are some areas of science that CAN produce accurate prophecies.  The orbits of the inner planets can, for instance, be predicted with great accuracy.  But they can be predicted because they show great regularity. The fact involved in the prediction is that great regularity. There are facts involved  there. But there is nothing like that regularity in global climate processes and, largely for that reason, all attempted predictions have so far been well out of synchrony with reality.

In a March 2015 article in National Geographic, Joel Achenbach lamented the supposed rise of science skepticism in American culture. "Empowered by their own sources of information and their own interpretations of research," he writes somewhat dramatically, "doubters have declared war on the consensus of experts."

A few months later, Lee McIntyre of Boston University offered a similar analysis in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Explaining what he sees as a growing disrespect for truth in American culture, McIntyre points to the Internet as a likely culprit. After all, he argues, "outright lies can survive on the Internet. Worse, those who embrace willful ignorance are now much more likely to find an electronic home where their marginal views are embraced."

Complaints of this kind are not without merit. Consider a recent survey from the Pew Research Center’s Initiative on Science and Society showing a significant gap between the views of laypeople and those of scientists (a sample from the American Association for the Advancement of Science) on a wide range of scientific issues. To take one notable example, 88 percent of the polled AAAS scientists believe genetically modified foods to be safe, compared to only 37 percent of the respondents from the general public.

But as worthwhile as such research may be, it has little to say about a closely related question: What ought we to believe? How should non-experts go about seeking reliable knowledge about complex matters? Absent a granular understanding of the theories underpinning a given area of knowledge, how should laypeople weigh rival claims, choose between conflicting interpretations, and sort the dependable expert positions from the dubious or controversial ones? This is not a new question, of course, but it has become more urgent thanks to our glut of instant information, not to mention the proliferation of expert opinion.

The closest thing to an answer one hears is simply to trust the experts. And, indeed, when it comes to the charge of the electron or the oral-health benefits of fluoride, this response is hard to quarrel with. The wisdom of trusting experts is also a primary assumption behind the work of scholars like Kahan. But once we dispense with the easy cases, a reflexive trust in specialist judgment doesn’t get us very far.

On all manner of consequential questions an average citizen faces — including whether to support a hike in the minimum wage or a new health regulation — expert opinion is often conflicting, speculative, and difficult to decipher. What then? In so many cases, laypeople are left to choose for themselves which views to accept — precisely the kind of haphazard process that the critics of "willful ignorance" condemn and that leaves us subject to our own whims. The concern is that, if we doubt the experts, many people will draw on cherry-picked facts and self-serving anecdotes to furnish their own versions of reality.

This is certainly the case. But, in fixating on this danger, we neglect an important truth: it is simply not feasible to outsource to experts all of our epistemological work — nor would it be desirable. We frequently have no alternative but to choose for ourselves which beliefs to accept. The failure to come to grips with this fact has left us without the kinds of strategies and tools that would enable non-experts to make more effective use of the increasingly opaque theories that explain our world. We need, in other words, something more to appeal to once disagreements reach the "my-source-versus-your-source" phase.

Developing approaches that fit this description will require an examination of our everyday assumptions about knowledge — that is, about which beliefs are worth adopting and why. Not surprisingly, those assumptions have been significantly shaped by our era’s information and communication technologies, and not always for the better.

One consequence of this view of knowledge is that it has become largely unnecessary to consider how a given piece of information was discovered when determining its trustworthiness. The research, experiments, mathematical models, or — in the case of Google — algorithms that went into establishing a given fact are invisible. Ask scientists why their enterprise produces reliable knowledge and you will likely be told "the scientific method." And this is correct — more or less. But it is rare that one gets anything but a crude schematic of what this process entails. How is it, a reasonable person might ask, that a single method involving hypothesis, prediction, experimentation, and revision is applied to fields as disparate as theoretical physics, geology, and evolutionary biology — or, for that matter, social-scientific disciplines such as economics and sociology?

Even among practitioners this question is rarely asked in earnest. Science writer and former Nature editorial staffer Philip Ball has condemned "the simplistic view of the fictitious ‘scientific method’ that many scientists hold, in which they simply test their theories to destruction against the unrelenting candor of experiment. Needless to say, that’s rarely how it really works."

Like the algorithms behind Google’s proposed "truth" rankings, the processes that go into establishing a given empirical finding are often out of view. All the lay reader gets is conclusions such as "the universe is fundamentally composed of vibrating strings of energy," or "eye color is an inherited trait." By failing to explain — or sometimes even to acknowledge — how, exactly, "the scientific method" generates reliable knowledge about the world in various domains, scientists and science communicators are asking laypeople to accept the supremacy of science on authority.

Far from bolstering the status of experts who engage in rigorous scientific inquiry, this way of thinking actually gives them short shrift. Science, broadly construed, is not a fact-generating machine. It is an activity carried out by people and requiring the very human capacities of reason, intuition, and creativity. Scientific explanations are not the inevitable result of a purely mechanical process called "the scientific method" but the product of imaginative attempts to make empirical data more intelligible and coherent, and to make accurate predictions. Put another way, science doesn’t tell us anything; scientists do.

Failure to recognize the processes involved in adding to our stores of knowledge creates a problem for those of us genuinely interested in getting our beliefs right, as it denies us relevant information for understanding why a given finding deserves our acceptance. If the results of a single, unreplicated neuroscience study are to be considered just as much an instance of good science as the rigorously tested Standard Model of particle physics, then we laypeople have little choice but to give them equal weight. But, as any scientist will tell you, not all findings deserve the same credibility; determining which ones merit attention requires at least a basic grasp of methodology.

To understand the potential costs of failing to engage at the level of method, consider the Innocence Project’s recent investigation of 268 criminal trials in which evidence from hair analysis had been used to convict defendants. In 257 of those cases, the organization found forensic testimony by FBI scientists to be flawed — a conclusion the FBI does not dispute. What is more, each inaccurate analysis overstated the strength of hair evidence in favor of the prosecution. Thirty-two defendants in those cases were eventually sentenced to death, of whom fourteen have either died in prison or have been executed. This is an extreme example of how straightforwardly deferring to expert opinion — without considering how those opinions were arrived at — is not only an inadequate truth-seeking strategy, but a potentially harmful one.

Reacting to the discoveries of forensic malpractice at the FBI, the co-chairman of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, biologist Eric S. Lander, suggested a single rule that would make such lapses far less common. As he wrote in the New York Times, "No expert should be permitted to testify without showing three things: a public database of patterns from many representative samples; precise and objective criteria for declaring matches; and peer-reviewed published studies that validate the methods."

Lander’s suggestion amounts to the demand that forensic experts "show their work," so to speak, instead of handing down their conclusions from on high. And it is an institutional arrangement that could, with a few adjustments, be applied to other instances where expert analyses carry significant weight. It might be too optimistic to assume that such information will be widely used by the average person on the street. But, at least in theory, efforts to make the method by which certain facts are established more available and better understood will leave each of us more able to decide which claims to believe. And these sorts of procedural norms would help create the expectation that, when choosing what to believe, we laypeople have responsibilities extending beyond just trusting the most credentialed person in the room.

Research from psychologist Philip Tetlock and colleagues lends support to this idea. Tetlock is co-creator of The Good Judgment Project, an initiative that won a multi-year forecasting tournament conducted by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, a U.S. government research agency. Beginning in 2011, participants in the competition were asked a range of specific questions regarding future geopolitical events, such as, "Will the United Nations General Assembly recognize a Palestinian state by Sept. 30, 2011?," or "Before March 1, 2014, will North Korea conduct another successful nuclear detonation?" Tetlock’s forecasters, mind you, were not career analysts, but volunteers from various backgrounds. In fact, a pharmacist and a retired irrigation specialist were among the top performers — so-called "superforecasters."

In analyzing the results of the tournament, researchers at the Good Judgment Project found a number of characteristics common to the best forecasters. For instance, these individuals "had more open-minded cognitive styles" and "spent more time deliberating and updating their forecasts." In a January 2015 article in the Washington Post, two of the researchers further explained that the best forecasters showed "the tendency to look for information that goes against one’s favored views," and they "viewed forecasting not as an innate ability, but rather as a skill that required deliberate practice, sustained effort and constant monitoring of current affairs."

More HERE 

New paper finds IPCC models "have large deficiencies in ENSO amplitude, spatial structure and temporal variability."

No Access Stochastic parameterisation and the El Ni?o-Southern Oscillation

H. M. Christensen et al.


The El Ni?o-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the dominant mode of interannual variability in the tropical Pacific. However, the models in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) 5 ensemble have large deficiencies in ENSO amplitude, spatial structure and temporal variability. We consider the use of stochastic parameterisations as a technique to address these pervasive errors. We include the multiplicative Stochastically Perturbed Parameterisation Tendencies scheme (SPPT) in coupled integrations of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Community Atmosphere Model, version 4 (CAM4). SPPT results in a significant improvement to the representation of ENSO in CAM4, improving the power spectrum, and reducing the magnitude of ENSO towards that observed. To understand the observed impact, we consider additive and multiplicative noise in a simple Delayed Oscillator (DO) model of ENSO. Additive noise results in an increase in ENSO amplitude, but multiplicative noise can reduce the magnitude of ENSO, as was observed for SPPT in CAM4. In the light of these results, two complementary mechanisms are proposed by which the improvement occurs in CAM. Comparison of the coupled runs with a set of atmosphere only runs indicates that SPPT first improves the variability in the zonal winds through perturbing the convective heating tendencies, which improves the variability of ENSO. In addition, SPPT improves the distribution of westerly wind bursts (WWB) important for initiation of El Ni?o events, by increasing the stochastic component of WWB and reducing the overly strong dependency on SST compared to the control integration.


People enhanced the environment, not degraded it, over past 13,000 years

Human occupation is usually associated with deteriorated landscapes, but new research shows that 13,000 years of repeated occupation by British Columbia's coastal First Nations has had the opposite effect, enhancing temperate rainforest productivity.

Andrew Trant, a professor in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo, led the study in partnership with the University of Victoria and the Hakai Institute. The research combined remote-sensed, ecological and archaeological data from coastal sites where First Nations' have lived for millennia. It shows trees growing at former habitation sites are taller, wider and healthier than those in the surrounding forest. This finding is, in large part, due to shell middens and fire.

"It's incredible that in a time when so much research is showing us the negative legacies people leave behind, here is the opposite story," said Trant, a professor in Waterloo's School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability. "These forests are thriving from the relationship with coastal First Nations. For more than 13,000 years —500 generations—people have been transforming this landscape. So this area that at first glance seems pristine and wild is actually highly modified and enhanced as a result of human behaviour."

Fishing of intertidal shellfish intensified in the area over the past 6,000 years, resulting in the accumulation of deep shell middens, in some cases more than five metres deep and covering thousands of square metres of forest area. The long-term practice of harvesting shellfish and depositing remnants inland has contributed significant marine-derived nutrients to the soil as shells break down slowly, releasing calcium over time.

The study examined 15 former habitation sites in the Hakai L?xvb?l?s Conservancy on Calvert and Hecate Islands using remote-sensed, ecological and archaeological methods to compare forest productivity with a focus on western red cedar.

The work found that this disposal and stockpiling of shells, as well as the people's use of fire, altered the forest through increased soil pH and important nutrients, and also improved soil drainage.

This research is the first to find long-term use of intertidal resources enhancing forest productivity. Trant says it is likely similar findings will occur at archaeological sites along many global coastlines.

"These results alter the way we think about time and environmental impact," he said. "Future research will involve studying more of these human-modified landscapes to understand the extent of these unexpected changes."


‘Floods are not increasing’: Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. slams ‘global warming’ link to floods & extreme weather – How does media ‘get away with this?’

Dr. Roger Pielke Jr., a Professor in the Environmental Studies Program at the University of Colorado and a Fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), slammed the linkage of global warming to the recent Louisiana floods and other types of extreme weather.

Pielke authored the 2014 book "The Rightful Place of Science: Disasters and Climate Change." 

"Flood disasters are sharply down. U.S. floods not increasing either," Pielke Jr. declared on August 23. Pielke rebuked New York Times columnist Paul Krugman for linking floods to climate change.  Krugman blamed "climate change" for ‘a proliferation of disasters like the one in Louisiana.’

"How does Krugman get away with this?" Pielke asked while showcasing this scientific graph.

"Floods suck when they occur. The good news is U.S. flood damage is sharply down over 70 years," Pielke explained.

In a message aimed at climate activists and many in the media, Pielke cautioned: "Remember, disasters can happen any time and they suck. But it is also good to understand long-term trends based on data, not hype."

"In my career I’ve seen the arguments go from: 1- ‘Drought increasing globally’ — To — 2- ‘OK, not globally, but look at THIS one drought.’ I’ll stick with the UN IPCC and the USGCRP (U.S. Global Change Research Program) consensus rather than selected studies. Both of those agree there is no global or U.S. trend though literature is diverse," Pielke wrote.

Extreme weather is NOT getting worse

Pielke also pointed to the hard scientific data that shows other types of extreme weather are not getting worse and may in fact be improving.

"Is U.S. drought getting worse? No," Pielke wrote and revealed this EPA graph:


Popey calls global warning a 'sin' and issues advice to Christians on how to fix the environment

The Holy Father seems unableto distinguish between genuine environmental protection and the Leftist fantasy of global warming.  He has been deceived by the Warmist "scientists"

Pope Francis today proposed that caring for the environment be added to the traditional seven works of mercy that Christians are called to perform.

The Pope took his green agenda to a new level by supplementing Jesus' call to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and visit the sick with his own call for recycling, carpooling and conserving electricity.

He said the faithful should ask forgiveness for the 'sins' against the environment that have been committed by the 'irresponsible, selfish' and profit-motivated economic and political system.

He called for all of humanity to take concrete steps to change course, starting with repaying what he called the 'ecological debt' that wealthy countries owe the poor.

'Repaying (the debt) would require treating the environments of poorer nations with care and providing the financial resources and technical assistance needed to help them deal with climate change and promote sustainable development,' he wrote.

On a smaller, individual scale, recycling, turning off the lights and carpooling can also help, he said.

Finally, he proposed that caring for the environment be added as a 'complement' to the seven spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

He made the ambitious proposal in a message to mark the church's World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, which he instituted last year in a bid to highlight his ecological concerns.

This year, the day of prayer for the planet falls during the Pope's Holy Year of Mercy, a year-long focus on the church's merciful side.

Throughout the year, the faithful have been urged to practice the seven corporal and seven spiritual works of mercy, which were first outlined in the Gospel and have been articulated over centuries by philosophers and theologians.

In addition to the corporal acts of mercy, the spiritual ones include counseling the doubtful, instructing the ignorant and praying to God for the living and dead.

Terrence Ward, author of the book 'The Guardian of Mercy' and a panelist at the Vatican launch of the new document, said the works of mercy the Pope is asking people to perform are 'not about changing the world tomorrow.'

Rather, they're about changing mindsets and performing even small actions - such as turning off the lights. Doing so, he said, shows reverence for the miracle of life and creation and actually allows for all the other works of mercy to follow.

'To give polluted water to someone who is thirsty doesn't make sense,' he said. 'Clean the water up first.' 


Obama Dicusses Conservation in Religious Terms: Angels, Heavens, Souls, Sacred Space

Amusing to see a Democrast President agreeing with the Pope of Rome

Sen. Ted Cruz is among those who have described climate change as a religion, not a science. And on Wednesday in Nevada, President Obama used religious terms in a speech linking conservation with climate change.

The president also said "the most important changes" are the ones made by humans. "We've got power. Diminishing carbon pollution proves we can do something about it."

Obama told an appreciative audience it was "special" to stand on the shores of Lake Tahoe, a place he'd never visited before:

"It's been written that the air here is so fine, it must be the same air that the angels breathe. So it's no wonder that for thousands of years, this place has been a spiritual one. For the Washoe people (Native Americans), it is the center of their world.

"And just as this space is sacred to Native Americans, it should be sacred to all Americans. And that's why we're here, to protect this special pristine place, to keep these waters crystal clear, to keep the air as pure as the heavens, to keep alive Tahoe's spirit and to keep faith with this truth, that the challenges of conservation and combating climate change are connected. They're linked."

Obama said the nation must embrace conservation becaue "healthy and diverse lands and waters help us build resilience to climate change."

"We do it (embrace conservation) because places like this nurture and restore the soul, and we want to make sure that's there for our kids too."

Quoting a Washoe tribal leader, Obama said the health of the land and the health of the people are tied together. Then the president listed all the ways he's been  working on climate change -- renewable energy, clean power, fuel economy. He also announced new conservation efforts for Lake Tahoe and other western lands and waters.

At the end of his speech, Obama returned to the tribal elder:

"Just go back to that quote by the Washoe elder -- 'What happens to the land also happens to the people.' I've made it my priority in my presidency to protect the natural resource we inherited because we shouldn't be the last to enjoy them. Just as the health of the land and the people are tied together, just as climate and conservation are tied together, we share a sacred connection with those who are going to follow us.

"I think about my two daughters...the future generations who deserve clear water and clean air that will sustain their bodies and sustain their souls -- jewels like Lake Tahoe. And it's not going to happen without hard work. It sure is not going to happen if we pretend a snowball in winter means nothing's wrong. It's not going to happen if we boast about how we're going to scrap international treaties.

"We're -- have elected officials who are alone in the world in denying climate change or put our energy and environmental policies in the hands of the big polluters. (He was talking about Donald Trump.) "It's not going to happen if we just pay lip service to conservation but then refuse to do what's needed.

"When scientists first told us that our planet was changing because of human activity, it was received as a bombshell, but in a way we shouldn't have been surprised.

"The most important changes are always the changes made by us. And the fact that we've been able to grow our clean energy economy proves that we have agency, we've got power. Diminishing carbon pollution proves we can do something about it. Our healing of Lake Tahoe proves it's within our power to pass on the incredible bounty of this country to a next generation."



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2 September, 2016

Some Warmist hate mail

Steven Craig Jones wants to save the planet.  He has a site that says so here:

So how does he deal with skeptics?  He sent Marc Morano the following message:

"you are dead wrong on climate change.  it is the number one international security issue on planet earth in 2016. you climate deniers need to be put in prison"

He's all charm, isn't he?  He makes no attempt to dispute any point ever made by any skeptic and makes no attempt to present any fact. Since he believes in anti-gravity that is perhaps just as well.  All he can resort to is Stalinism:  Imprison your opponents. A dismal soul, indeed. He is completely dogmatic, with a completely closed mind.  It might not be good to see him coming towards you on a dark night if you disagree with him.

The fantasy of being able to save the planet must generate such a warm glow inside.  No wonder he hates any threat to that.  How awful to find that you are in fact completely irrelevant and that your crusade has been a complete waste of time!  The poor dupe.

His email is

UPDATE:  A reader has a message for Mr. Jones:

Mr. Jones

Your religion has no God unless you think that the Egyptian god Ra is your deity. Your Hell is a temperature that will not go up, a sea level that only changes with the tides, a storm that never develops, ice that will not melt, a prediction that never comes true and sinners that will not join your cause to be saved.

You know that unless there is a sudden upward shift in temperatures, that massive storms become a way of life, that poles become consistently ice free,  polar bears become extinct,  Greenland turns green again, models become predictors of real events...........your religion has no choice but to conduct a mid evil  inquisition and crucify the non believers.  You also have to know that all of the signs are now pointing to a coming cooing period and that there will be no legislation for at least another 8 years or so that will bail you out. Your religion is doomed. Your deity never existed. Your name will be erased from the books and your history will only be recorded in joke books. You can be thankful that there is no Hell for your false prophecies.

Check out the new religion................Another Little Ice Age..........that only an increase in CO2 can save us from.  We must burn more coal, shut down nuclear, wind, solar and green construction. We must reincarnate the extinct polar bear and penguins from the DNA bank.  Ban DDT, Round Up, Honey Bees and stop farmers from growing efficient CO2 hungry plants.  We need to run the air conditioners even in winter and leave the windows open to waste heat. Back to big cars and gas guzzlers. Out with electric lawn mowers and vacuum cleaners that don't suck.  Wash dishes with hot water again and enjoy a luxury bath for your wife and take one yourself as well.

Insure your place in Heaven by giving a warm coat to a non believer.

Try not to think about having present day sinners locked up for when they are freed they may exercise the same bad judgement against you. A cold jail cell may be even more painful than a hot one.

Apologies Are Not Necessary For Fossil Fuels

Why does the fossil fuel industry have such a bad reputation?

Whatever its flaws, it is the very engine of our civilization, producing a staggering 87% of the world's energy. This industry and this industry alone enables billions to grow their food, heat and cool their homes, and power their factories.

And yet it's politically correct to hate it. And a big part of the reason is the industry itself — not for what it does, but for what it says (and doesn't say).

Instead of educating the public about the value of its product and the unmatched efficiency with which it produces it, fossil fuel companies often apologize for being fossil fuel companies and publicly aspire to be solar and wind companies.

Consider Shell. In 2012, it was one of the major targets of a Rolling Stone essay by activist Bill McKibben.

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McKibben excoriated the fossil fuel industry and called for broad-based divestment of fossil fuel stock — singling out Shell as a prime target.

"The more carefully you do the math," he wrote, "the more thoroughly you realize that this is, at bottom, a moral issue; we have met the enemy and they is Shell."

Surely this was the occasion for Shell — and the rest of the industry — to mount a vigorous defense. After all, the facts were on their side.

The use of fossil fuels correlates positively with every indicator of human well-being from life expectancy to individual income to nourishment to access to clean water to safety from climate. Billions of people are more prosperous now than they were 30 years ago, thanks to fossil fuel.

Shell did not marshal any of these arguments. In fact, there seems to be no record of the company responding to McKibben at all.

What did it do instead? It tried to position itself as a nonoil company.

Shell's website declares that its goal is "bringing man-made emissions down to zero."

In its campaign about the future of energy, it focuses not on advanced oil technology that is actually leading us to the future, but on "renewable" experiments, like "footstep power."

Shell ceded the moral high ground in an even more public way two years later. The firm invited McKibben to keynote a climate conference it sponsored, the Chatham House Conference on Climate Change.

If Shell thought this would win goodwill, McKibben made it immediately clear that it miscalculated:

"I didn't know Shell was sponsoring this conference when I agreed to do it, but I'm glad for the chance to say in public that Shell is among the most irresponsible companies on earth.

"When they write the history of our time, the fact that Shell executives watched the Arctic melt and then led the rush to go drill for oil in that thawing north will provide the iconic example of the shortsighted greed that marks the richest people on our planet."

We can imagine the surprise on Shell executives' faces when they heard this. What we can't understand is why they would have been surprised at all.

Public opinion about an industry is determined by how we think of a company's core product. If we think what it makes is great, we will have a generally high opinion of the firm; if we think what it makes is bad, we will have a generally low opinion of it.

No other industry engages in this kind of self-loathing behavior.

And in the absence of a compelling public narrative in its favor, the industry's opponents have managed to shape the story about energy companies to great effect.

They've likened oil and coal to tobacco and heroin — addictive, destructive substances that ruin the things they touch. As long as there is no counternarrative, as long as these companies let themselves be made into public enemies, this kind of talk will continue.

The fossil fuel industry needs to stand up for itself. The companies need to defend their record, champion their successes and be honest about their shortcomings. They need to promote the fact that they have helped billions out of poverty and generated the energy that powers the planet.

Until they do, the industry's foes will continue to fill the vacuum — and the industry will have only itself to blame.


How the Exxon Case Unraveled

It becomes clear that investigators simply don’t know what a climate model is

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s investigation of Exxon Mobil for climate sins has collapsed due to its own willful dishonesty. The posse of state AGs he pretended to assemble never really materialized. Now his few allies are melting away: Massachusetts has suspended its investigation. California apparently never opened one.

The U.S. Virgin Islands has withdrawn its sweeping, widely criticized subpoena of research groups and think tanks. In an email exposed by a private lawsuit, one staffer of the Iowa AG’s office tells another that Mr. Schneiderman himself was "the wild card."

His initial claim, flounced to the world by outside campaigners under the hashtag "exxonknew," fell apart under scrutiny. This was the idea that, through its own research in the 1970s, Exxon knew one thing about climate science but told the public something else.

In an Aug. 19 interview with the New York Times, Mr. Schneiderman now admits this approach has come a cropper. He reveals that he’s no longer focusing on what Exxon knew/said but instead on how it goes about valuing its current oil reserves. In essence, Mr. Schneiderman here is hiding his retreat behind a recent passing fad in the blogosphere for discussing the likelihood that such reserves will become "stranded assets" under some imaginary future climate regime.

His crusade was always paradoxical. The oil industry reliably ranks last in Gallup’s annual survey of public credibility. The $16 million that Exxon spent between 1998 and 2005 to support organizations that criticized speculative climate models is a minuscule fraction of the propaganda budgets of the U.S. Energy Department, NASA, NOAA, EPA, not to mention the United Nations’ climate panel, etc. etc.

The episode ends happily, though, if Mr. Schneiderman’s hoped-for political career now goes into eclipse. But we haven’t finished unless we also mention the press’s role.

The "Exxon knew" claim, recall, began with investigative reports by InsideClimate News and the Los Angeles Times, both suffering from the characteristic flaw of American journalism—diligently ascertaining and confirming the facts, then shoving them into an off-the-shelf narrative they don’t support.

We have since learned that both the L.A. Times (via a collaboration with the Columbia School of Journalism) and InsideClimate News efforts were partly underwritten by a Rockefeller family charity while Rockefeller and other nonprofit groups were simultaneously stoking Mr. Schneiderman’s investigation.

When caught with your hand in the cookie jar in this way, there’s only one thing to do, and last week the Columbia School of Journalism did it, awarding a prize to InsideClimate News.

For this columnist, however, the deeper mystery was cleared up last year when I appeared on the NPR show "To the Point" to discuss the subject "Did Exxon Cover Up Climate Change?" (Google those phrases) with ICN’s "energy and climate" reporter Neela Banerjee.

Ms. Banerjee has been collecting plaudits all year for her work. The work itself involved revisiting Exxon’s climate modeling efforts of the 1970s. Yet, at 16:28, see how thoroughly she bollixes up what a climate model is. She apparently believes the uncertainty in such models stems from uncertainty about how much CO2 in the future will be released.

"The uncertainties that people talk about . . . are predicated on the policy choices we make," namely the "inputs" of future CO2.

No, they aren’t. The whole purpose of a climate model is to estimate warming from a given input of CO2. In its most recent report, issued in 2013, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assumes a doubling of atmospheric CO2 and predicts warming of 1.5 to 4.5 degrees Celsius—i.e., an uncertainty of output, not input.

What’s more, this represents an increase in uncertainty over its 2007 report (when the range was 2.0 to 4.5 degrees). In fact, the IPCC’s new estimate is now identical to Exxon’s 1977 estimate and the 1979 estimate of the U.S. National Research Council.

In other words, on the crucial question, the help we’re getting from climate models has not improved in 40 years and has been going backward of late.

For bonus insight, ask yourself why we still rely on computer simulations at all, rather than empirical study of climate—even though we’ve been burning fossil fuels for 200 years and recording temperatures even longer.

OK, many climate reporters have accepted a role as enforcers of orthodoxy, not questioners of it. But this colossal error not only falsifies the work of the IPCC over the past 28 years, it falsifies the entire climate modeling enterprise of the past half-century.

But it also explains the non sequitur at the heart of the InsideClimate News and L.A. Times exposés as well as Mr. Schneiderman’s unraveling investigation. There simply never was any self-evident contradiction between Exxon’s private and public statements. In emphasizing the uncertainty inherent in climate models, Exxon was telling a truth whose only remarkable feature is that it continues to elude so many climate reporters.


Experts "surprised" to discover what skeptics have known for years: world has been warming for 200 years

For years, skeptical scientists have been pointing at data that showed the the world started warming somewhere from 1700 – 1820. This has been known from glaciers, sea level studies, ice cores, boreholes, ocean heat content estimates, and more proxies than any climate-nerd cares to name.

Finally, expert climate modelers are "surprised" to discover this:

"…their study had detected warming in the Arctic and tropical oceans from around the 1830s, just 80 years after the Industrial Revolution started in England. "It was an extraordinary finding," she said. "It was one of those moments where science really surprised us. But the results were clear. The climate warming we are witnessing today started about 180 years ago."

How many grant dollars did it take to figure out what skeptical scientists have been saying for years?

The correlation with global temperatures and actual numerical human emissions is abysmal, so now Abrams et al ignore the numbers and appear to suggest that "The Industrial Revolution" itself started the warming — as if the mere invention of the steam engine heated the world.

[Dr Abram] said the study attributed the gradual warming to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions linked to the move from an agricultural to industrialised society.  "The climate system did respond quite quickly to industrialisation …. it was a small response, but it’s a measurable one."

Global warming started 200 years ago, but human emissions of CO2 were bugger-all-of-nothing until after World War II. Humans have put out nearly 90% of all our CO2 molecules ever since the War started. We’ve put out 30% of all our emissions ever since the year 2000. The message hammered home over and over, is that temperatures don’t correlate at all well with our CO2 emissions and never have.

Planes, cars and coal power plants make no difference to global warming

The warming isn’t any different when human CO2 emissions are small or massive. The rate of warming was the same in the 1920s when nearly half of all horsepower still came from horses. Indeed without any electricity at all, and no cars, humans "caused" warming which was as fast as a decade when a billion people flew in the sky.

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

Colorado’s Anti-Fracking Crackup

If a pair of extreme green ballot measures fall in the Rocky Mountains and no one in the liberal media is paying attention, does the collapse make a sound?

This week, two anti-fracking initiatives backed by deep-pocketed environmental lobbying heavyweights, such as the Sierra Club and Greenpeace, failed to gather enough signatures. The more draconian of the efforts, Initiative 78, would have imposed a mandatory 2,500-foot setback around all oil and gas operations — essentially halting drilling in upward of 95 percent of Colorado’s energy-rich land area.

These drastic attempts to sabotage the oil and gas industry didn’t just miss by inches. They missed by a mile high and wide.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams announced that supporters of the two measures surpassed the required signature threshold but not by enough to compensate for the number of signatures that were rejected during a random sampling. One of the initiatives garnered 77,000 signatures out of about 98,000 needed to qualify for the ballot; the other, 79,000. Every other state initiative campaign (on issues ranging from primary election reform to cigarette taxes to assisted suicide) this year hit the mark.

Worse for eco-activists, the secretary of state reported that the petition for the de facto fracking moratorium included "several potentially forged signature lines" and has been referred to the state attorney general for investigation. At least one hired signature gatherer told KUSA-TV that homeless men in Denver filled out forms with "bulls—."

Election fraud? What election fraud? Yep, that election fraud.

Despite massive funding from such dark money donors as billionaire hedge fund manager turned climate change warrior Tom Steyer, the big green propaganda machine keeps coming up short. The enviros failed to gather enough signatures for a similar measure two years ago. Skittish Democrats, including Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, have distanced themselves from the eco-radicals, as the energy sector generates thousands of jobs and billions of dollars to the state economy.

One thing the anti-frackers have been successful at: manufacturing self-serving excuses for their failures. They complained that their allies didn’t spend enough on them. They carped that their opponents spent too much on opposing them. They whined that the secretary of state’s office was "biased" against them for throwing out invalid signatures.

And they pouted when their phony attempt to con reporters into believing that their measures would get on the ballot blew up in their faces three weeks ago. A day after volunteers paraded into the secretary of state’s office with dozens of boxes of signatures, an official noted that a large number of the boxes were half-full — or half-empty.

Hypocritical save-the-planet soldiers who bemoan our dependence on foreign oil are hellbent on strangling the fracking revolution, which has doubled domestic U.S. oil output and helped drive gas prices down.

Here’s what the job-killing fractivists just won’t admit: Coloradans like their thriving energy sector, and they want to keep it.

Is Hillary Clinton paying attention? She has vowed to her lefty voter base that despite reaping big bucks from fossil fuel campaign finance bundlers, she will ensure that there are not "many places in America where fracking will continue to take place." It’s as clear a threat as President Barack Obama’s campaign vow to make electricity rates "skyrocket."

Let’s hope that as the anti-fracking crackup goes in the Rockies, so goes the nation.


EPA’s Dishonest Bookkeeping Misleads the American People

Have you ever heard of a school where students are given credit on a math test for an A on a history test? If that sounds preposterous to you, you may be surprised to hear that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses this logic when proposing new regulations. In the process of calculating the benefits of proposed regulation, the EPA also counts benefits from other regulations, essentially double counting benefits that are created elsewhere. With this slight-of-hand, EPA gives the false impression that the benefits of new regulations outweigh the costs. The bureaucrats at EPA then use this as propaganda to force through even more of their destructive regulation.

Longstanding executive orders and regulatory agency guidance require EPA to subject each proposed major rule to a cost-benefit analysis. This makes sense, given that EPA regulations are supposed to be about making Americans better off overall, not just expanding government power. For example the Clean Air Act states that its purpose is "to promote the public health and welfare and the productive capacity of [the U.S] population." If a regulation is a net cost to public health, welfare or productive capacity, the EPA is not authorized to pursue it. As our air and water have become increasingly cleaner, it has become harder and harder for EPA to justify ever more burdensome regulations. Instead of accepting the idea of diminishing returns, and understanding that tighter regulations are not needed, EPA has sought ways to manipulate the cost-benefit analysis.

The favorite mechanism for this manipulation is double counting so-called co-benefits. Co-benefits are derived from a separate regulation than the one being subjected to cost-benefit analysis. The most common co-benefits are from reducing particulate matter and ozone, two harmful air pollutants. These two pollutants are specifically regulated by the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), which prescribes aggressive standards to reduce these pollutants. The game EPA plays is that it claims the reductions mandated by NAAQS as benefits for its other regulatory proposals. This is most notorious in the case of carbon dioxide regulations.

When seeking to justify the enormous costs of regulating carbon dioxide, EPA faced a problem: it is virtually impossible to document benefits from reducing carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, is not harmful to human health (indeed humans produce carbon dioxide), and is hugely beneficial to plant life. To get around this, the EPA decided to include co-benefits, since sources that produce particulate matter and ozone (such as power plants) are often also large producers of carbon dioxide. Ultimately as much as 94% of the domestic benefits claimed by the EPA for the Clean Power Plan, the Obama administration’s flagship carbon dioxide regulations, actually come from reducing emissions of particulate matter and ozone, not carbon dioxide. And again, those are reductions which are already mandated by other regulations, leaving the actual claimed benefits of the Clean Power Plan at a minor level.

This co-benefits game is played by the EPA with numerous other regulations. In every case, this ploy serves to inflate the alleged benefits of regulation, helping the EPA ram through ever more stifling regulation while claiming a net benefit to the American people. This kind of dishonest bookkeeping would get the average citizen arrested, but for the regulators it is standard operating procedure.

The lesson is this: regulators will seek to regulate by any means necessary. Left to their own devices, federal regulators will always seek to expand their reach. The only answer to this kind of dishonesty is affirmatively reducing the regulatory power of the federal government, leaving as little room as possible for the mischievous, destructive games of the bureaucrats.



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, 2016

Earth Is GAINING Land

Sea level rise, where art thou?

Coastal areas around the world are expanding in the face of projections that global warming-induced sea level rise will wipe out coastal cities.

But a recent study by the Dutch Deltares Research Institute found coastal areas had grown, on net, 13,000 square miles over the last 30 years. In total, the study found 67,000 square miles of water was converted into land, and 44,000 square miles of land was covered by water.

"We expected that the coast would start to retreat due to sea level rise, but the most surprising thing is that the coasts are growing all over the world," Fedor Baart, the study’s lead author, told BBC News. "We’re were able to create more land than sea level rise was taking."

Baart noted the expansion of coastlines around the world has thwarted sea level rise that scientists predict will get worse due to man-made global warming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts sea levels could rise as high as 16 millimeters a year by 2100.

Baart specifically pointed to Dubai, where the coast, "had been significantly extended, with the creation of new islands to house luxury resorts," according to BBC, and to China where the, "whole coast from the Yellow Sea all the way down to Hong Kong" had been expanded.

The study also found irrigation completely dried up the Aral Sea, and that glacial melting created new lakes on the Tibetan Plateau. It looked at other areas of the world, like the Amazon, where natural and artificial works changed bodies of water.

"We knew in Myanmar that several dams were being built, but we were able to see how many," Baart said. "And we also looked at North Korea, and we found dams being built there just north of the border from South Korea."

Baart’s study comes after years of being warned that coastal cities and small islands would be overtaken by rising seas. But this research shows that’s not necessarily the case.

Pacific Islands have been more resilient to global warming than scientists predicted. Some have even grown in size.

Scientists from Australia and New Zealand found in 2015 that despite the Funafuti Atoll seeing "some of the highest rates of sea-level rise… over the past 60 [years]" the island chain has actually enlarged.

"Despite the magnitude of this rise, no islands have been lost, the majority have enlarged, and there has been a 7.3% increase in net island area over the past century (A.D. 1897–2013)," according to the study published in the journal Geology. "There is no evidence of heightened erosion over the past half-century as sea-level rise accelerated."


We're Saved! Feds End Climate Change Threat by Turning CO2 into FUEL!

USING lots of energy, no doubt

The U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) has discovered a way to turn every man, woman, child and flatulent cow on the planet into an energy source – and eliminate the threat of CO2-caused climate change in the process. The discovery could also land the researchers a Nobel Prize, an MIT-educated physicist tells MRCTV.

The process emulates photosynthesis, the DOE explains in its announcement of the scientific breakthrough:

"In a new study from the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Illinois at Chicago, researchers were able to convert carbon dioxide into a usable energy source using sunlight. Their process is similar to how trees and other plants slowly capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, converting it to sugars that store energy."
"The setup for the reaction is sufficiently similar to nature that the research team was able to construct an "artificial leaf" that could complete the entire three-step reaction pathway."

Argonne researchers use a metal compound called tungsten diselenide as a "catalyst" to turn infamous carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide – eliminating its threat to the climate while creating a new source of energy:

"While plants use their catalysts to make sugar, the Argonne researchers used theirs to convert carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide. Although carbon monoxide is also a greenhouse gas, it is much more reactive than carbon dioxide and scientists already have ways of converting carbon monoxide into usable fuel, such as methanol."

The diselenide catalyst even overcomes the fatal flaw of other methods of converting CO2 into fuel, which expend more energy than they create, the study finds:

"Making fuel from carbon monoxide means travelling 'downhill' energetically, while trying to create it directly from carbon dioxide means needing to go 'uphill.'"

"The reaction occurs with minimal lost energy -- the reaction is very efficient."

A Nobel Prize awaits the researchers if the new process is successfully implemented, MIT-educated Physicist Dr, Thomas P. Sheahen tells MRCTV.

"Getting rid of Carbon dioxide has become almost the ‘holy grail’ of that kind of science.  We really want some kind of process for that to be a big success," Dr. Sheahen says. "Whatever research team is successful in developing ‘artificial photosynthesis’ will almost surely win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry someday.

Dr. Sheahen says the researchers’ claims sound both plausible and promising – but, it’s a long road through the "valley of death" for projects like this to come to fruition:

"It's not clear how the Oxygen atom is stripped off the CO2 molecule (leaving behind carbon monoxide), but what the authors say happens certainly makes sense.  Also, their mention of a 100- hour lifetime for the catalyst is encouraging."

"Scientists, engineers and business investors often refer to the "valley of death":  that arduous stretch of development to get from successful laboratory R&D to a practical commercial product. That span of effort takes both time and money, and an awful lot of fine scientific ideas fall by the wayside en route."

So, while he considers the findings impressive, Dr. Sheahen tells MRCTV he isn’t prepared to risk any of his hard-earned cash backing the technology - just yet:

"We shall see how this technology pans out. I definitely find this encouraging, and I wish them well, but I'm not ready to become an investor."


Study: Dems' energy plan raises costs, emissions

The Democratic Party's plan to boost energy efficiency would have the opposite effect of its intended goals of reducing emissions, cutting energy costs and promoting clean energy, the American Action Forum details in a new report issued Tuesday.

Instead of focusing on energy efficiency, the conservative think tank recommends scarcity pricing, which requires that consumers pay more when electricity is in high demand and less when demand is low, to drive down energy demand and encourage clean energy.

It also recommends doing away with energy-efficiency regulations, which it says stymie innovation and have cost U.S. households nearly $1,350 over the past decade.

The study takes a close look at the Democratic Party platform issued last month during the convention in Philadelphia and focuses on one of the party's top energy proposals: Increasing energy efficiency regulations to reduce energy demand and increase clean energy.

"We will cut energy waste in American homes, schools, hospitals and offices through energy efficient improvements; modernize our electric grid; and make American manufacturing the cleanest and most efficient in the world," the Democratic platform says. "These efforts will create millions of new jobs and save families and businesses money on their monthly energy bills."

The American Action Forum's study concludes that raising energy efficiency isn't so simple and can't be achieved without the consequences of higher prices, less innovation and more emissions.

First, raising efficiency in the hopes that it will increase renewable energy resources isn't as simple as the party would like to believe. Increasing energy efficiency reduces demand for electricity, which would stifle wind and solar power, the report finds.

"The problem with this line of thinking is that there are sources of electricity that generate power with virtually zero environmental impact," said the report obtained by the Washington Examiner. "If you adopt a policy that reduces the demand for electricity, you are also reducing the demand for clean energy.

"Even worse, the biggest beneficiaries of increasing electricity demand are new energy sources — which are all cleaner than current coal plants," the report said. "Regulating efficiency standards creates a market where there is less need to innovate and keeps us using the same dirty power plants."

That would limit innovation on clean energy sources, reduce competition for new power sources and create regulatory costs that are passed onto the consumer, it said.

The efficiency agenda also reduces profits for companies, which stifles innovation. "Profit is the motivator for market participants to take chances on new technology," it said. "Energy efficiency standards reduce energy demand, helping to keep prices low, which consequently reduces profits."

The Democratic platform also ignores the reality that the regulations required to accomplish the goals of a cleaner environment come with a cost.

The American Action Forum tabulated that energy efficiency standards over the past decade have amounted to $168 billion in additional costs for consumers.

Washington justifies the regulations by combining their future benefits of energy savings and emission reductions to declare the rule "to be sufficient enough that the burden is worth bearing," the report said. But the method is flawed. It relies on energy being both clean and expensive to justify the need for regulation. And as a consequence, "the closer we get to our actual policy goal of cheap, clean energy, the less benefit these regulations actually deliver," it said.


Two reports about cosmic ray effects

Confirming Svensmark's theory

We happen to be in a weak solar cycle (24) which is actually on pace to be the weakest cycle in more than one hundred years. Therefore, it would not be surprising to have relatively high cosmic ray penetration into the Earth’s atmosphere; especially, since we are now heading towards the next solar minimum phase when solar activity is generally even quieter. In fact, for the past year, neutron monitors around the Arctic Circle have sensed an increasing intensity of cosmic rays. Polar latitudes are a good place to make such measurements, because Earth’s magnetic field funnels and concentrates cosmic radiation there. As it turns out, Earth’s poles aren’t the only place cosmic rays are intensifying. "" has led an effort in the launching of helium balloons to the stratosphere to measure radiation, and they find the same trend increasing intensity of cosmic rays over California. — Paul Dorian, Vencore Weather, 29 August 2016

A team of scientists from the National Space Institute at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU Space) and the Racah Institute of Physics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has linked large solar eruptions to changes in Earth’s cloud cover in a study based on over 25 years of satellite observations. The new study, published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, shows that the global cloud cover is simultaneously reduced, supporting the idea that cosmic rays are important for cloud formation. The eruptions cause a reduction in cloud fraction of about 2 percent corresponding to roughly a billion tonnes of liquid water disappearing from the atmosphere. The Suns contribution to past and future climate change may thus be larger than merely the direct changes in radiation, concludes the scientists behind the new study. —Technical University of Denmark, 24 August 2016


Study: Global Greening Will Stave Off The Bad Parts Of Global Warming

Rising carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will create a greener world and prevent the worst parts of global warming, according to a new scientific study.

Researchers from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of California, Irvine found plants use water more efficiently when exposed to higher concentrations of CO2, meaning any droughts caused by global warming would be much less severe than previous estimates.

"This is something that everybody who has studied plant physiology and CO2 has known for decades" Dr. Pat Michaels, director of the Center for the Study of Science at the libertarian Cato Institute who was not involved with the study, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

"Millions of years ago plants there was a lot more CO2 on Earth than there is today," he said. "Plants grown in high CO2 levels change their optimal temperature for conducting photosynthesis, they’re pre-adapted to a much warmer world with much more CO2 in the air."

Research suggests more CO2 increases plant growth, which would limit the impact of global warming. High CO2 levels cause plant life to thrive, particularly in arid regions where carbon emissions are literally causing deserts to bloom.

The UCI study suggests rising CO2 emissions will not cause global agriculture to collpase and could even boost agricultural yields. The National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy funded the UCI study.

"Take a look at crop yields, not just in the United States, but around the world," Michaels said. "One reason for these increasing yields is simply that there’s more CO2 in the air."

Previous studies suggest global warming is causing roughly half of Earth’s land-mass to demonstrate "significant greening," and only 4 percent of the world saw a decrease in plant life. The increased vegetation growth caused by warmer temperatures is likely slowing global warming as well, since more trees and plants equates to more sequestered CO2.

"The world of 100 million years ago which was much warmer and drought prone than the world we live in today was a much greener world than the one we live in today," Michaels told TheDCNF. "If you put more CO2 in the air you create a greener world and the evidence supporting this is compelling. It is obvious that the Earth is greening up. There are literally thousands of studies in the refereed literature showing this."

Several recent studies rebuke previous claims that global warming could cause the total collapse of American and global agriculture. It is the latest scientific study to show that nature is considerably more resilient to global warming than scientists suspected and even United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change now believes that the evidence linking global warming to extinctions is sparse.

Other research authored by a research team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California at Davis has also used climate and agricultural computer models to conclude that global warming have a generally positive impact on U.S. farming including fewer frosts, longer growing seasons and an earlier start of ?eld operations by the end of the century. The study also found, however, that plants could potentially suffer from more heat stress and more dry days.

Despite this growing consensus, environmental groups still believe that plants and animals aren’t capable of adapting to changing temperatures, leading to mass extinctions and agricultural disruptions attributed to global warming.

"One-fourth of the Earth’s species could be headed for extinction by 2050 due to climate change," The Nature Conservancy claims. "Rising temperatures are changing weather and vegetation patterns across the globe, forcing animal species to migrate to new, cooler areas in order to survive."

Scientists suspect that global warming will likely have many positive environmental impacts such as helping Canadian trees recover from a devastating insect infestation, creating more food for fish in the ocean, making life easier for Alaskan moose, improving the environment better for bees and literally causing deserts to bloom with foliage.


Australian conservatives trying to rein in Green spending

And the pips are squeaking

Australia's clean energy research efforts are heading for "the valley of death" if Parliament passes the Coalitions's omnibus package of cuts, according to leaders in the sector

Hundreds of researchers around Australia, including dozens at both the Australian National University and the University of NSW, will be faced with the dole queue if cuts to Australia'?s renewable energy research agency are passed by the Parliament, according to one of the sector's pioneers.

Scott Morrison and Malcolm Turnbull will have a tough time in Parliament getting its savings bill through with opposition from all sides.

Deep cuts to the funding of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, contained in the Turnbull government's omnibus "?budget repair" bill before the Parliament this week, is an "existential threat" to clean energy innovation in Australia, Professor Andrew Blakers says.

Professor Blakers of the ANU is a world leader in renewables research and he says many of his colleagues nationwide will lose their jobs if the government gets its bill through Parliament and advances that would deliver major economic benefits to the country would be lost.

The ANU and the University of NSW are world leaders in solar energy research with PERC solar cells, now the commercial standard globally with more than $9 billion in sales, invented by Professor Blakers and his colleague Martin Green at the NSW institution.

ARENA was established in 2012 by the Gillard government and abolished by the Abbott government in 2014.

The agency received a stay of execution in March 2016 but Coalition policy now wants to strip $1.3 billion of funding from ARENA and merge its funding role with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which expects to see a financial return on money it invests in research.

The Clean Energy Council has published a briefing paper that likens de-funding ARENA to "plunging into the clean energy valley of death".

ARENA chief executive Ivor Frischknecht? told Fairfax that existing commitments would be met even if Parliament agreed to back the Coalition's cuts.

"The proposed reduction in ARENA's uncommitted funding will not affect existing commitments," Mr Frischknecht said.

"Projects currently receiving ARENA funding will continue to receive funding and ARENA will continue to oversee ongoing contract management and knowledge sharing outcomes for these projects."

The office of Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg did not respond before deadline on Tuesday to a request for comment and Labor says it has not arrived at a position on the ARENA cuts.

Professor Blakers said the decision, if passed, may mean the end of Australia'??s clean energy research effort and said both sides of politics would shoulder the blame.

"??There is an existential threat to renewable energy research, innovation and education in Australia," Professor Blakers said.  "??If ARENA is dismantled, then many people would lose their jobs including dozens at ANU. "?In the longer term, Australia's leadership in solar energy would vanish.

"After the fiasco involving CSIRO climate scientists, we now have a potential fiasco in mitigation of climate change."

The research leader called on the Labor Party not to just "wave through" the proposed cuts. "?It appears that the ALP might wave through a change to the ARENA Act, which would allow the end of ARENA granting," Professor Blakers said.

"??For 30 years there has been a renewable energy funding agency in one form or another in Australia. "??This has led to phenomenal success in generation of technology and education. "The worldwide silicon solar cell industry owes its existence in large measure to Australians who were supported by grants from government renewable energy agencies.  "Billions of dollars of benefits have accrued to Australia."



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


Home (Index page)

Context for the minute average temperature change recorded: At any given time surface air temperatures around the world range over about 100°C. Even in the same place they can vary by nearly that much seasonally and as much as 30°C or more in a day. A minute rise in average temperature in that context is trivial if it is not meaningless altogether. Scientists are Warmists for the money it brings in, not because of the facts

This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed. Greenie policies can in fact be actively bad for the environment -- as with biofuels, for instance

This Blog by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.

I am the most complete atheist you can imagine. I don't believe in Karl Marx, Jesus Christ or global warming. And I also don't believe in the unhealthiness of salt, sugar and fat. How skeptical can you get? If sugar is bad we are all dead

And when it comes to "climate change", I know where the skeletons are buried

Antarctica is GAINING mass

Warmists depend heavily on ice cores for their figures about the atmosphere of the past. But measuring the deep past through ice cores is a very shaky enterprise, which almost certainly takes insufficient account of compression effects. The apparently stable CO2 level of 280ppm during the Holocene could in fact be entirely an artifact of compression at the deeper levels of the ice cores. . Perhaps the gas content of an ice layer approaches a low asymptote under pressure. Dr Zbigniew Jaworowski's criticisms of the assumed reliability of ice core measurements are of course well known. And he studied them for over 30 years.

The world's first "Green" party was the Nazi party -- and Greenies are just as Fascist today in their endeavours to dictate to us all and in their attempts to suppress dissent from their claims.

Was Pope Urban VIII the first Warmist? Below we see him refusing to look through Galileo's telescope. People tend to refuse to consider evidence— if what they might discover contradicts what they believe.

Warmism is a powerful religion that aims to control most of our lives. It is nearly as powerful as the Catholic Church once was

Believing in global warming has become a sign of virtue. Strange in a skeptical era. There is clearly a need for faith

Climate change is the religion of people who think they're too smart for religion

Some advice from the Buddha that the Green/Left would do well to think about: "Three things cannot be long hidden: The Sun, The Moon and The Truth"

Leftists have faith that warming will come back some day. And they mock Christians for believing in the second coming of Christ! They obviously need religion

Global warming has in fact been a religious doctrine for over a century. Even Charles Taze Russell, the founder of Jehovah's Witnesses, believed in it

A rosary for the church of global warming (Formerly the Catholic church): "Hail warming, full of grace, blessed art thou among climates and blessed is the fruit of thy womb panic"

Pope Francis is to the Catholic church what Obama is to America -- a mistake, a fool and a wrecker

Global warming is the predominant Leftist lie of the 21st century. No other lie is so influential. The runner up lie is: "Islam is a religion of peace". Both are rankly absurd.

"When it comes to alarmism, we’re all deniers; when it comes to climate change, none of us are" -- Dick Lindzen

The EPA does everything it can get away with to shaft America and Americans

Cromwell's famous plea: "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken" was ignored by those to whom it was addressed -- to their great woe. Warmists too will not consider that they may be wrong ..... "Bowels" was a metaphor for compassion in those days

The plight of the bumblebee -- an egregious example of crooked "science"

Inorganic Origin of Petroleum: "The theory of Inorganic Origin of Petroleum (synonyms: abiogenic, abiotic, abyssal, endogenous, juvenile, mineral, primordial) states that petroleum and natural gas was formed by non-biological processes deep in the Earth, crust and mantle. This contradicts the traditional view that the oil would be a "fossil fuel" produced by remnants of ancient organisms. Oil is a hydrocarbon mixture in which a major constituent is methane CH4 (a molecule composed of one carbon atom bonded to four hydrogen atoms). Occurrence of methane is common in Earth's interior and in space. The inorganic theory contrasts with the ideas that posit exhaustion of oil (Peak Oil), which assumes that the oil would be formed from biological processes and thus would occur only in small quantities and sets, tending to exhaust. Some oil drilling now goes 7 miles down, miles below any fossil layers

As the Italian chemist Primo Levi reflected in Auschwitz, carbon is ‘the only element that can bind itself in long stable chains without a great expense of energy, and for life on Earth (the only one we know so far) precisely long chains are required. Therefore carbon is the key element of living substance.’ The chemistry of carbon (2) gives it a unique versatility, not just in the artificial world, but also, and above all, in the animal, vegetable and – speak it loud! – human kingdoms.

David Archibald: "The more carbon dioxide we can put into the atmosphere, the better life on Earth will be for human beings and all other living things."


"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." --- Richard P. Feynman. Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough - Michael Crichton

"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" – Richard Feynman

"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

Calvin Coolidge said, "If you see 10 troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you." He could have been talking about Warmists.

Some advice from long ago for Warmists: "If ifs and ans were pots and pans,there'd be no room for tinkers". It's a nursery rhyme harking back to Middle English times when "an" could mean "if". Tinkers were semi-skilled itinerant workers who fixed holes and handles in pots and pans -- which were valuable household items for most of our history. Warmists are very big on "ifs", mays", "might" etc. But all sorts of things "may" happen, including global cooling

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate" -- William of Occam

Was Paracelsus a 16th century libertarian? His motto was: "Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest" which means "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself." He was certainly a rebel in his rejection of authority and his reliance on observable facts and is as such one of the founders of modern medicine

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman

Something no Warmist could take on board: "Knuth once warned a correspondent, "Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it." -- Prof. Donald Knuth, whom some regard as the world's smartest man

"To be green is to be irrational, misanthropic and morally defective. They are the barbarians at the gate we have to stand against" -- Rich Kozlovich

“We’ve got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.“ – Timothy Wirth, President of the UN Foundation

“Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?” – Maurice Strong, founder of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)

Leftists generally and Warmists in particular very commonly ascribe disagreement with their ideas to their opponent being "in the pay" of someone else, usually "Big Oil", without troubling themselves to provide any proof of that assertion. They are so certain that they are right that that seems to be the only reasonable explanation for opposition to them. They thus reveal themselves as the ultimate bigots -- people with fixed and rigid ideas.


This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career

Update: After 8 years of confronting the frankly childish standard of reasoning that pervades the medical journals, I have given up. I have put the blog into hibernation. In extreme cases I may put up here some of the more egregious examples of medical "wisdom" that I encounter. Greenies and food freaks seem to be largely coterminous. My regular bacon & egg breakfasts would certainly offend both -- if only because of the resultant methane output

Since my academic background is in the social sciences, it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me from what you will see on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics.

Warmism is prophecy, not science. Science cannot foretell the future. Science can make very accurate predictions based on known regularities in nature (e.g. predicting the orbits of the inner planets) but Warmism is the exact opposite of that. It predicts a DEPARTURE from the known regularities of nature. If we go by the regularities of nature, we are on the brink of an ice age.

And from a philosophy of science viewpoint, far from being "the science", Warmism is not even an attempt at a factual statement, let alone being science. It is not a meaningful statement about the world. Why? Because it is unfalsifiable -- making it a religious, not a scientific statement. To be a scientific statement, there would have to be some conceivable event that disproved it -- but there appears to be none. ANY event is hailed by Warmists as proving their contentions. Only if Warmists were able to specify some fact or event that would disprove their theory would it have any claim to being a scientific statement. So the explanation for Warmist beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one -- which makes it my field

And, after all, Al Gore's academic qualifications are in social science also -- albeit very pissant qualifications.

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.

A Warmist backs down: "No one knows exactly how far rising carbon concentrations affect temperatures" -- Stefan Rahmstorf, a scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

Jimmy Carter Classic Quote from 1977: "Because we are now running out of gas and oil, we must prepare quickly for a third change, to strict conservation and to the use of coal and permanent renewable energy sources, like solar power.


Today’s environmental movement is the current manifestation of the totalitarian impulse. It is ironic that the same people who condemn the black or brown shirts of the pre WW2 period are blind to the current manifestation simply because the shirts are green.

Climate is just the sum of weather. So if you cannot forecast the weather a month in advance, you will not be able to forecast the climate 50 years in advance. And official meteorologists such as Britain's Met Office and Australia's BOM, are very poor forecasters of weather. The Met office has in fact given up on making seasonal forecasts because they have so often got such forecasts embarrassingly wrong. Their global-warming-powered "models" just did not deliver

Here's how that "97% consensus" figure was arrived at

97% of scientists want to get another research grant

Hearing a Government Funded Scientist say let me tell you the truth, is like hearing a Used Car Salesman saying let me tell you the truth.

A strange Green/Left conceit: They seem to think (e.g. here) that no-one should spend money opposing them and that conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with

David Brower, founder Sierra Club: “Childbearing should be a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license"

To Greenies, Genghis Khan was a good guy, believe it or not. They love that he killed so many people.

Greenie antisemitism

After three exceptionally cold winters in the Northern hemisphere, the Warmists are chanting: "Warming causes cold". Even if we give that a pass for logic, it still inspires the question: "Well, what are we worried about"? Cold is not going to melt the icecaps is it?"

It's a central (but unproven) assumption of the Warmist "models" that clouds cause warming. Odd that it seems to cool the temperature down when clouds appear overhead!

To make out that the essentially trivial warming of the last 150 years poses some sort of threat, Warmists postulate positive feedbacks that might cut in to make the warming accelerate in the near future. Amid their theories about feedbacks, however, they ignore the one feedback that is no theory: The reaction of plants to CO2. Plants gobble up CO2 and the more CO2 there is the more plants will flourish and hence gobble up yet more CO2. And the increasing crop yields of recent years show that plantlife is already flourishing more. The recent rise in CO2 will therefore soon be gobbled up and will no longer be around to bother anyone. Plants provide a huge NEGATIVE feedback in response to increases in atmospheric CO2

Every green plant around us is made out of carbon dioxide that the plant has grabbed out of the atmosphere. That the plant can get its carbon from such a trace gas is one of the miracles of life. It admittedly uses the huge power of the sun to accomplish such a vast filtrative task but the fact that a dumb plant can harness the power of the sun so effectively is also a wonder. We live on a rather improbable planet. If a science fiction writer elsewhere in the universe described a world like ours he might well be ridiculed for making up such an implausible tale.

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Yet at the opening of 2011 we find the following unashamed lying by James Hansen: "We will lose all the ice in the polar ice cap in a couple of decades". Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny. So even after "Climategate", the secrecy goes on.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

After fighting a 70 year war to destroy red communism we face another life-or-death struggle in the 21st century against green communism.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Jim Hansen and his twin

Getting rich and famous through alarmism: Al Gore is well-known but note also James Hansen. He has for decades been a senior, presumably well-paid, employee at NASA. In 2001 he was the recipient of a $250,000 Heinz Award. In 2007 Time magazine designated him a Hero of the Environment. That same year he pocketed one-third of a $1 million Dan David Prize. In 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented him with its Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. In 2010 he landed a $100,000 Sophie Prize. He pulled in a total of $1.2 million in 2010. Not bad for a government bureaucrat.

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. We live at the bottom of a nitrogen sea. Logical to hate nitrogen? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

UPDATE to the above: It seems that I am a true prophet

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

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

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"

Medieval Warm Period: Recent climatological data assembled from around the world using different proxies attest to the presence of both the MWP and the LIA in the following locations: the Sargasso Sea, West Africa, Kenya, Peru, Japan, Tasmania, South Africa, Idaho, Argentina, and California. These events were clearly world-wide and in most locations the peak temperatures during the MWP were higher than current temperatures.

Both radioactive and stable carbon isotopes show that the real atmospheric CO2 residence time (lifetime) is only about 5 years, and that the amount of fossil-fuel CO2 in the atmosphere is maximum 4%.

Cook the crook who cooks the books

The great and fraudulent scare about lead

Green/Left denial of the facts explained: "Rejection lies in this, that when the light came into the world men preferred darkness to light; preferred it, because their doings were evil. Anyone who acts shamefully hates the light, will not come into the light, for fear that his doings will be found out. Whereas the man whose life is true comes to the light" John 3:19-21 (Knox)

Against the long history of huge temperature variation in the earth's climate (ice ages etc.), the .6 of one degree average rise reported by the U.N. "experts" for the entire 20th century (a rise so small that you would not be able to detect such a difference personally without instruments) shows, if anything, that the 20th century was a time of exceptional temperature stability.

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)

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