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

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

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31 July, 2017

Icebreaker sets record for earliest crossing of Northwest Passage

Another opportunity for dishonest propaganda.  I'm guessing that if previous explorers were on ship that had four huge  Wärtsilä diesel engines and a hull of explosion-welded stainless steel they might have made better progress too.  This transit shows nothing about Arctic ice

There is however one amusing sentence below:  "Scientists predict the Northwest Passage will be largely ice free in the summer by 2050 if current levels of warming continue."  What?  IF!  Surely there is no doubt creeping in!  Maybe it's just caution.  Warmists have been predicting the vanishing of Arctic ice for years.  But no date they have put on it has ever proved right

After 24 days at sea and a journey spanning more than 6,000 miles, the Finnish icebreaker Nordica has set a new record for the earliest transit date of the fabled Northwest Passage.

The once-forbidding route through the Arctic, linking the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans, has been opening up sooner and for a longer period each summer due to climate change. Sea ice that in years past foiled famous explorers and blocked the passage to all but the hardiest ships has slowly been melting away in one of the most visible effects of man-made global warming.

Records kept by Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans show that the previous earliest passage of the season happened in 2008, when the Canadian Coast Guard ship Louis L. St-Laurent left St. John's in Newfoundland on July 5 and arrived in the Beaufort Sea off Point Barrow on July 30.

The Nordica, with a team of researchers and Associated Press journalists on board, completed a longer transit in less time — and in the opposite direction — setting off from Vancouver on July 5 and reaching Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, on July 29.

While the icebreaker encountered Chinese cargo vessels, Alaskan fishing boats and a German cruise ship in the Pacific, upon entering the Canadian Archipelago, the Nordica traveled alone. Radar indicated the presence of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Sherman near Point Barrow; along the coast an occasional collection of houses revealed evidence of human settlement in the far north.

For the most part, the ship's only companions were Arctic sea birds, seals and the occasional whale, until two-thirds of the way through the voyage, as Nordica was plowing through sea ice in Victoria Strait, a crew member sighted a polar bear.

These animals have come to symbolize the threat posed to Arctic wildlife by climate change because the sea ice they depend on for hunting is disappearing a bit more each year. Scientists predict the Northwest Passage will be largely ice free in the summer by 2050 if current levels of warming continue.

For now, the passage remains a challenge for conventional ships and efforts are being made to prevent frozen waterways that the local Inuit population depends on for travel from being opened up. Yet tourism and other forms of economic development are already underway.

As Nordica sailed through Baffin Bay, the far corner of the North Atlantic that separates Canada and Greenland, it passed cargo ships lining up in the distance. They were preparing to pick up iron ore from a mine on Baffin Island that's expected to operate for decades to come.

One of the early expeditions to find the Northwest Passage, led by British explorer John Franklin, was last sighted off Baffin Island on July 26, 1845. The expedition never made it. Trapped by sea ice, Franklin and his men perished from cold, illness and starvation. Their two ships were found in 2014 and 2016, not far from where Nordica sighted its first polar bear.


Here’s How Wrong Past Environmental Predictions Have Been

Walter E. Williams

Each year, Earth Day is accompanied by predictions of doom.

Let’s take a look at past predictions to determine just how much confidence we can have in today’s environmentalists’ predictions.

In 1970, when Earth Day was conceived, the late George Wald, a Nobel laureate biology professor at Harvard University, predicted, “Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”

Also in 1970, Paul Ehrlich, a Stanford University biologist and best-selling author of “The Population Bomb,” declared that the world’s population would soon outstrip food supplies.

In an article for The Progressive, he predicted, “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next 10 years.”

He gave this warning in 1969 to Britain’s Institute of Biology: “If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.”

On the first Earth Day, Ehrlich warned, “In 10 years, all important animal life in the sea will be extinct.”

Despite such predictions, Ehrlich has won no fewer than 16 awards, including the 1990 Crafoord Prize, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences’ highest award.

In International Wildlife (July 1975), Nigel Calder warned, “The threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind.”

In Science News (1975), C.C. Wallen of the World Meteorological Organization is reported as saying, “The cooling since 1940 has been large enough and consistent enough that it will not soon be reversed.”

In 2000, climate researcher David Viner told The Independent, a British newspaper, that within “a few years,” snowfall would become “a very rare and exciting event” in Britain. “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said. “Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past.”

In the following years, the U.K. saw some of its largest snowfalls and lowest temperatures since records started being kept in 1914.

In 1970, ecologist Kenneth Watt told a Swarthmore College audience:

The world has been chilling sharply for about 20 years. If present trends continue, the world will be about 4 degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990 but 11 degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.

Also in 1970, Sen. Gaylord Nelson, D-Wis., wrote in Look magazine: “Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian (Institution), believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.”

Scientist Harrison Brown published a chart in Scientific American that year estimating that mankind would run out of copper shortly after 2000. Lead, zinc, tin, gold, and silver were to disappear before 1990.

Erroneous predictions didn’t start with Earth Day.

In 1939, the U.S. Department of the Interior said American oil supplies would last for only another 13 years. In 1949, the secretary of the interior said the end of U.S. oil supplies was in sight.

Having learned nothing from its earlier erroneous claims, in 1974 the U.S. Geological Survey said the U.S. had only a 10-year supply of natural gas.

The fact of the matter, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, is that as of 2014, we had 2.47 quadrillion cubic feet of natural gas, which should last about a century.

Hoodwinking Americans is part of the environmentalist agenda. Environmental activist Stephen Schneider told Discover magazine in 1989:

We have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. … Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.

In 1988, then-Sen. Timothy Wirth, D-Colo., said: “We’ve got to … try to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong … we will be doing the right thing anyway in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.”

Americans have paid a steep price for buying into environmental deception and lies.


AL GORE CAN’T SAVE THE GLOBAL WARMING CULT: The fake science has been exposed

Following Donald Trump’s withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord, Al Gore is releasing an update of his 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth. It’s called An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, in which no doubt we will hear the same apocalyptic hysteria of its predecessor, and the same lurid predictions that will never come true. The difference between the 2006 Academy Award winner and the updated version is that now volumes of counter-evidence and exposure of the manipulation of climate data make it obvious that catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is a progressive cult-belief and alternative energy boondoggle, not real science.

Earlier this month PJMedia covered a new report that seriously challenges the data all warmists rely on to buttress their case that the planet has been steadily warming to disastrous levels. This peer-reviewed paper examines how the raw data from weather stations are manipulated and altered by the three main purveyors of temperature data known as Global Average Surface Temperature (GAST)––The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA, and the Hadley Center for Climate Prediction and Research––before being used by other researchers. Incorporating more reliable satellite temperature data­­––which for going on two decades do not show any meaningful rise in temperature, let alone the steep rise that the GAST data show––the authors come to this devastating conclusion:

The conclusive findings of this research are that the three GAST data sets are not a valid representation of reality. In fact, the magnitude of their historical data adjustments, that removed their cyclical temperature patterns, are totally inconsistent with published and credible U.S. and other temperature data. Thus, it is impossible to conclude from the three published GAST data sets that recent year have been the warmest ever––despite current claims of record setting warming.

Moreover, the legitimate need to control for any environmental factors that could distort raw temperatures has been abused to produce a preordained conclusion:

While the notion that some “adjustments” to historical data might need to be made is not challenged, logically it would be expected that such historical temperature data adjustments would sometimes raise these temperatures, and sometimes lower them. This situation would mean that the impact of such adjustments on the temperature trend line slope is uncertain. However, each new version of GAST has nearly always exhibited a steeper warming linear trend over its entire history.

These types of manipulation of data, however, have been obvious going back to 1998 and Michael Mann’s infamous “Hockey Stick” graph, in which the Medieval Warm Period (950-1250), when temperatures were about as hot as they are today, was erased to show a steep linear rise in temperatures. And NOAA’s manipulation of data also has been exposed by the Real Climate Science blog, which examines NOAA’s charts and graphs claiming to show that 2016 was the hottest year on record, and U.S. temperatures have increased 1.5°F since the 19th century. In fact, critical analysis reveals that in 2016, “The percentage of hot days was below average, and ranked 80th since 1895. Only 4.4% of days were over 95°F, compared with the long term average of 4.9%.”

As for the second claim of a 1.5°F rise, “NOAA creates the warming trend by altering the data. The NOAA raw data shows no warming over the past century.” The altered data are made to correlate with the increase of atmospheric CO2, conveniently supporting the main hypothesis of a “greenhouse effect” in which temperatures increase along with the greater volume of CO2 in the atmosphere––a hypothesis dating back to 1896. Additionally, missing weather station raw data––42% of stations in 2016––have been replaced by fabricated data.

Warmists, of course, like most cultists have a whole repertoire of very unscientific tactics for swatting away these inconvenient truths. They use the ad hominem and genetic fallacies to demonize critics, accusing them of being stooges of the oil companies or flat-earth kooks, even as they ignore the warmists who have received billions in government grants and green-energy subsidies, and who like Al Gore indulge in end-of-times scenarios–– “Every night on the TV news is like a nature hike through the Book of Revelation,” he told Fox News––redolent of Millerism and other eschatological melodramas. And of course, it’s okay for Al Gore to make millions of dollars off such subsidies and “renewable energy” investments. Not to mention celebrity status and perhaps political capital; he’s being touted as a presidential contender in 2020, the environmental knight who will slay the “denier” dragon Trump who besmirched our national reputation and endangered the planet by withdrawing the U.S. from the preposterous Paris Climate Accord. And let’s not forget global-warming “scientists” themselves, who over the years have reaped billions of federal dollars, with $22 billion of taxpayer money slated just for 2017. At least oil companies spend their own money.

Then there’s the argument from authority, especially the modern willingness to reflexively credit with objective wisdom anyone calling himself a “scientist,” and to be hypnotized by the seeming self-evident truth of quantitative data. Most revealing, however, is the incessant claim that since “97% of scientists” believe in AGW, there is a “scientific consensus” that AGW is a scientific fact rather than a hypothesis compromised by our lack of enough scientific knowledge about how global climate functions over space and time. But the “97%” canard has been repeatedly exposed as an artifact created by unscientific polling. Thousands of respected and credentialed scientists question the central hypothesis and predictions of those endorsing AGW.

As for quantitative data, don’t forget that most pseudoscience is replete with copious numbers and formulas, from alchemy, phrenology, craniometry, and astrology to eugenics and “scientific racism” with its carefully quantified crania sizes and skewed IQ tests. Early 20th century eugenics also was considered a scientific fact acknowledged by a “consensus” of “scientists,” and was endorsed by professors at America’s elite universities, one of whom went on to become president. As respected progressive sociologist Edward A. Ross wrote in 1937, the endorsement of eugenics was “a perfect index of one’s breadth of outlook and unselfish concern for the future of our race.” Only religious nuts and the uneducated questioned a theory backed by the work of Charles Darwin. We know what that “consensus” led to––forced sterilization, “scientific” justifications for racial segregation, restrictions on immigration based on race and ethnicity, and ultimately the crematoria of Auschwitz.

Real science, of course, seldom leads to a “consensus,” and thinking it does can lead to unforeseen consequences. For example, after decades of being told that the “scientific consensus” on nutrition was that fat and cholesterol led to heart disease, now we are hearing “never mind.” Unfortunately, the avoidance of dietary fat led to a shift to carbohydrates, which in turn contributed to today’s obesity epidemic. Likewise, following the warmist’s prescriptions to outlaw carbon, our most efficient and cheapest energy source, will stunt economic growth in the developing world, leaving billions of people in disease and poverty; and will increase energy poverty in the U.S. and prevent job growth, all to achieve a meaningless reduction in the temperatures projected by computer models.

Skepticism, not consensus, is the hallmark of science. As Karl Popper said, “The method of science is the method of bold conjectures and ingenious and severe attempts to refute them.” The warmists reveal their political and ideological interests when they demonize opponents, insist on “settled science” to stifle debate, unleash state Attorneys General to hound researches and corporations, sue critics for defamation, and do anything in their power to stop “sever attempts to refute” the AGW hypothesis.

The Al Gore show is a progressive revival-tent meeting, an excuse for intrusive big government and crony-socialist rent-seeking. The fact is, from its beginning global warming has been a political, not a scientific movement. Rupert Darwall has documented the growth of the global warming fad as a political movement. As he wrote in 2015 before the Paris Climate Accord signed by President Obama,

Global warming is preeminently a political project. On Tuesday, the leaders of France and Germany met to set a goal for the December climate summit in Paris: to fully decarbonize the world economy by the end of the century. It required, Angela Merkel and François Hollande declared, “a profound transformation of the world economy and society.” The role of experts is to provide a scientific consensus to support the drumbeat of alarm. When the president of America declares climate change an immediate threat to national security and accuses skeptics of “negligence” and “dereliction of duty,” scientific skepticism becomes an enemy of the state. The shrillness of the president’s rhetoric draws attention to the weakness of the science. The true believers have given up trying to win over the undecided.

That sums up the problem. The solution is to start practicing real science again, take the big thumb of the federal government and its deep pockets off the scales of the debate, and base energy policy on science and what is best for the American people, rather than on what serves the pecuniary interests of researchers, progressive politicians, and countries like China, and that gratifies the weird combination of stale nature-love and two-bit Marxist clichés about the evils of industrialism that passes for science among the bicoastal elites.



Biofuel justifications are illusory

It’s time to really cut, cut, cut ethanol and other renewable fuel mandates – maybe to zero

Paul Driessen

The closest thing to earthly eternal life, President Ronald Reagan used to say, is a government program.

Those who benefit from a program actively and vocally defend it, often giving millions in campaign cash to politicians who help perpetuate it, while those who oppose the program or are harmed by it are usually disorganized and distracted by daily life. Legislative inertia and obstruction of the kind so graphically on display in the Senate over the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) also help to perpetuate program life.

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), created under the 2005 Energy Policy Act and expanded by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, is a perfect example. It has more lives than Freddy Krueger.

The laws require that refiners blend steadily increasing amounts of ethanol into gasoline, and expect the private sector to produce growing amounts of “cellulosic” biofuel, “biomass-based diesel” and “advanced” biofuels. Except for corn ethanol, the production expectations have mostly turned out to be fantasies. The justifications for renewable fuels were scary exaggerations then, and are now illusions.

Let’s begin with claims made to justify this RFS extravaganza in the first place. It would reduce pollution, we were told. But cars are already 95% cleaner than their 1970 predecessors, so there are no real benefits.

The USA was depleting its petroleum reserves, and the RFS would reduce oil imports from unstable, unfriendly nations. But the horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) revolution has given the United States at least a century of new reserves. America now exports more oil and refined products than it imports, and US foreign oil consumption is now the lowest since 1970.

Renewable fuels would help prevent dangerous manmade climate change, we were also told. This assumes climate is driven by manmade carbon dioxide – and not by changes in solar heat output, cosmic rays, ocean currents and other powerful natural forces that brought ice ages, little ice ages, warm periods, droughts and floods. It assumes biofuels don’t emit CO2, or at least not as much as gasoline; in reality, over their full life cycle, they emit at least as much, if not more, of this plant-fertilizing molecule.

Moreover, contrary to the hysteria, computer models and Al Gore’s new movie, humanity and planet are not experiencing unusual or unprecedented climate or weather. Inconvenient to Mr. Gore’s theme, in fact not a single category 3-5 hurricane has struck the US mainland since October 2005, a record 11 years, 9 months. He simply presents a seemingly endless stream of weather calamities – what Australian science writer Jo Nova aptly refers to as “primal weather porn” and suggests that these events are unprecedented and caused by humans. The claim reflects deliberate distortion of the truth, abysmal grasp of science (by a man who received a C and a D in his only two college science courses), or both.

To get far more complete, factual, honest climate science, see the Climate Hustle documentary instead.

Moreover, with China, India, the rest of Asia, Africa, Poland and even Germany burning more and more coal – and more gasoline and natural gas – total atmospheric carbon dioxide levels continue to rise. But meanwhile, Greenland just had the coldest July temperature ever recorded in the Northern Hemisphere, and global average temperatures are back to the 1998-2017 hiatus they had before the 2015-16 El Niño.

Regardless, the immortal RFS is still with us. However, the Environmental Protection Agency has issued a previously unheard of proposal: to reduce the RFS total target for 2018 below its 2017 level. It’s a tiny 0.2% reduction, and EPA is not planning to roll back the 15-billion-gallon obligation for “conventional” biofuel, mostly ethanol from corn. But it suggests that a little healthy realism may finally be taking root.

The reduction is for cellulosic biofuel. The federal statutory target is 4.25 billion gallons in 2018. (Set a target, it will become reality, is the mindset.) EPA proposes to reduce the regulatory target to 24 million gallons for 2018, down from 31 million for 2017. But actual production and use of this fuel in 2015 was a meager 2.2 million gallons. This minuscule reduction is a good first step, but far greater reductions in statutory and regulatory targets are realistic and needed, along with a full overhaul of the RFS program.

A little over 15 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol were produced in 2016 – but only 143 billion gallons of gasoline were sold. That means using all the ethanol would require blends above 10% (E10 gasoline) – which is why Big Ethanol is lobbying hard for government mandates (or at least permission) for more E15 (15% ethanol) gasoline blends and pumps. Refiners refer to the current situation as the “blend wall.”

But E15 damages engines and fuel systems in older cars and motorcycles, as well as small engines for boats and garden equipment, and using E15 voids their warranties. You can already find E15 pumps, but finding zero-ethanol, pure-gasoline pumps is a tall order. Moreover, to produce ethanol, the United States is already devoting 40% of its corn crop, grown on nearly 40 million acres – along with billions of gallons of water to irrigate corn fields, plus huge amounts of fertilizer, pesticides and fossil fuels.

Much of the leftover “mash” from ethanol distillation is sold as animal feed. However, the RFS program still enriches a relatively few corn farmers, while raising costs for beef, pork, poultry and fish farmers, and for poor, minority, working class and African families. Ethanol also gets a third less mileage per gallon than gasoline, so cars cannot go as far on a tank of E10 and go even shorter distances with E15.

Ethanol sales also involve the complexities – and sometimes fraudulent practices – of buying and selling Renewable Identification Numbers, or RINs: certificates and credits for ethanol. Large integrated oil companies blend more gasoline than they refine, so they collect more RINs than they need, allowing them to hoard RINs and drive up the prices they charge to independent refiners that must buy these RINs to comply with the law. Large retail businesses like Cumberland Farms, Sheetz, Wawa and Walmart blend fuel and collect RINs, but have no RFS obligation; they use RINs as subsidies and their large volumes to command lower prices from refiners, and thereby gain an unfair advantage over small gas station owners.

The net result is that small mom-and-pop gas stations are squeezed hard and often driven out of business. Small refiners, and those on the East Coast that don’t have large wholesale and retail businesses are forced to buy pricey RINs from integrated oil company competitors, which puts those smaller outfits at a disadvantage and threatens their ability to stay in business. That means steel and refinery jobs and employee benefits are at risk. All told, the RFS presents a lot of problems for illusory benefits.

All these hard realities almost persuaded the US Senate Environment Committee to vote on a recent bill that would have revised some of the outdated and outlandish RFS mandates. It didn’t happen, but the political machinations suggest that even some progressive Democrats are beginning to question the RFS.

Euthanasia and assisted suicide are becoming increasingly popular in some states and countries. To cite the perspective of “progressive ethicists” like Peter Singer, perhaps it’s time to apply the same principles to government programs that have outlived their usefulness or should never have been born.

At the very least, politically spawned, politically correct energy programs – founded on questionable, exaggerated or fabricated climate, environmental, consumer or security scares – should no longer get free passes on land use, habitat and wildlife impacts, environmental quality or consumer and employment issues. They need to be subjected to the same tough legislative, regulatory, activist and judicial assessments that we insist on for oil, gas, coal and nuclear programs

This should apply to wind and solar, electric vehicle and battery proposals, as well as to Renewable Fuel Standards. It would restore some much-needed integrity and accountability to our government.

(The opportunity for signing up to present oral testimony at EPA’s August 1 public hearing on the 2018 biofuel standards has passed. However, written statements and supporting information submitted to EPA by August 31 will be given the same weight as comments and materials presented at the hearing.)

Via email

California mountain highway is finally cleared of snow after FOUR MONTHS of snowplowing

Global cooling!

A California highway was finally cleared of snow, opening to the public in its latest date on record. Cars were once more able to drive on Highway 89, which runs through Lassen Volcanic National Park, for the first time since last fall.

The 30-mile road, also known as Lassen National Park Highway, had crews clearing the snow for nearly four months ahead of Thursday's opening.

According to park logs, the latest opening in the last 40 years was in 1995 when the highway opened on July 21.

'This year's opening of the highway will be the latest in park records dating back to 1931,' Lassen Superintendent Jim Richardson said.

However, although the highway is open, the snow hasn't completely disappeared. Many park trails will continue to be covered in snow through mid-August.

'There's 10 feet of snow still on the perimeter of the parking area,' Lassen spokeswoman Karen Haner said.

Road-clearing work began on April 4 with help from the California Department of Transportation, reported the Redding Record Searchlight.

Haner said earlier this month that snowfall in the park was about average for the winter season but more than during the drought the previous four years.

A total of 28 feet of snow was reported over the winter at the summit of the park highway.

Plowing the snow was completed just in time for Sunday's Reach the Peak, a 'hikathon' that raises funds for the Lassen Park Foundation. Hikers will start up Lassen Peak at 8am, leaving in groups every 30 minutes.

On Friday, the park's North Summit Lake, Butte Lake and Juniper Lake campgrounds opened although some Juniper Lake spots may be too muddy for campers, park officials said.

However, Lassen Highway is not the only traditionally late-opening park road.

Tioga Road, which enters Yosemite National Park in Lee Vining, California, opened on June 29, also its latest opening since 1995, according to the National Park Service.

Despite a peak of higher than 10,400 feet, the park is most famous numerous acidic hot springs.

Between 1914 and 1917, Lassen Peak experienced a series of volcanic eruptions. One in May 1915 rained ash as far as 200 miles away, the last to occur until Washington's Mount St Helens erupted in 1980.




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


30 July, 2017

Climate “Scientists” in Panic: Real Debate and Fact Checking Will Expose “Consensus” Fraud

Scott Pruitt and Steven Koonin have climate scientist-activists and their media promoters ranting and sputtering in an epic meltdown. Pruitt is, of course, President Trump’s outspoken administrator in charge of the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Dr. Koonin, a physicist and professor at New York University, was undersecretary of the Energy Department in the Obama administration. Pruitt and Koonin, along with Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and an impressive lineup of distinguished scientists have stirred the proverbial hornets’ nest by proposing (of all things!) — a scientific debate. Climate alarmists say this is “dangerous,” even “un-American.” And why does the thought of debate stir such ire, angst, and venom in supposedly dispassionate, objective, “scientific” circles? After all, isn’t that what science is all about: testing, challenging, reviewing? Apparently not — at least not when “climate science” is involved. No less a science authority than Al Gore has assured us that when it comes to anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming, AGW, “the science is settled.”

However, the science is far from settled, as the alarmist choir well knows, though is loath to admit. Despite thousands of stories in the print and broadcast media declaring that “97 percent of climate scientists” endorse the idea that global warming is a dire threat and man is causing it, that fraudulent claim has been crumbling rapidly. And the alarmists fear if they lose their most cherished “consensus” weapon in an open debate, their already far-advanced radical agenda will be dealt a possibly fatal set-back. President Trump has already canceled President Obama’s unconstitutional “ratification” of the UN’s Paris agreement. Now Pruitt, Koonin, and others are calling for an adversarial Red Team-Blue Team audit of climate science.

Although he is not the first to come up with the idea, Dr. Koonin got the concept rolling this past April with a column for the Wall Street Journal entitled “A ‘Red Team’ Exercise Would Strengthen Climate Science.” “Put the ‘consensus’ to a test,” he argued, “and improve public understanding, through an open, adversarial process.”

What could be wrong with that? If the evidence for manmade global warming is as “overwhelming” as the alarmists claim, and if the “scientific consensus” is so near unanimous as asserted, then they should have no trouble making their case. It should be a slam dunk for them. But it won’t be — and they know it. That’s what has the militant climateers terrified. The key word they fear in the Koonin proposal is an “open” adversarial process.

Some of the biggest guns in the climateer arsenal are shooting themselves in the collective foot, as they compete to denounce the Red Team-Blue Team plan in the harshest terms. Michael Mann, the Penn State activist-scientist notorious for the Hockey Stick fraud used in Al Gore’s flim-flam film An Inconvenient Truth, as well as in UN IPCC and U.S. government agency reports, has declared the Koonin proposal to be “un-American.” AGW militants Benjamin Santer, Naomi Oreskes, and Kerry Emanuel co-authored a Washington Post rant calling the idea “dangerous.” Others are insisting it would be redundant, wasteful, and a sellout to the fossil-fuel industry.

“They’re looking to use taxpayer funds to run a pro-fossil fuel industry disinformation campaign aimed at confusing the public and policymakers over what is potentially the greatest threat we face as a civilization,” Mann told the left-wing group ThinkProgress, a “project” of the Soros-funded Center for American Progress led by John Podesta. “It is frankly un-American,” Mann declared.

Un-American? Well, considering that the cost of the UN-brokered, Obama-approved, media-acclaimed Paris climate deal would come in at around $100 trillion over the course of this century, all for the astoundingly minuscule “accomplishment” of reducing global temperatures by 0.057 degrees Fahrenheit (that’s five-hundredths of a degree!), and considering that much of this will come from American taxpayer funds, perhaps it should be considered un-American not to challenge such outrageously profligate schemes. Especially since the alarmists, such as former UN climate chief Christina Figueres, a globalist-socialist, have boasted that their goal is nothing less than “a complete transformation of the economic structure of the world.” And not only an economic transformation. There is an additional, more onerous price tag: subjection of all human activity to a global, all-wise bureaucracy that will direct all aspects of our lives in a "sustainable" manner, and protect us from our own carbon footprints.

But Santer, Oreskes, Mann, and company would prefer to direct our attention away from all that. According to Michael Mann, the back-and-forth process Dr. Koonin and others are calling for is already taken care of: It’s called “peer-review.” “The system they describe is precisely what scientific peer-review is,” Mann told ThinkProgress. “The reality is that the only thing these folks don’t like is the conclusion that the scientific community (that is, the world’s scientists, literally) has arrived at — that climate change is real, human-caused, and a threat.”

Santer, Oreskes, and Emanuel sounded a similar refrain in their Post op-ed, writing that “calls for special teams of investigators are not about honest scientific debate. They are dangerous attempts to elevate the status of minority opinions, and to undercut the legitimacy, objectivity and transparency of existing climate science.”

Peer Review or Pal Review?

The Santer-Oreskes-Emanuel trio claim that the Koonin proposal would inject ugly “tribalism” into the pure and pristine process of climate science. They argue:

The basic premise of these “Red Team/Blue Team” requests is that climate science is broken and needs to be fixed. The implicit message in the requests is that scientists belong to tribes, and key findings of climate science — such as the existence of a large human-caused warming signal — have not undergone adequate review by all tribes. This tribalism could be addressed, Koonin believes, by emulating Red Team/Blue Team assessment strategies in “intelligence assessments, spacecraft design, and major industrial operations."

They continue:

In Koonin’s view, “traditional” peer-review processes are flawed and lack transparency, and international scientific assessments do not accurately represent “the vibrant and developing science.” He implicitly accuses the climate science community of “advisory malpractice” by ignoring major sources of uncertainty. To use present-day vernacular, both Koonin and Pruitt are essentially claiming that peer-review systems are rigged, and that climate scientists are not providing sound scientific information to policymakers.

“Heresy” Causes “High Priestess” to Be “Tossed Out of the Tribe”

But, Dr. Koonin is far from the only scientist “essentially claiming that peer-review systems are rigged,” that they’ve already gone “tribal.” Ask other scientists, such as Dr. Patrick Michaels, Dr. John Bates, Dr. Chris Landsea, Dr. Benny Peiser, Professor Dennis Bray, Dr. Roy Spencer, or any of hundreds of other scientists who have seen and experienced the rigging and the tribalism up close and personal.

Ask (by all means) Dr. Judith Curry. Once considered the “high priestess of global warming,” she says she was “tossed out of the tribe” for questioning AGW dogma, as enforced by the likes of Santer, Oreskes, and Emanuel. The former chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Professor Curry has a record of publication in peer-reviewed climate science journals that is second to none. For years she was a darling of the climate-industrial-academic complex. However, the “Climategate” e-mail scandal at the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Center (UEA-CRU) caused her to look more deeply into what had obviously become a blatantly corrupt, politically driven “scientific” system.

The British paper, The Spectator, wrote of her, in a 2015 article:

Curry’s independence has cost her dear. She began to be reviled after the 2009 "Climategate" scandal, when leaked emails revealed that some scientists were fighting to suppress sceptical views. "I started saying that scientists should be more accountable, and I began to engage with sceptic bloggers. I thought that would calm the waters. Instead I was tossed out of the tribe. There’s no way I would have done this if I hadn’t been a tenured professor, fairly near the end of my career. If I were seeking a new job in the US academy, I’d be pretty much unemployable. I can still publish in the peer-reviewed journals. But there’s no way I could get a government research grant to do the research I want to do. Since then, I’ve stopped judging my career by these metrics. I’m doing what I do to stand up for science and to do the right thing."

Michael Mann called Judith Curry “anti-science,” but, considering the source, she is undaunted by insult. “It’s unfortunate, but he calls anyone who doesn’t agree with him a denier,” she told the Spectator.

The UEA-CRU e-mails include infamous exchanges involving Phil Jones, Michael Mann, and other leading lights of the AGW establishment conspiring on how to keep skeptical scientists from getting published in scientific journals, as well as scheming on how to get editors fired who refused to censor dissident scientists. UEA-CRU chief Phil Jones, for instance, discussed suppressing scientific articles he did not like: “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

The “Kevin” whom Jones refers to is Dr. Kevin Trenberth, one of the vicious pseudo-scientists who signed a letter to President Obama, calling on him to prosecute and imprison climate skeptics whom they label as “deniers.” Trenberth is one of the “consensus enforcers” Dr. Curry calls out in a recent entry on her blog, “Climate Etc.”

Curry remarks that, in a recent congressional hearing, climate zealot Senator Al Franken repeatedly asked Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke if he could “tell me how much warming government scientists predict for the end of this century under a business-as-usual scenario?”  Zinke stated: “I don’t think government scientists can predict with certainty.” “There isn’t a model that exists today that can predict today’s weather given all the data,” Zinke said.

Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, jumped into the fray, calling Zinke’s explanation “a stupid and ignorant answer.” Trenberth’s insulting comment was given widespread favorable media coverage, naturally, as a supposed smack-down of dim-witted “deniers” by a reputed authoritative voice of science.

But Curry smacks down the smug would-be smacker, observing: “Zinke’s statement is true.  Trenberth is a scientific bully/thug for calling Zinke’s answer stupid and ignorant, especially when both Trenberth and [NASA’s Gavin] Schmidt basically admit that the models can’t predict the future.”

Trenberth has plenty of company in the lavishly funded billion-dollar-a-day bully/thug climate-industrial complex. Perpetual activist Ben “the Ranter” Santer returned to the pages of the Washington Post on July 5 for an orgy of self-indulgent virtue signaling about his decades of sacrificial slaving in the service of science and humanity. “I’m a climate scientist. And I’m not letting trickle-down ignorance win,” Santer declared in the title of his WaPo diatribe, which also served as his pledge to “fight the Trump administration’s darkness.”

But what about his own darkness? Recently, as we have reported, Santer and some of his fellow climate cabal members have been forced by reality to admit that the vaunted computer climate models they have been relying on for decades (and that they have demanded all humanity bow before) have consistently overestimated climate sensitivity and global temperatures. But as we noted, Santer et al. couldn’t quite come clean; they couched their admission in a tortured concatenation of excuses and rationalizations designed to hide the fact that their “science” was based (at best) on mere conjecture from garbage in-garbage out computer folderol, and/or (at worst) outright criminal fraud.

When it comes to brazen fraud, Santer’s co-author Professor Naomi Oreskes is a tough one to beat. Together with Australian alarmist John Cook, Oreskes, the Harvard “historian of science,” is responsible for perpetrating the “97 percent” lie, the biggest scam backing up the most colossal hoax in history. Replicating Oreskes’ original 2004 study, Dr. Benny Peiser found only 1 percent of published scientific papers explicitly endorse the “consensus view” that anthropogenic sources are responsible for global warming. And that was after Oreskes had used a deceptive selection process to winnow out thousands of studies. So, the false consensus was/is not 97 percent, but less than 1 percent! Likewise, John Cook’s study has been thoroughly eviscerated, revealing an AGW consensus of around 0.5 percent — one-half of a percent, not 97 percent. Obviously, Dr. Koonin’s proposal for a Red Team-Blue Team exercise, with an honest, open debate would threaten to expose this carefully constructed “overwhelming scientific consensus” lie that remains the biggest linchpin of the catastrophic AGW theory. That is why we are seeing such desperate efforts to derail it.


Not so hot: Al Gore’s ‘Inconvenient Sequel’ meets with skepticism even from left

Nobody is more excited about Friday’s release of Al Gore’s sequel to “An Inconvenient Truth” than climate skeptic Marc Morano, which comes as an ill wind for the movement to stop global warming, not to mention Mr. Gore.

For months, Mr. Morano and his team have tracked the Democrat at advance screenings of “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,” ambushing him with stunts such as asking him about his prediction that without drastic measures, the planet would reach a “point of no return” in a decade.

The former vice president made that claim 11 years ago in “An Inconvenient Truth,” the Oscar-winning documentary whose warnings of climate doom propelled Mr. Gore to the forefront of the movement against global warming — while turning him into something of a punchline.

“Al Gore is the gift that keeps on giving,” said Mr. Morano, who runs the skeptical Climate Depot website, a project of the free-market Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow.

Even the left has its doubts about whether the sequel will do more harm than good by reinforcing Mr. Gore’s status as the face of the movement to protect the climate.

The liberal New Republic aired those concerns in a Monday article headlined “The Troubling Return of Al Gore,” which said that “not everyone on the left is celebrating Gore’s reemergence” and described him as “the most polarizing figure in climate politics.”

“Having a highly partisan spokesman who instantly divides the public between support and opposition is doing the climate campaigners no favors,” said Mr. Morano. “Gore turns off half the audience before the film even starts, just by virtue of him being a divisive player in American politics.”

Already, the sides have lined up: California Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, attended a Wednesday screening with Mr. Gore in Hollywood, but no congressional Republicans turned up for a free Tuesday showing on Capitol Hill, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“I’m not sure Mr. Gore will re-energize either side. In my opinion, he’s become largely irrelevant in the climate debate, mainly due to the multitude of failed claims and factual errors in his statements over the years,” said Anthony Watts, who runs the widely viewed skeptics website Watts Up With That.

Two weeks ago, Mr. Gore came under fire by comparing climate change to slavery abolition, saying both movements were “met with ferocious resistance.”

“He’s clearly mostly about propaganda, and both sides of the climate debate now recognize this,” Mr. Watts said.

With “An Inconvenient Sequel,” Mr. Gore said his aim is to drum up grass-roots support for climate activism.

“We need to get more people involved,” he told The Associated Press. “That’s one of the real purposes of this movie: to tell people what they need to know, to show them that there is hope and there are solutions now, and inspire them to get involved.”

The film has drawn celebrity backing, earning kudos on Twitter from ecowarriors such as actor Leonardo DiCaprio and singer Jason Mraz. Mr. Gore has promoted the film on late-night shows hosted by Stephen Colbert and James Corden.

After showings at the Sundance Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival, the film is slated for limited release Friday and wide release Aug. 4.

So far, reviews have been mixed. While the original film focused on the climate change issue, the sequel spends more time on Mr. Gore’s story, prompting some critics to praise the movie for being more engaging than the first even as others have called it a “vanity project” and a “victory lap.”

The timing of the film is both prescient and problematic. Alarm over President Trump’s skepticism about climate change prompted The Wrap’s Elizabeth Weitzman to declare that “we need [Mr. Gore‘s] voice more than ever.”

At the same time, the filmmakers miscalculated by initially ending with the success of the Paris agreement, which fell apart after Mr. Trump announced June 1 that he would pull out of the accord.

The film and its trailer have since been updated with an anti-Trump message. Still, some reviewers have complained that the tacked-on ending muddles the documentary’s final stretch showing Mr. Gore working to bring India on board at the 2015 Paris summit.

The sequel’s “whole inspirational framework seems shaped around the realities of a pre-November 9 world, to the point where its outlook now seems sadly outdated, what with a powerful new enemy to the cause threatening to undo all the progress Gore has made and the film celebrates,” film critic A.A. Dowd said on the A.V. Club website. “Talk about an inconvenient truth.”

Another problem is that Mr. Gore is no longer on the cutting edge of the climate movement. Up-and-comers such as the Copenhagen Consensus Center’s Bjorn Lomborg have called for making green energy cheaper by increasing funding for research instead of entering into sweeping global treaties like the kind Mr. Gore favors.

Mr. Lomborg said the Paris agreement is likely to fail just as the 1997 Kyoto Protocol did by focusing on government subsidies for “inefficient solar and wind and Teslas that feel good but actually don’t do much.”

“Yes, we’ll go see another Al Gore movie, and honestly it’s not going to move us anyplace because he’s basically still trying to scare us witless using a solution that hasn’t worked for the last 20 years and is likely not to work the next 20,” Mr. Lomborg said.

Repeating the impact of “An Inconvenient Truth” would be difficult under the best of circumstances. The film, which earned nearly $50 million at the box office, gave Mr. Gore an unexpected second act in public life after his nearly victorious 2000 presidential run. He was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. He launched the Climate Reality Project. He also became rich, amassing a net worth estimated at as much as $300 million, including renewable energy investments as co-founder of Generation Investment Management.

At the same time, Mr. Gore faces accusations of climate hypocrisy every time he climbs into an SUV or hops onto a private plane. He took heat for years over the lighting bill on his mansion in Nashville, Tennessee.

Despite the Trump win, Mr. Gore says the climate message is taking root with Americans. A Gallup poll in March found that 45 percent of those surveyed worry about global warming “a great deal,” up from 37 percent a year earlier.

“People are seeing through this now. Two-thirds of the American people want to solve this, big time,” Mr. Gore said.

Then again, a Bloomberg poll this month found that only 10 percent saw global warming as the most important issue facing the country. A Chapman University poll released in October found that those surveyed were more afraid of clowns than global warming.

“Anyone predicting Gore’s sequel will even come close to his 2006 original,” said Mr. Morano, “will be joining a long list of failed climate predictions and climate models.”


NASA Confirms Falling Sea Levels For Two Years Amidst Media Blackout

Most media outlets cannot be bothered to report something that dramatically deflates their narrative. So it goes without saying that when NASA confirmed that ocean levels have actually been falling for the past few years, the media would be more than silent.

As the global warming narrative quickly unravels, and leftists scramble to throw accusations at those who dare question the false data, the media brushes facts under the rug. Amidst revelations of scientific fraud, data alteration and faked “hockey stick” data models, the fake news media remains suspiciously silent over the fact that NASA now confirms ocean levels have been falling for nearly two years.

On a NASA page intended to spread climate alarmism (, NASA’s own data reveal that worldwide ocean levels have been falling for nearly two years, dropping from a variation of roughly 87.5mm to below 85mm.

This data clearly contradicts the false narrative of rapid, never-ending rising ocean levels that flood continents and drown cities. The narrative is climate alarmists key element of the climate change fear mongering fiction that’s used to scare gullible youth into making Al Gore rich.

Global warming alarmists might say this is only a “pause” in the rising ocean levels, and that the long-term trend is clearly in the direction of rising oceans. However, these people wildly exaggerate the degree of ocean level increases to the point of absurdity and have been caught red-handed completely fabricating data to continue scaring the public into supporting a non-issue.

Even in a worse case scenario, sea levels will rise only about a foot over the next 100 years. That amount is far short of what climate alarmists would need to create an apocalyptic event based solely on the weather.  Looking at current events right now, we’d say that Armageddon would more likely be created by a world war or a global economic collapse.

Even a warmer planet would be more hospitable to plants. But again, warmth as a benefit for plant life is not something climate alarmists want to hear. They need their backsides patted by the same lies.


The Rise of Green Fascism: BioEngineering Humans Could Solve Climate Change

This guy would seem to get his ethics from Mao Tse Tung

People unwilling to act on the climate-crisis narrative should be assisted with drugs that improve and promote conformity, according to eminent bio-ethicist Professor Matthew Liao, of New York University, who also wants to see parents dosing their children with hormones and diets to keep them shorter and less of a burden on the planet.

He wants such people to be given  the ‘love drug/cuddle chemical’ oxytocin. This would increase their trust and empathy and make them more ready to change to emission-saving lifestyles.

As his peer-reviewed study puts it, “Pharmacologically induced altruism and empathy could increase the likelihood that we adopt the necessary behavioral and market solutions for curbing climate change.” He emphasises there would be no coercion. The drugs would merely help those who want to be climate-friendly behaviour but lack the willpower

Once sufficiently drugged, parents would be less likely to reject notions of “human engineering” techniques that will be needed to create Humans 2.0. These amended species will be 15cm shorter than now, hence more energy efficient and less resource-demanding. His study,  Human Engineering and Climate Change, is in  Ethics, Policy and the Environment.[1]

Some US reaction to Liao has been adverse. Investor’s  Business Daily used the headline, “Global Warming Fever Drove This Professor Completely Mad”.[2] It said that warmists are “bummed they can’t find enough naive people to buy into their story”. The looniest tune yet played is Liao’s, it said.

Liao’s study theorises that shorter humans could be achieved through embryo selection during IVF, plus drug and nutrient treatments to reduce birth weights. (High birth weight correlates with future height; low weights obviously correlate with risk to the baby).[3]  Anti-growth hormones could be fed to toddlers by climate-caring parents to create earlier closing of their bubs’ epiphyseal (growth) plates. Oh, and he also wants ecocidal meat eaters bio-altered to induce unpleasant reactions if they put pleasure ahead of planet and tuck into a T-bone.[4]

His paper, although now five years old and sometimes mistaken for a sceptic hoax, features today on his personal website. It merited him a gig at a recent Leftist-stacked Festival of Dangerous Ideas at Sydney Opera House, where he spoke  in front of  a banner, “Engineering humans to stop climate change”. His compere was the respectful Simon Longstaff, boss of Sydney’s  Ethics Centre , who introduced his guest as a “really great speaker…He is on the up, this guy. He is on the up!”

Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Moral Philosophy, Liao is chair of bioethics and director of the Center for Bioethics at New York University’s philosophy department — ranked world No 1 for philosophy, Longstaff said. Liao was earlier deputy director in the Program on the Ethics of the New Biosciences in the philosophy faculty at Oxford University. Longstaff said it was ranked world No 2. The mind boggles at what must go on those university philosophy/bioethics units ranked from third to 100?

Liao began his Opera House talk with a visiting speaker’s typical home-town warm-up, in this instance about Sydney being such a beautiful city. After that, warming to his topic, he fretted that the city “might go underwater” because of rising seas.

Many environmental problems, such as climate change, need collective action, he continued, but humans remain stubbornly individualistic, which is why drugs that increase empathy and altruism might bestow the benefits of societal cooperation and engagement. Test subjects given oxytocin hormones were more willing to share money with strangers, behave in more trustworthy ways, and better read other people’s emotions, he said.

He continued,  “Making children smaller may be unappealing, but so is the prospect of having our children grow up in a world blighted by the environmental consequences of our choices and lifestyles…

“To combat climate change we can either change the environment or change ourselves.  Given the enormous risks associated  with changing the environment, we should take  seriously that we need to change ourselves.”


Australia: Prof Peter Ridd: the Great Barrier Reef recovers, our science institutions are failing us, science needs to be checked

Who is Peter Ridd? Some context first:



When marine scientist Peter Ridd suspected something was wrong with photographs being used to highlight the rapid decline of the Great Barrier Reef, he did what good scientists are supposed to do: he sent a team to check the facts.

After attempting to blow the whistle on what he found — healthy corals — Professor Ridd was censured by James Cook University and threatened with the sack. After a formal investigation, Professor Ridd — a renowned campaigner for quality assurance over coral research from JCU’s Marine Geophysics Laboratory — was found guilty of “failing to act in a collegial way and in the academic spirit of the institution”.

His crime was to encourage questioning of two of the nation’s leading reef institutions, the Centre of Excellence for Coral Studies and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, on whether they knew that photographs they had published and claimed to show long-term collapse of reef health could be misleading and wrong.


Alan Jones, interviews Peter Ridd,  James Cook university professor of physics about the state of the Great Barrier Reef

The coral reef recovers.

Peter Ridd: Coral Reefs recover — “the scientists make hay when it dies in a spectacular way but they are quiet when it recovers.”

On symbionts — “There is a large variety of symbionts and some allow coral to grow faster but are more sensitive to bleaching.”

All the corals on the Great Barrier Reef live and grow much faster in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Thailand where the water is much hotter than it is on the reef and the corals just juggle these symbionts.  

Corals have a little thermometer built in them, when you take a core of them from many years ago we know what the temperature of the water was back when Captain Cook sailed up the coast, it was actually about the same temperature then. It was colder 100 years ago, but it has recovered from that. The temperatures on the reef are not even significantly warmer than average on a hundred year timescale.

Corals that bleach in one year will be less susceptible to bleaching in following years.

On the failure of modern science:

Peter Ridd: We can no longer rely on our science institutions. This is a very sad thing.

We are like a ship upon the ocean when our science fails and we need to do something about it. … This science is almost never checked.

Alan Jones: All these things [bleaching, crown of thorns] have been around for millennia, I love this line, as you write “long before scientists got hold of any scuba gear.”

Peter Ridd: These things only became a problem when scientists pop up on the scene.

Scientists are trying to close down, or affect adversely the sugar cane, the cattle, and the coal industry, and they are also telling the world the reef is dead which affects the tourist industry in Queensland.

Like a bushfire… It [bleaching] looks terrible when it happens but it grows back.

On the future:

Peter Ridd: There needs to be a properly funded group of scientists who sole job is to find fault in the science with which we are basing expensive public policy decisions ….




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 July, 2017

The truth about Greenland

We have all heard about the record-breaking ice mass balance and cold temperature reading of -33°C recently set in Greenland — the Arctic island that is supposedly the canary in the climate coal mine.

It turns out that things up there are colder than we may be led to believe and that the alleged warming there is fiction.

The Swiss online Baseler Zeitung (BAZ) here reports: “In Greenland July this year has been the coldest ever. That has left climate catastrophists struggling to explain it.”

Citing the Danish Meteorological Institute, the BAZ comments that the -33°C reading earlier this month was “the coldest July temperature ever recorded in the northern hemisphere“, smashing the previous record of 30.7°C.

The BAZ adds that also the “ice cover has grown strongly over almost all of Greenland“.

But this has been ignored, as the Switzerland-based daily also bravely writes that “most journalists and media leaders are active or passive members of the green-socialist Climate Church and the new religion of the post-Christian western world” and acknowledge only things that fit their world narrative. This likely explains why there’s been no word about the record cold in Greenland. Why? The BAZ comments:

It casts the central prophesy of a continuous and ultimately lethal global warming, for which we are ourselves to blame, into question.”

Recently NTZ reported here that Greenland in fact has been cooling over the past decade, as three recent studies alarmingly show us. According to one published in May of this year by a team of researchers led by Takuro Kobashi of the University of Bern, mean annual temperatures at the summit of Greenland have been showing “a slightly decreasing trend in accordance with northern North Atlantic-wide cooling“. See chart below.

Greenland’s temperatures headed in the wrong direction, defying climate model projections. Underlying chart source: Kobashi et al., 2017.

Warm optimum near an end?

The team by Kobashi also show that the Greenland Summit temperature have not risen in 90 years, and that Greenland was far warmer earlier in the Holocene:

One has to wonder if the current optimum may be nearing an end. History shows that the earth’s surface temperature is in fact highly unstable and that most optimums don’t last much beyond 10,000 years. We need to ask ourselves what could be done to avert the catastrophe that a new ice age would bring with it. The overall trend does not bode well.


UK: Diesel and petrol car ban: Plan for 2040 unravels as 10 new power stations needed to cope with electric revolution

Electric cars are not as green as you might think

Plans to ban the sale of new diesel and petrol cars by 2040 in a bid to encourage people to buy electric vehicles are a "tall order" and will place unprecedented strain on the National Grid, motoring experts have warned.

Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, has warned that Britain "can't carry on" with petrol and diesel cars because of the damage that they are doing to people's health and the planet. "There is no alternative to embracing new technology," he said.

However the AA warned that the National Grid would be under pressure to "cope with a mass switch-on after the evening rush hour", while Which? Car magazine warned that electric cars are currently more expensive and less practical.

According to a National Grid report, peak demand for electricity could add around 30 gigawatts to the current peak of 61GW - an increase of 50 per cent.

The Government is unveiling plans to reduce diesel emissions
The Government is ushering in the end of the traditional car
The extra electricity needed will be the equivalent of almost 10 times the total power output of the new Hinckley Point C nuclear power station being built in Somerset.

National Grid predicts Britain will become increasingly reliant on imported electricity, which will rise from around 10 per cent of total electricity to around one third, raising questions about energy security.

Just 4 per cent of new car sales are for electric vehicles, and concerns have also been raised about whether Britain will have enough charging points for the new generation of cars.

Diesel drivers on congested roads in towns and cities across the UK face new pollution taxes and could also be barred from travelling at rush hour.

Ministers have identified 81 major roads in 17 towns and cities where urgent action is required because they are in breach of EU emissions standards, putting people's health at risk.

The air quality strategy urges local authorities to first try to reduce emissions by retrofitting the most polluting diesel vehicles, changing road layouts and removing speed humps.

However it concedes that as a last resort councils will be allowed to impose tough restrictions on the most polluting diesel vehicles as soon as 2020 to bring down the levels of harmful nitrogen dioxide emissions.

The strategy stops short of meeting the demands of motoring groups for a diesel scrappage scheme, under which diesel drivers would receive compensation for trading in their polluting vehicles.

It instead says that the Government will hold a consultation on a "possible" scrappage scheme in the autumn, which sources have suggested is likely to be "very, very targeted".

The Government will also commit to banning the sale of all new diesel and petrol cars by 2040 in a bid to encourage people to switch to electric and hybrid vehicles.

Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, is expected to warn local authorities against "unfairly penalising" drivers by imposing pollution taxes and other restrictions on diesel drivers.

Mr Gove suggested on Wednesday morning that more wind farms may be needed to meet the Government's ambition.

Asked if there was no alternative to more wind farms and nuclear power energy stations, Mr Gove told the BBC Radio 4's Today: "There is no alternative to embracing new technology."

Told the Conservatives had a manifesto promise against more wind farms, Mr Gove said: "The Conservatives had a manifesto promise to ensure by 2050 there would be no diesel or petrol vehicles on our roads."

The Government is concerned that motorists were encouraged to buy diesel vehicles under Labour more than a decade ago because of concerns at the time over carbon emissions.

Mr Gove has significantly stripped back previous plans which could have seen restrictions on diesel cars across entire city and town centres. He instead wants councils to focus on reducing emissions on specific roads.

A new analysis found that 48 of the most polluted roads are in London. Others have been identified in Birmingham, Derby, Leeds, Nottingham, Southampton, Bristol, Bolton, Manchester, Bury, Coventry, Newcastle, Sheffield, Belfast, Cardiff and Middlesborough.

The pollution hotspots are predominantly on A-roads but also include stretches of two motorways - the M4 near London and the M32 in Bristol.

The strategy will insist that any restrictions on diesel cars must be "time limited" and lifted as soon as air pollution levels fall within legal limits.

A Government spokesman said: “Our plan to deal with dirty diesels will help councils clean up emissions hotspots – often a single road - through common sense measures which do not unfairly penalise ordinary working people.

“Diesel drivers are not to blame and to help them switch to cleaner vehicles the government will consult on a targeted scrappage scheme - one of a number of measures to support motorists affected by local plans.

”Overall we are investing £3bn to tackle the effects of roadside pollution and supporting greener transport initiatives.”

The Government has been forced to come up with tougher measures to target diesel drivers after losing a case against environmental campaigners ClientEarth over breaches of EU emissions standards.

Instead of pollution taxes, councils will be urged to improve the flow of traffic with measures such as removing speed humps to prevent cars repeatedly slowing down and speeding up, which almost doubles the amount of harmful gasses they pump out.

Other options which are expected to be put forward include better sequencing of traffic lights to ensure that drivers will keep arriving at green lights rather than red ones if they drive within the speed limit.

Ministers will provide an extra £255million to help councils implement their plans, which could come into force as soon as 2020.

The number of diesel vehicles on Britain's roads has risen from 3.2 million in 2000 to more than 10 million today after the Labour Government slashed fuel duty on diesel cars in a drive to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

It has since emerged that diesel vehicles emit harmful nitrogen dioxide, which can raise the risk of strokes, heart attacks and asthma attacks.

Senior Labour figures including Sir David King, who served as Tony Blair's chief scientific adviser, have since admitted that they were "wrong" to promote diesel cars.

Other proposals are expected to include "real driving emissions" vehicle tests in the wake of the Volkswagen emission scandal and encouraging the public sector to buy cleaner vehicles.

Ministers also want to crackdown on parents who leave their engine running during the school run. Councils have introduced on the spot fines of up to £80 in a bid to crackdown on the practice.


The Nazi Origins of Renewable Energy (and Global Warming)

Why study history, and such an ugly subject as the Nazi rise in the Weimar Republic?  Because, quoting George Santayana, those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.  It seems we have forgotten a lot, because, as a civilization, we are repeating the mad Nazi schemes of renewable energy on a massive scale.

A good source document is this book: "Technology and Economy in Third Reich: A Program for Work" by Franz Lawaszeck, published in 1933

Dr. Franz Lawaszeck was an inventor and manufacturer of hydropower turbines in Bavaria.  As an early member of Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (the National Socialist German Workers' Party or Nazi Party), he soon became a prominent spokesman about the economic policy of the party, especially energy policy.  He was clearly in the left-wing anti-capitalist part of the party and had a close relation to other leftist National Socialists such as Feder, Streicher, Himmler, Backe, Goebbels, etc.  His book starts by decrying the capitalist state and calling for the life-essential equilibrium that can exist only in a corporatist state.

Dr Lawaszeck begins discussing energy on page 10.  Big industries in a capitalist society have an advantage in that they can produce their own power on site for 1.5-2.0 pfennig/kWh, whereas small businesses pay 10-25 pfennig/kWh.

Then, on to page 12 and the hydrogen economy:

It seems that the transformation of society to a hydrogen society is an important step to a new industrial revolution.  We shall use this "vorsprung durch technik" [advantage by technology].  Hydrogen engines are more powerful than engines driven by diesel or benzene.  With the inexpensive oxygen, it will be cheaper to manufacture and weld steel.  So we could successfully compete on the world market and export more.  We can then pay back our national debt, even when we have reduced the interest to zero.

On page 47, he gets into the intended Nazi transformation of the power industry:

In short, industry's needs can be filled by hydro-wind power and coal.  Coal is wasted because it is so cheap, so long-term economic effects are not taken into consideration.  Coal would be much better utilized for making valuable chemicals and other products.  Hydro and wind power can provide up to 80% of energy.  The renewable energy is flowing and free.  Why aren't they used more?  Interest on money is the greatest obstacle for making hydro and wind profitable. As long we have interest on money, it will restrict the use of hydropower.

Then on to the hydrogen economy on page 60:

Our mission is to build the new hydro and wind power plants independent of the electrical grid, so they produce valuable storable energy in the form of hydrogen gas.  Hydrogen can easily be stored and transported in pipelines.  Hydrogen will be produced by pressure electrolysis, so the gas will be compressed without extra energy consumption.

And then more on wind power:

Wind power, using the cost-free wind, can be built on a large scale.  Improved technology will in the future make it no more expensive than thermal power.  This is technically and economically possible and opens up a quite new life-important type of power generation.  The future of wind is no longer small windmills, but very large real power plants.  The wind towers must be at least 100 m [330 ft] high, the higher the better, ideally with rotors 100 m [330 ft] in diameter.  This kind of high cage mast is already built in the shape of high radio masts.

In a sensational speech by the constructor of the biggest steel towers in Germany, the well known engineer Hermann Honnef from the Rhineland, at the Institute of Physics of the Technical University [Hochschule] in Berlin, mentioned that in the height between 70 to 90 meters [230 to 300 ft], a high wind zone is starting that can deliver wind energy.  Honnef had in yearlong research constructed a high-zone wind power project, which he declared in details.  The influence of variable wind is eliminated totally.  The most interesting result of his experiments is that it is possible to use the different strengths of wind in different areas to a degree, that only 3 to 5% in the yearly peak demand is left.  This is a huge improvement compared with the much bigger variability of hydro power.  He will combine hydro power with his wind power constructions, which are delivering the base electricity, and in this way improve the utility of hydro power considerably.

The surplus electricity from the windmills, situated along the sea coast, will be used for the production of very inexpensive hydrogen.  This will make many products less expensive.  Fertilizers will fall in price.  The hydration of coal to liquids will be cost-effective.  The cost can be reduced from 17 pfennig per litre [64 pfennig per gallon] to 7-8 pfennig per litre [26-30 pfennig per gallon].  In this way about one billion Reichsmark can be saved, which today goes abroad (for importing oil).  The 300,000 workers in the coal mining industry can keep their jobs, 200,000 in the mines and 100,000 for the liquefaction of coal.  The cost savings will make it possible that an additional 400,000 workers can be paid in the transforming process of the industry

Big and small farms shall get the possibility to purchase electricity in surplus times at very reasonable prices, from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. and 12 noon to 1 p.m.  At least 1 million new small farms shall be established. The cheap electricity makes it possible to heat the land, and then get a third harvest.  Again, billions can be saved, which we normally pay to foreign countries for vegetables, salad, fruits, etc.  During the night, electricity of about 1 kWh for 1 square meter [11 square feet] of land will be sufficient.

One of the 1,300-foot-high wind towers would have taken 27,500 tons of steel to make, approaching the amount used in the Scharnhorst.  So wiser heads prevailed, and the Nazi renewables push petered out by 1936.  But another pernicious Nazi influence was rising. Hermann Flohn, born in 1912, received his doctorate in 1934 and began work for the German Meteorological Service.  In 1941, he published the first German-language article on global warming, the title of which translates as The Activity of Man as a Climate Factor.  Also in that year, he became the chief meteorologist for the Luftwaffe High Command, providing advice for Operation Barbarossa.  Herr Flohn survived the war and was still pubishing alarmist papers on global warming 40 years later – for example, the title of this paper in the journal Umschau in 1980 Translates as "C02-Induced Warmth More Dangerous than Nuclear Energy".  These sentences tell you all you need to know from it:

Up to a value of 450 ppm, there are apparently only risks that can be countered by an adaptation strategy[.]

A really catastrophic climate can only be expected at about 750 ppm: the freezing of the Arctic ice ocean shifts the climate and precipitation belts around 600 to 800 km [375 to 500 mi] to the North Pole (less to the South Pole).

So if you have ever wondered about the intellectual origins of renewable energy and global warming, they had their beginnings during an ugly period of history – through misanthropic schemes created by people with a repulsive Weltanschauung.


Enemies of humanity

Mosquitoes and uncaring environmental activists perpetuate poverty, disease and death

By Steven Lyazi in Uganda                                      

After being infected again with malaria last July, I spent almost a month in a Kampala hospital. Paying for my treatment was extremely difficult, as it is for most Ugandan and African families. I was lucky I could scrape the money together. Many families cannot afford proper treatment.

Where and how can they get the money to go back to the hospital again and again, every time a family member gets malaria, when they also need food, clothes and so many other things – or malaria makes them so sick that they can’t work for weeks or even months? Many parents can do nothing except watch their loved ones die in agony, and then give them a simple burial.

Far too many people still die from malaria every year in Africa, the vast majority of them women and children. Too many more die from lung and intestinal diseases, because we don’t have electricity, natural gas, clean water, or decent modern homes, clinics and hospitals.

Malaria also makes many people so weak that they die from other diseases that people in Europe and the United States rarely even hear about, like chronic dysentery. It saps people’s strength for years and leaves them with severe liver and kidney damage. Cerebral malaria causes lifelong learning and memory problems.

All these diseases create enormous barriers to Africa’s economic growth. They drain our national healthcare budgets and deepen our poverty. Malaria control and treatment alone cost Africa over $12 billion annually. Uganda alone spends $11 million a year fighting it. The disease drains an estimated $100 billion every year from the African economy.

Malaria also hits India and other countries really hard. The World Health Organization (WHO) says it drains India’s economy of as much as $2 billion every year. Billions in wages are lost, because people die or are absent from work, have low productivity due to fatigue, and have to spend so much on bed nets, insecticides, bug repellants, medicines, treatments and hospital care.

Terrible roads mean that, even when AIDS and other drugs are shipped to African countries, few people receive them. Many sit in warehouses until their expiration date passes, and then those expired drugs get sold on the black market. People buy them, and die. Other times, they take drugs until they feel better, and then sell the rest of the prescription. Then a more deadly, resistant malaria comes back and makes them even worse.

And yet global green campaigners endlessly spend money trying to prevent Africans from using fossil fuels, promoting renewable energy and trying to sell us little solar ovens. But this great generosity does nothing to address the horrible realities of people dying now – day after day, year after year. Greens worry constantly about Africans being exposed to insecticides. We worry about dying from malaria.

We don’t need enemies of humanity. What we need is financial and political support to conquer malaria, lung diseases and intestinal parasites. We need clean water and affordable, reliable electricity in our villages and cities. We need modern hospitals.

We need environmental activists to realize how important fossil fuels and hydroelectric plants are to having decent, healthy living standards, lights, computers, the internet, clean hospitals, clean water, and everything else modern countries have.

We need them to support us Africans in preventing malaria in the first place – which means we need more than bed nets. We need campaigners to recognize that we have the same rights as people in modern, rich, industrialized countries to decent living standards and modern technology.

Malaria viruses are constantly mutating, making available treatments less effective. Many families cannot afford the drugs, and many of the drugs are fake, just packaged to look like the real thing. People spend money on them, they don’t help at all, and people die.

The WHO says over 3 billion people around the world are still at risk of getting malaria. In 2015, there were 212 million cases of malaria and 438,000 people died, the vast majority of them in Africa.

Many of these illnesses and deaths could be prevented if just a few simple steps were taken right now, especially by allowing and encouraging countries to use preventive measures that work, like DDT.

So many people have access to medical care only on an irregular basis. Others have never learned how to take proper care of themselves or their children. But the most fundamental problem is malaria-carrying mosquitoes that are the source of our biggest scourge. And there is a readily available life-saving solution – DDT and other pesticides to kill mosquitoes and keep them out of our homes.

To me, there is simply no substitute for DDT. It is the most affordable, longest lasting, most effective mosquito repellant in existence. Sprayed in tiny amounts on the walls of traditional homes, just once or twice a year, DDT repels mosquitoes from the entire house, kills any that land on walls, and perplexes or irritates any that are not killed or repelled, so their urge to bite is gone.

Other pesticides that some activists say we can use are not as appropriate, or they are up to six times more expensive than DDT, or they have to be sprayed much more often. Every dollar spent this way is a dollar that’s unavailable for safe drinking water, electricity and other critical needs.

DDT for indoor residual spraying programs is rejected because it is supposedly dangerous to the environment and might be detected in our blood or on agricultural products. We use it carefully, it is less dangerous than other pesticides, and being able to detect it does not mean it is a risk to anyone. No one has ever died from it, and it can help prevent malaria and other diseases that ruin our lives and kill us.

Where DDT is used in the developing world, malaria cases and deaths often drop by 80% or more. Where it is not used, people die. If we can prevent malaria and other insect-carried diseases in the first place, we won’t have so many people sick and out of work. Families won’t have to spend their savings on treatment. Doctors and nurses won’t be overwhelmed, and will have the time and resources to address other health problems. It’s that simple.

But too many politicians and activists have made it impossible to prevent the disease by killing and repelling mosquitoes. They constantly oppose DDT use and insist that developing countries rely on insecticide-treated bed nets, larvae-eating fish and other strategies that are simply inadequate.

Malaria is no longer a killer in western countries – because they used DDT to help eradicate the disease decades ago. That may be a key reason as why many well-off westerners talk about environmental considerations being supreme, and tell Africans and other third world countries not to use pesticides because of supposed health risks and environmental damage.

Malaria also has nothing to do with global warming. It existed for centuries in northern Europe and even in Siberia. The same mosquito species still live there. They just don’t carry malaria anymore, and so cannot transmit it to people. That’s what we want to do in Africa.

Americans would never tolerate being told they could not protect their children – or that they should rely on bed nets or wait more long years for new drug treatments or magic mosquitoes that cannot carry malaria. But Africans are repeatedly told we have to be content with exactly these limited safeguards, while parents and children get sick and die. That is inhumane and imperialistic.

If wealthy nations and NGOs really want to help developing nations, they should support fossil fuel power plants for reliable, affordable electricity. They should support DDT as an important part of the solution to eradicate this serial killer, so that Africans can work, spend less on malaria, have more money for other healthcare and family needs, and develop as much as rich nations have.

Via email

Leading Climate Scientist Says Debating Scientific Theories Would Be ‘Un-American’

Way, way back in April 2017, scientists around the world participated in the ‘March for Science’ as a show of force and unity against an allegedly anti-science Trump administration. Their motto was “science not silence”: many wrote that mantra on pieces of duct tape and stuck it across their mouths.

March for Science organizers claimed that “the best way to ensure science will influence policy is to encourage people to appreciate and engage with science. That can only happen through education, communication, and ties of mutual respect between scientists and their communities — the paths of communication must go both ways.”

But that was so three months ago.

Many scientists are now rejecting an open debate on anthropogenic global warming. EPA administrator Scott Pruitt appears ready to move forward with a “red-team, blue-team” exercise, where two groups of scientists publicly challenge each other’s evidence on manmade climate change. The idea was floated during a Congressional hearing last spring and outlined in a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Steve Koonin, former undersecretary of energy in the Obama administration. Koonin said the public is unaware of the intense debate in climate science and how “consensus statements necessarily conceal judgment calls and debates and so feed the “settled,” “hoax” and “don’t know” memes that plague the political dialogue around climate change.”

It would work this way: A red team of scientists critiques a key climate assessment. The blue team responds. The back-and-forth continues until all the evidence is aired and refuted, followed by public hearings and an action plan based on the findings. It happens entirely out in the open. Koonin said this approach is used in high-consequence situations and “very different and more rigorous than traditional peer review, which is usually confidential and always adjudicated, rather than public and moderated.” (Climate scientist Judith Curry has a good primer on this concept here.)

Pruitt is prepared to pull the trigger on this idea, according to an article in E&E News last week. In an interview with Breitbart News on June 5, Pruitt touted the red-team, blue-team initiative, saying that “the American people need to have that type of honest open discussion, and it’s something we hope to provide as part of our leadership.”

Instead Of Dialoguing, Climate Scientists Preach

Now you would think the scientific establishment would embrace an opportunity to present their case to a wary, if disinterested, public. You would think the 97 percent of scientists who supposedly all agree human activity is causing climate change would eagerly line up to vanquish climate deniers, especially those in the Trump administration. You would think the same folks who fear a science-averse President Trump would be relieved his administration is encouraging a rigorous, forensic inquiry into the most consequential scientific issue of our time that has wide-ranging economic, social, and political ramifications around the world.

You would think.

But instead, many scientists and activists are expressing outrage at this logical suggestion, even advising colleagues not to participate. In a June 21 Washington Post op-ed, three top climate scientists repudiated the red-team concept, offended by the slightest suggestion that climate science needs fixing. Naomi Oreskes, Benjamin Salter, and Kerry Emanuel wrote that “calls for special teams of investigators are not about honest scientific debate. They are dangerous attempts to elevate the status of minority opinions, and to undercut the legitimacy, objectivity and transparency of existing climate science.”

In a July 1 post full of irony, leading climate scientist Ken Caldeira blasts the climate contest: “We don’t want red team/blue team because science doesn’t line up monolithically for or against scientific positions.” What? Never mind the 97 percent consensus claim that’s been shoved down our throats for the past decade. (Caldeira also wrote just a few months ago that “the evidence for human-induced global warming is now so strong that no sensible person can deny a human role in these temperature increases. We can argue about what we should or should not do … but the argument is over.”)

Caldeira then smugly questions why “politicians who have never engaged in any scientific inquiry in their lives believe themselves to be the experts who should tell scientists how to conduct their business?” (Shall we then ask why scientists who have never engaged in any legislative or political endeavor in their lives believe themselves to be the experts who should tell lawmakers how to conduct their business?)

Climate Scientists Fear Losing Power, Nothing Else

Then there is the interminably-petulant and prosaic Michael Mann, who routinely dishes out the “denier” name to anyone who crosses him, and recently compared himself to a Holocaust survivor. Mann told ThinkProgress that the red-team concept is “un-American” and a ruse to “run a pro-fossil fuel industry disinformation campaign aimed at confusing the public and policymakers over what is potentially the greatest threat we face as a civilization.”

Aha! Right there is the key objection to the entire exercise: the risk to their political power. These activists know that climate change long ago stopped being about science. It is a liberal, big-government agenda wrapped up in a green cloak of superiority and virtue. For the past decade, the pro-climate crusaders have ruled policymaking, from international organizations to federal agencies down to your local park district. The Trump administration poses the first threat to their dominance, and instead of being up to the task of defending it — in public, with evidence and not platitudes, facing scientists they have smeared for not being part of the ‘consensus’ – they want to walk away.

That’s why I hope Pruitt proceeds with it. Let the blue team have an empty bench that will show American exactly what they think of ‘science’ – and them.




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


27 July, 2017

Gore’s new health warning: ‘Every organ system can be affected by climate change’ 

Supported by a testimonial from a gullible woman doctor.  She saw heat-related problems among her patients and that was enough to convince her of Anthropogenic global warming.  She had no evidence that such problems were once less common nor did she have any evidence that the heat was anthropogenic.  And most of all she took no account of the fact that cold (winter) is the big killer.  So anthropogenic global warming would actually save lives on balance.  The woman is an airhead.  I would hate to be one of her patients

In Al Gore’s new book, “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power”, the former Vice President features a professor of pediatrics warning that global warming is impacting our health.

“Every organ system can be affected by climate change. When I say that, I get goosebumps,” says Pediatrician Susan Pacheco, a professor of pediatrics at University of Texas McGovern Medical School, in Gore’s new book.

Gore’s book features Pacheco and her climate change health warnings and touts the fact that the professor was inspired to get involved in climate activist after seeing his original film.

The book is a companion to Gore’s new film being released this month, a sequel to his 2006 film “An Inconvenient Truth.”  The book is being billed as “Your action handbook to learn the science, find your voice, and help solve the climate crisis"

Gore wrote, “The obvious and overwhelming evidence of the damage we are causing is now increasingly impossible for reasonable people to ignore. It is widely know by now that there is a nearly unanimous view among all scientists authoring peer-reviewed articles related to the climate crisis that it threatens our future, that human activists are largely if not entirely responsible, and that action is needed to urgently prevent catastrophic harm it is already starting to bring.” (Climate Depot Note: Blaming extreme weather on “climate change” is not supported by evidence)

Pacheco warns in Gore’s new book that climate change is already making us sick. “There’s heart disease, there’s lung disease, there’s kidney disease,” she says in Gore’s book. Gore writes that Pacheco “didn’t become concerned with climate science until 2006. Her eldest son was learning about climate change in school,, so she took the family to see An Inconvenient Truth.”

“Pacheco became convinced she could see the effects in her own clinic’s waiting room, in the Texas children she saw suffering from asthma, heat sensitivity, and allergies. Children and the elderly, she discovered, tend to be the most vulnerable. And while many adults have lived for years in an environment less affected by climate change, today’s youth will grow up with an entire lifetime of exposure. The potential for damage and illness, she suspects, is much higher,” Gore wrote.

“Pacheco also founded the Texas Coalition for Climate Change Awareness. In 2013, the White House bestowed Pacheco with the illustrious “Champions of Change” award in recognition of her efforts,” Gore wrote.


Scott Pruitt Ready To Help Trump Give America Better Environmental Outcomes, Economic Growth

President Donald Trump’s administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, believes the EPA has room to be resized in terms of budget, staffing and authorities.

The former attorney general for Oklahoma says in this exclusive interview for The Daily Caller News Foundation, “When you’re spending a million dollars for gym memberships, you have room to contract.”

Pruitt tells TheDCNF the EPA should “not be an agency trying to set energy policy, use its authority to pick winners and losers, acting outside the rule of law, acting outside of process, re-imagining their authority under their statutes, or creating uncertainty in the marketplace.”

Under his new leadership, Pruitt expects to help Trump deliver better environmental outcomes, certainty in the marketplace, and economic growth in the nation. The notion that you can’t be pro-environment and pro-growth is one Pruitt rejects out of hand.

TheDCNF interviewed Pruitt during the week his EPA “killed” a power-grabbing Obama 2015 water rule that caused paralysis and confusion for landowners. A revised rule, expected later this year, he promised, will have objective clarity and be more tethered to the statute.

Pruitt applauds Trump’s leadership in pulling America out of the Paris climate accord. The agreement former President Barack Obama’s team got the U.S. into was “a surrender of sovereignty,” and a “bad business deal.”

Pruitt says it put America at an economic disadvantage, as it exposed the nation to legal liability when other industrial nations were not held to similar account. In reality, America makes environmental progress through innovation, technology, stewardship and development, and that will continue.

Pulling the curtain back on the myth of Obama’s environmental achievements, Pruitt says, the former president’s environmental team “talked a lot but did very little.”

When Obama left office, Pruitt says, 40 percent of the nation did not meet air quality standards. Two environmental debacles happened on his watch — the Flint, Mich., water crisis and the Gold King Mine Colorado error. They also failed to regulate CO2 twice.

Lastly, he mentions Obama had more Superfund sites when he left office than when he came into office.

As for his critics, Pruitt dismisses them as mere “noise” from people who want him to be in the re-imagination business, like Disney, to create new authority for his agency. Scott Pruitt is a talented, impressive man committed to an improved EPA.


A Step Toward Scientific Integrity at the EPA

The Trump administration in May began the process of replacing the small army of outside science advisers at the Environmental Protection Agency. In June, 38 additional EPA advisers were notified that their appointments would not be renewed in August. To Mr. Trump’s critics, this is another manifestation of his administration’s “war on science.” Histrionics aside, the administration’s actions are long overdue.

The most prominent of the EPA’s myriad boards of outside advisers are the Science Advisory Board and the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, or CASAC. Mostly made up of university professors, these boards also frequently draw members from consulting firms and activist groups. Only rarely do members have backgrounds in industry. All EPA boards are governed by the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which requires that they be balanced and unbiased. While the EPA is required by law to convene the SAB and CASAC, the agency is not bound by law to heed their advice.

The EPA’s Obama -era “war on coal” rules and its standards for ground-level ozone—possibly the most expensive EPA rule ever issued—depend on the same scientifically unsupported notion that the fine particles of soot emitted by smokestacks and tailpipes are lethal. The EPA claims that such particles kill hundreds of thousands of Americans annually.

The EPA first considered regulating fine particles in the mid-1990s. But when the agency ran its claims past CASAC in 1996, the board concluded that the scientific evidence did not support the agency’s regulatory conclusion. Ignoring the panel’s advice, the EPA’s leadership chose to regulate fine particles anyway, and resolved to figure out a way to avoid future troublesome opposition from CASAC.

In 1996 two-thirds of the CASAC panel had no financial connection to the EPA. By the mid-2000s, the agency had entirely flipped the composition of the advisory board so two-thirds of its members were agency grantees. Lo and behold, CASAC suddenly agreed with the EPA’s leadership that fine particulates in outdoor air kill. During the Obama years, the EPA packed the CASAC panel. Twenty-four of its 26 members are now agency grantees, with some listed as principal investigators on EPA research grants worth more than $220 million.

Although the scientific case against particulate matter hasn’t improved since the 1990s, the EPA has tightened its grip on CASAC. In effect, EPA-funded researchers are empowered to review and approve their own work in order to rubber-stamp the EPA’s regulatory agenda. This is all done under the guise of “independence.”

Another “independent” CASAC committee conducted the most recent review of the Obama EPA’s ground-level ozone standards. Of that panel’s 20 members, 70% were EPA grantees who’d hauled in more than $192 million from the agency over the years. These EPA panels make decisions by consensus, which has lately been easy enough to achieve considering they are usually chaired by an EPA grantee.

Would-be reformers have so far had no luck changing the culture at these EPA advisory committees. In 2016 the Energy and Environment Legal Institute, where I am a senior fellow, sued the agency. We alleged that the CASAC fine-particulate subcommittee was biased—a clear violation of the Federal Advisory Committee Act. We found a plaintiff who had been refused CASAC membership because of his beliefs about fine particles. Unfortunately, that individual was not willing to take a hostile public stand against the EPA for fear of professional retribution. We ultimately withdrew the suit.

The EPA’s opaque selection process for membership on its advisory boards has opened the agency to charges of bias. In 2016 Michael Honeycutt, chief toxicologist of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, was recommended in 60 of the 83 nominations to the EPA for CASAC membership. The EPA instead selected Donna Kenski of the Lake Michigan Air Directors Consortium. Ms. Kenski received only one of the 83 recommendations. While no one objected to Mr. Honeycutt’s nomination, Sen. James Inhofe (R., Okla.) lodged an objection to Ms. Kenski’s nomination, claiming she had exhibited partisanship during an earlier term on the committee.

Congress has also tried to reform the EPA’s science advisory process. During the three most recent Congresses, the House has passed bills to provide explicit conflict-of-interest rules for EPA science advisers, including bans on receiving EPA grants for three years before and after service on an advisory panel. The bills went nowhere in the Senate, where the threat of a Democrat-led filibuster loomed. Had they passed, President Obama surely would have vetoed them.

President Trump and his EPA administrator have ample statutory authority to rectify the problem. As Oklahoma’s attorney general, Scott Pruitt spent years familiarizing himself with the EPA’s unlawful ways. He is in the process of reaffirming the independence of the agency’s science advisory committees. This won’t mean that committee members can’t have a point of view. But a committee as a whole must be balanced and unbiased. Mr. Pruitt’s goal is the one intended by Congress—peer review, not pal review.


ALL petrol and diesel cars to be banned in Britain from 2040

 Pollution crackdown could also see tolls introduced on dirtiest roads to improve air quality as electric vehicles set to take over

Parliaments that can make laws can also repeal them

New petrol and diesel cars will be banned from 2040 to improve air quality.

The crackdown could also see the introduction of levies on busy roads for owners of the most polluting vehicles.

And hopes of a major scrappage scheme to help those who were encouraged to buy diesels appear to have been dashed.

The strategy will be launched today by ministers Michael Gove and Chris Grayling. It was forced on the Government by defeat in a High Court case on air pollution.

From 2040, drivers will be able to buy electric cars only – ending the near 150-year reign of the internal combustion engine.

From around 2020, town halls will be allowed to levy extra charges on diesel drivers using the UK’s 81 most polluted routes if air quality fails to improve.

Diesels might even be banned at peak times. Judges ruled the Government was breaking the law by allowing concentrations of nitrogen dioxide to build up in urban areas.

ClientEarth, an environmental law organisation, argued successfully that ministers were not doing enough to tackle the issue.

A judge ordered ministers to unveil the new air quality strategy to cut illegal levels of pollution from diesel vehicles by next Monday.

The Government also faces fines from the European Commission, which has sent Britain a final warning to comply with EU air pollution limits for NO2 or face a case at the European Court of Justice.

Any suggestion that drivers of diesels should be penalised will be greeted with anger from motoring organisations. They point out that the last Labour government had encouraged people to buy the vehicles.

It was thought that efficient diesel engines were the best way to cut greenhouse gas emissions. It later emerged that the nitrogen dioxide they emit was harming air quality.

Levels have been above legal limits in almost 90 per cent of urban areas in the UK since 2010.

New guidance to councils will see them urged to introduce a range of measures to bring down pollution.

These include making buses more environmentally-friendly, changing the phasing of traffic lights, removing speed bumps and changing road layouts. Town halls will be told to do all they can to avoid hitting diesel drivers, who bought the cars in good faith, with punitive measures.

But if these do not work, the Government will allow town halls to charge drivers of the dirtiest vehicles using the most polluted roads.

They could also restrict the times of day when they can use these roads – banning them during peak hours, for example. Town halls will not be allowed to bring in city-wide restrictions. They will only be able to take action on the 81 most polluted roads in the country.

A Government spokesman said: ‘Our plan to deal with dirty diesels will help councils clean up emissions hotspots – often a single road – through common sense measures which do not unfairly penalise ordinary working people.

‘Diesel drivers are not to blame and to help them switch to cleaner vehicles the Government will consult on a targeted scrappage scheme – one of a number of measures to support motorists affected by local plans.

‘Overall we are investing £3billion to tackle the effects of roadside pollution and supporting greener transport initiatives.’

The clean air plan will be unveiled by Mr Gove’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Mr Grayling’s Department for Transport. The Government said poor air quality was the largest environmental risk to public health

Evidence from the World Health Organisation shows that older people, children, people with pre-existing lung and heart conditions, and people on lower incomes may be most at risk, a spokesman said.

Mr Gove will tell councils to concentrate its action to reduce emissions on some of the busiest roads and junctions. Analysis of more than 1,800 of Britain’s major roads by the government’s Joint Air Quality Unit shows that 81 – 4 per cent – are affected, with 33 roads outside London.

In many areas – including Nottingham, Bolton, Bristol, Cardiff and Middlesbrough – a single road is affected. Although ministers have not ruled out charging and restricting access to polluting cars at the busiest times, they want town halls to exhaust all other options first. An extra £255million will be given to councils to help them bring in the plans, which will have to be drawn up by the end of 2018.

The Government will also invest money in a Clean Air Fund. Councils will be able to bid for money to support improvements that avoid the need for restrictions on polluting vehicles. But ministers accepted that if this did not succeed in reducing emissions, councils may need to consider restrictions on polluting vehicles using affected roads.

It could mean preventing polluting vehicles using some of the roads at certain times of the day – or introducing charging, as London mayor Sadiq Khan has announced.

A source said: ‘The Government is clear that local authorities should exhaust other options before opting to hit drivers with new charges for using vehicles they bought in good faith. ‘Any restrictions or charging on polluting vehicles should be time-limited and lifted as soon as air pollution is within legal limits and the risk of future beaches has passed.’

A consultation will also be launched in the autumn on mitigation measures including a possible scrappage scheme to support drivers affected by any restrictions on polluting vehicles.’

Last week a cross-party group of MPs wrote to Mr Gove demanded restricted access for polluting vehicles in urban areas.


UK: Anti-fracking police chief accused of pulling force from protests

A police and crime commissioner has been accused of abusing his position because his force stopped sending officers to protect a fracking site hit by protests after he intervened.

Arfon Jones, 62, was an anti-fracking campaigner and took part in a protest in Lancashire before being elected as commissioner for North Wales last year. His force is one of seven that policed demonstrations at a site near Blackpool, where Cuadrilla plans to carry out the first fracking in Britain since 2011.

After Mr Jones complained, the force stopped helping Lancashire constabulary, which has been struggling with protesters blocking roads and threatening businesses that supply Cuadrilla. More than 100 officers a day are policing the site, and there have been 200 arrests since January.

The residents’ group Backing Fracking said: “It is disgraceful that Mr Jones thinks he can use his political appointment to try to downgrade the policing response to the fracking protests. That’s the definition of cronyism.”

Mr Jones, a member of Plaid Cymru and former police inspector, said he had been a “prominent member of Frack Free Wrexham” and helped to persuade the Welsh government to issue a moratorium on fracking in 2015. He said: “I was told last week that there would be no further deployments after I made representations around capacity issues in North Wales and questioned how [we] could justify sending officers to Lancashire . . . The decision not to send any more officers . . . after this week may be down to a number of factors, my opposition being only one.”

North Wales police said that it had aided Lancashire colleagues from July 9-14 and July 23-28, sending six constables and a sergeant, but could not continue “due to high demands”. Cuadrilla is to start drilling within a month.




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 July, 2017

The Trump Doctrine on Energy

Comment from Australia

If you go by the mainstream media's lockstep 'coverage' of the US president's first six months, he is no more nor less than a tweeting buffoon. A comforting narrative for cant-addicted newsroom hacks and groupthinkers, it handily avoids any and all mooting of Australia's need to follow his lead

Our federal and state politicians scuttle about looking for innovative new ways to strangle the Australian energy sector. But across the Pacific, America is unleashing a world-changing energy revolution. The world’s energy fundamentals are in transition. Donald Trump is liberating American coal, gas, oil and nuclear industries from eight years of Obama’s harassment and restrictions.

The consequences for us as a player in energy-export markets are dire. In an officially supportive environment, Australian energy could hold its share – intrinsically, it has  global competitiveness. But politics here involves ‘renewables’ targets and other sacrifices to please the climate gods,  bans  such as Victoria’s on normal and fracked gas exploration, official and green lawfare against every new energy project (think Adani), impromptu Turnbull restrictions on LNG exports, Sargasso seas of red tape, and  on-going fatwas against nuclear proposals.

Domestically, American industry will enjoy cheap energy inputs, while our own industry’s  energy becomes as expensive as anywhere in the world. This disparity will play out in Australian factory closures and capital flight to the US.

A banana republic couldn’t do a better job of destroying its own wealth.

The US is now estimated to have 20% more oil than the Saudis – at USD50 a barrel, a storehouse of USD $13 trillion. The US has been a net energy importer since 1953, but thanks to fracking is now likely to be a net exporter as early as 2020. American LNG could move into net export surplus as early as this year. By 2040, US natural gas exports alone could bring in USD $1.6 trillion, and generate USD $110b in wages. US gas reserves are also enough to meet domestic needs for a century. The American energy revolution – in Trump’s word, “dominance” –  seldom makes the mainstream media here, which is fixated on the schoolyard narrative of Trump as a tweeting buffoon.

Want to know what’s really important? Trump on June 29 addressed the Department of Energy’s “Unleashing Energy” conference in Washington.

His policy announcements were so shattering to the green/left ideology – he talked of “clean, beautiful coal” for example – that his message went almost unreported here. Trump said:

The golden era of American energy is now underway.  When it comes to the future of America’s energy needs, we will find it, we will dream it, and we will build it.

American energy will power our ships, our planes and our cities.  American hands will bend the steel and pour the concrete that brings this energy into our homes and that exports this incredible, newfound energy all around the world. And American grit will ensure that what we dream, and what we build, will truly be second to none.

Today, I am proudly announcing six brand-new initiatives to propel this new era of American energy dominance. 

First, we will begin to revive and expand our nuclear energy sector   which produces clean, renewable and emissions-free energy.  A complete review of U.S. nuclear energy policy will help us find new ways to revitalize this crucial energy resource.  [US nuclear plants have been shuttering because of cheap gas and low power demand].

Second, the Department of the Treasury will address barriers to the financing of highly efficient, overseas coal energy plants.  Ukraine already tells us they need millions and millions of metric tons right now.  There are many other places that need it, too.  And we want to sell it to them, and to everyone else all over the globe who need it. [Geo-strategically, US coal and LNG could weaken Russian energy hegemony in Europe. Cheniere Energy  has just delivered the first U.S. cargoes of LNG to Poland and the Netherlands].

Third, my administration has just approved the construction of a new petroleum pipeline to Mexico, which will further boost American energy exports. [This New Burgos Pipeline will deliver up to 180,000 barrels a day. The US is Mexico’s main petroleum supplier.]

Fourth, just today, a major U.S. company, Sempra Energy, signed an agreement to begin negotiations for the sale of more American natural gas to South Korea.

Fifth, the United States Department of Energy is announcing today that it will approve two long-term applications to export additional natural gas from the Lake Charles LNG terminal in Louisiana.  It’s going to be a big deal.  [Currently the US exports LNG only through Sabine Pass, Louisiana, but four other terminals should come on line between 2018 and 2020, competing with Australia, Qatar and Russia].

Finally, to unlock more energy from the 94 percent of offshore land closed to development, we’re opening it up, the right areas. Under the previous administration, so much of our land was closed to development.   – we’re creating a new offshore oil and gas leasing program.  America will be allowed to access the vast energy wealth located right off our shores.  And this is all just the beginning — believe me.

Is Trump merely rhapsodising? No way. His energy track record in his first half-year — again, carefully ignored by Australia’s mainstream media — speaks for itself.

The Environmental Protection Agency was ordered to dump Obama’s “Clean Power Plan” designed to bump up household electricity rates by 14%

The long-frustrated Keystone pipeline from Alberta to Illinois/Texas got fast-tracked approval

Obama’s ban on new coal leasing on federal land was revoked  – these lands involve 40% of US coal production.

The US has dumped its Paris Climate commitments, which Trump says will save taxpayers USD3 trillion, and protect 6.5m US industrial jobs. “Maybe we’ll be back into it someday, but it will be on better terms,” he said last week

Hundreds of thousands of hours of red-tape energy regulations – including on fracking -  were abolished.

Trump spelt out his energy philosophy. “With [our] incredible resources, my administration will seek not only American energy independence that we’ve been looking for so long, but American energy dominance.

“And we’re going to be an exporter — exporter!” he promised. “We will export American energy all over the world, all around the globe.  These energy exports will create countless jobs for our people, and provide true energy security to our friends, partners, and allies all across the globe.”

Unlocking energy would generate millions of jobs and trillions in wealth, he said.  For over 40 years, America was vulnerable to foreign regimes using energy as an economic weapon. Americans’ quality of life was diminished by the idea that energy resources were scarce.

 Many of us remember the long gas lines and the constant claims that the world was running out of oil and natural gas.   

Americans were told that our nation could only solve this energy crisis by imposing draconian restrictions on energy production.  But we now know that was all a big, beautiful myth.  It was fake.   The truth is that we have near-limitless supplies of energy in our country.  Powered by new innovation and technology, we are now on the cusp of a true energy revolution.

We have nearly 100 years’ worth of natural gas and more than 250 years’ worth of clean, beautiful coal.  We are a top producer of petroleum and the number-one producer of natural gas.  We don’t want to let other countries take away our sovereignty and tell us what to do and how to do it.  That’s not going to happen. 

But this full potential can only be realized when government promotes energy development instead of obstructing it like the Democrats.   We have to get out and do our job better and faster than anybody in the world.  This vast energy wealth does not belong to the government.  It belongs to the people of the United States of America.   Yet, for the past eight years, the federal government imposed massive job-killing barriers to American energy development.

Job-killing [Obama] regulations are being removed. I’m dramatically reducing restrictions on the development of natural gas.  I cancelled the moratorium on a new coal leasing on federal lands. 

We have finally ended the war on coal.  And I am proud to report that Corsa Coal  just opened a brand-new coal mine in the state of Pennsylvania, the first one in many, many, many years

We’re ending intrusive EPA regulations that kill jobs, hurt family farmers and ranchers, and raise the price of energy so quickly and so substantially.

From all this are two take-home messages: in the US, you ain’t seen nothing yet. And for Australia, we can either change tack on energy madness or fall under the wheels of the US juggernaut.


Al Gore's Inconvenient Sequel

The former vice president, flush with cash from Al Jazeera, has returned with part two of his climate screed

Guess who’s recycling his apocalyptic fear-mongering that occupants of planet Earth are facing an existential crisis? Guess who just recently proclaimed that “every day now, millions more are awakening to the realization that it is wrong to destroy the future of the human race”?

Yep, he’s back! Al Gore has found a convenient opening to climb the heap of hype — to stand proudly atop the mass of hysteria rife with failed predictions and hyperbole of historic and hysterical proportions. The former vice president, flush with cash from his sale of Current TV to Al Jazeera, has returned with part two of his inconvenient movie. This one’s called “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” and it begins July 28.

Clearly, it’s at least in part meant to scare folks in countries with economies that use fossil fuels into immediately reversing course and abandoning productivity outside the heavily government-subsidized world of “renewable energy.”

The propaganda flick had to undergo last-minute edits to capture the “reckless” actions of President Donald Trump, who recently exited the Paris Climate Accord, which was rigged against America so our economy would foot the climate bill for the Third World.

Gore blasts Trump’s America First approach as “indefensible.” The climate czar attempts to compare the Paris pollution proclamation to the famed Marshall Plan that rebuilt Europe after Hitler’s reign of terror in World War II. But, laughingly, Fox News’ Chris Wallace made the climate crisis king admit that the results of the Paris Accord would have little impact on climate change — that it was little more than “a powerful signal to the world.”

Meanwhile, Gore’s reappearance released excessive greenhouse gases as he moralized in a town hall hosted last week by SiriusXM/Variety. In the forum, the Tennessee Democrat, raised in the shadow of Capitol Hill with a dad who served either in the House or Senate from 1939 through 1971, repeated what has become one of his obnoxiously tired lines: “Every night on the network news is like a nature hike through the Book of Revelations.”

Well, his theology’s a bit off. The apocalyptic nature of the Book of Revelations reveals the end of days for a world that has rejected its Creator and Savior and will soon face its Judge. Yet knowing the crowd subscribing to global cooling global warming climate change will believe in the god of the environment, Gore preached hellfire and damnation caused by the use of fossil fuels.

One thing is certain, as evidenced by Gore’s cultish movie trailer: There is a growing element on the Left that has turned the environment into a religion. Communicating much more than a powerful signal to the world, these ecofascists paint a dire portrait of calamity. The trailer features flash images of natural disasters like storms and floods, while Gore thunders in apocalyptic preaching style about the need to save our planet from ourselves. The narration leaves no doubt about the intent to marginalize those who don’t bow down to Mother Earth.

“This is not so much a political issue so much as a moral issue,” sermonizes Gore. Let’s see. The weather was at some point a scientific issue. However, it has been turned into a political bludgeon and litmus test on the Left and now, look — it’s a moral issue.

The sequel’s release, complete with a paired book, places a familiar face of the Democrat Party back on center stage. Gore’s sanctimonious sermonettes are earning him some glances from Democrats scouring the bleak wilderness for future presidential candidates. His harsh words directed at the Trump administration add fuel to the fire. Oh, we mean blow wind through those windmills.

At the Variety town hall, Bill Clinton’s VP editorialized that Trump “has surrounded himself with a rogue’s gallery of climate deniers, and they are doing their best to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency.” Worse, he said, “They seem to be on a search-and-destroy mission in the budget” when it comes to “anything that promotes good climate policy.”

So after 17 years of being a “recovering politician,” is Gore emerging as a candidate with a cause for 2020?

Well, he’s not disabusing anyone of that notion with remarks like these: “We are in the middle of a clean energy revolution that no single person or group can stop. President Trump’s decision is profoundly in conflict with what the majority of Americans want from our president; but no matter what he does, we will ensure that our inevitable transition to a clean energy economy continues.” Remember that without the billions of taxpayer-funded subsidies, this clean energy economy would be flat broke.

Average people agree that we should be good stewards of our lands and resources. Average people refer to climate change as the weather and seem to recall teachings from grade school that the Ice Age and other dramatic changes of climate occurred before the combustible engine. Average people tend to agree with President Ronald Reagan: “The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.”


From Russia with love

Printus LeBlanc outlines Russian funding to Greenies and the Democrats

The Chairman of the House Committee on Science Space and Technology, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy Rep. Randy Weber (R-Tex.), recently sent a letter to the Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin asking for an investigation into Russia meddling. I know what you're thinking, not another Russia investigation. The investigation is likely to lead to a place the left and environmental groups don't want to go.

Senator John McCain famously stated, "Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country." Looking at the data, this could not be truer. Right now, Europe is dependent upon Russia for its energy needs. Over 35 percent of oil in Europe comes from Russia, while the Russian state owned Gazprom supplies about one-third of European natural gas needs.

Europe began looking at alternatives to Russia at the same time the energy renaissance was taking hold in the US. Flush with cash, environmental groups then began an all-out assault on the energy sector. Attempting to ban fracking in the US and Europe, while also fighting the construction of liquified natural gas terminals (LNG).

LNG terminals are used to ship natural gas to European and Asian ports, softening the grip Russia has on Europe. Sounds like a good idea, right. Democrats and the left are screaming about Russian influence, so this should be a no brainer, but for some reason it's not.

This all starts with a man named Nicholas Hoskins. According to Business Insider, "Nicholas Hoskins, is a director at a hedge fund management firm that has invested heavily in Russian oil and gas. He is also senior counsel at the Bermudan law firm Wakefield Quin and the vice president of a London-based investment firm whose president until recently chaired the board of the state-owned Russian oil company Rosneft….In addition to those roles, Hoskins is a director at a company called Klein Ltd."

Klein Ltd. gave tens of millions of dollars to a group based out of California called the Sea Change Foundation. No one knows where Klein Ltd. acquired the money because it is based out of Bermuda. What we do know is that Klein Ltd. is run by the law firm Wakefield Quin, where Nicholas Hoskins is a senior counsel.

An investigative report titled "From Russia With Love: Examining the links between US environmental funder and the Kremlin", found Hoskins was also in a directorship position with IPOC International Growth Fund. The group was owned by Russian Minister of Telecommunications and Putin friend, Leonid Reiman. The company was convicted of money laundering in the British Virgin Islands.

In the 2014 the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works released a Minority Staff Report, "The Chain of Environmental Command." In it the Senate describes Klein Ltd, "It appears that Klein exists on paper only as it does not have an internet presence, and was set up for the sole purpose of funneling anonymous donations to Sea Change."

The Sea Change Foundation then gave millions to several high profile environmental groups. The Natural Resource Defense Council, League of Conservation Voters, and the Sierra Club are just a few that received grant money from Sea Change.

What is perhaps most astonishing in all of this, is the role Hillary Clinton played. The former Presidential candidate, the one that is now railing against everything Russia, knew Russia was funding green groups that were backing the Democratic Party and trying to stop the US energy renaissance.

Wikileaks released the contents of a speech Hillary Clinton gave to a private audience, in which she stated, "We [the State Department and the U.S. government] were up against Russia pushing oligarchs and others to buy media. We were even up against phony environmental groups, and I'm a big environmentalist, but these were funded by the Russians to stand up against any effort, 'Oh that pipeline, that fracking, that whatever will be a problem for you,' and a lot of that money supporting that effort was coming from Russia."

It is important to note no one from the Hillary camp has denied she made the remarks.

The political arm of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the NRDC Action Fund, went so far as to endorse Hillary Clinton for President in 2016. The first endorsement the fund has ever made in a presidential election. The Sierra Club Political Action Committee, the political arm of the Sierra Club, also endorsed Hillary Clinton for President in 2016. The League of Conservation Voters' political arm, LCV Action Fund, got in the race early, and endorsed Clinton in 2015.

Does anyone else find it strange the political action funds of groups that received money tied to Russia supported one presidential candidate and overwhelmingly one party? Who really has close ties to Russia?

US energy dominance threatens the ability of Russia to extort foreign policy goals. If Congress is to investigate Russian meddling, it should start here. Russia used the left to harm US energy security, and keep the energy weapon pointed at Europe.


72.8% Of World’s Renewable Energy Is Made By Burning Wood & Dung

The hysteria over solar and wind power as the only feasible source of future ‘renewable’ energy flies in the face of the facts. Wood and animal feces are both renewable, and account for almost 73% of the world’s renewable energy, but you never hear about planting more trees. Of course, the Technocrats cannot control wood or feces as energy, so it is completely ignored.

Renewable energy advocates have claimed for decades that solar and wind power are the future—and the future is right around the corner.

Some boldly state that the world could be powered by renewable energy sources as early as 2030, given the exponential growth of solar and wind electrical capacity.

And of course, the mainstream media plays up the importance of solar and wind energy in defeating the scarecrow that is climate change.

While there’s no doubt that wind and solar energy capacity has grown rapidly over the last three decades—wind power’s grown by an average of 24.3% per year since 1990, while solar’s grown by 46.2% per year over the same period—does it really matter?

Are renewable energy sources making a difference? What is the current state of renewable energy, and its future?

No. Renewable energy is irrelevant, and will remain irrelevant for the foreseeable future—wind and solar energy are simply inferior to fossil fuels and nuclear power.



Australia: More than 68,000 people risk having their power cut as electricity prices skyrocket - forcing the government to step in with emergency financial help

Australia used to have some of the cheapest power in the world -- until the Greenies got involved

Tens of thousands of Australians are at risk of having their power cut off as they are unable to afford their bills.

A report by the Daily Telegraph has revealed 68,400 residents across New South Wales are set to lose their electricity as energy bills continue to skyrocket.

The state government are having to step in with emergency funds, with Western Sydney suburbs the hardest hit.

New South Wales homes pay more for power bills than any developed nation in the world.

The Energy Accounts Payments Assistance was implemented in 2012 as a measure to prevent an eletricity bill crisis, with each home to receive $50 in vouchers towards their energy bill. The new report suggests the average household needs five vouchers.

The suburb of Campbelltown is in need of the most help, with an estimated 1,619 homes needing financial assistance to continue their access to electricity.

The government are setting aside $404,750 for Campbelltown alone.

Auburn is not far behind, with 1,270 families needing assistance at a cost of $317,650.

The report estimates Blacktown and Bankstown are the next suburbs with the most risk with 1191 and 1156 homes in trouble respectively.

Western Sydney suburbs have been the worst effected because of the large number of fibro homes combined with uncommonly low winter temperatures.

Don Harwin, the NSW Energy Minister, has approached the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal over the crisis to ask whether the continually increasing prices are the result of a fair and balanced market.

'We are concerned about national energy rises and we are pushing our federal counterparts hard to ensure there is a sensible plan to fix the broken national energy market,' Mr Harwin told the Telegraph. 




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 July, 2017

America’s climate of crisis

Patrick Allitt looks at the emergence and development of the idea of environmental crisis

Patrick Allitt, Cahoon family professor of American history at Emory University in Atlanta, is a man abroad. Not just as an Oxford-educated Englishman teaching and researching in an American university, but as a sceptical interloper in the world of American environmentalism. The result, A Climate of Crisis: America in the Age of Environmentalism, is an illuminating history of the emergence and propagation of the idea of environmental crisis. So what led this expert in the history of religion and conservatism to turn to the study of climate-change activism? And what does he make of the apocalyptic nature of its claims? Here’s what Allitt had to say…

spiked review: As someone who has previously focused on American religious history and the history of conservatism, what drew you to the history of environmentalism in the US?

Patrick Allitt: Having been an undergraduate in England, I came to America to be a graduate student at the University of California at Berkeley in the early 1980s. And one of the great pleasures of living in California is its setting. I belonged to a river-rafting co-op and I went hiking in the Sierra Nevada mountains. I just loved everything about living in the Californian outdoors, not least because the sun shines for 330 days out of every year – the contrast with England was exhilarating. So, right from the start, I was interested in the actual environment in America.

At first I was struck by the contrast between what seemed to me to be a paradise and what a lot of Americans talked about as a catastrophe. I used to chide my graduate-student friends, saying ‘it’s not all that dreadful is it – and, by comparison with Britain, just look how underpopulated it is’. At first it was just an interest because I was writing about the history of conservatism and the history of religion. Then, in 1988, I was hired by Emory university in Georgia, and the department was looking for somebody to teach environmental history. So I said to my departmental head, ‘I’ve always had an interest in this, maybe I can make a course out of it’. He was enthusiastic about this, so I started teaching a class on American environmental history in the mid-1990s. And, by about 2007, 2008, I became keen on writing about it as well. So that’s what led to me writing A Climate of Crisis, which is a kind of intellectual history of environmentalism.

review: What was your own relationship to environmentalism?

Allitt: I didn’t begin as a critic of the environmental movement. I became steadily more critical as I became more confident. That’s one of the things about living in Berkeley: you’re living in a world that’s miles to the left of centre, and there’s a little bit of an orthodoxy there. And one of the characteristics of that orthodoxy, at least in the 1980s, is that the world was in a catastrophic environmental mess. Things were rapidly getting worse, and we were standing on the brink of disaster. At first I didn’t have the intellectual confidence to say, ‘that’s not true’. But, over time, particularly with the repeated failure of predictions of disaster to eventuate in actual disaster, I started having the assurance to say ‘that’s not true’.

After 1945, it became possible to imagine that the world would come to an end, not through divine intervention, but through human folly

review: A Climate of Crisis really begins with the dropping and high-profile testing of the atomic bomb. Why do you think ‘the bomb’ was so culturally important for the eventual development of the idea of environmental crisis?

Allitt: I think it’s because, certainly in Western history, going right back to the origins of Christianity, there’s always been a fascination with the end of the world. For most of that time, the end of the world has always been something that God will make happen. But after 1945, it became possible to imagine that the world would come to an end, not through divine intervention, but through human folly, or human violence, or human greed. And ever since then we’ve lived in the shadow of nuclear war, and the possibility of a human-induced apocalypse. That certainly led some people to say, ‘yes, that might come about through nuclear weapons, but it might also might come about through environmental blundering’.

Think, for example, of Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb, and the use of the word ‘bomb’ in the title. He’s clearly making an analogy between the atomic bomb and human fertility, claiming that each one in its own way is potentially destructive.

review: What do you make of the paradox of environmentalism’s emergence during the 1960s and 1970s – that at a time of unprecedented improvement in Westerners’ lives (living standards rising, life-expectancy lengthening, infant-mortality falling etc), an influential section of society seemed more disillusioned than ever with industrialisation and economic growth?

Allitt: I think it’s partly because people have short memories. The more you study history, the more you realise how horrible conditions have been in the past, even in what we think of as civilised places today. And the reason that conditions have become so much better is because of industrialisation, which generates the possibility of universal wealth, and a huge decline in death rates, a huge decline in infant mortality and all the rest. Industrialisation does, of course, have dirty side effects. But, by the 1960s, Americans and Western Europeans had reached a degree of affluence and material comfort, that enabled them to look around and ask what is it that now impairs the quality of our life. And one of the answers they came up with was a dirty environment. And that’s when they start trying to improve its quality.

review: Do think environemtnalism is inseparable from a disillusionment with the broader gains of modernity?

Allitt: Not really, no. Environmentalism has an optimistic side, and a pessimistic side, and I’m on the optimistic side. I’m interested in it because I’ve got a great love and enthusiasm for the natural world. I’m also convinced that we’re able to address environmental problems because we’re wealthy. In other words, when you say to desperately poor people, let’s save the environment, they couldn’t care less, because they have a desperate need to find enough to eat and to live. Environmentalism is itself a luxury. We can afford to indulge in it because we’ve solved so many of the more basic problems. And one of the things I try to do in my teaching and in my writing is to try to convince people that it’s a highly desirable luxury, and one that we’re succeeding in bringing to ourselves.

Allitt: It’s clearly an important moment, because the hippy movement and the back-to-the-land movement of the 1960s and 1970s were based on the idea that there is something discreditable about devoting yourself to the pursuit of wealth – that it’s somehow ignoble, a bit shabby, disgraceful. I think it’s clear to me that the people who were attracted to those movements were those who didn’t have to worry about money. They were mainly middle- and upper middle-class people who lived lives of real abundance in the 1940s and 1950s, when they were growing up, and they didn’t foresee the possibility of ever being reduced to starvation or near starvation. And because they didn’t know a lot about the history of the world in earlier ages, they didn’t take seriously just what an incredible struggle it has been simply to keep ourselves fed. I think they underestimated how difficult it is to make food grow out of the ground, especially when you don’t have artificial fertilisers and machines. So the counterculture is wonderfully bracing, and enjoyable, but it’s also disastrously naive.

review: What about the new left? What was its relationship to environmentalism?

Allitt: Interestingly, in the 1960s, the new left was very sceptical towards environmentalism. They felt that there were more pressing problems in America – terrible race relations and the Vietnam War, for instance. They felt that all this ‘all breathing the same air’ stuff was a waste of time. One new left writer called environmentalism a ‘genteel rest home for exhausted liberals’. So the new left was initially contemptuous towards environmentalism. But then, in the 1970s, there’s a realignment, with the new left becoming very pro-environmentalist, and the new right becoming strongly anti-environmentalist. And I think the reason for this is that the obvious villains for environmentalists are big corporations, who are the polluters, so it’s easy to say ‘we condemn capitalism’, and then say ‘we condemn the bi-products of capitalism’. That’s very different from earlier generations of Marxists who took the view that industrialisation was good, but the distribution of its benefits was very bad.

review: It does seem to be quite a shift. Proto-environmentalist views tended, historically, to be associated with the right, that is, with those seeking to preserve the status quo against the forces they saw overturning their ways of life. What do you make of this shift?

Allitt: The decline of class politics plays a role here. It became harder and harder in the late 20th and early 21st century to talk about something called the American working class. Nobody here says that they’re working class. In Britain and most of Europe, it’s still just about a living tradition, although an endangered one. But in America, already by 1950, trade unions were in decline and very, very few people thought of themselves as working men. And also very few people thought of themselves as the upper class. Even people like Bill Gates will say ‘I’m middle class’. So the language of class is just not used in America, and so the left was looking for ways to relocate itself. They tried it with racial minorities, and with women and with young people. And then they tried it with the endangered environment. The environment is a tempting object for the left-leaning. It allows them to say, ‘look at the way capitalism is endangering nature, and therefore endangering everyone whose lives depend on it’.

More HERE 

America Needs More Pipelines
The domestic energy production landscape has changed markedly in recent years. America surpassed Russia to become the world's top producer of natural gas in 2009. The Environmental Information Agency recently announced that U.S. exports of crude oil and petroleum products have more than doubled since 2010. Despite such increases in domestic production, the development of transportation energy infrastructure has not kept pace. Oil and gas need to travel from the wellhead to their final destination, whether that is storage or processing plant, or customers at the end of the chain.

A more robust pipeline infrastructure would make transportation of oil, natural gas and their products more efficient by reducing transportation costs and offering a more reliable mode of transportation. A well-developed energy transportation network would also reduce regional price differences.

One concern with pipeline projects is safety, specifically the rate of incidents, accidents and casualties. These concerns are part of the reason that increases in pipeline capacity have fallen behind growing energy production.

What happens when existing pipeline infrastructure is insufficient to meet the needs of developing energy production in new locations? Either projects are rendered unprofitable, or producers turn to alternative modes of transportation, often road and rail. These alternative modes will continue to be a part of the energy transportation infrastructure, but from a safety perspective they both have higher incident rates than pipelines.

From 2007 to 2016, per billion ton-miles of oil and gas products transported, there were 0.66 incidents for oil pipelines (i.e., the fewest accidents), 0.73 for natural gas pipelines, 2.20 for rail and 7.11 for road.

Pipelines have been getting safer over time. The rates of "serious" pipeline accidents – those that result in a fatality or an injury requiring inpatient hospitalization – per 1,000 miles of pipeline have fallen substantially. Looking at annual averages over 5-year periods to minimize 1-year fluctuations, the average from 1997 to 2009 was 0.025 accidents per 1,000 miles. This rate halved during the period 2012 to 2016. Operators, in conjunction with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, which monitors and administers pipeline safety, have made considerable progress in pipeline safety and oversight of pipelines and should continue to work towards further improvement.

Even these rates understate the safety of pipeline materials and operations. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration supplies data on the underlying causes of serious pipeline incidents. For the longer-range gas transmission pipelines, the leading cause of accidents is excavation damage, generally the result of an agent other than the pipeline operator or a contractor excavating and damaging the pipeline. "Other outside force damage" is tied for the second-leading cause, of which vehicular damage accounts for the vast majority. While "incorrect operation" accounted for 16 percent of these incidents, there were no associated fatalities. The equipment and operation of pipelines is safer than the top-line incident rates suggest, based on the underlying cause data provided. Further gains in pipeline safety could come from developing methods to reduce third-party contact with them.

Interstate natural gas pipelines fall under the purview of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, but in recent months the commission board has not had a quorum. This inhibits the agency's ability to review and decide on major pipeline projects. Restoring a quorum to the board has bipartisan support and would allow the agency to resume normal operations. Until that time, more than 30 major natural gas projects are in a regulatory limbo, and there is a further chilling effect on other would-be projects.

In March, April and May, when the agency was operating without quorum on the board, it certificated no additional pipeline capacity. Before it lost a quorum, the agency had been able to certificate eight projects in February that added more than seven million cubic feet per day of capacity.

Across the different regulatory agencies that affect pipeline proposals, the combination of market forces and the regular review and oversight process should determine the viability of these projects. Ad hoc or irregular delays increase regulatory uncertainty and could deter future development.

The growth in U.S. oil and gas productions represents a substantial economic opportunity for America. However, if pipeline development stalls, America will not be able to monetize all the gains. Some production facilities will no longer be viable or producers will switch to more incident-prone and costly transportation alternatives. That is why it is vital that pipeline proposals be evaluated without delay.


Why Are Older Scientists More Likely to Doubt Climate Alarmism?

Back in 1984, Richard Lamm, then-Democratic Governor of Colorado, gained infamy for having said the terminally ill elderly have “a duty to die and get out of the way.”

Such disrespect for age persists among progressives. Bill Nye “The Science Guy,” a major proponent of global warming alarmism, blames climate skepticism on age.

“Climate change deniers, by way of example, are older. It’s generational,” Nye told the Los Angeles Times, adding, "We’re just going to have to wait for those people to ‘age out,’ as they say.“

Nye might be acting more scientifically if he were to ask himself, "Why are older scientists more likely to doubt climate alarmism?” It is, after all, not quite a rule of thumb that the older you get, the dumber you get. Age has a tendency to bring with it an accumulation of experiences and lessons that enhance rather than diminish discernment.

Had he asked that question, he might conceivably have contemplated the effect of a major change in the process of scientific education that happened in the 1970s and 1980s.

Before that time, computers were huge, fantastically expensive, and, though faster than humans with calculators or slide rules, incredibly slow by today’s standards. The vast majority of a scientist’s education, particularly for advanced degrees, took place working with physical objects, whether in the natural world or in laboratories. Scientists understood that hypotheses must be tested by comparing predictions with real-world observations.

But as computers got smaller, cheaper, and faster in the 1970s through 1980s, science students, especially as they worked on their graduate degrees, spent more and more of their time modeling what they understood about natural phenomena on computers and less and less time working with physical objects in laboratories or natural settings. The result was a high risk of neglecting the need to test hypotheses against observations.

Not having studied other fields of science at equally great depth, I can’t speak with confidence about them, but I can certainly speak with confidence about climate scientists when I say that those who earned their advanced degrees in the 1970s or later are highly prone to that lapse of scientific practice.

 Indeed, as Myanna Lahsen observed in her seminal paper “Seductive Simulations? Uncertainty Distribution around Climate Models,” climate modelers have a difficult time remembering that their modeled oceans and atmosphere aren’t the real oceans and atmosphere. Like kids (and all too many adults) trapped in the virtual realities of their computer games, these scientists, too, inhabit a virtual reality that must not be mistaken for the real thing.

The older scientists are the ones who keep pointing out that the models cannot retrodict global temperature without a large number of ad hoc adjustments, that their predictions of future temperature call, typically, for two to three times more warming than actually occurs, and that none predicted the complete absence of statistically significant warming from early 1997 through late 2015 (a stasis that, though interrupted by the warming caused by the unusually strong 2015–2016 El Niño, appears to have resumed from late 2016 to now, stretching it to over 20 years). The inability to accurately predict future temperatures, these scientists point out, reveals a lack of understanding of how the climate system really works.

One more point: Nye’s quip has the characteristics of two logical fallacies. First, his apparent eagerness for older climate scientists to “age out” so they won’t be around to question younger climate scientists’ alarmism smacks of argumentum ad bacculam, appeal to force, for of course the intent of punching one’s opponent in the nose is to shut him up, and what shuts someone up better than death?

Second, it is an instance of argumentum ad futuram, an appeal to the future — “You just wait, in another 20 years when all these old guys have aged out, climate alarmism will have won the day!” But of course we cannot know that alarmism will have won the day. Some of those young alarmists might, with age, gain enough humility (something from which Nye might benefit) to dig deeply into their elders’ critiques and discover their own errors, becoming climate skeptics in the process.

Nye’s contempt for the insight of the older climate scientists and his referring to them pejoratively as “climate change deniers” (with the implicit allusion to Holocaust deniers) are evidence not of his brilliance but of his lack of understanding of how real science works — or should.



Three current articles below

Piers Akerman: Climate change is being served up to unsuspecting Australians

IN August 1973, the term Stockholm syndrome was coined after four hostages who had been held in a bank vault during a failed robbery later ­refused to testify against their captor Jan-Erik “Janne” ­Olsson, who, as it happens had been “on leave” from prison when he attempted the heist.

Nils Bejerot, a Swedish criminologist and psychiatrist coined the term.

Brainwashing was not unknown but the manner in which the hostages developed positive feelings toward their captors and negative feelings toward the police or authorities, was something new, Beje-rot guessed. The term took off.

A year after Olsson’s crime (for which he served a term and later committed further crimes), Patty Hearst, the granddaughter of publisher William Randolph Hearst, was taken and held hostage by a drug-addled crew of misfits who called themselves the Symbionese Liberation Army.

Hearst was filmed denouncing her family as well as the police under her new urban guerilla name, “Tania”, and was later seen working with the SLA to rob banks in San Francisco. She publicly asserted her sympathetic feelings towards the SLA.

However, after arrest following a fiery shootout in 1975, her celebrity lawyer F. Lee Bailey said his client was suffering from Stockholm syndrome.

But, until now, the greatest example of Stockholm syndrome was the mass suicide by followers of American cult leader and Communist Jim Jones, who was the founder and leader of the People’s Temple, another loopy group with strong ties to the Democratic Party and the Californian counter-culture.

Jones took his flock to an old plantation in Guyana but when reports of human rights abuses started emerging, he had his followers drink poison, flavoured by the soft drink mix Kool-Aid.

Among the 918 dead were nearly three hundred children.

Stockholm syndrome plus Kool-Aid was a potent ­combination.

But not as potent as the ­global warming — now called climate change — mixture that is being served up to the Australian public by the Greens, Labor and now the Turnbull faux Liberal government.

Swept along by the global hysteria generated by the UN and a claque of compromised scientists who have been ­exposed as manipulating temperature modelling, Australians are in the process of committing mass suicide as they sip the Kool-Aid sweetener of renewable energy.

South Australia — remember Snowtown, the mysterious disappearance of the Beaumont children, the other creepy instances of unsolved crimes involving children — has long worn a reputation for weird but with its closure of its coal-powered fire stations and its embrace of a huge battery to meet its risky energy supply needs, is leading the way in this suicidal endeavour.

Believe me, the world is not following South Australia or Australia, in this insane folly.

Research from the Global Coal Tracker via the Comstat Data Portal uploaded on January 12, 20017, shows that there were 5973 coal-fired power station units globally. A unit is considered to be one or more boilers where coal is burned to create steam, plus one or more turbine generators which convert the steam’s heat ­energy into electricity of a minimum 30MW (megawatts).

NSW’s Liddell power station, for example, has four 500MW units.

Australia has in total 73 units, according to the Comstat Data, China has 2107.

Germany, where we have seen anti-coal demonstrators rioting in recent days, has 155 units. India, who the Adani mine will service with coal, has 877, and Indonesia has 125, while there 783 operating in the US.

The numbers that really highlight the futility of the South Australian lunacy and the madness of Australia signing up this psychosis are those which reflect where the world is heading — the number of coal-fired power units under construction.

China, for example, has 299 power stations in preparation or under construction. India has 132, Indonesia has 32, the Philippines has 22, Vietnam has 34.

In all, the data lists more than 30 nations actively ­engaged in building 621 new coal-fired power units.

That’s more than 10 times more power than the current 26,783MW produced by ­Australia’s 73 units. South Australia’s moonstruck Premier Jay Weatherill thinks that ­installing Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s battery will solve the problems created by his government’s destruction of its coal-fired power plants and its embrace of erratic wind and solar plants.

It won’t. At best, the big battery may have sufficient reserves to power around 30,000 homes while repairs are made to the network.

There are about 730,000 homes in South Australia, almost all of which lost their power last September. The big battery will be connected to a big wind farm but wind is notoriously variable and South Australia consistently records the highest power prices in the nation ­because of its foolhardy reliance on renewable energy.

In fact, it relies on the coal-fired power plants in the rest of the country for constant power. The federal government knows this, that’s why its building a $50 million generation plant to give the submarine building program a reliable ­energy source.

But for South Australians, and the rest of the nation, the Kool-Aid is kicking in.

Despite the flawed data on which the global warmists rest their case, Australia is still ­closing coal-fired power plants as our economic competitors build their coal-fired capacity.

The big battery may ­become a tourist attraction in South Australia but so, in time, will be the mass grave that ­buries Australia’s industry and the economic fortunes of ­future generations.


No Australian weather site has recorded a daily max of 50° this century


I had Lance staying overnight and this subject came up – me opining after watching too much ABC TV news for years – that some site must have hit the 50° in the last several years. When Lance pointed out on BoM pages that the last 50° plus was in 1998 – I felt somewhat conned.

We searched Google and sure enough we found this article “The proof Australia is getting hotter” – which includes this rather specific claim – Quote “While Western Australia had a cooler than average year in 2016, some parts of the giant state did hit 50 degrees, Australia’s observation of such heat a first in two decades.”

Well if 50 was hit it was not noticed in official BoM daily data. Screen saved. What an amazing lie – “fake news” indeed. Part of my conning was BoM news early in 2013 of the extension of temperature scales up into the 50’s. Oddly this neat animated map from Feb 2016 does not extend to cool temperatures around -10 that are quite common this winter. What other plus 50’s (122F) are there that the BoM should recognize?


Climate change scaremongering based on ‘minuscule’ sea level rises

THIS weekend on Sky News, Connie Fierravanti-Wells, the Liberal minister for International Development and the Pacific, having just returned from a junket handing out vast sums of our money to beautiful Pacific Islands to “combat climate change”, said: “It’s interesting to see that, according to real data, the changes to (sea) levels are actually very, very minuscule.”

That’s right. Very, very minuscule. Or, perhaps what she really meant to say was “non-existent”. The whole climate-change hype about rising sea levels, as being touted by the likes of Al Gore and his new horror flick – er sorry, “documentary” – about climate change, simply doesn’t tally with reality. This has been confirmed by climate scientists themselves, who are sitting around scratching their heads trying to work out why reality doesn’t match their alarmist modelling.

Here’s my bet: these measurements that show “very, very minuscule” rises in sea levels actually mean nothing out of the normal is happening in the oceans.

Climates do change, and there’s nothing we can do about it. We are handing hundreds of millions of dollars (that we don’t actually have, by the way) to our dear Pacific neighbours for no genuine reason at all.

Also last week, another Liberal MP, Sarah Henderson, mocked the idea that elderly Australians would die this winter because they couldn’t afford to pay their heating bills. This came after one of the only sensible Liberal MPs, Craig Kelly, pointed out on Sky News – to me, as it happens – that our renewables energy policy would kill people.

Mr Kelly, who is chairman of the backbench energy committee, caused a furore by stating what is backed up by real data: more people die in Australia during July and August (the coldest months) than at any other time of the year, and that the numbers have been increasing in direct correlation to rising electricity prices. Those price rises, which ultimately stem from both Liberal and Labor policies demonising coal and making it too expensive to be worthwhile, have seen a record number of household disconnections.

Even the ABC admits: “The first detailed analysis of electricity disconnections in four states paints a grim picture of areas under extreme financial stress, with hundreds of households unable to pay their bills.”

What makes the situation even more maddening is that the Government’s chief scientist, Alan Finkel, admitted to Parliament that all of Australia’s efforts to combat climate change will, in the end, make virtually no difference to global temperatures. So why on earth do we bother?

Five weeks ago, writing on this page, I upset some people by linking climate change zealotry to deaths.

“It’s not climate change that kills. It’s the zealotry of those who believe they are on a Gaia-given mission to save the planet that is capable of causing economic mayhem, poverty, and even death,” I wrote, using the ghastly Grenfell Tower fire in London as “an extreme, but apt, metaphor for climate change alarmism”.

My point – that thanks to excessive climate change alarmism, energy-efficiency (or “green”) requirements tend to get prioritised over safety measures – has yet to be refuted.

My thinking was also driven by Queensland’s horrendous “pink batts” scandal in 2010. I hardly need remind readers that when Kevin Rudd embarked on a harebrained scheme to “save the planet” by installing pink batts into Australian rooftops, four young men tragically lost their lives.

Recently, The Australian reported that: “The owner of a Sydney-based solar-panel maintenance company said he had seen ‘hundreds’ of fires caused by solar panels in the past five years.”

Mercifully, nobody appears to have yet died from such fires, but that doesn’t make the danger of household solar panels, installed again to “save the planet”, any less real.

John Howard – viewed correctly by many as one of our greatest prime ministers – recently confirmed that he remains sceptical about climate change. Who can blame him?

Mr Kelly’s comments not only had Sarah Henderson mocking him by claiming he was “killing her with his humour”, they had Labor minister Mark Butler calling for his sacking “because of his scaremongering”.

Hang on a tick! Labor, the Greens, and even the bedwetters of the Turnbull Coalition, have been “scaremongering” us silly about climate change for the past decade and longer. The entire energy policy of both major parties is built on unproven, scary predictions of catastrophic rising sea levels, deadly droughts, killer storms, fatal floods, murderous cyclones, dying coral, and a whole host of terrifying disasters, all of which rely on the claim that, at some distant point in the future, “people will die”.

Now we learn that rather than being terrifying, those very same impacts from climate change are, in the minister’s own words, “very, very minuscule”. What a joke.




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


24 July, 2017

Tesla battery, subsidy and sustainability fantasies   

More subsidies from exhausted California taxpayers cannot compensate for hard realities

Paul Driessen

The first justification was that internal combustion engines polluted too much. But emissions steadily declined, and today’s cars emit about 3% of what their predecessors did. Then it was oil imports: electric vehicles (EVs) would reduce foreign dependency and balance of trade deficits. Bountiful oil and natural gas supplies from America’s hydraulic fracturing revolution finally eliminated that as an argument.

Now the focus is on climate change. Every EV sale will help prevent assumed and asserted manmade temperature, climate and weather disasters, we’re told – even if their total sales represented less than 1% of all U.S. car and light truck sales in 2016 (Tesla sold 47,184 of the 17,557,955 vehicles sold nationwide last year), and plug-in EVs account for barely 0.15% of 1.4 billion vehicles on the road worldwide.

In recent months, Tesla sales plunged to nearly zero in Hong Kong and Denmark, as huge government subsidies were eliminated. Now Tesla’s U.S. subsidies face extinction. Once its cumulative sales since 2009 reach 200,000 vehicles in the next few months, federal tax rebates will plunge from $7,500 per car to zero over an 18-month period. The same thing will happen to other EV companies that reach 200,000.

Subsidies clearly drive sales for EVs, which are often double the cost of comparable gasoline-powered vehicles. Free charging stations, and access to HOV lanes for plug-ins with only the driver, further sweeten the deal. For those who can afford the entry fee, the ride is smooth indeed. In fact, a 2015 study found, the richest 20% of Americans received 90% of hundreds of millions in taxpayer EV subsidies.

Where were all the government “offices of environmental justice” when this was happening? How much must we subsidize our wealthiest families, to save us from manmade planetary disasters that exist only in Al Gore movies and alarmist computer models?

Perhaps recognizing the reverse Robin Hood injustice – or how unsustainable free EV stations are for cash-strapped cities – Palo Alto (where Tesla Motors is headquartered) announced that it will charge 23 cents per kWh to charge plug-in vehicles in city parking garages. Others communities and states may also reduce their rebates, HOV access and free charging, further reducing incentives to purchase pricey EVs.

Meanwhile, Lyft and Uber are also decreasing the justification for shelling out $35,000 to $115,000 or even $980,000 for an electric car that gets very limited mileage per charge. Long excursions still need internal combustion engines or long layovers every few hundred miles to recharge EV batteries.

Intent on advancing its renewable energy and climate change agenda, the California legislature recently enacted a new cap-and-trade law that will generate revenues for Tesla and the “bullet train to nowhere,” by increasing hidden taxes on motor fuels, electricity and consumer products – with the state’s poor, minority and working class families again being hit hardest. State legislators are also close to passing a $3-billion EV subsidy program, primarily to replace the $7,500 federal rebate that Tesla could soon lose. Electric vehicle buyers could soon receive up to $40,000 for buying Tesla’s most expensive models! Coal-billionaire and California gubernatorial hopeful Tom Steyer vigorously supports the new subsidy.

We can also expect a battle royale over extending the federal EV subsidy beyond 200,000 vehicles – demonstrating once again that lobbyists are now far more important to bottom lines than engineers, especially when lobbyists can channel enormous contributions to politicians’ reelection campaigns.

As U.S. government agencies prepare to reassess climate change science, models and disaster predictions, it’s a good time to reexamine claims made about all the utopian electric vehicle and renewable energy forecasts, expanding on the land and raw material issues I raised in a previous article.

In his Forbes article on Battery Derangement Syndrome, energy and technology analyst Mark P. Mills notes that Tesla is also getting $1 billion in taxpayer subsidies to build a huge $5-billion lithium battery factory in Nevada. Batteries, it’s often claimed, can soon replace fossil fuels for backing up expensive, intermittent, unreliable, unpredictable wind and solar power. Mills explains why this is … deranged.

In an entire year, all the existing lithium battery factories in the world combined manufacture only enough capacity to store 100,000 billion Watt-hours (Wh) of electricity. But the USA alone uses 100 times this capacity: more than 10,000 billion Wh per day. Worldwide, humanity uses over 50,000 billion Wh daily.

Focusing on solar power, Mills notes, that means storing electricity for 12 hours a day – to power homes and businesses around the globe for the 12 hours per day that photovoltaic systems will generate power on sunny days in the 100% solar world of the utopian future – would require 25,000 billion Watt-hours of battery power (ignoring future electricity needs to recharge electric vehicle batteries).

Replacing the gasoline in the tanks of 1.4 billion vehicles worldwide with electric power would require another 100 billion Watt-hours. That brings total global demand to well over 125,000 billion Wh of storage. That means it would take 1,250 years of production from every existing lithium battery factory worldwide to meet this combined demand. Or we would have to build 1,250 times more factories. Or we could build batteries that are 10 to100 times more powerful and efficient than what we have today.

Says Mills, the constraints of real world physics on battery storage mean this latter option will not happen.

In a world where we are also supposed to ban nuclear (and most hydroelectric) power, the very notion of eliminating the 80% of all global energy that comes from oil, natural gas and coal – replacing it with wind, solar and biofuel power – is fundamentally absurd. Can you imagine what would happen when the power goes off and on repeatedly while we are smelting iron, copper, aluminum, cobalt or lithium ores … forging or casting metals into components … or running complex fabrication and assembly lines?

In the sustainability arena, has anyone calculated how much lithium, cobalt and other metals would be required to manufacture all those batteries? Where they would be mined – with nearly all the best U.S. metal prospects off limits to exploration and production, and radical environmentalists increasingly rallying to block mining projects overseas? The mines would have to be enormous, and operated by huge corporate consortiums. Will anti-corporate activists on our campuses suddenly have a change of heart?

Will homes, neighborhoods and communities have the electrical service (200 amperes or more per home) to handle all the lighting, computing, entertainment, air conditioning, medical equipment and other requirements of modern living – AND the power required to charge all the predicted electric vehicles? What will it cost to upgrade neighborhood power grids, and home and commercial electrical systems?

Lithium batteries and their component metals pose unique fire and explosion risks. What safeguards will be established to minimize those dangers, in battery factories, homes and public parking garages?

Some factories and batteries will invariably be poorly built, handled or maintained. Some will invariably malfunction – causing potentially catastrophic explosions. The bigger the factory or battery, the bigger the cataclysm. Will we apply the same precautionary principles to them as more rabid environmentalists insist on applying to drilling, fracking, pipelines, refineries, factories, dams and nuclear power plants?

What is the life expectancy of batteries, compared to engines in gasoline-powered cars? Two or three times shorter? What does it cost to replace battery packs compared to engines? Two to three times as much? What is the true overall cost of owning an EV? Four to six times higher than a gasoline car? How will we dispose of or recycle millions or billions of batteries and their dangerous, toxic components?

Is the real goal of all this crony-corporatist wind, solar and battery enthusiasm – and anti-fossil fuel activism – to slash living standards in industrialized nations, and ensure that impoverished nations are able to improve their health and living conditions only marginally?

We would do well to raise – and answer – these and other essential questions now, before we let activists, journalists, legislators and regulators con us into adopting more of their utopian, “planet-saving” ideas.

Via email

Cold spring leaves French grape harvest headed for historic low

Agriculture ministry says wine production from Bordeaux to Alsace has dropped dramatically

Knocked off course by a cold spring snap, French wine production from Bordeaux to Alsace has dropped dramatically this year and could hit “a historic low”, according to the agriculture ministry.

“At 37.6 million hectolitres the 2017 harvest is set to come in 17% lower than in 2016, and 16% below the average of the past five years,” the ministry’s statistics bureau Agreste said on Saturday.

As such, the traditional August to October harvest of the world’s second largest wine producer “could be historically low and inferior to that of 1991, which was also hit by severe frost”.

The cold wrought havoc notably in south-west France, with Bordeaux suffering along with neighbouring Charente, as well as Alsace and Jura in the north-east. Some losses are also anticipated in the Burgundy region, Languedoc and the southeast.

The Mediterranean region was hit by a problem of a different variety as wind and rain caused the phenomenon of “coulure” where grapes, most notably the grenache variety in the Rhone valley, fail to develop properly after vines have flowered.

But wine sommeliers urged a bit of patience, dispelling the gloom with the old wine adage: “August makes the grapes, September makes the wine.”

“It is still too early to draw a conclusion about the quality of the wine this year which will depend on the weather up to the grape harvest, and the conditions of the crop,” said Philippe Faure-Brac, who held the title of world’s best sommelier in 1992.

“At the moment, the weather conditions are not at all bad,” he said, but admitted the quantity of wine production “will be economically very tight, that’s for sure”.

Some vineyards have a system of reserves, like those producing Chablis or Champagne, holding back from selling a part of the production year to year as insurance to help ride out those times of poor grape harvests.

“For instance 2016 was a huge vintage - that will allow some regions to manage their volumes and quality,” said Faure-Brac.

But not all wine regions practise the same system, and only about 25% of French winegrowers have insured against severe weather.

Vineyards “with little stock” and “not much cash flow” after being hit by hail and frost last year, are going to be in a “difficult” situation this year, said Bernard Farges, president of the national AOP/AOC committee.

“We are working with the ministry to put in place measures to improve insurance and savings regimes,” he said – although that will not relieve problems this year.


Greenland turns against Mother Gaia

We've all heard it endlessly: the Arctic ice is melting.  It will soon be open water, and the surrounding islands bare rock.  The Northwest Passage, which lured hundreds to their doom during the Age of Exploration, will at last be a reality.  The polar bears will go hungry.  Eskimo shamans will no longer be able to contact the Ice Goddess.  Manhattan and Long Island will soon be fifty miles offshore...

And so on, certainly one of the most dominant and persistent memes of the global warming movement, despite its not containing so much as an ounce of truth.

The latest evidence for of this fact comes to us from Denmark.  With a consuming national interest in Greenland going back to the beginning of the last millennium, the Danes have kept careful watch on the weather and surface conditions of the island.  Their most recent findings definitively reveal no large-scale ice loss on Greenland.  Quite the contrary: Greenland is piling massive tonnages of ice as if there's no tomorrow – not to mention no such thing as global warming.

Here are the latest figures from the Danish Meteorological Institute in graphic form:

These graphics show three separate representations dealing of ice cover in Greenland – total amount over the past year, as it appears topographically, and in contrast to the amount of ice melt, which is below average for the entire summer season.  It's clear that Greenland is gaining ice cover, contrary to warmist assertions.

This is also borne out by comparing ice cover over the past three years:

There we have it: ice cover in Greenland is steadily increasing, in defiance of rising carbon levels and even greater levels of green rhetoric.

If "global warming studies" were in fact a science, data of this type would mean tossing out the entire theory and starting from scratch.  But of course, it's no such thing.  So instead, we'll simply hear more squealing and chest-beating from the warmists, the media, and the bureaucrats until the data is piled higher than the ice cap itself.  Then it'll just be something else.


New Film Exposes Communist Roots of “Sustainability” Agenda

A powerful new documentary takes a fresh look at the global “green” agenda, often marketed under the misleading label “sustainable development,” and exposes it for the dangerous assault on human freedom that it is. Beyond that, the film shows how the so-called “sustainability” movement of today is little more than a poorly re-packaged version of the murderous “red” communist agenda that supposedly fell along with the Soviet Union — after killing hundreds of millions of people along the way. The film, It’s Easy Being Green When You Have No Choice: Sustainable Development and the End of History, provides a great deal of evidence and information that all supporters of liberty should be familiar with.

At the center of the scheme for global totalitarianism is the increasingly discredited anthropogenic (man-made) global-warming theory, the film and experts interviewed for it point out. And at the center of that theory is the claim that CO2 drives warming — an idea discredited by, among other evidence, the 18 years and counting in which the undisputed satellite and weather balloon temperature records show no warming. But facts and concerns over the climate were never the real issue, as the film documents using a combination of powerful interviews with experts and even quotes from the key individuals and organizations pushing the anti-human, anti-freedom “sustainability” agenda.

“Ever since the failed Bolshevik revolution the managerial class has been searching for a common enemy for people across the world to unite against,” the narrator explains as the film begins. “They have found it. The new enemy is carbon dioxide.”

CO2, of course, is exhaled by humans and is necessary for plant life. So crucial is CO2 to the planet that scientists have often referred to it as the “gas of life.” Human emissions of CO2, meanwhile, represent a fraction of one percent of all greenhouse gases present naturally in the atmosphere. On top of that, growing amounts of evidence — especially the 18 years and counting of no warming even as CO2 concentrations increased — suggest that carbon dioxide plays only a minor role in the global climate system, if it plays any at all. But because CO2 is emitted during every human activity, including breathing, it is the most perfect enemy imaginable to justify totalitarian control over every element of life. 

“Human freedom is the problem and the only solution is to limit and control freedom,” explains the film's narrator, radio host and former meteorologist Brian Sussman. “Through careful marketing techniques and propaganda designed for mass consumption the trusting public has been embracing all of Communism's ultimate goals of redistribution of wealth; dictating and regulating commercial production; controlling land, private property, natural resources, and the economy, diminishing Christianity and the general control of society.”

CO2 and the “climate,” the film and the experts interviewed in it explain clearly, offered the perfect excuse to justify the tyranny. “The whole idea of controlling and limiting carbon dioxide is to control human beings,” says Marc Morano, editor of the Climate Depot website and the producer of a soon-to-be released documentary called Climate Hustle exposing the AGW con. “So if sustainable development becomes even more codified and becomes more accepted and becomes implemented, this is a way for central planners to control human freedom. We have been through this before. We have been down this road before. We have seen the age of the super state in the 20th century and frankly I don’t know that humanity is going to survive this latest assault.” 

Morano's commentary in the film, like that of other experts interviewed for it, is insightful and revealing. For example, Morano and others interviewed in the documentary explain how global environmentalism has replaced the Cold War as the key justification for so many of the establishment's agendas. “The idea of sustainable development is that there is a common enemy,” Morano explained. “Now, whether you are rich, whether you are poor, whatever nationality you are, whatever race you are, whatever creed you are, religious — we can all unite. And that is what they were looking for. They wanted a common enemy. I mean, short of an alien invasion from outer space, this was it.”    

Other experts interviewed in the film provide equally compelling commentary on the massive threat facing humanity today. Those experts include author Dr. E. Calvin Beisner, a spokesman for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, who touches on the anti-Christian element of the global “sustainability” agenda. He also points out how the agenda is completely incompatible with Christianity and a biblical worldview — a major reason why the attacks against Christians and the Bible are accelerating around the world.   

Beverly Eakman, an author and educator well versed in what is happening in the education system, exposes the use of “green” propaganda in schools and the media to push the sustainability agenda. “The idea that educated people are unsustainable is in the mix of the green agenda,” she explains. The film also brings in quotes from official UN documents stating as much. The Obama administration has also been very open about using the government “education” system to push “sustainability” indoctrination and create “green” citizens.

Also interviewed for the film is climate expert John Casey, the president of the Space and Science Research Corporation, who exposes the false claims surrounding AGW. “Clearly, the reaction, the displays by the global warming or the warmist crowd have reached an all time fever pitch in terms of their anger, their frustration, their attacks on not just global warming critics, but anyone with the scientific data that shows they are wrong,” Casey explains. “This is unparalleled, unprecedented in the modern era, to see these kind of ludicrous extreme attacks that are coming from the warmist community.” He also warned that contrary to the UN narrative about warming, “we are actually going into a new cold climate era.” 

Population Research Institute chief Steve Mosher, meanwhile, highlighted the role of the population-control zealots in the whole agenda. “The idea that people cause global warming is driving the population control movement, it is certainly driving the radical environmental movement and it’s driving the sustainable development movement,” he said. “So when you ask, what are these people, the population controllers, in the name of sustainable development or in the name of reducing the emission of greenhouse gases, prepared to do? They are prepared to do anything. They are prepared to arrest women for the crime of being pregnant, give them cesarean section abortions and sterilize them for life.”

Cato Institute Senior Fellow Randal O'Toole, who also spoke in the film, noted that sustainability as it is being pushed means much less freedom and much more poverty. He tackles everything associated with so-called “Smart Growth,” which in essence equates to higher prices, less choices, and more government control of housing, food, transportation, and more. The best solution to so many problems, O'Toole also explains, is more freedom and less planning laws at all levels of government.

The film is interspersed with quotes, often from establishment and insider sources, supporting its thesis. For example, one of the key organizations pushing the agenda is the Club of Rome, a pseudo-environmentalist outfit dominated by top globalists and “former” communists. “In searching for a common enemy against whom we can unite, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like, would fit the bill,” the group said in its report on the “First Global Revolution.” “All these dangers are caused by human intervention in natural processes, and it is only through changed attitudes and behaviors that they can be overcome. The real enemy then is humanity itself.”

Another key area in which the film adds value is how it exposes the giant role of former Soviet dictator Mikhail Gorbachev and his allies in the shackling of the planet under the guise of phony environmentalism. Just a few years after the ostensible collapse of Soviet tyranny, for instance, Gorbachev worked with top “capitalists” through the United Nations to create the globalist plan for “sustainable development” known as UN “Agenda 21.”

Unsurprisingly, as the film documents extensively, the agenda was remarkably similar to the agenda pursued by Moscow and the international communist conspiracy just a few years before the 1992 UN “sustainable development” summit in Rio de Janeiro — in some cases even the wording is almost identical. Indeed, Gorbachev himself touted the plan in his Club of Rome-endorsed book Prophet of Change: From the Cold War to a Sustainable World.   

Even in the United States, the shift from Red communism to Green tyranny has become readily apparent. Just consider Obama's former “Green Jobs” Czar, Van Jones, who was forced out after past media interviews surfaced in which he identified himself as a revolutionary communist. The so-called “green agenda,” too, brazenly promotes central planning, government control, and more. Most recently, radical state attorneys general have even launched “investigations” into climate skeptics with a goal of prosecuting them.   

Overall, the film does an excellent job of exposing the totalitarian nature of the “sustainable development” agenda. It also provides an extremely valuable service by thoroughly documenting the “sustainability” jihad's extensive links to the “ideology” and even the individual mass murderers behind global communism. In fact, the two movements are essentially inseparable, the only difference being that each movement was able to attract a slightly different variety of well-meaning zealot to advance the same totalitarian cause — dupes that Soviet dictator Vladimir Lenin would have referred to as “useful idiots.”

"The climate change debate is more than debating what the climate models say and how people come to accept defacto what they are told by the media," said It's Easy Being Green producer Frank Pinski. "This film tries to get across that the desire of men to control his fellow man never ends, it just changes form. This latest attempt uses the constant changes in the climate to instill fear so that people willingly turn over the regulation of all aspects of their lives to the government. This is reminiscent of Communist society and that is what this film tries to explain."

The documentary is a very good primer for those who are not yet familiar with the dangers of the “sustainable development” movement and green-tinged Marxism in general. But even for longtime readers of this magazine and other well-informed people, there is a lot of valuable information presented in the film. It is worth watching and sharing as Americans gear up to fight back against the extremist agenda at the local, state, and federal level. 


Melbourne could run out of water in ten years because of population growth and climate change

Wotta lotta bore-water!  For a start, Melbourne already has a big desalination plant that is hardly used. 

Secondly, global warming will produce more evaporation off the oceans and hence MORE rain, not less. 

Thirdly, the Snowy scheme already pours lots of dammed water into the sea for "environmental" reasons.  That water could easily be diverted inland into the Murray river. There is already a tunnel for that purpose. And again there is already a pipeline linking the Murray to Melbourne's water supply. 

The galoots below would seem not to have a clue about the Melbourne water supply.  They are however Greenies so are probably just frauds who want to frighten people. The only threat to the Melbourne water supply is the Greenies who want to send already-dammed water out to sea

One of the world's most livable cities could be facing an acute water shortage problem in the next ten to 15 years time no thanks to climate change and population growth.

Water supply in Melbourne may fall and reach a crisis point if no precautionary methods are taken to contain the problem from today, reports The Age.

The publication says demand for water in the state is expected to exceed the supply by 2028.

According to projections made by City West Water, Yarra Valley Water and South East Water demand for water is projected to surge to about 75 percent in the next 40 years, the publication reports.

Some water corporation produced the probable scenario for the state's water supply, Environment Victoria's acting chief executive, Nicholas Aberle told Daily Mail Australia.

Mr Aberle said there was a bunch of things that Melbournians can do to address the situation by incorporating several water saving habits.

He said people should learn ways on saving storm water and turning that into a valuable water resource. 'During the drought (1997 to 2009) people were managing water efficiency by only using 155 litres a day.

'People should have a behavioural change and use 100 litres of water a day and handle the water resources efficiently,' he said.

Melbourne Water spokesman Joseph Keller told the publication that people living in the state were 'encouraged to limit their consumption to 155 litres per person per day.'

At present Melbourne Water reports that residents in the state use 162 litres of water per person per day in 2016-17.




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 July, 2017

Roman Empire and Chinese Han Dynasty responsible for greenhouse gas emissions 1,800 years before Industrial Revolution

This study concerns methane but other gases produced by civilizational advance would have to be similar in incidence

The Roman Empire and the Chinese Han Dynasty were responsible for significant greenhouse gas emissions, according to a study which contradicts UN scientists’ view that man-made climate change only began with the Industrial Revolution.

Core samples from Greenland’s ice, which faithfully record the planet’s atmospheric conditions, showed that methane levels significantly rose about 2,000 years ago and remained constant for around 200 years, coinciding with the height of the 2 great empires.

Lead author of the study Celia Sapart of Utrecht University told Reuters, “Per capita they were already emitting quite a lot in the Roman Empire and Han Dynasty,” and said that methane was probably released during deforestation to clear land for farming and from the use of charcoal as fuel, for instance to smelt metal to make weapons.

The study, published in the journal Nature, found that rates of deforestation “show a decrease around AD 200, which is related to drastic population declines in China and Europe following the fall of the Han Dynasty and the decline of the Roman Empire.”

The world’s population 2,000 years ago was around 300 million and their contribution to global emissions were significant, but still tiny compared with the emissions of the 7 billion on Earth today.  Sapart estimated that methane emissions until 1800 were about 10% of the total for the past 2,000 years, with 90% occurring since the Industrial Revolution and the great surge in the use of fossil fuels.  She said, “The pre-industrial time was not a natural time for the climate – it was already influenced by human activity.  When we do future climate predictions we have to think about what is natural and what did we add.  We have to define what is really natural.”

The study noted a second rise in methane in the Medieval period, which coincided with a warm period from 800 to 1200 AD, the emergence of Europe’s economy from the Dark Ages, and population growth in Asia and Europe which led to more deforestation for farming.  It fell back again when the Black Death ravaged Asian and European populations.  A third rise in methane levels occurred around the start of the ‘Little Ice Age’ in the 1500s, as populations recovered after the plague.


Ecofascists Needed an Enemy, So They Chose Fossil Fuels

Divestment does not simply focus upon climate change or green living, but rather de-funding the fossil fuel industry.

What began as a single campaign on a college campus in 2010 has grown into a worldwide movement. It does not simply focus upon climate change or green living, but rather de-funding the fossil fuel industry. They call it divestment.

Fossil fuel divestment, the opposite of investment, means the selling of fossil fuel stocks. Recalling the successful 1980s divestment campaign against Apartheid, fossil fuel divestment advocates hope to create both financial and social pressure to ruin the fossil fuel industry, thus preserving the planet. Whether it’s college students protesting for the divestment of the school’s endowment or citizens marching for the divestment of the state’s pension, the movement has become a popular way for people to feel like they’re fighting to save the earth from both the disaster of climate change and the evil of corporations.

Bill McKibben, one of the leading advocates of the divestment movement, co-founded, a global climate change advocacy group that has held 20,000 rallies in every country in the world except North Korea (wonder why). In 2012, he wrote in Rolling Stone, “A rapid, transformative change would require building a movement, and movements require enemies. … And enemies are what climate change has lacked.”

That’s right — in order to transform the climate change debate into a movement, McKibben and his fellow ecofascists needed an enemy. So he started the divestment movement that casts the fossil fuel industry and those who invest in its companies as the morally sinister destroyers of the environment. McKibben’s admission of creating an enemy to bolster his campaign should delegitimize the moral claims of the movement. But it hasn’t., one of the leading voices in fossil fuel divestment, speaks of the supposed moral motivations for its cause:

Fossil fuel divestment takes the fossil fuel industry to task for its culpability in the climate crisis. By naming this industry’s singularly destructive influence — and by highlighting the moral dimensions of climate change — we hope that the fossil fuel divestment movement can help break the hold that the fossil fuel industry has on our economy and our governments.
Go Fossil Free holds the fossil fuel industry responsible for destroying the planet and morally injuring its inhabitants. While McKibben created an enemy, Go Fossil Free has made the fight against that enemy a “moral” one, citing floods and natural disasters allegedly caused by climate change.

However, one study notes that deaths related to climate (flood, drought, storms, extreme heat or cold) have dropped 98% since 1920. The energy industry has facilitated this decline through building better homes, heating, air conditioning, proper irrigation and disaster warning systems. That sort of steals the, er, thunder of the ecofascists’ hyperbolic claims.

Another fallacy upon which the divestment movement relies is that fossil fuels have created extreme amounts of pollution. Yet according to Forbes, air pollution in the U.S. has declined 72% since 1970 despite a 47% total increase in energy use. In addition, developed countries that use fossil fuels have cleaner environments than underdeveloped countries where dumping waste in rivers and streams prevents access to clean water. In fact, one of the key differences between third world and first world countries depends upon access to reliable energy.

Alex Epstein, founder of the Center for Industrial Progress and author of the New York Times bestseller “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels,” notes that there are seven billion people on the planet who need access to inexpensive, reliable energy in order to flourish. Yet three billion people have virtually no energy. For much of the world, lack of energy, not use of energy, has been the greatest barrier to growth and productivity.

While the divestment movement has succeeded in creating both an enemy and a moral cause based upon fear and guilt, the evidence points to the reality that energy has helped hedge against climate-related disasters and provided food and health care to aid human life. Divesters fail to grasp how energy powers every modern convenience from a warm shower (natural gas), to adequate hospital care (electricity), to food (diesel-powered farm equipment), and they offer few, if any, real solutions to our planet’s energy needs. Perhaps they should invest in our future instead of trying to undermine it.


The Stupidity of Mayors Fighting Climate Change

Since President Donald Trump announced America’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, mayors from across the country have announced a renewed commitment to the agreement, promising to achieve its objectives on their own.

“If the federal government doesn’t act, it doesn’t mean we don’t have a national policy; the federal government doesn’t occupy the only place on this,” said Mitch Landrieu, mayor of New Orleans and president of the United States Conference of Mayors.

He’s absolutely right—just not in the way he means to be.

To be clear, these policies will be economic and environmental failures, just as Paris is. States and cities committing to climate plans that regulate affordable, dependable power sources out of existence or subsidize uncompetitive energy technologies distort markets and hurt families, businesses, and taxpayers—all for no meaningful climate benefit in return.

But no matter how expensive or inefficient a policy might be, the federal government shouldn’t stop states from implementing it and facing the benefits or consequences. The voters who shoulder the burden of these policies will ultimately determine the fate of the politicians championing them.

The American government was built on the principle of federalism—the distribution of power among different levels of the government, from federal to local.

If the president can’t or won’t act, Americans don’t have to throw their arms up in despair. Instead, they can fight for change, both good and bad, on another level.

Federalism is enshrined in the 10th Amendment, which assigns to the states and the people all powers not assigned to the U.S. or explicitly prohibited.

These mayors’ promises on global warming are a bad idea, but there’s a silver lining: We have good reason to be skeptical that they’ll actually be kept.

In 2007, when President George W. Bush refused to commit to the goals of the Paris climate agreement’s predecessor, the Kyoto Protocol, more than 1,000 mayors promised to achieve the objectives on their own.

When the carbon reduction deadline rolled around in 2012, however, hardly any city had managed to reach its goals.

Likewise, today’s pledges may prove to be nothing more than hot air. If politicians don’t follow through on their promises, they’ll have no one to blame but themselves.

This isn’t the first time since the election that people have advertently proven the effectiveness of local action, even if directed toward the wrong ends.

In the days following Nov. 8, donations to Planned Parenthood skyrocketed.

Donors intended their actions to be a protest against the possibility of Planned Parenthood losing its federal funding. Instead, they revealed why Planned Parenthood doesn’t need federal funding in the first place: If free individuals truly care about an issue, they’ll put their money where their mouth is. And if they don’t care, they won’t donate.

Expecting the federal government to solve every problem simply passes responsibility, and the check, to someone else.

As former Vice President Al Gore rightly put it, “If President Trump won’t lead, the American people will.” If only he could be right for the right reasons.


Tourists Shun Scottish Regions Hit By Wind Turbine ‘Blight’

More than half of tourists to Scotland would rather not visit scenic areas dominated by man-made structures such as wind farms, a YouGov poll suggests.

A survey carried out on behalf of the John Muir Trust (JMT) found that 55% of respondents were “less likely” to venture into areas of the countryside industrialised by giant turbines, electricity pylons and super-quarries.

Just 3% said they were “more likely” to visit such areas, while 26% said such large-scale developments would make “no difference”.

The poll has rekindled calls for Scottish ministers to increase protection for wild and scenic areas that, it is argued, will protect rural tourism businesses.

It follows a recent decision to approve the 22-turbine Creag Riabhach wind farm in Altnaharra, the first to win consent within a designated wild land area. Each turbine will stand 125m high.

“As schools across England break up for the summer this week and many families flock to Scotland, we must remember that, for many, it’s the ability to enjoy being outdoors in Scotland’s unique, unspoilt natural landscapes that brings them north,” said Andrew Bachell, JMT’s chief executive.

“When a clear majority of people say they’d be put off visiting wild and scenic areas by the existence of large-scale wind farms, giant pylons, super-quarries and other developments, policymakers have to pay attention, before it’s too late.”


More Judicial Overreach Stymies Trump's Deregulation Agenda 

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 ruling, recently reversed the decision by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt of a 90-day stay on implementing new methane emissions regulations created during the final year of Barack Obama’s presidency. Pruitt argued that the stay was needed in order to thoroughly review the financial impact of the new regulations on the fossil fuel industry. Even the EPA estimated the compliance cost to be as high as $530 million, which means it would most likely be far higher. Pruitt further argued that not enough time was given for the oil industry to weigh in before the regulation went into effect.

The court rejected Pruitt’s argument, with the majority stating, “The administrative record thus makes clear that industry groups had ample opportunity to comment on all four issues on which EPA granted reconsideration, and indeed, that in several instances the agency incorporated those comments directly into the final rule.”

But there’s one big problem here that demonstrates yet another example of judicial overreach in the era of Donald Trump. This action taken by the court is extraordinary in that the court itself has recognized that its authority is limited to the reviewing of “final agency actions,” which clearly EPA Director Pruitt’s 90-day stay does not merit. In her dissenting opinion, Judge Janice Rogers blasted the majority opinion, stating, “In contrast to our precedent, the Court’s opinion concludes a particular administration proceeding has innumerable final agency actions, including intermediate decisions. No authority supports this proposition.”

Pruitt can appeal to the Supreme Court, but he won’t get a ruling on it until next year, and in the meantime the Obama-era regulation will go into effect. This is yet another reason for Trump to get busy putting conservative judges on the bench. It’s clear that the Left will continue to appeal to activist judges to block as much of Trump’s agenda as possible.




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 July, 2017

I’m a scientist. I’m blowing the whistle on the Trump administration

I think the top Warmists will lean on this guy to shut up. If it comes to a court case he will have to prove that he is right in what he says.  And that will mean that he has to prove the reality of anthropogenic global warming.  And he will fail in that.  So the Warmists cannot afford to have a court adjudicate on that

By Joel Clement

I am not a member of the deep state. I am not big government.

I am a scientist, a policy expert, a civil servant and a worried citizen. Reluctantly, as of today, I am also a whistleblower on an administration that chooses silence over science.

Nearly seven years ago, I came to work for the Interior Department, where, among other things, I’ve helped endangered communities in Alaska prepare for and adapt to a changing climate. But on June 15, I was one of about 50 senior department employees who received letters informing us of involuntary reassignments. Citing a need to “improve talent development, mission delivery and collaboration,” the letter informed me that I was reassigned to an unrelated job in the accounting office that collects royalty checks from fossil fuel companies.

I am not an accountant — but you don’t have to be one to see that the administration’s excuse for a reassignment such as mine doesn’t add up. A few days after my reassignment, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke testified before Congress that the department would use reassignments as part of its effort to eliminate employees; the only reasonable inference from that testimony is that he expects people to quit in response to undesirable transfers. Some of my colleagues are being relocated across the country, at taxpayer expense, to serve in equally ill-fitting jobs.

I believe I was retaliated against for speaking out publicly about the dangers that climate change poses to Alaska Native communities. During the months preceding my reassignment, I raised the issue with White House officials, senior Interior officials and the international community, most recently at a U.N. conference in June. It is clear to me that the administration was so uncomfortable with this work, and my disclosures, that I was reassigned with the intent to coerce me into leaving the federal government.

On Wednesday, I filed two forms — a complaint and a disclosure of information — with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. I filed the disclosure because eliminating my role coordinating federal engagement and leaving my former position empty exacerbate the already significant threat to the health and the safety of certain Alaska Native communities. I filed the complaint because the Trump administration clearly retaliated against me for raising awareness of this danger. Our country values the safety of our citizens, and federal employees who disclose threats to health and safety are protected from reprisal by the Whistleblower Protection Act and Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act.

Removing a civil servant from his area of expertise and putting him in a job where he’s not needed and his experience is not relevant is a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars. Much more distressing, though, is what this charade means for American livelihoods. The Alaska Native villages of Kivalina, Shishmaref and Shaktoolik are perilously close to melting into the Arctic Ocean. In a region that is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, the land upon which citizens’ homes and schools stand is newly vulnerable to storms, floods and waves. As permafrost melts and protective sea ice recedes, these Alaska Native villages are one superstorm from being washed away, displacing hundreds of Americans and potentially costing lives. The members of these communities could soon become refugees in their own country.

Alaska’s elected officials know climate change presents a real risk to these communities. Gov. Bill Walker (I) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) have been sounding the alarm and scrambling for resources to help these villages. But to stave off a life-threatening situation, Alaska needs the help of a fully engaged federal government. Washington cannot turn its back.

While I have given small amounts to Democratic candidates in the past, I have no problem whatsoever working for a Republican administration. I believe that every president, regardless of party, has the right and responsibility to implement his policies. But that is not what is happening here. Putting citizens in harm’s way isn’t the president’s right. Silencing civil servants, stifling science, squandering taxpayer money and spurning communities in the face of imminent danger have never made America great.

Now that I have filed with the Office of Special Counsel, it is my hope that it will do a thorough investigation into the Interior Department’s actions. Our country protects those who seek to inform others about dangers to American lives. The threat to these Alaska Native communities is not theoretical. This is not a policy debate. Retaliation against me for those disclosures is unlawful.

Let’s be honest: The Trump administration didn’t think my years of science and policy experience were better suited to accounts receivable. It sidelined me in the hope that I would be quiet or quit. Born and raised in Maine, I was taught to work hard and speak truth to power. Trump and Zinke might kick me out of my office, but they can’t keep me from speaking out. They might refuse to respond to the reality of climate change, but their abuse of power cannot go unanswered.


Pruitt Is Cleaning Up the EPA  

One of the best decisions Donald Trump has made thus far into his presidency was his choice of Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA may prove to be a textbook example of how corruption works to twist an ostensibly apolitical government agency into a primary proponent of a political cause. But Pruitt is taking the bull by the horns.

The Wall Street Journal recently noted that Pruitt has been aggressively working on replacing Barack Obama-era science advisers. In the month of June alone the EPA notified 38 advisers that their committee appointments would not be renewed. While the Left has claimed that Trump is engaged in a “war on science,” the reality is exactly the opposite. A bit of context is needed to better understand the issue at hand.

For years, the EPA has relied heavily on several non-government advisory boards because it is required to hear an advisory board’s advice before enacting new regulations. The EPA is not, however, required to heed a board’s advice. According to the Federal Advisory Committee Act rules, all advisory boards are required to be balanced and unbiased. Historically, the majority of committee members have come from academia, with some coming from consulting and activist groups. Very few members have come from industry.

One of the EPA’s most prominent advisory boards is the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC). In 1996, the EPA wanted to pass new restrictive regulations on emissions under the guise that these rules were needed to save the lives of thousands of Americans from dangerous air pollution. The problem was that the CASAC countered the EPA’s opinion, saying that research findings did not support the agency’s conclusion. Ignoring the advice, the EPA went ahead with enacting its costly regulations anyway.

Now here’s where the corruption problem begins to rear its ugly head. Ecofascists, frustrated with the independent nature of these advisory committees, worked to stack the deck in their favor. By the mid 2000s two-thirds of all CASAC members were grantees of the EPA. During Obama’s two terms, the number of grantees increased significantly, with hundreds of millions of dollars in research grants being awarded to these “independent” advisers. As The Wall Street Journal describes it, “In effect, EPA-funded researchers are empowered to review and approve their own work in order to rubber-stamp the EPA’s regulatory agenda. This is all done under the guise of ‘independence.’”

By reforming this practice, Pruitt is not working to quash science. On the contrary, he’s promoting it by dismantling a rigged system.


California Doubles Down on Cap-and-Trade

The Golden State’s legislature voted this week to prolong its onerous cap-and-trade scheme under the guise of curtailing global warming. Even more disturbing was the number of Republicans who joined the alarmist bandwagon. The Los Angeles Times triumphantly reports, “In a break with party leaders and activists in California and Washington, eight Republicans joined with Democrats to continue the cap-and-trade program, which requires companies to buy permits to release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.”

The Times continues, “The legislation would keep the 5-year-old program operating until 2030, providing a key tool for meeting the state’s ambitious goal for slashing emissions. Cap and trade also generates important revenue for building the bullet train from Los Angeles to San Francisco, another priority for the governor.” That would be the same bullet train that has turned into a financial debacle yet, for some reason, is considered a California holy grail. The Sacramento Bee dubs it one of the “state projects to offset the effects of climate change.” But it neither offsets climate change nor meets the criteria for frugal taxpayer spending.

In January, another LA Times report stated, “California’s bullet train could cost taxpayers 50% more than estimated — as much as $3.6 billion more. And that’s just for the first 118 miles through the Central Valley, which was supposed to be the easiest part of the route between Los Angeles and San Francisco. A confidential Federal Railroad Administration risk analysis, obtained by The Times, projects that building bridges, viaducts, trenches and track from Merced to Shafter, just north of Bakersfield, could cost $9.5 billion to $10 billion, compared with the original budget of $6.4 billion.”

The finishing touches of the Central Valley track might not occur until 2024 — a far cry from the original timeline: this year. This is emblematic of just how wasteful California is when it comes to allocating tax dollars. And it’s being done by lawmakers who have a vested interest that goes well beyond the scope of climate change. They’re most interested in funding pet projects like a leftist-coveted bullet train. That’s a lot of political capital to wager on a project that, so far, has been a complete failure. Other states, particularly Democrat-controlled ones, should take note lest they further aggravate the blue state exodus.


The Inconvenient Truth About Electric Vehicles

An electric auto will convert 5-10% of the energy in natural gas into motion. A normal vehicle will convert 20-30% of the energy in gasoline into motion. That's 3 or 4 times more energy recovered with an internal combustion vehicle than an electric vehicle.

Electricity is a specialty product. It's not appropriate for transportation. It looks cheap at this time, but that's because it was designed for toasters, not transportation. Increase the amount of wiring and infrastructure by a factor of a thousand, and it's not cheap.

Electricity does not scale up properly to the transportation level due to its miniscule nature. Sure, a whole lot can be used for something, but at extraordinary expense and materials.

Using electricity as an energy source requires two energy transformation steps, while using petroleum requires only one. With electricity, the original energy, usually chemical energy, must be transformed into electrical energy; and then the electrical energy is transformed into the kinetic energy of motion. With an internal combustion engine, the only transformation step is the conversion of chemical energy to kinetic energy in the combustion chamber.

The difference matters, because there is a lot of energy lost every time it is transformed or used. Electrical energy is harder to handle and loses more in handling.

The use of electrical energy requires it to move into and out of the space medium (aether) through induction. Induction through the aether medium should be referred to as another form of energy, but physicists sandwich it into the category of electrical energy. Going into and out of the aether through induction loses a lot of energy.

Another problem with electricity is that it loses energy to heat production due to resistance in the wires. A short transmission line will have 20% loss built in, and a long line will have 50% loss built in. These losses are designed in, because reducing the loss by half would require twice as much metal in the wires. Wires have to be optimized for diameter and strength, which means doubling the metal would be doubling the number of transmission lines.

High voltage transformers can get 90% efficiency with expensive designs, but household level voltages get 50% efficiency. Electric motors can get up to 60% efficiency, but only at optimum rpms and load. For autos, they average 25% efficiency. Gasoline engines get 25% efficiency with old-style carburetors and 30% with fuel injection, though additional loses can occur.

Applying this brilliant engineering to the problem yields this result: A natural gas electric generating turbine gets 40% efficiency. A high voltage transformer gets 90% efficiency. A household level transformer gets 50% efficiency. A short transmission line gets 20% loss, which is 80% efficiency. The total is 40% x 90% x 50% x 80% = 14.4% of the energy recovered before the electrical system does something similar to the gasoline engine in the vehicle. Some say the electricity performs a little better in the vehicle, but it's not much.

Electricity appears to be easy to handle sending it through wires. But it is the small scale that makes it look cheap. Scaling it up takes a pound of metal for so many electron-miles. Twice as much distance means twice as much metal. Twice as many amps means twice as much metal. Converting the transportation system into an electrical based system would require scaling up the amount of metal and electrical infrastructure by factors of hundreds or thousands. Where are all those lines going to go? They destroy environments. Where is that much natural gas going to come from for the electrical generators? There is very little natural gas in existence when using it for a large scale purpose. Natural gas has to be used with solar and wind energy, because only it can be turned on and off easily for backup.

One of the overwhelming facts about electric transportation is the chicken and egg phenomenon. Supposedly, a lot of electric vehicles will create an incentive to create a lot of expensive infrastructure. There are a lot of reasons why none of the goals can be met for such an infrastructure. The basic problem is that electricity will never be appropriate for such demanding use as general transportation, which means there will never be enough chickens or eggs to balance the demand. It's like trying to improve a backpack to such an extent that it will replace a pickup truck. The limitations of muscle metabolism are like the limitations of electrical energy.

Electrons are not a space-saving form of energy. Electrons have to be surrounded by large amounts of metal. It means electric motors get heavy and large. When cruising around town, the problems are not so noticeable. But the challenges of ruggedness are met far easier with internal combustion engines. Engineers say it is nice to get rid of the drive train with electric vehicles. But in doing so, they add clutter elsewhere, which adds weight, takes up space and messes up the suspension system. Out on the highway, the suspension system is the most critical factor.

These problems will prevent electric vehicles from replacing petroleum vehicles for all but specialty purposes. The infrastructure needed for electric vehicles will never exist when limited to specialty purposes. This would be true even with the perfect battery which takes up no space and holds infinite charge.


Debunked Climate Scientist Threatens Legal Action Against his Critics

A Stanford University professor indicated he was ready to take legal action against NOAA researchers who published a recent study critical of his work on green energy.

Emails obtained by National Review’s Robert Bryce show Stanford’s Mark Jacobson hired lawyers “to address the falsification of claims” about his work. Jacobson has not yet filed a lawsuit.

Jacobson sent a June email to Chris Clack , a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) mathematician who helped debunk his widely-cited 2015 research claimed the U.S. could run on 100 percent green energy. Clack and 20 other researchers published a retort to Jacobson’s study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), concluding its “work used invalid modeling tools, contained modeling errors, and made implausible and inadequately supported assumptions.”

“It’s unprecedented for a scientist to do that,” Chris Clack, told The National Review. “We have not attacked him. All the vitriol has come from his side. We have only talked about the substance of the paper.”

I have no comment except to say that any email you have obtained from a third party that has my words on it is copyrighted, and your printing any email of mine would be done without my permission and would be considered a copyright infringement,” Jacobson told The National Review.

Jacobson’s research contained several serious errors, such as overstating the available hydropower in the U.S. by roughly a factor of ten as well as claiming all commercial gasoline powered jetliners would be replaced with hydrogen in thirty years.

Rather than accept any of the criticisms, Jacobson responded with tirades on Twitter and the environmentalists blog EcoWatch. Jaconbson responded to the criticism by claiming “[t]here is not a single error in our paper,” to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Technology Review.

Environmentalists and some Democrats widely hailed Jacobson’s paper, with politicians like Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and activist celebrities like Mark Ruffalo citing it. However, even a green energy CEO says that powering everything in modern civilization can rely solely on solar and wind power is a “hoax.”

Power grids require demand for electricity to exactly match supply in order to function, which is an enormous problem for wind and solar power since their output cannot be accurately predicted in advance or easily adjusted. This is the entire reason for Renewable Energy Credits. Wind and solar can also burn out the grid if they produce too much, or not enough, electricity, leading to brownouts or blackouts. Such damage has already occurred in power grids relying too much on solar and wind power — like California and Germany.

When the islands of Tasmania and El Hierro tried to power their economies with 100 percent green energy, both islands quickly switched back to diesel generators after suffering reliability problems and soaring costs. The analysis suggests it would have taken 84 years for El Hierro’s wind and hydropower systems to simply pay back their capital costs.




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


20 July, 2017

What an airhead!

The fantasy below is by Ida Auken, a Member of the Parliament of Denmark and a priest of the Church of Denmark.  She is a member of a radical Leftist party and as Green as they come

Her fantasy set out below reminds one powerfully of an earlier fantasy, which predicted that "the state will wither away" (Marx, Engels, Lenin) -- which was a very bad prophecy. The State in fact grows rather than recedes.  She thinks private property will wither away, which is also Marxist and just as improbable. Her prophecy dismisses almost the whole of human experience.

Ida's idea seems to be that a coming era of robotics will abolish the need to work.  But that prophecy has been made many times as machines became more and more sophisticated.  Yet the proportion of the population working remains much the same through all these changes.  People's needs and wants expand as the possibilities do.

And private property is now way more extensive than ever before.  Kitchen gadgets alone have proliferated enormously.  I have an electric crockpot, an electric can-opener, an electric rice-cooker, a microwave oven, an electric sandwich maker etc.  My parents had none of those even in their declining years.

The actual trend in society is massively opposite to what the poor deluded woman hypothesizes.  The brain beneath her blonde hair clearly has some twisted bits in it.  She is high on dreams.  Her no. 1 passion seems to be recycling, which is quite labor-intensive.  One wonders how that fits in with her dream of idleness below

Welcome to the year 2030. Welcome to my city - or should I say, "our city". I don't own anything. I don't own a car. I don't own a house. I don't own any appliances or any clothes.

It might seem odd to you, but it makes perfect sense for us in this city. Everything you considered a product, has now become a service. We have access to transportation, accommodation, food and all the things we need in our daily lives. One by one all these things became free, so it ended up not making sense for us to own much.

First communication became digitized and free to everyone. Then, when clean energy became free, things started to move quickly. Transportation dropped dramatically in price. It made no sense for us to own cars anymore, because we could call a driverless vehicle or a flying car for longer journeys within minutes. We started transporting ourselves in a much more organized and coordinated way when public transport became easier, quicker and more convenient than the car. Now I can hardly believe that we accepted congestion and traffic jams, not to mention the air pollution from combustion engines. What were we thinking?

Sometimes I use my bike when I go to see some of my friends. I enjoy the exercise and the ride. It kind of gets the soul to come along on the journey. Funny how some things seem never seem to lose their excitement: walking, biking, cooking, drawing and growing plants. It makes perfect sense and reminds us of how our culture emerged out of a close relationship with nature.

"Environmental problems seem far away"

In our city we don't pay any rent, because someone else is using our free space whenever we do not need it. My living room is used for business meetings when I am not there.

Once in awhile, I will choose to cook for myself. It is easy - the necessary kitchen equipment is delivered at my door within minutes. Since transport became free, we stopped having all those things stuffed into our home. Why keep a pasta-maker and a crepe cooker crammed into our cupboards? We can just order them when we need them.

This also made the breakthrough of the circular economy easier. When products are turned into services, no one has an interest in things with a short life span. Everything is designed for durability, repairability and recyclability. The materials are flowing more quickly in our economy and can be transformed to new products pretty easily. Environmental problems seem far away, since we only use clean energy and clean production methods. The air is clean, the water is clean and nobody would dare to touch the protected areas of nature because they constitute such value to our well being. In the cities we have plenty of green space and plants and trees all over. I still do not understand why in the past we filled all free spots in the city with concrete.

The death of shopping

Shopping? I can't really remember what that is. For most of us, it has been turned into choosing things to use. Sometimes I find this fun, and sometimes I just want the algorithm to do it for me. It knows my taste better than I do by now.

When AI and robots took over so much of our work, we suddenly had time to eat well, sleep well and spend time with other people. The concept of rush hour makes no sense anymore, since the work that we do can be done at any time. I don't really know if I would call it work anymore. It is more like thinking-time, creation-time and development-time.

For a while, everything was turned into entertainment and people did not want to bother themselves with difficult issues. It was only at the last minute that we found out how to use all these new technologies for better purposes than just killing time.


Almost middle of summer and still no Northwest Passage

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Marin, San Mateo counties sue Big Oil over climate change

Two Bay Area counties and a Southern California city concerned about rising sea levels sued 37 of the world’s biggest oil and coal companies Monday, claiming the fossil fuel giants should pay for damages wrought by climate change — a first-of-its-kind challenge that some liken to the high-stakes litigation of the tobacco industry in the 1990s.

Marin County, San Mateo County and Imperial Beach (San Diego County) filed separate but nearly identical lawsuits in their respective Superior Court offices that seek to tie fossil fuel development to climate-related problems in coastal areas. Lawyers for the three communities worked together to document such effects as more frequent flooding and beach erosion as well as the possibility that water will eventually inundate roads, airports, sewage treatment plants and other real estate.

The lawyers contend that the oil companies knew about the damage their actions were causing, denied it and sought to discredit scientific findings that greenhouse gas emissions were heating the Earth’s atmosphere.

The suits are the latest in a small but growing effort to hold Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, Shell and other major energy companies accountable for the effects of global warming. Legal experts say the challenge is more comprehensive than previous endeavors, and is based on better climate science and more evidence to support a claim of conspiracy among oil company executives.


Steve Goddard comments:  "Apparently no one told these left-wing morons that sea level isn’t rising in the San Francisco Bay.

And as far as San Diego county goes, sea level there has hardly changed in 145 years. Please put me on the witness stand. I will have the plaintiffs crying for mercy in about five minutes. King Canute must be rolling in his grave at the stupidity on display by Democrats

The magic of 59 degrees -- where did it go?

Just exactly how much has the climate changed in recent decades? Longtime New York Times readers can be forgiven if they are now thoroughly confused on the matter.

Anyone old enough to have been a Times reader in the late 1980s may recall a series of stories that helped educate the public on how cool our planet used to be. Here’s one report from March of 1988:

"One of the scientists, Dr. James E. Hansen of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Institute for Space Studies in Manhattan, said he used the 30-year period 1950-1980, when the average global temperature was 59 degrees Fahrenheit, as a base to determine temperature variations."

The paper returned to the topic in June of that year, and reminded readers of the planet’s colder past:

"Dr. Hansen, who records temperatures from readings at monitoring stations around the world, had previously reported that four of the hottest years on record occurred in the 1980’s. Compared with a 30-year base period from 1950 to 1980, when the global temperature averaged 59 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature was one-third of a degree higher last year."

The following year, the paper reported a new record high in global temperatures and affirmed its climate history, which seemed to be the consensus view—at least among scientists quoted by the Times:

"The British readings showed that the average global temperature in 1988 was 0.612 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the long-term average for the period 1950 through 1979, which is a base for comparing global temperatures. The average worldwide temperature for that 30-year period is roughly 59 degrees Fahrenheit, the British researchers said."

In 1991, the Times reported yet another record high, and published yet another reminder of how cool the planet used to be:

"The Goddard group found that the record average surface temperature for the globe was eight-tenths of a degree Fahrenheit above the 1951-1980 average of 59 degrees. The British group found it seventh-tenths of a degree higher than the 1951-80 average."

By that point a reasonable consumer might have been ardently hoping to return to that magical era in which global temperatures averaged just 59 degrees. But in the ensuing years it must have been difficult for Times readers to stay hopeful. As the years and then the decades rolled by, The Times routinely reported record or near-record highs as global temperatures appeared to march ever higher.

In January of this year, the newspaper published a feature entitled, “How 2016 Became Earth’s Hottest Year on Record.” The Times noted the disturbing news that “2016 was the first time that the hottest year on record occurred three times in a row.” And things could be about to get much worse. “We expect records to continue to be broken as global warming proceeds,” climate enthusiast Michael Mann told the Times.

Is there any way to return to the salad days of 59 degrees? Well, it turns out to be easier than you might think. In January, as the government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was reporting the third consecutive year of record highs, it noted that the average global temperature in 2016 had surged to a sizzling... 58.69 degrees.

Over the years researchers seem to have concluded that the planet was not as hot as they thought. Oops.

The most important facts in the climate debate are subject to frequent revisions. This doesn’t mean the global warming thesis is wrong, but it argues for skepticism. The Journal’s Holman Jenkins noted in 2015:

"By the count of researcher Marcia Wyatt in a widely circulated presentation, the U.S. government’s published temperature data for the years 1880 to 2010 has been tinkered with 16 times in the past three years."

While waiting for the science to settle, this column’s advice to Times readers is to go ahead and fly around the world on the newspaper’s luxurious jet—if you don’t mind the company.


Australia: Who’s afraid of the big bad climate monster?

IN Al Gore’s latest cinematic dose of climate scaremongering, a young Asian man is crying.

“I feel so scared” he wails, before vision of solicitous uncle Al patting his hand in an attempt to soothe away his fears of the apocalypse.

Scaremongering is what Gore does best, and fear is the business model that has made him rich, though his every apocalyptic scenario has failed to materialise.

In Australia last week to spruik his upcoming movie An Inconvenient Sequel, the former US vice president tried it on again, claiming Mother Nature was “screaming” and the world would ­descend into “political disruption and chaos and diseases, stronger storms and more ­destructive floods” unless we buy his snake oil.

Silly Labor premiers bought that snake oil last week, pledging alongside the grinning Gore that Victoria, Queensland, the ACT and South Australia would embrace renewables to produce zero net emissions by 2050.

They haven’t learned the lesson from SA’s extreme green experiment with renewable energy that has produced nothing but crippling blackouts and the highest electricity prices in the world.

Any normal person with such a woeful record of accuracy as Gore would be ashamed to show his face. Eleven years after his Inconvenient Truth movie scared little kids witless, his warnings of climate armageddon have come to nothing.

“Unless we take drastic measures the world would reach a point of no return within 10 years,” he told us then. Wrong. In fact the world has just been through almost 20 years in which there has been a hiatus in global warming, even as carbon dioxide has increased: an “inconvenient pause” as some wags put it.

Around the world people are waking up to the fact that their leaders have been crying wolf, while their electricity bills go through the roof.

Australia’s prosperity is built on the reams of cheap, abundant fossil fuel under our feet, and yet green zealots have forced us into an energy crisis.

But when Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly last week pointed out the logical fact that Australians will die because of high power bills, he was slammed as a “scaremonger” by the very people who worship at Al Gore’s feet.

Yes, cold kills, and electricity prices have doubled in the past decade, as uncertainty plagues the energy sector, and cheap coal-fired power is priced out of the market by government subsidies for unreliable renewable energy production.

The states, which bear much of the blame, continue with the fantasy that you can replace coal with wind and solar while simultaneously banning the development of onshore gas fields.

The iron-clad law of ­energy supply is that more ­renewables force out baseload power, which you need when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow.

Yet SA is pretending that the world’s biggest battery built at huge taxpayer expense by another global green huckster, Elon Musk, is going to save the day.

The diabolic task facing federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg is to wrangle agreement on something approaching a rational energy policy out of the recently ­released Finkel Review.

Unlike Donald Trump, this government doesn’t have an electoral mandate for pulling out of the Paris treaty.

Tony Abbott was a climate sceptic yet he signed us up to the Paris renewable energy target of slashing emissions by 26-28 per cent by 2050.

That was all he could get through Senate where even mining millionaire Clive Palmer had been got at by Al Gore. So this is where we are.

Appointing Alan Finkel as chief scientist was one of Malcolm Turnbull’s first tasks after he deposed Abbott. Like Turnbull, Finkel is a climate true believer who drives an electric car and powers his South Yarra home on ­renewables.

He’s also an accomplished scientist and entrepreneur with a PhD in electrical ­engineering.

He’s smart but he has produced a report bullish on renewables and bearish on coal.

Finkel is right that wimpish investors have deserted coal in Australia and that electricity prices have soared because of the uncertainty that ensued since Labor’s vandalism from 2007.

But coal is nowhere near obsolete. As the Australian Minerals Council points out, coal is the world’s leading source of electricity and will be till at least 2040.

In our region countries are busy building new clean coal plants. In East Asia alone 1250 new plants are under construction or planned.

Yet in the past eight years in Australia not a single new baseload coal or gas generation unit has been built.

That has to change.

Turnbull has now come around to that realisation, telling the Liberal National Party state convention in Brisbane yesterday: “Those people who say coal and other fossil fuels have no ­future are delusional.”

Fossil fuels are here to stay, despite Al Gore.




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 July, 2017

Warmists take note: Scientists are stunned by corals as big as cars and thriving marine life at Bikini Atoll site where 23 atomic bombs were dropped

Corals and much else are not in danger anywhere on this  evidence.  It is also evidence that the harm from radiation has been much exaggerated

Bikini Atoll, the former paradise island used by the US to carry out 23 nuclear weapons tests 70 years ago, is now teeming with life, scientists have found.

The Pacific Ocean island has blooming populations of plants and animal life, filled with fish such as snapper, sharks and tuna while boasting corals as big as cars.

Crabs the size of hubcaps are said to be feasting on coconuts filled with radioactive groundwater as part of an ecosystem described by experts as 'remarkably resilient'.

Scientists are now sequencing the DNA of the Bikini Atoll coral to better understand how they are able to survive.

The study may help researchers better understand how certain DNA can combat genetic diseases, such as cancer.

During the Cold War, the US detonated 23 nuclear bombs at Bikini Atoll, including a device in 1954 that was 1,100-times more powerful than the Hiroshima atom bomb.

The blasts, detonated in the years between 1946 and 1954, exposed corals and other species to persistent, high levels of radioactivity.

At the time of the tests, residents of the islands were moved to other locations, and the site has remained uninhabited  beyond a handful of caretakers since.

A 2012 report to the United Nations stated that there was 'near-irreversible environmental contamination' to the former nuclear site.

But scientists have found that populations of coral, crabs, fish and sharks are thriving at Bikini Atoll.

A researcher told the Guardian that fish populations are thriving because they have been left alone - 'in a strange way they are protected by the history of this place'.

The findings, led by scientists at Stanford University in northern California, featured in an episode of Big Pacific aired on June 28, a natural history TV series on PBS.

The five-part series, which looked at strange wildlife populations in the Pacific Ocean, did not air in the UK but will be available to buy on DVD later this year.

The study focused on reports of mutant sharks that are missing their second dorsal fin around a submerged hydrogen bomb crater near the island.

Professor Steve Palumbi, a marine scientist at Stanford whose team have been studying the effects of radiation poisoning on marine life, said the bizarre ecosystem is 'remarkably resilient'.

He said that, to the naked eye, the crabs, fish and corals around Bikini Atoll look perfectly normal, and some of the coral has been around for decades.

During the Cold War, the US detonated 23 nuclear bombs at Bikini Atoll, including a device in 1954 that was 1,100-times more powerful than the Hiroshima atom bomb.

The blasts, detonated in the years between 1946 and 1954, exposed corals and other species to persistent, high levels of radioactivity.

The researchers discovered plentiful schools of fish at a lagoon near the Micronesian island, located halfway between Hawaii and Australia.

Professor Palumbi told the Guardian that fish populations are thriving because they have been left alone - 'in a strange way they are protected by the history of this place'.

'It is a remarkable environment, quite odd,' he said.

The fish spawn around the island's waters using an abundant population of coral that seems unaffected by the deadly radiation at the site.

Professor Palumbi and his team are now sequencing the DNA of the Bikini Atoll coral to better understand how they are able to survive.

The study may help to develop research into genetic diseases, such as cancer, in humans.

'The terrible history of is an ironic setting for research that might help people live longer,' Professor Palumbi said.

'By understanding how corals could have recolonised the radiation-filled bomb craters, maybe we can discover something new about keeping DNA intact.'

Although local wildlife appears to be flourishing, the Bikini Atoll site is still considered dangerous to humans.

A 2012 report to the United Nations stated that there was 'near-irreversible environmental contamination'.

'This is the most destructive thing we have ever done to the ocean, dropping 23 atomic bombs on it, yet the ocean is really striving to come back to life,' said Professor Palumbi.

'The fact there is life there and the life there is trying to come back from the most violent thing we've ever done to it is pretty hopeful.'


Russia suspected of using Bermuda shell company to exploit American anti-fracking activists   

Russia’s propaganda schemes and shell companies are so complex that investigators call them “matryoshkas” for the Russian nesting dolls that hide one inside the other. Capitol Hill lawmakers say they are now wrestling with one that appears to have twisted American oil and gas policy in Moscow’s favor.

Adding fresh intrigue to the multiple Russia probes underway across Washington, top Republican lawmakers are demanding that the Trump administration immediately investigate a Bermuda-based shell company with suspected Kremlin ties that is accused of working in the shadows to move millions of dollars to anti-fracking activists across the U.S.

Capitol Hill investigators say the Bermuda fracking case underscores the complexity of recent Russian influence operations that attempt to use Americans as pawns in money laundering or propaganda schemes.

“If you connect the dots, it is clear that Russia is funding U.S. environmental groups in an effort to suppress our domestic oil and gas industry, specifically hydraulic fracking,” Rep. Lamar Smith, Republican Texas, said in a statement.

The fracking revelations dovetail with a recently declassified report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that concluded that Russia’s state-owned media outlet Russia Today, or RT, also engaged in a vigorous anti-fracking campaign to benefit the leading Russian state-owned energy firm Gazprom.

In recent years, NATO chiefs have criticized Russia for conspiring to undermine technology in Europe by supporting anti-fracking protesters in Romania and Bulgaria. Former NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has claimed Russian President Vladimir Putin was behind the efforts.

Fracking involves blasting shale rock with water, sand and chemicals to release trapped natural gas. Although it has led to a boom in U.S. gas production, environmental groups have voiced opposition, saying it contributes to global warming.

Russia has aligned itself with the anti-fracking movement for fear that aggressive U.S. fracking will cut into Moscow’s global gas profits, analysts say.

An investigator speaking to The Washington Times on the condition of anonymity for security reasons said Moscow does not care whether it’s using Democrats or Republicans in an influence campaign.

“The Kremlin seeks to influence American debate in ways that look natural,” the investigator said. “To do this, they use what we call ‘useful idiots,’ or people who are unaware they are being used.”

Shell companies

On Capitol Hill, worries over the Russian anti-fracking scheme led Mr. Smith, who chairs the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, to send a letter late last month to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

The six-page letter asks Treasury officials to investigate “what appears to be a concerted effort by foreign entities to funnel millions of dollars through various nonprofit entities to influence the U.S. energy market.”

Co-signed by Rep. Randy K. Weber Sr., Texas Republican, the letter targets the San Francisco-based environmental group the Sea Change Foundation, which is alleged to have taken $23 million in 2010 and 2011 from Bermuda-based shell company Klein Ltd., which reportedly has ties to Russian oligarchs.

According to IRS documents, Sea Change Foundation is a 501(c)(3) private foundation.

After receiving funds from Bermuda, Sea Change is suspected of passing millions of dollars to U.S.-based environmental groups opposed to fracking, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters.

Last week, Klein Ltd. responded to the Capitol Hill accusations and denied funneling Russian money to environmental groups.

“Our firm has represented Klein since its inception, and we can state categorically that at no point did this philanthropic organization receive or expend funds from Russian sources or Russian-connected sources and Klein has no Russian connection whatsoever,” Klein attorney Roderick M. Forrest said in an email to The Times last week.

House investigators, led by Mr. Smith, believe the scheme potentially violates federal statutes pertaining to agents of foreign governments or those lobbying on behalf of domestic and foreign interests, but others on Capitol Hill are less sure. They note that private U.S. foundations may accept foreign contributions and that Moscow might have exploited that loophole in this particular case.

The League of Conservation Voters also denies all charges that it has any Kremlin associations.

“This seems like nothing more than an attempt at distraction away from the Trump campaign’s well-publicized interactions with Russian interests to influence the election,” league spokesman David Willett said in an email. “We have no connections to Russia and have been an effective advocate for environmental protection for over 45 years.”

Other environmental groups have blasted the House Republicans’ call for an investigation as “pathetic,” and Klein insists all its work is legal and operates within Bermuda’s strict regulations against money laundering.

Long shadows

Russia’s propaganda shadow has hung over environmental groups for some time. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is on record calling out Russia for creating “phony environmental groups” opposed to pipelines and fracking.

“We were even up against phony environmental groups, and I’m a big environmentalist, but these were funded by the Russians to stand against any effort — ‘Oh that pipeline, that fracking, that whatever will be a problem for you’ — and a lot of the money supporting that message was coming from Russia,” Mrs. Clinton said in a June 2014 speech.

House investigators are unsure how much more they will be able to unearth about Sea Change, which was first exposed in a 2014 report by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. That report closely connected Klein with Russia’s state-owned oil giant Rosneft and Russian energy investment groups including Firebird New Russia Fund and VimpelCom Ltd.

The report singled out that Sea Change functioned as a “pass-through” financing organization. Investigators say such opacity is what they confront when they attempt to prosecute complex international Russian schemes.

One investigator compared the Sea Change probe to a recent Interpol investigation into a suspected Russian mafia money laundering operating that infiltrated Portugal’s top football teams. Because of the Portuguese scheme’s complexity, which included multiple shell companies, tax fraud, corruption and forgery of documents, Portuguese law enforcement code-named the case Operation Matryoshka Dolls.


Tired of Being Wrong, Climate Alarmists Move Doomsday to Next Century

If the climate alarmists weren't still so politically powerful and represented in Congress by their devoted cult members, it would almost be easy to pity them. Why? Because they're so spectacularly wrong about so many things.

They keep the hype coming regardless, as in this article that cites the fact that it's hot in the desert in the summertime to say that air travel may be doomed.

The cult's leader — Al Gore — said in 2009 that there was a 75 percent chance that the entire arctic polar ice cap would melt by 2014.

It's still there.

The year before the North Pole was supposed to be gone, noted climate scientist Hans von Storch went against cult orthodoxy in an interview with Spiegel Online in 2013 and had some interesting things to say about the climate prediction models so revered by the alarmists.

After noting that “climate change seems to be taking a break,” von Storch had this to say about the models:

“If things continue as they have been, in five years, at the latest, we will need to acknowledge that something is fundamentally wrong with our climate models. A 20-year pause in global warming does not occur in a single modeled scenario. But even today, we are finding it very difficult to reconcile actual temperature trends with our expectations.”

He followed that up with this after being asked what might be wrong with the models:

There are two conceivable explanations — and neither is very pleasant for us. The first possibility is that less global warming is occurring than expected because greenhouse gases, especially CO2, have less of an effect than we have assumed. This wouldn't mean that there is no man-made greenhouse effect, but simply that our effect on climate events is not as great as we have believed. The other possibility is that, in our simulations, we have underestimated how much the climate fluctuates owing to natural causes.

After so many swings and misses while attempting to predict doomsday as being just around the corner, the alarmists have decided to provide themselves a little cover:

Climate alarmist James Hansen's prediction of Manhattan being underwater by 2018 seems to not be happening, so he's moving his own goal posts and saying “50 to 150 years” now.

That's the beauty of being one of the “we believe in science” people: there's never any penalty for being wrong. Every prediction that doesn't come true isn't a cause for reflection about perhaps adjusting the conclusion; it's merely an opportunity to pull a new prediction out of thin air.

Perhaps they are finally getting embarrassed, though. Tossing all of the predictions a century down the road at least saves them from having to be around when those are proved wrong.

Unless, of course, the real scientists who are working on aging and extending life have some big success soon.


Swiss Physicist Concludes IPCC Assumptions ‘Violate Reality’…CO2 A ‘Very Weak Greenhouse Gas’

A Swiss scientist known to have published hundreds of scientific papers in physics journals has authored a new scholarly paper that casts serious doubts on the effectiveness of CO2 as a greenhouse gas influencing Earth’s temperatures.

This paper has been added to a growing volume of peer-reviewed scientific papers that seriously question estimates of a high climate sensitivity to significant increases in CO2 concentrations.

Below are some of the key user-friendly (non-technical) points from Dr. Reinhart’s paper entitled Infrared absorption of atmospheric carbon dioxide. 

A summarizing conclusion from the calculations may be that if we doubled today’s concentration (400 ppm) to 800 ppm, the consequent temperature response would be less than 1/4th of a degree Celsius.  Even with a ten-fold increase in today’s CO2 concentration (400 ppm) to 4,000 ppm, the resulting temperature change would amount to just 0.8°C.

Based on all these facts, we conclude that CO2 is a very weak greenhouse gas. We emphasize that our simplifying assumptions are by no means trying to minimize the absorption potential of CO2. To the contrary, they lead to overestimating the limiting values. The assumption of a constant temperature and black body radiation definitely violates reality and even the principles of thermodynamics.

Our results permit to conclude that CO2 is a very weak greenhouse gas and cannot be accepted as the main driver of climate change. The observed temperature increase since pre-industrial times is close to an order of magnitude higher than that attributable to CO2. We find that the increase of CO2 only might become dangerous, if the concentrations are considerably greater than 4000 ppm. At present rates of increase this would take more than 200 years. Therefore, demands for sequestering CO2 are unjustified and trading of CO2 certificates is an economic absurdity. The climate change must have a very different origin and the scientific community must look for causes of climate change that can be solidly based on physics and chemistry.


Australia: Plastic bags are GOOD for the environment -- compared with the alternatives

News that Australia’s two largest supermarkets were completely phasing out single-use plastic bags was met with praise from environmental groups on Friday.

The move will affect shoppers in NSW, Victoria and WA, bringing them into line with South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT, which already have statewide bans on plastic bags. A statewide ban in Queensland comes into effect next year.

From next year, shoppers will have to pay 15 cents each for heavier, reusable plastic bags.

Jon Dee, managing director of environmental lobby group Do Something and founder of the National Plastic Bag Campaign, called on the federal government to institute a nationwide ban. “Such a national ban would reduce Australia’s plastic bag use by at an estimated six billion bags a year,” he said.

Woolworths chief executive Brad Banducci said the supermarket handed out more than 3.2 billion plastic bags a year and “hence can play a significant role in reducing overall plastic bag usage”.

“Today’s commitment shows we are committed to taking our environmental and community responsibilities seriously,” he said.

The problem with scrapping plastic bags, however, is it increases use of bin liners.

In 2012, a review of South Australia’s bag ban found just 15 per cent of consumers purchased bin liners before the ban, compared with 80 per cent after, “increasing some scepticism about the broader environmental benefit”.

The review suggested that “any future initiatives should include a focus on changing household bin liner behaviour”. That’s because bin liners “do not break down well in modern, highly compacted landfills”, a 2014 WA government study noted.

In 2011, a report by the UK Environment Agency found single-use plastic bags actually had the lowest overall environmental impact in eight out of nine categories compared with heavier options, when the entire production and transport life cycle was taken into account.

A paper bag would have to be reused seven times to have the same “global warming potential” as a traditional plastic bag used as a bin liner, a heavy-duty plastic bag nine times, a tote bag 26 times and a cotton bag 327 times.

That study calculated that just over four in 10 of all lightweight plastic bags were reused in the place of heavier bin liners.

With 90 per cent of households using either bin liners or plastic bags to line their bins, plastic bags being phased out and bin liners discouraged, the natural question becomes — what exactly are you meant to use?




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 July, 2017

Boston wants to fight climate change. So why is every new building made of glass?

It's the little people who have to make sacrifices, not the Boston Brahmins

If architects, planners, and public officials in Boston mean everything they say about sustainability and climate readiness, why is the city’s latest construction boom filling the skyline with so much glass? From the shimmering height of the Millennium Tower to the waterfront views of 22 Liberty, and a boxy office and condo complex going up at Pier 4, glass exteriors have become a major feature of today’s urban landscape. Just as we associate periods in Boston’s history with specific materials and styles — like 19th-century brick apartment blocks and 20th-century monumental concrete forms — glass is the material of the moment. The new buildings mimic others being erected in New York, London, Dubai, Singapore, and other cities around the world. Glass walls have become a shortcut for architecture that is sleek, cosmopolitan, and of-the-moment.

Yet glass buildings also take a lot of energy to heat and cool. When New York started tracking energy use by skyscrapers, the gleaming 7 World Trade Center — one of that city’s more efficient glass towers — scored worse than the 1930s-era Empire State Building. Oddly, glass buildings are proliferating even as cities like Boston set ambitious goals to deal with climate change.

Former mayor Thomas Menino vowed to cultivate “the most sustainable city in the United States”; his successor, Martin Walsh, has called Boston “America’s climate champion” and set a goal of being carbon neutral by 2050.

Such rhetoric from City Hall resonates within an architecture profession that has embraced climate awareness in a big way. The “green” building industry has exploded in the past decade; green building conferences now draw tens of thousands of attendees every year. Sustainability is at the forefront of architecture curricula, and hundreds of thousands of architects get certified in sustainable design. In specialty publications, architects and other building experts have been fretting about the popularity of glass exteriors for years.

But all the talk about sustainability among architects hasn’t actually translated into lots of sustainable buildings in the real world. In reality, the industry faces a massive problem: By some estimates, the building sector consumes nearly half of the energy and produces 45 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Many architects have signed on to an industry challenge to become carbon neutral by 2030, but new buildings are already slipping behind the targets to get there. Permissive building codes, industry inertia, and market demands — like clients clamoring for floor-to-ceiling views — have widened the discrepancy between the kind of buildings cities say they want and what they actually allow. So while the industry inches towards better environmental performance, buildings in Boston and other cities still fall short of the sustainability goals that everyone claims to embrace.

The debate over glass buildings is one example of a larger fault line in architecture, a profession where the dreams of social and environmental visionaries collide with the harsh realities of getting building projects financed.

Sustainability-minded architects are trying to wean colleagues and clients from all-glass buildings, which they see as a relic of the past rather than a vision of the future. “Our goal is not to demonize glass as a material,” says Blake Jackson, an architect at Tsoi/Kobus & Associates in Cambridge. But he says glass can be used judiciously in a way that’s responsive to the environment.

Others describe the issue more starkly. “Glass is like sugar,” says Ilana Judah, director of sustainability at FXFOWLE Architects in New York. It’s inherently appealing to the senses and was once a luxury. Now, as a commodity that’s both appealing and plentiful, it creates problems. “Sugar is an incredibly commonplace item now,” she says, “and we have an obesity issue.” Judah says that glass, like sugar, has negative consequences when used in excess. “My perspective is that we’re overdosing on glass,” she says.

Architecture has been in a love affair and struggle with glass buildings for nearly a century, since floor-to-ceiling glass walls became possible around the 1920s. “The big fight in all traditional buildings up to that time was how to get natural light into spaces,” says Blake Middleton, a partner at New York-based Handel Architects.

Glass walls were seen as a liberation, and became a key part of the modernist aesthetic. “It’s sleek. It feels like the future,” says Z Smith, an architect at the New Orleans-based firm Eskew+Dumez+Ripple. German Bauhaus architects who emigrated to the United States helped to popularize a glass-heavy international style that still resonates today. The iconic transparent glass walls of Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House in Plano, Ill., are echoed today in the nearly invisible walls of an Apple Store.

The visual qualities of glass — transparency, reflectivity, smoothness — still captivate designers. Smith’s architecture students at Tulane University quickly learn that glass is a shortcut to a good-looking design: “When they’re not sure what do with it, they enclose it with a glass curtain wall.” Lit up at night, glass buildings make great marketing photos. Reflecting daylight, they appear jewel-like in the skyline.

For developers, the main appeal of glass is financial. Glass is pricier than other materials, but not exorbitant, and a simple all-glass wall can actually streamline costs over a wall with large windows. And the investment in glass yields a payoff. “It’s always about the view,” says Middleton, who designed Boston’s Millennium Tower. “In real estate, it’s location, location, location, and the third location is where you are in elevation.” A floor-to-ceiling window helps to maximize the value of that height.

In residential buildings, a glass wall “is only for the day the potential buyer of the condo walks in. They feel like they can fly,” says Smith. But what makes an apartment sell is different from what makes it livable. Glass walls are often touted as a way to feel connected to nature and the outdoors, but that illusion, paradoxically, comes at an environmental cost.

What’s so problematic about glass walls? In Boston’s climate, the biggest problem is a lack of insulation. Unlike opaque walls, glass allows heat to pass in and out easily. A 2014 report from the Urban Green Council in New York found that glass buildings have insulation values equivalent to medieval half-timber houses. “You have to now put more heat in your building to make up for that glass,” says Andrea Love, director of building science at Boston architecture firm Payette. On a cold day, glass walls will make you feel chilly, even if the air temperature in the room is comfortable, because your body loses heat to the cold surface.

And as Love explains, they create a chill-inducing draft, as warmed air hits the top of the glass wall and falls. Perimeter heating systems are often needed to make up for these discomforts. In the summer, solar energy heats up surfaces inside, requiring more air conditioning. All-glass buildings often need constant heating or cooling to maintain comfortable temperatures. In an extended power failure, temperatures in a glass high-rise could quickly rise or fall to dangerous levels.

Transparent walls also limit privacy, and sunlight can create glare. Reflections on glass buildings can also be a problem; one London skyscraper infamously melted cars parked outside. The Urban Green Council has found that occupants of glass buildings often cover their views with shades and curtains, negating the effect of transparent walls. And a study by Love’s team found that floor-to-ceiling glass doesn’t bring in significantly more daylight than windows covering half the wall.


What Green/Left fearmongering does

Jeff Jacoby

THE STRANGER rang the doorbell. Five minutes later, she was sobbing in our living room.

It was a little before 7 p.m. when we heard the bell. With a glance at my wife to confirm that we weren't expecting anyone, I went to open the front door. Standing in the entrance, a tentative smile on her face and an iPad in her hand, was a young woman wearing shorts and an olive T-shirt.

"Hi, do you have a moment? I'd like to tell you about Greenpeace," she began.

We're used to getting door-to-door solicitors. I've opened the front door to high-school kids selling raffle tickets, to candidates collecting nomination signatures — once, even, to someone recruiting customers for a dry-cleaning establishment. But most of the canvassers are recent college graduates requesting contributions for political advocacy groups. Our neighborhood skews heavily left of center — one house on our street has been flying a "Resist" banner for the last few months; another has a "Black Lives Matter" sign mounted on the front porch — so it's hardly surprising that Greenpeace dispatches recruiters to such fertile ground.

The Jacoby household, though, skews to the right, and I didn't want my visitor to waste time on a pitch that wasn't going to pay off. But I also didn't want to give her the cold shoulder. Knocking on doors is stressful; even if you're not going to donate, there's no reason not to be courteous.

"I should tell you up front that I'm not a Greenpeace fan," I said. "I'll be very happy to listen, but just to be honest with you — you're not going to make a sale at this address."

She gave it her best shot.

"I know not everybody agrees with how Greenpeace works," she said [I'm paraphrasing from memory], "but it's more important than ever to protect the environment and the oceans and the forests, right? Especially now that Trump is president! By pulling the US out of the Paris climate accord, and what he's trying to do on immigration, and giving more power to corporations — I'm sure you would agree that with Trump in power, things are moving in the wrong direction, wouldn't you?"

She was speaking a little too quickly. I had the sense that she was trying to hit all her talking points before I turned her down.

"I'm not a Trump supporter," I replied. "I didn't vote for him; I don't think he's a good president. But I wouldn't say that everything is moving in the wrong direction. Climate change doesn't alarm me — I think it's way overblown."

She seemed perturbed, so I tried to reassure her.

"Don't worry, my views aren't typical for this street," I said. "We're pretty conservative in this house. We're also pretty friendly — just not to the point of giving money to Greenpeace." I smiled encouragingly. "I'm sure you'll do better with some of our neighbors. Did you see the house with the 'Resist' banner?"

She nodded glumly. "Yes. It didn't go well."

Suddenly, to my astonishment, she was in tears.

"I'm so sorry," she said, half-sobbing, half-panting. "I'm so sorry. I don't know why I'm crying. It's just really hard, and everything is so concerning, and — "

"Hey, shhh, that's OK," I said, coaxing her into the living room. "Sit down for a few minutes. Take a deep breath; clear your head." The tears kept coming. I hurried to the kitchen for a box of tissues. When I returned to the living room, she was still weeping.

"I don't know why I can't stop," she said. "This is so unprofessional. I think I must be dehydrated."

I brought her some cold water. My wife came to sit with us. We asked the young woman her name and introduced ourselves. As she wiped her eyes and sipped her water, she told us that she had only arrived in Boston a few days earlier and was staying at an Airbnb, having been flown in by Greenpeace from her home on the West Coast. She believes in what she is doing, but to keep her job, she has to meet a quota — so-and-so many donations per month. Door-to-door canvassing is easier with a partner, but she is alone, and so many people are unpleasant.

"I can't believe I'm having a breakdown in your living room," she said. "But I'm really upset about what's happening. I worry about what's going to happen to people I care about." It gnaws at her to see how angry so many people are these days. She wasn't raised to hate people whose politics were different from hers, she told us. At the same time, she's frightened for the future — her future, and her friends', and the planet's.

By the time the tears subsided, it was 7:25. Normally she knocks on doors until 9 p.m. We persuaded her to take the rest of the evening off.

I gave her our number. "If you need anything while you're in Boston, call us," I said. "We'll be happy to help."

I refilled her water bottle. My wife drove her to the Greenpeace office a few miles away.

It's an anxious time in America, unsettled and fretful. I hope our visitor got a good night's sleep.


Will The Sun Put The Brakes On Global Warming?

The sun is like a teenager that cycles through mood swings – from dramatic to chill and back again – roughly every eleven years. But this time it’s different. It now appears the sun is heading for a rare, super-chill period that threatens to add some unexpected drama to today’s climate change discussion.

For most of its history, science believed the sun’s output was constant. It was wrong. Today, we realize that lots of things about the sun wax and wane every eleven years, most notably its brightness and the number of explosive disturbances on its surface called sunspots and faculae.

That’s not all. The eleven-year cycle itself snakes up and down like a roller coaster, reaching “grand maxima” and “grand minima” every 100-200 years. The last grand maximum peaked circa 1958, after which the sun has been steadily quieting down. Today, the drop in activity is at its steepest in 9,300 years.

Is the sun headed for a grand minimum? If so, it immediately calls to mind the famous Maunder Minimum, during which the sun languished for seventy years. From 1645 to 1715 the sun’s brightness dimmed by a fraction of one percent and the number of sunspots and faculae plummeted to nearly zero.

On top of that, the Maunder Minimum occurred precisely during the coldest part of the centuries-long Little Ice Age, when the average temperature of the northern hemisphere dropped by about 1.1 degrees Fahrenheit. Was it a coincidence? Or did the Maunder Minimum help drive the ice age? Here’s where the story about today’s apparent plunge toward a solar grand minimum really heats up.

According to NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Earth’s temperature has increased by about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880, roughly the end of the Little Ice Age. The worst warming is yet to come, most scientists claim, and not even a grand solar minimum will prevent it.

Using computer simulations, scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, estimate that “a grand solar minimum in the middle of the 21st century would slow down human-caused global warming and reduce the relative increase of surface temperatures by several tenths of a degree [Celsius, equal to about 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit].” But at the end of the grand minimum, they say, the warming would simply pick up where it left off. “Therefore … a grand solar minimum would slow down and somewhat delay, but not stop, human-caused global warming.”

But the sun’s dramatic quiescence comes with a surprising complication: cosmic rays. They are subatomic particles – mainly protons and helium nuclei – that originate from somewhere deep within our galaxy. Their source is still a mystery.

Usually, the sun’s powerful magnetic field and radioactive winds keep cosmic rays away from our neighborhood. But when the sun weakens, the cosmic rays are freer to move in and bombard Earth. New research shows that upon striking the atmosphere, cosmic rays produce showers of particles and ions that seed clouds with extraordinary efficiency. The increased cloudiness shades Earth from the sun.

Recently, a team of Russian scientists compared the cosmic-ray cooling mechanism to two other well-known drivers of climate change – the sun’s inconstant brightness and greenhouse gases. Publishing in the “Bulletin of the Russian Academy of Sciences: Physics,” they maintain the cosmic-ray cooling phenomenon will dominate everything else in the coming decades and actually force a period of global cooling.

It is a radical hypothesis, to be sure, but even mainstream scientists monitoring the sun’s rapidly flagging behavior agree the growing likelihood of a grand minimum is stirring up a grand maximum of uncertainty and excitement.


A climate roadmap for President Trump

This week, President Trump is likely getting an earful in Paris over his extrication of the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement earlier this year. But our withdrawal will be meaningless unless he follows up with two important actions before he leaves office.

First, the administration must vacate the Environmental Protection Agency's 2009 "Endangerment Finding" from carbon dioxide. Under the 2007 Supreme Court case Massachusetts v. EPA, this finding is required for the Agency to regulate carbon dioxide emissions under the Clean Air Act. No finding, no policy.

Second, the U.S. must pull out of the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This treaty, which was ratified by the Senate, is the document that enables subsequent emissions agreements, such as the Kyoto Protocol (not ratified) and the Paris agreement (an executive agreement).

As long as we are a party to the Framework Convention, a new president with different views on climate policy could simply sign us right back into the Paris agreement.

From the periphery, and certainly from reading the headlines, canceling out these two elements of climate policy might seem like a tall task. Certainly, the climate science used to justify the EPA's endangerment finding and U.S. entry into the U.N. framework is seen as beyond reproach.

One of the foundational documents for the Endangerment Finding is the 2009 "National Assessment" of climate change. Its next iteration, in 2014, claimed it was "the most comprehensive and authoritative report ever generated about climate change," as well as being "a key deliverable of President Obama's Climate Action Plan."

The problem is, these "assessments" rely solely upon computer climate models for their future scenarios of gloom and doom. As it turns out, climate modeling (or forecasting) isn't necessarily climate science, because the modeler gets to choose a preferred answer, and then tune the internal equations to get there.

The forecast models are known as "general circulation models," or GCMs, and are generated by various government research groups around the world. Every six years, the U.S. Department of Energy supervises a "model intercomparison" project. For the most recent one, in 2013, 34 modeling teams sent in a "frozen code" model to be compared with the predictions from other groups. These form a community of base models, which the researchers feel are their "best" version, and after this point the code cannot be changed until the inter-comparison is done.

According to an Oct. 2016 news story in Science magazine, the modeling team from Germany's Max Planck Institute was finalizing their inter-comparison version when the team leader, Erich Roeckner, became temporarily unavailable to participate in the work. As the team tested the model before submitting it, they found it now predicted twice as much warming (7 degrees Celsius) for doubled carbon dioxide as it had in its previous iteration. Science reported that Roeckner had a unique ability to tune the model's cloud formation algorithm, and so in his absence, the model produced heating way outside the norm. Roeckner's team eventually got the warming down to a level that was within the range of the other models.

Enter Frederic Hourdin, who headed up the French modeling effort. He rounded up modelers from 13 other groups and recently published "The Art and Science of Climate Model Tuning" in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. All of the climate models the world uses to create and justify things like the U.N. Framework Convention, the EPA endangerment finding, and the Paris agreement, are "tuned" to arrive at parameters forecast within an "anticipated acceptable range," to quote Hourdin. But the big question is, acceptable to whom? One of Roeckner's senior scientists, Thorsten Mauritsen, told Science, "The model we produced with 7 degrees [Celsius] was a damn good model." But in his opinion that was too hot, so it had to be tuned.

The EPA's determination that carbon dioxide needs to be more strictly regulated is based entirely on the GCM's future climate projections, in which the subjective modeler – not the objective model – determines what is "acceptable." That's not science. It's an educated guess. It is akin to the "herding" phenomenon seen among election pollsters when they adjust unexpected (but still possibly correct) results to appear more plausible based on others' results and expectations.

It will be a considerable task to document the tuning problem. But if the Trump administration does this, it will have sufficient justification to warrant vacating the Endangerment Finding, which itself will justify getting the U.S. out of the U.N. Framework Climate Convention, and out of Paris for good.


Most of Obama’s Green Policies Persist at Department of Defense

As Congress considers green projects in a military spending bill, the Trump administration hasn’t staked out a strong case on whether to roll back the Obama administration’s aggressive push for biofuels, wind, solar, and other renewables in the military.

“The Pentagon has bought into climate change because it makes it politically more acceptable,” @myronebell says.

During his confirmation hearing Tuesday, Trump nominee for Navy secretary, Richard V. Spencer, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he was watchful of climate change. The committee unanimously approved Spencer.

“The Navy, from my briefings to date, is totally aware of rising water issues, storm issues, etc.,” Spencer said. “We must protect our infrastructure, and I will work hard to make sure we are keeping an eye on that because without the infrastructure, we lose readiness.”

This week, the House debated the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2018. Last month, the Republican-controlled House Armed Services Committee passed an amendment by Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., directing the Defense Department to assess 10 bases in each branch most threatened by climate change, and for the Pentagon to count climate change as a security risk to deal with—even as several government audits in the last two years have found the alternative energy sources haven’t been efficient for the DOD.

A 2015 study by the Union of Concerned Scientists, an environmental advocacy and research group, warned that 128 U.S. military bases could be submerged because of rising sea levels.

Reps. Scott Perry, R-Pa., and Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, each sponsored their own amendments to strike the Langevin provision. Perry’s proposal would remove the language to save money for the Pentagon, while Davidson’s amendment would strike down a 2015 executive order by President Barack Obama that requires the military to meet emission reduction targets.

However, neither of the Republicans’ amendments will likely make it to the floor despite clearing the rules committee, said Myron Ebell, director for the Center for Energy and the Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

“There are problems at the Pentagon and in Congress,” Ebell, who served on President Donald Trump’s transition team, told The Daily Signal. “President Trump signed an executive order that got rid of some green energy programs at the Pentagon, but others are left in place.”

Trump signed an order rescinding Obama’s Executive Order 13653 directing the Department of Defense and other departments to use resources to prepare for the impact of climate change. However, Trump hasn’t rescinded this executive order, which the amendment Davidson is offering would undo, Ebell noted.

“The Pentagon has bought into climate change because it makes it politically more acceptable to people who wouldn’t normally like the Pentagon,” Ebell said. “Another reason is that it’s another means to enhance the portfolio and receive more funding, even if it’s not part of the essential mission.”

One of the nation’s leading environmental groups expressed frustration over the two House Republicans’ proposals.

“Apparently there is no limit to what some Republican members of Congress like Reps. Scott [Perry] and Davidson are prepared to do to wipe away reality, consequences be damned,” Liz Perera, a policy director for the Sierra Club, said in a statement. “Some House Republicans think they know more about climate science than actual scientists, and, amazingly, more about how to protect our troops and military bases than the Pentagon. This kind of blind arrogance endangers the health of our families and the security of our nation.”

Navy Cmdr. Patrick L. Evans, a Pentagon spokesman, referenced some of the existing policies and told The Daily Signal, “not to my knowledge,” when asked if there would be significant changes under the Trump administration regarding renewable energy rules across military branches.

Already, Obama-era mandates linger.

Title 10 of U.S. Code Section 2911 states that 25 percent of Department of Defense facility energy use be generated by renewable energy sources by 2025 and it would take an act of Congress to reverse this.

However, most policies are administrative, said Rachel Zissimos, a research associate for national security and defense studies at The Heritage Foundation.

This includes Obama’s 2011 directive that the Navy and other departments and agencies “work with private industry to create advanced drop-in biofuels that [would] power both the Department of Defense and private sector transportation throughout America.”

Obama’s Navy Secretary Ray Mabus also touted the “Great Green Fleet.” The name is derived from the “Great White Fleet,” the U.S. Navy battle fleet President Theodore Roosevelt ordered to travel the globe and demonstrate American military prowess.

In 2015, the Department of Defense issued a report on the unrest climate change could cause. In a statement about the report, the department said:

The Department of Defense’s primary responsibility is to protect national security interests around the world. This involves considering all aspects of the global security environment and planning appropriately for potential contingencies and the possibility of unexpected developments both in the near and the longer terms. … It is in this context that the department must consider the effects of climate change—such as sea level rise, shifting climate zones, and more frequent and intense severe weather events—and how these effects could impact national security.

In September 2016, the Government Accountability Office found that of 17 renewable energy programs in the Department of Defense, only two provided power in case of a grid outage. The other programs were costly, and the department’s spending on renewable energy went up by 60 percent from 2014 to 2015, according to the audit.

A separate Government Accountability Office study in July 2015 found the department still spends far more on traditional gasoline for fuels, but gets a better bargain per gallon than with alternatives.

The Pentagon paid $58.6 million for 2 million gallons of alternative fuel from 2007 to 2014—which would be about $29 per gallon for alternatives. Conversely, over that same time, the department spent $107.2 billion for 32 billion of petroleum, which would only be $3 per gallon.

A Department of Defense comptroller general’s report in February 2016 found that the cost of environmental compliance increased by more than $119 million from the previous fiscal year.

During his Senate confirmation, Defense Secretary James Mattis said in written testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee that “climate change is impacting stability in areas of the world where our troops are operating today. It is appropriate for the Combatant Commands to incorporate drivers of instability that impact the security environment in their areas into their planning.”

When serving as the commanding general of the 1st Marine Division during the second Iraq War, Mattis said the Department of Defense should “unleash us from the tether of fuel.”

Mattis wasn’t advocating addressing alternative fuels because of climate change, but rather because of the cost of transporting fuel, Zissimos said.

“The biggest cost for fuel is transportation, delivery, and storage,” Zissimos told The Daily Signal. “Operations are primarily overseas. A huge investment in biofuels will not reduce that cost because they will still need to be transported overseas.”




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


17 July, 2017

The glacier that didn't bark

I am of course alluding to the dog in "The Silver Blaze", a Sherlock Holmes story.  Sometimes it can be significant and surprising when something does NOT happen.  We see an example of that in the AFP article below.

Warmists have been harping on about the danger and significance of the Larsen C ice shelf breaking off (calving) for at least a year.  I last referred to it on May 5, 2017 and earlier on Dec 6, 2016.  So what has happened now that the calving has happened?  Very little.  The announcement below rightly notes it as an entirely routine and natural phenomenon.

Someone has however injected an attempt at alarm into the story by postulating that the shelf MIGHT have been holding back the grounded ice-mass adjoining it and that this mass may soon therefore slide into the sea and melt.  That is however just a conjecture and fails to discuss, among many other things, the possibility that a new shelf may form where the old one was. And if something does slide off it might just sit there floating where the old shelf was and NOT melt.  I think we may safely see the event as a damp squib from a Warmist viewpoint

A trillion-ton iceberg, one of the largest ever recorded, has snapped off the West Antarctic ice shelf, scientists who have monitored the growing crack for years said on Wednesday.

"The calving occurred sometime between Monday, July 10 and Wednesday, July 12, when a 5,800-square kilometer (2,200-square mile) section of Larsen C (ice shelf) finally broke away," the Swansea University said in a statement.

The massive ice cube, larger than the U.S. state of Delaware, has a volume twice that of Lake Erie, one of the Great Lakes. It is about 350 metres (1,100 feet) thick.

"The iceberg weighs more than a trillion tons, but it was already floating before it calved away so has no immediate impact on sea level," the team said. It will likely be named A68.

With the calving, the Larsen C ice shelf lost more than 12 percent of its total surface area.

Icebergs calving from Antarctica are a regular occurrence. But given its enormous size, the latest berg will be closely watched as it travels, for any potential risk to shipping traffic.

The calving may have heightened the risk of the remaining ice shelf disintegrating, the Swansea team said.

Ice shelves float on the sea, extending from the coast, and are fed by slow-flowing glaciers from the land.

They act as giant brakes, preventing glaciers from flowing directly into the ocean.

If the glaciers held in check by Larsen C spilt into the Antarctic Ocean, it would lift the global water mark by about 10 centimetres (four inches), researchers have said.      

The calving of ice shelves occurs naturally, though global warming is believed to have accelerated the process.

Warmer ocean water erodes the underbelly of the ice shelves, while rising air temperatures weaken them from above.

The nearby Larsen A ice shelf collapsed in 1995, and Larsen B dramatically broke up seven years later.

The final break was detected by a NASA satellite.

"We will continue to monitor both the impact of this calving event on the Larsen C ice shelf and the fate of this huge iceberg," said lead investigator Adrian Luckman of the university’s MIDAS project.

The fate of the berg is hard to predict. It may stay in one piece, but could also break into fragments.

"Some of the ice may remain in the area for decades, while parts of the iceberg may drift north into warmer waters," said Luckman.

The team said the calving at the iceberg cannot be directly placed at the door of global warming, describing it as a "natural event".

Human actions have lifted average global air temperatures by about one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial levels, according to scientists.


Pruitt blasts Europe, Merkel for ‘hypocrisy’ on climate

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt dismissed European critics of President Donald Trump's climate policies as hypocrites on Wednesday, while chastising German Chancellor Angela Merkel for phasing out her country's nuclear power plants.

"I just think the hypocrisy runs rampant," Pruitt said in an interview with POLITICO. "To look at us as a nation and say, 'You all need to do more' in light of what we’ve done in leading with innovation and technology — the hypocrisy is palpable in those areas."

Pruitt mentioned Merkel by name, urging the public to press her on the issue. If reducing carbon dioxide emissions "is so important to you, Madam Chancellor, why are you getting rid of nuclear? Because last time I checked, it’s pretty clean on CO2," he said.

Merkel is one of the most vocal public defenders of the Paris climate change agreement, the 2015 pact that Trump said last month he intends to leave. Merkel hosted the recent G-20 summit of the world's wealthiest economies, where the United States was the only country not to throw its support behind the deal. At the same time, Germany announced in 2000 it would phase out nuclear power, a shift that Merkel accelerated after the 2011 nuclear disaster in Japan.

Pruitt repeated his criticism of the Paris deal, casting doubt on whether the United States would remain part of the climate agreement even if the Trump administration rewrites former President Barack Obama's aggressive plan to cut U.S. emissions. When Trump announced the withdrawal June 1, he held out the possibility of negotiating to "re-enter" the accord "on terms that are fair to the United States."

Pruitt argued that the United States has shown it can address climate change without being bound to an international agreement. He noted that U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have declined since President George W. Bush decided in 2001 to abandon the Kyoto Protocol.

"What we ought to be focused upon in my view is exporting innovation and technology to nations like China, like India, to help them with respect to their power grid," he said.

Pruitt said the United States will continue to engage with the international community on climate change, but he called the Paris deal "pure symbolism," adding, "It was a bumper sticker.

"Engagement is unquestioned. We’re going to continue to engage," he said. "But we have led with action.”

Still, Pruitt continued to raise concerns that remaining in the Paris deal could create legal complications as the administration tries to unravel Obama's domestic climate regulations, arguing that outside groups could seek to hold the U.S. to its pledges in court. "Why would you hold yourself out to that type of legal liability?" he said.

During the administration's monthslong debate over Paris, Pruitt and other opponents of the agreement made that argument behind the scenes, clashing with other Trump advisers who believed those legal fears were unfounded. Pruitt, along with Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon, was the most forceful advocate of ending U.S. participation in the Paris deal.

Pruitt bristled at the phrase "climate denier," a description that his critics have often applied to him in light of his repeated statements disputing scientific conclusions about the large role humans play in warming the planet.

"What does it even mean? That’s what I think about it. I deny the climate? Really? Wow, OK. That’s crazy, in my view," he said.

Pruitt reiterated his position that the climate is warming and humans contribute to that, but "the ability to measure with precision the human contribution to warming is something that’s very challenging to do."

In contrast, the vast majority of the world's climate scientists agree that the planet is warming in large part due to the burning of fossil fuels like coal. Pruitt has come under fire from Democrats — and even some moderate Republicans, including former EPA chiefs — for his stance on climate change. Others have raised red flags about the steep budget cuts facing the agency, worrying that its mission to protect human health and the environment could be compromised.

Pruitt has called for a public — possibly televised — debate about climate science.

"The American people deserve an honest, open, transparent discussion about that, and that’s how you ultimately get to consensus," he said. "And I tend to think at times that maybe consensus wasn’t the focus historically, over the last several years. It was to use it as a political issue, to put jerseys on — either you’re for or against."

In the end, he said, his ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions is limited by the 1972 Clean Air Act, whose authority he believes Obama overstepped when he imposed greenhouse gas restrictions for the nation's power plants.

Pruitt argued that the media's focus on climate change has distracted from the work he is doing at the EPA on everything from air pollution to regulating dangerous chemicals.

"We’ve got a very positive environmental agenda. [There's] work to be done, opportunity to achieve good outcomes, a plan to do that, and there’s not very much margin, if any at all, with groups that are liberal, conservative, the rest, at getting those things done," he said.

Pruitt has sought to "reorient" the EPA toward what he argues are its core functions, including reducing air pollution, cleaning up toxic waste sites, regulating chemicals and improving water quality. Pruitt said he organized an internal task force that will soon deliver recommendations on how to improve the agency's Superfund program, which is designed to clean up the nation's worst toxic pollution sites.

The EPA administrator laid into Obama, arguing he didn't do nearly enough to limit air pollutants and sought to severely restrict the use of fossil fuels.

"God has blessed us with natural resources. Let’s use them to feed the world. Let’s use them to power the world. Let’s use them to protect the world," Pruitt said. "But this idea that we as a nation have this abundance of natural resources and the job of this agency — and I’m speaking rhetorically here and facetiously — is to say, ‘Do not touch.’ Where is that in the statute?"


Studies Find Wind Turbines Unsustainable and Harmful to Wildlife

New studies estimate that wind turbines will produce 43 million tonnes of waste by 2050. Scientists say that wind energy is an unsustainable environmental disaster that fills landfills and harms wildlife.

However, the United States Department of Energy boasts that wind energy is the number one source of renewable energy capacity in the U.S with enough capacity to power over 20 million homes.

“The Department of Energy’s Wind Energy Technologies Office says that it “leads the nation’s efforts to research and develop innovative technologies, lower the costs, and enable and accelerate the deployment of wind energy throughout the nation. The office has a comprehensive portfolio and invests through cooperative agreements with a variety of businesses, universities, laboratories, and other organizations.” The Department’s Wind Vision Study Scenario seeks to increase the nation’s wind energy supply 35% by year 2050, and it uses incentives like government grants and tax credits to achieve this goal.

The government claims that wind power is sustainable, but The Journal of Waste Management’s 2017 publication titled “Wind Turbine Blade Waste in 2050” states that wind turbine blades are filling landfills. In addition to the blades, the study states that there is up to 45% additional waste from manufacturing, testing, and the in-service stages of wind turbine usage. The scientists estimate that there will be 43 million tonnes of worldwide blade waste by 2050. The  estimated numbers were based on current data from sales and production, and did not account for the government’s plan to dramatically increase turbine use by 2050.

A study from October 2016 titled “Unsustainable Wind Turbine Blade Disposal Practices in the United States” calls for policy interventions to encourage industry to improve wind turbine blade production and disposal. They state that although trashing the blades in landfills is the most cost-effective method of disposal, it has environmental costs that need to be accounted for.

Studies also show that wind turbines can be a threat to wild life. The government admits that spinning turbine blades pose a threat to bats, but the most recent study that they show on the topic is from 2013 and has stats which differ from more recent studies. The Wind Energy Technologies Office (A division of the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy) claims that bat fatality rates have been reported at levels between 1-30 bats/MW per year.

A 2017 study states that wind turbines threaten hoary bat populations to the level of extinction.  Scientists estimate that 90% of the the hoary bat population could be lost to turbines in the next 50 years. The scientists state that policy decisions need to include conservation measures that need to be initiated immediately.



Three current reports below:
Backlash against doomsday article that predicts a climate change induced apocalypse

Just another silly prophecy.  Greenie prohecies always fail to come true so this extreme prophecy deserves no attention whatsoever

AUSTRALIAN scientists have said a hugely controversial article that predicts a climate change driven apocalypse is “scary” and “embellished” but entirely plausible despite the extreme scenario dividing climatologists worldwide.

David Wallace-Wells’ startling — and unashamedly doom ridden — essay in New York magazine, entitled ‘ The Uninhabitable Earth ’, has ruffled feathers.

“I promise, it is worse than you think,” he says in the opening line of the article published last week.

Even if Australians manage to survive major cities being in “permanent extreme drought” or poisonous sea “burps” it’s likely we’ll be finished off by “rolling death smogs” or “perpetual war” instead, the article states.

Mr Wallace-Wells’ piece has been heavily criticised. But not by the climate sceptics — it’s climate scientists who are up in arms, claiming it is “irresponsible” and “alarmist”.

Respected climatologist Michael E Mann, director of the Earth System Science Centre at Pennsylvania State University, has said the “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence … [and this] article fails to produce it.”

Richard Betts, from the UK’s University of Exeter told website Climate Feedback,

the Earth becoming uninhabitable within the timescale suggested was “pure hyperbole.”

But Australian climate scientists spoke to said while some of the descriptions of the future earth were fanciful (one called them “dramatised”), fanciful didn’t mean they were false.

“It’s absolutely true these things could happen,” said Dr Liz Hanna, President of the Climate and Health Alliance and a researcher into the health impacts of climate change at the Australian National University (ANU).

“It’s alarming but not alarmist.”

Professor Will Steffen of the Climate Council of Australia said the predictions were not from “ultra greenies” but were a sober assessment of the societal collapse extreme climate change could bring.
The cover of New York magazine issue which contained ‘The Uninhabitable Earth’ article.

The cover of New York magazine issue which contained ‘The Uninhabitable Earth’ article.Source:Supplied


In his essay, Mr Wallace-Wells says the effects of global warming were already happening.

The Global Seed Vault, surrounded by supposedly permanent ice, has flooded. On Wednesday, a trillion-ton block of ice twice the size of the Australian Capital Territory sheared off from the Antarctic ice sheet. The last three years have been the hottest on record globally.

The articles he said, “was not a series of predictions of what will happen. Instead, it is a portrait of our best understanding of where the planet is heading absent aggressive action.”
How the size of the sheared Larsen C iceberg compares to Australian states and cities. Picture: Supplied

How the size of the sheared Larsen C iceberg compares to Australian states and cities. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied

The outlook was dire. “No plausible program of emissions reductions can prevent climate disaster.

“Most people talk as if Miami and Bangladesh still have a chance of surviving; most of the scientists I spoke with assume we’ll lose them within the century.”

He writes that the Earth had a mass extinction 250 million years ago when the planet warmed by five degrees triggering the release of methane encased in Arctic ice.

“This ended up with 97 per cent of all life on Earth dead. We are currently adding carbon to the atmosphere at a faster rate”.

That same melting ice could also release dormant deadly diseases frozen in time, such as smallpox and the plague.


The 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, which the USA has withdrawn from, has an aim of holding the increase in global temperatures to “well below 2C” above pre-industrial levels. Many climate scientists think this goal is already unachievable.

Mr Wallace-Wells said if global temperatures rose by around 4C, hot and humid equatorial regions would be unliveable.

“Within a few hours, a human body would be cooked to death from both inside and out.”

Oceanic acidification could kill off fish creating “dead zones’ and poisonous hydrogen “sulphide burps” might bubble up from the sea floor.

In a 4C warmer world, the Earth’s ecosystem — Australia included — will boil with a constant swarm of tornadoes, floods and droughts, “that not so long ago destroyed whole civilisations.”


Insanity and hypocrisy from Al Gore in Australia

Al Gore’s bombast and hypocrisy, an energy debacle “no one saw coming,” lessons for USA

Paul Driessen

The Wall Street Journal called it the energy shortage “no one saw coming.” Actually, a lot of people did see it coming. But intent on pursuing their “dangerous manmade climate change” and “renewable energy will save the planet” agendas, the political classes ignored them. So the stage was set.

As an Australia-wide heat wave sent temperatures soaring above 105 degrees F (40.6 C) in early 2017, air conditioning demand skyrocketed. But Adelaide, South Australia is heavily dependent on wind turbines for electricity generation – and there was no wind. Regulators told the local natural gas-fired power plant to ramp up its output, but it couldn’t get enough gas to do so. To avoid a massive, widespread blackout, regulators shut off power to 90,000 homes, leaving angry families sweltering in the dark.

According to the Journal, Aussie politicians and the wind industry, the primary problem was businesses that exported 62% of Australia’s natural gas production in 2016, leaving insufficient supplies to run gas backup power plants that are supposed to step in when wind and solar power fail. Policy makers “didn’t ensure enough gas would remain at home” and couldn’t foresee temperatures soaring with no wind.

Gas export licenses were issued without regard to the consequences for the domestic market,” said one pol. We should have had “a national interest test” in place to ensure domestic gas needs, said another.

During this and even bigger Aussie blackouts, valuable fish, meat and produce rotted when freezers and refrigerators shut down. Business operations were interrupted or shut down. Rising electricity prices and unreliable power impacted smelters, factories and other businesses, causing many to lay off workers.

The blackouts and energy debacle “offer lessons for America, as it prepares to vastly increase natural gas shipments abroad,” the Journal advises. It certainly does, though not the lessons suggested by the article or people quoted in it, amid the “excessive exports” narrative. Here are some of the correct lessons.

First and foremost, have debates and red team-blue team exercises. Listen to experts who aren’t locked into climate chaos and renewable energy themes. Foster public discussions, instead of silencing them. Understand the entire situation and all the likely consequences of each alternative, before legislating.

Recognize and study reality. Dead calms occur frequently when temperatures are at their highest, or their lowest – when families, businesses, hospitals and schools need electricity the most. Clouds can blanket regions for days or weeks on end. Reliance on wind and solar is risky, and reliable backup is essential.

The justification for eliminating coal and mandating 50% wind and solar is heavily rooted in fears of catastrophic manmade climate change. But the alleged crisis has no basis in observed evidence. The 18-year pause continues apace, with the El Niño temperature spike of 2015-16 gone … and average global temperatures back down to where they were in March 2015. Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and droughts are in line with or below multi-century historic trends and fluctuations and are hardly unprecedented. Greenland just recorded its most frigid July temperature reading in history: -33 C (-27 F).

If alarmists have evidence to the contrary, they must present it for review – including original temperature data, not the revised, homogenized data that American, Australian and other scientists have been presenting to support cataclysm claims and justify demands that we eliminate fossil fuels and switch to renewable energy, regardless of the unprecedented energy and economic risks that would pose.

Second, if Australia (or the USA) is to “keep what’s theirs,” instead of exporting it, keeping it in the ground is the wrong way to do it. Exports may be playing a role. But Victoria and New South Wales have banned fracking, more are likely to follow, coal burning and nuclear are also banned – and you cannot export, use or generate electricity with energy that you are prohibited from taking out of the ground. You cannot benefit from resources you hoard and lock up.

Ban fracking, and you ensure more natural gas shortages, soaring electricity prices, ever-greater reliance on expensive, unreliable wind and solar power, more blackouts, more layoffs, more economic downturns and dislocations, more shipping of good jobs overseas. Your may get many new low-pay jobs hauling, installing, maintaining and removing wind turbines and solar panels made in China. But you won’t have smelters, foundries, turbine and panel factories, or the high-pay jobs that go with them.

Adding to the problem, Institute of Public Affairs research director Brett Hogan notes, many coal and gas operators are investing less in maintenance because there is little point in spending on plants that activists and politicians are trying to shut down. “That explains why their reliability is starting to wobble at times, which the renewables crowd falsely claims is proof that fossil fuels are also unstable.”

Meanwhile renewable energy mandates “are pushing out the cheapest electricity provider in Australia (coal), gas prices are being set at the international level, and activists are demanding fracking bans that limit gas supplies and make gas still more expensive,” he adds. The results should be easy to foresee.

Third, applying a “national interest test” should not pertain only to export licenses. It must also apply to fracking and nuclear bans, coal and gas plant closures, and effects of skyrocketing electricity prices on smelters, factories, hospitals, schools, local governments and families. Government-imposed Australian austerity and sacrifices will have trivial, un-measurable, irrelevant impacts on atmospheric CO2 levels in the face of growing coal use and emissions from China, India, Indonesia, virtually all other Asia-Pacific nations, and the rest of the world. How does Australia’s overall national interest stack up against that?

Once again, open, robust debate, honest, transparent information – and stiff penalties for prevarication, fabrication and falsification – are absolutely essential.

Under sustainability and climate precepts, we are supposed to safeguard the assumed needs of future generations, even if it means ignoring or compromising the undeniable needs of current generations. We are supposed to protect people from theoretical, exaggerated risks of dangerous manmade climate change, regardless of how slashing fossil fuel use impacts millions of businesses and families. That is untenable.

In the midst of all this, the Journal reports, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has offered to build a giant battery system in South Australia – as though batteries can back up wind power for hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses … especially under true sustainability, economic and national interest tests. Mr. Musk, however, needs new customers to offset plunging sales in Hong Kong, Denmark and elsewhere.

Meanwhile, the ECOCITY World Summit is being held in Melbourne. City planners, architects, elected officials, professors, teachers and eager recipients of more taxpayer-funded renewable energy grants are soaking up fake facts and clever strategies for imposing sustainable development goals on the governed classes. As my CFACT colleagues observing the summit put it, they want to use financial instruments and courts to transform communities into “sustainable and resilient cities,” with them in charge.

Al Gore is jetting around the land Down Under, promoting his new climate chaos film and claiming manmade pollution is equivalent to 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs going off daily! Making Australian heat waves five times more likely because of manmade global warming! Teachers and journalists get free passes to Gore’s events, to get their propaganda talking points, but no one is allowed to record any part of his talks, to avoid embarrassing the false prophet. When Climate Depot’s Marc Morano offered him a free DVD of the Climate Hustle documentary film, a scowling Al Gore headed to his SUV and private jet.

Mr. Gore and other alarmists are generally panic-stricken about debating climate realists, especially in debates proposed by USEPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. Participating in them would expose their claims to unaccustomed scrutiny, but refusing to do so would leave the impression that they have something to hide: such as their raw data, deceptive methodologies and absence of evidence to support their models.

They should be worried. If the crisis is exaggerated, fabricated or exists only in computer models, we will refuse to keep spending countless trillions on junk research and job-killing renewable energy schemes.

Greenie obsessions hurting a lot of people

The vast costs of shifting from cheap and reliable coal power to wonky "renewables" are being borne by rich and poor alike

Some people are going hungry and suffering immense psychological stress as they try to pay their power bills, an inquiry into Australia's electricity system has been told.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is investigating electricity pricing and supply at the request of federal Treasurer Scott Morrison.

Electricity pricing and industry profits are under the consumer watchdog's microscope, as well as the level of competition in the market and factors that make it hard for householders and business owners to swap providers and understand their bills.

The Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS) has told the inquiry that electricity prices soared 119 per cent in the state in the decade to 2016.

"People are being pushed to the edge by electricity price rises," the council said in its submission.

A forthcoming VCOSS report will show people are making trade-offs on food and other essentials, and sometimes experiencing great psychological stress, in order to pay their bills.

In NSW, electricity retailers are announcing price rises of around 20 per cent for the next financial year due to surging wholesale prices.

NSW Energy & Water Ombudsman Janine Young said contracts offering the lowest prices often have discounts dependent upon paying on time via direct debit and in full.

She said this can prove difficult for people struggling financially, lumping them with late payment penalties and fees for failed bank direct debits.

Ms Young said discount contracts were confusing for customers because some discounts are on the total bill and others are on the consumption charges only.

The Consumer Action Law Centre said the complexity of the electricity market has stopped many people from engaging with it and reaping the benefits of competition.

"A particular concern for Consumer Action is that retailers are maximising their profits from disengaged customers in order to subsidise discounts and special offers for more engaged customers," chief executive Gerard Brody said in the centre's submission.

EnergyAustralia, which has more than 2.6 million electricity and gas accounts in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, and the ACT, said it supported the introduction of an energy comparison rate similar to what customers see with home loans or petrol consumption metrics for cars.

"This would enable customers to make an adequate comparison by providing a consistent measurement," it said.

It said all of its customer material was written in plain language that is as easy to understand as possible.

"Pricing and discounting is inherently complex and there is no easy way to simplify this in a way that will result in lower overall energy bills for customers," it said in its submission.

A preliminary report is expected to delivered to the Treasurer by September 27, and a final report completed by June 30, 2018




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 July, 2017

"The Independent" doubles down: Hockeystick revived

"The Independent", known to irreverent people as "The Subservient", is a struggling British broadsheet newspaper which has now gone online only.  In its struggle to differentiate itself the newspaper has set itself up as the British Greenie newspaper.  They have hitched their wagon to the global warming star. Scarcely a day goes by without them promoting it.  Their latest is a heavy cannon in that war.

It is based on a recent statistical study called "A global multiproxy database for temperature reconstructions of the Common Era" and the star finding from that work is that Mann's "hockeystick" pops up again.  It revives the "hockeystick" picture for temperatures over the last 1,000 years.  What glory!

But being the naughty boy I am I did my usual trick and took a look at the original data.  And there is much there to laugh at.  The thing that grabbed me most was this statement:

"We do so via correlation analysis, which makes the common assumption that the relation between the proxy value and temperature over the twentieth century is representative of the entire record"


"The majority (59%) of the records are based on tree rings"


"We use the Cowtan & Way version38 of the dataset, which corrects for missing values and incomplete post-1979 Arctic coverage via the use of satellite observations. Even with the correction, the HadCRUT4.2 dataset is incomplete, with about 60% of the monthly values missing, so the remaining missing values were infilled"

So what is funny about that?  What is funny is "Mike's nature trick", the fact that Michael Mann had to DELETE his Northern hemisphere tree-ring data for the 20th century because it showed FALLING temperatures over the 20th century. 

Yet the current work assumes that 20th century tree ring data PROVES that tree ring data tells us all about the temperature of the whole of the last 1,000 years.  But Mann concluded the opposite to that.  He concluded that the tree ring data was UNrepresentative of temperature during the 20th century.

The work of both Mann and the present authors is primarily a reflection of tree ring data; in particular Northern hemisphere tree-ring data.  So their revered predecessor had essentially the same tree-ring data showing a DECLINE in temperature but they somehow have managed to get it to show a RISE in temperature. Lordy, Lordy!

So how come?  Because of the poor quality of their data.  The third quote from them that I have given above gives you the feel of that.  60% of their data was "infilled" or made up.  You can get any result you want that way.  And they did.  It is rubbish science.

The newspaper makes a variety of other assertions about extreme weather but they are equally unfounded. Roger Pielke, Jr. actually wrote a book detailing the fact that there is no trend in virtually any extreme event (including tornadoes, hurricanes, droughts, floods, etc.) with some actually decreasing. Even the UN’s IPCC acknowledges that there is no basis for attributing such events to anthropogenic climate change.

Planet Earth is warmer than it has been for at least 2,000 years, according to a study that took its temperature from 692 different “natural thermometers” on every continent and ocean on the planet.

In the most comprehensive assessment of how the climate has changed over the period to date, researchers looked at a host of sources of historic information, including tree rings, ice cores, lake and sea sediments, corals, mineral deposits and written records.

What they found confirmed the famous “hockey stick” graph, showing an undulating, but broadly flat, line followed by a sharp uptick that begins at around 1900.

The only plausible explanation for this sudden change is fossil fuel emissions, which have increased the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from about 280 parts per million in the 19th century to more than 400 today.

The warming effect was predicted by the Nobel Prize-winning Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius in 1895.

Writing in the journal Scientific Data, a team of nearly 100 researchers described how they had created a database of 692 records from 648 different locations in “all continental regions and major ocean basins”.

Some of these natural thermometers covered the entire 2,000-year period, with an average length of 760 years.

The original hockey stick graph, which spanned 1,000 years, was widely praised when it was published in the journal Nature 20 years ago, but also came under attack from climate change sceptics and deniers. Professor Michael Mann, one of the paper’s authors, was abused, made the subject of hostile investigations by US politicians, and even sent death threats.

The original 'hockey stick' graph, published in 1998, showed the global average temperature remains about the same from 1,000 years ago until a sharp rise in the 20th century (Mann et al)

In a blog post about the new study, one of researchers, Professor Julien Emile-Geay, wrote that it essentially confirmed the hockey stick graph was accurate.

“As a scientist, you have to go where the evidence takes you,” he said.

“You can only be smacked in the face by evidence so many times and not see some kind of pattern. (You will never guess: a HOCKEY STICK!).

“The hockey stick is alive and well. There is now so much data supporting this observation that it will take nothing short of a revolution of how we understand all paleoclimate proxies to overturn this pattern. So let me make this prediction: the hockey stick is here to stay.”

Mr Emile-Geay, of the University of Southern California, said any argument about the basic pattern of warming was over.

“In the coming years and decades, the scientific community will flesh out many more details about the climate of the past 2,000 years, the interactions between temperature and drought, their regional and local expressions, their physical causes, their impact on human civilizations, and many other fascinating research questions,” he said.

“But one thing won’t change: the 20th century will stick out like a sore thumb. The present rate of warming and, very likely, the temperature levels are exceptional in the past 2,000 years, perhaps even longer.

“The hockey stick is alive; long live the hockey stick. Climate denialists will have to find another excuse behind which to hide.”


The Church of Man-Made Climate Change on trial

A little-known court case is taking place in the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver. This case involves two scientists and two set of graphs. One of the graphs is very famous, and the basis for every man-made climate change believer’s faith, while the other…is not. The foundation of the church of man-made climate change is on shaky ground, and an earthquake could be coming.

Michael Mann is a climatologist and geophysicist working at Penn State University. In 1998, he was the leader of a group using statistical techniques that created a graph showing the earth’s temperature over the last 1,000 years. The graph would gain international fame and become known as the “hockey stick graph.” The graph showed steady temperatures on the earth’s surface with a sharp increase in the last few hundred years, giving it the shape of a hockey stick.

The graph is a religious artifact to those that belong to this religion. It is so revered that those who created it, were invited to work with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on its 2001 scientific assessment report. The assessment came to many conclusions, but three stick out:

There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities;

Human influences will continue to change atmospheric composition throughout the 21st century;

And, global average temperature and sea level are projected to rise under all IPCC SRES scenarios.

Not surprisingly, the conclusions also involve more government control over what people do, and more money for man-made climate change research. Figure 1. shows how much money the Government Accountability Office claims the federal government has spent on combating supposed climate change between 1993 and 2010. Today, it is harder to find the facts on how much is actually being spent by the federal government, but Salon is reporting over $12 billion is to be spent this year, and other organizations are reporting up to $27 billion is expected to be spent.

The worldwide climate change industry is valued to be worth $1.5 trillion. That’s a lot of money for “research.” Enter Dr. Timothy Ball.

Dr. Ball has a PhD in climatology from Queen Mary University of London, and was a professor at the University of Winnipeg. He is an avid critic of the man-made climate change theory. It is not that he does not believe in climate change, but he does not believe humans are having the impact the church of man-made climate change says they are. He has written dozens of articles, appeared on numerous television shows, and written a book called “The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science.”

Dr. Ball also created his own version of the “hockey stick graph,” but it looked nothing like Mann’s. Ball’s graph shows what is known as the Medieval Warm Period. That period occurred between AD 900 and AD 1300 in which the Northern Hemisphere was much warmer than it is now. It is a much-debated period because of the possibility it destroys the man-made climate change theory.

Dr. Ball is enemy number one for the church of man-made climate change. One article he wrote made light of the connection between Mann and the Climatic Research Unit email controversy. Mann did not take to kindly to the slight, and decided to sue for libel. It is one of Mann’s many libel lawsuits he has filed against people with whom he disagrees.

The court case has not worked out the way Mann envisioned. Dr. Ball did not lay down and instead decided to fight the case. The case was filled in Canada and known as a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation suit. It was filed six years ago, and is going sideways for Mann. The judge in the case has ordered all data used to make both graphs be handed over by all parties. Dr. Ball has cooperated, but Mann has not.

Dr. Ball recently stated, “We believe he [Mann] withheld on the basis of a U.S. court ruling that it was all his intellectual property. This ruling was made despite the fact the U.S. taxpayer paid for the research and the research results were used as the basis of literally earth-shattering policies on energy and environment. The problem for him is that the Canadian court holds that you cannot withhold documents that are central to your charge of defamation regardless of the U.S. ruling.”

John O’Sullivan reports on the punishment that Dr. Ball’s lawyers could ask for if Mann is found to be in contempt, “Ball is entitled to have the court serve upon Mann the fullest punishment. Contempt sanctions could reasonably include the judge ruling that Dr. Ball’s statement that Mann “belongs in the state pen, not Penn. State’ is a precise and true statement of fact. This is because under Canada’s unique ‘Truth Defense’, Mann is now proven to have willfully hidden his data, so the court may rule he hid it because it is fake. As such, the court must then dismiss Mann’s entire libel suit with costs awarded to Ball and his team.”

If this holds true, then the basis of the entire Paris climate agreement, IPCC, and every climate change agreement is in jeopardy. If it was all formed from faulty data, it is all at risk. The hockey stick graph is responsible for hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars being spent around the world, and hundreds of job-killing regulations being enacted on the American worker. It is time we find out if it was all fake.


Reeling in CAFE

The former Obama administration wanted to save the environment, but rather than asking American industries for help, the administration decided they knew best and instead imposed regulations on companies. One of the most damaging regulations, affecting nearly every American citizen, was Obama’s expansion of the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, regulating auto makers on fuel efficiency but instead slowing their growth and stifling innovation. Luckily, the Trump administration is giving the voices oppressed under Obama’s system a seat at the table once again.

Since the oil shortages of the 1970s, fuel regulations have been imposed on the automobile industry, but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has used CAFE standards to combat climate change and lower greenhouse gas emissions. In 2011, the Obama EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) came together to force automakers to improve fuel efficiency standards by 2025, with a midterm review occurring in 2016.

Theoretically, in 2016 the EPA and the NHTSA would communicate with automakers to create standards that are feasible for compliance before they issued their Final Determination for CAFE standards; but instead, the unrestrained power Obama gave the EPA allowed them to usurp the automakers most affected by this policy and even the NHTSA, who the EPA is supposed to be working with.

As the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers explained in a letter to EPA Director Scott Pruitt, “EPA issued the Proposed Determination without coordinating with NHTSA. EPA demanded comments by December 30, 2016, even though the Proposed Determination was not published in the Federal Register until December 6. The public and industry had a mere 24 days, spanning a major national holiday, to comment on nearly I ,000 pages of documents, plus additional cited documents and computer modeling, regarding requirements that will profoundly affect the automobile industry and the more than 900,000 American workers it directly employs.”

It makes sense that automakers are angered by the EPA’s overreach, while they have been taken out of the discussion, they have the most to lose. These regulations are both realistically unattainable and extremely expensive to attempt.

The letter continues to explain, “As the Supreme Court has recognized, EPA’s regulatory efforts to address greenhouse gases have already produced ‘the single largest expansion in the scope of the [Clean Air Act] in its history’…standards. The Alliance supported these efforts-but only on the condition that EPA and NHTSA would reassess standards as data became available to test their feasibility. That commitment was essential because of the great uncertainty regarding the feasibility of the future standards. Based on the projections in the 2012 rule, manufacturers must achieve an average 54.5 miles per gallon equivalent across their new vehicle fleets by 2025. Even today, no conventional vehicle today meets that target, and conventional vehicles comprise 96.5 percent of the new light-duty vehicle fleet.”

The letter goes on to describe that the automotive industry would have to spend $200 billion between 2012 and 2025 to comply with the EPA’s rules.

Luckily President Trump has empowered the Department of Transportation to stand up to the EPA.

Under the leadership of Secretary Elaine Chao, the Department has announced they will be reviewing the midterm evaluation done solely by the EPA, allowing the NHTSA and automakers a voice in the discussion.

The Final Rules released by the Department will allow the NHTSA to reconsider the EPA’s guidelines and seek further comments from the public. The second final rule delays the imposition of the EPA’s guidelines while the NHTSA reconsiders with stakeholder input.

Finally, the Obama Administration’s unyielding power will be reined in, and the EPA will be forced to work with the industries they are affecting rather than against. President Trump is not only proving that he is willing to limit government, but also protect the industries that will truly make American great again.


Confronting the temperature taboo

The New York Times has discovered peril in the Arctic. “Explorers and fishermen find climate moderating about Spitzbergen and the Eastern Arctic,” the newspaper reports, and seal hunters and explorers who sail those icy seas “point to a radical change in climactic conditions, and hitherto unheard of temperatures in that part of the earth.”

Many old landmarks have disappeared, and others have so changed as to be unrecognizable. “Where formerly great masses of ice were found, there are now often accumulations of earth and stones. At many points where glaciers formerly extended far into the sea, they have entirely disappeared.”

Woe is certainly us. True, this was on Page One of Feb. 25, 1923, which proves, among other things, that the more things change the more they stay the same. But this account might well have appeared today in The New York Times, though the language was more restrained and more persuasive for it. But the world, as the readers of that earlier century knew it, is still pretty much intact in 2017.

But today, among right-thinking folk, so called, conversations about why the climate behaves the way it does are taboo.

Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, proposes debates between staunch proponents of the widespread view that carbon dioxide discharged by human activity is causing global warming, and the skeptics who are still not persuaded that cause and effect of climate change is clearly understood.

A match with adversaries poking holes in each other’s arguments would be an entertaining return to authentic scientific inquiry. There’s more for everyone to fear from too little information than from too much.

This would be in sharp contrast to the immediate past, when Barack Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency summarily proclaimed the human-induced warming argument as fact, and dared anyone to argue. The former president succeeded in shifting the center of gravity toward worldwide acceptance of environmental extremism as packaged in the Paris Climate Agreement.

It took a man with foolish courage to stand up in the sea of unanimity and ask why the United States should pass up trillions of dollars in economic growth to comply with a scheme that would produce no noticeable effect on global temperatures.

Now comes a new study concluding that nearly all global warming reported in recent decades is derived from “adjustments” to surface temperature data which was made by climate scientists, and not from actual readings. The study, by meteorologist Joseph D’Aleo, climate scientist Craig Idso and statistician James Wallace, tests whether temperature data compiled by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA, and the United Kingdom Climate Research Unit’s Hadley Center are “sufficiently credible estimates of global average temperatures such that they can be relied on for climate modeling and policy analysis purposes.”

They found that scientists almost always made “adjustments” to data that revised temperatures upward and seldom downward to produce a steeper warming trend over the years than what the thermometer actually showed. Their summary findings are sobering: “The conclusive findings of this research are that the three … data sets are not a valid representation of reality.”

The data from the three government organizations serves as the basis for the EPA’s finding that greenhouse gases endanger human health. And protecting people from the unhealthy effects of global warming — hotter and dryer summers, more severe hurricanes and rising ocean levels — was supposed to be the rationale for nearly 200 nations to adopt the Paris agreement and, for Americans, submitting to a thick rule book of EPA regulations governing nearly all life.

Given the flaws in official temperature data, Director Pruitt’s ending the taboo against challenging the conventional wisdom behind the causes of climate change is the right thing to do.

Let the debate begin.


Dadaist Science

Look under the hood on climate change "science" and what you see isn't pretty

Nathan Cofnas

Earlier this month Stephen Hawking declared: “We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible. Trump’s action [withdrawing from the Paris climate accord] could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of two hundred and fifty degrees [Celsius], and raining sulphuric acid.”

Let’s unpack this a bit, using actual science. The proportion of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere is currently about 400 parts per million (ppm). The Cambrian explosion—when most animal lineages first appeared—occurred a little more than 500 million years ago when, according to all estimates, carbon dioxide levels were several times higher than today. The atmosphere of Venus is 965,000 ppm carbon dioxide, enveloped in clouds of sulfuric acid. And Venus itself is almost 26 million miles closer to the sun than Earth.

So Hawking’s claim that the earth is on the “brink” of becoming like Venus is preposterous. Even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change explicitly notes that the Earth will not experience a runaway greenhouse effect such as might have occurred on Venus.

What is really disturbing, though, is that Hawking has flagrantly given up on even the pretense of engaging with actual science. He speaks entirely from authority: I am a scientist. Adopt this political policy that I favor or suffer fire and sulfuric acid. The threatened punishment for noncompliance substitutes sulfuric acid for the regular sulfur (brimstone) that features in old-fashioned religion. As far as the justification for the claim, there is no important difference between this and a religious statement that is supposed to be believed simply because it issues forth from a high priest.


The philosophy of Dadaism was that something is art if an artist says it is. In 1917 the Dadaist Marcel Duchamp famously proclaimed a urinal to be art. The original urinal was thrown in the trash after being exhibited, but Duchamp later commissioned several replicas, one of which sold for $1,185,000 in 2002. We can leave the merits of Dadaist art to the art critics. It is clear, however, that applying the Dadaist philosophy to science is a big mistake because it means rejecting the commitments that made science successful in the first place.

Something is science because it emerges from an investigation adhering to certain methodological principles. A scientist is someone who faithfully carries out such an investigation. The ability to speak as a scientist is entirely contingent upon one’s ongoing commitment to scientific methods. Yet public discourse about controversial issues in the past few years has promoted a misguided, Dadaist view of what science is.

Consider the physicist and aggressive science promoter Lawrence Krauss. Krauss has received a great deal of funding from the billionaire, and now registered sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein. This last detail is important.

Epstein pled guilty to paying girls as young as 14 for sex, and was suspected of even worse crimes involving underage girls. After he went to prison, Krauss offered the following analysis of his patron: “As a scientist I always judge things on empirical evidence and he always has women ages 19 to 23 around him, but I’ve never seen anything else, so as a scientist, my presumption is that whatever the problems were I would believe him over other people.”

Got that? “As a scientist,” Krauss did not personally witness the crimes, ergo they didn’t happen. After all, if Epstein really was a sex offender, he would walk around in public surrounded by 14-year-old girls, right? Obviously, this is insane. But what’s interesting is that Krauss defended Epstein by invoking his status as a “scientist,” and his commitment to “empirical evidence.” It’s more Dadaist science: I am a “scientist,” therefore whatever I say, no matter how transparently self-serving and nonsensical, is “science.”

But let’s jump back to global warming. The intense debate about the exact percentage of climate scientists who believe in catastrophic climate change is predicated on Dadaist science. Peter T. Doran and Maggie Kendall Zimmerman introduced the famous “consensus-of-97 percent” figure in 2009. They contacted 10,257 earth scientists from a database listing faculty and researchers at academic institutions and U.S. federal facilities; 3,146 people responded, giving their answers to two questions: (1) Compared to the pre-1800s, have mean global temperatures “risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?” and “Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?”

Ninety percent of respondents answered “risen” to the first question and 82 percent answered “yes” to the second. (Note that the survey didn’t ask whether the warming was a bad thing, which is actually the most important question. But that’s a separate issue.) Doran and Zimmerman then looked at only those respondents who indicated that climate science was their area of expertise and said that more than 50 percent of their peer-reviewed papers in the previous five years were about climate change. This subgroup contained just 79 people. Of these 79, 76 (96.2 percent) said the earth’s temperature had “risen” since the pre-1800s and 75 (97.4 percent of the 77 who answered this question) said “yes,” human activity is a significant contributing factor.

Which led Doran and Zimmerman to conclude: “It seems that the debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely nonexistent among those who understand the nuances and scientific basis of long-term climate processes. The challenge, rather, appears to be how to effectively communicate this fact to policy makers and to [the] public....”

In this survey, there was no pretense of engaging with reasons and argument. Doran and Zimmerman note that only 64 percent (23 of 36) of their respondents who listed “meteorology” as their area of expertise answered yes to the second question. Meteorology is, of course, the science devoted to studying the atmosphere and weather. You might say that weather is not the same thing as climate. Fair enough. But still, do the skeptical meteorologists have reasons for their opinion? What about the nearly one-fifth of earth scientists in the survey who were skeptical? To the Dadaist scientist, none of that matters. As long as the right authorities make the correct pronouncement, there is no need for investigation.


From 2004 to 2009, the U.S. government spent between $7 billion and $8 billion per year on climate-change research. Out of the 79 scientists in Doran and Zimmerman’s survey who said that more than 50 percent of their peer-reviewed publications in the previous five years concerned climate change, how many were receiving a share of this money? The survey was anonymous so we can’t check, but it’s reasonable to suspect that it might have been quite a few of them. At least.

And consider how multiple scientists (not only Krauss) who received cash from Jeffrey Epstein were willing to defend him even after he went to prison. (The eminent evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers, who received around $40,000 from Epstein, didn’t go Krauss’s route of denying the charges. He rationalized the crimes, saying, “By the time [girls are] 14 or 15, they’re like grown women were 60 years ago, so I don’t see these acts as so heinous.”) If anything, maybe earth scientists who don’t receive funding that allows them to publish on climate change should be surveyed about their views, for the same reason we wouldn’t ask Krauss to serve on Epstein’s jury.


The idea that the opinion of experts in a narrow academic subfield reliably tracks the truth flies in the face of historical experience.

Consider, for example, the history of psychology. For three or four decades in the middle of the twentieth century, American psychology was dominated by behaviorism. According to behaviorism, animals are born without any behavioral predispositions except a tendency to find certain stimuli reinforcing or punishing. Konrad Lorenz noted that ethologists who observe animals in their natural habitat always knew that behaviorism was untenable. You have merely to witness an animal being born and commencing a suite of complex, unlearned behaviors to see that not all behavior is conditioned.

But behaviorists never bothered to look at animals in the wild. They conducted laboratory experiments, very often involving rats or pigeons pushing levers for food rewards, that simply didn’t trigger the innate responses that manifest under natural conditions. For two generations behaviorists controlled the grants, the journals, the textbooks, and the jobs. Just about everyone who didn’t get on board with them was excluded from the field of psychology. Finally, in the mid-1950s, after many lost years, cognitive scientists managed to gain a foothold in the academy and they eventually overturned the behaviorist consensus.

The history of psychology undermines the philosophy of Dadaist science because it shows how a group of experts can band together on one side of a controversy and end up being wrong. It shows that an apparent consensus in a scientific field does not always arise from the independent judgment of those acquainted with the evidence. Sometimes “consensus” is maintained by the enforcement of orthodoxy by those doling out the jobs, perks, and money.

The debate about catastrophic global warming will ultimately be settled by experts, but it will be by means of argument, not by votes or assertions of authority.




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 July, 2017

What Rick Perry really said about supply and demand

by Jeff Jacoby

Lordy, how the mean girls jeered when Energy Secretary Rick Perry offered some extemporaneous words of encouragement to workers at a coal-fired power plant in West Virginia last week.

"Here's a little economics lesson," Perry said in response to a question about how the coal industry can stay competitive when the shale revolution of the last 10 years has made the supply of natural gas so abundant and cheap. "Supply and demand: You put the supply out there, and the demand will follow."

Cue an avalanche of media scorn.

"Rick Perry Hilariously Misunderstands Supply and Demand Theory in Attempted Defense of Coal Industry," guffawed Newsweek, deriding Perry for not grasping an economic fact so simple that "even the vast majority of people who have never stepped foot inside an economics class" understand it. On MSNBC, Chris Hayes aired a story on Perry's remarks that led off with video clips of Donald Trump insulting Perry's intelligence. Time posted some of the mocking tweets that proliferated in response to Perry's words, including one with a link to his college transcript, showing the D he earned in an Economics class at Texas A&M 47 years ago.

Far be it from me to infringe any journalist's right to pour contempt on Perry's head. But it might be worth mentioning that before he became energy secretary, Perry spent 14 years as governor of Texas and presided over an incredible economic boom. On Perry's watch, Texas — driven by surging growth in oil and gas production — generated more than 30 percent of all new American jobs, and did more than any other state to lead the US out of the Great Recession.

True, he did once say "oops" in a debate. But perhaps Perry isn't quite as clueless about supply, demand, and the energy sector as all the media hilarity suggested?

Perry wasn't in West Virginia to teach a seminar in supply and demand theory. He was there to lead a bipartisan delegation through one of the most efficient coal-fueled electricity plants in the nation. The Longview Power Plant, just six years old, is a cutting-edge example of "clean coal" technology, built to generate electricity with greater efficiency and lower emissions than older plants.

For the first time ever, more electricity was generated in the United States last year from natural gas than from coal.
The coal industry has been struggling for years, beset not only by environmental concerns but also by merciless price competition from natural gas. In a market upheaval that no one would have predicted even a decade ago, the United States has become the world's foremost producer of natural gas. Recently coal was knocked from its perch as the dominant source of fuel for electric power; in 2016, for the first time ever, more electricity was generated from natural gas (33.8 percent) than from coal (30.4 percent).

Between the rise of natural gas, the political support for renewable energy, and the closing of older coal plants, many have assumed that the death of the coal industry is inevitable. But reports of coal's demise may be premature. "The improbable happens regularly when it comes to energy," writes economist Mark J. Perry, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (and no relation to Rick Perry). Just as the new technologies of fracking and horizontal drilling unexpectedly made it profitable to extract oil and gas from shale deposits, so too the newest clean-coal technologies, some still in their infancy, "could upend perceptions about coal's environmental impact."

In other words, those at work in the coal industry shouldn't give up on themselves: That was the context of Secretary Perry's visit to West Virginia. And that was the point he was making when asked how coal can hope to contend with the price advantages of shale gas. His answer — "put the supply out there, and the demand will follow" — wasn't intended as a microeconomics tutorial. It was intended to hearten workers at the leading edge of clean-coal power generation. Perry wasn't implying that no matter how much coal the industry produces, there will always be a demand for it. He was expressing confidence in the continuing ability of coal to compete in the energy marketplace, despite all the ways in which that marketplace is changing.

When so many Americans depend on coal for their livelihood and their lights, is that really a message anyone should laugh at?


How Fossil Fuels Will Help Us Confront Climate Change

The debate over climate change policy pits two competing visions of the future against each other.

On the one hand are the “true believers,” who see in global warming an existential threat to humanity. They want to slow the rise in temperature as soon as possible, and as much as possible.

Their policy prescriptions focus on the curtailment, or even elimination, of the use of fossil fuels, no matter the costs in terms of slower economic growth and increased poverty.

The “skeptics,” on the other hand, view global warming as a potentially serious issue. It might cause problems in the future, but the impacts cannot be determined now with any degree of certainty.

Instead of attempting to forestall future warming, they focus on policies that will build societal wealth as well as scientific and technological capacity by the most efficient means available. Given the existing state of technology, this includes the use of abundant fossil fuels to promote rapid economic growth.

The goal of the skeptics is to position society to deal effectively in the future with whatever issues may arise from global warming as they actually occur.

One possible version of the skeptics’ vision of a high-wealth, high-energy society was on vivid display last week in Dubai, where The Heritage Foundation was promoting the Index of Economic Freedom at the annual conference of the Academy of International Business.

The United Arab Emirates is a group of seven semi-independent emirates on the shores of the Persian Gulf, of which Dubai is the largest.

When the emirates gained independence in 1971, the population was about 275,000. Now it is about 9.3 million, making the UAE one of the fastest-growing countries in the world.

Economic growth has kept pace with population growth in the UAE, and the per capita gross domestic product is among the highest in the world at about $67,000 (based on purchasing power parity).

The UAE is an oil-producing state, and the economy is built on a foundation of abundant and cheap fossil fuels.

Unlike many other oil-producing states, however, where centralized control has hampered diversification and locked society into dependence on export revenue, the UAE government has promoted economic freedom and openness, rising to eighth place in the world in The Heritage Foundation index rankings and first place among the countries of the Middle East and North Africa.

Modern Dubai rises from the desert like a vision of Tomorrowland. Skyscrapers vie with one another for the most inventive architectural design, and the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, towers over them all.

A 14-kilometer artificial river surrounds the city. In heat that averages over 100 degrees on an annual basis, citizens move from air conditioned homes to air conditioned cars, buses, and trains, to air conditioned offices and shopping malls.

This is where the relevance to the climate change debate comes in.

The current average world temperature is about 58 degrees. The true believers in climate change are predicting global catastrophe if that temperature rises by a worst-case estimate of 7 degrees Fahrenheit. That would bring the world average temperature to about 65 degrees.

Dubai, today, is doing quite well at an average temperature 35 degrees higher.

Obviously, Dubai is on the cutting edge of technology and prosperity as a result of its oil endowment and government policies that promote economic freedom and growth.

Not every country has oil, but in a globalized market, cheap fossil fuels are available everywhere to spur rapid growth and technological change.

True believers want us to accept sacrifices now—and a poorer world—in favor of unproven policies to avert warming that may or may not occur, and that may or may not be harmful.

Skeptics instead want to grow and develop as fast as possible now in order to be better positioned to deal with whatever future challenges may come. The success of modern-day Dubai shows at least that the skeptics’ vision is plausible.

The true believers, on the other hand, have no examples or evidence to demonstrate that their policies of sacrifice can produce a better world for future generations.


America’s Energy Dominance Won’t Sacrifice Environmental Quality

President Donald Trump declared during energy week that the United States would “usher in a golden age of American energy dominance.”

From rolling back egregious offshore drilling restrictions and power plant regulations to a policy review to revive nuclear energy, the Trump administration is making important headway to unleash America’s vast energy resources.

But energy dominance need not mean disregarding our nation’s strong environmental record, as too many have assumed.

Every announcement the Trump administration makes on energy and the environment has been met with vitriol and hyperbole from activist organizations and radical pundits.

For example, when the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers announced they were dismantling the Obama-era Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, Vice News wrote, “Trump takes steps to ensure more Americans have access to unsafe drinking water.”

Quite to the contrary, the WOTUS rule was an affront to private property rights and significantly overstepped the boundaries of proper federal government jurisdiction, and had little to nothing to do with safe drinking water, which is regulated under the Safe Water Drinking Act.

The compatibility of energy production and environmental protection featured strongly during a panel featuring three of Trump’s Cabinet members a few weeks back:

Ryan Zinke, secretary of the interior, emphasized improving the environmental stewardship of federal lands. The secretary plans to solicit input from the Western governors, native tribes, and citizens living in those states. Zinke emphasized unlocking valuable resources for private sector development and advancing human knowledge by promoting innovative technologies.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is pursuing an agenda that rolls back regulations devoid of any significant environmental benefit. This plan empowers the states to customize policies responsive to local citizens.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry wants to reduce bureaucracy at America’s national laboratories, where technological innovation can yield significant efficiency gains.

The United States has long been a global leader in the realm of environmental safety.

Through innovation and investment in new technologies, as well as through legislation, rule of law, and all-important property rights, air and water quality have improved significantly in the United States.

Pollutants known to cause harm to public health and the environment have declined even as the U.S. has catapulted to the forefront as the world’s leader in oil and natural gas production.

Companies are incentivized by market pressures to constantly improve efficiency—and the environmental benefits that come with doing more with less follow directly from efforts to lower prices to remain competitive.

Although it may not line up with the efforts of the “Keep It in the Ground” movement, the reality is that the Trump administration’s efforts to strengthen an already dominant energy industry in the U.S. are fully compatible with a healthy environment.


More evidence of Greenie misanthropy

Recycling, washing clothes at 30°C and switching to energy saving bulbs are all touted as ways to help the environment.

But if you really want to save the planet, one of the best ways is to not have children, according to a study.

Researchers said that bringing new life into the world is easily the most destructive thing you can do to the environment.

By not having a child, the carbon footprint of an individual living in a developed country would be reduced on average by an extra 58.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year, based on current emission rates.

This is the biggest impact of all possible actions you could take.

The team from Sweden’s Lund University came to this conclusion after conducting an analysis of the things individuals can do to produce less greenhouse gases.

But they found that while we are told to recycle, no government in the western world is advising its citizens to limit their number of offspring.

The study found that the other three main choices people can make in order to cut the amount of carbon dioxide they produce are to eat less meat, get rid of their car, and fly less.

After analysing 39 studies and government reports assessing the impact individual lifestyle choices make on reducing CO2 levels, the researchers concluded that many of the ‘green’ activities governments recommend – such as recycling or fitting energy-saving bulbs – only make small reductions.

Lead author Seth Wynes – who does not have any children – said: ‘There are so many factors that affect the climate impact of personal choices, but bringing all these studies side-by-side gives us confidence we’ve identified actions that make a big difference.

‘We found there are four actions that could result in substantial decreases in an individual’s carbon footprint: eating a plant-based diet, avoiding air travel, living car-free, and having smaller families.’

He added that these actions ‘have much greater potential to reduce emissions than commonly promoted strategies’.

For example, recycling is four times less effective at reducing greenhouse gases than eating a plant-based diet, while using energy-saving bulbs is eight times less effective.

Living car-free saves about 2.4 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year, while eating a plant-based diet saves 0.8 tonnes.

The impact of having a child is calculated by factoring in not only the extra impact of the child, but also that of their potential future descendants.

Writing in Environmental Research Letters, the authors said: ‘Persuading a US family to have one less child would provide the same level of emissions reductions as persuading 684 teenagers who do not recycle, to recycle comprehensively for the rest of their lives.’

Under the Paris Agreement, of which the UK is a signatory, everyone on the planet needs to reduce their carbon footprint to just two tonnes of CO2 a year by 2050 if we are to limit global warming to just 2C.

The Optimum Population Trust, of which Sir David Attenborough is the patron, has urged parents to ‘Stop at Two’.


Al Gore compares climate fight to slavery, gay rights & apartheid at Australian summit

MELBOURNE, Australia — Former Vice President Al Gore likened the battle against “global warming” to previous social causes. Gore spoke to the EcoCity World Summit in Melbourne Australia on July 13th. The conference is being held from July 12-14.

“Abolition of slavery, woman’s suffrage, anti apartheid movement, civil rights movement, stopping toxic phase of nuclear arms, gay rights, all these movements have one thing in common. they were all met with ferocious resistance,” Gore said on July 13th during his talk to the conference in Melbourne.

Other speakers at the summit tied climate “solutions” to social causes.  Climate activists admitted that  “Carbon Neutral” goals were being used to achieve “gender & social equity.”
Johanna Partin spoke about the CNCA or Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance. In her talk, she clearly stated a key “mission” of going “carbon neutral” was to “increase gender and social equity.”

Partin joins many other climate activists who are using the man-made global warming scare to advance other agendas that have nothing to do with climate.

Author Naomi Klein, author of the new book “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate”, admitted during the 2014 People’s Climate March in New York City activists would be caling for the same “solutions” even if there was no climate “crisis.” She was asked, “Even if climate change issue did not exist, you would be calling for same structural changes?” Klein responded:  ‘Yeah.’

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

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


University of Pennsylvania Geologist Dr. Robert Giegengack noted in 2014, “None of the strategies that have been offered by the U.S. government or by the EPA or by anybody else has the remotest chance of altering climate if in fact climate is controlled by carbon dioxide.”

In layman’s terms: All of the so-called ‘solutions’ to global warming are purely symbolic when it comes to climate. So, even if we actually faced a climate catastrophe and we had to rely on a UN climate agreement, we would all be doomed!

The United Nations has publicly stated its goal is not to ‘solve’ climate change, but to seek to redistribute wealth and expand its authority through more central planning. UN official Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chair of the IPCC Working Group III, admitted what’s behind the climate issue: “One must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy … One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore.”

EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard revealed: Global Warming Policy Is Right Even If Science Is Wrong. Hedegaard said in 2013, “Let’s say that science, some decades from now, said ‘we were wrong, it was not about climate,’ would it not in any case have been good to do many of things you have to do in order to combat climate change?”

The UN is seeking central planning. UN climate chief Christiana Figueres declared in 2012 that she is seeking a “centralized transformation” that is “going to make the life of everyone on the planet very different.”

The UN and EPA regulations are pure climate symbolism in exchange for a more centrally planned energy economy. The UN and EPA regulations are simply a vehicle to put politicians and bureaucrats in charge of our energy economy and ‘save’ us from bad weather and ‘climate change.’




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 July, 2017

Global fakery   

Global temperature chicanery is a substantiated and metastasizing problem. And the longer these shenanigans go ignored, the more taxpayers all over the world are being embarrassingly duped into forking over money to address an obscure, perhaps even non-existent, problem. In a new study, well-known researchers Dr. James P. Wallace III, Dr. Joseph S. D'Aleo and Dr. Craig D. Idso explore and affirm the issue of revisionist temperature data, the results of which significantly tarnish the “settled science” narrative.

“The objective of this research,” the team writes, “was to test the hypothesis that Global Average Surface Temperature (GAST) data, produced by NOAA, NASA, and HADLEY, are sufficiently credible estimates of global average temperatures such that they can be relied upon for climate modeling and policy analysis purposes.” What the researchers discovered was “that each new version of GAST has nearly always exhibited a steeper warming linear trend over its entire history. And, it was nearly always accomplished by systematically removing the previously existing cyclical temperature pattern.” In other words, much like how the Left constantly revises history to advance its ideology, government scientists are making bold climate claims citing data that relies on conjecture or, worse, outright deceit.

The study continues, “The conclusive findings of this research are that the three GAST data sets are not a valid representation of reality. In fact, the magnitude of their historical data adjustments … are totally inconsistent with published and credible U.S. and other temperature data. Thus, it is impossible to conclude from the three published GAST data sets that recent years have been the warmest ever — despite current claims of record setting warming.” As Dr. D'Aleo explained to one media outlet, “Nearly all of the warming they are now showing are in the adjustments. Each dataset pushed down the 1940s warming and pushed up the current warming.” Scientists who demand that we place unbridled trust in their integrity are proving just why so many of their assertions are tossed into the “fake news” category.


Lawmakers Cite Evidence Russia ‘Colludes’ With US Green Groups to Block Fracking

Forget about allegations of Russian interference in U.S. presidential elections for a moment, or even “collusion” between Russian officials and Trump campaign operatives.

The real action is in the European and U.S. energy markets, according to a letter from two Texas congressmen to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that details what they call “a covert anti-fracking campaign” with “little or no paper trail.”

The Daily Signal obtained a copy of the June 29 letter to Mnuchin from Reps. Lamar Smith and Randy Weber, both Republicans who chair energy-related House panels. (See the full letter below.)

Smith and Weber quote sources saying the Russian government has been colluding with environmental groups to circulate “disinformation” and “propaganda” aimed at undermining hydraulic fracturing. Commonly called fracking, the process makes it possible to access natural gas deposits.

The sources include a former secretary-general of NATO, who is quoted by the GOP congressmen as saying:

Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called nongovernmental organizations—environmental organizations working against shale gas—to maintain dependence on imported Russian gas.

This anti-fracking campaign seizes upon environmental issues and health concerns that could be used to constrain U.S. drilling and fracking exercises, the letter explains.

Gazprom, a large Russian oil company, stands to benefit if Russian-funded environmental activism results in reduced levels of fracking and natural gas production in the United States, Smith and Weber tell Mnuchin. They write:

It is easy to see the benefit to Russia and Gazprom that would result from a reduction in the U.S. level of drilling and fracking—a position advocated for by numerous environmental groups in the U.S.

Smith, chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, joined Weber, chairman of that panel’s energy subcommittee, in calling on the treasury secretary to investigate whether Russia works with American environmental activists to prevent the U.S. from developing its natural gas resources.

Top U.S. government officials who have acknowledged the connection between Russian and environmental groups include former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee for president in 2016.

In 2014, Clinton delivered a “private speech” in which she discussed Russia’s financial support for environmental groups, the letter says. The speech was included in documents released by WikiLeaks, it says.

An Oct. 10, 2016, report in The Washington Times quoted Clinton as saying:

We [the State Department and the U.S. government] were up against Russia pushing oligarchs and others to buy media. We were even up against phony environmental groups, and I’m a big environmentalist, but these were funded by the Russians to stand up against any effort, ‘Oh that pipeline, that fracking, that whatever will be a problem for you,’ and a lot of that money supporting that effort was coming from Russia.

Contrary to what Russia’s propaganda machine and its environmental allies have told news consumers in Europe and America, fracking is safe, effective, and enormously beneficial, Nick Loris, an economist and energy policy analyst with The Heritage Foundation, said in an email to The Daily Signal.

“If successful, an anti-fracking campaign is depriving Americans of good-paying jobs and affordable, dependable energy,” Loris said. “Despite smears and outright lies from environmental activists, smart drilling and energy extraction technologies have been proven to be safe.”

“It feels like every week a new study is published, confirming what we already know,” he said. “Hydraulic fracturing does not contaminate drinking water. The facts and history of hydraulic fracturing, a history that dates back more than half a century and over 1 million fracked wells, indicate that many of the fears associated with the process are grossly exaggerated or flat-out unsubstantiated.”

Loris added:

The good news, however, is that the anti-fracking campaign really hasn’t been all that successful in ‘keeping it in the ground.’ The U.S. is the world’s largest petroleum and natural gas producer, and we can thank fracking and American energy companies for it.

The result is that money is going back into bank accounts of hardworking families through lower energy bills, and American businesses are more competitive because of lower input costs. And we’re in a position to supply our allies with power, significantly reducing the ability of any one nation’s ability to manipulate energy markets for political gain.

In their letter to the treasury secretary, Smith and Weber also say the Russians have been able to advance their strategy without “a paper trail.”

They pass along reports that Russia apparently funnels the money through a Bermuda-based “shell company” known as Klein Ltd.

Tens of millions of dollars are moved from Russia through Klein “in the form of anonymous donations” to a U.S.-based nonprofit called the Sea Change Foundation.

The money, the congressmen write, then is moved in the form of grants to U.S. environmental organizations.


Why the Greens Hate Nuclear Power
Let’s stretch our imaginations for a moment and assume that the Left is right that global warming will bring apocalyptic warming by the end of the century and that the only way to save the planet from extinction is to stop using fossil fuels right now. That will be a spectacular disruption to world economic prosperity, because cheap fossil fuels account for about two-thirds of all electric power generation and at least 80 percent of transportation fuel.

But if we did stop using fossil fuels, what would make the most sense as a mass-scale substitute to coal, natural gas and oil? What could reduce carbon emissions while also keeping energy affordable and reliable?

If you answered “wind and solar power,” you flunk. These are the most expensive and impractical alternatives. The obvious solution to keeping the world’s cellphones, computers, homes and factories powered up with minimal economic disruption, if it ever came to that, would be for the world to build hundreds of nuclear power plants.

To state an obvious point that almost all the Sierra Club elites and the Michael Bloombergs of the world choose to ignore: Nuclear power can give us all the power we need to keep our modern industrial and technological world economy rolling without emitting any greenhouse gases.

Yet nuclear power is declining as an alternative energy source, and plants are being shuttered at a record pace. The big problem for atomic energy is that it can’t compete on price with the new age of cheap shale gas and, to a lesser extent, clean coal. The regulatory burden on nuclear energy is also a killer, costing an estimated $9 million per plant, according to the American Action Network.

Even still, a nuclear plant generates much cheaper electric power on a much wider scale than wind and solar power. In the U.S., for example, wind and solar require about five to 10 times the government subsidy to provide a kilowatt of electricity than does nuclear power. And nuclear power is a much more dependable form of energy than wind and solar. One of green energy’s fatal flaws is that it isn’t scalable for large industrial economies and thus these energy sources make nations highly vulnerable to crippling brownouts and blackouts, as Europe and Australia have learned of late.

For those who don’t drink the Kool-Aid of the radical Left environmentalists, these are incontrovertible facts. But here and around the world the Left is about as hostile to nuclear power as they are to oil and coal.

I just got back from an economic conference in Korea. While I was there the newly elected left-of-center president, Moon Jae-in, announced a “nuclear-free” era for the nation, starting with the shutdown of a major nuclear reactor. The greens were practically dancing in the streets. But why? Few nations have been as reliant on nuclear power as Korea. In many ways, cheap and reliable atomic energy helped make possible the “miracle on the Han River"— i.e., the swift post-World War II economic surge of Korea. President Jae-in says that renewable energy will take its place.

From an environmental perspective what is happening in the U.S., Korea and around the world is asinine. Why would you want to shut down a nuclear plant, which requires at most about 1 square mile of land, to replace that power source with windmills, which would require 300 square miles of land to be paved over? Do environmentalists really believe that green progress means looking out at America’s majestic mountains, forests, green oceans, wilderness areas and deserts and viewing miles upon miles of nothing but windmills and solar paneling?

I’m not a cheerleader for nuclear power. The storage of nuclear waste and the accidents such as Fukushima make everyone understandably nervous. In the U.S., nuclear plants generally can’t get private insurance to cover accidents, and so the industry relies heavily on the federal government for subsidized insurance. Perhaps the advent of smaller reactors would alleviate the public’s fears.

My point here is that nothing exposes the insincerity of the global climate change movement as does the Left’s hatred of nuclear power. We can save the planet from climate change and have all the power we need at affordable prices. But just as the greens are against clean natural gas and fracking, they also oppose nuclear power.

The radical environmentalists are insisting that the only energy alternative that will save the planet is wind and solar power — the two options guaranteed to most decelerate modern industrialization and economic progress across the globe. Perhaps that is what the far Left really wants: to force mankind to slow down growth and human advancement. If that is their real agenda, then forcing businesses and families to use inferior and expensive energy is a smart strategy.


UN blames ‘educated people’ for opposition to extreme Greenie agenda

40 years after the Khmer Rouge massacred 2.2 million people, a socialist regime is once again blaming the educated class for opposition to its plans for widespread land controls.

A new United Nations report blames “educated people” for growing opposition to its Agenda 21 plan to de-develop capitalist economies and seize control of land.

The Newman Report writes:

…as far as the nebulous, totalitarian concept relates to education, the UN has already made clear that more education is actually a threat to sustainability.

“Generally, more highly educated people, who have higher incomes, consume more resources than poorly educated people, who tend to have lower incomes,” explains a UN “toolkit” for global “sustainable” education, which is still posted online at UNESCO’s website. “In this case, more education increases the threat to sustainability.”

“More education increases the threat to sustainability,” the United Nations declares.

But that’s not all.

“Unfortunately, the most educated nations leave the deepest ecological footprints, meaning they have the highest per-capita rates of consumption,” the UN claims.

Yes, that’s the UN claiming that anti-intellectualism is a virtue, because it doesn’t allow people to improve their lives by being more productive.

That’s a chilling echo of Cambodian dictator Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge, which preached the virtues of rolling back centuries of human progress to go back to Iron Age agrarian living. When intellectuals and common citizens pointed out that would mean widespread poverty and suffering, they were targeted and killed.

The UN’s solution?  Seize control of the means of education and re-direct them to indoctrinating children on the need to de-develop their lifestyles.

Of course, the Khmer Rouge tried that, too.


Australia to get a draconian fuel efficiency standard?

Sounds like America's CAFE, which is widely deplored and likely to be cut back by Trump.  The idea is for cars to get more miles per gallon -- but that pushes people into small cars, which may not suit families and others

Malcolm Turnbull's proposed 'carbon tax' could push up the price of new cars by more than $5,000 for Australian buyers.

The Government's proposed tax details penalties for car distributors that fail to meet fuel efficiency targets.

Distributors told The Daily Telegraph they were shocked by the 'extreme' proposal when they received it on Monday.

Australian Automobile Association chief executive officer Michael Bradley told the publication the carbon tax would without a doubt force up the price of new cars.

'This would be one of the most extreme efficiency standards in the world and will lead to car prices going up and motorists having fewer cars to choose from,' he said.

'There is no escaping the fact that if the government pushes ahead with this proposal it will mean more expensive cars.'

Under the Government's proposed Fuel Efficiency Standard, it planned to have 65 per cent of vehicles complying with emissions targets by 2022 and 100 per cent by 2025. Emissions penalties would commence in 2025.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries' acting chief executive Tony McDonald said emissions penalties would add thousands of dollars onto the price of a new car.

While the proposal was still under assessment, Mr McDonald said it would have a huge impact on Australian consumers if it were to go ahead.

'The industry firmly believes this high target is unrealistic and ill-considered,' he said.

Mr McDonald said Australia's peak car industry bodies consulted with the Government for 18 months.

He said the outcome was far more extreme than the industry expected.

The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development said it was just a proposal and nothing was confirmed.

The department said it welcomed stakeholder feedback.

If emissions were not offset within the next three calendar years, the price of some of Australia's most popular cars could cost upwards of $5,000 more.

The Ford Ranger would cost more than $2,000 more to buy, the Toyota Corolla would cost almost $4,000 more, and the Hyundai i30 would cost $5,770 more.




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 July, 2017

How the electric car revolution could backfire

Matt Ridley

If the state pushes one type of technology too hard it risks shutting down the creation of a far more efficient alternative

The [British] government is under pressure to follow France and Volvo in promising to set a date by which to ban diesel and petrol engines in cars and replace them with electric motors. It should resist the temptation, not because the ambition is wrong but because coercion could backfire.

The electric motor is older than the internal combustion engine by about half a century. Since taking over factories from the steam piston engine at the end of the 19th century, it has become ubiquitous. Twinned with its opposite number, the turbine (which turns work into electricity, rather than vice versa), it drives machines in factories, opens doors, raises lifts, prepares food, brushes teeth and washes plates.

These are fantastic motors and we should be using even more of them, especially in personal transport. They are quiet and clean at the point of use, so could have transformative effects on the quality of life of those living near roads and in urban areas. In the future they could even fly planes.

But if it is to be cordless, an electric drive must carry a heavy battery. Using lithium atoms, among the lightest there are, has helped to make batteries lighter, but they are still bulky, slow to charge and liable to explode if charged too fast. Imagine the congestion at charging stations if every car was electric.

Building an electric car generates considerably more carbon dioxide than creating a comparable petrol model because so much energy is required for the mining and processing of lithium, nickel and other materials for the battery. The battery accounts for more than half the cradle-to-grave emissions created by an electric car. Fuelling that car from a coal-fired grid like China’s or India’s makes the emissions even worse.

With Europe’s mix of generating capacity — less coal, more gas, more wind and more nuclear — an electric vehicle does emit less carbon dioxide over its lifetime than a comparable petrol or diesel vehicle, but not by a large margin. As one study concluded: “We find that electric vehicles powered by the European electricity mix reduce [global warming potential] by 26 per cent to 30 per cent relative to gasoline . . . and 17 per cent to 21 per cent relative to diesel.”

Then there is the question of where the extra electricity is to come from. In recent years we have struggled to build enough power stations for existing users, let alone adding all cars and heating too, for that is the plan. Britain’s cars travel about 250 billion miles a year. Assuming the use of very small Nissan Leaf-style vehicles, that mileage would add an extra 16 per cent of demand to our existing electricity grid.

If we want the new capacity to be low carbon — and since we cannot seem to get our act together on nuclear, and solar works poorly at this latitude, especially in winter — then how many wind turbines would be needed to generate that much extra electricity? Roughly 10,000 onshore or 5,000 offshore, requiring a subsidy of at least £2 billion, more than double the size of our existing windfarm estate. Yikes.

Meanwhile, the idea of using electric vehicles to balance the grid, allowing us to dump spare juice into them when the wind blows and take it out when it does not, is, according to Ofgem, pie in the sky, at least until autonomous vehicles arrive and cars can go scurrying off to central charging points after dropping you at home, which is some way off.

Finally, remember that — globally at least — 40 per cent of road transport fuel is used by lorries, not cars, so electrifying all cars still leaves a big chunk to tackle. In short, electric cars are a great technology but almost trivial as a climate policy. They’re attractive for other reasons.

To achieve a major transition in the economy, such as to electric transport, you could force the issue with a legal deadline, challenging the engineers to solve the practical problems and incentivising businesses to leave their comfort zone and abandon existing technologies.

Without a government ban it might never happen. But that sort of hothouse growth risks entrenching an immature technology, preventing a better one from coming along.

Here is a cautionary tale illustrating the latter point. Ten years ago Gordon Brown, then chancellor, and Hilary Benn, environment secretary, announced that ahead of an EU timetable Britain would forcibly phase out incandescent light bulbs in favour of compact fluorescent (CFL) ones, promising that this would “help tackle climate change, and also cut household bills”. By sending free CFL bulbs to most households and requiring retailers to sell only the new bulbs, this cost the country almost £3 billion.

Slow to warm up, tending to flicker, with a much shorter lifetime than expected and dangerous to dispose of, CFL bulbs were less popular with consumers than with manufacturers, who tooled up to produce them. Now, just ten years later, nobody wants CFL bulbs, thanks to the dramatic fall in price of the next technology: more efficient, better quality and safer LED lights. The government backed the wrong technology. Fortunately, in that case, changing course won’t be very hard, though the waste of £3 billion is a miserable thought. It would be much worse if we picked the wrong battery technology for electric vehicles.

Tesla’s decision to build a “Gigafactory” to make lithium-ion batteries may establish a new standard for battery technology for a generation, at the risk of pinching off research into potentially better designs for batteries. Or Tesla may find itself with an obsolete system if one of those other technologies suddenly achieves a breakthrough.

Perhaps we should leave this to the market. The great merit of private enterprise is that it reduces the cost of learning by putting a limit to the extent of the hazard of any particular adventure. One company gambles, and takes a hit, but the harm is limited and the lesson is learnt by everyone.

A ministerially mandated nationwide failure would be costly in itself and could delay the wider use of a genuinely promising development in personal transport. Don’t let the state screw this up.


Hybrid Cars and Islamic Power

“Volvo plans to build only electric and hybrid vehicles starting in 2019, making it the first major automaker to abandon cars and SUVs powered solely by the internal combustion engine,” reports ABC News. “CEO Hakan Samuelsson said the move was dictated by customer demand.” Eh, not so much. Government regulations on emissions are largely the driving factor here. As The Hill reports on a related story, “France is preparing to end the sale of gasoline and diesel vehicles by 2040 as a way of reaching its emissions targets under the Paris climate agreement.” That’s not a car company responding to consumers; it’s a government dictating what will or won’t be sold. And in this case, it’s all under the guise of saving the planet from climate change.

Oddly enough, it might help save the planet, but not from warming temperatures. Political analyst Dick Morris says, “It’s the beginning of the end of Islamic power.” Why? Because much of the Islamic world, particularly Middle Eastern nations, depend almost solely on oil production. Saudi Arabia, Iran, Libya, Iraq and others are what Morris calls “single-crop economies,” which, without oil, “have economic resources that are less significant than sub-Sahara Africa.” Without that enormous revenue, there will be less money to spend on terrorism and other destabilizing endeavors. That’s a good thing.


A leftwing case against environmentalism

The left’s embrace of eco-austerity is a recipe for impoverishment.

Today’s campaign against economic growth and overconsumption should have no place on the left. While its current austerity-ecology incarnation appears to many progressives as a fresh, new argument fit for the Anthropocene, it is in fact the descendent of a very old, dark and Malthusian set of ideas that the left historically did battle with. It is not that our species does not face profound environmental problems. Indeed, it is precisely because human society confronts such genuine ecological threats that the focus must be on the real systemic gremlins responsible for our predicament, not growth, let alone progress, industry or even civilisation itself.

Quite the opposite of all this misanthropy is what is imperative. There will need to be more growth, more progress and more industry, and, above all, we will need to become more civilised, if we are to solve the global biocrisis.

To be clear, many of those on the green left who are concerned about the alleged problems of economic growth mean well. It’s an absence of understanding of political economy that is at fault rather than conscious malevolence. Or at least that’s what the po-faced and sensible little angel on my right shoulder tells me. The little devil on my left, a far more charismatic fellow at times, whispers instead: ‘Grant these hair-shirted GMO-free granola-druids no quarter. Remember that poster advertising a woodland gathering reading poetry “to our brothers and sisters the trees”? I rest my case.’

Naomi Klein distills much of this anti-humanist line of thinking into her 2014 bestseller, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate, as well as in a handful of very widely shared essays in the Nation, the Guardian and the New Statesman. Let me note briefly that there is much that she says that I agree with. Above all, I doff my cap to her regular, robust promotion of trade unions and the rights of workers, something that too many other green-minded folks forget (most egregiously the world’s most successful Green Party, Germany’s Die Grünen, which, in government with the Social Democrats at the turn of the millennium, broke the back of Germany’s union movement, laying the neo-mercantilist foundations of the current ongoing Eurozone crisis, a crisis in which the sizeable Die Grünen faction in the European Parliament has regularly backed EU policies that favour central European financial interests over those of the ordinary people of Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Ireland). Nonetheless, due to Klein’s prominence as a degrowthist thinker, and how representative she is of a much wider current, her arguments need criticism. Further, as we’ll see, her degrowth arguments stand opposed to the interests of working people, and are a barrier to labour’s advance.

Klein puts forward the idea that climate change is actually something of a gift, a way for progressives to push through everything we’ve ever wanted but have never achieved. We can do this now because science tells us it’s the only way to save the planet.

One cannot rage against the imposition of economic austerity while arguing against economic growth

In her Nation essay, ‘Capitalism vs the climate’, she appears to make a revolutionary case against the market system after visiting a climate-sceptic conference hosted by the hard-right Heartland Institute:

‘If you ask the Heartlanders, climate change makes some kind of left-wing revolution virtually inevitable, which is precisely why they are so determined to deny its reality. Perhaps we should listen to their theories more closely – they might just understand something the left still doesn’t get … [C]limate change supercharges the pre-existing case for virtually every progressive demand on the books, binding them into a coherent agenda based on a clear scientific imperative.’

She makes a similar argument in her New Statesman piece, ‘How science is telling us all to revolt’. Here, she alights on the work of a pair of scientists with the Tyndall Centre – Britain’s premier climate-research body – Kevin Anderson and Alice Bows, who have concluded: ‘We are now facing cuts so drastic that they challenge the fundamental logic of prioritising GDP growth above all else.’ Klein says that this means that:

‘[F]or any closet revolutionary who has ever dreamed of overthrowing the present economic order in favour of one a little less likely to cause Italian pensioners to hang themselves in their homes, this work should be of particular interest. Because it makes the ditching of that cruel system in favour of something new (and perhaps, with lots of work, better) no longer a matter of mere ideological preference but rather one of species-wide existential necessity.’

A shortcut! All these past 200-plus years of systemic critique and political struggle from what we call the ‘left’, of campaigning, debating, voting, marching, picketing and on occasion revolting – in other words, the grand effort involved in putting forth our ‘mere ideological preference’ – was insufficient because this was political rather than scientific. Now, however, the men and women in lab coats have a secret weapon more effective than any boycotts, sit-ins, leafleting or electioneering; more certain to be victorious than any blockades, occupations or general strikes. All we have to do is present these facts and our ancient enemies will concede. Because all along, the problem in overcoming injustice has been that elites just didn’t know the facts.

Okay, you say. So Klein is being a bit glib here about the magical power of The Science – so what? And she’s not saying don’t engage in these other tactics of social change. Climate change is just an additional political opportunity. More importantly, isn’t the substance of her argument the assertion that economic growth and overconsumption are behind what is causing climate change, indeed causing the wider biocrisis? Isn’t she right that the Heartlanders are right?

Let’s have a deeper look. Klein’s argument involves two premises. The first is that to maintain ourselves within the range of average global temperatures that have been optimum for human flourishing throughout the Holocene geological epoch that began at the end of the last ice age, society must make radical and rapid cuts in carbon emissions, and ultimately move toward a carbon-neutral economy. Bows and Anderson put the scale of global cuts in CO2 emissions needed after a peak in emissions in 2015 at a rate of 10 per cent per year thereafter if we are to have an even chance of meeting the internationally agreed goal of a maximum two-degree temperature increase. Elsewhere, researchers with the Global Carbon Project put the figure at 5.5 per cent per year over the next 45 years. For comparison, the fastest decarbonisation programmes in history – the transition to nuclear power by France, Sweden and Belgium in the 1970s and 1980s, with France now producing three quarters of its electricity from this low-carbon source – enjoyed reductions in emissions of just four per cent a year over the course of roughly a decade. Regardless of who is correct here, this is a staggering rate of carbon-emissions mitigation. Klein is not wrong about the magnitude of the challenge.

Klein’s second premise is that the main strategies favoured by policymakers up to now are at best inadequate and at worst counterproductive. She highlights in particular the failed strategies of green consumption, biofuels and carbon trading.

Again, so far, Klein is so lamentably accurate: whatever the benefits of driving a Toyota Prius and recycling your lentil tins, household consumption represents a much smaller per cent of global CO2 emissions than industrial emissions servicing business-to-business transactions. (To be fair, it is difficult to disaggregate these two parts of the economy. But to give a rough idea of the sort of ratio involved, Emilia Romagna in Italy, one of the wealthiest and most developed regions in Europe, assesses its ratio of household consumption to broader economic activities in terms of greenhouse gas emissions to be 27 per cent to 73 per cent.)

Meanwhile, first-generation biofuels have long been recognised as worse than fossil fuels once the emissions from indirect land-use change are taken into account. The sole biofuels that seem to be better than traditional fossil fuels when a full life-cycle analysis is performed are waste chip-fat biodiesel and algae-based fuels. Unfortunately repurposing used chip fat is, to put it mildly, not very scalable, unless humanity starts consuming bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers, corn dogs and other deep-fried comestibles on a volume-per-capita basis in excess of that of a muumuu-wearing Homer Simpson. In the UK, for example, current waste cooking oil supplies could power no more than one 350th of Britain’s cars, according to the government’s now-defunct Better Regulation Commission. And algae fuels at the moment would only be competitive with petrol if oil cost $800 a barrel.

And finally, the EU’s flagship carbon-reduction strategy, the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), is a cringeworthy disaster, with carbon credits dropping from around €30 ($41.50) a tonne in 2008 to under €3 a tonne by early 2013 (they’re now about €4 a tonne), with the European law-enforcement agency Europol describing the system as an ‘open door’ for organised crime. Europe’s slow but steady decline in carbon emissions since the advent of the ETS has been almost entirely a result of offshoring of production and drops in industrial output due to the economic crisis and nothing to do with carbon trading.

Klein concludes then on the basis of these two premises – that the required emissions reductions are colossal and the existing strategies for reductions aren’t working – that the only remaining option with proven effectiveness is steep economic contraction, ‘what Anderson and Bows describe as “radical and immediate de-growth strategies in the US, EU and other wealthy nations”’.

‘Which is fine’, Klein continues, ‘except that we happen to have an economic system that fetishises GDP growth above all else … The bottom line is that an ecological crisis that has its roots in the overconsumption of natural resources must be addressed not just by improving the efficiency of our economies but by reducing the amount of material stuff we produce and consume.’

De-growth and an end to overconsumption cannot be achieved without combatting capitalism, because capitalism is built upon these pillars – hence Klein’s phrase, ‘capitalism vs the climate’. It does look at first glance as though revolution becomes, as she puts it, a species-wide existential necessity.

Anti-growth equals pro-austerity

The first point I really want to underscore here is that one cannot rage against the imposition of economic austerity – the series of radical cuts to social programmes and depression of wages imposed by most Western governments in the wake of the global economic crisis – while arguing against economic growth. Austerity and ‘degrowth’ are mathematically and socially identical. They are the same thing. What green degrowth partisans are actually calling for is eco-austerity.

This is because if your starting point is that humans are consuming too much, then any cuts to social programmes and wages will result in less money in these same humans’ pockets, and hence less consumption. So however cruel austerity may appear, you really should be cheering this on. And yet Klein elsewhere sharply and correctly criticises the injustice of austerity.

Likewise, we frequently see the same people marching against cuts to social programmes and for an increase in wages – whether as part of Occupy Wall Street-type action in New York, or the Fight-for-15 campaign of fast-food workers for a living wage in Chicago and 150 other cities across the US, or in more street-fighting fashion against the fiats of the Eurozone on the streets of Athens or Barcelona – who, come Earth Day or some climate-change protest, will raise different placards, this time damning economic growth. But the two positions are irreconcilable.

Unlike some anti-growth proponents, Klein does at least concede that the only historic comparison we have to a 10 per cent drop in emissions year after year is that of the economic contraction during the Great Depression. Emissions reductions after the 2008 crash averaged only seven per cent across the OECD, and only for one year before rebounding, and the Soviet Union saw reductions of five per cent over 10 years. To avoid such social catastrophe, Klein says that the economic contraction must be carefully managed. Nevertheless, she repeatedly argues that ‘we all’ need to consume less, just like the Buy Nothing Day activists and thousands of other green campaigners. What is the most famous green slogan, but ‘reduce, re-use, recycle’? Klein and others – regardless of how they couch their calls to degrowth, no matter if the emphasis for now is on reducing the consumption of the wealthiest first, and only later restricting the consumption of the rest of us – are still saying that even the most equitably managed contraction would involve a reduction in every Westerner’s standard of living.

At this point, it is worthwhile revisiting Klein’s choice of the 1970s as one of her favoured eras of eco-arcadia, after which, as she told British journalist Owen Jones in a public talk in London, ‘we’ (everywhere this blasted undifferentiating first-person plural pronoun) ‘turbo-charged the American Dream in the 1980s’ and then proceeded to ‘take it global’. From such phrases, one could be forgiven for thinking that the high rate of expansion of the standard of living of ordinary people that occurred from the late 1940s through to the mid-1970s in most Western countries continued apace into the 1980s and up to today.

But this is false. In fact, the opposite is the case. There is a reason the French call this postwar epoch Les Trente Glorieuses – ‘the 30 glorious years’ of high productivity, high wages, full employment, expanding social benefits, powerful trade unions and increasing consumption – and not Les Soixante-dix Glorieuses, as it surely would be if Klein’s periodisation obtained. By almost every measure you could come up with, the economic standing of ordinary people has stagnated or declined since the late 1970s.
The idea of ‘embracing other, less material ways of wellbeing’ ignores the fact that you can’t make music without instruments or write poetry without ink and paper

In the late 1960s, the Keynesian mixed economy began to sputter amid rising inflation, diminished profits and a crisis of rising expectations on the part of workers – in other words, an increasing trade-union militancy that was the natural result of policies of full employment, predicted in Polish economist Michal Kalecki’s famous 1943 essay, ‘The political aspects of full employment’:

‘Under a regime of permanent full employment, the “sack” would cease to play its role as a “disciplinary measure”. The social position of the boss would be undermined, and the self-assurance and class-consciousness of the working class would grow. Strikes for wage increases and improvements in conditions of work would create political tension.’

(Put very simply: if you can get a job tomorrow somewhere else, why put up with low wages or a domineering boss?)

As a result, the Keynesian consensus broke down, to be replaced with a basket of inegalitarian policies building on neoclassical economics that today are described as ‘neoliberalism’. This austerity was initially sharply resisted by working people and the trade unions throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, but by the end of that decade, the union militancy of the 1970s had largely been smashed and full employment was a distant memory. Although most associated with right-wingers such as Margaret Thatcher in the UK, Ronald Reagan in the US and the Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet, neoliberalism has been imposed with similar élan by social-democratic governments, trapped as they are by an ideology that has no systemic critique and so restricts the horizon of the possible to more fairly sharing out the spoils of capitalism amid periods of growth, and more fairly sharing out the pain amid periods of stagnation or crisis.

Then, to continue with our potted, far-too-brief economic history of the past few decades, in 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed. The USSR was a savage, peasant-consuming Polyphemus of a regime whose demise is to be celebrated. Nevertheless, we must be frank and recognise at the same time that until its demise, the USSR served as an outsized, bowel-loosening foghorn of a warning to Western elites that immiseration of ordinary people would likely result in their own overthrow, and a subtle reminder to those very ordinary people that while Stalinism may not be the preferred alternative to capitalism, alternatives to capitalism at least existed. So with the Soviet Union gone, both the masters of the universe and their subjects were now convinced that there is no alternative. It was the end of history.

While productivity in the US grew 80.4 per cent between 1973 and 2011, according to the centre-left Economic Policy Institute, median worker pay grew just 10.7 per cent. Where during Les Trente Glorieuses, workers’ pay rose in tandem with productivity, since the 1970s there have been only stagnant or declining wages and benefits. Whichever metrics we use, we arrive at the same result: working families in America make less than they did 15 years ago – a phenomenon that has not occurred since the Great Depresssion. Since 2000, weekly earnings for low- and middle-income workers have remained essentially unchanged, after adjustment for inflation. If the median US household income had kept pace with the broader economy since 1970, it would now be $92,000 instead of $50,000. And of course, similar numbers can be found for other jurisdictions. From 1990 to 2009, labour’s share of national income declined in 26 out of 30 developed economies for which this data is available, according to the OECD. Overall across the advanced economies, labour’s share dropped from 66.1 percent to 61.7 percent. Meanwhile the depth of this decline in developing countries is even more pronounced, according to the ILO, with steep falls in Asia and North Africa and stable but still declining shares in Latin America. It’s even happening in China.

So Klein’s call to roll back ‘our’ standard of living to the 1970s is simply, egregiously, ahistorical. The truth is that for most people, we never really left the 1970s.

It should be noted here that some radical green activists, such as Derrick Jensen, do recognise this dissonance between calling for decreased consumption and opposing austerity. Going further than Klein is willing to, they do not shy away from actually embracing economic crisis and its accompanying social fallout, or they complain that any time union members fight for higher wages, they are mounting a defence of their ‘privilege’, as the late Canadian deep ecologist David Orton put it, and waging war against the planet because they will now be able to consume more.
Such ‘checking the privilege’ of workers and trade unions must be music to the ears of employers.

Rejecting progress

This new paradigm of rejecting growth and embracing limits is also by definition a rejection of progress. It is to say: this much and no more. Or, more precisely, that we can expand but only in non-material forms. Klein, for example, emphasises that her prescription is ‘selective degrowth’, which she clarifies in a 2014 interview with the New York-based Indypendent newspaper: ‘There are parts of our economy that we want to expand that have a minimal environmental impact, such as the care-giving professions, education, the arts. Expanding those sectors creates jobs, wellbeing and more equal societies.’ But the material side of the economy – the ‘extractivist’ side, in Klein’s words – has to shrink.

All this voluntary-simplicity, simple-living rhetoric sounds lovely, warm and fuzzy. I’m certainly feeling the feels when I read plaintive yearnings in popular environmentalist magazines like Orion or Grist about building community, or overhear the kale-wranglers and turnip-whisperers at my local farmers’ market pining for a society where we are more neighbourly and devote more time to friends and family, art, poetry and music. But all this sort of ‘embracing other, less material ways of wellbeing’ ignores the fact that you can’t make music without instruments or write poetry without ink and paper, and instruments and paper can’t be made without raw materials that need to be chopped down or mined. A whistle is made of tin and a trumpet made of brass.

This argument (or mood, really; it’s less an argument than a sentiment) also forgets that it is increased productivity through technological advance (combined with trade-union organising) that gives us more free time, which would allow us to be more neighbourly and community-oriented. So the immateriality of ‘other kinds of growth’, of ‘selective degrowth’, is a fantasy. While we can steadily dematerialise production via technological innovation, and though knowledge itself is certainly immaterial, knowledge will always be linked to the material, both in its origins and its products. New knowledge depends on old technologies, old stuff, and gives rise to new technologies, to new stuff.

Think about it this way: if we have retreated to the optimum economic stasis-point of the Kleinian imaginary, where we are no longer supposed to be overshooting our carrying capacity, then each one of us has all the right amount of ‘stuff’ – no more and no less. But now, if through the expansion of our knowledge, we develop a new technology that does not replace – or only partly replaces – a previous technology, and yet we want to put it into production because of its manifest benefits to society, then we will have to give up production of some other technology to make room for it. But hold on – we’ve already decided that we have all the stuff that we need, no more and no less. That means that we cannot give up that old technology. Thus we either invent nothing new (or at least only those new technologies that perfectly replace old technologies without any overall expansion of production), or we have to grow.

Therefore, the steady-state economy must by definition refuse most technological advance, and even most new knowledge as well. The steady-state economy is a steady-technology economy, a steady-science economy, a static society. It is the very definition of conservatism.


Australia: Solar batteries dangerous?

The fast-growing solar battery storage industry is engaged in a furious 11th-hour battle to kill new regulations that would force home­owners to build a separate “fire bunker” housing for battery installations.

Industry and consumer groups have until August 15 to challenge draft recommendations issued by Standards Australia that could dramatically slow the uptake of residential battery storage.

Final draft recommendations include a ban on in-house battery banks and are designed to avoid a repeat of the pink batts debacle in which a well-intentioned environmental initiative proved deadly.

Industry groups and manufacturers say modern solar batteries are designed not to overheat and have described the new rules as overkill.

Sales of battery storage have risen to 6750 battery installations last year, up from 500 in 2015, ­according to a recent survey. Solar energy equipment supplier SunWiz forecasts at least a threefold increase this year.

Currently there are no Standards Australia regulations for in-home battery installations. The Clean Energy Council issued industry rules last year limiting home batteries to “a dedicated equipment room or battery room”.

The council said installers should take account of ventilation, extreme temperatures and exclude “habitable rooms” including bedrooms, living rooms, kitchens, sunrooms, bathrooms or laundries. Its rules included an exemption for “all-in-one” battery and inverter control systems.

However, the draft Australian Standards go much further.

Lithium ion batteries are classed as “fire hazard class 1”, and under the draft rules they must not be installed inside a domestic dwelling, within a metre of any access or egress area or under any part of a domestic dwelling.

To qualify, lithium ion batteries must effectively be housed in a 3m x 2m fire shelter with eaves.

The council’s voluntary code outlines the concerns. “Some lithium-based batteries can fail due to internal overheating, in a process known as ‘thermal runaway’,” the council says. “The normal chemical reactions within the battery during charging are exothermic (heat-generating).

“If this heat is not able to dissipate, or the battery is overcharged for a long duration, the rate of chemical reaction can then speed up, which in turn increases the battery temperature further, in an ­increasing cycle until the battery is physically damaged.

“Once this happens, there is a risk of fire and/or rupture of the battery, with emission of toxic material,’’ the council says.

Standards Australia chief executive Bronwyn Evans said the draft report was a “comprehensive document” that was “the result of many hours of work from experts representing industry, government and community interests”.

“The work is being driven by a range of stakeholders from all parts of industry who have an ­interest in standards in Australia that support the safe uptake of ­battery-storage systems in all buildings, but particularly in homes,” she said.

Dr Evans said the standards were devised to give consumers and industry confidence in innovative solutions.

“They should give markets and governments confidence when making regulatory and investment decisions and get the balance right between all the different interests and voices in the room,” she said.

At the end of the consultation period “we will have an installation standard for battery storage systems which supports the uptake of systems in Australia”.

Dr Evans said battery storage had been a focus of Chief ­Scientist Alan Finkel’s review into the ­future ­security of the National Electricity Market, released last month.


Australia: The Finkel Report’s Recommendations on the Future Security of the National Electricity Market: Impacts on the Australian Economy and Australian Consumers

Dr Alan Moran below offers an alternative, non-Greenie, path for electricity provision in Australia


Governments are subsidising the building of intermittent renewable energythat are reducing reliability and security while increasing prices. The Finkel recommendations entail an amplification of these subsidies, the outcome of which has been a doubling of wholesale electricity prices and a degradation of supply reliability. Compared with wholesale electricity prices of around $40 per MWh prevailing during the first 15 years of the present century, prices now exceed $80 per MWh.

The Finkel review accepts that its policy proposals will not return wholesale electricity to their historical levels but mistakenly argues that this would be impossible. Moreover, its over-optimistic assumptions on future costs of renewables mean that its proposals would make even its $80 per MWh pricegoal unattainable.

Implementation of the Finkel recommendations would bring a further deteriorationof system reliability and lift wholesale prices to at least $100 per MWh. This is already evident in prices of electricity on futures markets. Returning to the previous market-based electricity supply system that has been gradually undermined by regulations over the past 15 years would result in new coal plants, wholesale electricity costs at around $50 per MWh and the restoration of a more reliable system.

Household energy bills, even under an optimistic viewof the Finkel proposals, would be between $588 and $768 per year more than would be the case under an outcome that removed market distortions by eliminating all subsidies.

More injurious to households than the lift in their direct electricity costs, the Finkel recommendations would vastly increase the costs of electricity to commercial users. By more than doubling electricity costs, the Finkel proposals would force the virtual cessation of production in energy intensive, trade-exposed industries; these account for one fifth of manufacturing and include some of the nation’s most productive activities including metals and smelting, pulp and paper, sugar and confectionery. Competitiveness and future growth would also be adversely impacted across most agricultural and mining sectors.

A regulatory-induced elimination of the industries able to take advantage of Australia’s natural advantage in low cost energy supplies and the forced increase in all other industries’ electricity costs would severely reduce Australia’s living standards.


In general, the Finkel proposals should be rejected and regulatory distortions on energy supply should be removed. In particular, the Commonwealth should:

Abolish the Commonwealth’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) and the subsidies,presently about $75 per MWh, it creates for wind and large scale solar; and

Eliminate the Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme(SRES) under which electricity users in general are forced to provide a subsidy of $40 per MWh to roof-top photovoltaic installations.

Cease all government subsidies through the budget including guarantees to bodies like the Clean Energy Regulator and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation(CEFC).

The electricity market management should require, in line with the Finkel proposals, that all generators pay to ensure they operate reliably and require new generators to pay costs of transmission that their grid connection entails.

State government should remove subsidies like the Queensland Solar Bonus scheme and preferential Feed-in-Tariffs for PV generated electricity




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


11 July, 2017

Elon Musk.  Doom ahead?

As he is the chief prophet of electric cars, I think it is appropriate for me to say something about him here. To begin at the end, I think his bubble will burst quite soon.

The key question is how does he fund his activities?  As far as I can tell, none of his businesses makes a profit.  He is the profitless prophet.  So what keeps him afloat?


In his many activities he is seen as THE NEXT BIG THING.  He is seen as someone who will soon be a big success.  He is seen as someone who will soon start making money hand over fist.  And not only that, he is also seen as someone who will make big money in a Greenie way. 

That has two outcomes: 1). Governments love him.  The 8 years of Obama were a golden era for Mr Musk and even Mr Trump may see him as helping to make America great again.  We shall see.  So Mr Musk only has to ask in order to be given government  money to fund his innovations. He is a brilliant fundraiser off governments, State and Federal.

2). And he is a brilliant fundraiser off the private sector too.  You can see that in the share-price for his car company.  The price is many multiples of what the shares of other car companies fetch.

And that happens because lots of investors believe that he is THE NEXT BIG THING.  It's the oldest fallacy in stockmarket investing that to make big money, you have to pick "up and coming" companies so that when the prices of their shares rise, you will make a bundle.  To many that is the sole principle guiding their share purchases.  They are always hoping to get "a jump ahead".  Mining investors are almost wholly of that breed. I know some of them.  And I know how sad they are.  They lose overall.

I am myself a rather successful investor. I am now 73 but I was able to retire when I was 39. And I follow a quite different strategy. I am an investor, not a gambler.

But given the current mood, if Mr Musk wants more money for something he just has to sell some more shares in his company.  People will snap up those bits of paper with great avidity.  He is very close to being able to print money.

But it is a bubble. At some stage people are going to be looking for results, for profits.  And I think that is now just about upon us.  He has made a big thing of the new "affordable" electric car that he will soon be releasing.  But there are already rumbles about troubles with that.  So if that car fails to generate a profit, hopes will begin to die. Even Mr Musk might not be able to spin his way out of that one.  And the crash from that will be enormous. There will be such a rush to get out of his shares that they could end up worth pennies only.

But by all means, buy one of Mr Musk's cars if you can afford it.  Electric cars drive nicely and Teslas will one day be treasured mementoes of a great dream

Prophecies are a mug's game and I am no prophet -- but I have mostly been a successful share market prophet.  Around two out of three of my picks work out. It will therefore be interesting to see if I have picked this one right -- JR

The crisis of integrity-deficient science: Anti-Pesticide mania trumps reality

Falsifying or ignoring data that don’t support conclusions or agendas is worse than junk science

Paul Driessen

The epidemic of agenda-driven science by press release and falsification has reached crisis proportions.

In just the past week: Duke University admitted that its researchers had falsified or fabricated data that were used to get $113 million in EPA grants – and advance the agency’s air pollution and “environmental justice” programs. A New England Journal of Medicine (NJEM) article and editorial claimed the same pollutants kill people – but blatantly ignored multiple studies demonstrating that there is no significant, evidence-based relationship between fine particulates and human illness or mortality.

In an even more outrageous case, the American Academy for the Advancement of Science’s journal Science published an article whose authors violated multiple guidelines for scientific integrity. The article claimed two years of field studies in three countries show exposure to neonicotinoid pesticides reduces the ability of honeybees and wild bees to survive winters and establish new populations and hives the following year. Not only did the authors’ own data contradict that assertion – they kept extensive data out of their analysis and incorporated only what supported their (pre-determined?) conclusions.

Some 90% of these innovative neonic pesticides are applied as seed coatings, so that crops absorb the chemicals into their tissue and farmers can target only pests that feed on the crops. Neonics largely eliminate the need to spray with old-line chemicals like pyrethroids that clearly do harm bees.  But neonics have nevertheless been at the center of debate over their possible effects on bees, as well as ideological opposition in some quarters to agricultural use of neonics – or any manmade pesticides.

Laboratory studies had mixed results and were criticized for overdosing bees with far more neonics than they would ever encounter in the real world, predictably affecting their behavior and often killing them. Multiple field studies – in actual farmers’ fields – have consistently shown no adverse effects on honeybees at the colony level from realistic exposures to neonics. In fact, bees thrive in and around neonic-treated corn and canola crops in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and elsewhere.

So how did the Dr. Ben Woodcock, et al. Center for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) field studies reach such radically different conclusions? After all, the researchers set up 33 sites in fields in Germany, Hungary and England, each one with groups of honeybee or wild bee colonies in or next to oilseed rape (canola) crops. Each group involved one test field treated with fungicides, a neonic and a pyrethroid; one field treated with a different neonic and fungicides; and one “control” group by a field treated only with fungicides. They then conducted multiple data analyses throughout the two-year trial period.

Their report and Science article supposedly presented all the results of their exhaustive research. They did not. The authors fudged the data, and the “peer reviewers” and AAAS journal editors failed to spot the massive flaws. Other reviewers (here, here and here) quickly found the gross errors, lack of transparency and misrepresentations – but not before the article and press releases had gone out far and wide.

Thankfully, and ironically, the Woodcock-CEH study was funded by Syngenta and Bayer, two companies that make neonics. That meant the companies received the complete study and all 1,000 pages of data – not just the portions carefully selected by the article authors. Otherwise, all that inconvenient research information would probably still be hidden from view – and the truth would never have come out.

Most glaring, as dramatically presented in a chart that’s included in each of the reviews just cited, there were far more data sets than suggested by the Science article. In fact, there were 258 separate honeybee statistical data analyses. Of the 258, a solid 238 found no effects on bees from neonics! Seven found beneficial effects from neonics! Just nine found harmful impacts, and four had insufficient data.

Not one group of test colonies in Germany displayed harmful effects, but five benefitted from neonics. Five in Hungary showed harm, but the nosema gut fungus was prevalent in Hungarian beehives during the study period; it could have affected bee foraging behavior and caused colony losses. But Woodcock and CEH failed to mention the problem or reflect it in their analyses. Instead, they blamed neonics.

In England, four test colony groups were negatively affected by neonics, while two benefitted, and the rest showed no effects. But numerous English hives were infested with Varroa mites, which suck on bee blood and carry numerous pathogens that they transmit to bees and colonies. Along with poor beekeeping and mite control practices, Varroa could have been the reason a number of UK test colonies died out during the study – but CEH blamed neonics.

(Incredibly, even though CEH’s control hives in England were far from any possible neonic exposure, they had horrendous overwinter bee losses: 58%, compared to the UK national average of 14.5% that year, while overwinter colony losses for CEH hives were 67-79% near their neonic-treated fields.)

In sum, fully 95% of all the hives studied by CEH demonstrated no effects or benefitted from neonic exposure – but the Science magazine authors chose to ignore them, and focus on nine hives (3% of the total) which displayed harmful impacts that they attributed to neonicotinoids.

Almost as amazing, CEH analyses found that nearly 95% of the time pollen and nectar in hives showed no measurable neonic residues. Even samples taken directly from neonic-treated crops did not have residues – demonstrating that bees in the CEH trials were likely never even exposed to neonics.

How then could CEH researchers and authors come to the conclusions they did? How could they ignore the 245 out of 258 honeybee statistical data analyses that demonstrated no effects or beneficial effects from neonics? How could they focus on the nine analyses (3.4%) that showed negative effects – a number that could just as easily have been due to random consequences or their margin of error?

The sheer number of “no effect” results (92%) is consistent with what a dozen other field studies have found: that foraging on neonicotinoid-treated crops has no effect on honeybees. Why was this ignored?

Also relevant is the fact that CEH honeybee colonies near neonic-treated fields recovered from any adverse effects of their exposure to neonics before going into their winter clusters. As “super organisms,” honeybee colonies are able to metabolize many pesticides and detoxify themselves. This raises doubts about whether any different overwintering results between test colonies and controls can properly be ascribed to neonics. Woodcock, et al. should have discussed this, but failed to do so.

Finally, as The Mad Virologist pointed out, if neonics have negative impacts on bees, the effects should have been consistent across multiple locations and seed treatments. They were not. In fact, the number of bee larval cells during crop flowering periods for one neonic increased in response to seed treatments in Germany, but declined in Hungary and had no change in England. For another neonic, the response was neutral (no change) in all three countries. Something other than neonics clearly seems to be involved.

The honest, accurate conclusion would have been that exposure to neonics probably had little or no effect on the honeybees or wild bees that CEH studied. The Washington Post got that right; Science did not.

US law defines “falsification” as (among other things) “changing or omitting data or results, such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record.” Woodcock and CEH clearly did that. Then the AAAS and Science failed to do basic fact-checking before publishing the article; the media parroted the press releases; and anti-pesticide factions rushed to say “the science is settled” against neonics.

The AAAS and Science need to retract the Woodcock article, apologize for misleading the nation, and publish an article that fully, fairly and accurately represents what the CEH research and other field studies actually documented. They should ban Woodcock and his coauthors from publishing future articles in Science and issue press releases explaining all these actions. The NJEM should take similar actions.

Meanwhile, Duke should be prosecuted, fined and compelled to return the fraudulently obtained funds.

Failure to do so would mean falsification and fraud have replaced integrity at the highest levels of once-respected American institutions of scientific investigation, learning and advancement.

Via email

Presidents have reduced national monuments 18 times before Bears Ears controversy

The Trump administration’s “unprecedented” effort to break up and shrink a national monument has been done at least 18 times before, with presidents of both parties exercising power to significantly reduce the size of U.S. landmarks established by their predecessors.

Environmentalists and congressional Democrats are framing the current battle — the Interior Department’s proposal to resize Bears Ears National Monument in Utah — as a first-of-its-kind expansion of executive power, a move that stretches to the breaking point the century-old Antiquities Act, which gives presidents authority to create monuments.

The resizing of Bears Ears is just one piece of the administration’s broader review of nearly two dozen national monuments.

The Sierra Club, one of the nation’s most powerful environmental groups, issued a fundraising email last week calling the Bears Ears proposal a “legally unprecedented action.”

Congressional Democrats voiced similar objections. Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon called the entire monument review “legally dubious,” and Sen. Ron Wyden, also of Oregon, said the president’s executive order calling for the review “flies in the face of a century-old bipartisan tradition.”

The reality, however, is much different. If anything, there is a tradition of presidents making major changes to monuments. In 1915, President Wilson cut the size of Washington’s Mount Olympus National Monument by more than 300,000 acres.


Energy Department Looks at Green Impact on Power Grid

Energy Secretary Rick Perry said the upcoming Department of Energy study on power grid’s reliability is needed to address the facts after the Obama administration placed a premium on politics—but green energy is reportedly ready to push back.

The study, set to be released in the coming weeks, will look at the effect of green energy subsidies on the electrical grid.

“We need to know we have a reliable electric grid from a national security standpoint and an economic standpoint,” Perry told The Daily Signal Friday.

The American Wind Energy Association launched a campaign against the study immediately after Perry announced it in April, according to a leaked memo obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation. The association stated it was concerned the study would favor “baseload sources such as coal and nuclear.”

The memo also showed the association’s plans for working with lawmakers, other green energy industries such as solar, and pushing stories into friendly outlets such as The New York Times to simultaneously undermine the study and influence the findings.

Perry said he never expected lobbyists would try to intervene and had no criticism.

“In my previous life as a governor, a statewide elected official, and an appropriator I know people have lobbied,” Perry said. “Everyone wants their position to be heard and represented. It is your job as the governor or legislator to ask the right questions because a lobbyist is going to give you their side of the story. That’s why I asked for an educated observation on the reliability of the grid.”

Perry said he’s had concerns that the federal push behind some forms of energy over others could create danger.

“I’ve thought the previous administration had its thumb on the scale, really its whole hand on the scale, for certain industries and was willing to put our electric grid in jeopardy for a desired political outcome,” Perry said.

Bloomberg first reported on the 60-day review in April. In a memo to his chief of staff, Brian McCormack, Perry wrote that grid experts “highlighted the diminishing diversity of our nation’s electric generation mix and what that could mean for baseload power and grid resilience.”

He further asked for an evaluation of what extent regulation, subsidies, and tax policies “are responsible for forcing the premature retirement of baseload power plants.”

On Thursday, the American Wind Energy Association praised President Donald Trump and his administration for seeking energy independence for the United States.

The Daily Caller News Foundation reported the association’s memo said it would reach out to its contacts in the Energy Department and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. It also said it would reach out to New York Times reporter Diane Cardwell, who shortly thereafter did a story on the importance of wind energy that raised concerns about Travis Fisher, an Energy Department staffer overseeing the study who was previously an economist for the Institute for Energy Research.

The memo talked about the need to “debunk” reports from the institute.

This is an unusual strategy to use before the report has even been released, said Nick Loris, a research fellow in energy and environment at The Heritage Foundation.

“It seems premature for screaming and fear mongering when the results haven’t even been published,” Loris told The Daily Signal. “If the renewable energy industry has confidence in its technology, they shouldn’t worry about a government-funded study looking at the grid.”

The green energy companies were so heavily subsidized, they were often able to offer very low rates on the grid, pricing out competing coal or nuclear power companies that don’t have the subsidies, Loris noted. This has the potential to harm the energy market and make the electric grid reliant on fewer sources of energy.

American Wind Energy Association spokesman Evan Vaughan told The Daily Caller News Foundation the memo was “old news” and that the association’s leaders “had some good meetings with the Department of Energy team working on the study, and we’re making sure they have all the facts about how cost-effective and reliable wind has become.”

Vaughan didn’t provide a comment for this story, but referred The Daily Signal to a Thursday statement by American Wind Energy Association CEO Tom Kiernan.

The statement said:

We support President Trump’s strategic vision to seek American energy dominance. The wind industry—America’s largest source of renewable energy capacity—stands ready to do our part implementing the president’s vision to deliver American jobs, investment and prosperity … The administration’s all-of-the-above energy strategy, including resources like wind, can work to make America safer and more self-reliant while growing the economy.


Court rejects Trump's delay of EPA drilling pollution rule

The Trump administration cannot delay an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule limiting methane pollution from oil and natural gas drilling, a federal court ruled Monday.

In an early court loss for President Trump’s aggressive agenda of environmental deregulation, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said the EPA didn’t meet the requirements for a 90-day stay of the Obama administration’s methane rule.

The decision means the EPA must immediately start enforcing the standards.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s decision to delay enforcement of the provision was based on arguments that when the Obama administration wrote the rule, it violated procedures by not allowing stakeholders to comment on some parts of what became the final regulation. The agency used that reasoning to formally reconsider the rule and to pause enforcement.
But the court said the argument doesn’t withstand scrutiny.

“The administrative record thus makes clear that industry groups had ample opportunity to comment on all four issues on which EPA granted reconsideration, and indeed, that in several instances the agency incorporated those comments directly into the final rule,” two of the judges on the three-judge panel wrote.

“Because it was thus not ‘impracticable’ for industry groups to have raised such objections during the notice and comment period [the Clean Air Act] did not require reconsideration and did not authorize the stay.”

Environmental groups led by the Environmental Defense Fund had sued the EPA after its delay, asking for quick emergency action from the court on the matter.

An EPA spokeswoman said the agency is reviewing the court’s opinion and evaluating its options.

Tim Ballo, an attorney at Earthjustice who represents some of the groups involved, cheered the decision as a resounding victory.

“This is a big win for public health and a wake-up call for this administration,” he said in a statement. “While Scott Pruitt and Donald Trump continue to bend over backwards to do the bidding of Big Oil, Earthjustice and our clients and partners will use every tool at our disposal to hold them fully accountable for their actions.”

The decision could spell trouble for the Trump administration, which is working to dismantle nearly all of former President Obama’s major environmental rules.

In many cases, Trump officials are unilaterally delaying regulations such as the EPA’s rules on ozone pollution, safety plans for chemical plants and methane pollution from landfills.

But the D.C. court, the main court for hearing challenges to regulatory decisions, warned the administration it would take a hard look at such delays and would allow them to proceed only if they are specifically required under the law.

Judge David Tatel, appointed by former President Clinton, and Judge Robert Wilkins, appointed by Obama, wrote the decision.

Judge Janice Brown, a George W. Bush appointee, wrote a dissenting opinion. She argued the court has no authority to rule in the case because it is not a final action by the EPA.

The 2016 rule by Obama was part of a regulatory strategy to reduce emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas about 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.

Pruitt, who was Oklahoma's Republican attorney general at the time, was one of dozens of parties to sue the EPA in a bid to have the rule overturned.

The EPA has proposed to delay the methane regulation by two years while it formally considers repeal. Since that delay has not been made final, the decision Monday does not affect it.

The Trump administration is working to undo all of Obama’s methane rules, including the landfill rule and one from the Bureau of Land Management.




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


10 July, 2017

Elon Musk fears a shrinking world population

Rather curiously, the overpopulation and under-population scares have for some time been running alongside one-another.  That does at least inspire some skepticism towards both.

I think the fallacy is to see some sort of endpoint, some sort of stabilization or final state.  It would be more in accord with animal populations to foresee both rises and falls in population.  Neither a growing nor a shrinking population should go on forever.  At various points both trends should reverse.

And my prediction is that -- in the developed world -- the present shrinkage will reverse relatively soon.  Non-maternal women have mostly eliminated themselves from the gene pool now that social pressures to marry and have children have eased off.

So the upcoming generation of females should be much more maternal than any previous generation.  So they will presumably have multiple children.  And that will mean an again-rising population, albeit off a lower base than before.

"The world's population is accelerating towards collapse, but few seem to notice or care," Tesla's CEO tweeted to his nearly 10 million followers. He pointed to a November article in New Scientist magazine titled, "The world in 2076: The population bomb has imploded."

The piece, written by Fred Pearce points to Japan as a case study for what could go wrong in the relatively near future.

Rather than a meltdown where the Earth's population outstrips the planet's ability to feed everyone, we could be headed toward a more subtle but equally disastrous outcome where our population simply does not replace itself fast enough.

"The world has hit peak child," the late Hans Rosling, a professor at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, said in the article.

Indeed, Japan's fertility rate is 1.4 children per woman, well below what is required to sustain population growth.

While Japan is perhaps the most well-known example of a country's population aging, the article in the London-based magazine also points to Germany and Italy, both of which "could see their populations halve within the next 60 years."

The article spells out some of the problems an older population might bring, including less innovation, cultural shifts and worse and more recession-prone economies.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the nation's population is roughly 325 million with a net gain of one person every 12 seconds.

However, Pearce does point out some silver linings. "Old could be the new young," he writes, adding older societies are less likely to start wars. And, he points out, fewer people on the planet would give Earth's ecosystem a breather:

"Nature, at least, would enjoy the silver lining."

The so-called population bomb has been speculated about for nearly half a century, dating back to at least 1968 when two Stanford University researchers published a book titled "The Population Bomb" that predicted mass starvation in the 1970s and '80s due to overpopulation.



Rick Perry’s Plans for US Energy Dominance

America is approaching energy independence, but still needs to remove obstacles, Energy Secretary Rick Perry says. “The previous administration talked about energy independence, but wouldn’t drill and transport. It was all talk,” @SecretaryPerry says.

“We are very close to being energy independent,” Perry told The Daily Signal in a brief interview. “Regarding our ability to retrieve energy, we don’t need anybody. Transportation may be our biggest impediment.”

The United States is a net energy exporter, the former Texas governor noted, but an old law and the Obama administration’s preference for some energy industries over others prevented the nation from being as strong as necessary.

The 1920 Jones Act requires that vessels carrying fuel or other goods in U.S. waters between U.S. ports must be built, registered, owned, and crewed by American citizens.

Because it costs more to build and operate ships in the U.S. than in other countries, it can cost as much as three times more to ship oil from the Gulf of Mexico to New England states than it would cost to ship the same amount of oil from Florida to Europe, according to an analysis last month from the American Enterprise Institute.

The Obama administration’s preference for green industries such as solar and wind was not the “all of the above” strategy the Trump administration prefers, Perry told The Daily Signal on June 30:

The previous administration talked about energy independence, but they wouldn’t drill and transport. It was all talk. They had a clear message to industries such as fossil fuels and nuclear. We [in the Trump administration] are all of the above. We are not here to pick winners and losers. The market can pick winners and losers.

President Donald Trump delivered an address June 29 at the Energy Department in which he declared the U.S. was on a path to “energy dominance.”

Trump announced a review of U.S. nuclear energy policy; construction of an oil pipeline to Mexico to increase energy exports; negotiations to sell more American natural gas to South Korea; Energy Department approval of two applications to export liquefied natural gas; and creation of an offshore oil and gas leasing program.

Perry vowed to expedite the exporting of liquefied natural gas. With hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the U.S. has become the largest producer of liquefied natural gas in the world, according to the federal Energy Information Administration.

It has been up to the Energy Department to approve those exports based on whether they are in the national interest.

“If a company meets the rules and standards, we’ll say, ‘Here’s the permit,’” Perry said in the interview.

Speaking at the White House last week, the two-time Republican presidential candidate said he wanted to make nuclear energy “cool again.”

He told The Daily Signal the way to do that would be showing government isn’t hostile:

Somehow, it’s not been in the forefront of our energy portfolio, and our supply chain of future nuclear scientists [is] not being developed. We want to get them back, with the acknowledgement they will have the support of their government.

That support won’t come through subsidies, as with green energy projects under President Barack Obama, but a priority for national laboratories to test new nuclear technology, Perry said.

Perry cited NuScale Power in Idaho, which is working on a “modular” nuclear reactor, a smaller factory-built model that eliminates many risks of installing and reduces construction costs. Some of the modular reactors could be used to power a single manufacturing facility.

Before Trump announced a review of the nation’s nuclear policy last week, media reports raised questions about whether the administration would support NuScale with tax dollars.

Overall, Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget proposal would cut the Energy Department’s nuclear energy office by 31 percent, affecting grants to research, including those that have gone to projects such as NuScale’s, The Washington Post reported.

Whether it’s “energy independence” or “energy dominance,” clearing regulatory hurdles for American energy will benefit national security, economy, and the environment, Perry said.

It also will create U.S. jobs and boost the economies of allies buying the affordable energy.

The man who was governor of Texas for 14 years rejects what he calls a “false narrative” that the U.S. can’t tap its natural resources while protecting the environment.

Texas led the nation in emission reductions during his time as governor, Perry said. Carbon emissions went down by 20 percent, sulfur dioxide emissions declined by 50 percent, and nitrogen oxide dropped by 60 percent.

“We will not have to rely on countries that may or may not like us,” Perry told The Daily Signal. “It also would be good for our allies who will know they don’t have to rely on Russian gas. For Poland and Ukraine, and for that matter the United Kingdom, it would be good to know you’re getting energy resources from an ally.”


Michael Mann Doubles Down Over ‘Contempt’ Issue

Michael ‘hockey stick’ Mann doubles down on his crumbling SLAPP lawsuit versus Tim Ball with a statement of denial from his lawyer posted on Mann’s Facebook page and tagged with #FakeNews. In a screed of hand-waving assertions, the statement fails to deny Mann abused process, breached a written undertaking during the trial and, as a consequence, now faces the most serious court sanctions.

Earlier this week, an emboldened Dr. Tim Ball, Canada’s most famous skeptic climatologist, came out, all guns blazing with stunning news in what is billed as the “science trial of the century.” The outcome of this case will have grave knock-on implications on the validity of all government secret science relied upon in the hotly-contested ‘man-made global warming’ debate.

Conspicuously, Mann’s attorney, Roger McConchie, who “literally wrote the book” on Canadian libel law, does not deny Mann is in breach of a legally-binding undertaking signed by both parties last February. It turns out Mann duped Ball into signing a deal that gave Mann more time (as if six years of litigation time wasn’t enough!).

In return, Mann agreed to hand over his secret ‘hockey stick’ graph data used for the validation of hundreds of science papers ‘proving’ humans are dangerously warming the planet. So crucial is Mann’s ‘science’ to the climate debate that when Ball called him out for fakery six years ago (by declaring Mann “belongs in the state pen, not Penn. State”), he rolled out a multi-million-dollar legal machine to crush 79-year-old Ball.

After Ball’s astonishing news that Mann went bad on that deal his colleagues at Principia Scientific International posted a damning article in support of their co-founder, which went viral.

Ball told of how Mann contemptuously broke that agreement and did not release his hidden, and thus disputed, ‘hockey stick’ graph data. Mann’s breach of that formal undertaking, even in the deluded mind of a green activist, is a serious contempt warranting sanction. Under British Columbia case law (see below) Mann’s breach is both an unlawful act as well as an admission of guilt.

More HERE 


Four current reports below

Novelty solar train

It doesn't go far, has few potential passengers and relies on conventional power for backup

A coal baron is delivering the world's first solar train to Australia. And while bringing solar to Byron Bay might be a bit like taking coals to Newcastle, that's just what the Byron Bay Railroad Company is doing.

"I think this is a world first," said John Grimes, chief executive of the Australian Solar Council, which is not connected to the project.

"There is a train in India that has solar panels to power lights and fans, but not a whole train."

The Byron Bay Railroad Company, operated by mining executive Brian Flannery, expects to have its two-carriage heritage train running before Christmas, said Jeremy Holmes, a spokesman for the company.

It will operate on part of the disused Casino-to-Murwillumbah line, which closed in 2004.

Dan Cass, a renewable energy specialist at the Australia Institute, said: "This is the first we have heard of a train this size that is literally solar powered, with PV modules on the roof."

The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator told Fairfax Media that it is discussing some minor outstanding issues with the company but expects to grant a licence for the train.

The train will travel three kilometres each way from Byron Bay to North Beach, just near Elements of Byron, a five-star resort owned by Brian and Peggy Flannery, who also have the controlling interest in the not-for-profit train company.

"We had approval two years ago to run the train as a diesel service, however in December we decided to convert to solar," Mr Holmes said. "Technology had advanced rapidly and so we accelerated the conversion."

The train is being fitted out with flexible solar panels and a 77kW solar battery on board. The train shed in north Byron has a 30kW solar array, that will supply the grid when not recharging the train.

"Even if the sun doesn't shine for a prolonged period the train battery can be charged from mains power using certified Green Power," Mr Holmes said. The train will retain a back-up diesel engine for emergencies.

The service will initially run 14 round trips a day from 8am to 10pm. Extra services could be put on for events such as the Byron Writers' Festival and the Byron Food and Beverage Festival, which are held on land owned by the Flannerys.

Byron Shire Greens Mayor, Simon Richardson, said: "It's a project that sits within our community values. It's a short track but hopefully it is scalable for the region."

Labor councillor Paul Spooner said: "The project has changed and morphed as it's gone along. Good on them for getting it off the ground."

Mr Spooner did question how useful the train will be for residents. "It's a bit of a novelty train.

"The irony is we have a coal baron launching a solar train – it's a sign of the times."


Novelty storage battery for the South Australian electricity grid

Tiny capacity and high cost compared to a conventional generator -- so unlikely to be of much use in supporting the grid during outages

THE world’s biggest battery will cost the South Australian taxpayer much less than a $150 million fund set aside for renewable energy, but the state government isn’t saying how much.

On Saturday, Premier Jay Weatherill poured cold water on industry suggestions published by Forbes, that the 100MW battery farm, half the size of Adelaide Oval, would cost $200 million.

The world’s biggest battery concept on Friday propelled SA onto the world stage, with the project making headlines around the world.

The Premier told reporters the project would fall well within the $150 million set aside for renewable energy alternatives, but he refused to reveal the exact cost to taxpayers, despite approval to do so by the farm’s builder Tesla.

He said the third partner in the project, French company Neoen, had not given its approval.

But Mr Weatherill said the cost was much less than the $200 million estimate published in US media because Tesla had submitted a "very good deal" to secure the world-first contract.

"The reason you get a good deal when you are the first mover is because obviously they wanted to win the contract and there were 91 bidders," the Premier said.

The battery farm, enough to power 30,000 homes will be connected to the 99-turbine Hornsdale Wind Farm at Jamestown, which is owned by Neoen.

Mr Weatherill also repeated that the Tesla deal included a 100-day build or its free promise, which will begin in the coming weeks when the deal is signed off by the Australian Energy Market Operator.

"This has put SA on the global stage and when billionaire investors like Tesla’s Elon Musk decide to invest here other people pay attention to that based on what he says," he said..

Mr Weatherill will travel to Whyalla on Sunday to celebrate with local residents the purchase of the steelworks by UK-based billionaire Sanjeev Gupta.

He said he would also visit locals in Jamestown to discuss the tourism potential of SA’s newest attraction.

"Jamestown will be put on the map as the home to the "world’s biggest battery," Mr Weatherill said.


Man's huge domestic gas bill for home heating makes him turn to burning wood

A CANBERRA homeowner has drawn the line at receiving a $2000 gas bill, deciding to spend $4000 on installing a wood fire heater instead.

Mark Morey is just one of many homeowners and businesses grappling with huge increases to gas and electricity bills, that has seen charges for one Victorian business rise by a whopping $600,000 in one year.

Increases for residents have not been as dramatic but Mr Morey said they were fast becoming unaffordable.

He was shocked to get a gas bill last October for $2005. Five years ago his bill for that time of year was just $1212. That’s a 65 per cent increase.

With more price increases expected to kick in from July 1, Mr Morey said his gas bill would probably have been $2300 if he didn’t take action.

So he decided to install a wood fire heater instead.

"Two tonne of wood only costs about $600 and that will get me through the winter," he told

Even though he has to spend $4000 to install the heater, Mr Morey estimates it will only take 18 months for the system to pay itself off.

"It’s really quite pathetic," he said. "It’s dreadful for the environment and if everyone in Canberra burned wood the city would be uninhabitable but we don’t have a choice.  "It’s really f***** and beyond belief."

Apart from the smoke pollution, burning wood also releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere so is also bad for climate change.

But Mr Morey said his bills were out of control. He lives in a four-bedroom home with this wife and daughter and said his overall gas bill for last year was $3300. Much of this is racked up over winter, which is why his October bill is so high.

Mr Morey’s electricity cost $890 so overall his energy bill cost $4190 last year, that equates to about $1047 a quarter.

His bills have kept rising despite the fact that he has reduced the temperature in his house from 19 degrees to a "barely tolerable" 17 degrees.

"So over five years the price of gas has more than doubled, given that I’m using less gas," he said.

"It’s much too cold in my house at the moment but I can’t afford a more comfortable temperature."

Mr Morey said many others living in colder climates were facing the same problems and action needed to be taken to stop the price rises.

"Prices went up by 17 per cent this year (from July 1) and they are forecast to increase by the same next year — as far as I’ve been told. That’s a 35 per cent increase over two years," he said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced export measures to keep more gas in Australia but these won’t take effect until January 1.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is also conducting an inquiry into how to get more gas into the market and to improve transparency about prices by providing regular information over the next three years.

But Mr Morey said action needed to be taken today. "The time for action on this was yesterday and not in six months," he said.

The general manager of Australia’s largest wool producer Victoria Wool Processors agreed and said his gas bill had gone up by $600,000 in one year, which was a 6 per cent increase.

"Next year we don’t know what will happen," David Ritchie told "It has had a massive impact, we are an exporter and are competing against low cost countries like China and so we have no ability to pass on the costs to our customers."

Victoria Wool Processors employs 35 staff and the increase equated to about $17,000 per employee.

While Mr Ritchie has absorbed the cost this year and won’t be letting staff go at this stage, he doesn’t know what will happen next year if prices continue to increase.

Mr Ritchie believes state governments could help businesses by introducing a 50 per cent short term reduction in payroll tax.

"This would be a very practical step and could (include as a condition) that they don’t reduce staff by 10 per cent, or something like that, to help keep businesses operating."


A Looming Disaster in Energy Security

Renewables will provide, optimistically, 10 to 20 per cent of global energy by 2035. There is no prospect of seriously reducing fossil fuel emissions without an accompanying fall in global standards of living directly implied by large reductions in per capita energy use

The constant headlines say it all: Australia’s energy system is in crisis. "High power costs floor business" says a lead story in the Australian Financial Review: "Shell-shocked businesses are re-assessing investments and jobs slugged by huge increases in electricity bills." The Energy Users Association of Australia, which represents the country’s largest power users, believes major industries are on the verge of collapse because of the price of power. BlueScope Steel has warned that climate policies could produce an "energy catastrophe". A country blessed with massive coal and gas reserves, economic resources that traditionally drive economic growth, has suffered a power blackout in South Australia and is suffering from extremely high power prices.

Let’s start with a brief overview of Australia’s energy system. Australia gets 73 per cent of its power from coal, 11 per cent from natural gas, and about 15 per cent from renewables (hydro 7 per cent, wind 4 per cent, rooftop solar 2 per cent and bio-energy 2 per cent). When the Hazelwood power station closed in March, Victoria lost 15 to 20 per cent of its base-load power, and the nation’s power capacity fell by 5 per cent. In Australia, coal is by far the cheapest way to produce energy and we’ve got plenty of it—hundreds of years’ worth in New South Wales and Queensland. Victoria has 200 billion tonnes of brown coal, enough for another 500 years. And it’s easily accessible—we’ve used less than 2 per cent of brown coal reserves since mining began in the early 1920s.

With coal comes greenhouse emissions, blamed by many scientists for "global warming". Burning coal produces carbon dioxide, particularly Latrobe Valley brown coal, which is two-thirds water and has to be heated and dried before it can be burned. Gas, also a fossil fuel, produces fewer greenhouse emissions than coal, while renewables, hydro and nuclear produce none. So how does Australia go about trying to cut its greenhouse emissions? With no carbon price, the Renewable Energy Target (RET) rules. The current renewable targets are: the federal Coalition wants 23.5 per cent by 2023, with a 28 per cent target by 2030 under the Paris climate agreement; the federal Labor Party has a target of 50 per cent by 2020; South Australian Labor has a target of 50 per cent by 2025 (it’s now at 40 per cent); Queensland is similar; while the Andrews government in Victoria has a target of 25 per cent by 2020, 40 per cent by 2025. Logically, any curtailing of coal for other more expensive energy uses is going to flow through to higher electricity prices, although there are other factors at work, such as rising network charges.

Gas is more expensive than coal. It takes more capital to bring a gas well into operation than to open a coal mine. Gas power stations, though, are cheaper than coal stations to build. Renewables are inherently more expensive and cost at least three times as much as coal. This is mainly due to the materials they use, and the construction cost. The capital expense is borne mostly by the government; huge subsidies allow wind and solar to be considered economic, but is this so in reality? Money spent in capital construction must be recovered in energy, but renewables don’t produce much energy. The income they generate does not cover the capital cost. Renewables do have running costs; they have some operators. More importantly, they also have maintenance; for example, solar can’t afford to have solar panels covered in dust—it reduces their effectiveness. Figures showing the effectiveness of solar panels are determined in the laboratory; the real world is different. There is also the extra cost of building wind and solar connectors to the main grid. In addition there is the impact on the grid itself. With a mix of solar and thermal generators producing electricity, you challenge the stability of the system.

The intermittency of renewables creates pressure in the system. It has two damaging effects. First, the base-load plant has to shut down, but the plant is not built to shut down and come up to speed again. Normally it stays on line between major overhauls. Second, if you start bouncing the network around, you start to get failures of equipment on the network. In Victoria, there are gas turbines that can be brought on line and taken off quickly. These are mainly used for peak power, but with the Hazelwood closure, and the Andrews government planning to dramatically expand renewable power, some gas would effectively form base-load power, pushing up base power prices. Victoria may even end up importing black-coal power from New South Wales! Ironically, that’s why Victoria set up the State Electricity Commission in the first place—to mine brown coal instead of importing black coal from New South Wales.

The brute fact is that wind and solar are more expensive. The panel headed by the industrialist Dick Warburton estimated in its 2013 report that there existed a cross-subsidy for renewables of $9.4 billion between 2001 and 2013, with a further $22 billion required for the remainder of the scheme until 2030. That’s an average subsidy of about $3 billion a year. The report was ignored because Warburton was said to be a "climate change denier", but the study concentrated purely on the economics of renewables. A recent report by BAEconomics came up with a similar figure, revealing that the government renewables subsidies were $3 billion in 2015-16. On one estimate, this equated to 6 to 9 per cent for the average household and up to 20 per cent for the industrial customer. These subsidies are not transparent, the report said. Almost three quarters come from government mandates paid for by customers and collected by third parties. Higher prices are passed on by retailers and paid for by consumers. These subsidies do not appear in government accounts, and are thus approximate in the report. The report’s other features include:

* Customers paid more than $2.1 billion to subsidise large-scale power station developers and small customers with roof-top solar.

* New transmission lines to link Victoria’s proposed wind farms to the grid will cost $2.2 billion.

* Legacy feed-in tariff schemes of state and federal governments amount to more than $700 million in subsidies. The Victorian Essential Services Commission in early March doubled the feed-in tariff, going against the states’ trend to cut them back because they were costing governments too much money. This tariff subsidises people putting excess solar power back into the grid.

* The ACT, Queensland and Victoria renewable targets are similar to the RET, creating a big burden for many years.

* Federally, other renewable subsidies are direct grants and concessionary financing. Clean Energy Finance Corporation subsidies can’t be identified.

The federal Energy and Environment Minister, Josh Frydenberg, estimates federal Labor’s 50 per cent renewable target by 2030 will cost $50 billion. A federal Department of Environment study found a capital cost of $41 billion for Queensland and Victorian renewables—$14 billion in Victoria and $27 billion in Queensland. Melbourne consultant RepuTex has said state-based renewable schemes would effectively push the federal RET to 35 per cent by 2030. Renewables undermine the economics of the traditional base-load sources like coal and gas. Renewables have first call in the market (assuming the sun is shining and the wind is blowing!) with traditional base load coming into the market after that. These earnings and profit stresses have led to the closure of some coal-fired stations, such as Hazelwood. New South Wales electricity generator Delta Electricity claims more coal station closures will increase fluctuations in frequency in the electricity market, posing a risk to the security of the system. There have been increasing deviations in frequency in the past three years.

Power costs have been rising dramatically, and industry’s reaction is increasing despair:

* Alumina and Alcoa have written down their stake in the Portland aluminium smelter by US$126 million, implying a value hit of US$229 million for the whole smelter, because of higher power prices in a deal struck with AGL Energy. They believe a gas plant is out of the question at current gas prices.

* BHP Billiton knows that RET schemes raise costs and reduce power security while having no impact on emissions. Prices for its assets on the east coast rose by 42 per cent from 2015 to 2016, and are expected to increase by 78 per cent this year. It also warned long-term expansion of the Olympic Dam project might not go ahead if power security and costs were not addressed. The project took a US$105 million cost hit in the South Australian blackout. The company urges a carbon price based on energy intensity.

Similar warnings have come from Caltex and Glencore. Energy prices are the first priority for business, according to an Australian Industry Group forecast. Coca-Cola will shift its Adelaide production to Queensland and Western Australia. In 2019 it will close its Adelaide plant, which opened in 1951, with the loss of 180 jobs. Despite company denials, this is a clear reaction to the uncertainties of South Australia’s energy supply. Yet Victoria’s Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio claims that after the Hazelwood closure, prices will reduce in 2018-19 as more renewable energy comes on line, largely driven by the Victorian RET.

What to do? The gas industry argues that gas is a guarantor of energy and network security, and of lower emissions, as more intermittent renewables are put into the system. It says RET and other green subsidies should also include low-emissions fossil-fuel technologies. The Climate Change Authority estimates the output from gas-fired generation needs to double, probably triple, to produce about half of Australia’s power needs. Today, gas accounts for about 11 per cent of power. Gas prices are surging due to liquefied natural gas exports, which take up two-thirds of Australian production, and various state bans on gas exploration. Very effective campaigns by "Lock the Gate" extremists have inflamed farming areas, despite several scientific reports, which, while acknowledging legitimate fears for agriculture and water from fracking, say the practice is not dangerous if handled properly. Victoria has a ban on fracking, including onshore conventional gas, until 2020, although the Liberals are softening on the latter; a fracking moratorium is in place in New South Wales. Victoria’s policy was described as "reckless" by the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Gas supply is now tight, with shortfalls predicted as early as 2019. The industry says developing new reserves is vital in supplying existing demand, let alone new gas for gas-fired generation. Shell Australia says rising prices caused by Victoria’s gas bans could put some manufacturers out of business. New estimates from Geoscience Australia indicate Victoria’s gas exploration ban will shut off forty years of gas for the nation’s east coast, 27 trillion cubic feet of shale and tight gas reserves, more than double the identified total for Australia. In the US, fracking has produced cheaper oil and gas, transforming energy markets and giving the country a huge economic boost and making it an oil and gas exporter. In the US, 2016 emissions were at their lowest level since 1991, 13 per cent off the 2007 peak.

And what of coal, Australia’s great comparative advantage? Not one business or economic commentator talks about it; they all favour gas. The federal government, the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, Mr Frydenberg and Resources Minister Senator Matt Canavan have pushed "clean coal"—the use of HELE (high efficiency, low emissions) coal-fired power plants. There are hundreds of HELE plants operating around the world. HELE plants operate at higher temperatures and air pressure to convert water more rapidly to steam. This greatly improves the efficiency of boilers and turbines, which saves fuel and reduces carbon dioxide emissions by up to 50 per cent. A brown-coal power station using new generation technology would still cost a lost less to build and operate than solar or wind energy, says one new report. Such a power station could also quickly ramp up production to meet electricity demand as intermittent renewable energy fell away, says the report, New Generation Coal Technology, from the Minerals Council of Australia. The cost of building a 1000 megawatt ultra-supercritical power station today is equivalent to the annual $3 billion subsidy received by renewables in Australia in 2015-16. The numbers here are extraordinary:

* There are 1015 supercritical and ultra-supercritical power units in the world, with a further 1231 planned or under construction.

* Ultra-supercritical plants in China, Denmark, Germany and Japan are already achieving efficiencies of up to 47.8 per cent.

* Asia is building 88 per cent of the world’s new coal-fired power stations in the next five years, with 69 per cent of those supercritical or ultra-supercritical.

* Japan built the world’s first ultra-supercritical unit in 1993. It has ninety-five coal-fired stations and plans to build another forty-five with supercritical technology in the next ten to fifteen years.

* China has 579 HELE units, with another 575 planned or being built.

The report also talks about integrating HELE technology with carbon capture and storage—storing carbon dioxide emissions deep underground, which would cut emissions by up to 90 per cent. But this process, clean coal storage, is expensive.

The Victorian SEC was looking at this supercritical technology in the 1960s (there is nothing new about it), but there were no materials then that could withstand the higher temperatures and pressures. Those materials are now available worldwide. However, with these new-technology coal-fired stations the failure rates can increase; you’re dealing at the limits of performance. An athlete running flat out is more likely to get injured than one coasting at three-quarter pace. Even with a process of refinement, improvements are only at the margins. Still, the Australian business commentariat evidently believes that the responsible powers who make crucial decisions on energy in Japan, China, Germany and India are stupid. The journalists love talking about gas and the potential of batteries, but not coal. The truth is that Australia is shackled as we try to lower greenhouse emissions. Remember, we only contribute 1.3 per cent of humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions. We don’t have nuclear power, cheap gas or even much biomass (electricity from landfill garbage and forest residues). In Europe, biomass is a huge contributor to renewables, accounting for 20 per cent in much of Scandinavia. Native forest residues are allowed in biomass in Europe but not here, despite the Coalition approving it. The Greens and Labor do not allow it.

Australia’s efforts are put into perspective with some international comparisons. France, for example, gets just under 80 per cent of its power from nuclear, which is also widely used in many other European countries. France arguably underwrites Europe’s greenhouse abatement efforts through its nuclear industry. Europe’s emissions are calculated on a Europe-wide basis, so individual countries are not as isolated in their efforts as Australia. Europe also has extensive hydro-electricity in Scandinavia. Canada has a similar resource-based economy to Australia, but is even luckier: 60 per cent of its electricity comes from hydro, with huge input also from nuclear. They use their vast uranium resources; we don’t. Canada is second in the world after China for the amount of power produced by hydro, and sixth in nuclear. With hydro, renewables total 63 per cent of Canada’s electricity capacity, with the rest from wind, solar, biomass and tidal. Canada is also involved in shale oil and oil sands, and has four large-scale clean coal storage projects under way. Coal is a small contributor. Ontario two years ago closed the last of its coal stations; power there is now mainly nuclear and hydro, with some gas and wind. Yet despite Canada’s low-carbon energy mix, emissions from oil and gas rose by 14 per cent between 2005 and 2013. The former Prime Minister Stephen Harper withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol, saving Canada from theoretically paying billions of dollars in fines because their emissions were way over the Kyoto target in 2012.

However, the most interesting comparison for Australia, and Victoria in particular, comes with Germany. Germany is the biggest brown-coal producer in the world, and has been building new coal-fired power stations to keep the lights on. Coal still accounts for 42 per cent of Germany’s power supplies—brown coal (lignite) 24 per cent, and hard coal (comparable to black coal) 18 per cent—despite the country’s drive to expand renewable energy. Including gas and nuclear, non-renewables produce 64 per cent of Germany’s power. Germany’s Department of Energy says on its website that to provide a reliable energy supply, Germany will require ultra-modern and flexible coal-fired power plants. There is no specific policy to phase out coal and lignite generation, unlike its forced closure of nuclear plants in favour of renewables. Germany opened two new brown-coal plants in 2012, with one in Essen at 2200 megawatts capacity larger than the Latrobe Valley’s Loy Yang A. It has the ability to respond to the intermittency of renewables in fifteen minutes. Eight hard-coal plants are being built, along with two more brown-coal plants, respectively 1100 and 660 megawatts. The thirteen new coal plants total 14,208 megawatts—pretty well twice Victoria’s output. Many hard-coal plants, however, have been cancelled in recent years.

The Department of Energy in Germany says lignite, unlike hard coal, is unsubsidised and there are enough reserves "to last for a very long time". Germany’s brown coal is more expensive to use than the Latrobe Valley’s, as Germany’s overburden is deeper and the brown coal seams are shallower. However, Germany’s lignite production has halved since 1980. About 90 per cent of Germany’s hard coal supply is imported. Of the rest of the country’s power supply, nuclear makes up 14 per cent, gas 7 per cent, renewables 35.8 per cent (wind 14.4 per cent, solar 8.1 per cent, biomass 8.7 per cent, and hydro 4.7 per cent), with a small contribution from oil. All nuclear power, however, is to be phased out by 2022. It’s unclear what Germany is going to replace it with.

Germany’s climate action plan for 2050, approved a couple of months ago, aims to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions but does not stipulate an end date for coal-fired power generation. While the plan envisages a step-by-step reduction in coal power, the Social Democrats in the federal coalition have opposed the setting of a coal exit date before job alternatives for those who work in brown coal have been determined. Sigmar Gabriel, until recently the Social Democrats leader and still Vice-Chancellor, expects brown coal to remain in use past 2040. Under the plan, Germany aims by 2050 to cut its greenhouse emissions by 80 to 95 per cent from its 1990 level, the year of German unification when old genuinely polluting plants in the communist east were still active. Under the interim target for 2030, emissions are to be reduced by 55 per cent compared to 1990. The action plan sets out sectoral targets for 2030, but emphasises the document is a work in progress and "cannot and does not want to be a detailed masterplan" for 2050. It adds that there will be "no rigid provisions", with the plan technologically neutral and open to innovation. Great emphasis is placed on energy efficiency in power production and by consumers in property, transport, industry and agriculture. It stresses the government will simultaneously maintain German competitiveness. In reducing coal, "economic perspectives and jobs in the affected regions must be taken into account". Above all, there must be "concrete future proposals for the affected regions, before concrete decisions for the step-by-step retreat from brown coal can go ahead".

Germany, unlike Australia, does not have to cut emissions by itself; it’s part of Europe. Germany has interconnectors with ten neighbouring countries, with a total transfer capacity of more than 20,000 megawatts. It can buy nuclear power from France and coal-fired power from Poland, which still gets 90 per cent of its electricity from coal. Germany also exports a lot of energy.

What does all this cost and how effective has the policy been? A study from the University of Dusseldorf estimated that by 2025, Germany would have spent 520 billion euros on its Green Energy Transition. A family of four will pay more than 25,000 euros for the policy. It said the cost from 2000 to 2015 was 150 billion euros, with an additional 370 billion euros to be spent in the coming decade. Germany has the second-highest residential electricity prices in the OECD after Denmark, a big wind-power producer.

A recent study by a Cambridge physicist extrapolated on this. It’s from M.J. Kelly, the Professor of Solid State Electronics and Nanoscale Science, who is a Fellow of both the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering. Professor Kelly said actual data from 2014 showed the fruits of the $200 billion green investment in Germany. While there were isolated times of a few hours on one or two days where significant (more than 30 per cent) electricity came from renewables, the total contribution each of wind and solar was 8 per cent of average demand. Fossil fuels and nuclear provided the bulk of the remaining 84 per cent. "The problem is that for significant periods during winter when there is no solar or wind energy, the entire peak annual demand must be provided from the older generators," he said. "Not a single generator can be turned off because it is needed to cover intermittency." Professor Kelly said the older generators were providing 84 per cent, not 100 per cent, of the energy that they used to. They now had to charge a higher price to cover the same depreciation and finance costs. "In some cases it’s worse than this; many of the gas turbines were designed for base-load operation, and when used in load-balancing mode, the constant acceleration and deceleration of the shaft shortens its life to an unacceptable degree," he said. "The owners are mothballing their assets for future base-load operation rather than misuse them." A doubled penetration of wind and solar will double Germany’s electricity cost problems without any compensating relief.

The Kelly paper has a fascinating look at energy density. Today’s fossil fuels are the result of past photosynthesis and the densification of the resulting energy over millions of years. The actual energy density of fossil fuel is over a million times greater than the gravity energy density in hydro. Nuclear fuels are a million times more energy dense than fossil fuels. Professor Kelly estimates it would take 4000 square kilometres of land growing a biofuel crop to generate the same power as a 1500 megawatt nuclear plant that takes up one tenth of a square kilometre. The net average density per square metre for current biomass, solar and wind are all within a factor of twenty of each other—nothing compared with the factor of tens of thousands for fossil fuel and nuclear. "The first generation of renewables all suffer from the intrinsic diluteness of solar energy incident on the surface of the earth, coupled with the lower efficiency with which it is converted into a continuous useful energy supply," Kelly says. Improvements in wind turbine blades, solar panels or better bio­fuels result in efficiency increases measured in tens of per cent: nothing compared with the millions of per cent for fossil fuels. These vast ratios are reflected in the size, costs and safety of the different sources of energy. Thus renewables will provide, optimistically, 10 to 20 per cent of global energy by 2035. "There is no prospect of seriously reducing fossil fuel emissions without an accompanying fall in global standards of living directly implied by large reductions in per capita energy use," Kelly concludes.




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 July, 2017

Stephen Hawking has abandoned science

He wants more government control so is prepared to speak  nonsense to facilitate it.  He knows as well as I do that the high Venusian surface temperature is an adiabatic effect -- a function of the great weight (hence pressure) exerted by the huge Venusian atmosphere.  The earth has no such atmosphere so anything similar on earth cannot occur

When asked about President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, Professor Stephen Hawking said that Trump’s decision could make the Earth “become like Venus, with a temperature of over 250 degrees and raining sulfuric acid.” He also said that Trump will cause “damage to our beautiful planet.”

In a video published July 2, BBC News presented the question, “What does Stephen Hawking think about President Trump withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement?”

Hawking answered, “We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible.”

“Trump’s action could push the earth over the brink to become like Venus, with a temperature of over 250 degrees and raining sulfuric acid,” said Hawking.

“Climate change is one of the great dangers we face,” he stated, “and it’s one we can prevent, if we act now.”

“By denying the evidence for climate change, and pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, Donald Trump will cause avoidable environmental damage to our beautiful planet, endangering the natural world for us and our children,” said Hawking.


Volvo's desperate throw

Volvo has been in financial trouble for some time now so their vow to go "all-electric" is a grab to capture much righteousness and part of Toyota's market share. Amid all the oohs and aahs however, people seem to be overlooking that Volvo is in fact NOT pulling out of the internal combustion engine.  They are still going to be making hybrids. It pains me to mention it but a hybrid is in fact powered by an internal combustion engine.  It has a huge and heavy battery pack which makes claims of economical running look suspicious but for long runs the internal combustion engine cuts in

The end of the internal combustion engine moved closer yesterday after a major carmaker became the first to abandon diesel and petrol-only vehicles.

Volvo, which sold almost 47,000 cars in the UK last year, said that all new models would be electric or hybrid within two years, adding that the age of the battery-powered car had arrived. Experts predicted that other mainstream manufacturers would follow suit.

Figures published by the motor industry showed that almost 59,000 new green cars were sold in the UK over the past 12 months, up 27.5 per cent in a year. Sales of petrol cars rose by 5.2 per cent while diesel sales fell almost 10 per cent year on year.


Fracking Industry Deserves Our Gratitude
Less than 10 years ago, America’s energy future looked bleak.  World oil prices in 2008 had spiked to more than $100 per barrel of crude.  “Peak oil” — the theory that the world had already extracted more crude oil than was still left in the ground — was America’s supposed bleak fate.

Ten years ago, rising gas prices, spiraling trade deficits and ongoing war in the oil-rich Middle East only underscored America’s precarious dependence on foreign sources of oil.

Despite news of a radically improved but relatively old technology called “fracking” — drilling into shale rock and injecting water, sand and chemicals at high pressure to hydraulically “fracture” the rock and create seams from which petroleum and natural gas are released — few saw much hope.

In 2012, when gas prices were hitting $4 a gallon in some areas, President Obama admonished the country that we “can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices.” That was a putdown of former Alaska governor and vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s refrain, “Drill, baby, drill.”

Obama barred new oil and gas permits on federal lands. Steven Chu, who would become secretary of energy in the Obama administration, had earlier mused that gas prices might ideally rise to European levels (about $10 a gallon), thereby forcing Americans to turn to expensive subsidized alternative green fuels.

But over the last five years, frackers have refined their craft on private properties, finding ever cheaper and more efficient ways to extract huge amounts of crude oil and natural gas from shale rock.

In 2017, despite millions of square miles being off-limits to drillers, America is close to reaching 10 million barrels of crude oil production per day, the highest level in the nation’s history. The U.S. may soon surpass Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest petroleum producer.

When American natural gas (about 20 percent of the world total) and coal (the largest reserves in the world) are factored into the fossil fuel equation, the U.S. is already the largest producer of energy in the world.

While environmentalists worry about polluting the water table and heightening seismic activity through hydraulic fracturing, fracking seems to become more environmentally sensitive each year.

When OPEC and other overseas producers tried to bankrupt frackers by flooding the world with their supposedly more cheaply produced oil, the effort backfired. American entrepreneurs learned to frack oil and natural gas even more cheaply and undercut the foreign gambit. The result is a windfall for all sectors of the American economy.

From 2014 to 2016, fracking helped cut the price of gasoline by $1.50 a gallon, saving American drivers an average of more than $1,000 per year.

Due to the fracking of natural gas, the United States has reduced its carbon emissions by about 12 percent over the last decade, (according to the Energy Information Administration) — at a far greater rate than the environmentally conscious European Union.

Fracking and cheaper gas are allowing a critical breathing space for strapped American consumers, as alternative energy production and transportation slowly become more efficient and competitive.

Fracking has created a national savings of about 5 million barrels of imported oil per day over the last decade. That translates to roughly $100 billion in annual savings by avoiding foreign oil.

Fracking has allowed the U.S. to enjoy some of the lowest electricity rates and gas prices in the industrial world. The result is that cheap energy costs are luring all sorts of energy-intensive industries — from aluminum to plastics to fertilizers — back to the United States, with the potential of creating millions of new, high-paying jobs.

Fracking has given America virtual energy independence, freeing it from the leverage of unstable and often hostile Middle East regimes. The result is less need to interfere in the chronic squabbling in the oil-rich but unstable Persian Gulf.

Fracking has reduced oil prices and radically weakened America’s rivals and enemies. Desperate oil exporters like Iran, Russia and Venezuela are short about half the oil income that they enjoyed 10 years ago.

The late Hugo Chavez’s oil-fed socialist utopia in Venezuela is bankrupt.

What so far constrains Russian President Vladimir Putin is as much a shortage of petrodollars as fear of NATO.

Until recently, the combination of sanctions (lifted by the Obama administration) and crashing oil prices had nearly bankrupted would-be nuclear power Iran.

The once-feared OPEC oil cartel, the long-time bane of the United States, is now nearly impotent.

Friends such as Israel have gained energy independence by fracking. In contrast, some European allies who have banned fracking out of environmental worries are more vulnerable to Russian, Iranian and Middle Eastern pressure than ever before.

Fracking is not easy. It requires legally protected property and mineral rights, a natural entrepreneurial spirit, environmental concern and a free-market. In other words, it is an American way of doing business.


Trump's Nuclear Energy Ambitions

Energy Secretary Rick Perry will be instrumental in deregulating what can be a key energy source for America

President Donald Trump has made some significant policy promises regarding America’s energy sector. For most Americans, his policies are extremely welcome news because the days of excessive government regulation and oversight of our nation’s ability to tap into and produce vast amounts of energy will be ending soon.

During a speech last Thursday on energy policy, Trump offered a stark contrast with his predecessor on not just pursuing energy independence for America, but “American energy dominance.” He outlined a six-pronged approach to doing so.

Put simply, unlike Barack Obama, who implemented onerous regulations on coal, off-shore drilling and other fossil fuel production methods — while demanding unrealistic increases in unreliable and expensive wind and solar power — Trump is taking an all-of-the-above approach to unleash American innovation to produce more energy than ever before.

Notably, the first part of his six-pronged approach is to “revive and expand our nuclear energy sector,” which will begin with a study on the issue. The study will analyze regulatory challenges that need to be addressed and offer possible solutions for fixing them. Furthermore, the study will take stock of costs associated with nuclear energy production and building additional nuclear reactors — much of which is regulatory burden. There weren’t a lot of details given in advance of this study, but recognizing a problem is the first step in coming up with a solution.

During a White House Press briefing, Energy Secretary Rick Perry stated without reservation that America needs to regain a “leadership role” in developing nuclear energy. “We really need to have a conversation with our country about making sure that America stays technologically and economically engaged on the nuclear side,” he said, “because if we do not then China and Russia will fill that void.”

Perry also noted that the Trump administration will “end the current blockade that has hindered American energy creation,” and he gave a passionate defense of nuclear power that is sure to irritate leftists. Perry pledged to make nuclear energy “cool again” and added that “no clean-energy portfolio is truly complete without nuclear power.”

Perry, Trump and other administration officials believe that nuclear energy development is important for America and that it can be a “game changer.” They’re absolutely right, but there are numerous obstacles that will need to be overcome if nuclear energy is truly going to be part of Trump’s plan for American energy dominance.

The nuclear industry is currently ailing with many construction projects being costlier than anticipated. One of the major nuclear reactor builders, Westinghouse, filed for bankruptcy this year after losing money on construction projects in South Carolina and Georgia. The projects were three years past due and cost between $1 to $1.3 billion more than expected. But the costs and timeframe were primarily due to — surprise — government regulation. Perry and the Trump administration intend to address these burdensome regulations and will push for incentives aimed at giving our younger generation a renewed interest in studying nuclear energy production.

You can bet that the push for American energy dominance and independence, with nuclear energy being at the forefront, will outrage ecofascists. As usual, they’ll cry that Trump is trying to destroy the planet. For years, the Left has ignored nuclear power because words like “weapon” and “waste” come to mind whenever the word nuclear is mentioned. But nuclear power is clean energy just like wind and solar, and leftists have been making a terrible mistake by ignoring the benefits that come with nuclear power.

Approximately 20% of America’s electricity comes from nuclear power. The nuclear reactors currently in operation produce four times the amount of energy that wind power can and 21 times the amount that solar power does. By the way, it’s also cheaper to produce than wind and solar, and because of research and innovation it is a safe means of producing energy.

If Trump can follow through with his energy plans, we may very well see another example of American greatness through the harnessing and use of the vast energy resources with which our nation has been so richly blessed.


Australian energy debate fuelled by infinite sources of renewable acrimony

If there is one economic issue where the ideological prancing and post-material indulgence of the media/political class clashes violently with the daily priorities and pragmatic common sense of the mainstream, it is energy policy. With the highest electricity prices in the world now achieved in South Australia (other states are in hot pursuit) and past blackouts heightening fears of further shortages, the situation is shambolic.

Imagine the lunacy of an ­energy-rich nation — one of the largest exporters of coal, gas and uranium — inflicting an energy crisis on itself. This is self-harm by government decree. The bipartisan renewable ­energy target has been the main cause. It achieved its aim of boosting ­investment in wind and solar generation but governments — federal and state, Liberal and Labor — ignored cost and security. Now, through the Finkel review, the Turnbull government is trying to retrofit affordability and security to an electricity network ­up-ended by the RET.

With coal generators priced out of the market in SA and Victoria, and insufficient investment in storage or back-up gas generation, the nation faces a pricing and ­security crisis. SA experienced the trauma of a statewide blackout triggered by a storm, system instability and over-reliance on inter­state interconnection. It is worth noting that SA took the power price world title from Denmark, which also relies on wind for more than 40 per cent of its electricity.

Energy is the most crucial and volatile policy issue in national politics. In the wake of Finkel, we await a detailed plan from the government. It will be a defining factor in whether the economy can ­reclaim confidence, rekindle growth and diversify.

It will determine whether the Coalition has a chance of remaining in office beyond the next election. And it will be critical in resolving or unleashing the titanic policy and personal struggle ­between Turnbull and his ­aggrieved predecessor.

Tony Abbott talks a big game on electricity now he is free from the constraints of office or cabinet solidarity. He wants to cap the RET, invest in new coal generation and give priority to affordability and security over emissions reductions. But as prime minister, he behaved differently. Abbott scrapped the carbon tax but implemented direct action to cut emissions, supported the RET and negotiated the Paris target. None of this means he is wrong now; it merely exposes him to charges of hypocrisy, changeability and opportunism. Most of the media/political class are committed to climate gestures and ­renewable energy, so shout down his present interventions. But ­Abbott makes a lot of sense, ­especially to mainstream voters worried about the impact of power prices on household budgets or business cash flows.

The core policy challenge is ­described by Turnbull as a “trilemma”: meeting three criteria of affordable energy, secure supplies and reduced emissions. The fatal flaw is that reducing emissions is precisely what has made power more expensive and ­less reliable.

If we really want the cheapest and most reliable electricity we would concentrate on thermal baseload generation and forget emissions. And if we really want lower emissions and refuse to ­embrace nuclear, we must accept higher prices and less reliability.

Putting climate science arguments to one side, it is clear that given the minuscule size, globally, of Australia’s carbon dioxide ­reductions and the massive ­ongoing increases from China and India alone, our cuts will have no discernible impact on the planet. So as a nation we must decide whether we are prepared to pay a high economic price for no environmental gain.

Alternatively, we could decide this moment in time — with the US withdrawing from Paris, our economy in flux and ­global temperatures stubbornly ­refusing to rise in line with the models — might be opportune to abandon or forestall reductions targets and concentrate on economic stability. This is a proposition few politicians, aside from Cory Bernardi, Pauline Hanson and, less directly, Abbott, are prepared to even discuss. Little wonder the major parties are in strife.

Turnbull faces an even more challenging political “trilemma” than his policy challenge. A ­workable political resolution on energy needs to meet three ­demands that, like his policy aims, are irreconcilable. The Prime Minister first needs a technically plausible plan, as he says, based on economics and ­engineering rather than ideology. This goal is compromised by the determination to reduce emissions by at least 26 per cent by 2030 and is a diabolical challenge for any technocrat given the starting shambles.

Turnbull’s policy must also pass through parliament and deliver ­investment certainty; the only way to satisfy those aims is to win agreement from Labor. If Bill Shorten approves of the package, it will sail through the Senate and business can confidently make ­investment decisions with perhaps two terms of policy certainty — an eternity compared with the dystopia of the past decade.

Finally, the Turnbull plan needs to demonstrate policy differentiation and political advantage to provide some chance of recovery in the polls and re-­election. But the Coalition cannot simultaneously trump Labor and win its bipartisan support. Like his policy trilemma, this political trilemma cannot be resolved.

Prioritising the national interest would favour a solution that Labor could support, which is where Turnbull is drifting. It might involve a clean energy target where the subsidy cut-off is set at a level allowing high efficiency coal generation (about 0.6 tonnes per megawatt hour) — this would ­entrench prices higher than they otherwise would be but guarantee emissions reductions.

But politics is bound to intervene. Labor could leave the ­Coalition hanging out to dry, both because its left flank and the Greens would prefer to destroy coal, and it would present an irresistible chance to execute Turnbull politically. Why not destroy Turnbull on energy and go with a carbon price, 50 per cent RET and higher global commitments once in office? Labor seems to be trying to lure Turnbull into undermining his own leadership twice in eight years on climate policy.

There is also a catch-22 for the most conservative and pragmatic players such as Abbott. Even if a hardline Coalition could convince parliament to cap the RET and ditch emissions targets, the electricity crisis would not be over.

Knowing a Labor administration would turn all this on its head, the industry would have no confidence. At the very least, industry planners would factor in a price on carbon and, at worst, would join an indefinite investment strike.

Past bipartisan policy has made investment so fraught for anything other than subsidised and ­intermittent renewable ­energy that we are seeing a return to government intervention. Turn­bull is directly intervening through his Snowy 2.0 hydro plan and other Coalition MPs, including Abbott, are talking about government-subsidised new coal generation. Just a year ago, for the want of about $20m, the SA government stood and watched the demolition of a coal-fired station and Victoria taxed Hazelwood into retirement.

Renewables sound attractive and are popular when they work. But governments who allow high power prices to reduce living ­standards or fail to keep the lights on will not have their mandates ­renewed.




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


7 July, 2017

Ho ho, its Hayhoe

Below is a small excerpt from The Guardian which relies heavily on Katharine Hayhoe to create alarm.  She is an unusual person in being both a Christian, well informed and yet is a Warmist.  The vast majority of Christians are perfectly sane people but they have always included some nuts in their ranks. I think Katherine is one of the nutty Christians.  I think I would find a lack of reality contact in her quite quickly if I interviewed her.  Lack of reality contact is the hallmark of psychosis.

But I don't really need to interview her.  I include below one of her assertions about the climate that is clearly out of contact with reality.  And I show that it is out of contact with reality with a graph

Even as the impacts of climate change intensify, many Americans remain confused by the issue. Climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe discusses how to talk with climate sceptics

Katharine Hayhoe is an associate professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, where temperatures during this summer of record-breaking heat have surpassed 100 degrees on 43 days. While Hayhoe would certainly not argue that this scorching heat is unequivocal evidence of global warming, she is sure of one thing: it's a sign of things to come.

Hayhoe is well known not only for her scientific work on the regional impacts of global warming in the U.S., but also for her efforts to reach out to conservative communities — particularly evangelical Christians — to speak with them about the realities of climate change. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, she said she has found much common ground with people by patiently answering their questions, stressing the impact that global warming will likely have on the individuals and places that people love, and discussing actions to blunt climate change that nearly all sides can agree on....

She says:

"If you look at the Southeast, they are very vulnerable along the coastline to hurricanes and storms.... So the latest projections are not for any more frequent hurricanes but for stronger hurricanes..."



In fact the US has now gone 11 years without a major hurricane, the longest period on record. Worldwide there has been no increase in major hurricane landfalls either

She creates alarm where a more reasonable commentary on the facts would be that we seem to have moved into an unusually safe period. The cautious pronouncements that one expects from a genuine scholar seem quite alien to her.


Study Finds Temperature Adjustments Account For ‘Nearly All Of Recent Warming’ In Climate Data Sets

A new study found adjustments made to global surface temperature readings by scientists in recent years “are totally inconsistent with published and credible U.S. and other temperature data.”

“Thus, it is impossible to conclude from the three published GAST data sets that recent years have been the warmest ever – despite current claims of record setting warming,” according to a study published June 27 by two scientists and a veteran statistician.

The peer-reviewed study tried to validate current surface temperature datasets managed by NASA, NOAA and the UK’s Met Office, all of which make adjustments to raw thermometer readings. Skeptics of man-made global warming have criticized the adjustments.

Climate scientists often apply adjustments to surface temperature thermometers to account for “biases” in the data. The new study doesn’t question the adjustments themselves but notes nearly all of them increase the warming trend.

Basically, “cyclical pattern in the earlier reported data has very nearly been ‘adjusted’ out” of temperature readings taken from weather stations, buoys, ships and other sources.

In fact, almost all the surface temperature warming adjustments cool past temperatures and warm more current records, increasing the warming trend, according to the study’s authors.

“Nearly all of the warming they are now showing are in the adjustments,” Meteorologist Joe D’Aleo, a study co-author, told The Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview. “Each dataset pushed down the 1940s warming and pushed up the current warming.”

“You would think that when you make adjustments you’d sometimes get warming and sometimes get cooling. That’s almost never happened,” said D’Aleo, who co-authored the study with statistician James Wallace and Cato Institute climate scientist Craig Idso.

Their study found measurements “nearly always exhibited a steeper warming linear trend over its entire history,” which was “nearly always accomplished by systematically removing the previously existing cyclical temperature pattern.”

“The conclusive findings of this research are that the three [global average surface temperature] data sets are not a valid representation of reality,” the study found. “In fact, the magnitude of their historical data adjustments, that removed their cyclical temperature patterns, are totally inconsistent with published and credible U.S. and other temperature data.”

Based on these results, the study’s authors claim the science underpinning the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to regulate greenhouse gases “is invalidated.”

The new study will be included in petitions by conservative groups to the EPA to reconsider the 2009 endangerment finding, which gave the agency its legal authority to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.


U.S. Power Producers Return To Cheap Coal

Coal-fired power plants in the U.S. were the main beneficiaries from higher gas prices, increasing their electricity generation by almost 7 percent.

The U.S. natural gas market has rebalanced with higher prices steadying production while reducing demand from electricity generators and making room for increased exports.

Higher prices have averted the stock crunch many analysts feared in 2017 as a result of rising exports and the start up of a large number of new gas-fired combined cycle power plants.

During the first six months of 2017, prices for next-month delivery at Henry Hub were almost $1 per million British thermal units or 46 percent higher than in the first half of 2016.

Gas prices paid by electricity producers were up $1 per million British thermal units or 39 percent in the first four months of the year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Power producers generated 349 Terawatt-hours of electricity from natural gas between January and April and used 2,611 billion cubic feet of gas in the process (“Electric Power Monthly”, EIA, June 2017).

But gas-fired generation was down 15 percent compared with the same period in 2016 while the volume of gas consumed fell by 14 percent.

By contrast, total electricity generation from all sources was down by less than 2 percent compared with the prior year.

Coal-fired power plants were the main beneficiaries from higher gas prices, increasing their electricity generation by almost 7 percent.

Coal-fired plants operated at an average of 49 percent of their maximum output between January and April compared with 44 percent in the same period in 2016.

By contrast, gas-fired combined-cycle units operated at 48 percent of their maximum output, down from 53 percent in 2016.


Forget Paris: Japan To Build 40 New Coal Power Plants

Japan may not achieve its carbon emissions target if an ambitious plan to build more coal-fired power plants moves ahead, the environment minister said, underlining Tokyo’s struggle to meet globally agreed goals to halt climate change.

Even as it champions the Paris climate agreement, Japan — the world’s fifth-biggest carbon emitter — continues its massive reliance on coal and natural gas, putting it out of step with the rest of the Group of Seven bloc and even South Korea.

The industry ministry sees coal as an important part of the country’s energy mix after the closure of nuclear reactors in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima meltdowns….

“If all those plants are built, it will become a major obstacle for Japan’s 2030 target to cut emissions,” said Yamamoto.

Under the Paris climate deal, Japan pledged to trim its carbon emissions by 26 percent in 2030 from 2013 levels.

The ministry estimates that Japan’s emissions could exceed its 2030 target by 70 million tons if all the coal power plants are built.


Wind turbine syndrome: infrasound and fury

Comment from Australia

When Janet Hetherington went to a Melbourne hospital for a minor procedure late last year she had an odd experience. She was unable to sleep in the bed she was given and forced to move to escape a disturbing sensation that made it impossible for her to settle.

She reported her incident to hospital authorities, who later called in acoustic experts who confirmed a concentration of low-frequency noise in the precise area that she had been settled.

The noise has not affected everyone who has used that bed and, rather than do anything about the source, hospital staff have been told to be on the lookout for anyone who may experience a similar reaction.

Hetherington’s hospital experience is especially interesting as she has lived at Macarthur in southwest Victoria, home to one of the country’s biggest wind farms.

Disturbance from low-frequency noise from industrial airconditioning fans and compres­sors is pretty normal stuff in big buildings, and Victorian and Queensland health departments documents recognise that low-frequency noise sensitivity and sensitisation can be a problem for some people.

Hetherington’s hospital experience is another chapter in an ongoing saga for Macarthur wind farm owner AGL and the wind industry globally, which many say has been forced to jump at shadows on the issue for the past two decades.

Hetherington now has left the Macarthur area and says her sleep and health are greatly improved.

As the number of wind farms increases around the world, the number of complaints also is rising, as are the cases for noise nuisance being settled by wind power developers — the latest being last month in the Irish High Court, where a German wind power operator admitted liability but settled before the issue of punitive dam­ages was determined by the court.

What has been dismissed by some leading commentators as an imaginary ailment is of increasing concern in medical circles internationally and acoustic specialists are investigating whether there is a physical explanation for what is going on.

The French Academy of Medicine has published a position paper on the issue that found the noise from wind turbines represents an “existential suffering” and real threat to the quality of life of nearby residents that must be taken seriously. After an investigation of the scientific literature, the academy did not reach a conclusion on the cause of widespread complaints about a so-called wind turbine syndrome. But it said even if wind turbines did “not seem to directly induce organic pathogens, it affects through its noise and especially visual nuisance the quality of life of a part of the residents” and thus their “state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing which today defines the concept of health”.

The academy recommended new wind turbines be built only “in areas where there was consensus among the population concerned as to their visual impact”, and a system of ongoing noise checks with a reduction in allowable noise limits to a weighted 30 decibels (30dBA) for outside dwellings and 25 decibels inside. It also repeated an earlier call for an epidemiological study on health nuisance from wind turbines.

Wind turbine syndrome symptoms cover a wide spectrum of disorders including sleep loss, fatigue, nausea, headaches, tinnitus, disturbances of balance, dizziness, stress, depression, irritability, anxiety, perturbed steroid hormone secretion, hypertension and socio-behavioural changes.

“At the medical level, wind turbine syndrome produces a complex and subjective entity in the clinical expression of which several factors are involved,” the French academy report says.

Analysis of the medical and scientific literature did not show that wind turbines had a significant impact on health.

“In other words, no disease or infirmity seems to be imputable to their functioning,” the academy says. “The problem, however, is that the definition of health has evolved and that, according to World Health Organisation, it now represents a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

The question of whether wind turbines are physically capable of producing the adverse reactions claimed is unresolved. However, it is now scientifically demonstrated by Swedish researchers that amplitude-modulated low-frequency wind turbine noise can directly cause sleep disturbance, even in young fit people taking part in its research study.

Much attention has been put on the possible role of low frequency or infrasound below the threshold of hearing. Australian researchers at the University of Sydney-affiliated Wool­cock Institute of Medical Research are working with acoustics experts to test surrounding inaudible, or infrasound, noise attributed to wind turbines. However, the study is using synthesised “infrasound” and not that actually generated by wind turbines.

A sample of 40 people who are prone to being disturbed by noise will face three weekends in a purpose-built laboratory being exposed to silence, traffic noise and synthesised wind turbine infrasound. The researchers will monitor their health throughout the experiment, especially as they sleep. Results will be available in about 2020, but there is intense debate about whether wind turbine sound can be adequately replicated in the laboratory for such experiments.

The Swedish study, Physiological Effects of Wind Turbine Noise on Sleep, reported in September last year to the International Congress on Acoustics, highlights the importance of the pulses of noises made by rotating wind turbine blades that lead to a variation in the sound level. This variation in the sound level is described as amplitude modulation and can vary from inaudible to clearly audible.

“The presence of beats and strong amplitude modulation contributed to sleep disturbance, reflected by more electrophysi­olog­ical awakenings, increased light sleep and wakefulness, and reduced REM and deep sleep,” the study says.

“The impact on sleep by these acoustic characteristics is currently the focus of interest in ongoing studies.”

Four of the world’s leading acoustic experts working on a joint paper have suggested two simple experiments that may resolve many of the issues.

The research can be traced back to work conducted by Steven Cooper in 2015, commissioned by wind developer Pacific Hydro, into noise emitted from its Cape Bridgewater wind farm in Victoria.

The latest paper includes contributions from the industry doyen of wind farm noise, Geoff Leventhall, and Paul Schomer, chairman of the American National Standards Committee dealing with noise. The researchers agree that “infrasound from wind turbines can almost be ruled out as a potential mechanism for stimulating motion sickness symptoms”. But they recommend “two relatively simple and relatively inexpensive studies be conducted to be sure no infrasound pathways to the brain exist other than through the cochlea”. The tests involve asking residents to identify when wind tur­bines are being turned on and off.

Residents’ responses also would be measured in relation to changes in the amount of electric power being generated by operating wind turbines.

The wind industry has been reluctant to co-operate with these sorts of investigations in the past.

However, Australia’s meticulous records of power generation for the National Electricity Market may provide a solution.

The proposed tests stem from findings of Cooper’s Cape Bridgewater research in which affected residents were asked to keep diaries of their experience, which later were compared to wind farm operation. Cooper found the study participants responses correlated better to the electric power being generated rather than to the acoustic signal. It suggests that people may be affected more by the speed of the wind turbine operations when depowering the turbine and to large changes in the electric power being generated.

“The fact that the subjects’ responses correlated with electric power, which is something the subjects could have no way of knowing, lends strong support to Cooper’s findings,” Schomer says.

Schomer says the suggested new tests are important for two reasons. First, the subjects are incapable of having detailed knowledge of the electric power being generated. Second, if true, it is something that is potentially correctable by the wind industry through changes to blade design and operation.

Acoustician George Hessler says for a very small change in sound level generated by the wind turbine, there can be a very large change in the electric power generated.

Other research suggests a source of low-frequency audible sound is produced each time a blade passes the support tower.

The wind turbine blades flex so that the blade tip comes closer to the support tower as the electrical power being generated increases. The reverse occurs as the power being generated decreases.

“The facts in this analysis indicate that this should be studied further, since this may be an important factor in the community response — both annoyance and other physiological effects,” Schomer says.

“The fact that this sound source can be controlled by the operator, to some degree, gives some promise to our ability to mitigate or eliminate this problem.”

The collective conclusion of researchers has been that none of the opinions and recommendations answers the posed question — does low-frequency noise from wind turbines disturb people’s sleep or make people sick?

“It is abundantly obvious that intense adverse response occurs at certain sites,” they say.

“Realistically it is not even possible to answer the posed question to all parties’ satisfaction without practical research.”

But they argue the wind farm industry must accept that there are enough worldwide sites that emit excessive wind turbine noise resulting in severe adverse community reactions to adopt and adhere to policies setting out a reasonable sound level limit.

Likewise, wind farm opponents must accept reasonable sound limits or buffer distance to the nearest turbine.

Leventhall says stress from wind turbines, if it arises, is normally low level but, in a very small number of people, it may become intense and overpowering so that opposition to wind turbines is the dominating emotion in their lives.

He says research has shown reaction to noise, especially low-level noise, is largely conditioned by attitudes to the noise and its source.

“Persistent repetition that infrasound from wind turbines will cause illness develops stressful concerns in residents, but repetition is neither evidence nor proof,” Leventhall says.

He cites concerns on inaudible infrasound from current designs of wind turbines began 10 to 15 years ago, linked to objections to the growth of wind farms, and has accelerated during the past five to 10 years.

“It is inevitable that, in the absence of good supporting evidence, these speculative claims will become discredited over the next five to 10 years,” Leventhall says.

Australian researcher Cooper is focusing his continuing research on infrasound and amplitude modulation, highlighted also by the Swedish research.

In a paper presented to a congress on Noise as a Public Health problem in Zurich two weeks ago and at the Acoustical Society of America conference in Boston last week, Cooper says his research finds “modulation of low-frequency noise at an infrasound rate that occurs at or near the threshold of hearing may lead to a trigger response in individuals”.

In other words a mechanical cause for some people’s complaints may have been identified that is more complex than simply very low frequency noise.

If Cooper’s research is correct, the industry may have some new clues on how to fix a problem that has raised intense passions and caused a good deal of concern around the world.




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 July, 2017

New model of global temperature is highly explanatory without Warmist assumptions

This should spark a revolution in climate science but it will of course be ignored.  I have long said that the surface temperature of the planets is explainable as degree of insolation plus an adiabatic effect and nothing more.  Good to see that rigorously demonstrated

New Insights on the Physical Nature of the Atmospheric Greenhouse Effect Deduced from an Empirical Planetary Temperature Model

Ned Nikolov and Karl Zeller


A recent study has revealed that the Earth’s natural atmospheric greenhouse effect is around 90 K or about 2.7 times stronger than assumed for the past 40 years. A thermal enhancement of such a magnitude cannot be explained with the observed amount of outgoing infrared long-wave radiation absorbed by the atmosphere (i.e. = 158 W m-2), thus requiring a re-examination of the underlying Greenhouse theory.

We present here a new investigation into the physical nature of the atmospheric thermal effect using a novel empirical approach toward predicting the Global Mean Annual near-surface equilibrium Temperature (GMAT) of rocky planets with diverse atmospheres. Our method utilizes Dimensional Analysis (DA) applied to a vetted set of observed data from six celestial bodies representing a broad range of physical environments in our Solar System, i.e. Venus, Earth, the Moon, Mars, Titan (a moon of Saturn), and Triton (a moon of Neptune).

Twelve relationships (models) suggested by DA are explored via non-linear regression analyses that involve dimensionless products comprised of solar irradiance, greenhouse-gas partial pressure/density and total atmospheric pressure/density as forcing variables, and two temperature ratios as dependent variables.

One non-linear regression model is found to statistically outperform the rest by a wide margin. Our analysis revealed that GMATs of rocky planets with tangible atmospheres and a negligible geothermal surface heating can accurately be predicted over a broad range of conditions using only two forcing variables: top-of-the-atmosphere solar irradiance and total surface atmospheric pressure. The hereto discovered interplanetary pressure-temperature relationship is shown to be statistically robust while describing a smooth physical continuum without climatic tipping points.

This continuum fully explains the recently discovered 90 K thermal effect of Earth’s atmosphere. The new model displays characteristics of an emergent macro-level thermodynamic relationship heretofore unbeknown to science that has important theoretical implications.

A key entailment from the model is that the atmospheric ‘greenhouse effect’ currently viewed as a radiative phenomenon is in fact an adiabatic (pressure-induced) thermal enhancement analogous to compression heating and independent of atmospheric composition.

Consequently, the global down-welling long-wave flux presently assumed to drive Earth’s surface warming appears to be a product of the air temperature set by solar heating and atmospheric pressure. In other words, the so-called ‘greenhouse back radiation’ is globally a result of the atmospheric thermal effect rather than a cause for it.

Our empirical model has also fundamental implications for the role of oceans, water vapour, and planetary albedo in global climate. Since produced by a rigorous attempt to describe planetary temperatures in the context of a cosmic continuum using an objective analysis of vetted observations from across the Solar System, these findings call for a paradigm shift in our understanding of the atmospheric ‘greenhouse effect’ as a fundamental property of climate.


Wind Turbines Are Not Clean Or Green And Provide Zero Global Energy

The wind turbine industry is a shell game where all three shells are empty; it is the biggest scam of the millennium and destined to fail miserably in the end. Technocrats promote initiatives that are designed to impose social control, not social benefits

The Global Wind Energy Council recently released its latest report, excitedly boasting that ‘the proliferation of wind energy into the global power market continues at a furious pace, after it was revealed that more than 54 gigawatts of clean renewable wind power was installed across the global market last year’.

You may have got the impression from announcements like that, and from the obligatory pictures of wind turbines in any BBC story or airport advert about energy, that wind power is making a big contribution to world energy today. You would be wrong. Its contribution is still, after decades — nay centuries — of development, trivial to the point of irrelevance.

Here’s a quiz; no conferring. To the nearest whole number, what percentage of the world’s energy consumption was supplied by wind power in 2014, the last year for which there are reliable figures? Was it 20 per cent, 10 per cent or 5 per cent? None of the above: it was 0 per cent. That is to say, to the nearest whole number, there is still no wind power on Earth.

Even put together, wind and photovoltaic solar are supplying less than 1 per cent of global energy demand. From the International Energy Agency’s 2016 Key Renewables Trends, we can see that wind provided 0.46 per cent of global energy consumption in 2014, and solar and tide combined provided 0.35 per cent. Remember this is total energy, not just electricity, which is less than a fifth of all final energy, the rest being the solid, gaseous, and liquid fuels that do the heavy lifting for heat, transport and industry.

Such numbers are not hard to find, but they don’t figure prominently in reports on energy derived from the unreliables lobby (solar and wind). Their trick is to hide behind the statement that close to 14 per cent of the world’s energy is renewable, with the implication that this is wind and solar. In fact the vast majority — three quarters — is biomass (mainly wood), and a very large part of that is ‘traditional biomass’; sticks and logs and dung burned by the poor in their homes to cook with. Those people need that energy, but they pay a big price in health problems caused by smoke inhalation.

Even in rich countries playing with subsidised wind and solar, a huge slug of their renewable energy comes from wood and hydro, the reliable renewables. Meanwhile, world energy demand has been growing at about 2 per cent a year for nearly 40 years. Between 2013 and 2014, again using International Energy Agency data, it grew by just under 2,000 terawatt-hours.

If wind turbines were to supply all of that growth but no more, how many would need to be built each year? The answer is nearly 350,000, since a two-megawatt turbine can produce about 0.005 terawatt-hours per annum. That’s one-and-a-half times as many as have been built in the world since governments started pouring consumer funds into this so-called industry in the early 2000s.


The Appalling Delusion of 100 Percent Renewables, Exposed

The National Academy of Science refutes Mark Jacobson’s dream that our economy can run exclusively on ‘green’ energy..                                                     
The idea that the U.S. economy can be run solely with renewable energy — a claim that leftist politicians, environmentalists, and climate activists have endlessly promoted — has always been a fool’s errand. And on Monday, the National Academy of Sciences published a blockbuster paper by an all-star group of American scientists that says exactly that.

    The paper, by Chris Clack, formerly with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Colorado Boulder, and 20 other top scientists, appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It decimates the work of Mark Jacobson, the Stanford engineering professor whose wildly exaggerated claims about the economic and technical viability of a 100 percent renewable-energy system has made him a celebrity (he appeared on David Letterman’s show in 2013) and the hero of Sierra Clubbers, Bernie Sanders, and Hollywood movie stars, including Leonardo DiCaprio

Jacobson became the darling of the green Left even though his work was based on Enron accounting, alternative facts, and technology hopium. Nevertheless, his claims were politically popular, and his academic papers routinely sailed through peer review. In 2015, Jacobson published a paper, co-written with Mark Delucchi, a research engineer at the University of California, Berkeley, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The paper, which claimed to offer “a low-cost solution to the grid reliability problem” with 100 percent renewables, went on to win the Cozzarelli Prize, an annual award handed out by the National Academy. A Stanford website said that Jacobson’s paper was one of six chosen by “the editorial board of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences from the more than 3,000 research articles published in the journal in 2015.” The fact that the National Academy would bestow such a prestigious award on such weak scholarship greatly embarrass the Academy, which gets 85 percent of its funding from the federal government.

    In their scathing takedown of Jacobson, Clack and his co-authors — who include Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution, Dan Kammen of the University of California, Berkeley, former EPA Science Advisory Board chairman Granger Morgan, and Jane Long of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory — concluded that Jacobson’s 2015 paper contained “numerous shortcomings and errors.” The paper used “invalid modeling tools, contained modeling errors, and made implausible and inadequately supported assumptions.” Those errors “render it unreliable as a guide about the likely cost, technical reliability, or feasibility of a 100 percent wind, solar, and hydroelectric power system.”

    Among the biggest errors — and one that should force the Academy to withdraw Jacobson’s 2015 paper — is that Jacobson and Delucchi overstated by roughly a factor of ten the ability of the United States to increase its hydropower output. Furthermore, the paper ignores two key issues: electricity storage and land use. Jacobson claimed that the U.S. can store energy underground or store it in the form of hydrogen. Clack and his co-authors wrote that “there are no electric storage systems available today that can affordably and dependably store the vast amounts of energy needed over weeks to reliably satisfy demand using expanded wind and solar power generation alone.”

    But the most obvious flaw in Jacobson’s scheme involves his years-long refusal to admit the massive amount of land his proposal would require; his myriad acolytes have repeated his nonsensical claims. For instance, last year, Bill McKibben, the founder of and one of America’s highest-profile climate activists, wrote an August 2016 cover story for The New Republic in which he lauded Jacobson’s work and repeated Jacobson’s erroneous claim that his all-renewable program would need only “about four-tenths of one percent of America’s landmass.”

    Clack et al. correct the record by pointing out that Jacobson’s scheme would require “nearly 500,000 square kilometers, which is roughly 6 percent of the continental United States, and more than 1,500 square meters of land for wind turbines for each American.” In other words, Clack found that Jacobson understated the amount of land needed for his all-renewable dystopia by a factor of 15. But even that understates the amount of territory needed. Jacobson’s plan requires nearly 2.5 terawatts (2.5 trillion watts) of wind-energy capacity, with the majority of that amount onshore. The Department of Energy has repeatedly stated that the footprint of wind energy, known as its capacity density, is 3 watts per square meter. And so 2.5 trillion watts divided by 3 watts per square meter equals 833 billion square meters (or 833,000 square kilometers): That’s a territory nearly twice the size of California.

    The idea of using two California-size pieces of territory — and covering them with hundreds of thousands of wind turbines — is absurd on its face. And yet, Jacobson’s 100 percent renewable scenario has become energy gospel among left-leaning politicians. For instance, in January, New York governor Andrew Cuomo touted his renewable-energy goals and declared that his state was not going to stop “until we reach 100 percent renewable because that’s what a sustainable New York is really all about.”

    In February, 54 Massachusetts lawmakers — representing more than a quarter of the members of the state legislature — signed on to a bill that would require the Bay State to get 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2050. The bill (S. 1849) says that the goal is to “ultimately eliminate our use of fossil fuels and other polluting and dangerous forms of energy.”

    In April, U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley (D., Ore.), Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), Edward J. Markey (D., Mass.), and Cory Booker (D., N.J.) introduced the 100 by ’50 Act, which calls on the United States to be completely free of fossil fuels by 2050. The bill, available here, is a laundry list of terrible ideas, including a “carbon duty” on any foreign-made goods that are made by energy-intensive industries. And as is standard with all-renewable promoters, the bill doesn’t contain a single mention of the word “nuclear” even though some of the world’s highest-profile climate scientists, including James Hansen, have said nuclear must be included in any effort to reduce our greenhouse-gas emissions. The 100 by ’50 legislation was — of course — endorsed by a who’s who of all-renewable cultists, including actor Mark Ruffalo; Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club; and May Boeve, the executive director of

    Jacobson’s response to the Clack paper (and to the ensuing Twitter storm attacking his work) would have made Captain Queeg proud. He has claimed, among other things, that his paper contains no errors; that Clack and the other authors are simply shilling for the nuclear and hydrocarbon sectors; and that the Department of Energy’s capacity data on wind energy (3 watts per square meter) is wrong and that, instead, the figure should be 9 watts per square meter.

    The late David J. C. MacKay, a physics professor at the University of Cambridge, would have been horrified. In 2008, MacKay published Sustainable Energy — wthout the Hot Air, one of the first academic books to look at the land-use impacts of renewables. MacKay, who recognized that nuclear must be part of any effort to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, also calculated that wind energy needs about 700 times more land to produce the same amount of energy as a fracking site. Three years ago, shortly before his death at age 46 from cancer, MacKay talked with British author and writer Mark Lynas about his work. During that interview, MacKay called the idea of relying solely on renewables an “appalling delusion.”

    The punch line here is clear: The Clack paper proves that it’s well past time for the green Left and their political allies to quit claiming that we don’t need hydrocarbons or nuclear energy. Alas, it appears they prefer appalling delusions about renewables to real science and simple math.


The Bank of England is enslaved by green groupthink

What happens to its projections when the taxpayers of the world tire of being milked to subsidise renewables?

James Delingpole

I find it odd that I’m so often having to write about the science of global warming, species extinction and ocean acidification because, though I’ve certainly acquired a pretty useful base knowledge over the years — superior, I’m guessing, to 97 per cent of scientists — it’s really not my main interest. What fascinates me far more is the way the faddish preoccupations of a few green cultists have somehow come to dominate our entire culture, corrupting the intellectual current, suborning institutions, crushing dissent — much as Marxist, fascist and Nazi ideologies did in the 20th century, only with rather more widespread success.

Let me give you a recent example of this: an article from the June Quarterly Bulletin of the Bank of England, titled ‘The Bank’s response to climate change’. Nothing wrong with the premise: it is indeed part of the Bank’s statutory duty to ‘identify, monitor and take action to remove or reduce risks that threaten the resilience of the UK financial system’. The problem, argues energy editor John Constable in a critique for the Global Warming Policy Foundation, is the inexcusably one-sided way in which the bank has handled it.

The report’s focus is directed almost entirely towards the risks posed by fossil fuels. So we learn lots about the droughts, floods and storms that may be caused by ‘man-made climate change’. And also — a popular campaign theme with the Guardian and Greenpeace, this one — that the world’s remaining fossil fuel reserves (coal, oil, gas, etc) may have to be left in the ground as ‘stranded assets’, unusable because of the damage that burning them will supposedly do to the planet.

But we don’t hear about the more plausible and immediate economic risks posed by renewables. The most obvious one is what will happen if taxpayers around the world tire of being milked to subsidise bird-frazzling solar arrays, bat-chomping eco-crucifixes, river-polluting anaerobic digesters, electric cars whose batteries alone create more CO2 during manufacture than a petrol car does in eight years, and suchlike, and the Potemkin industry that is renewables comes crashing to a sudden halt?

It’s not as if clever people haven’t considered this possibility. Warren Buffett once frankly admitted that the only reason for building wind farms was for the ‘tax credits’ And though it’s true that most western economies from the EU to Australia and Canada are now run by administrations broadly in favour of such green crony capitalism, the gravy train may not trundle on for ever. Look at what is now happening in the US under their new president.

I really don’t expect people who write reports for the Quarterly Bulletin of the Bank of England to share my politics. What I do expect is that people in such important positions should do their actual job. If this report was on, say, the insights of Stormzy, the comparative merits of Stilton and Roquefort, or whether the jam or the clotted cream should go first on a scone, it would, of course, be deeply annoying if they got it wrong. But it would not, I submit, be as socially, economically and politically damaging as one which will influence central bank policy in the world’s fifth largest economy.

Consider the repercussions when the Bank of England fails, as here, to do its due diligence: pension funds misallocate their investments; governments and green campaigners alike weave ‘experts at the Bank of England’ into their propaganda and policy justifications; public debate is distracted from serious issues by chimeras; businesses either misdirect their investments or simply give up the fight and jump on the band-wagon; financial journalists who should know better become unthinking mouthpieces for the climate industrial complex; City departments, from human resources to compliance and marketing, devise new ways to entrench environmental correctness into their philosophy; law firms wonder if there’s any money to be made suing firms that haven’t factored in the relevant risks.

When the Bank of England sneezes, in other words, the whole world catches a cold. (In the private sector there are heavy penalties for producing such false prospectuses. You wonder why similar rules don’t apply to our public institutions.) And the only reason we don’t get more angry about it is that most of the time we don’t know it’s going on.

I’m racking my brain to think which newspaper in these dumbed-down, brainwashed times would take a piece critiquing a Bank of England report on climate change resilience. None, obviously, because it’s too esoteric and anyway, the media doesn’t like to rock the boat — either because it subscribes to the official narrative or because it’s sick of fending off vexatious Ipso complaints from green ideologues and climate industry stooges. So the result is that false information on climate change — it would be branded ‘fake news’ if it came from the right — is freely disseminated, is largely unchallenged, and becomes widely accepted fact.

Think of this, next time you chat about climate change to someone who must know what they’re talking about because they’re a high powered financier/a City lawyer/a senior oil industry executive/an actual scientist/a university professor. Likely their opinions will not be borne of personal investigation, but rather will come from simply having taken on trust an official narrative which it would be more than their job’s worth to challenge even if they felt the urge.

This is the nature of groupthink and there’s hardly an institution in the western world which isn’t a prisoner of it. Such a pity that those few of us holding the keys to the cell doors are treated like pariahs.


‘I won’t be lectured by grumpy old white men’, says leading Australian Greenie

Racism, sexism and ageism all in one sentence.  The bigotry on the Green/Left bubbles to the surface

Greens leader Richard Di Natale defended Sarah Hanson-Young’s decision to take her daughter on a $4000 taxpayer funded whale watching excursion, but refused three times to answer whether the trip passed the “pub test”.

This morning, Senator Hanson-Young told the ABC to “cry me a river” after a high-profile presenter accused her of “reverse racism” for describing critics of her taxpayer-funded whale watching trip as “grumpy old white men”.

The South Australian senator has been dogged by controversy after The Australian on Monday revealed she and her daughter took an overnight trip to the Great Australian Bight in September to “see the whales” at a cost to taxpayers of $3874.23.

She defiantly declared yesterday she had no regrets about the trip and had no choice but to take her 11 year-old daughter, who she said was “sick” at the time.

She sparked a further backlash among voters by telling Sky News on Tuesday her critics were “grumpy old white men deciding what is best for my family”.

The senator did not breach any parliamentary travel rules.

This morning, during her weekly appearance on an ABC radio panel alongside fellow SA senators Penny Wong and Simon Birmingham, she was challenged over the racist nature of her comments by host David Bevan.

“That’s an interesting choice of words — ‘grumpy old white men’ — by her,” Bevan told listeners of Adelaide’s top-rating breakfast radio show.

“Why the language? Why are you talking about grumpy old white men?

“You wouldn’t put up with that language if somebody was talking about an old grumpy black man, would you?

“You hear this language (about white men) a lot. We heard it when we went to a conference in Sydney in the ABC where they were talking about old pale males — this is a reverse racism, it’s getting around, isn’t it?”

But a defiant Senator Hanson-Young was immediately dismissive, saying “oh, cry me a river, I mean, seriously.

“When you have got some big bloke standing up telling people how to be a mother, what’s good for my daughter, I am not going to stand there and take it, and I am going to hit back, and that’s what I did.”

Bevan responded: “And you hit back using racial terms”.

Senator Hanson-Young said, “these people who want to complain and tell me what is good for my daughter, how to look after her and what my job is as a mother and how I manage that as a senator, I am not going to take it.

“I am not going to resile from doing my job as a senator ... and hearing men like Cory Bernardi tell me how to be a mother, how to manage my family affairs.”

Labor Senator Penny Wong, who was on the ABC panel with Senator Hanson-Young, said the term “grumpy old white men” was “not the language I would use”.

“A public figure would not use that language,” Senator Wong said.

“I have made clear over many years in public life that I do not use language around race in the way you’ve just described.”

But pressed as to why she would make the “personal decision” not to use such language, Senator Wong repeatedly refused to provide an explanation, telling Bevan, “I am not getting into this”.

Senator Birmingham, who also was on the ABC radio panel, said he would not use the racially charged language chosen by Senator Hanson-Young.

“My approach is always to deal with issues before us, do it in a straight way,” he said.

“I don’t really think age or colour or gender or sex or sexuality or religion or any of those matters are really relevant points.”

Senator Hanson-Young this morning on ABC radio also appeared to change her story, claiming she wasn’t on a “whale-watching” trip, despite posting photos of herself and her daughter undertaking a whale watching tour and telling The Australian on Sunday that the “whole point” of the trip was “see the whales”.

The senator, who wants a ban on oil and gas exploration in the Bight, said she had a range of meetings with stakeholders over two days.

“I did see the whales at the head of the Bight, invited on there by the local indigenous people, they were lobbying me for money to build a new eco-tourism hub ... there was no whale watching holiday,” she said.




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


5 July, 2017

There's no such thing as a happy Greenie

Give them an inch and they take a mile

Catholic Church is going green, but not fast enough for some. The Archdiocese of Boston’s headquarters — a brick building in a desert of parking lots and busy roads in Braintree — is about to become a green energy oasis.

Before the end of the year, a canopy of solar panels is set to be installed over the asphalt parking lot, with the capacity to generate a megawatt of electricity. That’s enough to offset 900 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually — approximately the amount that 37,500 trees absorb each year, by the estimation of one environmental group. The solar field, which will reduce the building’s energy costs an estimated 50 to 70 percent, is designed as a pilot that can be replicated in parishes across the archdiocese.

The inspiration is as much spiritual as financial: The project is the most ambitious example of the archdiocese’s response to Pope Francis’ call to action on climate change two years ago in his letter to the worldwide church, “Laudato Si” (Praise Be). Other efforts are bubbling up as well: In Boston, some parishes have set up “Creation Care” teams that are focused on recycling, making churches more fuel-efficient, and educating parishioners on reducing fossil fuel consumption. The archdiocese is helping parishes install LED lights and energy-efficient appliances, and it has mostly divested from the fossil fuel industry. Catholic schools in Boston have woven environmentalism into their curriculum.

Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, the archbishop of Boston, underscored the importance of the encyclical by scheduling a lengthy briefing for priests shortly after its publication, said John Straub, chancellor of the archdiocese.

But some environmentalists say the church in Boston and around the country needs a more organized and urgent response to a grave global crisis that speaks directly to the church’s core teachings on the value of life.

“The bishops have to come to terms with this as a right-to-life issue,” said Patrick Carolan, executive director of the Franciscan Action Network, a social justice organization and an organizer of the People’s Climate March in Washington, D.C., in April. “It should be up there as a priority with abortion.”

The bishops should be challenging members of Congress who are climate-change deniers, dispatching busloads of Catholic schoolchildren to climate-change demonstrations, and issuing demands for action from the pulpit, Carolan said.

“If the bishops said, ‘This is a top issue for us, you can’t claim to be right-to-life if you’re wrong on this issue,’ then I think it would have an impact,” he said.

Tomás Insua, a research fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and the founding global coordinator of the Global Catholic Climate Movement, a coalition of 400 Catholic organizations, said the American bishops have made progress but need to do more, faster.

“This is a two millennium-old institution — it’s naturally slow,” Insua said. But the time to prevent the worst damage is running short, he said. “We don’t have time to let it sink in, in a few decades.”

Bishops and priests, he said, should start by making all the buildings of the Catholic Church more energy-efficient. And they should talk constantly about the issue, urging Catholics to transform their personal habits and advocate for change.

Bradley Campbell, president of the Conservation Law Foundation, a leading New England environmental advocacy organization, said local Catholic leaders are not visible enough in climate-change policy debates.

“There are regular opportunities for them to weigh in — at climate hearings, community events, legislative hearings,” he said. “In a very Catholic political culture, that could have an enormous amount of impact. But that voice isn’t present.”

But church officials say they are working on multiple fronts to respond to the pope’s call.

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops says it has made teaching and advocating about ecology and environmental degradation an explicit priority, working with a partner organization, the Catholic Climate Covenant.

The conference has developed educational resources for clergy and laity; in 2016, its “‘Laudato Si’ in the Parish” program reached 300 priests and deacons in six dioceses, according to Ricardo Simmonds, an environmental policy adviser to the bishops. Prelates across the country, including O’Malley, have issued statements on climate change policy.

Some dioceses have launched ambitious programs. In Burlington, Vt., Bishop Christopher Coyne, a former Boston church official, has designated a “Year of Creation,” featuring events about ecological justice. In March, for example, Coyne led a series of Scripture readings and reflections focused on environmental stewardship, followed by a soup supper where participants learned about how fasting from meat can benefit the environment and the poor. The Archdiocese of Atlanta, in collaboration with scientists from the University of Georgia, rolled out a Laudato Si action plan designed to help parishes and parishioners cut fossil fuel consumption.

Committed activists from around the Archdiocese of Boston are trying, too.

Fran Ludwig, an organizer of the Boston chapter of the Global Catholic Climate Movement, said her group hopes to adapt the Atlanta plan for the Boston archdiocese and has drawn representatives from about 30 of Boston’s 289 parishes to its “Greening Your Parish” workshops.

Her own parish, Sacred Heart and St. Brigid in Lexington, held a prayer walk and Green Mass on Earth Day this year; their pastor, Monsignor Paul Garrity, devoted a special homily to the themes of Laudato Si.

Laypeople should be leading the movement, Ludwig said, but support from priests is key. And though her own pastor has been supportive, others lack the capacity to devote to the issue because they are pressed for time and working at multiple parishes.

“A lot of them are so fixed on the nuts and bolts of trying to bring these parishes together,” Ludwig said.

At the Paulist Center, a Catholic community run by the Paulist Fathers in downtown Boston, a small “Care of our Common Home” ministry encouraged parishioners to carpool to Mass for Laudato Si’s first anniversary and is making arrangements to buy solar energy, said Trudy Macdonald, a parishioner who said Laudato Si motivated her to join her community’s recycling committee and work to pass a local plastic bag ban.

But she said the archdiocese should take a stronger stand.

“I would tell every parish it is their moral obligation to do an energy audit and make their buildings more efficient,” she said. “That would be an example for parishioners to do their own homes.”

But church officials say O’Malley prefers to steer away from top-down, heavy-handed approaches. Terrence Donilon, spokesman for the Boston Archdiocese, said parishes are working as quickly as possible, given the challenge of stretched resources.

“When we retrofit, change boilers, upgrade electrical, that’s a huge capital outlay,” said Donilon. “It’s going to take some time. Each parish and school is doing what they can.”

He also pointed to parishes such as Holy Family in Concord, which hosted four educational programs this spring exploring the themes of Laudato Si and is hoping to integrate the encyclical into its religious education program.

But Jack Clarke, director of public policy and government relations for Mass Audubon, said the archdiocese could move more quickly and effectively if O’Malley appointed someone whose sole job was putting Laudato Si into action.

“Unless there are people appointed to implement the message and work with government, it’s inspirational words on paper,” he said.

Clarke served a decade on the Parish Council at Holy Family Parish in Gloucester and Rockport, and is now a eucharistic minister and acolyte. He said the parish and pastor have had their hands full since finding massive leaks in the bell tower of 125-year-old St. Ann Church in Gloucester; the church, it discovered, was slowly falling apart and would require $1 million in repairs to save it.

The pastor, meanwhile, is overseeing two parishes that encompass three churches and a chapel.

No one, Clarke said, has yet found the time to establish a Creation Care committee.

“Our intention is there,” he said, “but the challenge is great.”


Forget Paris: 1600 New Coal Power Plants Built Around The World

1,600 new coal-fired power plants are planned or under construction in 62 countries.

When China halted plans for more than 100 new coal-fired power plants this year, even as President Trump vowed to “bring back coal” in America, the contrast seemed to confirm Beijing’s new role as a leader in the fight against climate change.

But new data on the world’s biggest developers of coal-fired power plants paints a very different picture: China’s energy companies will make up nearly half of the new coal generation expected to go online in the next decade.

These Chinese corporations are building or planning to build more than 700 new coal plants at home and around the world, some in countries that today burn little or no coal, according to tallies compiled by Urgewald, an environmental group based in Berlin. Many of the plants are in China, but by capacity, roughly a fifth of these new coal power stations are in other countries.

Over all, 1,600 coal plants are planned or under construction in 62 countries, according to Urgewald’s tally, which uses data from the Global Coal Plant Tracker portal. The new plants would expand the world’s coal-fired power capacity by 43 percent.

The fleet of new coal plants would make it virtually impossible to meet the goals set in the Paris climate accord, which aims to keep the increase in global temperatures from preindustrial levels below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

Electricity generated from fossil fuels like coal is the biggest single contributor globally to the rise in carbon emissions, which scientists agree is causing the Earth’s temperatures to rise.

“Even today, new countries are being brought into the cycle of coal dependency,” said Heffa Schücking, the director of Urgewald.

The United States may also be back in the game. On Thursday, Mr. Trump said he wanted to lift Obama-era restrictions on American financing for overseas coal projects as part of an energy policy focused on exports.

“We have nearly 100 years’ worth of natural gas and more than 250 years’ worth of clean, beautiful coal,” he said. “We will be dominant. We will export American energy all over the world, all around the globe.”


Serious quality problems in the surface temperature data sets

When people talk about the widely reported global surface temperature record, it is worth recalling Ross McKittrick’s damning assessment of it in 2010, “A Critical Review of Global Surface Temperature Data Products”.


There are three main global temperature histories: the combined CRU-Hadley record (HADCRU), the NASA-GISS (GISTEMP) record, and the NOAA record. All three global averages depend on the same underlying land data archive, the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN). Because of this reliance on GHCN, its quality deficiencies will constrain the quality of all derived products.

The number of weather stations providing data to GHCN plunged in 1990 and again in 2005. The sample size has fallen by over 75% from its peak in the early 1970s, and is now smaller than at any time since 1919. The collapse in sample size has increased the relative fraction of data coming from airports to about 50 percent (up from about 30 percent in the 1970s). It has also reduced the average latitude of source data and removed relatively more high-altitude monitoring sites.

Oceanic data are based on sea surface temperature (SST) rather than marine air temperature (MAT). All three global products rely on SST series derived from the ICOADS archive. ICOADS observations were primarily obtained from ships that voluntarily monitored SST. Prior to the post-war era, coverage of the southern oceans and polar regions was very thin. Coverage has improved partly due to deployment of buoys, as well as use of satellites to support extrapolation. Ship-based readings changed over the 20th century from bucket-and-thermometer to engine-intake methods, leading to a warm bias as the new readings displaced the old.

Until recently it was assumed that bucket methods disappeared after 1941, but this is now believed not to be the case, which may necessitate a major revision to the 20th century ocean record. There is evidence that SST trends overstate nearby MAT trends.

The quality of data over land, namely the raw temperature data in GHCN, depends on the validity of adjustments for known problems due to urbanization and land-use change. The adequacy of these adjustments has been tested in three different ways, with two of the three finding evidence that they do not suffice to remove warming biases.

The overall conclusion of this report is that there are serious quality problems in the surface temperature data sets that call into question whether the global temperature history, especially over land, can be considered both continuous and precise. Users should be aware of these limitations, especially in policy-sensitive applications.

Add into the mix the fact that there is little or no data for vast swathes of the world.

And it is clear that the whole thing needs to be taken with a large dose of salt.


New proposals would kill solar and wind in the European Union

Before we get started today, we will need to understand two terms (feel free to skip this paragraph if you already know them). Priority dispatch for renewables simply means that the grid must take up power from wind, solar, and biomass (along with hydro, geothermal, and anything else you give priority to) even if sources with no priority (such as coal, gas, and nuclear) have to be curtailed. Curtailment is when power has been generated already or can be generated, but the grid cannot take it up, so it is thrown away. For more terms, see our Glossary.

In late May, the Environmental and Energy Law Foundation of Würzburg – simply called the “Würzburger” in German – produced a review (PDF in German, but with an English abstract on pp. 7-9) of the Commission’s Winter Package for “clean energy,” which had the following main items in this context:

Renewable systems larger than 500 kW (and 250 kW or smaller, depending on how much is built, after 2025) would be curtailed first; conventional systems, later.

The renewable generators would be compensation for 90% of loss revenue nonetheless.

The Würzburger say that “priority grid access” (a term I have often used as synonymous with “priority dispatch”) for renewables could remain unchanged, meaning that a grid connection would need to be provided. The loss of priority “dispatch” means that the power would no longer have to be paid for, however – and since that’s where the money is made, the economic incentive for wind and solar would be gone. That’s where the 90% payment is crucial; foregone revenue would be limited to 10% when power is curtailed.

Furthermore, the Commission would still curtail conventional power first, cogeneration second, and renewables last, as the Würzburger point out: “one can hardly argue that the priority dispatch is abolished by the Commission’s suggestion as {is} often worried.”

In contrast, recent proposals from the CEER and ACER are worrisome. In its White Paper on Clean Energy from January, the Council of European Energy Regulators (CEER) “welcomed the European Commission’s proposals to remove priority dispatch.” But the CEER would expose all generators to the “real-time value of energy.” In mid-May, the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) issued a joint press release with the CEER arguing the same – and adding that compensation for curtailed renewable power should be done away with as well.

You might as well say you don’t want wind or solar

The problem, as the experts certainly know, is twofold. First, wind and solar react to the weather, not to prices. From the grid operator’s perspective, this situation is undesirable: they want generators that produce more power when needed and less when not. Solar and wind cannot be switched on.

Second, solar and wind cannibalize themselves. When the wind blows and the sun shines, more power is generated, so power prices on spot markets go down. If no payment is ensured for curtailment, it doesn’t matter how cheap solar and wind get; they price themselves out of the market. In other words, if you want wind and solar, you want guaranteed payments for them. Calls for them to make do with spot prices (and, eventually, forgo curtailment payments) are tantamount to saying, let’s just not have wind and solar, shall we?

The Commission’s use of the term “clean energy” is dangerous. That could be anything: renewables, nuclear, coal with CCS, gas. If the climate is the only issue, nothing speaks against all these sources. Surprisingly, in this complex world, our best minds often reduce everything to one issue, if not one number (GDP, ppm of CO2, etc.). The only complication that CEER and ACER allow for other than cost is that wind and solar are not dispatchable, so let’s do nuclear, gas, and coal with CCS. Nothing else matters.

According to the Würzburger, the regulation proposed in the Winter Package – unlike a directive – would become law immediately; it would not need to be ratified by members states first. The Commission will take account of comments, including those from ACER and CEER, in moving from its Winter Package to the upcoming Clean Energy Package 2020-2030, expected in 2018.


How Earth's growing tropical zone may lead to more droughts and hotter heatwaves on Australia's east coast

This is simply a grab at publicity.  The tropics are defined by the limits of the sun being overhead so the tropics cannot change. The underlying finding is that there is drying on both sides of the tropics. But drying is an effect of cooling.  Warming would produce MORE rain, not less.  So the phenomenon does not indicate global warming.  It in fact contradicts it

A leading academic A leading academic [An adjunct profesor is "leading"?] says the Earth's growing tropical zone may lead to more droughts and hotter heatwaves in Australia. says the Earth's growing tropical zone may lead to more droughts and hotter heatwaves in Australia.

CQUniversity's Adjunct Professor of Environmental Geography Steve Turton said temperatures could reach more than 40C in Sydney and Melbourne during heatwaves and last for two weeks, The Daily Telegraph reported.  

With the area between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn currently 'bulging' and heading poleward, Adjunct Prof Turton said this will have an impact on the nation.

The planet's waistline has been growing since 1979 and it is likely to continue thanks to human activity, Adjunct Prof wrote in a piece for The Conversation.

'If the current rate continues, by 2100 the edge of the new dry subtropical zone would extend from roughly Sydney to Perth,' he said.

'As these dry subtropical zones shift, droughts will worsen and overall less rain will fall in most warm temperate regions.'

Adjunct Prof Turton said the geographical location of Australia placed the nation at high risk of an expanded tropical zone. 

He added: 'Future climate change projections for Australia include increasing air and ocean temperatures, rising sea levels, more hot days (over 35C), declining rainfall in the southern continental areas, and more extreme fire weather events'.

Adjunct Prof Turton said biodiversity hotspots in Australia could also feel the effects of the tropical zone expansion as there were 'no suitable land areas (only oceans) for ecosystems and species to move into'.



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   main.html 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


4 July, 2017

A crude straight line pushed through the data may have its uses but it can also mask important changes

Below is such a graph

But the graph below shows that a straight line misses a lot of detail

The second graph, for instance shows rather clearly the big global warming hiatus of 1945 to 1975.

Warmists however usually ignore all those "bumps" in the second graph and speak as if the straight line was all that happened.

But even in the period covered by the first graph there is something that makes that graph largely invalid as a representation of recent temperature changes.

There are two researchers (Lindzen and McKitrick) who at different times used radiosonde (balloon) temperature data, which goes back to 1965, well before the satellite data that Carl Mears has just "adjusted".  Note that the UAH version of the satellite temperature rise closely parallels the radiosonde data.  The Mears adjusted satellite record does not.  So the UAH satellite data and the radiosonde data validate one another. (John 8:17)  The radiosonde data is therefore strong data that must be accounted for.

And the researchers concerned (Lindzen and McKitrick) initially found that the radiosonde data gave a graph akin to the first one above, a steadily rising line.  But when they looked more closely at their data they found something interesting. 

There was not a smooth temperature rise at all. The data divided into two essentially horizontal lines separated from one another by a step change in 1976/1977.  Temperatures rose abruptly in 1976 by about .25C for no obvious reason -- and then flattened out again.  That is of course totally inconsistent from the pattern of steady temperature rise that should have happened according to global warming theory.  Carl Mears would no doubt be able to "adjust" that out of existence but the unadjusted data is surely what interests us.

The first such paper was from Richard Lindzen in 2002.  Abstract below:

Reconciling observations of global temperature change

Richard S. Lindzen and Constantine Giannitsis


It is suggested that the much publicized discrepancy between observed surface global mean temperature and global mean atmospheric temperature from 1979 to the present may be due to the fact that the atmosphere underwent a jump in temperature in 1976 (before the satellite temperature series began), and that the surface response was delayed for about a decade due to the ocean heat capacity. The ocean delay depends on both climate sensitivity and vertical heat transport within the ocean. It is shown that the observed delay is best simulated when sensitivity to doubling of CO2 is less than about 1C.


The second paper is from 2014 and is from Ross McKitrick.

HAC robust trend comparisons among climate series with possible level shifts

Ross R. McKitrick & Timothy J. Vogelsang


Comparisons of trends across climatic data sets are complicated by the presence of serial correlation and possible step-changes in the mean. We build on heteroskedasticity and autocorrelation robust methods, specifically the Vogelsang–Franses (VF) nonparametric testing approach, to allow for a step-change in the mean (level shift) at a known or unknown date. The VF method provides a powerful multivariate trend estimator robust to unknown serial correlation up to but not including unit roots. We show that the critical values change when the level shift occurs at a known or unknown date. We derive an asymptotic approximation that can be used to simulate critical values, and we outline a simple bootstrap procedure that generates valid critical values and p-values. Our application builds on the literature comparing simulated and observed trends in the tropical lower troposphere and mid-troposphere since 1958. The method identifies a shift in observations around 1977, coinciding with the Pacific Climate Shift. Allowing for a level shift causes apparently significant observed trends to become statistically insignificant. Model overestimation of warming is significant whether or not we account for a level shift, although null rejections are much stronger when the level shift is included


So the steady rise beloved of the Warmists is just a poorly informed first approximation that vanishes on closer inspection.

The Ministry Of Climate Truth - Erasing The Satellite Data

Tony Heller

Two years ago I predicted that the climate mafia would force Carl Mears at RSS to corrupt his satellite data. It has happened exactly as I predicted.

Solar Panels Generate 300 Times More Toxic Waste Than Nuclear Reactors

Solar panels create 300 times more toxic waste per unit of electricity generated than nuclear power plants, according to a Thursday report from the pro-nuclear group Environmental Progress (EP).

The report found that solar panels use heavy metals, including lead, chromium and cadmium, which can harm the environment. The hazards of nuclear waste are well known and can be planned for, but very little has been done to mitigate solar waste issues.

“The problem with waste from solar is that it isn’t handled as well as nuclear waste,” Dr. Jeff Terry, a professor of nuclear physics involved in energy research at the Illinois Institute of Technology, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “There are two types of waste from solar. Waste from the manufacturing scene and waste from the solar panel after it has gone through its useful life. There are materials in those that if they leached out, it wouldn’t be good.”

Terry said that waste from solar panels will quickly become a far bigger problem than nuclear waste, because power grids need dramatically more solar panels to generate the same amount of electricity as a nuclear reactor.

“The magnitude of the waste problem from solar is a lot larger than nuclear just because of energy density,” Terry said. “Per pound of waste generated, you get so much more power from nuclear. You need a lot more material to generate from solar and wind than you do from nuclear.”

Another expert worries that scientists and engineers have considerably more experience dealing with radioactive waste from nuclear reactors, but very little experience dealing with solar waste.

“All forms of energy create byproduct waste materials from their initial construction, operation, and eventual disposal,” Lake Barrett, former deputy director of the Department of Energy’s Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, told TheDCNF. “Society has over 50 years of exhaustive scientific experience with safely managing and technical disposal of nuclear waste, but very little knowledge of renewable energy waste management and disposal.”

Terry said that solar panels use hazardous materials like sulfuric acid and toxic phosphine gas in their manufacturing. Recycling these materials is extremely difficult and the panels have relatively short operational lifespans.

“The chemical processing involved in manufacturing solar panels is significant,” Terry said. “Right now, we’re just offshoring it and placing the waste problem onto other people.”

Solar panels can’t be stored in a landfill easily without potentially contaminating the area and breaking the panels down for recycling is an extremely labor-intensive and unprofitable process.

“If you just throw a solar panel in a landfill, it’ll break down and cause issues,” Terry said. “People just aren’t dealing with solar waste yet and nobody has a real plan on what to do with these panels after they start coming off of houses. With nuclear, they entirely plan out how to use the waste and it is factored in.”

Solar panels are enormously difficult to dispose of or recycle. Japan is already scrambling for ways to reuse its mounting inventory of solar panel waste, which is expected to exceed 10,000 tons by 2020 and eventually grow to 800,000 tons per year by 2040. Additionally, most governments that heavily support solar power don’t require manufacturers to collect and dispose of solar waste.

Barrett also pointed out that nuclear waste with the greatest radiation hazard decays fairly quickly, while solar panel waste can remain in the environment for a much longer period of time.

“Nuclear wastes are radioactive and radioactivity is often scary to those who do not understand it,” Barrett said. “With time, nuclear wastes naturally decay away to benign levels in a few hundred or few thousand years. Heavy metal wastes, as often found in renewable energy wastes, never decay away and can remain toxic in the environment forever.”

In comparison, nuclear waste can often be reused, either as fuel for nuclear reactors or in medicine.

“Most of nuclear waste isn’t real waste as it can be reprocessed into reactor fuel,” Terry said. “The U.S. has actually demonstrated that before with the EBR-2 reactor. You’re never going to recover 100 percent of the uranium or plutonium, but you can get back a tremendous amount. Fission products are also useful for other things like radio-pharmaceuticals.”

There are currently 1.4 million solar energy installations in the U.S., many of which are nearing the end of their 25-year-long lifespans. Governments haven’t done nearly as much to handle solar waste as nuclear waste.

“Nuclear waste is the most regulated waste in the history of mankind,” Barrett said. “Very detailed USNRC [U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission] and USEPA [U.S. Environmental Protection Agency] regulations and standards have been developed requiring very stringent limits to protect public health and safety and the environment out to one million years in the future. No other waste form has such protective requirements.”

Some research indicates that solar panels aren’t even an effective way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which is the entire justification to promote the technology.

The net impact of solar panels actually temporarily increased carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, due to how much energy is used in their construction, a study published in December 2016 concluded. The solar industry has been “a temporary net emitter of greenhouse gas emissions,” and more modern solar panels have a smaller adverse environmental impact than older models. Scientists estimated that by 2018 at the latest, the solar industry as a whole could have a net positive environmental impact.

Federal data suggests that building solar panels significantly increases emissions of the potent greenhouse gas nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), which is 17,200 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas over a 100 year time period. NF3 emissions have increased by 1,057 percent over the last 25 years. In comparison, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions only rose by about 5 percent during the same time period.


When I ride the T, I miss my auto-nomy

by Jeff Jacoby

AS INDEPENDENCE DAY approaches this year, there is less independence in my days.

With the Boston Globe's move to new offices downtown, I no longer have the option of driving to work and parking on-site. Since the fee for downtown parking garages is too steep for my budget, I now do something every day that I haven't done since I was a Boston University graduate student: I commute by public transit.

As commutes go, mine (so far) isn't bad: Most days I spend between 20 and 30 minutes on the MBTA Green Line, and both home and office are only five minutes' walk from a convenient subway stop.

But the relative convenience of even a short public-transit commute is no compensation for the loss of autonomy it entails. When I would drive myself to work (or anywhere else), there were certainly costs involved: traffic jams, bad roads, jaywalking pedestrians, occasional highway tolls or hunts for a parking space. Those are undeniable disadvantages, part of the price of driving a car.

But they pale next to the benefits. When you drive, you have auto-mobility. You travel where you choose, by the route you choose, with the company you choose, and at the time you choose. You can take your time and meander, or put pedal to the metal. You can surround yourself with silence, or listen to talk radio, or blast "Born to Run" from your car speakers. You can go shopping in the rain and come home with 12 bags of groceries. You can be a designated driver in the wee hours of the night. You can get your kicks on Route 66.

Reflections on independence and individualism aren't usually on our minds when we get in the cars and drive. But that doesn't change the fact that car-ownership and freedom go hand-in-hand. The values we most esteem as Americans are embodied in our car culture. It isn't by chance that so many American songs exult in the delights of owning, cruising, or fooling around in cars. How many anthems have been penned about the happy experience of traveling with other straphangers in a government-operated conveyance over which no passengers have any control? True, the Kingston Trio recorded "Charlie on the MTA." But look what happened to Charlie. Did he ever return? No, he never returned.

"Because we have cars to drive we can, more than any other people in history, choose where we will live [and] where we will work, and separate these two choices from each other," wrote the American philosopher Loren Lomasky in a notable 1997 essay. "We are more able to avail ourselves of near and distant pleasures and to do so at a schedule tailored to individual preference. We are less constrained . . . by accidents of geography. . . . The automobile is, arguably, rivaled only by the printing press (and perhaps within a few more years by the microchip) as an autonomy-enhancing contrivance of technology."

Nothing is more wearying than a lecture from a disdainful environmentalist or self-righteous collectivist about the shameful waste of cars and solo driving. Al Gore long ago proclaimed that our "hundreds of millions of automobiles" pose "a mortal threat . . . more deadly than that of any military enemy." Americans have for the most part ignored such chiding. Even now, 91 percent of all US households have a car. A solid majority, 57 percent, have two or more cars.

Those numbers would doubtless be even higher if public transportation weren't so heavily subsidized. Contrary to the popular misimpression that drivers benefit from rampant government underwriting, nearly all public spending on roads and highways is paid for, directly or indirectly, by drivers themselves. (When "American driver" is practically a synonym for "American taxpayer," it could hardly be otherwise.) The Cato Institute's Randal O'Toole, citing data from the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics, points out that — taking into account both user costs and subsidies — "public transportation costs nearly four times as much per passenger-mile as driving, while Amtrak costs well over twice as much."

The festival of American independence is a good moment to give thanks for the immense changes wrought in our society by mass car ownership. Starting with cleanliness: At the turn of the 20th century, when people mostly relied on horses to get around, American cities were vast equine cesspools. "In New York City alone," the historian David Kyvig wrote in his history of the years between the world wars, "15,000 horses dropped dead on the streets, while those that lived deposited 2.5 million pounds of manure and 60,000 gallons of urine on the streets every day."

Automobiles made Americans far freer and wealthier than they would have been without them. They brought knowledge, experience, and natural beauty within reach of innumerable men and women of modest means. They ended the desperate isolation and loneliness of rural life, gave rise to the consumer paradise of modern retailing, and made it possible for upward strivers to escape tenement life and own a home of their own in the suburbs.

One last word before this Fourth of July, courtesy of a splendid 2010 Dodge Challenger commercial: "There's a couple of things America got right: cars and freedom."


Australia: "Clean-coal" cheaper option than renewables

It's a reasonable point that burning the coal more efficiently will reduce emissions of all sorts but that small gain in efficiency comes at a considerable cost

The construction of a new high-efficiency, low emissions (HELE) coal-fired power station, being considered by the Turnbull government, would cost $2.2 billion — considerably less than the $3bn of subsidies handed out to renewable projects each year, a new technical study shows.

With Australians facing further hikes in their electricity and gas bills following moves by ­energy companies over the weekend to increase bills by up to 20 per cent, Malcolm Turnbull is under pressure to deliver relief for households, small businesses and manufacturers.

New analysis, compiled by power and energy sector specialists GHD and Solstice Development Services, reveals it would cost $2.2bn to build a 1000MW ultra-supercritical (USC) coal-power plant and that it would ­deliver the cheapest electricity on the market.

The HELE coal plant, which the Turnbull government has not ruled out funding, would produce electricity at $40-$78 per megawatt hour, compared with gas at $69-$115/MWh and solar at $90-$171.

The 550-page technical study, commissioned by the Minerals Council of Australia and the COAL21 Fund, reveals that clean-coal plants would drive down energy­ prices, and offers the Prime Minister an economic blueprint on the viability of new coal-fired ­stations.

It comes just four months after it was revealed taxpayer subsidies to meet state and federal renewable energy ­targets reached $3bn in the 2015-16 financial year, with about 75 per cent of the cost being collected from consumers paying extra in their electricity bills.

The overall cost of subsidising ­renewable energy generation has nearly doubled since 2011, and the RET continues to be a political headache for the Turnbull government.

It is sticking to the 23.5 per cent target by 2020, despite calls by former prime minister Tony Abbott­, who was ­involved in ­establishing the RET, to freeze it at the current rate of 15 per cent — a move he says would dramatically lower power bills.

COAL21 chief executive Greg Evans, who is also an executive ­director of the Minerals Council, said the report showed that HELE coal plants, which would have “operating lives of several decades­”, were viable and affordable options to replace the ­nation’s ageing coal-fired power stations. “The report confirms that USC coal generation can deliver­ on the priorities of affordability, reliability and low emissions,” he said, adding that coal-fired generation remained the “cheapest and most reliable energy­ source in Australia, available 24 hours a day, every day”.

Mr Evans, whose COAL21 Fund has invested $300 million in low-emission coal technologies since 2006, said the report estim­ated the current construction cost of a modern HELE plant, or USC black-coal station, at $2.2m/MW, or $2.2bn for 1000MW capacity. “It (the report) notes electricity prices paid by manufacturers have doubled in the past decade and that USC coal is able to lower the cost of generation across the Nationa­l Electricity Market, given current wholesale electricity ­prices.”

The report stipulates that cost comparisons assume that the power plant’s revenue be “underwritten” in the form of a long-term government agreement covering the purchase of the output or ­capacity of the plant.

Industry chiefs and Coalition MPs concerned about the retirement of coal plants in NSW and Victoria have identified opportunities for new investment in coal plants, using low-emissions technology including viable carbon capture and storage options.

With up to 1200 HELE plants being planned or built in Asia, and similar technology anchoring electricity production in Japan and Germany, senior government MPs, including Mr Abbott, have backed investment in coal-fired energy. Mr Turnbull said last month his government remained open to using cleaner-coal technol­ogy to replace existing generators, in what he said would be a “long-term commitment”.

The Turnbull government has asked the Australian Energy Market Operator for advice on how to best ensure “new continuous dispatchable power is provided”.

Resources and Northern Australia Minister Matt Canavan has said cleaner coal-fired power station­s could potentially save up to 30 per cent in carbon emissions, as well as additional savings on ­operational costs. He has predicted the construction of a new coal-fired power plant would take “about three years”.

“They do cost a little bit more to build, but overall they come out at the same cost or cheaper than the older coal-fired power stations that we have right now,” he said.

He said investors in Asia and Australia were interested in selling cleaner-coal technology and some were open to the idea of “owning a station here”.

The government has adopted 49 of the 50 recommendations made in a review led by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, aimed at deliveri­ng a blueprint for the future­ of the electricity market.

The Finkel report, which did not rule out new coal-fired power plants as being part of the nation’s energy mix, analysed how the government could work to secure energy supply, drive down prices and cut emissions. Dr Finkel’s final recommendation for a Clean Energy Target is expected to return to cabinet over the winter break, and to the partyroom, where conservative MPs have argued­ against new emissions regimes­.

In its analysis, GHD and Solstice Development Services provides details of how construction costs for a new HELE plant could be driven down by building it at “an existing power plant location”.

Mr Evans said the report showed such coal plants should “figure prominently in our electricity system, complementing and supporting other technol­ogies including renewables”.

“The report authors reviewed and costed different technology options that are capable of replacing retiring capacity. These were considered on their merit using a range of sources cross checked against published studies and their respective assumptions.”

The Minerals Council of Australia says the nation faces an energ­y shortfall, with 8GW of coal plants to retire by 2030, and a total of 25GW by 2040, and that if all existing plants in Australia were upgraded to modern HELE technology, it would reduce emissions by 45 million tonnes a year.

“It (the report) concludes that the imminent retirement of coal plants in NSW and Victoria provides opportunities for constructing and replacing them with USC plants by the early 2020s. Addit­ional capacity may also be required in Queensland,” 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   main.html or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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


3 July, 2017

Media lies about "extreme weather"

If you happened to read or hear the German and international headlines from just over a week ago, you’d think the million-population port city of Hamburg, Germany, had been hit by a devastating tornado on June 22, leaving a path of destruction in its wake.

What follows is a great example of how the media will run with anything, without checking, as long as it fits their climate and extreme weather narrative. The German media over the years have been tending to hype up every weather anomaly — to get the message into people’s heads that climate change is real and is happening.

The following story is almost unbelievable. A local gust of wind toppling over a few trees somehow managed to morph within the media into a headline-making super-tornado that supposedly ripped through a large city. Fake news at its best.

On June 22 a cold front swept across Hamburg, Germany, accompanied by severe weather, so “severe” that hundreds of media outlets, domestic and foreign, reported it has headline news.

Skeptical, Spiegel science journalist Axel Bojanowski decided to investigate to see what really happened, and subsequently reported here the result. It turns out it was 99% fake news. Bojanowski wrote:

"Residents spoke of heavy damage, the media reported. However the body of evidence is thin. […] the search for evidence has proven to be difficult.”

It turns out that the “tornado” that supposedly hit Hamburg in broad daylight, a city of some 1 million residents, so far has found only one single (dubious) witness. Yet, it was all the media needed to unleash sensational headlines globally: “A tornado rips through the city of Hamburg“.

DWD sets off confusion

According to Bojanowski “the storm of confusion” over the “tornado” was started around lunch time by the German DWD national weather service, which tweeted: “Tornado over Hamburg! About 10 km SSW from the city center. Lasted about 5 min.”

This in turn was followed by the German DPA press agency (Germany’s version of the AP) releasing at 2:34 pm: “Tornado leaves devastation in its wake south of Hamburg.” Here the German DPA relied on a sole eyewitness report from firefighter Stefanie Engelke, who reported witnessing up close a powerful gust of wind uprooting some trees that toppled onto a building, causing damage to its roof.

Shortly thereafter, however, the Hamburg Fire Department disputed that a “tornado” had ever occurred, tweeting later it had “no knowledge over any tornado“. Yet the DPA stuck to its story, Bojanowski writes. And the DWD weather service also reiterated having witnessed a tornado.

Wind gust morphs into “devastating tornado”

But then veteran high-profile meteorologist Jörg Kachelmann tweeted his doubts about the “tornado eye-witness fire fighter” which the DPA relied on for its report of “devastation”. Kachelmann tweeted:

Clueless fireman, who saw no tornado but damage like you see on TV, yet suffices for a total fabrication @dpa.

But it was already too late. By then that powerful wind gust, which had uprooted some trees, quickly managed to morph into a full fledged super tornado in the media, and got reported internationally. The World News Media here tweeted:

"Tornado tears through #Hamburg following extreme heat wave".

By Thursday evening, the DWD backed off its original “5-minute tornado” account, tweeting that it had witnessed the “tornado” near the middle of the city instead. Later at Facebook the DWD even released a photo of the “tornado” it had “seen”:

DWD tweet in English:

As reported earlier today, the DWD colleagues of the Aviation Advisory Center North at the Hamburg airport saw a very short-lived tornado about 10 km ssw of the airport at 11:37 a.m. It had ground contact less than 5 minutes  (visible by the rotating dust cloud beneath the funnel cloud). Magnitude estimated at F0, and indeed did not cause any damage.”

That hardly looks like a tornado in the photo. And so not surprisingly even that DWD account got disputed later by a witness. At Twitter Hamburg resident Kerrag posted a 1:55 minute video showing no ground contact at all!

That’s the story of how the Hamburg “tornado”, which was merely a gust of wind, wound up making international headlines as a “devastating” tornado that had flattened part of a major European city.


US funding dubious science and unfounded fear

Eco-militants that defiled scientific integrity in government agencies defy corrections

Ron Arnold      

Donald Trump’s EPA is facing a tsunami of vitriol for trying to drain the DC swamp of rogue regulators that rule with made-to-order scientific lies and invented threats, such as its ruling that the carbon dioxide which makes life on Earth possible is a pollutant. When President Trump proposed a $1.6 billion cut from EPA’s expected $8.1 billion budget, employee screams of doomsday intimidated Congress into forking over the full gimme-gimme. In response to the specter of lost jobs and less political power, entrenched Obama holdovers have organized to sabotage Trump’s reforms in what is being called the Deep State.

Fear is palpable throughout the EPA, where secret email accounts revealed serious abuses of power, where bureaucrats dictatorially took over virtually anything wet as “Waters of the United States,” including agricultural irrigation ditches and stock watering ponds (Trump revoked that rule), and where policies that destroyed the homes and lives of thousands have been routinely based on “liberal” interpretations of federal laws and scientific research that did not stand up to critical scrutiny.

The fear evidently touched EPA “Scientific Integrity Official” Francesca Grifo, an Obama appointee who previously oversaw the “scientific integrity program at the Union of Concerned Scientists (“an oxymoron if there ever was one,” said Forbes magazine). She postponed this year’s meeting of EPA’s scientific integrity “stakeholders” when she found out that her faithful corps of environmental activist advisors was to be joined by independent scientists approved by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

The Grifo flap and other Environmental Protection Agency problems masked a much bigger government science outrage: the $315 million scandal engulfing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This scandal further underscores why Trump’s reforms are necessary.

In March, the House Science, Space and Technology Committee probed into HHS’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the $315 million in taxpayer-funded grants awarded since 1985 to the Italian research group Ramazzini Institute. The organization is an “independent” science academy focused on cancer research into commercial products. Its output had become the subject of controversy for its fixation on “scaremongering about chemicals, artificial sweeteners and other products.”

Ramazzini’s early claim that sweetener aspartame was carcinogenic was widely panned by the European Food Safety Authority, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Italian media. Its 2016 claim that sucralose (Splenda) was linked to cancer brought similar reactions. Not surprisingly, government and scientific bodies around the world have long criticized it for using secretive, questionable science to reach politically motivated conclusions.

In 2012, EPA scientists “identified discrepancies in the results of methanol studies” conducted by Ramazzini. Similar EPA complaints from 2010 prompted Senators James Inhofe (R-OK) and David Vitter (R-LA.) to say Ramazzini’s work “is in dire need of review.”

The question remains: Who opened America’s public coffers – mostly without competitive bidding – for Ramazzini and its New York-based affiliate Collegium Ramazzini, the advocacy cooperative of scientists and researchers in the grant-gobbling Ramazzini circle?

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by the Energy and Environmental Legal Institute (E&E Legal) confirm that the money came from HHS’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Toxicology Program.

Since toxicologist-microbiologist Linda Birnbaum became director of both in 2009, the two agencies provided $92 million, one third of Collegium members’ support. She herself is a Collegium member. A knowledgeable source says she got the NIEHS-NTP appointment largely because she was willing to expand the agency’s mission to include the health effects of climate change, while the other candidate for her job was not.

According to public records, Birnbaum’s NIEHS contracted with Ramazzini and its affiliates – through multiple third parties – muddying it up what services were rendered under these contracts and how they were prearranged.

Another Ramazzini fellow, Dr. Christopher Portier, a senior collaborating scientist for the anti-pesticide Environmental Defense Fund, and a well-known anti-glyphosate activist, worked for an HHS agency for 32 years. He initiated a report claiming the common weed killer glyphosate (used in Roundup herbicides) is carcinogenic. It was the only study among many that made this assertion, but activists used it to call for banning Roundup, which is often used in conjunction with genetically engineered crops to eliminate the need for weeding and tilling, thereby reducing erosion.

The president of Collegium Ramazzini is former NIH researcher Dr. Phil Landrigan, now a professor at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. According to reports, Director Birnbaum coordinated with Dr. Landrigan to publish more than two dozen Ramazzini studies in the NIEHS-run journal, Environmental Health Perspectives. Landrigan also received substantial funding from Birnbaum’s NIEHS, E&E Legal reported.

The House Science, Space and Technology Committee continues to probe the Ramazzini morass. Backed by Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Darin LaHood (R-Ill.), Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is following up on a joint letter to HHS Secretary Tom Price, requesting documents and correspondence between Ramazzini and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The letter noted that Birnbaum’s NIEHS “has refused to respond to [FOIA] requests seeking information related to contracts between your Department, including NIH and NEIHS, and Ramazzini.” A source familiar with the issue says a dialogue was established and is progressing.

The controversies are likely to heat up in the face of news stories saying that Aaron Blair, the scientist who led IARC’s review of glyphosate risks, deliberately withheld findings from studies of some 89,000 U.S. farm workers and family members, concluding that there was no link between cancer and exposure to the chemical. Under Blair’s direction, while he and his team for years apparently ignored evidence that contradicted that conclusion, IARC found that the weed killer was “probably carcinogenic.”

Collegium Ramazzini strongly rebuts any assault on its integrity and infallibility. Its website says its mission “is to be a bridge between the world of scientific discovery and the social and political centers which must act on the discoveries of science to protect public health.” Is this self-congratulation, a power ploy – or a subtle warning to anyone who might question its funding arrangements?

In his 1961 farewell address, President Dwight Eisenhower warned against the military-industrial complex and included this important final caveat: “In holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”

Can the Trump Administration or Congress untangle today’s web of the scientific-technological elite and, more importantly, prevent our health and agricultural policies from being driven by dubious science, unfounded fears, deliberately withheld studies, and serious potential conflicts of interest?

It would take more than plowing through mountains of paper. We would learn a lot more from public testimony taken under oath.

Via email

The truth about the global warming pause

The death of the global warming ‘pause’ has been greatly exaggerated

David Whitehouse

Between the start of 1997 and the end of 2014, average global surface temperature stalled. This 18-year period is known as the global warming pause, also sometimes referred to as the global warming hiatus. The rise in global temperatures that alarmed climate campaigners in the 1990s had slowed so much that the trend was no longer statistically significant. It has been the subject of much research and debate in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Global surface temperature between January 1997 and December 2014

Then, in the spring of 2015, El Niño, a warm ocean phase in the equatorial Pacific developed. It rapidly drove up global temperatures by 0.5°C in less than a year. In fact, the 2015/16 El Niño turned out to be the strongest such event in recorded history and helped to make 2015 and 2016 the warmest years in the modern warm period.

This El Niño spike encouraged a number of climate activists and campaigners to claim that the warming pause was now over for good. Some said we were on the verge of runaway global warming. Others even denied that a hiatus ever existed.

One of these scientists is Dr Phil Williamson from the University of East Anglia. Writing in the Spectator, he rather confusingly claims that the non-existent pause ‘ended’ when there was a sudden rise in global temperatures in 2015 and 2016. Climate activists make much of the recent run of these record-breaking warm years, but they are quite wrong to blame climate change. These records are primarily a product of El Niño, a short-term and entirely natural ocean phase that habitually drives up global temperatures for a short period of time.

It is obvious that the sudden rise in temperatures during the most recent El Niño was far too fast to be the result of long-term global warming. After all, global temperatures have risen very gradually by 1°C in the last 150 years or so. Williamson is also wrong in claiming that global temperatures have not dropped since the end of the El Niño spike. Since it peaked last year, they have declined by 0.4°C. They are now almost back to where they were before the start of the El Niño:

I noted in an earlier article that the world’s media were ignoring research papers in mainstream scientific journals that showed that global temperatures had slowed or stalled.

This attitude is noteworthy and seems to be the new norm. Last week, a group of climate scientists who have analysed temperature data from the lower atmosphere concluded that since around 2000 there had been a hiatus in temperature increases, stressing that this was inconsistent with what is known about natural climatic change. What is more, computer climate simulations, so central to the case for climate alarm, did not predict this might happen and cannot explain why it did. This is another important paper confirming the existence of the hiatus, and another case of the mainstream media’s lack of interest.

Still, many climate activists claim that the ‘missing heat’ must have gone into the oceans. In reality, the evidence is not as clear as they maintain. The best data we have to throw some light on ocean temperatures comes from the ‘Argo’ system of monitoring buoys which are now giving us unprecedented levels of high-quality observational data. Yet a recently published analysis shows that for the past decade or so, although average global ocean temperatures have slightly increased, the oceans of the northern hemisphere and indeed most of the southern hemisphere have not warmed at all. Warming, the Argo buoys show, is coming from just one region of the South Pacific.

The lesson of the pause is not that the greenhouse effect doesn’t exist, but rather that the computer models, which predicted an acceleration in global warming, and on which current policy is based, have proved to be inaccurate. Nevertheless, the pause is an important event that enriches our understanding of a highly complex climate system. In the future, a long-term rise in global temperatures may resume. There is a good chance, however, that the recent super El Niño only interrupted the 1997-2014 pause. No-one knows. But if the pause were to resume or warming keeps slowing down, many of the fundamental assumptions of climate science would have to be re-assessed.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

Monumental, unsustainable environmental impacts

Replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy would inflict major land, wildlife, resource damage

Paul Driessen

Demands that the world replace fossil fuels with wind, solar and biofuel energy – to prevent supposed catastrophes caused by manmade global warming and climate change – ignore three fundamental flaws.

1) In the Real World outside the realm of computer models, the unprecedented warming and disasters are simply not happening: not with temperatures, rising seas, extreme weather or other alleged problems.

2) The process of convicting oil, gas, coal and carbon dioxide emissions of climate cataclysms has been unscientific and disingenuous. It ignores fluctuations in solar energy, cosmic rays, oceanic currents and multiple other powerful natural forces that have controlled Earth’s climate since the dawn of time, dwarfing any role played by CO2. It ignores the enormous benefits of carbon-based energy that created and still powers the modern world, and continues to lift billions out of poverty, disease and early death.

It assigns only costs to carbon dioxide emissions, and ignores how rising atmospheric levels of this plant-fertilizing molecule are reducing deserts and improving forests, grasslands, drought resistance, crop yields and human nutrition. It also ignores the huge costs inflicted by anti-carbon restrictions that drive up energy prices, kill jobs, and fall hardest on poor, minority and blue-collar families in industrialized nations – and perpetuate poverty, misery, disease, malnutrition and early death in developing countries.

3) Renewable energy proponents pay little or no attention to the land and raw material requirements, and associated environmental impacts, of wind, solar and biofuel programs on scales required to meet mankind’s current and growing energy needs, especially as poor countries improve their living standards.

We properly insist on multiple detailed studies of every oil, gas, coal, pipeline, refinery, power plant and other fossil fuel project. Until recently, however, even the most absurd catastrophic climate change claims behind renewable energy programs, mandates and subsidies could not be questioned.

Just as bad, climate campaigners, government agencies and courts have never examined the land use, raw material, energy, water, wildlife, human health and other impacts of supposed wind, solar, biofuel and battery alternatives to fossil fuels – or of the transmission lines and other systems needed to carry electricity and liquid and gaseous renewable fuels thousands of miles to cities, towns and farms.

It is essential that we conduct rigorous studies now, before pushing further ahead. The Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy and Interior Department should do so immediately. States, other nations, private sector companies, think tanks and NGOs can and should do their own analyses. The studies can blithely assume these expensive, intermittent, weather-dependent alternatives can actually replace fossil fuels. But they need to assess the environmental impacts of doing so.

Renewable energy companies, industries and advocates are notorious for hiding, minimizing, obfuscating or misrepresenting their environmental and human health impacts. They demand and receive exemptions from health and endangered species laws that apply to other industries. They make promises they cannot keep about being able to safely replace fossil fuels that now provide over 80% of US and global energy.

A few articles have noted some of the serious environmental, toxic/radioactive waste, human health and child labor issues inherent in mining rare earth and cobalt/lithium deposits. However, we now need quantitative studies – detailed, rigorous, honest, transparent, cradle-to-grave, peer-reviewed analyses.

The back-of-the-envelope calculations that follow provide a template. I cannot vouch for any of them. But our governments need to conduct full-blown studies forthwith – before they commit us to spending tens of trillions of dollars on renewable energy schemes, mandates and subsidies that could blanket continents with wind turbines, solar panels, biofuel crops and battery arrays; destroy habitats and wildlife; kill jobs, impoverish families and bankrupt economies; impair our livelihoods, living standards and liberties; and put our lives under the control of unelected, unaccountable state, federal and international rulers – without having a clue whether these supposed alternatives are remotely economical or sustainable.

Ethanol derived from corn grown on 40,000,000 acres now provides the equivalent of 10% of US gasoline – and requires billions of gallons of water, and enormous quantities of fertilizer and energy. What would it take to replace 100% of US gasoline? To replace the entire world’s motor fuels?

Solar panels on Nevada’s Nellis Air Force Base generate 15 megawatts of electricity perhaps 30% of the year from 140 acres. Arizona’s Palo Verde nuclear power plant generates 900 times more electricity, from less land, some 95% of the year. Generating Palo Verde’s output via Nellis technology would require land area ten times larger than Washington, DC – and would still provide electricity unpredictably only 30% of the time. Now run those solar numbers for the 3.5 billion megawatt-hours generated nationwide in 2016.

Modern coal or gas-fired power plants use less than 300 acres to generate 600 megawatts 95% of the time. Indiana’s 600-MW Fowler Ridge wind farm covers 50,000 acres and generates electricity about 30% of the year. Calculate the turbine and acreage requirements for 3.5 billion MWH of wind electricity.

Delving more deeply, generating 20% of US electricity with wind power would require up to 185,000 1.5-MW turbines, 19,000 miles of new transmission lines, 18 million acres, and 245 million tons of concrete, steel, copper, fiberglass and rare earths – plus fossil-fuel back-up generators for the 75-80% of the year that winds nationwide are barely blowing and the turbines are not producing electricity.

Energy analyst David Wells has calculated that replacing 160,000 teraWatt-hours of total global energy consumption with wind would require 183,400,000 turbines needing roughly: 461,000,000,000 tons of steel for the towers; 460,00,000,000 tons of steel and concrete for the foundations; 59,000,000,000 tons of copper, steel and alloys for the turbines; 738,000,000 tons of neodymium for turbine magnets; 14,700,000,000 tons of steel and complex composite materials for the nacelles; 11,000,000,000 tons of complex petroleum-based composites for the rotors; and massive quantities of other raw materials – all of which must be mined, processed, manufactured into finished products and shipped around the world.

Assuming 25 acres per turbine, the turbines would require 4,585,000,000 acres (1,855,500,000 hectares) – 1.3 times the land area of North America! Wells adds: Shipping just the iron ore to build the turbines would require nearly 3 million voyages in huge ships that would consume 13 billion tons of bunker fuel (heavy oil) in the process. And converting that ore to iron and steel would require 473 billion tons of coking coal, demanding another 1.2 million sea voyages, consuming another 6 billion tons of bunker fuel.

For sustainability disciples: Does Earth have enough of these raw materials for this transformation?

It gets worse. These numbers do not include the ultra-long transmission lines required to carry electricity from windy locations to distant cities. Moreover, Irina Slav notes, wind turbines, solar panels and solar thermal installations cannot produce high enough heat to melt silica, iron or other metals, and certainly cannot generate the required power on a reliable enough basis to operate smelters and factories.

Wind turbines (and solar panels) last just 20 years or so (less in salt water environments) – while coal, gas and nuclear power plants last 35-50 years and require far less land and raw materials. That means we would have tear down, haul away and replace far more “renewable” generators twice as often; dispose of or recycle their component parts (and toxic or radioactive wastes); and mine, process and ship more ores.

Finally, their intermittent electricity output means they couldn’t guarantee you could boil an egg, run an assembly line, surf the internet or complete a heart transplant when you need to. So we store their output in massive battery arrays, you say. OK. Let’s calculate the land, energy and raw materials for that. While we’re at it, let’s add in the requirements for building and recharging 100% electric vehicle fleets.

Then there are the bird and bat deaths, wildlife losses from destroying habitats, and human health impacts from wind turbine noise and flicker. These also need to be examined – fully and honestly – along with the effects of skyrocketing renewable energy prices on every aspect of this transition and our lives.

But for honest, evenhanded EPA and other scientists, modelers and regulators previously engaged in alarmist, biased climate chaos studies, these analyses will provide some job security. Let’s get started.

Via email

Greenies cannibalizing one-another

South Australian plastics recycling business closes due to $100k hike in power bills

South Australia's sky-high electricity prices have forced an Adelaide plastics recycling business to shut its doors, costing 35 workers their jobs, its managing director says.

Plastics Granulating Services (PGS), based in Kilburn in Adelaide's inner-north, said it had seen its monthly power bills increase from $80,000 to $180,000 over the past 18 months.

Managing director Stephen Scherer said the high cost of power had crippled his business of 38 years and plans for expansion, and had led to his company being placed in liquidation.

"It's where the cash went out of the business, and without the cash, we couldn't service what we needed to service," he said.

"We were basically marking time, draining ourselves of cash.

"I hate to think of how many hours I've wasted on the AEMO website with tools to monitor spot pricing, to assess the implications of power, the trends of power and the future costs of power.

PGS processed domestic, low-grade waste and turned it into plastic granules, to be converted back into other industrial products like irrigation piping and flower pots.

Mr Scherer said his facility was the only recycling service of its kind left in South Australia.

"We process about 10,000 tonnes of plastic waste [and] that's now currently turned off, so South Australia won't be recycling 10,000 tonnes [of plastic]," he said.

"To scope 10,000 tonnes for you, 10,000 tonnes is 15 per cent of the Australian market [of low-grade recycled plastic] ... so Australia has lost 15 per cent of its supply.

"I assume that opens up a whole lot of opportunities for our neighbours in Asia."

Den Tucker is the managing director of DM Plastics and Steel, which had been using Mr Scherer's plastics recycling services.

Mr Tucker said he had also been trying to cope with the pressure of soaring power bills.

"The price of our power has gone through similar numbers and we employ 45 people," he said. "There is no solution being put forward at the present time. "Our government is asleep at the wheel."

Government energy efficiency programs available: Minister
SA Environment Minister Ian Hunter said it was disappointing the facility was shutting down, but he said the pain of high electricity prices was being felt across the country.

Mr Hunter said help was available through the State Government's energy efficiency programs.

"Green Industries and Zero Waste have quite a bit of expertise in this area [and] they've worked with other companies and other industry sectors," he said.

"If that help is not required then that's up to him, but that's the offer I can make."

Mr Hunter said any recycled plastic due to be sent to the facility would be sent elsewhere, most likely to interstate processing plants.

"Having high power prices ... is a reality," he said.

"That's why the Government has introduced its state plan for energy in South Australia.

"But this is a company that employs South Australians, and it's incredibly disappointing that it's going through this problem."



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   main.html or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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


2 July, 2017

The "adjustments" to the temperature record never cease

And they are ALWAYS in the direction of showing more warming, funnily enough

The fact that the global temperature record was showing a "hiatus" (was not showing any rise) was first pointed out some years ago by the late Bob Carter.  Scorn and contempt was heaped on him for his pains.  Warmists said it was just a "blip".  Not unreasonably, they pointed to previous hiatuses -- such as the long hiatus of 1945 to 1975 (30 years!) -- and noted that temperature rises re-started after that.

A 30 year temperature hiatus while CO2 levels were rising strongly did not seem to embarrass them, despite it being totally contrary to their theory.  They just explained it away as due to "special" factors.

But as the current hiatus got longer and skeptics got increasingly irritating about it, they had to do something.  And in the best Green/Left tradition, their first response was to lie.  They started to declare that various years were warmest, warmer etc.  We got such declarations annually.  The fact of the matter is that the fluctuations in the 21st century were tiny,  differences in hundredths of one degree only -- so were statistically non-significant and hence non-existent from a scientific point of view.  But who cares about science when an ideology is at risk?

Riding differences so tiny must have got irritating however, at least to the scientists among Warmists.  They knew about statistical significance so ignoring it was undoubtedly embarrassing.

Then Tom Karl of NOAA rode to the rescue.  He made large "corrections" to the ocean temperature record and thus erased the hiatus.  That attracted such a lot of criticism, including Congressional criticism,  that even the Warmist establishment in the Fyfe paper eventually disowned it and reaffirmed that there was a 21st century temperature slowdown, which they again explained as due to "special" factors.

The next attack on the hiatus was by  crowing about the unusually large temperature rise in 2015.  It actually amounted to 13 hundredths of one degree.  Exciting! That it was just the expected effect of the El Nino weather phenomenon was pooh-poohed.  But it was ENTIRELY due to El Nino and other natural causes because CO2 levels did not rise in 2015

All the fun so far had been with the surface temperature record, always a slender reed to lean on.  In the background was the pesky satellite record showing no warming trend at all.

So to the 2016 erasure attempt: by Carl Mears, proprietor of RSS, one of the satellite records.  As he himself admits, he has been mightily irritated by people accusing his temperature record of supporting the climate skeptics.  He has in fact been expressing irritation with that for quite some years.  He has declared several times that he still supports Warmism despite what his own data show.

So he finally devised a solution to his embarrassment.  He "adjusted" his data.  He said his old data had errors in it and he has now corrected the errors, to show some warming  -- a warming of 18 hundredths of one degree over nearly 20 years, no less!  One hundredth of a degree per annum! If there had been errors in it, one wonders why he rode with the "erroneous" data for so long but let that be by the by.

And the explanation he gives for his adjustments is reasonable in principle, but, as always, the devil is in the details.  And the details do contain devilry, as Roy Spencer has pointed out.  Carl's adjustments were so bad in fact that the paper in which he described them was rejected as unpublishable by a major climate journal, eventually being accepted by a meteorological one.

But I think that everyone can see that Mears had not done much to further his cause by talking of only a one degree rise over the next century so he has now done another adjustment. Roy Spencer in fact predicted that Mears (under pressure from the climate mafia) would corrupt his TLT data to bring it in line with the global warming prophecy. Viscount Monckton also predicted it. As Steve Goddard notes, climate is impossible to forecast, but climate fraud is extremely predictable. 

So we now have news headlines saying "Major correction to satellite data shows 140% faster warming since 1998". I reproduce the journal abstract below.  It's not for me to dissect it.  The experts will do that.  I simply note that what they have produced is not data.  Data is what you feed in.  And the data they feed in shows no systematic rise.  What they report is an opinion about the data:

A satellite-derived lower tropospheric atmospheric temperature dataset using an optimized adjustment for diurnal effects

Carl A. Mears and Frank J. Wentz


Temperature sounding microwave radiometers flown on polar-orbiting weather satellites provide a long-term, global-scale record of upper-atmosphere temperatures, beginning in late 1978 and continuing to the present. The focus of this paper is a lower-tropospheric temperature product constructed using measurements made by the Microwave Sounding Unit channel 2, and the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit channel 5. The temperature weighting functions for these channels peak in the mid to upper troposphere. By using a weighted average of measurements made at different Earth incidence angles, the effective weighting function can be lowered so that it peaks in the lower troposphere. Previous versions of this dataset used general circulation model output to remove the effects of drifting local measurement time on the measured temperatures. In this paper, we present a method to optimize these adjustments using information from the satellite measurements themselves. The new method finds a global-mean land diurnal cycle that peaks later in the afternoon, leading to improved agreement between measurements made by co-orbiting satellites. The changes result in global-scale warming (global trend (70S-80N, 1979-2016) = 0.174 C/decade), ~30% larger than our previous version of the dataset (global trend, (70S-80N, 1979-2016) = 0.134C/decade). This change is primarily due to the changes in the adjustment for drifting local measurement time. The new dataset shows more warming than most similar datasets constructed from satellites or radiosonde data. However, comparisons with total column water vapor over the oceans suggest that the new dataset may not show enough warming in the tropics.


Schwarzenegger and Macron Unite In Paris to ‘Save The Planet,’ Take Selfie

Visiting Paris for an environmental meeting last week, former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger made a brief selfie video with French President Emmanuel Macron, who in an indirect dig at President Trump spoke about a push to “make the planet great again.”

“I’m here with President Macron,” the former governor and Hollywood actor said in the clip filmed at the Elysees Palace. “We’re talking about environmental issues and a green future.”

Then he moved the phone onto Macron, who added, “And now we will deliver together, to make the planet great again.”

Early this month Trump, known for the campaign slogan “Make America great again,” announced the U.S. was withdrawing from the Paris climate change agreement. The move drew criticism from Macron and Schwarzenegger during and after their talks in the French capital.

“Everyone has to come together and it is absolutely imperative that we do not make it a political issue,” Schwarzenegger told reporters at the Elysees Palace, in reference to clean energy and combating climate change.

Schwarzenegger hailed Macron as “a formidable leader” for France “and for the world,” especially on environmental issues.

“I was truly honored to meet with President Emmanuel Macron about how we can work together for a clean energy future,” he tweeted afterwards. “He's a great leader.”

In response, Macron posted, “The let’s #MakeOurPlanetGreatAgain project takes form. Glad to work on it with Schwarzenegger.”

Macron told the American that he will stop granting oil and gas licenses, in a bid to safeguard the environment.

Schwarzenegger attended a meeting at the Sorbonne University which drew around 800 politicians, lawyers and experts from around the world.

The participants officially launched the “Global Pact for the environment,” a project which Macron said he hopes will become a major international treaty affirming environmental norms, such as the “polluter pays” principle.

Macron said the pact should be presented to the United Nations as early as this September, hoping it would underpin the Paris accord.

That agreement, signed at a U.N. megaconference in December 2015, has since been ratified by 150 members. Its aim is to prevent average global temperatures from rising more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, through carbon emission reduction and other measures.

Schwarzenegger is an ardent environmentalist, and in 2010 launched a non-profit organization called R20 - Regions of Climate Action, with the support of the U.N.

Months before the Paris conference, he took part in a gathering of religious and cultural leaders in France to discuss climate change “from a spiritual perspective.”

“I’ve starred of course in a lot of science-fiction movies as you know, and let me tell you something, climate change is not science-fiction,” he told that meeting. “This is bigger than any movie. This is the challenge of our time.”

Despite his advice at the Elysees Palace about not making climate change “a political issue,” Schwarzenegger posted a video earlier this month in which he directly attacked Trump over the Paris accord decision.

“One man cannot destroy our progress. One man cannot stop our energy revolution,” he said.

“One man can’t go back in time,” Schwarzenegger continued, then added, “Only I can do that” – a reference to his role in the blockbuster movie Terminator.

He went on to inform Trump that “as a public servant, especially as a president, your first and most important responsibility is to protect the people,” before going on to talk about air and river pollution, cancer and emphysema.


EPA Rolling Back Obama's 'Clean Water Act'

On Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency began acting on Donald Trump’s campaign promise to repeal the 2015 “Waters of the United States” regulation. The controversial and onerous regulation created by Barack Obama’s EPA commissars essentially stretched the definition of “water way” to encompass almost any and every source of surface water, no matter how small. The draconian regulation enacted one of the largest governmental power grabs in the nation’s history, severely infringing the private property rights of Americans all across the country.

The first step in what the EPA says will be a two-step processes will be a rollback of the Obama regulations and a return to 2008 standards. The second step will be to create new waterway regulations designed to preserve the property rights of Americans, as well as protect business interests and the environment. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt stated, “We are taking significant action to return power to the states and provide regulatory certainty to our nation’s farmers and businesses.” He continued, “This is the first step in the two-step process to redefine ‘waters of the U.S.’ and we are committed to moving through this re-evaluation to quickly provide regulatory certainty, in a way that is thoughtful, transparent and collaborative with other agencies and the public.”

Predictably, ecofascist groups shouted their outrage at the EPA’s announcement, suggesting that Trump was primarily interested in promoting business at the expense of the environment. “It goes without saying that the Trump administration doesn’t care about the environment, public health, or its duty to protect our most precious natural resources — and that is why it’s up to us, the American people, to hold them accountable,” pontificated Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune. “We will fight this and every other attempt by polluters and the Trump administration to destroy our water resources.”

Supporters, however, praised the news. Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) said, “Today marks the beginning of restoring private property rights while protecting our environment. Out-of-state DC bureaucrats shouldn’t impose regulations that hurt Montana farmers, ranchers and landowners.” The EPA plans to publish the new regulation proposals within days. Finally, a government agency is concerned primarily about preserving Americans’ rights, not simply engaging in its own acquisition of power.


Nearly doomed by too little CO2

During the last ice age, too little atmospheric carbon dioxide almost eradicated mankind

Dennis T. Avery (Agricultural and environmental economist )

Aside from protests by Al Gore, Leonardo Di Caprio and friends, the public didn’t seem to raise its CO2 anguish much above the Russians-election frenzy when Trump exited the Paris Climate Accords.

Statistician Bjorn Lomborg had already pointed out that the Paris CO2 emission promises would cost $100 trillion dollars that no one has, and make only a 0.05 degree difference in Earth’s 2100 AD temperature. Others say perhaps a 0.2 degree C (0.3 degrees F) difference, and even that would hold only in the highly unlikely event that all parties actually kept their voluntary pledges.

What few realize, however, is that during the last Ice Age too little CO2 in the air almost eradicated mankind. That’s when much-colder water in oceans (that were 400 feet shallower than today) sucked most of the carbon dioxide from the air; half of North America, Europe and Asia were buried under mile-high glaciers that obliterated everything in their paths; and bitterly cold temperatures further retarded plant growth.

In fact, Earth’s atmosphere had only about 180 parts per million CO2, compared to today’s 400 ppm: 0.018% then versus 0.040% today.

The Ice Age’s combined horrors – intense cold, permanent drought and CO2 starvation – killed most of the plants on Earth. Only a few trees survived, in the mildest climates. Much of the planet’s grass turned to tundra, which is much less nourishing to the herbivores prehistoric humans depended on for food and fur. Recent Cambridge University studies conclude that only about 100,000 humans were left alive worldwide when the current interglacial warming mercifully began.

The few surviving prey animals had to keep migrating to get enough food. That forced our ancestors to migrate with them, in temperatures that routinely fell to 40 degrees below zero (both Fahrenheit and Celsius). The Neanderthals had been living in relatively warm caves protected from predators by fires at the cave mouths. They had hunted their prey by sneaking through the trees – which no longer existed. They apparently couldn’t adapt, and starved. Cambridge found no evidence of genocidal warfare.

The most successful human survivors – who provided most of the DNA for modern Europeans – were nomads from the Black Sea region. The Gravettians had never had trees, so they invented mammoth-skin tents, held up by salvaged mammoth ribs. They also developed spear-throwers, to kill the huge beasts from a safe distance.

Equally important, Gravettians domesticated and bred wolves, to protect their tents from marauders, locate game animals on the broad tundra, and harry the prey into defensive clusters for easier killing. The scarcity of food in that Glacial Maximum intensified the dogs’ appreciation for the bones and bone marrow at the human camps.

When that Ice Age ended, moreover, CO2 changes didn’t lead the warming. The atmospheric CO2 only began to recover about 800 years after the warming started.

Carbon dioxide truly is “the gas of life.” The plants that feed us and wildlife can’t live without inhaling CO2, and then they exhale the oxygen that lets humans and animals keep breathing.

Our crop plants evolved about 400 million years ago, when CO2 in the atmosphere was about 5000 parts per million! Our evergreen trees and shrubs evolved about 360 million years ago, with CO2 levels at about 4,000 ppm. When our deciduous trees evolved about 160 million years ago, the CO2 level was about 2,200 ppm – still five times the current level.

There’s little danger to humans of too much CO2 in the air they breathe. Even the Environmental Protection Agency says 1000 ppm is the safe limit for lifetime human exposure. Space shuttle CO2 alarms are set at 5,000 ppm, and the alarm in nuclear submarines is set at 8,000 ppm!

If there’s little danger of humans having too much CO2 in their air, and a real danger to civilization from having too little, what’s the ideal level of atmospheric CO2? The answer? There’s a broad safe range – with far more risk of too little than too much. At low levels, with few or no plants, there’d be no people or animals, let alone civilization.

Human numbers, moreover, expanded strongly during the Holocene Optimum, with temperatures 4 degrees C higher than today!  Even now, residents of the tropics keep demonstrating that humans can tolerate much higher temperatures than most of us experience. (As we utilize the new malaria vaccine, the tropics will prosper even more.) And far more people die from “too cold” than from “too warm.”

The crops continue to produce record yields in our “unprecedented” warming – and the extra CO2 in our air is credited with as much as 15% of that yield gain!

It’s not whether more CO2 in the air raises Earth’s temperatures. We know it does, by some small but still hotly debated amount. Both sides agree that a redoubling of CO2 in the air – by itself – would raise earth’s temperature by only about 1 degree C.

That’s hardly noticeable or measurable in the midst of all the local temperature variations, with the myriad of natural forces that govern planetary climate, with all the discrepancies among the various measuring systems, and amid all the errors, biases and missing or revised data that have crept in.

Moreover, 1 degree C of warming was obviously not enough to frighten the public.

So, the computerized models cited by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change made another assumption: that a hotter world would hold more moisture in its atmosphere. Since water vapor is the most effective greenhouse gas, the climate modelers claimed Earth might heat by 5 or even 10 degrees C. One scientist (who supposedly advises Pope Francis) recently claimed 12 degrees C (21 degrees F) of overheating!

The awkward truth, however, is that NASA has monitored moisture in the atmosphere since 1980 – and water vapor has not increased despite the higher levels of CO2 in the air. Is that why the IPCC models have predicted more than twice as much warming as we’ve actually seen?

The year 1936 recorded the hottest thermometer readings of any year in the last 5,000. However, these days NOAA reports only its “adjusted” temperatures, which always seem to go only higher. In fact, the first surge of human-emitted carbon dioxide after World War II should have produced the biggest surge of warming – if CO2 is the control factor. Instead temperatures went down from 1940 to 1975.

Why did the computer models fail to predict (or even factor in) either the Pacific Oscillation’s current 20-year non-warming or the coming solar sunspot minimum?

Only one model has verified itself by back-casting the temperatures and weather we’ve had over the past century. That model is from Nicola Scafetta at Duke University, and it’s based on solar, lunar and planetary cycles. The latest data from the CERN particle physics lab have also produced a model based on cycling – and it foresees no runaway warming. Instead, it sees an impending cold solar minimum.

Is the long, wrong-headed war against carbon dioxide finally fading? Science certainly says it should. But perhaps there is still too much money, prestige and power in climate alarmism for that to happen.

Via email

President Donald Trump is at his best when he's pushing for American greatness. Thursday, it was on energy policy

While the Leftmedia was distracted by his Twitter account, Trump was making a big speech announcing big energy initiatives. "My administration will seek not only American energy independence that we've been looking for so long," he promised, "but American energy dominance." How? With a six-pronged approach.

Trump listed the steps: "First, we will begin to revive and expand our nuclear energy sector. ... Second, the Department of the Treasury will address barriers to the financing of highly efficient, overseas coal energy plants. ... Third, my administration has just approved the construction of a new petroleum pipeline to Mexico. ... Fourth, just today, a major U.S. company, Sempra Energy, signed an agreement to begin negotiations for the sale of more American natural gas to South Korea. ... Fifth, the United States Department of Energy is announcing today that it will approve two long-term applications to export additional natural gas from the Lake Charles [liquefied natural gas] terminal in Louisiana. ... Finally, in order to unlock more energy from the 94% of offshore [area] closed to development ... we're creating a new offshore oil and gas leasing program."

After eight years of obstruction and regulation of energy production, these changes are welcome indeed. It's not that solar and wind energy aren't worth pursuing, but they haven't lived up to the hype and shouldn't be chased to the exclusion of proven energy sources. And Trump's attitude is especially welcome: "This vast energy wealth does not belong to the government," he said. "It belongs to the people of the United States of America."

Now there's something you'd never hear from the previous "You Didn't Build That" administration.

Earlier this week, Trump's EPA rolled back Obama's clean water power grab. At the beginning of June, he withdrew from the Paris climate accords. And in March, he approved the long-obstructed Keystone pipeline. America is already experiencing an oil boom, and Trump's market-driven energy policies are only going to expand it.



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   main.html 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



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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."

Warmists claim that the "hiatus" in global warming that began around 1998 was caused by the oceans suddenly gobbling up all the heat coming from above. Changes in the heat content of the oceans are barely measurable but the ARGO bathythermographs seem to show the oceans warming not from above but from below


"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." --- Richard P. Feynman.

Consensus: As Ralph Waldo Emerson said: 'A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.'

Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough - Michael Crichton

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" – Richard Feynman

"I always think it's a sign of victory when they move on to the ad hominem -- Christopher Hitchens

"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

Calvin Coolidge said, "If you see 10 troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you." He could have been talking about Warmists.

Some advice from long ago for Warmists: "If ifs and ans were pots and pans,there'd be no room for tinkers". It's a nursery rhyme harking back to Middle English times when "an" could mean "if". Tinkers were semi-skilled itinerant workers who fixed holes and handles in pots and pans -- which were valuable household items for most of our history. Warmists are very big on "ifs", mays", "might" etc. But all sorts of things "may" happen, including global cooling

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate" -- William of Occam

Was Paracelsus a 16th century libertarian? His motto was: "Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest" which means "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself." He was certainly a rebel in his rejection of authority and his reliance on observable facts and is as such one of the founders of modern medicine

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman

Something no Warmist could take on board: "Knuth once warned a correspondent, "Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it." -- Prof. Donald Knuth, whom some regard as the world's smartest man

"To be green is to be irrational, misanthropic and morally defective. They are the barbarians at the gate we have to stand against" -- Rich Kozlovich

“We’ve got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.“ – Timothy Wirth, President of the UN Foundation

“Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?” – Maurice Strong, founder of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)

Leftists generally and Warmists in particular very commonly ascribe disagreement with their ideas to their opponent being "in the pay" of someone else, usually "Big Oil", without troubling themselves to provide any proof of that assertion. They are so certain that they are right that that seems to be the only reasonable explanation for opposition to them. They thus reveal themselves as the ultimate bigots -- people with fixed and rigid ideas.


This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career

Update: After 8 years of confronting the frankly childish standard of reasoning that pervades the medical journals, I have given up. I have put the blog into hibernation. In extreme cases I may put up here some of the more egregious examples of medical "wisdom" that I encounter. Greenies and food freaks seem to be largely coterminous. My regular bacon & egg breakfasts would certainly offend both -- if only because of the resultant methane output

Since my academic background is in the social sciences, it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me from what you will see on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics.

Warmism is prophecy, not science. Science cannot foretell the future. Science can make very accurate predictions based on known regularities in nature (e.g. predicting the orbits of the inner planets) but Warmism is the exact opposite of that. It predicts a DEPARTURE from the known regularities of nature. If we go by the regularities of nature, we are on the brink of an ice age.

And from a philosophy of science viewpoint, far from being "the science", Warmism is not even an attempt at a factual statement, let alone being science. It is not a meaningful statement about the world. Why? Because it is unfalsifiable -- making it a religious, not a scientific statement. To be a scientific statement, there would have to be some conceivable event that disproved it -- but there appears to be none. ANY event is hailed by Warmists as proving their contentions. Only if Warmists were able to specify some fact or event that would disprove their theory would it have any claim to being a scientific statement. So the explanation for Warmist beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one -- which makes it my field

And, after all, Al Gore's academic qualifications are in social science also -- albeit very pissant qualifications.

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.

A Warmist backs down: "No one knows exactly how far rising carbon concentrations affect temperatures" -- Stefan Rahmstorf, a scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

Jimmy Carter Classic Quote from 1977: "Because we are now running out of gas and oil, we must prepare quickly for a third change, to strict conservation and to the use of coal and permanent renewable energy sources, like solar power.


Today’s environmental movement is the current manifestation of the totalitarian impulse. It is ironic that the same people who condemn the black or brown shirts of the pre WW2 period are blind to the current manifestation simply because the shirts are green.

Climate is just the sum of weather. So if you cannot forecast the weather a month in advance, you will not be able to forecast the climate 50 years in advance. And official meteorologists such as Britain's Met Office and Australia's BOM, are very poor forecasters of weather. The Met office has in fact given up on making seasonal forecasts because they have so often got such forecasts embarrassingly wrong. Their global-warming-powered "models" just did not deliver

The frequency of hurricanes has markedly DECLINED in recent years

Here's how that "97% consensus" figure was arrived at

97% of scientists want to get another research grant

Another 97%: Following the death of an older brother in a car crash in 1994, Bashar Al Assad became heir apparent; and after his father died in June 2000, he took office as President of Syria with a startling 97 per cent of the vote.

Hearing a Government Funded Scientist say let me tell you the truth, is like hearing a Used Car Salesman saying let me tell you the truth.

A strange Green/Left conceit: They seem to think (e.g. here) that no-one should spend money opposing them and that conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with

David Brower, founder Sierra Club: “Childbearing should be a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license"

To Greenies, Genghis Khan was a good guy, believe it or not. They love that he killed so many people.

Greenie antisemitism

After three exceptionally cold winters in the Northern hemisphere, the Warmists are chanting: "Warming causes cold". Even if we give that a pass for logic, it still inspires the question: "Well, what are we worried about"? Cold is not going to melt the icecaps is it?"

It's a central (but unproven) assumption of the Warmist "models" that clouds cause warming. Odd that it seems to cool the temperature down when clouds appear overhead!

To make out that the essentially trivial warming of the last 150 years poses some sort of threat, Warmists postulate positive feedbacks that might cut in to make the warming accelerate in the near future. Amid their theories about feedbacks, however, they ignore the one feedback that is no theory: The reaction of plants to CO2. Plants gobble up CO2 and the more CO2 there is the more plants will flourish and hence gobble up yet more CO2. And the increasing crop yields of recent years show that plantlife is already flourishing more. The recent rise in CO2 will therefore soon be gobbled up and will no longer be around to bother anyone. Plants provide a huge NEGATIVE feedback in response to increases in atmospheric CO2

Every green plant around us is made out of carbon dioxide that the plant has grabbed out of the atmosphere. That the plant can get its carbon from such a trace gas is one of the miracles of life. It admittedly uses the huge power of the sun to accomplish such a vast filtrative task but the fact that a dumb plant can harness the power of the sun so effectively is also a wonder. We live on a rather improbable planet. If a science fiction writer elsewhere in the universe described a world like ours he might well be ridiculed for making up such an implausible tale.

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Yet at the opening of 2011 we find the following unashamed lying by James Hansen: "We will lose all the ice in the polar ice cap in a couple of decades". Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny. So even after "Climategate", the secrecy goes on.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

After fighting a 70 year war to destroy red communism we face another life-or-death struggle in the 21st century against green communism.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Jim Hansen and his twin

Getting rich and famous through alarmism: Al Gore is well-known but note also James Hansen. He has for decades been a senior, presumably well-paid, employee at NASA. In 2001 he was the recipient of a $250,000 Heinz Award. In 2007 Time magazine designated him a Hero of the Environment. That same year he pocketed one-third of a $1 million Dan David Prize. In 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented him with its Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. In 2010 he landed a $100,000 Sophie Prize. He pulled in a total of $1.2 million in 2010. Not bad for a government bureaucrat.

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. We live at the bottom of a nitrogen sea. Logical to hate nitrogen? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

UPDATE to the above: It seems that I am a true prophet

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

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

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"

Medieval Warm Period: Recent climatological data assembled from around the world using different proxies attest to the presence of both the MWP and the LIA in the following locations: the Sargasso Sea, West Africa, Kenya, Peru, Japan, Tasmania, South Africa, Idaho, Argentina, and California. These events were clearly world-wide and in most locations the peak temperatures during the MWP were higher than current temperatures.

Both radioactive and stable carbon isotopes show that the real atmospheric CO2 residence time (lifetime) is only about 5 years, and that the amount of fossil-fuel CO2 in the atmosphere is maximum 4%.

Cook the crook who cooks the books

The great and fraudulent scare about lead

How 'GREEN' is the FOOTPRINT of a WIND TURBINE? 45 tons of rebar and 630 cubic yards of concrete

Green/Left denial of the facts explained: "Rejection lies in this, that when the light came into the world men preferred darkness to light; preferred it, because their doings were evil. Anyone who acts shamefully hates the light, will not come into the light, for fear that his doings will be found out. Whereas the man whose life is true comes to the light" John 3:19-21 (Knox)

Against the long history of huge temperature variation in the earth's climate (ice ages etc.), the .6 of one degree average rise reported by the U.N. "experts" for the entire 20th century (a rise so small that you would not be able to detect such a difference personally without instruments) shows, if anything, that the 20th century was a time of exceptional temperature stability.

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)

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