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

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

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30 September, 2015

Another Climate Prediction Fizzles: DC Climate Rally for Pope shrinks from expected 200,000 people to just ‘hundreds’

The hopes were so high back in August for a massive climate rally to support Pope Francis’ climate push. But reality has now sunk in

Climate Prediction: August 25, 2015: WaPo: "For Pope Francis’s D.C. visit, environmental rally of up to 200K planned’ – Several environmental groups are planning a major climate rally that will draw hundreds of thousands to the National Mall on Sept. 24, the day Pope Francis speaks to Congress and is expected to address the public afterwards. The permit for the gathering — which will make the moral case for reducing greenhouse gas emissions linked to global warming — is for 200,000 people. The Moral Action on Climate Network, along with the Earth Day Network, League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club and other groups, have timed the rally on the Mall the same day of the pope’s speech".

Reality: September 24, 2015: "Pope’s Visit To D.C. Inspires Hundreds To Rally For Climate’ Rally – ‘On Thursday morning — as Pope Francis prepared to make history by addressing Congress — hundreds of activists gathered on the National Mall. Holding signs, petitioning for signatures, and offering spirited remarks to an expectant crowd, the activists represented a spectrum of causes and religious denominations, from young evangelicals to Black Lives Matter leaders."


Understanding the Climate Science Boom

Like an economy, a scientific discipline can undergo periods of boom and bust. Is climate science experiencing an unsustainable boom? Certainly its growth has been astounding. Over the past 20 years, the number of scientific papers related to “anthropogenic climate change” has risen twelve-fold, according to a search using Google Scholar. But whether or not climate science will ultimately suffer a bust may depend on the causes of its surge. While several factors have contributed, the role of Big Players—namely, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and various government agencies that dole out huge sums as research grants—has been critical. It also raises a red flag.

One reason is that a change in the priorities, funding, or prestige of Big Players can turn a boom into a bust. But another reason may yield greater cause for concern, William N. Butos and Thomas J. McQuade explain in the Fall 2015 issue of The Independent Review. Although large organizations that set the direction for scientific inquiry or business activity can conceivably accelerate progress, their tremendous size and influence—and the way they interact with social phenomena such as opportunism and ideology—distorts the feedback loops that otherwise help make science and markets self-correcting processes.

Climate science may or may not be experiencing a bubble that will burst in the foreseeable future. But this uncertainty is beside the point. The major lesson, Butos and McQuade write, “is that in science, as in the economy, Big Players of any sort distort normal systemic activity, render the emergent outcomes unstable and unreliable, and create an ideal breeding ground for incentives that motivate ideologically biased people to circumvent normal constraints in the name of pursing a ‘greater good.’”


Hollywood Joins the Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement

I published an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer recently challenging the mindsets of student activists lobbying to force college administrators to purge coal and oil stocks from their investment portfolios.

Now, reportedly, but not surprisingly, Leonardo Di Caprio and a few other left-leaning Hollywood personalities are jumping on the divestment bandwagon. He, along with some like-minded individuals and organizations spearheaded by a shadowy special-interest group called “Divest Invest”, apparently believe (with fervent faith in “green” energy shared and perhaps envied by Pope Francis) that their actions will save the planet from destruction by greedy capitalists.

Insofar as today’s environmentalists adhere to a religion claiming humankind to be doomed unless something is done to lighten our collective carbon footprint, I may be on dangerous theological ground. But I am happy that Mr. DiCaprio is a least putting his money in his own proverbial mouth. Owing to the shale “fracking” revolution of the past decade, stocks in fossil fuel producers have fallen sharply. The divesters therefore stand to sustain capital losses on the equity shares they sell now or in the foreseeable future.

On the other hand, while climate-change believers see the environmental benefits of solar and wind farms once they are in place, they studiously ignore the rather substantial carbon footprints of manufacturing wind turbines and solar panel cells as well as of disposing of them at the ends of their useful lives.

Are wind-turbine factories powered by wind, or are solar-panel factories (many of which are located on China’s mainland) sun powered? I don’t think so. Moreover, some of the components of solar panel cells are toxic. One cannot simply bury them in the local landfill once worn out, even if that is 20 years in the future. Wind turbines also kill birds and roughly 1 million bats every year.

So, where do the stock divesters draw the line in the green energy supply chain? At the manufacturing stage, or at an earlier one at which the steel, aluminum or other critical inputs necessary to produce windmills and solar panels are made? At the mine, where iron ore and other mineral ores are extracted using fossil-fuel powered capital equipment? At the stage when factories are built and brought online? At the Middle Ages, when all humans were short-lived locovors? Or at the Garden of Eden?

Hollywood types and college students seem to think that wind turbines and solar panels are created out of thin air. They plainly are not conceived immaculately. Because renewable energy sources are not yet economically viable on commercial scales and would not be so even on more modest scales in the absence of taxpayer-financed subsidies, Mr. DiCaprio and his fellow divesters are posing as saviors of the planet by trying to impose their personal preferences on all other Americans and ignoring the production processes for their pet environmental solutions for global warming or other contributors to so-called climate change.

Although I am pleased that the divestors are paying personally to indulge those discriminatory preferences, as everyone in a free market must do, I question Mr. DiCaprio’s motives, among which is to sell tickets to the soon-to-be-released Revenant, to curry favor with fellow guests at Hollywood cocktail parties and to be invited to testify before starry-eyed members of congressional committees.

Assuming that Divest Invest and the managers of college endowment portfolios hold enough shares in oil and gas companies to matter, dumping them will lower share prices and create opportunities for non-politically correct investors to get back into the market on favorable terms. But remember that my investment advice carries no guarantee of positive future returns!


Big Green’s immorality

Is it moral to cause people to starve in Africa, because you prefer to burn corn for fuel here in America?

Is it moral to have as a goal to create regulations that drive energy and electricity costs up with the poor being disproportionately harmed?

Or, is it moral to invest and produce domestic energy that lowers energy costs for all, which obviates the need for burning food for fuel?

If you answered the latter, welcome to supporting the free enterprise approach to wealth creation that lifts all boats rather than the green agenda designed to exacerbate energy poverty around the world.

Over the course of the past five to seven years, America has been on the precipice of an unprecedented energy revolution that would drive costs for electricity down, creating a virtuous economic cycle fueled by increased manufacturing sector growth and the resulting high paying jobs.

The sticking point has been President Obama’s radical environmental regulatory agenda.  An agenda that is less about climate change, and more about fundamental economic transformation.  Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, stated as much when at a recent conference in Brussels she said, “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution.”

When viewed through the rubric of this admission that climate regulations are really about displacing capitalism as the dominant economic system, then it is understandable why President Obama persists in pursuing limited value regulations that destroy America’s opportunity to maintain our position as the dominant economic power in the world.

Whether it be an oil pipeline running across the Canadian border, or the oil and natural gas miracle produced by ingenuity, private investment and hard work that has led to an abundance beyond any futurists imagination, to Obama and the radical greens, they are threats that must be stopped.

The immorality of choosing transformation to an economic system that thrives on the theft of both intellectual and personal property in order to give it to someone who is more politically favored over one that breeds good jobs and hope for people of all economic classes is obvious.

Yet, these greenies who worship at the altar of the goddess Gaia and justify spiking trees and jeopardizing lives to stop timbering, have somehow become perceived as the idealistically moral, while those who fight to preserve a system that has made America the greatest nation to ever exist on the earth are vilified.

It is Harold Hamm of Continental Resources, and others like him who have risked, cried and fought to find a way to extract oil and natural gas from shale at an affordable cost, bringing it to market and driving prices of energy down who are the heroes.

They have been the ones whose actions based upon a desire to make a profit, have stimulated the economy through less expensive gasoline and lower costs for natural gas fueled electricity generation.  The prime beneficiaries of these cost savings are millions of families who have not seen their wages go up for years, but now pay less for the gasoline in their car.

Unfortunately, it is these same families who have not benefitted from lower electricity bills, as Obama’s climate cops have forced more than 72 gigawatts of electricity to be taken off line, negating the energy supply advantage by destroying the electricity suppliers.

When a family needs to heat their home and wants to buy a wood burning stove, Obama’s EPA jihadists will have removed all but the most expensive alternatives from the marketplace due to a wood burning regulation.

And Obama’s power plant rule is expected to increase electricity costs by 16 percent in spite of our nation’s energy abundance with the poorest consumers bearing the brunt of the cost burden both in personal home heating and the lack of job opportunities as the manufacturing boom is stymied.

The green agenda is nothing more or less than an attack on America’s poorest citizens by those who envy our nation’s wealth and want to transfer it overseas, no matter who gets hurt.

This is the green immorality, and it is time that people recognize it as just that.


Time to Prosecute the EPA Like Any Other Company

Last month, the EPA caused a spill of toxic waste into the Animas River in Colorado. That event demonstrates that even the federal agency responsible for regulating the disposal of hazardous waste can make mistakes that lead to environmental contamination. It also proves that the federal government plays favorites in criminal environmental enforcement.

If private parties had been responsible for the spill, the odds are good that the federal government would have opened a criminal investigation. The government has prosecuted private companies and private parties for other negligent spills. Just ask Edward Hanousek.

A railroad roadmaster, Mr. Hanousek was responsible for a rock quarrying project at a site near the Skagway River in Alaska. One evening in 1994, while Mr. Hanousek was at home, a backhoe operator trying to remove rocks from a nearby railroad track hit a pipeline. The accident caused 1,000-5,000 gallons of heating oil to spill into the nearby river.

Mr. Hanousek was charged with criminal negligence under the Clean Water Act. He was convicted for the negligent discharge of oil and sentenced to six months in prison, another six months in a halfway house, and six more months of supervised release.

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If a 1,000- to 5,000-gallon spill into the Skagway River merited criminal prosecution, the EPA’s 3-million-gallon spill of toxic mine water into the Animas River spill justifies criminal prosecution, too.

But there is more. In past cases, the government has successfully argued that corporate officers and managers should be held liable for the misdeeds of subordinates even if the officers and managers had no hand in any illegal conduct.

The Justice Department persuaded courts to adopt the tort doctrine of “respondeat superior”—“let the master answer”—for the acts of his employees. Under that theory, the EPA administrator and regional director should be personally charged with the negligent discharge of hazardous waste.

Yet the Justice Department does not apply the same rules to private parties and government officials. The public should ask, “Why not?”

If private parties should be held criminally liable for negligent violations of the federal environmental laws, why not EPA employees? If a company president should be held liable for the misdeeds of the firm’s low-level personnel, why not the EPA administrator? The same rules should apply whether the responsible party works in the private sector or the public sector.

It should be no defense that senior EPA federal officials could not perform their supervisory duties if they must manage the day-to-day work of every subordinate. The same is true of a company’s president, and the federal government has not excused senior business officials on the theory that they cannot hold upper-level positions while doing a company’s lower-level work.

Even if the EPA administrator were too remote from this spill to be held responsible, that conclusion would not apply to the director of the region. Each director has only one region to manage, not the entire nation. After all, a plant manager does not receive immunity from prosecution for the misdeeds of his employees even though he cannot monitor everything going on in his plant. If so, why should senior federal officials in a parallel position get off scot-free?

Even the EPA recognizes that its officials should be held to the same standards that the government applies to private parties.

“We’re going to continue to work until this is cleaned up,” Regional Director Shaun McGrath told a local gathering of Colorado residents, “and hold ourselves to the same standards that we would anyone that would have created this situation.”

There is no reason to let government officials slide when the government prosecutes private parties for the same conduct.

It’s time for the government to choose: Either stop prosecuting private parties for negligence or make the senior EPA officials stand in the dock. Sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander.


Australia: Ideology distorts climate measurements

Jennifer Marohasy replies to some ignorant propaganda

For the true believer, it is too awful to even consider that the Australian Bureau of Meteorology could be exaggerating global warming by adjusting figures. This doesn’t mean, though, that it’s not true.

In fact, under prime minister Tony Abbott, a panel of eminent statisticians was formed to investigate these claims detailed in The Australian newspaper in August and September last year.

The panel did acknowledge in its first report that the bureau homogenised the temperature data: that it adjusted figures. The same report also concluded it was unclear whether these adjustments resulted in an overall increase or decrease in the warming trend.

No conclusions could be drawn because the panel did not work through a single example of homogenisation, not even for Rutherglen. Rutherglen, in north­eastern Victoria, is an agricultural research station with a continuous minimum temperature record unaffected by equipment changes or documented site moves but where the bureau nevertheless adjusted the temperatures.

This had the effect of turning a temperature time series without a statistically significant trend into global warming of almost 2C a century.

According to media reports last week, a thorough investigation of the bureau’s methodology was prevented because of intervention by Environment Minister Greg Hunt. He apparently argued in cabinet that the credibility of the institution was paramount — that it was important the public had trust in the bureau’s data and forecasts, so the public knew to heed warnings of bushfires and ­cyclones.

Hunt defends the bureau because it has a critical role to play in providing the community with reliable weather forecasts.

This is indeed one of its core responsibilities. It would be better able to perform this function, however, if it used proper techniques for quality control of temperature data and the best available techniques for forecasting rainfall.

There has been no improvement in its seasonal rainfall forecasts for two decades because it uses general circulation models. These are primarily tools for demonstrating global warming, with dubious, if any, skill at actually forecasting weather or climate.

Consider, for example, the millennium drought and the flooding rains that followed in 2010.

Back in 2007 and 2008, David Jones, then and still the manager of climate monitoring and prediction at the Bureau of Meteorology, wrote that climate change was so rampant in Australia, “We don’t need meteorological data to see it”, and that the drought, caused by climate change, was a sign of the “hot and dry future” that we all collectively faced.

Then the drought broke, as usual in Australia, with flooding rains.

But the bureau was incapable of forecasting an exceptionally wet summer because such an event was contrary to how senior management at the bureau perceived our climate future.

So, despite warning signs evident in sea surface temperature patterns across the Pacific through 2010, Brisbane’s Wivenhoe dam, originally built for flood mitigation, was allowed to fill through the spring of 2010, and kept full in advance of the torrential rains in January 2011.

The resulting catastrophic flooding of Brisbane is now recognised as a “dam release flood”, and the subject of a class-action lawsuit by Brisbane residents against the Queensland government.

Indeed, despite an increasing investment in supercomputers, there is ample evidence ideology is trumping rational decision-making at the bureau on key issues that really matter, such as the prediction of drought and flood cycles. Because most journalists and politicians desperately want to believe the bureau knows best, they turn away from the truth and ignore the facts.

News Corp Australia journalist Anthony Sharwood got it completely wrong in his weekend article defending the bureau’s homogenisation of the temperature record. I tried to explain to him on the phone last Thursday how the bureau didn’t actually do what it said when it homogenised temperature time series for places such as Rutherglen.

Sharwood kept coming back to the issue of “motivations”. He kept asking me why on earth the bureau would want to mislead the Australian public.

I should have kept with the methodology, but I suggested he read what Jones had to say in the Climategate emails. Instead of considering the content of the emails that I mentioned, however, Sharwood wrote in his article that, “Climategate was blown out of proportion” and “independent investigations cleared the researchers of any form of wrongdoing”.

Nevertheless, the content of the Climategate emails includes quite a lot about homogenisation, and the scientists’ motivations. For example, there is an email thread in which Phil Jones (University of East Anglia) and Tom Wigley (University of Adelaide) discuss the need to get rid of a blip in global temperatures around 1940-44. Specifically, Wigley suggested they reduce ocean temperatures by an arbitrary 0.15C. These are exactly the types of arbitrary adjustments made throughout the historical temperature record for Australia: adjustments made independently of any of the purported acceptable reasons for making adjustments, including site moves and equipment changes.

Sharwood incorrectly wrote in his article: “Most weather stations have moved to cooler areas (ie, areas away from the urban heat island effect). So if scientists are trying to make the data reflect warmer temperatures, they’re even dumber than the sceptics think.”

In fact, many (not most) weather stations have moved from post offices to airports, which have hotter, not cooler, daytime temperatures. Furthermore, the urban heat island creeps into the official temperature record for Australia not because of site moves but because the record at places such as Cape Otway lighthouse is adjusted to make it similar to the record in built-up areas such as Melbourne, which clearly are affected by the urban heat island.

I know this sounds absurd. It is absurd, and it is also true. Indeed, a core problem with the methodology the bureau uses is its reliance on “comparative sites” to make adjustments to data at other places. I detail the Cape Otway lighthouse example in a recent paper published in the journal Atmospheric Research, volume 166.

It is so obvious that there is an urgent need for a proper, thorough and independent review of operations at the bureau. But it would appear our politicians and many mainstream media are set against the idea.

Evidently they are too conventional in their thinking to consider such an important Australian ­institution could now be ruled by ideology.



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29 September, 2015

Britain's new nuclear power station will just be a very  expensive sop to the Warmists

On his visit to China this week, the chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne, announced a £2 billion loan guarantee to Chinese companies to build a new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset. Since the plant will be built by private firms taking on eye-watering amounts of debt that will be paid off over decades, the loan guarantees are essential in order to keep the interest rates on that debt down to a minimum. Otherwise, lenders would have to build in a substantial risk premium in order to justify doling out the cash.

Hinkley Point C should be good news for a variety of reasons. Nuclear power stations, despite accidents at badly built or elderly plants at Chernobyl and Fukushima, have an excellent safety record compared with other sources of power. They are reliable, providing ‘base load’ power for roughly 90 per cent of the time (compare that with 25 per cent of the time for wind turbines) and have low running costs because they need comparatively little fuel once they are up and running.

Moreover, after decades of nuclear being out of fashion, getting one plant built would hopefully open the door to many more. Having built and fired up the first UK nuclear plant since Sizewell B in 1995, the experience gained would enable future plants to be built more cheaply. Generating power from a number of different sources – coal, gas, nuclear, renewables – would provide greater security of supply, too.

But the deal the UK government has struck for Hinkley Point C looks very expensive. The operator, EDF, has been promised a guaranteed price for its power of £92.50 per megawatt hour. (Another station in the pipeline, Sizewell C, has been offered a guaranteed £89.50 per megawatt hour.) That made some sense when it was thought that prices for fossil-fuel generation of electricity would shoot up over the next decade. But prices have recently fallen for coal and gas, bringing the wholesale price for electricity down to around £44 per megawatt hour. That’s one hell of a premium, one that will be index-linked to inflation and guaranteed for 35 years – time enough to pay off the plant. As commentators have pointed out, a nuclear plant should be able to operate for 60 years. EDF will be raking it in for decades after that. One consultancy described the Hinkley Point deal as ‘economically insane’.

Nuclear power should be much cheaper than that, and currently, it is. The electricity from Sizewell B now costs around £60 per megawatt hour. But the layering of regulation upon regulation to make nuclear very, very, very safe has resulted in ballooning costs. The government wouldn’t be touching this deal with the proverbial barge pole were it not for the overriding concern of climate change. Ministers know that a low-carbon economy is impossible without nuclear, especially if we replace all our current gas heating and petrol cars with electric versions.

It’s a ‘price worth paying’, if you believe environmentalists. But that just seems like bad policy. Whatever damage climate change might cause, making energy much more expensive will definitely do quite a lot of damage, from making some kinds of industrial production uneconomic through to freezing poor pensioners to a hypothermic death in winter. Isn’t there a better way?

It would help nuclear’s cause if we started slashing some of the regulation required to build new plants, though that seems highly unlikely. It would also help if we started to factor in the hidden costs of renewable energy when discussing which path to take. Gas-fired power stations are required to make up for shortfalls in renewable energy supply. But turning such plants on and off constantly – or running them unconnected to the grid when renewables are supplying power – is extremely inefficient, bumping up the cost. That extra cost should be added to the price of renewable power when we make comparisons. We also know that whereas renewables take up a lot of space – cluttering every spare hill with more turbines – nuclear has a comparatively tiny ‘footprint’.

But maybe we should just admit that we can’t do all that much about a low-carbon economy right now. According to the International Energy Agency, even if we were fairly aggressive about introducing renewables, the world would still need fossil fuels for three quarters of our energy needs in 2035. For developing countries in particular, energy needs to be plentiful and cheap – and for now, that means coal and gas.

Instead, maybe we should be investing in developing better technology that is low carbon and economical to run. ‘Sceptical environmentalist’ Bjorn Lomborg has been banging on about this for years, and earlier this month David Attenborough fronted a call for an ‘Apollo-style’ programme to develop better renewables.

Focusing on research and development in the short term seems a much better bet than blowing a fortune on renewables and overpriced nuclear power stations. The costs in the long run would be much lower than rushing in now, and we could develop new power sources that would have benefits way beyond merely being low carbon.

As for Hinkley Point? It’s a crap deal, especially as the completion date keeps slipping back and the reactor design in question hasn’t actually worked in practice yet. For example, a similar reactor at Flamanville in France, due to come online in 2012, is now estimated to be up and running in 2018 – six years late and three times over budget. If Hinkley Point C could feasibly lead in the long run to a new generation of nuclear power stations at a much lower cost, it might be worth pressing ahead. But we can’t afford to keep cranking up energy bills for the sake of being seen to ‘do something’ about climate change.


Perp-walking the climate skeptics

It’ll be a sight to behold. A perp walk of PhDs.  A roundup of skeptical scientists who resisted joining the global-warming panic.

Picture it. White lab coats paddy-wagoned up to the courthouse and marched inside, single file, in leg chains, for a mass booking. Scrums of TV cameras jostling for position.

The perp walk of the “climate deniers” is a recommendation advanced with a straight face by 20 academics at Rutgers, Columbia and other institutions of purported higher learning.

These academic ayatollahs aren’t joking. (Ayatollahs never are.)

They have petitioned President Obama to collar climate-alarmism dissenters, along with their supposed corporate puppeteers, and prosecute them all under the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) provision of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970.

Yes, seriously. Round ‘em up, lock ‘em up. It’s the would-be Beer Hall Putsch of the 20 Profs, 2015.

Let’s call them the Shameless 20. There’s depressingly little media or academia outcry over their essentially fascist agenda.

Maybe this reflects the low status to which smug, lockstep liberalism has sunk in the muck of its own ideological catechism.

To the 20 — and no doubt many sympathizers — global-warming skeptics are conspirators egged on and financed by diabolical corporate oligarchs. The oligarchs, like cartoonish villains in a Batman movie, are bent on crushing humanity under a Yeti-size carbon footprint. And all for money.

They must be “stopped as soon as possible,” say the Shameless 20, “so that the world can get on with the critically important business of finding effective ways of stabilizing the Earth’s climate....”

Sinister pecuniary motives are automatically ascribed to the skeptics. But the most noble of motives are assumed for activist alarmists who divvy up tens of millions of dollars in government and foundation grants for churning out cataclysmic global-warming scenarios in the guise of objective scientific inquiry.

The Shameless 20 began their petition to President Obama with a shamelessly obsequious gesture, hailing his “aggressive and imaginative use of government.”

Now, said the 20, His Most Exalted High Excellency the Prez must go a hop, skip and jump further. Forget Hillary and her mishandling of classified information. Let’s address the greater threat of the Enemy Within — scientists who balk at signing off on the fashionable, politicized postulates and policy prescriptions of climate change.

Some brave souls — not many, some — have dared to question the authoritarian nature of the Shameless 20’s recommendation. Physicist Peter Webster, an MIT PhD and professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology, pointed out to them: “You have signed a death warrant for science.”

Such words, though, no doubt are lost on the Shameless 20, who are also obviously the Clueless 20.

Beyond the ominous letter from the 20 is this ominous consideration:

President Obama may not need any goading to unkennel the doberman pinschers of the Department of Justice and other bureaucracies and turn them loose on scientists who question political orthodoxy on climate.

Obama has done more than any politician, excepting possibly Al Gore, to politicize a complex issue that’s still being researched and debated in scientific circles. Obama has falsely declared the issue of climate change “settled.”

He has perpetuated the urban myth that “97 percent” of scientists believe humans are the cause of global warming.

This “97 percent” myth traces back to a paper by activist academics at Queensland U., Australia. The academics said they read the summaries of 11,000 climate research reports to get an idea where science stands on the issue.

If Obama ever actually reads the paper he relies on to support his political agenda and shut off scientific inquiry, he’ll discover the following: 66.4 percent on the summaries cited in the Queensland U. paper took no position on the human role in global warming. The paper’s authors said so themselves.

It needs to be restated, over and over, that there aren’t really “climate deniers.”

There are skeptics. And some of them are among the world’s most brilliant scientists, such as Princeton’s Freeman Dyson, often identified as the successor to Albert Einstein.

Dr. Petr Chylek specializes in space and remote sensing sciences at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. He’s a fellow of the American Geophysical Union. And a skeptic. He says:

“It seems that some of the most prominent leaders of the climate research community, like prophets of old Israel, believe they can see the future of humankind and that the only remaining task is to convince or force others to accept and follow....” He adds:

“Let us admit that our understanding of climate is less perfect than we have tried to make the public believe.”

The skeptics note that there has been climate change throughout the planet’s history. At the contentious core of the issue are these questions:

1. How much warming is attributable to human activity and how much to “natural variation” as a result of solar activity, atmospheric hydrological feedbacks and other known factors influencing climate? This is a question of intense, ongoing debate.

2. And in any case, what can realistically be done — if anything at all at this stage — to alter the course of climate without driving up electricity and gasoline prices and hobbling the economy, thereby drying up R&D funds for potential breakthroughs on clean energy alternatives?

In regard to No. 2, keep in mind that solar and wind, currently, are reckoned to come nowhere close to meeting future energy needs. Also, China is the world’s biggest producer of “global warming greenhouse emissions” and not subject to EPA rules and regs.

A Cal Tech-trained physicist now at NYU puts the climate issue in clarifying perspective. Human influences on climate are “physically small in relation to the climate system as a whole,” says Steven Koonin.

He notes that “human additions to carbon dioxide in the middle of the 21st Century are expected to directly shift the atmosphere’s natural greenhouse effect by only 1 percent to 2 percent.”

Koonin goes on to say: “Since the climate system is highly variable on its own, that smallness sets a very high bar for confidently projecting the consequences of human influence.”

Uh oh. Koonin had better watch what he says. This former science adviser to President Obama just might find himself among the chain gang of perp-walked PhD skeptics rounded up by his old boss on a RICO rap.


Pope Doesn't Say Much About Climate After All

"Global warming" or "climate change" not mentioned

Many observers feared (or hoped) that Pope Francis would pontificate on man-made global warming and the need for government solutions in Thursday’s address to Congress. But it wasn’t to be. Here’s the extent of his remarks on the topic:

"This common good also includes the earth, a central theme of the encyclical which I recently wrote in order to enter into dialogue with all people about our common home. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concerns and affects us all. In “Laudato Si,” I call for a courageous and responsible effort to redirect our steps and to avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity. I am convinced that we can make a difference and I have no doubt that the United States — and this Congress — have an important role to play. Now is the time for courageous actions and strategies, aimed at implementing a culture of care and an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature."

At first hearing, there’s really not much for conservatives who are conservationists to disagree with there. But there are two key problems: the pope’s assertion that climate change is “caused by human activity,” and who he addressed his comments to — Congress. The science is far from settled on the cause or reach of climate change (humans do impact the environment, but how much is the question), and most proposals before Congress involve hampering economic activity — i.e., exacerbating and not “combating poverty” — to fight a supposed menace we don’t fully understand.


When Energy Efficiency Becomes Harmful

One of the benefits claimed by the environmental Left in regards to the Clean Power Plan is its impact on Americans' health. According to an EPA fact sheet, the regulations are expected to eradicate 3,600 pollution-related premature deaths annually once fully implemented — a finding mimicked by a supposedly independent study that wasn’t so independent after all.

The EPA fact sheet also asserts that 90,000 asthma attacks will be prevented each year. “Because these pollutants can create dangerous soot and smog, the historically low levels mean we will avoid thousands of premature deaths and have thousands fewer asthma attacks and hospitalizations in 2030 and every year beyond,” the EPA website states. Of course, any effort to clean up the environment — albeit without unconstitutional government mandates — is praiseworthy. The danger comes when authority figures begin dictating rules in the name of “settled science.”

Which raises an interesting point about the EPA’s asthma claims, courtesy of our friends across the pond. A new study out of Great Britain, a nation that’s likewise in the process of slashing carbon emissions, suggests energy efficiency may actually be harmful to our health. The Guardian reports, “The number of Britons with asthma could almost double by 2050 because the air inside homes is becoming more polluted as they become more energy-efficient, a new report warns.”

How so? “Airborne pollutants created by cooking, cleaning and using aerosols such as hairsprays will increasingly stay indoors and affect people’s health as homes are made ever more leak-proof to help meet carbon reduction targets, a report by Professor Hazim Awbi claims.”

Ironic, isn’t it, that spending more time indoors — and expecting to be shielded from the elements thanks to “green” directives — can theoretically leave you worse off than enjoying the outdoors, where the atmosphere is designed to regulate fossil fuels naturally. It’s the law of unintended consequences.

There’s a reason human progress is best left to the free market. Life expectancy and wealth are remarkably higher today thanks to the fossil fuel industry. And the private sector has managed to increase efficiency and drastically decrease pollution through new technologies. Beware of leftists bearing gifts in the name of “settled science.”


The Cost of Regulation

Bad laws create bad behavior

Volkswagen is in hot water with the EPA, after revelations that 11 million of its vehicles employ covert software designed to trick emissions testers. While being tested, the cars switched to a more efficient mode in order to beat the regulations, afterwards switching back to a higher performance (and hence higher emissions) method of operation.

Of course, the company is being widely condemned as criminal, negligent, and downright evil. The charge is not wholly without merit; Volkswagen did break the law, and they did misrepresent their vehicles to consumers, none of which should be tolerated. But there’s a more interesting point here, which is the way regulations affect the behavior of companies, and the waste that results.

One of the mistakes regulators frequently make is assuming that they can simply control behavior by decree. When the EPA issues a ruling that emissions cannot exceed a certain level, it goes without saying that companies will abide by the rule, and that will be that.

In reality, people respond to incentives, and if you use the law to try to stop people from doing something that benefits them, you can bet that many, if not most, will try to find away around compliance. A great example of this is the tax code. The extreme complexity of the tax code has resulted in a huge industry of accountants and lawyers devoted to finding loopholes, deductions, and other ways to protect their clients’ money from the IRS. If taxes were low, flat, and fair, the immense amount of resources devoted to this industry could be employed in actually producing something, rather than in merely avoiding the tax collector. Environmental regulations work the same way.

Volkswagen had to spend time and money to develop and install the software used to beat emissions detectors in 11 million of their cars. They had to cover their tracks to ensure they weren’t caught, and now they are facing huge fines, legal fees, and plummeting stock prices as a result of the scandal. Innocent employees will lose their jobs, and perfectly good cars will be pulled off the market, reducing the supply of vehicles and therefore driving up the cost. The spillover effects are likely to damage the entire German auto industry for years to come.

All this represents a huge waste of resources, a waste that could have been avoided in the absence of strict emissions regulations in the first place. All of that time and money could have been spent producing better cars, or giving consumers a discount. All of those resources could have been used productively, instead of to the non-productive activity of evading regulations. You can argue that it’s Volkswagen’s fault for not playing by the rules, but economics recognizes that people will always be self-interested, and as long as there are regulations, there will be people trying to evade them. Volkswagen is certainly neither the first nor last company to spend money to get around environmental rules.

Instead of imposing mandates that invite unproductive cheating, why not allow consumers a choice? If Volkswagen’s cars are so bad, why not let consumers reject them? And if they are not all that bad, why not let people buy them? We never would have emerged from the grimy, soot-covered youth of the industrial revolution if factory owners had spent all their time dealing with regulations instead of coming up with new technologies. The same incentives apply today. So while we should rightly condemn Volkswagen for cheating, we owe it to ourselves to ask why it was necessary for them to cheat in the first place, and whether we are actually made better off by a system that diverts productive activity towards illicit, black market behavior.


Australian coal industry to benefit from China carbon trading, says MCA

Australia's struggling coal industry stands to gain from China's surprise move to adopt a carbon trading system that puts a price on emissions, says the Minerals Council of Australia.

MCA chief executive Brendan Pearson said Australia had "a big advantage in this new era" because its coal exports were ideally suited to the new-generation, coal-fired power plants China was rolling out to help cut emissions.

"Far from being a threat, there is a real opportunity for Australia's coal sector in China's efforts to reduce emissions at lowest cost," Mr Pearson told Fairfax Media.

"There is a huge misconception that lower emissions and coal use are incompatible. That is dead wrong."

"Over the last eight years China's embrace of new coal generation has achieved emissions reductions 10 times those achieved by the European Union's emissions trading scheme."

The MCA is confident China will continue its huge rollout of high-energy, low-emissions, coal-fired power plants.



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

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


28 September, 2015

Big British power generator pulls out of Government's £1bn green energy project

Drax blames cuts in support for renewable energy for its decision not to build a carbon capture and storage facility next to its North Yorkshire power station

A £1bn green energy plan backed by the Government has been dealt a major blow after one of the UK’s top power companies pulled out of the project.

Drax blamed cuts in support for renewable energy for its decision not to build a carbon capture and storage facility next to its North Yorkshire power station.

"We’ve also got concerns about the government’s future support for the low carbon agenda"
Peter Emery, Drax

“Critical reversals” in Government policy had led to “a severe impact on our profitability” and made it too risky to proceed with the White Rose carbon capture plant, Peter Emery, the Drax board member chairing the group that oversees the project, told the Financial Times.

"We’ve also got concerns about the government’s future support for the low carbon agenda and that’s left us in a position where we are no longer confident we can persuade our shareholders that this is an attractive investment, given the obvious risks,” he added.

“The Government has to make difficult decisions based on affordability and, in turn, so are we."

The Conservatives’ measures to rein in green subsidies have put renewable energy projects under pressure.

No carbon capture projects have been built in the UK, despite the Government offering a £1bn incentive eight years ago. Energy ministers are understood to be committed to developing the technology in this country.

Drax had invested £3m into developing its carbon capture project, which takes harmful gases from burning coal and traps them underground.

Drax had invested £3m into developing its carbon capture project

Its partners in the plant's consortium - France’s Alstom and the BOC industrial gas group - said Drax's decision was "disappointing" but vowed to complete the deal.

Drax's moves leaves just one carbon capture and storage project running in the UK. Shell is retro-fitting the technology onto SSE's gas-fired plant at Peterhead in Scotland. Up to 10m tonnes of CO2 will be sent through the Golden Eye pipeline to storage sites in deep rock formations below the North Sea.

Luke Warren, chief executive of the Carbon Capture Storage Association, said: “While it is disappointing news for Drax that they will not be participating as an investor in White Rose, it is clearly positive that they recognise the value of this exciting project and are fully behind its development at the Drax site.

It is also encouraging to hear that Capture Power remains committed to the delivery of the project and the UK CCS commercialisation programme. White Rose is key to delivering real benefits to the Yorkshire and Humber region by developing the CO2 infrastructure that provides the foundation for a low-carbon industry in the region.

"The coming months are absolutely critical for CCS in the UK and the Government must successfully deliver two projects from the CCS competition in order to achieve its goals of delivering a cost-competitive CCS industry in the 2020s. Failure to secure this investment will set back CCS by more than a decade with profound implications for the UK's energy, industrial and climate policies."


Feds Decide Against Endangered Listing for Greater Sage-Grouse

In a video posted on Twitter on Tuesday Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife has determined that it is not necessary to protect the greater Sage-grouse in 11 western states by listing it as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

“Today I’m proud to mark a milestone for conservation in America,” Jewell said in the video. “Because of an unprecedented effort by dozens of partners across 11 western states, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that the greater Sage-grouse does not require protection under the Endangered Species Act.”

“An unprecedented, landscape-scale conservation effort across the western United States has significantly reduced threats to the greater sage-grouse across 90 percent of the species’ breeding habitat and enabled the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to conclude that the charismatic rangeland bird does not warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA),” a press release announcing the decision stated. “This collaborative, science-based greater sage-grouse strategy is the largest land conservation effort in U.S. history.”

A group of attorneys responded to the decision with a blog expressing the “relief” felt by western states that would have been impacted by the listing.

“On September 22, energy developers in the West breathed a sigh of relief when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced that the greater sage-grouse does not require protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA),” BakerHostetler’s North America Shale Blog said in an online posting on Wednesday. “The FWS noted that in 2010 it believed that ‘habitat loss, fragmentation, and inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms’ could warrant ESA listing for the grouse.

“Yet five years later, focused public-private conservation partnerships have borne fruit, as FWS now says that “[b]ased on the best available scientific and commercial information, we have determined that the primary threats to greater sage-grouse have been ameliorated by conservation efforts implemented by federal, state, and private landowners,’” the blog stated.

“BakerHostetler’s 80-attorney energy team is comprised of lawyers across the U.S. who are leaders in their respective fields in representing oil and gas clients,” according to its website.

The blog called the decision a “joint stewardship success story” that will benefit the energy boom in the United States.

“The past five years have seen a world-class boom in U.S. unconventional oil production, with a sizable share of that coming from the Intermountain West and basin and range country the sage-grouse inhabits. Indeed, Colorado, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming, which provide core sage-grouse habitat, have seen crude oil output double since the FWS began to consider listing the grouse in 2010,” the blog stated. “These states now produce approximately one of every 12 barrels of crude oil pumped in the U.S. each day.”

In the video, a vast landscape of sagebrush is shown as Jewell’s narrates.

“The greater sage-grouse is an amazing bird – unique to the vast sagebrush landscapes of the American West,” Jewell said. “One that historically used to ‘darken the skies’ as vast numbers took flight.”

Jewell also listed the threats to the Sage-grouse, including wildfires, weather and human development, but the overall message conceded that the states can manage their land and its resources without federal regulations.

“The FWS’s September 30, 2015 deadline to review the status of the species spurred numerous federal agencies, the 11 states in the range, and dozens of public and private partners to undertake an extraordinary campaign to protect, restore and enhance important sage-grouse habitat to preclude the need to list the species,” the announcement stated.

“This effort featured: new management direction for BLM and Forest Service land use plans that place greater emphasis on conserving sage-grouse habitat; development of state sage-grouse management plans; voluntary, multi-partner private lands effort to protect millions of acres of habitat on ranches and rangelands across the West; unprecedented collaboration with federal, state and private sector scientists; and a comprehensive strategy to fight rangeland fires,” it added.


Crazy Capers of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, commonly known as “PIK” has been among Germany’s foremost climate doomsayers, oops, I mean prognosticators.

Hardly a day goes by without one or the other PIK press releases telling the world that “we’ll all die if we do not … [decarbonize, or whatever]”. Some of their pronunciations even want you to think “we’ll all die, even if we do… [decarbonize, or whatever]” and that has nothing to do with the coming “Blood Moon” of Sep. 27/28, 2015, supposedly portending that the end of the world is nigh.

What are the poor schmucks like you and me to do in such a no-win situation?

The PIK is led by its founder and current president, Prof. Dr. HJ Schellnhuber, recently nominated member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, etc. Another outspoken doomsayer of the PIK is Prof. Dr. S. Rahmstorf. Actually, I think he’s running much of the daily doom-and-gloom show. From the (not exactly) melting Arctic sea-ice and the (not exactly) drowning polar bears, to the (not exactly) disappearing Antarctic ice shield and the (not exactly) dieing penguins, Rahmstorf and/or Schellnhuber have a finger-wagging answer for everything.

The fact that they are more wrong than right is immaterial, at least in their view – spare me with details. Actually, you can count yourself lucky to even get an answer to any question you may have about their numerous proclamations of climate doom and related items; presumably they are too busy to crack the whip over their new supercomputer to spit out the “correctly” prognosticated scenarios for 10,000 years from now or so. Just too bad that none of them will be around by then to be held accountable for their wrong predictions.

As of late, PIK’s messages of doom appear to be getting bolder and more deceptive than ever before.

For example, one of their latest “photos” shows “The ‘eternal ice’ of Antarctica,” as reproduced here (PIK-photo on left). Nice shot – if it were not “photo-shopped” to the hilt, as I suspect, despite their claim to the contrary. As it so happens, a very similar photo (shown on the right) taken approximately a year later by another expedition certainly looks more realistic (Jo Cox).

What’s even more deceptive in PIK’s picture is the caption with the phrase “eternal ice” that appears to have melted away, except for a few pieces still floating forlorn on the sea and two, possibly superimposed, images of icebergs. Well, that picture was taken near the Rothera Research Station,located close to the northern tip of the continent Antarctica at the latitude of 67.5 S and, therefore, barely within the Antarctic, as defined by southern polar circle. As the crow flies, that is about 2,500 km from the South Pole and, therefore, it is certainly not in a region of “eternal sea-ice.”

This “photo” by PIK comes with the latest warning of “Burning all fossil energy would raise sea-level by more than 50 meters – and eliminate all ice of Antarctica.” Further on, it states “Crossing this [2 degree C] threshold, however, would in the long run destabilize both West and East Antarctica…”

That 2 degree C threshold or, for that matter, any other “degree threshold” are purely figments of their exuberant imagination. There is no climate threshold in nature, no “tipping point” or other boundary of sorts; they are all myths. The height of PIK’s doomsayer irresponsibility must be the continued insistence on theircomputer simulation’s predictions being “right.”

PIK’s Computer Simulations

PIK‘s computer models are modeling the world “climate” and claim, for example, that anything past a two degree (C) warming will spell disaster for much of mankind. Of course, as they see it, the use of fossil fuels is the source of that claimed calamity. The German and some other governments have bought into such claims and want to do away with most or all of coal, oil, and natural gas for all purposes within three decades or so, or even sooner.

PIK’s latest news is even more astounding: On Sep. 11, 2015, their website referred to a new study to be published soon with the headline “Burning all fossil energy would raise sea-level by more than 50 meters – and eliminate all ice of Antarctica.” PIK’s computer spoke; we are all doomed… You can read up on all the gory details at Science Advances. Oh, no need to rush though, the study says “We examine the [Antarctic] ice-sheet evolution over the next ten thousand years with the Parallel Ice Sheet Model…” so you’ll have a few years to digest the info. By then, a revised model may give you the exact date …

Just remember though, 10,000 years ago,Canada, central Europe and much of Asia were covered with a thick layer of ice that disappeared, presumably, because some of our early ancestors lit fires in some caves producing copious amounts of carbon dioxide.

The “beauty” of all these computer models is that they can neither be proven nor disproven within a reasonable time frame. However, in the past 25 years or so, ALL of the highfalutin 100+ world-climate-prediction-super-computer models failed totally. None of them predicted the “warming-pause” but each thought to know best. Dr. T. Ball recently described the problem in detail in his post “Is It Time to Stop the Insanity of Wasting Time and Money on More Climate Models?” Even the most assertive (“extremely likely”) model predictions for a decade out made just a few years ago were well above the actual observed temperatures. Does anyone really think that such models can even vaguely predict the earth’s climate 10,000 years from now?

On the basis of such models, some deluded people appear to truly believe that the world can (and should) replace all that carbon-based energy with a few windmills and solar panels. However, that’s not yet the height of delusion; for example, Germany has also committed to phase out all nuclear power generation within a few years from now to be replaced with wind and sun energy, all at the same time.

Wind Energy

Indeed, if and when the wind blows strongly, the current 10,000+ windmills in Germany produce electric power. Even if you want to disregard the blight of such in the former natural landscape, even if you are willing to forget their disastrous effects on birds, bats, butterflies and other creatures, and even if you forget the demands for new country-side roads to just build and maintain the windmills, they are not the panacea claimed. In fact, many of these the windmills consumepower for blade pitch control, yaw (directional) control, blade icing prevention, gear and/or hub heating, even when they produce some. But it’s “good business” for their builders and owners as they have government-guaranteed construction benefits as well as feed-in tariffs and delivery-preference over other energy sources. In other words, they are buying their standby power for a few cents per kWh and selling their product at a guaranteed multiple of that—whenever the wind blows. It’s like having your cake and eating it too; a win-win situation for the windmill developers and a guaranteed-loss situation for all electricity consumers.

How unprofitable the wind-power is in much of Germany has been shown in a study on 1,200 systems there over the last 13 years. That study shows that 2/3rds of the wind-farms within Germany were operating with a loss, despite the subventions.

Of course, such a system only is possible with large government subsidies. In reality though, the “government” is you and me and every other taxpayer who is forced to pay that bill, including your and my children and grandchildren – and well into the future. However, I’ve not mentioned the even more crazy aspect of the wind-power systems, namely their typical operating life span before major repairs or costly “upgrades” are needed.
Windmill Operating Life

The purveyors of such “modern” versions of 12th century windmill technology are keen to quote a 20-25 year operating life for their monstrosities. Actual experience though is different. The average time for wind turbines operating without major problems is more like eight years. After that, very costly repairs to gear boxes and other “improvements” are needed. For example, the hamlet of Wildpoldsried in southern Germany recently blasted two wind-turbine towers into oblivion after only ten years of operation. Among the reasons given was the “difficulty to get spare parts.”

No wonder, from small villages in southern Germany to cities in Sweden, such wind-power installations are being replaced well before their previously touted “best before date” with newer, more “modern” and/or “more efficient” designs. Oh yeah, the new designs will be lasting so much longer than the old ones, paying for themselves (as well as the previous systems not yet paid for by lower than expected income from insufficient electricity production), provide a steady source of financial return for the communities, the investors, and the government coffers to boot.

In fact though, these communities and investors are doubling down on a losing proposition. Perhaps they would also like to buy some snake oil from me? I promise it will cure all ills, in no time flat, if not sooner.

Alternatively, how about an investment in PIK’s computer predictions?


Mark Levin Lambasts Environmental Movement: 'An Attack on Capitalism Is an Attack on Liberty'

Nationally syndicated radio show host Mark Levin, on his show Tuesday, lambasted the environmental movement as an attack on capitalism, and by proxy, an attack on liberty.

Levin said of the environmental movement, “It is an attack on capitalism, and by the way, an attack on capitalism is an attack on liberty. They’re intertwined.” Levin continued, “You cannot have a truly free society if the people aren’t free, if the people aren’t free to trade and to participate in commerce the way they wish to without certain limits.”

Levin said of the environmental movement:

“This whole global warming thing is a fraud. It’s being advocated by radical leftists, the old communists, through a new generation in Europe that they call the degrowth movement that they have exported to the United States. And it has become a religion, and the arguments become more and more idiotic and extreme, as I pointed out in ‘Liberty and Tyranny’ and I point out in ‘Plunder and Deceit.’

“But let’s make no mistake about it. It is an attack on capitalism, and by the way, an attack on capitalism is an attack on liberty. They’re intertwined. You can’t have a truly free society--and don’t give me Europe--you cannot have a truly free society if the people aren’t free to trade and to participate in commerce the way they wish to without certain limits, with certain limits, obviously, legally and so forth. But redistribution of wealth, or the government’s gonna take this and give it to that or the government’s gonna nationalize something or other. Okay. That’s tyranny.

“But this entire movement, this environmental movement, is a communist red movement. I’m not talking about those with their eyes wide open and idealists in this country who clearly are not. I am talking about the movement, the people behind it, the brains behind it, the people who run it, like the people who advocate this position: Naomi Klein.

“Naomi Klein: ‘Capitalism increasingly is a discredited system because it’s seen as system that venerates greed above all else.’

“Let me stop you there. Aren’t people who demand government benefits greedy? And they don’t earn them, so they’re worse than greedy. They’re stealing. They wanna use the law, politics, and government to steal from somebody else. Are they not greedy, though? Oh, you’re gonna get free health care. Well that’s greedy. You haven’t earned it. You haven’t produced it. What do you mean you’re gonna get free … They’re greedy too. Except, they don’t produce it.

“She says, ‘There’s a benefit to climate discussion to name a system that lots of people already have problems with for other reasons,’ and I read this to you before but it’s worth underscoring. She said, ‘I don’t know why it’s so important to save capitalism. It’s pretty battered brand. This focus on climate is getting us nowhere. Many, many more people recognize the need to change our economy. If climate can be our lens to catalyze this economic transformation that so many people need for other even more pressing reasons then that may be a winning combination. This economic system is failing the vast majority of people.’

“So this red movement is the environmental movement, is the anti-capitalism movement.

“And its attack, you know, a lot of you--particularly younger people--you love these Apple products. Apple wouldn’t exist but for capitalism, but for cutting edge technologies and technological advances. And I’ve read to you before, and I want to underscore this, Ayn Rand, in her book, ‘Return of the Primitive: The Anti-Industrial Revolution,’ that’s how she was defining this growing but nascent environmental movement. ‘Cause it’s not an environmental movement. It’s an anti-america, anti-capitalism, anti-free enterprise, anti-entrepreneur, anti-private property movement.”


In Blow To Environmentalists, Judge Overturns NYC Foam Container Ban

A New York judge overturned a law banning the use of foam containers in New York City Monday, in a blow to environmental efforts being pushed by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The law went into effect in January, but New York supreme court judge Margaret Chan overturned it on the grounds the material could be recycled in a cost-effective manner, reported The Guardian.

Polystyrene foam containers are used throughout the food industry for commonplace things like egg-cartons and to-go cups. Cities across the country have similar bans on foam containers, including Washington, D.C., Albany and Seattle.

Until Monday, New York was the largest city in America to enforce such a ban.

Chan referred to evidence the city could save $400,000 annually if 40 percent of its wasted plastic foam was not trashed, and with “machinery improvements,” as much as 75 percent of the foam could be recycled. She found 21 companies would buy used containers from the city.

Sanitation department commissioner Katheryn Garcia failed to state “the basis of her conclusions” in favor of the law, given the evidence contrary to her findings “clearly before her,” Chan wrote in her decision.

“These products cause real environmental harm, and we need to be able to prevent nearly 30,000 tons of expanded polystyrene waste from entering our landfills, streets and waterways,” de Blasio’s office said in a statement following the judge’s ruling, according to The Guardian. His office is “reviewing options to keep the ban in place.”


Australian conservatives' warning to new PM: don't touch Direct Action climate policy

West Australian Liberal Dennis Jensen welcomed the assurances of Environment Minister Greg Hunt, who said Australia would not be altering its climate change abatement measures in response to the Chinese development.

But asked if the party's right still had concerns about what Mr Turnbull might do, Dr Jensen said, "absolutely".  "It's one of the conditions of the leadership change that we are sticking with the policy we had," he told Fairfax Media.  "It's also in the [Coalition] agreement with the Nationals, as I understand it.

"We fought a very damaging leadership contest on this very climate policy [in 2009], and we will now need to tread with enormous care, put it that way," he said.

Another conservative, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "Turnbull gave two assurances to people who jumped into his camp: no change to marriage plebiscite and no change to Direct Action.

"But I fear we will now be softened up in the next couple of months leading into Paris talks with the argument that we didn't want to get ahead but now that the world has acted, we need to do more, and if that happens, things could become very interesting for Turnbull."

The warning to the green-inclined new Australian Prime Minister reflects concerns among climate sceptics about Mr Turnbull's longer-term plans for the area.

It came as a slew of policy options in tax, education, and other areas ruled out by the Abbott government were placed back on the table, and as China, the world's biggest polluter, prepared to announce a landmark cap and trade scheme to tackle climate change and the country's appalling air quality.

Mr Xi was also expected to pledge a "significant financial commitment" to help poorer nations move away from fossil fuels in a joint announcement with his US counterpart, Barack Obama.

While Mr Turnbull declined to comment, Mr Hunt was sent out to reassure nervous Liberals that the development out of Beijing would not lead to a similar move from Canberra.

"China's on track to be plus-150 per cent on its emissions from 2005 to 2030. We're on track to be minus-26 to minus-28 per cent, so any form of action by any country is welcome, but for us, we're getting the job done, we're doing it without a carbon tax, we're doing it by lowering electricity prices ... and we're reducing emissions in one of the most effective ways in the world," he told Sky News.

He said Australia was doing its part, and while China's move was positive, it was up to each country to work out what was best for it.

China and the US – the two largest economies and greenhouse gas polluters – are attempting to lead global action on climate change, and use their international clout to pressure other countries, including Australia, to do more.

Under Direct Action, the Australian government is paying companies and farmers to make emissions cuts, while also setting "baselines" for large polluting companies to try to put limits on their emissions.

A national Chinese emissions trading scheme would expand on existing pilot projects in seven Chinese cities already up and running.

The national market would open in 2017 and would cover industries including power generation and iron, steel and cement makers, according to the White House officials who briefed reporters in Washington.

Australia's Direct Action scheme has been criticised by some observers for lacking teeth and not being able to drive enough cuts to meet the country's international targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030.

However, some believe Direct Action could ultimately be turned into a form of emissions trading – called "baseline and credit" – in coming years if there is sufficient political will.

The Coalition government has said it will revisit climate policies in 2017-18 as part of an increasing focus on meeting the 2030 goals. Meanwhile, the Labor opposition has committed to introducing an emissions trading scheme as part of its platform for the next federal election.



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

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


27 September, 2015

The Vatican’s Advisors: An Unholy Alliance with the UN Global Warming Agenda

In the preparation and promotion of its widely touted encyclical, Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home, the Vatican relied on advisors who can only be described as the most extreme elements in the global warming debate.  These climate advisors are so far out of the mainstream they even make some of their fellow climate activists cringe. Many of these advisors oppose individual freedom and market economics and stand against traditional family values.

The Vatican and Pope Francis did not allow dissent or alternative perspectives to be heard during the creation and promotion of the encyclical. The Vatican only listened to activist voices within the climate movement.

Even more startling, many of the Vatican’s key climate advisors have promoted policies directly at odds with Catholic doctrine and beliefs. The proceedings of the Vatican climate workshop included activists like Naomi Oreskes, Peter Wadhams, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, and UN advisor Jeffrey Sachs.

Pope Francis’ advisors, and the UN climate agenda he is aligning himself with, are strong supporters of development restrictions, contraceptives, population control, and abortion.  Despite these strange bedfellows, the encyclical is clear in condemning abortion, contraception, and population control.

There has been nothing short of an “Unholy Alliance” between the Vatican and promoters of man-made climate fear. The Vatican advisors are a brew of anti-capitalist, pro-population control advocates who allow no dissent and are way out of the mainstream of even the global warming establishment.

Here are profiles of some of the key radical voices with whom the Vatican has associated itself.

* UN Advisor Jeffrey Sachs

Jeffrey Sachs, a special advisor to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, participated in a 2014 Vatican workshop on sustainability as well as in the Vatican summit on climate that took place in April 2015. Sachs was reportedly the author of the Pontifical statement, Climate Change and the Common Good:  A Statement of the Problem and the Demand for Transformative Solutions, issued on April 29, 2015.

Sachs, who is also the director of The Earth Institute, believes climate skeptics are responsible for the deaths of people due to alleged man-made, global warming driven, extreme storms. Sachs tweeted on November 10, 2014, that “Climate liars like Rupert Murdoch & the Koch Brothers have more & more blood on their hands as climate disasters claim lives across the world.”

Sachs is such a devoted salesman for UN “solutions” to global warming that he declared: “We’ve got six months to save the world or we’re all doomed.”

Many of Sachs’ views are at odds with Catholic teachings. Catholic activist Liz Yore detailed Sachs’ view on overpopulation.

“At a 2007 international lecture, Sachs claimed that ‘we are bursting at the seams.’ The focus of Sachs’ overpopulation mantra is primarily the continent of Africa. He argues that if only poor African countries would just lower their fertility rate, the world and Africa would thrive economically. This fear mongering is nothing new. Sachs is standing on the shoulders of Paul Ehrlich, architect of the ‘sky is falling’ deception perpetrated in his 1968 book, The Population Bomb.”

Yore concluded: It is “incomprehensible that the Vatican would be duped into thinking that the United Nations and its Millennium and Sustainable Development goals share common solutions for the world’s problems. The Catholic Church welcomes children as a gift from God. The UN Secretary General and Jeffrey Sachs want to limit children.”

In 2009, Sachs addressed the annual conference of the Party of European Socialists.  He described the “profound honor” of addressing the far-Left Party of European Socialists and said they were heirs and leaders of the most successful economic and political system in the world — Social Democracy. Social equity, environmental sustainability, and fiscal redistribution are the successful elements in managing a just society, Sachs maintained. This is, he argues, in marked contrast to the U.S., whose taxes are too low and where the poor are ignored.

In 2009, in advance of the Copenhagen UN climate meeting, Sachs called for a carbon levy, claiming that millions were suffering because of drought caused by Western-induced climate change. Sachs has advocated for a carbon tax and a financial transactions tax, a global health fund, a global education fund, and a global climate fund. Sachs’ Earth Institute at Columbia has included members of an external advisory board such as George Soros and Rajendra Pachauri, former UN IPCC chairman. Soros has funded Sachs via his Open Society Institute.

* German climate adviser Hans Joachim Schellnhuber

Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, who has called for the “creation of a CO2 budget for every person on the planet,” was appointed a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in June 2015 and was one of the four presenters of Pope Francis’ new encyclical on the environment. Schellnhuber was also a key player at the Vatican climate presentation in 2014.

Schellnhuber is an atheist who believes in “Gaia, but not in God.”  In 2015, Schellnhuber boasted about having climate skeptics excluded from participating in drafting the Pope’s climate encyclical.  The April 2015 Vatican climate summit in Rome banned a skeptical French scientist from attending because the organizers reportedly “did not want to hear an off note” during the summit.

Schellnhuber is a scientific activist who is mocked even by his fellow warmist colleagues. See: Warmist Ray Bradley trashes prominent warmist Hans Joachim Schellnhuber for “spouting bullsh*t”; Phil Jones says, “We all agree on that.”

At a meeting in Japan in 2004, Scientist Tom Wigley found prominent EU warmist Schellnhuber to be “a bit of a laughing stock among these people.”

Schellnhuber has also declared human society needs to be managed by an elite group of “wise men.”  He referred to this idea as his “master plan” for the “great transformation” of global society.

Schellnhuber’s views on population also are at odds with Catholic teachings. Echoing the claims of overpopulation guru Paul Ehrlich, he has claimed that when the Earth reaches nine billion people, which is projected to occur soon, “the Earth will explode” due to resource depletion.

Schellnhuber also berates those who disagree with him, calling his critics “vicious liars” and mocking Americans as “climate illiterate” for being skeptics.

* Naomi Oreskes

Climate historian Naomi Oreskes has been actively involved in helping produce the Papal encyclical. Oreskes wrote the introduction to Pope Francis’ book version of the encyclical.

Oreskes is perhaps best known for her calls for placing restrictions on the freedom of speech of global warming skeptics. Oreskes believes climate skeptics who dissent from the UN/Gore climate alarmist point of view should be prosecuted as mobsters for their tobacco lobbyist style  tactics. See: Merchants of Smear: Prosecute Skeptics Like Gangsters?! Warmist Naomi Oreskes likes the idea of having climate ‘deniers’ prosecuted under the RICO act (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act).

Critics of Oreskes fired back that it is Oreskes herself – not the skeptics — who uses the tactics of the tobacco lobby.

As a researcher, Oreskes’ body of work has not fared well among her peers.  She has been criticized by warmist and skeptical scientists alike. See: Statistician from the U. of Mass Amherst performs very polite savaging of claims of Naomi Oreskes.

Warmist scientist Tom Wigley wrote that Oreskes’ work is “useless”. Wigley wrote: “Analyses like these by people who don’t know the field are useless. A good example is Naomi Oreskes’ work.”

Warmist scientist William M. Connolley slammed Oreskes for “silly” and “shoddy” work. Connolley, a former UN IPCC scientist, wrote that he “eventually concluded that Oreskes was hopelessly wrong.” He explained that a high-profile Oreskes “paper seems to have been written around pre-arranged conclusions…it is unlikely that anyone outside the incestuous field of climate history scholarship will notice or care.”

Others have been equally uncharitable in describing Oreskes research. See: Warmist Naomi Oreskes taken down — “consistently misrepresents the meaning of statistical significance and confidence intervals” – “Oreskes, the historian, gets the history wrong”

Oreskes has been undeterred, continually ratcheting up climate alarmism to the point of silliness. See: Forget Polar Bears, cats & dogs to die! Warmist Naomi Oreskes prophesizes the climate deaths of puppies and kittens – Oreskes: “The loss of pet cats and dogs garnered particular attention among wealthy Westerners, but what was anomalous in 2023 soon became the new normal.”

Sadly, Pope Francis is allowing Oreskes, who equates climate change to a “Nazi atomic bomb,’” to write the introduction to the book-form of his encyclical.

More HERE  (See the original for links)

On climate change, Pope Francis isn’t listening to the world’s poor

Bjorn Lomborg

THE global elite has little idea what afflicts the poor, says Pope Francis. He’s right — but that observation sometimes applies to him, too.

In his US visit, the pope is already creating headlines about the urgent need to respond to climate change. Invoking the need to “protect the vulnerable in our world,” he calls for an end to humanity’s reliance on fossil fuels.

This comes after his June declaration that global warming is one of the pre-eminent problems facing the poor. The elite, he said, are out of touch if they don’t realise this: “Many professionals, opinion makers, communications media and centres of power, being located in affluent urban areas, are far removed from the poor, with little direct contact with their problems.”

But do the world’s poor believe that carbon cuts are a top priority? Since March 2013, the United Nations has sought citizens’ ranking of 16 policy priorities. More than 8 million people have participated, with nearly 3 million living in the least developed nations.

In fact, an education is the top priority for the world’s most disadvantaged, followed by better health care, better job opportunities, an honest and responsive government and affordable, nutritious food.

Both for the entire world and among the worst-off, climate comes 16th out of 16, after 15 other priorities. It’s not even a close race.

Poorly educated women from low-income countries are among the most vulnerable people on Earth, with the weakest voice in global discussions. Their top priorities are, again, health, education and jobs. Action on global warming ranks dead last. And in Africa, global warming also comes behind every other priority.

It’s only among those from the richest nations on Earth that global warming becomes more of a priority.

Even then, it ranks 10th. The world’s poor overwhelmingly say they want better health care and education, more jobs, an honest government and more food.

Pope Francis is right that the global elite often forget what the world’s poorest want. But it’s not action against climate change they clamour for, as he and many other well-meaning people claim.

Faced with this clear rejection, many climate campaigners somewhat patronisingly suggest that the poor don’t know what’s best for them. Warming, they note, worsens many problems afflicting vulnerable people — such as malaria.

Yes, rising temperatures mean malaria mosquitoes can become endemic in more places, possibly increasing infections, so not tackling global warming could worsen malaria.

But this is a blinkered way of looking at the world’s challenges, and leads us to the wrong responses.

Look at it this way: We could make a similar argument about malaria itself. If we don’t tackle it, millions will die — but a lot of other problems become worse, too. Lack of malaria treatment disrupts development, as sick children get fewer nutrients and their schooling suffers. Malaria-endemic societies have lower economic growth rates, so millions will be left in poverty longer.

What’s more, climate-change policies such as the cuts on fossil fuels are a terribly inefficient way to help malaria victims. The Kyoto Protocol’s carbon cuts could save 1,400 malaria deaths for about $258 billion a year.

By contrast, just $716 million spent on direct anti-malaria policies could save 300,000 lives. Each time climate policies can save one person from malaria, smart malaria policies can save more than 77,000 people.

This is true for a wide range of issues. Carbon campaigners are right that climate change could reduce agricultural yields. But helping directly with more research, better crop varieties, more fertilisers and less biofuels will cost much less and do much more good, faster.

The spectre of worse hurricanes is often raised as an argument for cutting CO2. But extreme weather mostly hurts the poor because they’re poor. When a hurricane hits Florida, few people die; a similar hurricane in Honduras or the Philippines can kill thousands and devastate the economy. Helping people out of poverty directly is thousands of times more effective than relying on carbon cuts.

Those who claim to speak for the poor and say that climate change is the world’s top priority are simply wrong. The world has clearly said it is the least important of the 16 priorities the UN focuses on.

And when those campaigners suggest the poor don’t know what’s best for them because carbon cuts will stop global warming from making all other problems worse, they’re wrong again. The poor are typically much better helped directly rather than via climate aid.

This doesn’t mean we should ignore global warming. It’s a real problem, and our advanced civilisation can address multiple problems at the same time. But we need to tackle warming much more smartly, with fewer resources and more impact. And we should truly listen to the world’s poorest, and focus much more on their real priorities.


Silence of the scientists: how the global warming RICO letter backfired

by Thomas Richard

As reported here last week, we exposed how 20 scientists sent a letter to President Obama and U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, which urged them to jail climate skeptics using provisions in the RICO Act. Today, three more climate scientists have chimed in on the affair at the popular climate site, NoTricksZone, and their responses to the now-infamous global warming RICO letter are both shocking and revealing. wegener

The letter, dated Sept. 1, argued that the "systemic efforts to prevent the public from understanding climate change resembles the investigation undertaken against tobacco" and called for jailing individuals and organizations involved in providing more balanced coverage in the climate change arena. After the letter was outed by both Politico and Climate Depot, a firestorm on both sides of the climate debate quickly erupted. Here is what three climate experts had to say about the silencing of the scientists:

Professor Judith Curry, a climate scientist at Georgia Tech who once argued for the disbandment of the IPCC, shared what she thought of the letter at the websiteNoTricksZone: "I am astonished by the naiveté of these scientists, who are damaging their reputation by their naive meddling in a complex policy debate." Noting that the U.S. would be picking a new president in 2016 and who could very well be Republican, she seemed amazed they didn't "realize that the tables could easily be turned on them if the political winds change."

Not only that, but those political winds would affect the "green advocacy groups and the scientists that engage with them." As a climate scientist, Curry also writes that the "science is sufficiently uncertain to allow several rational narratives for what has caused 20th century warming and how the 21st century climate will evolve." Aside from the damage they are inflicting on their own reputations, they are also damaging the public's "perception of scientists as trustworthy sources of information."

Her biggest concern, though, is that the "coercion of scientists implied by this letter will discourage objectivity in scientific research and will discourage scientists from entering/staying in the field of climate research." She also writes on her blog that what these scientists did with this letter is the "worst kind of irresponsible advocacy, which is to attempt to silence scientists that disagree with you by invoking RICO. It is bad enough that politicians such as Whitehouse and Grijalvi are playing this sort of political game with science and scientists," she says, "but I regard it as highly unethical for scientists to support defeating scientists with whom you disagree by such methods."

Another climate expert, Dr. Sebastian Lüning, considers the whole affair to be unprofessional. He writes that, "Rather than criminal lawsuits, we urgently need an objective 'scientific court' where arguments of both IPCC and skeptic sides are technically and open-mindedly discussed." Dr. Lüning thinks it is "undemocratic and unprofessional to silence scientists by legally threatening them if they do not subscribe to the official interpretation / party line."

He also writes that history is rife with examples where the pioneers in science, "such as Galileo Galilee or Alfred Wegener would have ended up in prison." The former, Galileo, did end up "sentenced to formal imprisonment" during the Inquisition. One day later, his sentence was commuted to house arrest, "where he remained under for the rest of his life."

The latter, Wegener, first advanced the theory of plate tectonics and was ridiculed by the scientific community for not being part of the "consensus" that the oceanic crust was too firm for the continents to move. Other geologists considered him an outsider, and a symposium was "specifically organized in opposition to his theory." As any fifth grader looking at a map of the world will tell you, it's pretty obvious that South America fits quite nicely into Africa, like two puzzle pieces on the same board.

And last but not least, Professor Nicola Scafetta of Duke University provided a succinct comment: "Let us hope that this evident politicization of science ends soon."


Strong evidence that Svensmark's solar-cosmic ray theory of climate is correct

by Magnus Cederlöf

Increasingly respected climate theory that cosmic rays impact global temperatures due to influence on cloud formation is given a real boost thanks to new evidence. svensmark

Swedish climate researcher, Magnus Cederlöf has performed a detailed analysis of climate data relating to cloud formation and found that there is strong correlation in favour of the theory of Henrik Svensmark (pictured). Svensmark is a physicist and professor in the Division of Solar System Physics at the Danish National Space Institute (DTU Space) in Copenhagen.

Magnus Cederlöf reports:
In the comments to my last post, led the signature "Slabadang" me on an interesting track. He claimed that the clouds varied in tune with the solar radiation. If this would be the clouds would have a negative feedback and thus balance the climate. I downloaded the satellite data from CERES to check his data.

Below is how the global cloud cover varies with the global solar radiation. The reason that solar radiation varies over the year is that the Earth is in an elliptical orbit around the sun. When we in the northern hemisphere has winter, we are therefore closest to the sun. However, it is the angle to the sun which means we have winter.
The global cloud cover and solar radiation variation over the year. The cloud cover is an average of the years 2000 to 2014.

So it is a poor correlation between cloud cover and solar radiation if you look at the Earth as a whole. However piling a completely different picture up if you instead look at the two hemispheres:

For the two hemispheres, there is thus a very good correlation between solar radiation and cloud cover. The reason that you can not see any correlation globally is likely that these variations are so much less that they drown out the noise of the large variations in the hemispheres.

It is thus clear that cloud cover increases when solar radiation increases. Then the sun's rays do not reach the earth's surface and then counteracts the clouds changes. The same must therefore apply to the carbon dioxide effect. When it increases, the clouds that counteract the temperature change. Here we have again an example that there is a negative feedback and not a positive feedback that the whole scare propaganda in climate science based.

Note also that the clouds are much larger in the southern hemisphere than it is in the northern hemisphere. The reason for this is that there are more clouds over the oceans, and there's a lot more sea in the southern hemisphere.

Climate sensitivity

It is thus more clouds in the southern hemisphere, and the temperature is also lower. Looking at 1000hPa level (near surface), the average temperature of the southern hemisphere 14.4C and for the northern hemisphere 16.5C. After millions of years of energy storage in the oceans of the southern hemisphere, then the temperature is still much lower.

One can not interpret it otherwise than that the oceans hold temperature. A major reason for this must be that the clouds in the southern hemisphere allows the sun's rays do not reach the earth's surface.

In the southern hemisphere, the average cloud cover 65.5% and in the northern hemisphere 57.6%, according to CERES-date. If the average solar radiation is 237W / m2 can then southern hemisphere approximately 7.9% of 237W / m2 = 18.7W / m2 less sun than the Northern Hemisphere. Now this is probably a little high counted for even if the cloud cover is 100%, the clouds themselves to radiate towards the Earth's surface.

The difference in temperature between the southern and northern hemisphere is thus 2.1c and the difference in solar is about 18.7W / m2. It allows every Watt / m2, equivalent to about 0.11 degree. A doubling of carbon dioxide levels will provide approximately 3.7W / m2, it therefore corresponds to approximately 0.4 degrees (climate sensitivity).

 Now I have probably figured a little low, since the change in insolation probably figured a little high, and there may also be other reasons that the temperature between the hemispheres differ. But it is still very far from the many degrees of climate sensitivity horror forecasts suggest. I have previously calculated the climate sensitivity of about 0.3 degrees by looking at seasonal variations (here).


Scientists Debunk Arctic ‘Death Spiral’ Claims

Current conditions in the Arctic are completely within normal climatic variability, according to peer-reviewed studies. Any ‘meltdown’ linked to climate change is not shown in the scientific evidence. arctic sea ice melt

 Western mainstream media has been giving prominence to the claims of a team of global warming alarmist researchers who have alleged the Arctic is showing the first signs of dangerous anthropogenic climate change. Articles have been written outlining "tipping points" in the region that together form a chain reaction leading to apocalyptic consequences. 

    These alarmists have stated that “Global heating and climate disruption has already forced Arctic sea ice into a new state of 'death spiral' meltdown and it is anticipated to disappear in Summer months within a decade, or even a few short years, many decades ahead of previous estimates.”

   They then go on to push an end of the world scenario of “The ALREADY accelerated escape of massive amounts of the powerful, heat trapping greenhouse gas, methane, buried in the frozen permafrost of northern Canada, Siberia and underwater ocean shelves, is of EMERGENCY, 'LIFE OR EXTINCTION'-SCALE CONCERN. (Yes, really!)”

    This is the state of the hysteria that is based on global warming starting a chain reaction of positive feedback loops.  Peer-reviewed scientific research highlighted below shows that the main drivers of these predictions all fail.

Arctic Sea Ice Variability

   Research shows that the Arctic has a long history of temperature swings and of sea ice cover (SIC):  “Grumet et al. (2001) used sea salt Na+ fluctuations in a 700-year ice core record from the Penny Ice Cap (southeastern Baffin Island) as a proxy for Spring sea ice concentration and found that there was an apparent near-doubling in [SIC] over the past century,”

   Also the East Arctic was ice free and experienced greater warming than at present a few thousand years ago. In a respected research paper titled “Decadal-scale sea ice changes in the Canadian Arctic and their impacts on humans during the past 4,000 years:  the authors quote that:

“Our data show that from ~6500 to 2600 BP, there were large oscillations in summer SST from 2–4°C cooler than present to 6°C warmer and SIC ranged from 2 months more sea ice to 4 months more open water. The warmer interval corresponds to the period of pre-Dorset cultures that hunted muskox and caribou. Subsequent marine-based Dorset and Neo-eskimo cultures correspond to progressively cooler intervals with expanded sea ice cover. The warming took ~50–100 years and lasted ~300 years before replacement by colder intervals lasting ~200–500 years"

   Another example of an ice free arctic is provided by the historically documents event of the Danes and Scandinavians sailing through the arctic during the Medieval Warm Period in 1122 AD. This is corroborated in an article title “Variations in Climate” by Alexander Beck, ME linked below.

   He states:

 “…it is precisely at this time that we find the Danes and several Scandinavian nations going through the Arctic open seas. Colonies are established by them in the highest northern latitude of Greenland, and the upper part of North America…”

   This history of variability in temperature regime and sea ice concentration in the Arctic puts the current warming of areas of the arctic into perspective. It cannot be said that current conditions are unprecedented.

   But it is alleged that the planet will now be pushed over a tipping point because of the addition of anthropogenic CO2. The drivers of this scenario are now examined.

Positive Feedback of Melting Permafrost Mitigated

Melting permafrost actually results in peat lands becoming increased sinks for CO2. Active peat lands have been shown to be a net sink for CO2 and therefore any methane released by the melting of the permafrost and their re-invigoration is   mitigated. As the permafrost degrades there is an increase in the amount of CO2 taken up by the peat lands which at the same time release some Methane. The overall effect is not one of a huge increase in greenhouse gases as one buffers out or mitigates the others effect on the atmosphere.

   Maria Strack explains the net flow of CO2 in detail in the renowned book “Peat lands and climate change”. This free publication states:

 “Several studies have documented increased rates of C storage as peat following surface permafrost degradation”. Also on page 13: “Currently peat-lands globally represent a major store of soil carbon, sink for carbon dioxide... “

   The authoritative book adds: “Thus in response to permafrost degradation peatlands are likely to become larger sinks for CO2.” (see Page 59).

More HERE  (See the original for links)

NOAA: Hurricane Drought Hits Record 119 Months

As of today, no major hurricanes, defined as Category 3 or above, have struck the continental U.S. in a record-breaking 119 months, according to hurricane data kept by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Hurricane Research Division (HRC) dating back to 1851.

Last year, President Obama warned that hurricanes will become “more common and more devastating” because of climate change.

But Obama is now the longest serving president (since the 1851 start of NOAA's data) not to see a major hurricane strike the U.S. during his time in office. He is also the first president since Benjamin Harris was in office 122 years ago to have no major hurricane strike during his term.

The last major hurricane to make landfall on the U.S. mainland was Hurricane Wilma, which came ashore on October 24, 2005.

That year was one of the most active hurricane seasons in recorded history, according to NOAA.

Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma all wreaked havoc on the U.S. during an intense two-month period between August 29 and October 24 of 2005.

However, during the nearly 10 years since Wilma struck the U.S., no major hurricanes have made landfall and none are expected by the end of the current hurricane season.

According to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, major hurricanes classified as Category 3 or above have sustained wind speeds of more than 111 miles per hour and are capable of causing “devastating” or “catastrophic” damage.

The previous record was an eight-year span during the 1860's in which no major hurricanes struck the U.S.

The current hurricane drought is “a rare event” that is “unprecedented in the historical record,” according to Timothy Hall, a hurricane researcher at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

Hall also said there is only a 39 percent chance that the current hurricane drought will end next year.

Researchers at the Centre for Marine Sciences at the University of the West Indies traced hurricane activity over the past 1,000 years by studying sediment deposits in Jamaica’s Grape Tree Pond, which gets very little precipitation outside of hurricane season.

“Our results corroborate evidence for the increasing trend of hurricane activity during the Industrial Era; however, we show that contemporary activity has not exceeded the range of natural climate variability exhibited during the last millennium,” according to a paper published August 5 in Nature.



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25 September, 2015

UK: It's an inconvenient truth, but the global warming zealots are to blame for the deadly diesel fiasco

Amid all the reporting of Volkswagen’s rigging of emission tests on its diesel cars, one inconvenient truth has been overlooked by the BBC and many media organisations. It is that we very largely owe the prevalence of these death-traps to the pernicious tyranny of the Green lobby.

That they are death traps can scarcely be denied. They spew out vastly more nitrogen oxide and nitrogen dioxide than petrol cars, both of which gases are potentially damaging, and 22 times more particulates — the minute particles that penetrate lungs, brains and hearts.

According to Martin Williams, professor of air quality research at King’s College London, diesel cars account for roughly 5,800 premature deaths a year in the UK alone. Other experts put the figure even higher.

Diesels are also mostly responsible for alarming increases in air pollution in our major cities, a particularly serious worry for the hundreds of thousands of people who suffer from asthma.

In a well-ordered society, you might expect the government to have discouraged the proliferation of diesel vehicles. In fact, egged on or bullied by the Greens and climate-change zealots, politicians over the past 20 years have been doing the precise opposite. It seems hard to believe, I know, but it’s true.


Twenty years ago, diesel cars constituted a tiny minority. But following the signing of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, most Western countries, including Britain, were legally obliged to reduce carbon dioxide emissions — alleged by some to cause climate change — by 8 per cent over the following 15 years.

Diesel cars produce slightly less — but only slightly — carbon dioxide than petrol ones. In 2001 the Labour government introduced a new tax regime whereby cars were taxed according to how much carbon dioxide they produce, a development that enormously favoured diesel over petrol. (Duty at the pump has been the same for petrol and diesel since 2000.)

Gordon Brown, then Chancellor, also introduced tax incentives to encourage company car buyers to plump for diesels. Across the EU, car manufacturers were encouraged to develop diesel models.

As a consequence, about half of new cars in Britain are now diesels. In some European countries such as France and Italy, where there have been similar inducements, the proportion is even higher.

When recently buying a new car, I was attracted to a diesel partly because its annual tax was only £40, in comparison to £150 for the petrol version, otherwise identical. Happily, my wife, who had read about the polluting effects of diesels, overruled me. Even I had been almost gulled by Green lobbyists and the blandishments of politicians into doing something that I would have regretted.

You may say ministers didn’t realise that diesels discharge dangerous emissions — but you would be wrong. A 1993 report published by the Department of the Environment was fully aware of the potentially lethal effects of diesel cars.

A senior civil servant, who worked for the Department of Transport at the time, is quoted in yesterday’s Guardian newspaper as saying: ‘We did not sleepwalk into this. To be totally reductionist [ie, in the simplest terms], you are talking about killing people today rather than saving lives tomorrow.’

In other words, if this mandarin is to be believed, it was thought preferable in Whitehall to accept the inevitable deaths of many thousands of people as a result of promoting diesels in return for the hoped-for long-term gain of saving an unknown number of lives at some time in the future as a consequence of reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

Isn’t this mad? And immoral? In the first place, Britain accounts for only 2 per cent of all global man-made carbon dioxide emissions, so a small reduction in that amount is hardly likely to avert the catastrophe which climate-change zealots believe is around the corner. And, in the second place, it’s by no means clear that any such Armageddon lies in store for mankind.


I am neither a climate-change zealot nor what is invidiously termed a ‘denier’. But the fact that there has been no recorded increase in global temperature over the past 17 years — a period during which carbon emissions have soared because of the rapid economic growth of countries such as China and India — suggests to me that we should treat the more hysterical claims of the Green lobby with caution.

But this is not an area of rational debate. If it were, politicians would not have given in to the bullying of the extremists who persuaded them to put the theoretical effects of climate change before the actual and proven damaging effects of pumping out nitrogen oxide and dioxide, and carcinogenic particulates.

It’s true, of course, that over the past decade or so car manufacturers have succeeded in reducing these nasty gases emitted by diesels, but they have not eliminated them. That is why Volkswagen found itself cooking the evidence, and trying to hoodwink the American authorities into believing that its cars discharge a lot less nitrogen oxide than they actually do.

Indeed, it is one of the ironies of this story that America — which, to the outrage of the climate-change lobby, did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol because of a certain scepticism about man-made climate change — is far sterner about vehicle pollution than any European country, including our own.

Haven’t they got it the right way round? A baby being pushed by her mother in a buggy, a cyclist and even an ordinary pedestrian walking along the pavement of a busy street are being exposed to unnecessary risks as a result of the completely foreseen dangers of diesel vehicles.

And if you are the blameless owner of a diesel car, which is liable to cause damage to other innocent people, you are justified in feeling that you have been misled by weak-minded politicians, who have, in turn, surrendered their good sense to a raucous and unreasoning mob.

This mob have got their priorities in a serious twist. Surely responsible environmentalists should have concentrated on the here and now, and opposed the explosion in the number of diesel cars. But many in the Green movement have their eyes fixed on a threat over the horizon which may or may not exist, and care far less about present dangers.

That is also why most of them champion exorbitant wind farms, which are lethal to birds and scar the countryside, and why they induce pliable politicians to replace coal-burning power stations with far less efficient wood-burning ones. Vast forests are felled, and huge quantities of wood transported halfway across the world at a considerable cost to the environment.


In their deafness to different points of view — in fact, in their rank intolerance of opposing voices — these people often remind me of religious fundamentalists. They shout down, or seek to censor, those who don’t agree with them.

The pity is that mainstream media such as the all-powerful BBC are themselves cowed and meekly quiescent, so that a highly intelligent and well-informed climate-change sceptic such as the former Tory Chancellor Nigel Lawson is virtually excluded from the airwaves.

Volkswagen has emerged from this story as a devious and untrustworthy conglomerate. But the biggest lesson of this debacle is that successive British governments have sacrificed the interests of ordinary citizens as they have caved in to the demands of a dangerous bunch of zealots.


Warming on Venus

Since I have recently put up two posts on the surface temperature of Venus, I thought I should hand the discussion to an expert, my favorite Pilsener, astrophysicist Lubos Motl.  I am not going to reproduce the whole of his article below, just enough to give you the idea

Steve Goddard wrote an interesting article about the temperature of Venus. It essentially argues that the "extra warming" by hundreds of degrees that we see on Venus is mostly due to the adiabatic lapse rate - while the greenhouse effect contributes just a small portion (a dozen of percent at most).

Although I find his text somewhat sloppy about various "details", I had to independently agree with the broad and important conclusion - after some checks and self-corrections - and I will try to convince you about the conclusion. This conclusion does mean that people like Carl Sagan, James Hansen, and others who have been using Venus as the model for the Earth's greenhouse effect were wrong even morally.

Most of the warming is caused by things that have nothing to do with the absorption of infrared radiation, indeed. But as you might expect, most of my text will be about some of the "details" because they can be subtle and they include some elementary but interesting physics.

As I argued in an article about the importance of black bodies, the stable absolute temperature at distance "R" from the Sun goes like "1/sqrt(R)". Because Venus orbits 0.72 AU away from the Sun, the surface temperature should be something like 288 K / sqrt(0.72) = 339 K which is 66 °C if the albedo, the composition of the atmosphere, and details of the greenhouse effect were equal to those we know and love.

With a little bit greater albedo (reflectivity), and Venus indeed has a greater albedo than the Earth, Venus' surface temperature could actually be equal to the temperature on the Earth. However, in reality, it is the evil sister of the Earth: that's why Venus is the symbol of almost all women. ;-)

The surface temperature is about 300-400 °C warmer than what we calculated now. Because the atmosphere is almost entirely composed out of carbon dioxide, and this gas dominates all standard processes because it can do whatever the minor gases can do, we can attribute the whole additional surface warming by 300-400 °C to the carbon dioxide.

But what does the CO2 do to make the surface warmer? Is it the greenhouse effect?

The concentration of CO2 on Venus is something like 300,000-500,000 times greater than the same quantity on the Earth (92 times higher total pressure; 3,000-5,000 times higher a percentage, depending on whether we calculate the molar/mass percentage) - but the warming attributed to this gas is only 100-200 times greater than it is on the Earth (at most 3 °C from all the CO2, including the natural one).

Clearly, the warming increases much more slowly than linearly with the amount of CO2 when the concentrations get really large. However, it increases faster than logarithmically when they're large: 300,000 is equal to 2^{18} or so and 18 CO2 doublings should give about 18 x 1.2 °C = 22 °C (no water feedbacks on Venus): that would be a sensible calculation if the greenhouse effect were the cause.

The actual warming is more than 10 times as large, so if you believed that the extra 300-400 °C on Venus' surface are due to the greenhouse effect - a belief that will be addressed below -, you would have to conclude that the "climate sensitivity per doubling" in the context of the Venus (huge concentrations) has to be about 10 times bigger than it is on the Earth, at very low CO2 concentrations that we are familiar with. The logarithm would still be a relatively good enough approximation - much better than the linear curve - but the sensitivity would have to be pretty radically adjusted when we enter completely new physical regimes.

Now, Steve Goddard essentially wants to argue that the greenhouse effect plays no significant role on Venus: it's negligible relatively to the temperature differences from our black-body calculations that are caused by other effects (independent of the chemical composition). We will see that although he doesn't explain much physics of why the warming should be independent of the composition, he is essentially right.

Goddard claims that the surface of Venus would be equally warm if CO2 were replaced by nitrogen, N2. (Goddard only wants to replace 90% of the CO2, to keep most of its greenhouse effect which is created by the 10%, but even with the full replacement, the results won't change much.) That's the statement we will discuss in the rest of this article. Goddard writes:

9000 kPa atmospheric pressure would occur on earth at an altitude many miles below sea level.  No such place exists, but if it did – it would be extremely hot, like Venus. A back of the envelope estimate – temperatures on earth increase by about 80C going from 20 to 100 kPa, so at 9,000 kPa we would expect temperatures to be in the ballpark  of : 20C + ln(9000/(100-20)) *80C = 400C

This is very close to what we see on Venus.  The high temperatures there can be almost completely explained by atmospheric pressure – not composition. If 90% of the CO2 in Venus atmosphere was replaced by Nitrogen, it would change temperatures there by only a few tens of degrees.


To summarize, the adiabatic lapse rate is a key effect that drives the temperature difference between the tropopause - many kilometers above the surface - and the surface of a planet. In fact, a pre-existing lapse rate is an essential pre-requisite for the greenhouse effect, too (without it, the absorption and emission would be balanced): the greenhouse effect may be understood as a slight change of the pre-existing lapse rate.

The lapse rate has the capacity to add hundreds of degrees Celsius to the surface temperature of Venus, regardless of the composition of the atmosphere.

Even though I was originally critical about Goddard's text, I do think he has demonstrated - or we have demonstrated, assuming that you agree that many things were missing in his text - that the statement that the "extra hundreds of degrees of Venusian heat" are mostly due to the greenhouse effect is simply wrong.


New Marshall Institute Report: Connecting Climate and National Security

The George C. Marshall Institute is pleased to announce the publication a new study Connecting Climate and National Security.

This study examines the validity of the belief that a changing climate is intrinsically an issue of national security:

"The Obama Administration has proclaimed climate change to be a present and future threat to the security of the United States. Two different National Security Strategies articulate the case for environmental forces creating security challenges domestically in the U.S. and around the world and two successive Quadrennial Defense Reviews show that the U.S. military is shifting its strategic thinking as well as resource allocations to accommodate these new threats. Together, they demonstrate that the institutionalization of environmentally-induced conflict as a U.S. security concern is complete. Anthropogenic climate change, characterized by a rise in global temperature and projected effects thereof, is expected to lead to all sorts of calamities here and abroad.

"But is it true? These government documents and the bevy of think tank reports that echo this theme would leave one with the impression that the answer to this question is "yes." And, by saying yes, one is left with little choice but to accept changes in strategies, programs, and budgets to respond or reflect those challenges as well as likely agreeing to policies that demand the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions in order to respond to the principal root of the problem."

The present study advances ideas and arguments made by the Marshall Institute in our 2012 report, Climate and National Security: Exploring the Connection, which concluded: "In summary, efforts to link climate change to the deterioration of U.S. national security rely on improbable scenarios, imprecise and speculative methods, and scant empirical support."

Connecting Climate and National Security is available for free download here.

Not all energy is created equal

The oil export ban is a relic of a bygone era during which ideas like “peak oil” and “energy scarcity” were the conventional wisdom.

Congress has taken action that actually advances free markets and limits government intrusion. I was in the room when, on September 17, the House Energy and Commerce Committee–with bipartisan support–advanced legislation to lift the 1970s-era ban on crude-oil exports. HR 702, “To adapt to changing crude oil market conditions,” is expected to receive a full floor vote within a matter of weeks.

The export ban is a relic of a bygone era during which ideas like “peak oil” and “energy scarcity” were the conventional wisdom. Despite all those who cried “wolf,” the U.S. is now the world’s largest combined oil-and-gas producer.

Ending this obsolete ban would unleash America’s energy producers on the global market, increasing domestic production and creating jobs. Additionally, reports from experts at the non-partisan Energy Information Administration and Government Accountability Office, plus consultants at IHS, indicate that it will also lower prices at the pump.

Like everything that seems to happen in Washington, DC, these days, this initial victory may have a price tag that prevents its final passage.

Getting the Democrats on board with removing the barrier to exporting America’s abundance may likely require giving them something they want. Morning Consult recently reported: “Momentum is building in Congress to repeal the antiquated ban on exporting crude oil. Lawmakers and energy industry representatives are talking about other energy policies that could be swapped or combined to achieve that objective. Renewable energy tax credits are part of the equation.”

Those “renewable energy tax credits” are mainly two: the wind Production Tax Credit (PTC) and solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC). Like the oil-export ban, the wind PTC is an archaic policy that has no place in today’s modern reality of energy abundance.

Passed by Congress in 1992, the PTC pays the wind industry for every kilowatt-hour of electricity generated over a ten-year period. No other mature energy source–natural gas, oil, or coal–can claim a similar carve out based on how much product they sell.

The subsidy is so lavish that wind developers can sometimes sell their electricity at a loss and still profit. The New York Times has described this as wind’s “cannibal behavior” on the power grid.

The PTC costs taxpayers like you and me billions of dollars each year. Americans pay for wind twice: first in their federal tax bills, then in their local utility bills. According to a new study, commissioned by the Institute for Energy Research, electricity generated from new wind facilities is between three and four times as expensive as that from existing coal and nuclear power plants.

The Senate Finance Committee claims a two-year extension would cost $10 billion over the next decade. After decades of subsidies and multiple PTC extensions, wind still generates less than 5 percent of our electricity.

Congressman Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) 83% (R-KS), who has long opposed the PTC extension, told me: “With a skyrocketing $16 trillion debt and an industry that is more than capable of standing on its own, there is no reason why the federal government should continue to subsidize the wind energy industry. Proponents of the Wind PTC continue to call for an extension-for the umpteenth time. This handout costs taxpayers billions and has caused significant price distortions in wholesale electricity markets that translate into real costs for everyday consumers. If we want a robust economy, it’s time to stop picking winners and losers in the energy marketplace and finally end the wind PTC.

After two decades of pork, the wind looters need to stand on their own two feet. Most of the people in the wind industry I talk to know this, and I am confident that those individuals and others in the energy industry will enjoy many marketplace successes once we put a stop to the purely political policies that we have seen to date.”

Despite the mountain of evidence against wind subsidies-including increasing reports of health issues and concerns over bird kills–this summer, before the August recess, the Senate Finance Committee rushed through a package of expired tax provisions, including the wind PTC. Now, wind lobbyists are looking for a legislative “vehicle” to latch on to, preferably one with bipartisan support, to push through another PTC extension without a fair hearing, which is exactly why they’re eyeing the oil-export bill.

According to The Hill, Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) said he could consider lifting the ban “only if it’s tied to a permanent extension of the wind and solar tax credits.”

Swapping the PTC for oil exports is a bad deal, as lifting the ban deserves to pass in its own right. But what many don’t realize is that trading the PTC for oil exports is also a Faustian bargain that furthers President Obama’s destructive climate-change agenda.

The PTC and the president’s climate agenda are related because Obama’s sweeping new carbon regulations, known as the “Clean Power Plan”-finalized in August-require states to drastically cut carbon dioxide emissions. It does this by shuttering low-cost coal plants and building new wind and solar facilities. The problem: wind and solar are uneconomic without massive taxpayer handouts like the PTC and ITC and market-distorting mandates like state Renewable Portfolio Standards.

This scheme is the centerpiece of Obama’s climate legacy, which he hopes to cement in December at the United Nations climate conference in Paris.

These carbon regulations will inflict severe burdens on American families–especially the poorest among us who can least afford to pay higher energy prices. A recent study by the National Black Chamber of Commerce, for instance, found that Obama’s carbon rule would increase Black and Hispanic poverty by 23 and 26 percent, respectively. For all that pain, the regulations will, perhaps, reduce global temperature rise by 0.018 degrees Celsius in 2100-an undetectable amount.

Buried in hundreds of pages of “analysis,” the Environmental Protection Agency projects the wind industry will add more than 13 GW of electrical capacity each year from 2024-2030. For context, 13 GW is exactly how much capacity wind added in 2012, a record year. It is also the year in which rent-seeking wind barons rushed to build as many new turbines as possible to qualify for the PTC, which expired at the end of the year. The following year, after the PTC expired, wind additions collapsed by more than 90 percent–which highlights the fact that the wind industry cannot survive in a free market.

This makes the wind PTC vital to Obama’s carbon regulations. His plan depends on exponential wind growth, and the wind industry depends on government handouts like the PTC to avoid total collapse, let alone grow.

By not accepting a wind PTC tradeoff, Congress can deal a blow to corporate wind welfare and Obama’s carbon regulations in one shot. Congress must strip the PTC out of tax extenders and refuse to use wind subsidies as a bargaining chip. The two are totally unrelated. One is a liquid fuel used primarily for transportation.

The other: a way to generate electricity, albeit inefficiently, ineffectively and uneconomically. One helps our trade deficit problem and increases revenues as FuelFix reports: “liberalizing crude trade spurs more domestic production, with a resulting boost in government revenue from the activity.” The other: a hidden tax that hurts all Americans.

By rejecting an extension of the wind PTC and lifting the ban on oil exports, Congress would end corporate welfare for wind lobbyists, deal a blow to Obama’s costly carbon regulations, and free America’s entrepreneurs to provide abundant, affordable, and reliable energy for all.


Francis Confuses Corporatism and Capitalism

Pope Francis arrived Tuesday for his first visit to the U.S. He will not only tour a Philadelphia prison and a Harlem school to showcase his trademark concern for the poor and downtrodden, but he will give the first-ever papal address to Congress Thursday on a range of topics. The political angle is that Democrats have finally found a pope with whom they can agree on the issues of climate and poverty — all while ignoring traditional Catholic teaching on marriage and the sanctity of life.

Francis arrived here by way of the Communist paradise poverty-stricken totalitarian island known as Cuba, where he spent four days and met not with dissidents but with Fidel Castro — whom he reportedly thanked for his contributions to world peace. Notably, Francis arrived by plane, not by homemade raft on the shores of Florida as do many of the poor people fleeing Cuba's oppressive regime for the Land of Liberty.

Indeed, if Francis truly cares for the poor, he showed it quite poorly in this instance.

Of capitalism in general, he said in his recent apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, “Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape. ... Such an economy kills.”

It's no wonder he has an eager audience in the Democrats and Castros of the world.

But it's important to understand that Francis' views on capitalism are informed by his experience in his home country of Argentina — a nation beset with powerful families and businesses influential in government. In other words, it's not the free market and it's not capitalism. It's cronyism and corporatism.

It’s also ironic, writes Thomas Sowell, considering “Argentina was once among the leading economies of the world, before it was ruined by the kind of ideological notions [Francis] is now promoting around the world."

God does warn His people about loving money, and greed and inequity are part of sinful human nature no matter the economic system. But which country's poor are better off — Cuba's, Argentina's or America's? The truth is that no economic system has done more than capitalism to lift the poor out of poverty.

Tyranny kills, not Liberty.

Furthermore, Jesus never told his followers to perform charity by giving their money to the Romans instead. Contrary to the assertions of far too many, Jesus was not a socialist — He always preached individual responsibility for our brothers and sisters, not collective statist mandates.

In many respects, Francis' care for the poor is welcome. All Christians ought to see every opportunity to help the disadvantaged among us. But it's the pope's methods we object to. He is a proponent — at least tacitly — of liberation theology, a synthesis of Marxism and Christianity born in South America in the 1970s and 80s. Liberation theology embraces collectivization, the subordination of the individual in favor of the group, and the forced redistribution of wealth and property without fair compensation. Furthermore, Marxism is profoundly anti-religion, making its blending with Christian teaching like mixing oil and water.

It's noteworthy that Francis has thus effectively reversed the position of John Paul II, who was a staunch opponent of such noxious theology, and, together with Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, brought down the Soviet Empire. Try to imagine John Paul glad-handing Fidel Castro while dissidents languished in prison.

On the subject of climate change, the onerous regulations and top-down government solutions favored by Francis and his fellow alarmist travelers (and we do mean travelers in fuel-burning jets all over the world) are exactly the policies that will hurt the poor the most.

In his recent encyclical, Francis declared, "The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth." He blames the problem on consumerism, corporate greed, overreliance on technology and the poisonous political atmosphere in and among many nations. He called for a radial change in how people conduct their political and economic affairs and suggested that the time has come for each of us to alter our individual lifestyles in response to climate issues.

But The Wall Street Journal retorts, "Well, he should have seen East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall, or the air in Beijing today. Coercive governments are the worst befoulers of the environment. Democratic capitalism has created the wealth and electoral consent to clean the air and water, and only continued economic growth will create the resources to deal with climate change if it does become a serious threat to the Earth."

Francis says, “Humanity is called on to be aware of the need to change lifestyles, production and consumption” because the world is filled with a “culture of waste.” We're all for using energy judiciously and curbing waste, but not under the pretense of a UN-Vatican mandate, which is essentially the prescription Francis gives.

In short, while Francis has authority over doctrinal issues in his own church, his message on climate and economics is dead wrong and it should be rejected.


Hillary Flip-Flops on Her Keystone Pipeline Legacy

On Tuesday, Hillary Clinton expounded a bit on the legacy she formed while secretary of state. She’s previously boasted of playing a “leading role” in starting the review process for building the proposed Keystone pipeline, which was designed to transport crude oil from Canada to American refineries in the Gulf of Mexico.

It’s been gummed up in bureaucratic review since 2010, though Clinton said then she would be “inclined” to approve it. But now, she wants the pipeline buried. “I think it is imperative that we look at the Keystone pipeline as what I believe it is — a distraction from important work we have to do on climate change,” Clinton told a crowd in Iowa. “Therefore I oppose it.”

Clinton’s decision was not based on principles good for the economy, but rather political gain with her ecofascist base. Fellow Democrat candidate Martin O'Malley said, “On issue after issue, Secretary Clinton has followed — not forged — public opinion. Leadership is about stating where you stand on critical issues, regardless of how they poll or focus group.” (The ironic thing is the public supports the Keystone pipeline by an overwhelming margin.)

The result of Clinton’s inaction as secretary resulted in lost jobs and lost economic activity. Now, after the Left has stonewalled the project for years, Clinton wants to simply sweep it aside. Furthermore, she had the “courage” to make this announcement while the media focused squarely on Pope Francis' visit.



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24 September, 2015

Aren't we clever?  Or so the latest crop of bright-eyed Warmists seems to think

The story below is that global average temperatures are not a good index of global warming.  That seems to me to be a contradiction in terms but let logic go by for now.  The claim is that we should look at the occurrence of extreme events instead.  And we should look at them not in terms of overall averages but rather at what occurs in different parts of the globe.  The logic of that is also suspect (It's called "cherry-picking") but let that go by too.

So with the benefit of much indulgence, we have a large claim that global warming began much sooner that is usually said.  But on what is that claim based?  If we go back to the original academic journal article -- a pesky habit of mine -- we find more limited claims.  And, most crucially, we find that the whole thing is just a modelling exercise, not a survey of real world data.  I think we just need to know one sentence from the journal article.  Here it is -- from the "Conclusions" section of the paper:

"This study suggests that for much of the world, the anthropogenic emergence of temperature extremes has already occurred as of the present date, at least in model simulations"

It's just computer games for grown-ups.  No Warmist model has predicted anything accurately yet so let that be a guide to you in assessing this article

We Could Have Discovered Climate Change As Early As the 1940s if We Had Just Looked

The signs of global warming are hitting us over the head today — if you’ll remember, the fire and drought-ridden summer of 2015 was the also hottest in recorded history — but how long has our planet actually been feeling the heat? In parts of the tropics, anthropogenic climate change has been tinkering with the thermometer since the 1940s.

That’s the surprising conclusion of a new modelling study published today in Environmental Research Letters. Running 23 global climate simulations that combine historical trends (beginning in 1860) with future emissions scenarios, researchers at the University of New South Wales estimated when the very first fingerprints of climate warming — extreme temperatures and shifts in the mean annual temperature — would have become measurable across the world, had we been paying any attention. Near the equator, the writing was on the wall decades before the concept of anthropogenic climate change had been realised.

“Remarkably our research shows that you could already see clear signs of global warming in the tropics by the 1960s but in parts of Australia, South East Asia and Africa it was visible as early as the 1940s,” said lead study author Andrew King in a statement. (That’s decades before the the fore-thinking researchers at Exxon discovered global warming!)

Climate change is hitting high latitude ecosystems the hardest — the Arctic, for instance, is warming twice as fast as the world at large. For that reason — and the fact that most big research universities are located in countries with seasons — what’s happening in the tropics has been largely ignored. But as the new study shows, tropical ecosystems may offer an even better long-term thermometer. Lacking a distinct summer and winter, the tropics have a much narrower distribution of temperatures year-round, which makes it easier, statistically speaking, to spot small deviations and outliers years.

And while the tropics are experiencing smaller levels of warming than, say, boreal forests, climate change stands to wreak even more ecological havoc around the equator....

SOURCE.  The paper is "The timing of anthropogenic emergence in simulated climate extremes" by A.D. King et al.  It is such useless stuff that I will not reproduce any more of it.

Surface temperature of Venus

In my last post yesterday, I pointed out that there is no need to posit a "runaway greenhouse effect" to explain the high surface temperature of Venus.   A reader has emailed me with the following thoughts on the subject

OK, so let's look at Venus' adiabatic process, as that is the secondary reason for its atmosphere being as hot as it is at the surface.

Most important question to ask is this: "Where does the heat come from in the first place?"

Pressure alone does not maintain heat; pump a tyre up all you want, it will have cooled to ambient temperature if left alone.

So .... whilst the adiabatic process can maintain a temperature within an atmosphere, there is still the need to add "new" heat to the system to prevent the gas column from cooling down. If Venus' surface was not as volcanic as it has been proven to be, the entire atmosphere would by now have cooled down and with it the surface.

If there is no "new" heat added at the bottom of the adiabatic process then the entire gas column has no option but to cool, considering that the gas column radiates heat into space at all times, so heat is lost all the time.

The surface temperature would end up in direct consequence of the solar energy reaching it; in Venus' case, as no solar energy reaches the surface, the surface would continue cooling until somewhere along the gas column an equilibrium was reached between solar radiative energy input and gas column radiative energy output.

When such an equilibrium is reached, no further cooling will take place and the whole system becomes an easy to calculate temperature profile based on solar input and absorptivity vs. emissivity of the gas column.

Thus, on Venus, as on Earth, it is the surface that heats the gas column and the adiabatic process recycles this heat, losing at the top of the gas column and gaining at the surface. It's gravity versus specific gravity that drives the adiabatic process, which in itself does not create heat, it merely recycles it by expanding and contracting the same gas mass.

The surface of Venus has been shown to be mostly smooth, caused by recent and active volcanism; that activity means that the surface is constantly renewed and is thus close to the temperature of molten rock. This process is in turn driven by the gravitational forces which in turn are driven by its proximity to the Sun; same as on Earth but to a lesser degree, thankfully.

So the surface of Venus will be hot due to underlying volcanism and not due to its hot atmosphere!

Additionally, the formula for adiabatic "heating" is looking at the phenomenon upside down .... The atmosphere cools with increasing altitude, it does not warm with decreasing altitude! Hah! Same result, different way of looking at the reality.

It all starts and finishes with the output of our Sun, the ONLY driver of our climate. All other influences are secondary and a consequence of the solar input in the first place.

Carbon dioxide or any other gas has no function in making or keeping Earth or Venus "warmer than it should be."

I am still a skeptic

The Associated Press has just revised their stylebook to say that both "climate skeptic" and "climate denier" are now deplored. Journalists should now say "climate change doubters" or "those who reject mainstream climate science".

Anthony Watts has said that he too will adopt AP usage.  He does generally try to maintain some respectability in establishment circles so that decision is to be expected of him.  And he may be wise to do so.

I however have zero inclination to make nice with frauds and charlatans, so will continue to call myself and similar others "skeptics". 

I in fact probably deserve the title of skeptic more than almost anyone else.  My many papers in the journals attest that I am totally skeptical of the mainstream claims within my own field of political psychology and that is only my starting point. 

I also don't believe in Jesus Christ, Karl Marx or Global warming.  I further don't believe in the adverse health effects of dietary fat, salt or sugar.  And I most certainly don't believe that Leftists are "compaseionate". 

Am I the world's most skeptical person?  Could be.  And perhaps because I am not burdened by any false beliefs, I live a very  happy life.

UPDATE: Someone has suggested that, as well as saying what I do not believe in I should also say what I DO believe in. And that is very easy. I believe in all the things that Leftists consider stupid and old-fashioned: Honesty, truth, frankness, objectivity, integrity, morality, humility, generosity, kindness, laughter, courage, justice (without adjectives) and, above all, the central importance of children and the family. How crazy can you get? I am old now so what I think matters little but I am pleased that my mathematician son has similar values. He even laughs at my jokes!

Why are those at the top of organisations so much more gullible on climate?

I’ve noticed a repeated pattern throughout the world that the people who run organisations tend to be the most extreme of the climate extremists. Why?

Some examples: the Pope, US president, Nurse (former head of Royal Society), Richard Branson.

Here are some suggestions:

* Those who can do … do. Those who can’t do … become managers. In other words, those who understand how things work in the world, tend to be interested in things that work. After all … it’s no great skill for us humans to interact with other humans. And management is really not that difficult – any decent parent knows how to be a manager, but only a few of us have the skills, education and experience to various aspects of the world.

* Heads of organisations are seldom great thinkers. Instead, they are great at convincing other people to hand over ideas, power, etc. In other words, it is not what you know, but who you know who knows what you need to know – and the head’s ability to persuade underlings to hand over what they know to the heads who don’t know. So, the heads become powerful, by creating a coalition of people to feed them information, rather than knowing the information for themselves. As such they are extremely vulnerable to false information and “group-think”. Particularly ideas of their social grouping which they like … because to put it quite simply, they lack the knowledge/intelligence to know when they are being fed bullshit.

* You don’t get to be head of some big organisation without a great deal of arrogance. And there can be nothing more arrogant than the idea that us humans could significantly change the climate. But also heads of organisations tend to live “consensus” decision making. Not that they seek a consensus, but instead, if they perceive a “consensus” even if all the individuals are cautious about a subject, they will tend to see “consensus” as showing that there is no need for caution. So, often heads, despite their almost total ignorance on a subject, will, if a “consensus” is present, be far less cautious than their advisers on a subject. Which works – when the advisers have all formed their own views – but is a recipe for disaster when they all come to their view from the same source.

* World leaders today have a particular problem with climate. Because unlike those of us, who have pretty much stayed in the same place for decades on end, and whose own experience tells us the climate extremists rhetoric is bullshit, someone who has constantly moved location in their political career and doubtless goes on exotic foreign trips to relax rather than walk out their own front door … they haven’t a clue what is “normal” for even their own “local” climate. That’s because they don’t have a “local” climate.


Bryozoans to the rescue!

Some Warmists are hedging their bets. They have found something else that is not in their dinky models

FOR years scientists have been telling us that climate change is bad.  And at the rate it is happening, it is.

The polar ice caps are melting much quicker than previously thought with experts predicting sea levels could rise by as much as a metre within the next 100 to 200 years.

For Australia this means more destructive storm surges causing more widespread flash flooding.

But now it seems there is a positive to all this ice melting.

A team of scientists who have been studying the sea life in the West Antarctic have found the melting ice has boosted the number of creatures living on the sea floor.

Not only that but these particular marine animals, bryozoans or moss animals, are now acting like a carbon sink.

A what?

Basically, these creatures suck up CO2. And because their numbers have doubled over the past two decades, scientists estimate they are sucking up so much CO2 it is equivalent to about 50,000 hectares of tropical rainforest.

The findings were published in the journal, Current Biology, this week.

“It was a surprise that life had been invisibly responding to climate change for more than a decade below one of the most obviously visible impacts of climate change: the ‘blueing’ poles,” David Barnes of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) said. “We’ve found that a significant area of the planet — more than three million square km — is a considerable carbon sink and, more importantly, a negative feedback on climate change.”

Mr Barnes says it is well known the polar ice caps melting has had a negative effect on Earth.

He explained when sea ice melts it exposes more darker patches. So the poles go from being a reflective white to a much darker blue therefore absorbing more heat and melting more ice.

According to the study, it was once thought that Arctic forests and new algal blooms where ice shelves disintegrated were, to some extent, working against climate change.

Scientists now believe, based on studies of West Antarctic bryozoans, that other organisms living on the sea floor “could be more important than both” when it comes to accumulating and burying carbon.

In the new study, Mr Barnes and his colleagues collected specimens across West Antarctic seas and calculated the density of creatures on the sea bed using high resolution images.

The data, which was collected over 20 years, revealed a marked increase in the production of carbon in the bodies of West Antarctic bryozoans.

The researchers calculated that growth of the bryozoans has nearly doubled, with the animals taking in more than 2 x 10x5 tons of carbon per year since the 1980s.

They also estimated the bryozoans absorbed around 2.9 x 10x6 tonnes of CO2 per year, which is equivalent to about 50,000 hectares of tropical rainforest.

What has the researchers more excited is that they believe this carbon is likely to become trapped and buried at the bottom of the ocean.

Mr Barnes said there were surprising differences in the amount of carbon taken up in different regions in Antarctica linked closely to the sea ice losses at each location.

He said the South Orkney Islands — the world’s first High Seas Marine Protected Area — was a “bang on a carbon hotspot, without us realising”.

“The forests you can see are important with respect to the carbon cycle and climate change, but two-thirds of our planet is ocean, and below it the life you can’t see is also very important in climate responses as well,” he said..

Scientists now hope to study the Arctic to find out if similar things are happening there.


EPA’s Gold King Whitewash

By Paul Driessen

“EPA and ER had simply ‘miscalculated’ how much water had backed up…. We were ‘very careful.’ The highly acidic, toxic flood was ‘worse aesthetically’ than in reality. Contaminants were ‘flowing too fast to be an immediate health threat.’ … The river is ‘restoring itself’ back to ‘pre-spill conditions’. We just need a ‘focused dialogue’ moving forward.

Can anyone imagine EPA or President Obama making such statements in the wake of a private industry accident? Just recall the hysteria over the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, Deepwater Horizon (Macondo) blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, PCB contamination in the Hudson and Fox Rivers, Duke Energy coal ash spill in North Carolina, and other accidents.”

Tom Sawyer would be proud. Rarely has there been a finer whitewash than EPA’s with the Gold King Mine disaster. Let’s hope that the whitewash eventually erodes, so that we can get to the truth about Gold King, learn from the disaster, and make better decisions about how to clean up thousands of abandoned mines—while still harvesting the vital raw materials that make modern life possible.

On August 5, as most people now know, an Environmental Restoration (ER) company crew—supervised by officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety (DRMS)—used a big excavator to dig away tons of collapsed rock and debris (“overburden”) that since 1995 had created a natural dam and blocked the entrance to the Gold King Mine, above Silverton, Colorado.

The mine had been abandoned since 1923, except for a brief period in the late 1980s, and water had been seeping out of the caved-in portal for years. The water was acidic and contained iron, lead, cadmium, mercury, and other heavy metals.

The crew kept digging—until the greatly weakened rock and earth dam burst, unleashing (at least) a 3-million-gallon toxic flash-flood that rapidly contaminated the Animas and San Juan Rivers, all the way to Lake Powell in Utah. To compound the disaster, EPA then waited an entire day before notifying downstream mayors, health officials, families, kayakers, farmers, ranchers, and fishermen that the turmeric-orange water they were drinking, paddling in, or using for crops and livestock was contaminated by heavy metals.

Three million gallons of water and sludge would fill a pool the size of a football field down seven feet (120 x 53.3 x 2.3-yards). As professional geologist Dave Taylor had warned in a letter to the editor of a local newspaper a week before the blowout: Faults, fractures, other mines, topographic features, rainfall, and snowmelt in the area meant water had probably backed up hundreds of feet upward into mine drifts, raises, stopes, rooms, and other passageways that begin at 11,458 feet above sea level. Other experts had given the EPA and DRMS similar warnings as much as two years earlier.

Water was likely accumulating at the rate of 500 gallons per minute, Taylor said, building a “head pressure” of 1 PSI for every 2.3 feet of vertical rise. That meant a sudden release would send toxic water and sludge flash-flooding with incredible power down nearby creeks and rivers. Which is exactly what it did. Not surprisingly, the official downplaying and whitewashing began almost immediately.

EPA and ER had simply “miscalculated” how much water had backed up. It was just trying to stick a pipe into the top of the mine to safely pump liquid out for treatment. We were “very careful.” The highly acidic, toxic flood was “worse aesthetically” than in reality. Contaminants were “flowing too fast to be an immediate health threat.” Barely a week after the spill, the river is “restoring itself” back to “pre-spill conditions.” We just need a “focused dialogue” moving forward.

Can anyone imagine EPA or President Obama making such statements in the wake of a private industry accident? Just recall the hysteria over the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, Deepwater Horizon (Macondo) blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, PCB contamination in the Hudson and Fox Rivers, Duke Energy coal ash spill in North Carolina, and other accidents. Those cases drew vicious, long-lasting condemnation:

The affected waters will be polluted for years or even decades. Wildlife will be wiped out. There is no safe threshold for chemicals. They are toxic and carcinogenic at parts per billion. Criminal corporate polluters should be jailed and fined big-time. We will keep our boots on their necks.

Astounding incompetence and negligence

Gold King is an unconscionable disaster that should never have happened. EPA is the government agency that wants to control every puddle of water, every cubic foot of air and carbon dioxide, every car, household, hospital, mall, office building, highway, farm, and factory in America. Its cavalier incompetence and gross negligence in this case are astounding.

Environmental Restoration, the private EPA contractor that caused the toxic flood, had produced a June 2014 work plan for the planned cleanup. Regarding the lack of access to the mine since 1995, when the entrance partially collapsed, the plan warned:

This condition has likely caused impounding of water behind the collapse. In addition, other collapses within the workings may have occurred, creating additional water impounding conditions. Conditions may exist that could result in a blowout of the blockages and cause a release of large volumes of contaminated mine waters and sediment from inside the mine, which contain concentrated heavy metals.

That work plan, Dave Taylor’s letter, and prior experience with the nearby Red & Bonita Mine (discussed later in this article) meant both EPA, DRMS, and ER knew the high risks in advance. And yet they went ahead, with no containment pond to catch runaway water, and no emergency procedures to deal with a blowout and toxic spill. They didn’t even follow their own ill-conceived plan.

(The EPA contingent had actually begun work at Gold King in September 2014 and had removed some 20 feet of “overburden” material that was blocking the entrance. However, it halted the operation when it determined that its analysis of the mine layout was partly in error; it then backfilled the area with crushed rock, compacted the fresh material, and made plans to return in August 2015—which it did. In the process, the team may have blocked two water drainage pipes that had been installed at the floor of the portal.)

During 2015, EPA intended “to remove the blockage [to the mine entrance] and reconstruct the portal at the Gold King Mine, in order to best observe possible changes in discharge caused by the installation of a bulkhead” in the Red & Bonita Mine, the plan says. Despite warnings of a water impoundment, the plan of operations assumed there would be little water in the mine. It reads in part:

Use removed material to create manlift access ramp to area above portal….

Excavate loose material from the top of the high wall.
Hang wire mesh on the high wall as excavation to the sill of the portal proceeds.

Excavate to the sill and into the competent rock face at the portal.

Gradually lower the debris blockage with the appropriate pumping of the impounded water……

EPA had posted 191 photographs of the area and the crew’s progress—covering the period right up to and for several hours after the flash-flood. These made the agency and contractor negligence very apparent. However, a day after my article and link to the photo archive was posted, the entire collection mysteriously disappeared. Most of those pictures and many others relating to the incident and the belated emergency response were finally reposted and can now be seen in this collection and in this one.

None of the photos shows the crew creating a manlift or excavating from the top of the high wall. They make it clear that the crew simply dug and hauled away enormous volumes of overburden, from above the portal downward—until the remaining rock and soil could no longer hold back 3 million gallons of water, and a toxic orange flood roared out of the mine.

(The August 6 long distance photos at 12:51 and 12:53 suggest how much rock and debris had filled in the portal area. The August 4 image at 10:28, with the Caterpillar excavator, shows that extensive overburden had already been removed on the first day.

The August 5 photo, at 10:51, clearly shows the portal and extent of excavation; the Cat has already been moved, because the dam has begun giving way. By 10:54 water is flooding out. By 10:56 a real gusher washes away part of the road and at 11:08 a half-submerged Chevy Suburban is adrift in the flash-flood which, as EPA notes in its internal report, lasted nearly an hour. The August 6 close-up at 12:53 shows the portal after the flood had washed the remaining natural dam away.)

Adding insult to the injury and flagrant negligence, a month after the spill, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) told the Navajo Nation  that FMEA would not provide disaster relief – and EPA began removing emergency water tanks it had provided to Navajo ranchers. This was after the first water tanks it provided were still contaminated with oil from a previous operation! But EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy did say she was “absolutely, deeply sorry this happened.”



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23 September, 2015

Why do we hear nothing from the Greenies about Third World cooking fires?

Using wood and cow dung to make cooking fires is widepread throughout South Asia.  It is so prevalent that much of South Asia has a resultant "brown cloud" hanging over it most of the time. It's pollution so bad that it can be seen from space. And that has been known since 2002. 

Breathing in the originating smoke down on the ground is an obvious health hazard -- far worse for you than CO2 will ever be.  Just try breathing in the smoke from a cooking fire yourself if you doubt it. 

So if those wonderfully "compassionate" Green Leftists who worry so much about the health impacts of global warming were actually sincere, they would be exerting great efforts to protect Asians from this scourge, don't you think?

But there is only one way to give the poor of the Third world an escape from such hazards:  Give them at least a mini version of a modern kitchen.  And that mostly means supplying them with electricity.

Horrors! say the Greenies.  We can't have that!  Generating more electricity will add to global warming.  So Greenies oppose all efforts by Third world countries to supply their people with electricity.  They even bully Western banks into not lending money for hydro-electric dam building.  Greenies hate dams too.

So let the poor of the world die of lung disease!  That is the Greenie gospel.  You see how "caring" they are.

The article below puts some numbers on the problem. Over 3 million people die from the smoke each year.  But note that the study  only covers outdoor cooking.  But a lot of Third world cooking is indoors, which obviously gives much more exposure to smoke.  So many millions more must be the overall death toll -- JR

The contribution of outdoor air pollution sources to premature mortality on a global scale

J. Lelieveld et al.


Assessment of the global burden of disease is based on epidemiological cohort studies that connect premature mortality to a wide range of causes1, 2, 3, 4, 5, including the long-term health impacts of ozone and fine particulate matter with a diameter smaller than 2.5 micrometres (PM2.5)3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. It has proved difficult to quantify premature mortality related to air pollution, notably in regions where air quality is not monitored, and also because the toxicity of particles from various sources may vary10. Here we use a global atmospheric chemistry model to investigate the link between premature mortality and seven emission source categories in urban and rural environments. In accord with the global burden of disease for 2010 (ref. 5), we calculate that outdoor air pollution, mostly by PM2.5, leads to 3.3 (95 per cent confidence interval 1.61–4.81) million premature deaths per year worldwide, predominantly in Asia. We primarily assume that all particles are equally toxic5, but also include a sensitivity study that accounts for differential toxicity. We find that emissions from residential energy use such as heating and cooking, prevalent in India and China, have the largest impact on premature mortality globally, being even more dominant if carbonaceous particles are assumed to be most toxic. Whereas in much of the USA and in a few other countries emissions from traffic and power generation are important, in eastern USA, Europe, Russia and East Asia agricultural emissions make the largest relative contribution to PM2.5, with the estimate of overall health impact depending on assumptions regarding particle toxicity. Model projections based on a business-as-usual emission scenario indicate that the contribution of outdoor air pollution to premature mortality could double by 2050.

"Nature", 2015

The Climate Skeptic’s Guide To Pope Francis’ U.S. Visit: Talking Points About The Pope & Global Warming

Do Catholics have to believe in man-made global warming in order to be good Catholics? No. The Pope’s view on climate science and its alleged “solutions” are not part of the faith and moral teachings of the church. When the Pope speaks on climate change, he is not speaking authoritatively on Catholic doctrine. He is merely offering his opinion. Catholics are not bound to follow the Pope’s view on global warming.

Is climate change a part of Catholic teachings now? No. Climate change is not part of Catholic doctrine. It is just another political issue to be debated among Catholics and the general public. The Federalist’s Rachel Lu: “The pontiff clearly has high authority to speak (at least to Catholics) on questions of faith and morals, but when it comes to predictive pronouncements on the Earth’s climate, he is not a definitive expert. Nor does he claim that mantle in Laudato Si.”

Does the Pope’s encyclical present accurate climate science? No. Noted climate statistician Dr. William Briggs was blunt in his assessment. “Most of the scientific claims cited in Pope’s encyclical are not true,” Briggs said. “For example, the claim that the world’s temperature has been increasing is demonstrably false: it hasn’t, and not for almost two decades. Another is the claim that storms are increasing in size and strength: also false; indeed, the opposite is true. Another is the claim that thousands of species are going extinct: false, and easily proved to be so,” Briggs added.

Who is advising Pope Francis? Sadly, there has been nothing short of an “Unholy Alliance” between the Vatican and promoters of man-made climate fear. The Vatican advisors can only be described as a brew of anti-capitalist, pro-population control advocates who allow no dissent and who are way out of the mainstream of even the global warming establishment.  Regrettably, the Vatican only listened to extreme voices within the climate movement with whom even other climate activists are not comfortable. Many of the Vatican’s key climate advisors have promoted policies directly at odds with Catholic doctrine and beliefs on such issues as population, contraceptives, abortion, and euthanasia. But despite these advisors, “Population control is condemned at some length, and in no uncertain terms, in the encyclical itself,” as The Federalist’s Rachel Lu points out.

Did the Vatican allow a climate debate at the Vatican before the encyclical was issued? No, none at all. In fact, the Vatican went out of its way to exclude skeptics from participating in their meetings. The Vatican banned a skeptical French scientist from its climate summit. The scientist who was invited then uninvited said the reason was that the Vatican “did not want to hear an off note” during the summit with UN officials.

Is the Pope hoping to use the encyclical to bring Catholic teachings to the secular environmental Left? Father Dwight Longnecker explains the strategy behind the encyclical: “The Pope successfully integrates a theology of creation into the ecology debate. He affirms, as so many environmentalists affirm, that ‘all things are connected.’ In doing so he then connects the rights of the unborn, the needs of the poor, the rights of immigrants, the needs of the elderly and disabled, and the rightful demands of the workers.” Many non-Catholics who are interested in reading the Papal encyclical will learn about Catholic teaching on a host of moral issues that they have probably have never been willing to listen to before. There is a lot in this encyclical that the global warming establishment will not like. For example, warmists will be challenged by Pope Francis when he states that it is “incoherent” to be concerned with climate change while at the same time supporting abortion.

The Pope’s strategy may be working. None other than Al Gore is being swayed. Gore said: “I was raised in the Southern Baptist tradition, I could become a Catholic because of this Pope. He is that inspiring to me.”

Should Catholics ask God for a successful outcome to the UN climate summit in Paris? No. But Pope Francis did summon a lobbying tone when he urged prayers for the passage of a UN climate treaty, specifically exhorting Catholics “to ask God for a positive outcome” for a Paris UN agreement. Pope Francis: “We believers cannot fail to ask God for a positive outcome to the present discussions, so that future generations will not have to suffer the effects of our ill-advised delays.” So no matter how nuanced and faithful to Catholic teachings this encyclical seeks to be, the Pope urging Catholics to “ask God for a positive outcome” to the current UN global warming treaty process will overpower every other message. The Pope is essentially endorsing a specific UN political climate treaty and implying that God is smiling upon the treaty process.

Is the state of the planet as dire as Laudato Si claims? No. The Pope’s general point that man has a moral duty to care for creation is traditional Catholic moral teaching.  However, Catholics need not agree with his encyclical’s opinion on the dire state of the planet. The Pope declared in the encyclical: “The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.”

But Alex Epstein, author of The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, responded: “If the pope from 300 years ago could see our world today, he’d say it was actually cleaner and healthier than his own era.” Another climate skeptic responded: “We live in luxury that even kings a few centuries ago could only dream of. You only have to look at the filth and squalor in which previous generations lived to know that most people in the past would have given anything to be born now.”

As noted in its article “Sorry Pope Francis, the State of the Planet Is Getting Better,”  “If it’s covered in trash, it’s a strange kind of trash that has caused global crop yields to increase by 160% since 1961 and deaths from droughts to be reduced by 99.8% since the 1920s.

It’s an odd kind of ‘mistreatment’ of the planet over the life of the Industrial Revolution that’s resulted in the global life expectancy rising from 26 years in 1750 to 69 years in 2009. This is in spite of the fact that Earth’s population increased from 760 million to 6.8 billion and incomes (in real dollars) rose from $640 to $7,300 during the same period.”

Doesn’t the encyclical discuss other things besides climate? Yes. In fact, climate is a very small part of it, less than 2%. But it was the focus of intense media coverage. The Federalist‘s Rachel Lu points out: “It’s very misleading to refer to Laudato Si as ‘the climate change encyclical.’ Climate change is one of a variety of environmental problems with which the pontiff is concerned, but even his general interest in the environment is embedded within a broader critique of modernity.”

If the encyclical essentially has clauses that allow for debate, why is there such a media uproar? The encyclical has many carefully worded clauses and caveats, but key newsworthy parts were the Pope’s foray into climate science and his alignment with a UN climate treaty.

How does the Pope link economics and climate change together? Some observers have speculated that the Pope’s South American poverty perspective makes him very suspicious of modern capitalism, and thus more open to the centralized planning ideas of the UN climate agenda. A leader of the UN IPCC stated that their goal is to “redistribute wealth” by climate policy. By contrast, Pope John Paul II grew up in Soviet-dominated Poland and saw what centralized planning and restrictions did to human liberty and development.

Are Catholic climate skeptics still in good standing with the Church? Yes. The Pope’s opinion on scientific and economic matters is not the same as his authority on issues of faith and morals. Climate skeptics can agree with his teaching that we have a moral duty to care for creation without agreeing about man’s impact on climate change.

Is there a ‘consensus’ inside the Vatican on global warming? No. There is major climate dissent inside the Vatican. Skeptical Vatican Cardinal George Pell took a swing at the Pope’s climate encyclical, declaring the Catholic Church has “no particular expertise in science.”  Pell, who now serves at the head of the Vatican bank, declared in 2006: “In the past, pagans sacrificed animals and even humans in vain attempts to placate capricious and cruel gods. Today they demand a reduction in CO2 emissions.”

How did previous popes deal with the issue of global warming? Previous popes allowed debate and dissent. In 2007, during the tenure of Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican hosted a climate summit through the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and invited many different perspectives in the climate debate to participate. The 2007 event included atmospheric physicist and climate skeptic Dr. Fred Singer, skeptic and theologian Dr. E Calvin Beisner, and the climate skeptic president of the World Federation of Scientists, Dr. Antonio Zichichi. In 2007, Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, sought out different perspectives on climate change. Also in 2007, Pope Benedict was on record denouncing the type of alarmist activists that Pope Francis invited into the Vatican in 2015. Pope Benedict condemned what he termed the “climate change prophets of doom.”

Does Pope Francis have a degree in chemistry? Via the myth-busting This claim is “false.” “According to the pontiff’s official biography on the Vatican’s web site, Pope Francis ‘graduated as a chemical technician’ before entering the priesthood, received a degree in philosophy and theology from the Colegio de San José in San Miguel … the only mention of the Pope’s chemistry education was the notation that he graduated as a ‘chemical technician’; whether his training constituted the equivalent of a university degree, and where he undertook that course of study, was not specified.”

The Pope relies on UN science claims to promote climate action. How reputable is the UN IPCC? The UN IPCC is a political organization masquerading as a “science” body. Many UN lead authors have now resigned from the IPCC or had their names removed due to the politicization of science to fit the climate “narrative.” The former chief of the UN IPCC, Rajendra Pachauri, declared global warming “is my religion.” Former Thatcher advisor and climate skeptic Christopher Monckton explains: “It is not the business of the Pope to stray from the field of faith and morals and wander into the playground that is science. Do not invite only one narrow and boisterous scientific viewpoint that has been repeatedly discredited as events and the science and the data have unfolded.”

Why are skeptics in an uproar over the Pope’s climate actions?  Climate skeptics have been shut out of the debate by the Vatican, and opponents have exploited and exaggerated the Pope’s support of their side to use his influence. Having a pope personally lobby for a UN agreement and hype climate fears is confusing to Catholics who may falsely believe one’s views on climate change and alleged “solutions” are now part of being a good Catholic. A major difference in what this pope has done versus previous popes is that he is taking the extra step of endorsing a UN climate treaty. This is a game changer from previous popes and previous Vatican statements on climate. It is especially frustrating for Catholic skeptics to be pitted against the Pope on climate issues because their political opponents disagree with him on just about all of the moral issues raised in the encyclical, but they have ignored their disagreement to “cherry pick” this one issue.

Why are many Catholic pro-life activists upset at the Vatican’s climate campaign? Many pro-life activists believe the Vatican is aligning itself with a UN climate agenda that is at odds with major aspects of Catholic teachings and doctrine. The UN’s climate agenda includes heavy doses of development restrictions, promotion of contraceptives, population control, abortions, etc.  Despite these strange bedfellows, the encyclical is clear in condemning abortion, contraception, and population control. Pro-life activists believe the Pope is causing Catholics who oppose climate fear predictions and UN “solutions” to feel as if they are not properly following their faith.

Will the Pope’s endorsement of the UN climate agenda harm the world’s poor? Yes. The Vatican is being misled on development and poverty issues as they relate to “climate change.” The Vatican’s well placed and long established concern for the developing world’s poor is being hijacked by a radical UN agenda that seeks to prevent life-saving fossil fuel energy development in the world’s poorest regions.

The Pope’s concern that climate-change impacts are going to harm the world’s poor the most was entirely misplaced. Preventing poverty-stricken nations of the world from obtaining affordable and plentiful fossil fuels means they cannot develop and thus insulate themselves from climate change whether it be man-made or natural. The Pope’s claim that “it is man who has slapped nature in the face” needs to be weighed against the fact that fossil fuels have allowed mankind to stop nature from slapping man in the face.

The more we develop with fossil fuels and increase our wealth and standard of living, the more we can inoculate ourselves from the ravages of nature. Centrally planning energy economics by restricting fossil fuels due to unfounded climate fears in the developing world is immoral. The Vatican and the Pope should be arguing that fossil fuels are the “moral choice” for the developing world for people who don’t have running water, electricity, or other basic needs.

Is the case for man-made global warming getting stronger or weaker? The science behind man-made global warming fears is actually weakening considerably. The 97% “consensus” claims are a fallacy – studies by UN lead authors now say such 97% claims are “pulled out of thin air” with no basis in fact. Extreme weather was stable or declining on almost every measure, and global temperatures have been in a standstill for over 18 years.  On everything from sea levels to polar bears, the climate narrative is failing. In addition, prominent scientists (many politically left) who used to believe in man-made global warming fears are now reversing themselves and becoming skeptics, including many UN scientists.


Insanity on steroids!  Economies collapsing, Middle East imploding – and Obama & Pals obsess over … the climate!

Paul Driessen

The Middle East is imploding. Islamic State butchers are annihilating Christian and other communities. Putin is sending arms to Assad. Under the Obama-Iran nuclear deal, the mullahs will get $100+ billion to expand their proxy terror war on Israel and the West. Saudi Arabia has 100,000 empty air-conditioned tents but won’t take any of the millions who’ve been driven from their homes. Neither will most of the other 22 Arab League nations or 57 Organization of Islamic Cooperation member countries.

Instead, millions of mostly Muslim migrants, militants and refugees are heading to Europe – with limited money, education, job skills, or desire to assimilate. They demand entry into EU countries whose energy, economic, employment and welfare systems are already foundering or nearing collapse.

EU nations have hobbled their nuclear and carbon-based energy systems so completely that unsubsidized German and Danish electricity prices are almost ten times higher than in US states that still rely on coal-fired generation. Industrial giant Siemens is cutting 1,600 jobs in its power and gas division, companies are hard-pressed to compete internationally, and 0.5% annual economic growth is deemed “robust.”

So naturally, President Obama, Pope Francis, the European Commission, United Nations, and many poor countries are obsessed with – climate change! It’s insanity on steroids. The alarmist assertions are absurd.

“Climate change is already disrupting our agriculture and ecosystems, our water and food supplies,” Obama recently inveighed. “If we do nothing, Alaskan temperatures are projected to rise between six and twelve degrees by the end of the century.”

Projected by whom? Who concocts these fables? Nature-driven climate change has disrupted lives throughout human history. Seas have risen 400 feet since the last mile-thick glaciers melted off the northern half of Asia, Europe and North America. How did “imperiled” Pacific islands survive that?

Some Alaskan glaciers have been retreating for decades, but Hubbard is growing and Glacier Bay’s ice retreat began around 1750. Arctic sea ice has increased some 26% (400,000 square miles) since 2012, in a cycle that’s continued for millennia. The sea ice “was thick in the 1920s, thin in the 1930s and 1940s, thick again in the 1960s and 1970s, and thinner in recent decades,” oceanographer Igor Polyakov noted in 2004.

“Not only in the summer, but in the winter the [Bering Sea region] was free of ice, sometimes with a wide strip of water up to at least 200 miles away from the shore,” Swedish explorer Oscar Nordkvist reported in 1822. “We were astonished by the total absence of ice in the Barrow Strait,” Francis McClintock, captain of the Fox, wrote in 1860. “I was here at this time in 1854 – still frozen up – and doubts were entertained as to the possibility of escape.” How did cars and power plants cause all that?

Meanwhile Greenland’s ice mass has grown by some 200 cubic kilometers (48 cubic miles) just since 2014. Vikings built homes, grew crops and raised cattle in Greenland between 950 and 1300, before they were frozen out by the Little Ice Age and encroaching pack ice and glaciers. Antarctic sea ice set another record in May, the US National Snow and Ice Data Center reports, climbing 12% above the long-term 1981-2010 average, to reach 12.1 million square kilometers (800,000 square miles) – almost as much as Alaska and Texas combined!

If it’s global warming and climate change, shouldn’t melting phenomena be constant and global?

Pope Francis nevertheless plans to meet with President Obama September 23, to discuss “dangerous manmade climate change” and how to ensure “preferential treatment of the poor,” by building “clean” energy economies and stopping “carbon pollution.” Their concerns and solutions are illusory.

They disdain fossil fuels and capitalism – though they have brought greater health and well-being to more people than any other systems in history. They prefer the socialism, centralized government control, higher energy prices, fundamental economic transformations and wealth redistribution schemes advanced by the UN and Climate Crisis, Inc. By denying the world’s poorest people energy, jobs and economic growth, this agenda will sentence them to perpetual poverty, disease and early death. By mandating the use of biofuels, wind turbines and solar panels, it will turn food into fuel, increase malnutrition, convert wildlife habitats into enormous inefficient energy facilities, and kill countless millions of birds and bats.

The pope and president dismiss these impacts. They insist that climate change is a far worse problem, and that modern energy, housing and living standards for the world’s poor would not be “sustainable.” They believe “morality,” “climate justice” and “preferential treatment” mean protecting people from hypothesized, exaggerated and fabricated climate disasters 25, 50 or 100 years from now – by destroying millions of jobs and keeping the world’s poor energy-deprived and impoverished now and in perpetuity.

The pope and president denigrate plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide as “carbon pollution” and say this 0.04% of Earth’s atmosphere has replaced the powerful natural forces that have always driven climate and weather fluctuations and events. They disregard satellite and weather balloon data and records from East Anglia University, which show there has been no planetary warming since at least late 1997, if not 1995.

They studiously ignore the fact that even full implementation of EPA’s fraudulent and destructive Clean Power Plan would at best prevent a global temperature increase of only 0.03 degrees F and a sea-level rise of barely 0.01 inches by 2100. And those “benefits” assume CO2 is the culprit in climate change.

Like other climate alarmists, they refuse to recognize that some 2,300 coal-fired power plants are already operating worldwide, and almost 2,200 more are being proposed, developed or built. Nearly 900 are planned for China and India alone. In barely ten years, Asia’s energy consumption will increase 31% and some two-thirds of that demand will be oil, natural gas and coal. So a US shutdown would do nothing.

Developed countries have dug a tiger trap – and walked into it. Their constant rants about “catastrophic manmade climate change” are driving policies that shut down carbon-based energy, economic growth and job creation in Formerly Rich Countries, while telling developing nations to hold us for climate ransom.

Following Obama’s recent GLACIER conference in Anchorage, China, India and Russia (three of the four biggest CO2-emitting nations) refused to sign a nonbinding declaration seeking greater international action to combat Arctic melting and climate change. Nearly all developing countries oppose agreements calling for binding emission targets or even “obligatory review mechanisms” of their voluntary efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, they now insist on $100 billion to $400 billion per year in climate change “mitigation, adaptation and compensation,” plus free energy technology transfers.

Denmark is dropping plans to phase out coal-fired power plants and be fossil-fuel-free by 2050. Britain is junking its wind energy subsidies and pushing ahead with fracking for gas to fuel more power plants. But meanwhile, Mr. Obama is thumbing his nose at Congress and American voters and unemployed workers – and imposing ever more restrictions on coal and natural gas use, and more taxpayer subsidies for wind, solar and biofuel programs, on top of water, ozone and other regulations. This will cost trillions of dollars, inflict heavy costs on poor and middle class families, and bring few or no health or ecological benefits.

The agenda being driven by President Obama, Pope Francis, the UN and Climate Crisis, Inc. means our huddled masses will be forced to share ever-greater scarcity, ever-lower living standards, ever-fewer jobs and opportunities. But of course it all will be apportioned “fairly and equitably” – by ruling elites and their cronies, whose desk jobs, six-figure salaries and upper crust life styles will be protected by the same executive powers they employ to protect the planet from climate raptors and hobgoblins.

It’s time for Congress to pass bills dismantling and defunding Obama’s energy and climate dictates – and dare Democrats to vote against them and in favor of this destructive Executive Branch power grab.

Via email

Gohmert to EPA Director: 'You Want to Be in Charge of All the Waters of United States'

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) grilled Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy Thursday over the agency’s handling of an EPA contractor’s accidental spilling of toxic wastewater from the Gold King mine in Colorado into the Animas River.

McCarthy said that she was unaware that anyone at the EPA was under criminal investigation for their handling of the incident. “Your agency is above the law,” Gohmert said.

“You want to be in charge of all the waters of the United States, and you couldn’t even figure out to get ready for a possible discharge,” Gohmert continued, likely in reference to the EPA’s Waters of the United States rule, which expands the agency’s control over small bodies of water under the Clean Water Act.

Gohmert said he was blown away by McCarthy’s indications that the EPA did not anticipate that this type of spill could occur.

“Sir, I didn’t say that,” McCarthy interjected.

“Oh, okay, so you just went into it knowing this kind of damage could occur but not preparing for it,” Gohmert replied.

The August 5th spill affected waters in Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico and has severely affected the Navajo Nation - some of whom have slammed the government’s inaction on the toxic spill which contaminated their drinking water.

“Since you’ve been at the EPA, how many people or industries, companies have been charged with criminal violations?” Gohmert asked.

“I don’t have that number, sir,” she replied.

“You have charged plenty of people, right?” he asked.

“We have conducted enforcement activities that we should conduct, yes,” McCarthy acknowledged.

“How many people at the EPA are under investigation right now for this massive discharge that you created?” he asked.

“I’m unaware of any criminal investigation, sir,” she replied.

“Ah, well I guess there’s the rub, isn’t it?” Gohmert emphasized. “Your agency is above the law and all the damage you do to the environment, and you want to be in charge of all the waters of the United States, and you couldn’t even figure out to get ready for a possible discharge.


Real-World, Observational Evidence Contradicts Model-Driven Global Warming Narrative

Abundant, affordable, reliable energy, combined with economic freedom and limited, responsive government according to the rule of law, are indispensable to overcoming poverty. No society has risen out of poverty or can long stay out of it without both.

That is why, like the over 300 scientists, policy experts, religious leaders, and others who have signed “An Open Letter on Climate Change to the People, their Local Representatives, the State Legislatures and Governors, the Congress, and the President of the United States of America,” I oppose policies to prevent or reduce global warming allegedly caused by human emissions of carbon dioxide.

Real-world, observational evidence contradicts model-driven predictions of dangerous manmade global warming. Computer climate models, on average, simulate twice the warming observed over the relevant period; over 95 percent simulate more warming than observed, implying that their errors are not random but driven by bias; and none simulated the absence of warming over the last 18 years and 7 months. In contrast to the invalidated climate models, observational evidence—the essence of real science—strongly supports the conclusion that human carbon dioxide emissions contribute very little if anything to global warming, so reducing emissions, at a cost of trillions of dollars worldwide that could otherwise be spent to solve real and much more urgent problems, would have little or no effect on global warming.

But shifting from abundant, reliable, affordable fossil fuels to diffuse, intermittent, expensive wind and solar drives up energy costs, harming everyone, especially the poor. Applied in developed nations, policies requiring such a shift will slow, stop, or reverse economic growth, destroy millions of jobs, and make all goods and services more expensive, again harming the poor more than anyone else. Applied in developing nations, they will condemn the world’s poorest to ongoing generations of abject poverty and the high rates of disease and premature death that it produces.

Applying such policies through a global agreement limiting carbon dioxide emissions, as President Obama, United Nations officials, and some other world leaders hope to do at the climate summit in Paris in December, would require a massive, global bureaucracy unaccountable to the people whose lives it would rule. That would undermine economic freedom, limited government, and the rule of law, and threaten the sovereignty and independence of every nation.

People with economic freedom and even moderate wealth can thrive in any climate, from the Arctic to the Sahara. Slaves and the poor cannot thrive anywhere.

Thus, as expressed in a “Petition: For the Sake of the Poor, Don’t Fight Global Warming,” our leaders should oppose policies to limit carbon dioxide emissions, whether at sub-national levels (like statewide Renewable Energy Portfolios), national levels (like the U.S. federal Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed “Clean Power Plan”), or global levels, including any treaty or agreement binding nations around the world.


Credentialism and its outcomes

I originally wrote this article for my EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL blog but it obviously has a place here too -- JR

In the 20 years during which I was an active academic researcher, I was repeatedly appalled by the low intellectual standards that I found in papers by colleagues.  They repeatedly ignored basic scientific caution and, all too often, concluded what they wanted to conclude, regardless of what their data actually showed.  I got a couple of papers a year published in the academic journals pointing that sort of thing out. See here

I have no background in climatology and only the most basic background in physics and chemistry -- but even from that low starting point I have often found that in climate-related articles there are the most glaring follies too.  One instance is attributing the high surface temperature of Venus to a "runaway greenhouse effect" -- when that temperature is perfectly well explained by basic adiabatics -- as the outcome of the pressure exerted by the huge Venusian atmosphere.  And just basic logic seems often to be overlooked.  So I have always suspected that climate science is just as impoverished intellectually as science in the fields that I am more familiar with.

And an exquitiste demonstration of that has just been put up by Willis Eschenbach.  He takes a climate paper from a most prestigious academic journal -- "Nature" -- and tears it to very small shreds.  "Nature" is of course a great temple of global warming.  I have done some pretty savage shredding of other people's papers in my time but the comprehensive shredding by Eschenbach leaves me way behind.  It is a classic. 

So how come?  How come science is often so unscientific?  Credentialism plays an obvious part.  The number of years of formal education that a person gets on average has been steadily climbing for many years.  Teachers, for instance, once learnt their job as apprentices but now a four-year degree is normally required.  And the inevitable outcome of credentialism is a great expansion of the higher education sector.  All those degree-hungry people have to be taught. And the teachers concerned have to earn their stripes.  To prove yourself as an academic you need to do research and get the results published in some respectable outlet.

But all men are not equal and those who are capable of rigorous scientific thinking is apparently few.  The sort of article that I and Eschenbach find absurd is the product of the credentialled but incapable.  There are just far too many academics around who are not up to the job.  But they are needed because there are so many students to be taught.

Is there a solution?  I think there is.  But it will be as unpopular as it is simple.  Student loans and grants should be given only to those who can be shown to be in the top 5% of IQ.  Some people who fail such a test will still be able to enroll if they can self-fund but the overall effect should be a large reduction in student numbers.  And with fewer students to be taught, universities can be more selective about the teachers they hire.  And better selected teachers should do better conceived and executed research -- JR


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

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


22 September, 2015

Reversing the destruction of agricultural land

Viv Forbes below does not mention a relevant matter. He directs our attention to a talk by Savory which is an absolute eye-opener and we must be profoundly grateful for Savory's work.  But Savory  does justify his proposals as assisting with global warming.  That is just good politicking however.  By doing that Savory gets more people onside.  But his work is good for much more than global warming. It is truly a great leap forward in the management of agricultural land. I have always seen soil erosion as the environmental challenge that most needs attention but because the Greenies are really motivated by hatred of people rather than real care for the environment, I have yet to see concern about soil erosion from them -- JR

People send me things; lots of things - compliments, abuse, information and advice.

One correspondent is “Coochie” a wannabee grass-farmer who lives in town but reads all the latest stuff on managing grazing animals. He reads things like “Mother Earth” and “Stockman Grass Farmer”.

Coochie recently rebuked me.

“Please tell Farmer Fred that grazing animals are far better than ‘carbon neutral’. In fact they are the only hope for reversing desertification of the world’s grasslands and open forests. If managed properly, grazing herds will remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, reduce soil erosion, improve soil fertility and increase vegetative cover. They should earn ‘carbon credits’.”

I was all ears.

“You and Fred should study the work of Allan Savory. Allan is an observant honest ecologist who has spent his life worrying about desertification, which can be both a cause and a result of climate change. Initially, he hated grazing animals – he thought they were causing desertification and destroying his beloved wildlife.

“But a life-time of study of the whole system showed him it was neither the cloven hooves nor the animal numbers that caused desertification. The problem was how they grazed – how long, how intense. When hard-hoof animals are concentrated on small areas of land for short periods of time, they break up the hard crust and cover it with litter, dung and seeds. Then, when the herd moves on to seek new clean pastures, the abandoned areas recover quickly with improved soil and replanted pasture. This process restores the health of grasses and soil, returning much life-supporting carbon to the soil in the process.

“What turns grasslands into deserts is constant grazing by a few animals. Herds must be concentrated and moving.”

I insisted that Fred come over and listen to Alan Savory, telling us "How to green the world's deserts and reverse climate change"

After he listened to it, Fred was stunned. He was always sceptical of our “funny ideas” on rotational grazing but suddenly he understood.

“Well, my boy” he said. “So much for all that rot from your Professor mate attacking us graziers and lauding soft-footed animals. It makes sense – soft-footed rabbits spread everywhere and destroyed everything with their constant nibbling; but one or two massive moving herds of bison, bunched and harassed by wolves and Indians and assisted by occasional fires, created the marvellous grasslands of the Prairies.

“Our cattle and sheep can be much more than grass harvesters and providers of periodic protein for people and predators. They can cultivate soil, prepare seed beds, spread seeds and mulch, and fertilise our grasslands and pastures in just one pass; but only if we concentrate them properly, and then give the pasture a decent rest-and-recovery period.”

“This Un-Savory chap will probably be expelled from the Deep Green Brotherhood for such blasphemy.”

Coochie was ecstatic: “With plenty of plant-sustaining emissions from coal in the skies, and soil-sustaining emissions from cattle in the soils, then coal and cattle can paint the grasslands green again.”


Jean-François Gariépy on the corruption of science

He is a brain researcher and is pretty spot-on in what he says below.  Warmism is a glaring example of a complete ethical collapse in science. He is burning his bridges at a rather young age.  But I did too.  I was so disgusted with the poor standards of "research" in the social sciences that I resigned my tenured university teaching job at age 39

This week, I resigned from my position at Duke University with no intent to solicit employment in state-funded academic research positions in any foreseeable future. Many reasons have motivated this choice, starting with personal ones: I will soon be a father and want to be spending time with my son at home.

Other reasons have to do with research academia itself. Throughout the years, I have been discovering more and more of the inner workings of academia and how modern scientific research is done and I have acquired a certain degree of discouragement in face of what appears to be an abandonment by my research community of the search for knowledge. I found scientists to be more preoccupied by their own survival in a very competitive research environment than by the development of a true understanding of the world.

By creating a highly-competitive environment that relies on the selection of researchers based on their "scientific productivity," as it is referred to, we have populated the scientific community with what I like to call "chickens with no head," that is, researchers who can produce multiple scientific articles per year, none of which with any particularly important impact on our understanding of the world. Because of this, science is moving forward similarly to how a headless chicken walks, with no perceivable goal.

This issue reveals itself in a series of noxious conditions that are affecting me and my colleagues: a high number of scientific articles are published with fraudulent data, due to the pressures of the "publish or perish" system, making it impossible to know if a recent discovery is true or not. The fact that the peer-review system does not care about looking at the data is not in any way reassuring about this concern. Furthermore, a large portion of the time of a scientist is spent on frivolous endeavors such as submitting a grant request to 5-10 agencies in the hope that one of them will accept. Finally, our scientific publication system has become so corrupted that it is almost impossible to get a scientific article published in an important journal without talking one-on-one with the editor before submitting the article.

Some of my best friends at Duke have told me that I sounded "bitter" when I expressed these concerns. I assure you that I am not and that I am writing these lines with the nonchalance and bliss of a man who has found other ways to be happy and to satisfy his own scientific curiosity, ways that do not involve the costly administrative war of attrition for state money that modern scientists are condemned to engage in. My friends have also pointed out that I should not be "discouraged" by the difficulties faced as a scientist, that I should continue to "fight." Again, they are wrong; discouragements due to failures have never kept me down. I have never been afraid of failures and of retrying, and retrying again; my scientific successes are what discouraged me, because I know how they were obtained.

My most important scientific articles were accepted in major journals because the editors had a favorable prejudice toward me or my co-authors; because I was making sure that I had a discussion with them before I submitted; or because the reviewers they chose happened to be close colleagues. No doubt the articles contained very good findings—I wouldn't have spent years of my life on them if they didn't. However, the real criteria that systematically led to publication, as opposed to the dozens of other journals where they were rejected, was the kind of prejudices described above.

The scientific publication system portrays itself as a strict system for the evaluation of the importance of individual scientific contributions to knowledge, but anyone who has participated to this system and became good at it knows that the true factors that influence the publication of a scientific work have to do with social networking and, in many cases, straight-out corruption. Most of this "I scratch your back, you scratch mine" system operates without wrongful intentions from anyone involved. In fact, I am certain that most people who contribute to it are well-intended people who end up obtaining power here or there in the scientific system and use this power to favor scientists who they genuinely think are good. However, the end result is the same, no matter what the intention is: a corrupt system where favoritism is the norm. A system that I have benefited from for long enough.

It is not surprising that such systems develop given human nature and considering that the publishing of just one article in a major journal means that a researcher can claim his share of a multi-billion dollar flow of money coming from the government or private foundations for his/her future work. No matter what one thinks of this system (I've heard everything from "It's terrible" to "It's totally fine"), the fact is that I do not have the energy to be a part of it for the rest of my life. I can work 12 hours a day, I can work on weekends, I can work at night, I can handle high-stress environments and I thrive in competition. I could sell a life vest to someone living in the Sahara Desert. Call me at 3 AM and tell me that an animal's life is in danger and I'll be dressed for surgery in less than 15 minutes. However, nothing in this world can exhaust me as much as the personal conviction that my work is not noble.

Of course, this does not mean that I will abandon all of my activities related to the search or dissemination of knowledge. I will still teach my courses in Biology and Artificial Intelligence at the University of the People. I will still publish my book, The Revolutionary Phenotype, which contains an important novel theory on the emergence of life. My wish is that this new theory will be taken for what it is and evaluated publicly by whoever wants to comment on it, not by two or three reviewers hiding behind anonymity.

Euclid's geometry stood on its own, because of the truths it contained, and his books have survived all scientific systems that have existed for the last few thousands of years, remaining perhaps still today the most concentrated series of useful truths ever gathered in a single place. I hope the same happens with my theory, but I want to make sure that whatever remains of it in a thousand years will be what it deserves in and of itself, not some superficial hype artificially generated by the leveraging of my own popularity, social network or other meaningless considerations. Unfortunately, my experience with research academia suggests to me that the traditional scientific publication system is not an appropriate vessel for my theory to obtain such an objective treatment.

I will still, also, publish the Season 2 of, for which we have gathered amazing guests. I will still go talk science and have fun with the Drunken Peasants. And I will still spend my days trying to prove the Goldbach conjecture, although you probably won't ever hear about it because I probably won't succeed. In fact, my leave will likely give me more time to concentrate on these important activities. The reality is that throughout the years, my attention has drifted away from research academia, because I found other ways to satisfy my scientific curiosity that seemed more appealing and more genuine to me.

There is a general rejection of these alternative paths to knowledge dissemination in academia, but I have grown out of caring about it. Selling knowledge and prestige are the bread and butter of universities, so we should not be surprised to see the main recipients of the flow of money coming from well-wishing parents and governmental funding agencies dismiss the validity of other, less socially costly paths to knowledge dissemination.

This reminds me of an event which vastly contributed to my discouragement about academia, and which I think illustrates the vacuity with which certain editors of scientific journals treat the review of scientific works that may have taken years to perform. I was in a scientific meeting in Switzerland a couple of years ago and I was having a discussion with the editor of one of the two most important scientific journals in the world. He was asking me and my PI about different young scientists to know what we thought about them. He did not seem so concerned about the quality of their work or the insight they provided on the world. He was asking about their reputation. I remember a question that he asked very seriously but that was hilarious to me:

"And David Eagleman, I saw his book, is he a good one?"

The editor later proceeded to explain to us why he was inquiring about the reputation of these scientists:

"I'm asking to make sure that I accept articles from reputable people. Because you see, at ******, we want to do real science, not Richard-Dawkins-type science."

It is hard to express how many mental facepalms I have experienced in my head when he completed that sentence. A swirl of facepalms, a googol of facepalms +1, an embedded infinity of facepalms. I remember discreetly shedding some tears for an hour that night at the conference's bar, not because that man was unjustifiably mean to one of the most intelligent scientists in the world, but because I had come to the realization that our system of scientific publication is governed by people who have no idea what knowledge is.

I want to thank all the academics I have been interacting with in my career; especially those from Duke and the Université de Montréal. Academia is a weird thing; it is populated with very intelligent, motivated and brilliant people, who are operating in a system that is simply defective to the point of impeding on the very ability of these individuals to engage in a true search for knowledge. In this sense, I am leaving research academia for the same reason that I joined it 12 years ago: in search for a better way to satisfy my hunger for a scientific understanding of the world.


85% of British power can be via renewables by 2030, says Greenpeace

But only with a 60% reduction in demand for domestic heating!  And we need a money tree too, of course.  It's all just theoretical fantasizing

Britain can produce 85% of its power via renewable energy by 2030 provided it undergoes significant changes in energy production and use, according to a new study by Greenpeace.

The study attempts to counter the argument that only fossil fuels and nuclear power can keep the lights on for the next few decades. It foresees wind leaping from today’s level of 13 gigawatts (GW) of wind farms in operation – enough to power around 10 million homes – to a level of 77GW in 2030, with solar rising from just more than 5GW to 28GW.

However, the renewables drive would need to be accompanied by a 60% reduction in demand for domestic heating through a home insulation programme and other initiatives, according to the report by energy system analysts, Demand Energy Equality.

“For a long time the government and the fossil fuel industry have peddled the argument that renewables can’t keep the lights on if the wind’s not blowing. This hasn’t been based on evidence, but out of date instincts seemingly from staring out the window to see how windy it is,” said Doug Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace.

“For the first time, we have the evidence showing it is possible to keep the power system working and decarbonise the electricity system. We need to go for renewable energy with the help of new smart technology and reducing demand for power too.

“It is hugely ambitious but definitely doable, and it will take the same kind of enthusiasm and financial support from government, normally the sole preserve of the nuclear and fossil fuel industries.”

The plan, which would require a major change in government policies, envisages fossil fuels playing a role via combined gas-fired heat and power projects. Many homes and buildings would also need to move away from gas-fired boilers to their own ground source heat pumps or an electricity source.

The report is published in the run up to the UN-sponsored climate change talks in Paris and at a time when the Conservative government has axed a series of green subsidy schemes to wind and solar on the grounds of cost.

The feasability of decarbonising the UK’s power generation system, which was dependent for a long time on carbon-heavy coal, has long been argued over. Few believe that carbon dioxide can be eliminated entirely from energy production, or at least in the short term.

In 2014, around 30% of UK electricity was generated by coal-fired power plants, 30% by gas, 19% by nuclear and around the same amount by renewables, according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

The new analysis shows a low-carbon energy sector is possible but only if our relationship with energy changes at the national, household and personal level.


Update: Leader of effort to prosecute skeptics under RICO ‘paid himself & his wife $1.5 million from govt climate grants for part-time work?

The Leader of a 20 scientist effort to prosecute climate skeptics under RICO revealed as hypocritical 'Climate Profiteer'! 'From 2012-2014, the Leader of RICO 20 climate scientists paid himself and his wife $1.5 million from government climate grants for part-time work.

George Mason University Professor Jagadish Shukla ( a Lead Author with the UN IPCC, lavishly profits off the global warming industry while accusing climate skeptics of deceiving the public and demanding RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) be used against them for disagreeing with his view on climate change.

Shukla, the "leader of RICO20 climate scientists runs his government grants through a 'non-profit'," Prof. Roger Pielke Jr. wrote on September 20.

The group "pays Shukla and wife Anne $500,000 per year for part-time work," Pielke Jr. revealed. "The $350,000-$400,000 per year paid leader of the RICO20 from his 'non-profit' was presumably on top of his $250,000 per year academic salary," Pielke wrote.

"That totals to $750,000 per year to the leader of the RICO20 from public money for climate work and going after skeptics. Good work if you can get it," Pielke Jr. added.


Scientists Debunk Arctic ‘Death Spiral’ Claims

Current conditions in the Arctic are completely within normal climatic variability, according to peer-reviewed studies. Any ‘meltdown’ linked to climate change is not shown in the scientific evidence. arctic sea ice melt

 Western mainstream media has been giving prominence to the claims of a team of global warming alarmist researchers who have alleged the Arctic is showing the first signs of dangerous anthropogenic climate change. Articles have been written outlining "tipping points" in the region that together form a chain reaction leading to apocalyptic consequences. 

    These alarmists have stated that “Global heating and climate disruption has already forced Arctic sea ice into a new state of 'death spiral' meltdown and it is anticipated to disappear in Summer months within a decade, or even a few short years, many decades ahead of previous estimates.”

   They then go on to push an end of the world scenario of “The ALREADY accelerated escape of massive amounts of the powerful, heat trapping greenhouse gas, methane, buried in the frozen permafrost of northern Canada, Siberia and underwater ocean shelves, is of EMERGENCY, 'LIFE OR EXTINCTION'-SCALE CONCERN. (Yes, really!)”

    This is the state of the hysteria that is based on global warming starting a chain reaction of positive feedback loops.  Peer-reviewed scientific research highlighted below shows that the main drivers of these predictions all fail.

Arctic Sea Ice Variability

   Research shows that the Arctic has a long history of temperature swings and of sea ice cover (SIC):  “Grumet et al. (2001) used sea salt Na+ fluctuations in a 700-year ice core record from the Penny Ice Cap (southeastern Baffin Island) as a proxy for Spring sea ice concentration and found that there was an apparent near-doubling in [SIC] over the past century,”

   Also the East Arctic was ice free and experienced greater warming than at present a few thousand years ago. In a respected research paper titled “Decadal-scale sea ice changes in the Canadian Arctic and their impacts on humans during the past 4,000 years:  the authors quote that:

“Our data show that from ~6500 to 2600 BP, there were large oscillations in summer SST from 2–4°C cooler than present to 6°C warmer and SIC ranged from 2 months more sea ice to 4 months more open water. The warmer interval corresponds to the period of pre-Dorset cultures that hunted muskox and caribou. Subsequent marine-based Dorset and Neo-eskimo cultures correspond to progressively cooler intervals with expanded sea ice cover. The warming took ~50–100 years and lasted ~300 years before replacement by colder intervals lasting ~200–500 years.”

   Another example of an ice free arctic is provided by the historically documents event of the Danes and Scandinavians sailing through the arctic during the Medieval Warm Period in 1122 AD. This is corroborated in an article title “Variations in Climate” by Alexander Beck, ME linked below.

   He states:

 “…it is precisely at this time that we find the Danes and several Scandinavian nations going through the Arctic open seas. Colonies are established by them in the highest northern latitude of Greenland, and the upper part of North America…”

   This history of variability in temperature regime and sea ice concentration in the Arctic puts the current warming of areas of the arctic into perspective. It cannot be said that current conditions are unprecedented.

More HERE  (See the original for links)

Australia: Green groups urge new PM to take the pressure off them

Environment groups are urging Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to abandon any plans to change the tax status of green charities.

A demonstration is expected outside the Victorian Parliament on Monday to coincide with hearings in Melbourne of a federal inquiry into the administration and transparency of environment groups.

Green groups see the the inquiry, set up by the Abbott government in March, as a "vendetta" and fear changes that will remove the tax deductibility for donations to organisations pushing for environmental protection.

Tony Abbott was particularly scathing of legal wrangling by environment groups to delay a proposal for a massive expansion of coal exports through the Great Barrier Reef.

Mark Wakeham? from Environment Victoria said about 1000 demonstrators were expected to protest over the inquiry. "It does appear to be an attack on environment groups," Mr Wakeham said. He accused the Abbott government of attempting to silence critics.

Environmental groups had been singled out ahead of other charities, he said.

"We'll be highlighting we've got a legitimate role to play in a democracy. That might be inconvenient for governments at times, but only for governments that don't have credible environmental policies."

But the inquiry has also heard submissions from the Minerals Council of Australia, stating some environmental groups have exploited their tax deductible status to pursue "ideological campaigns" and encourage illegal behaviour, such as blockades.

The Queensland Resources Council said many environmental groups were not operating within the rules of a charity or pursuing "practical" environmental work.

The Victorian government urged the inquiry to "take into account the various ways in which environmental organisations fulfil their goal of improving the natural environment".

Mr Wakeham said the change of prime minister was a chance to press a "reset button"

Liberal senator Arthur Sinodinos?, a key driver in Malcolm Turnbull's toppling of Mr Abbott last week, appeared on Sunday to flag a more conciliatory approach in the politics of the environment.

"I think you'll see that there'll be a bit of an end to the idea that the environment and development have to be at loggerheads, that somehow it's a zero sum game. It's not," Senator Sinodinos told ABC TV.

"Good environmental policies can also be good economic policies and good economic policies give you a capacity to deal with environmental issues."

The inquiry into the Register of Environmental Organisations has received almost 700 submissions.



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

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


21 September, 2015

The vanishing island (?)

The excerpt below is part of a big and colorful feature in the Sydney Morning Herald.  It claims that a small island in the Pacific is being swamped by global warming -- but gives no actual proof of that.  Since the satellites have detected no global warming for over 18 years now, that would be very difficult to do.

A careful reading of the article reveals two things:  1). It is tsunamis that are the main problem for the islanders;  and: 2). There has been a sea level rise in that part of the Pacific which is much greater than the global average.

So here comes my favorite weapon: Logic.  If the water level rise is not global, how can it be an effect of global warming?  It is clearly a local effect due to variations in ocean currents and the like.  And as a LOCAL effect, it has nothing to do with GLOBAL warming.

OK.  What I have just said is probable rather than logically entailed but there would need to be evidence of some process linking the two phenomena.  But since one of the phenomena does not even exist, that would be hard.  The SMH does not attempt one.

So what we have below is just the usual dishonest propaganda that we so often get from Left-leaning rags like the SMH.  They do pull their punches to a degree at one point but an uncritical reader would conclude that the fate of the island is tied to global warming --JR

Taro Island: a sometimes picturesque coral atoll adrift in the ocean at the north-western tip of the Solomon Islands.

Barely a kilometre long and less across and almost none of it more than two metres above sea level, it is barely a smudge on a map. Yet this smudge - with its nearly 600 permanent residents, its hospital, churches (four), school, police station and courthouse - is set to take an unwanted place in history. Though tiny, it is the capital of the province of Choiseul. Soon it may be the first provincial capital in the world to be abandoned due to climate change.

In the wash of environmental and geopolitical changes that flow from the warming of the planet, Taro is a drop in the ocean. But it is also an early marker of what lies ahead. As Peter Dutton joked with Tony Abbott about water lapping at the doors of Pacific Islanders, the people of Taro were weighing warnings that their home would be among the first - of dozens? hundreds? thousands? - of largely blameless communities swallowed by the ocean as sea levels rise.

Plans have been drawn up. The people are ready. But they have a nagging question. Who will pay the hundreds of millions needed to make it happen? They are waiting for an answer.

Roswita Nowak already knows what it’s like to abandon her home; she’s done it three times.

Shortly after 8am on April 2, 2007, the mother of eight was making the short stroll from her home at Taro’s northern end to her work in a government office when she was distracted by an unfamiliar sound. “I looked down [toward the village centre] and could see people running, and then I heard this ‘sssshhhh’, and saw the water rushing. Then there was shouting: ‘Tsunami! Tidal wave!’ Everyone started to panic, running. People were shouting, ‘We have to go, leave everything, we’re going now.’ And for the women, the first thing we thought of was our children.”

While others headed for boats on the shore, Nowak dashed for home - a slightly raised four-room house where she had left six of her kids minutes before. She calmed them best she could, and waited. “I was shaking.”

Soon her husband, Fleming, a police officer, arrived. He said, “The boat is ready, let’s go.” Their 15-year-old son, Stanislaus, picked up his five-year-old sister, Helena, and everyone ran to the beach at the atoll’s north, where a dinghy was waiting. “We got into the boat,” Nowak remembers, “and immediately the tide went out and we just sat there on the dry seafloor and had to wait for the water to come back in, not knowing what it would do.”

They were lucky. The water came back forcefully enough to lift them but not tip them out. So they headed about two kilometres east across rough seas to the Choiseul mainland and scrambled up a hill to a small camp used by a logging company.

The evacuation of Taro was messy. There weren’t enough boats so it took more than two hours of trips back and forth. Some people were dropped off on an exposed coral reef, only for the oscillating sea to return and swamp them up to their chests as they tried to walk to the shore. The town’s people relocated to the jungle logging camp for five days, largely exposed to the elements. Other parts of the country were much less fortunate. The tsunami, triggered by an earthquake about 160 kilometres south, killed 52.

The island has been evacuated twice more since, during heavy seismic activity in a week in April last year. To some extent, this is the risk that comes with life in a low-lying area dissected by geological fault lines. But the advice from scientists and hard-headed officials is that the risk is worsening rapidly.

Satellite data suggests sea levels in the south-west Pacific are rising up to five times faster than the global average - 7.7 millimetres a year in the capital Honiara, to the south, and up to 16.8 millimetres a year in the ocean to the country’s north.....

As always, climate change driven by greenhouse gases is interacting here with natural forces. Separating the two isn’t necessarily straightforward, but scientists say the human hand is already evident.

They cannot say with confidence that tropical cyclones in the area will become more intense due to climate change, but they know that storms are heading further south. When we arrive, the people of Choiseul are counting the cost of tropical cyclone Raquel, which took at least one life and destroyed homes, palm plantations and seaweed crops at the start of July. Along Taro’s shore, recently felled trees lie in the ocean waiting to be cleaned up.

It is, by several months, the latest in the season a cyclone has hit the area - a reflection, meteorologists say, of changing atmospheric patterns and ocean temperatures being the warmest on record.


GLOBAL WARMING STOPPED in 1998? NO it didn't. If you say that, you're going to PRISON

Lewis Page

In extraordinary developments, assorted scientists and other academics have waded into the debate over the widely-acknowledged absence of global warming seen over the last 15+ years.

The various researchers, one group of whom are based at Stanford, say that actually the hiatus simply didn't happen.

"There never was a hiatus, a pause or a slowdown in global warming," states Noah Diffenbaugh, associate prof, in a suitably blunt tinned quote issued by Stanford. Diffenbaugh and his colleagues arrived at this result by applying new statistical methods of their own devising, as opposed to the "classical" statistics techniques generally used by climate scientists to date.

With perhaps unfortunate timing, no less an organisation than the UK Met Office has this week referred in writing to the existence of a "slowdown" in global warming, and even suggested that it might continue for some time.

A different group of academics has also denied that the hiatus exists. They write:

There has been much recent published research about a putative “pause” or “hiatus” in global warming ... there is no evidence that identifies the recent period as unique or particularly unusual.

This group is quite well known in the climate debate: the lead author is Stephan Lewandowsky, a psychologist who has previously produced research proving to his satisfaction that climate sceptics are mostly lunatics who refuse to let their children be vaccinated, believe that Barack Obama was not born in the USA, think that MI6 assassinated Princess Diana, and - just to round things off - also believe that the Moon landings were faked and that Saddam Hussein really did have large stocks of WMDs. Lewandowsky is joined for his latest outing by Naomi Oreskes, not really a scientist but a historian (though her bachelor degree was in mining) famous for her book Merchants of Doubt, which says that climate sceptics are the same as those who cast doubt on the idea that cigarettes are bad for you, in that they are likewise corruptly working for sinister corporate interests.

On top of all that, an American senator - writing in the new Jeff Bezos owned Washington Post - has also likened climate scepticism to pro-tobacco propaganda. Senator Whitehouse pointedly mentioned the famous American RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations) law, which allows US enforcement agencies sweeping powers to probe into such things as suspected Mafia-owned businesses or front organisations and so backtrack to the criminal kingpins which control them - and put everyone involved in prison.

That's not terribly unusual in today's climate climate, but now a group of scientists has written to President Obama, saying:

We appreciate that you are making aggressive and imaginative use of the limited tools available to you in the face of a recalcitrant Congress. One additional tool – recently proposed by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse – is a RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) investigation of corporations and other organizations that have knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change ...

We strongly endorse Senator Whitehouse’s call for a RICO investigation.

Signatories to the letter include the well-known Kevin Trenberth, famous for having written in an email to fellow climatologists regarding the hiatus:

"The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't."

The email was not intended for public consumption, but it was leaked during the "Climategate" episode of 2009.


Obviously the call for a RICO probe into climate-sceptic organisations may be uncomfortably relevant for some of us here on the Register climate desk (though by no means all, we take no editorial stance on climate matters at the Reg and plenty of the Vultures espouse orthodox warmist beliefs on the subject).

In particular your correspondent today is often accused of being an evil denier swine in the pay of the Koch brothers or similar*, so presumably cuffs will be snapped onto wrists during the next editorial visit to the States - or perhaps Britain will join in the RICO probe and we'll find the door getting kicked in here at Vulture Central.

But this isn't terribly scary in the context of being a Reg writer, especially one covering a divisive subject such as climate, or iOS devices. It's not unheard of for people to call for or promise a Vulture's death, occasionally by unusual and painful means, so merely being chucked in the slammer by the future joint inter-agency international RICO climate witch hunt taskforce is no big deal.

Anyway, the alternative is a lot worse. Doing a bit of porridge can't possibly be as bad as having to share the Ecuadorian embassy broom cupboard with Julian Assange, so your correspondent plans to go quietly as and when the cops turn up. ®


*Ironically in a RICO context, one organisation that names your correspondent today as an "individual involved in the global warming denial industry" and "involved in the PR spin campaigns that are confusing the public and stalling action" actually is backed by a racketeer: that is the DeSmogBlog blog, funded by John Lefebvre, who was convicted in 2007 of financial and gambling-related crimes which had netted him more than $100m.

It's especially chuckleworthy to be accused of being involved in an industrially-funded PR spin campaign by Jim Hoggan, the man who runs DeSmogBlog for Lefebvre. Hoggan actually is a PR man and actually does take money from the green industry which benefits from his supposedly pro-bono DeSmog campaigning.

Here's a for-the-record note from the past for anyone wondering about all the funding channelled to your correspondent or the Reg by the Koch brothers or other sinister figures. (TL,DR: There is none and has never been any. This isn't being done for money, we just call it as we see it.) And you can ask anyone in the IT business; the Register editorial department doesn't do PR.

Anyway, it's not so bad being on the DeSmogBlog denier list and having one's name listed alongside such others as Freeman Dyson, Burt Rutan and various other Nobel prize winners, moon-walking astronauts and so on.


Nobody In Trump's Crowd Believes In Global Warming

Still-allegedly-running presidential candidate Donald Trump took questions from his audience Thursday at a New Hampshire rally, which predictably led to an unleashing of racist bile. But sprinkled in between the ignorance was Megan Andrade, a University of New Hampshire student who told Trump she volunteers for the League of Conservation Voters.

"I'm here to ask you what your plan is to reduce pollution that is driving climate change and endangering public health." she told the real estate man.

"Let me ask you a question, how many people here believe in global warming? Who believes in global warming? Who believes in global warming, raise your hand?" Trumps asks, getting precious little response.

 "Wow. Not much, huh? Nobody? One person? Huh," says Trump. "Oh, you believe, huh?"

And that, for Trump, is that. He moves on. "We're going to do two more questions, two more questions," he says.

Republican believers in climate change may've just stayed mum. In a poll of New Hampshire Republican primary voters that the GOP polling firm American ViewPoint conducted for LCV and the Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund, slightly more than half said there is solid evidence for climate change.

Trump has said in the past that he doesn't see climate change in a problem and has referenced the phenomenon of "global cooling," which is a go-to for deniers of the science.


Global Warming Gives Us The First Storm-Free Peak Hurricane Season In Nearly Four Decades

Remember the freak weather global warming was supposed to cause? It’s to the point where the Obama administration feels that this is a national security priority (it isn’t). Nevertheless, Mother Nature decided to play another prank on environmentalists with their global warming nonsense by giving us the first storm-free peak hurricane season in nearly four decades:

September 12 marks the peak of the Atlantic Ocean hurricane season, but this year the day passed without any named storms. Odder still, the recently restless Pacific Ocean had a quiet day, too. In fact, across the entire Northern Hemisphere, not a single tropical storm swirled.

Global warming is preventing the ice caps from melting, wreaking havoc on Antarctic research stations by preventing easy access for resupply ships due to the accumulation of sea ice, and expanded the Arctic Ice Cap by 533,000 square miles. Global temperatures have stagnated for nearly 16 years, and we’ve seen some of the quietest tornado seasons on record. In 2013, it was the calmest tornado season in six decades. In 2015, the tornado count is 59 percent below average.

No wonder why the CIA shut down its climate research program.


A nice tribute to Fred Singer -- aged 90 and still kicking

by Roy W. Spencer, who calls Fred a "trailblazer"

Those of you who follow our efforts to bring some balance to offset global warming alarmism also likely know of our honorary godfather, Fred Singer. Fred has been a tireless crusader, including helping to establish the NIPCC as an answer to the U.N.’s IPCC.

But people like Fred (and myself) didn’t start out in global warming, which is a relatively modern invention. For example, my original claim to fame was developing methods for measuring global precipitation from satellite-borne microwave radiometers, starting in the early 1980s. Fred started out well before me in satellite remote sensing, serving as the first director of the National Weather Satellite Service during 1962-64. I was still in elementary school at that time.

Now, as my 60th birthday approaches in December, I find myself going through my old files and throwing away everything except items of historical interest. Yesterday, I hit upon a stack of old microwave rainfall retrieval papers, and I stumbled upon one I had totally forgot about.

It turns out that Fred Singer wrote one of the very first papers on the possibility of measuring precipitation from satellites with microwave radiometers. The original idea was put forth in brief qualitative terms in a German article authored by Konrad Buettner in 1963. Then, in 1968, Fred and co-author G. F. Williams, Jr., put some theoretical equations and aircraft test flights behind the idea. The article was Microwave Detection of Precipitation over the Surface of the Ocean, in the May 1968 issue of Journal of Geophysical Research.

As an expert in this field, I can tell you that Fred’s treatment of the issue was surprisingly sound and insightful for such an early piece of work. It postulated effects which we now have widespread support for from satellite measurements.

I just wanted to bring attention to his early pioneering work in satellite microwave remote sensing, which eventually led to a wide variety of passive microwave imagers flying in space: ESMR, SMMR, SSM/I, TRMM, SSMIS, AMSR, GMI, and others. I’m sure there are other satellite areas he also helped to pioneer, too.

Great work, Fred!


Australia: The smoke and mirrors surrounding the anti-coal campaign

Coal divestment is the new black. Following the Anglican Church and others, the most recent organisations to jump onto the trend are Newcastle Council (despite the city being built on coal) and the University of Sydney. Both are withdrawing their investments from coal or other organisations that fund coal.

But like many fads, it doesn’t seem to be built on sound facts. It is more based on doing what others are doing to avoid the feeling of being left behind.

Let us look at the facts. Firstly, divestment probably won’t have a substantial impact on Australia’s coal production. Sydney University has an investment fund of about $1.4 billion, while Newcastle Council has $270 million. But the big banks reportedly have $36bn invested in coal, and the Future Fund has recently indicated it will continue to invest its $117bn in non-renewables.

Even if most of Australia’s investors engaged in divestment, there are so many other potential investors around the globe that it is hard to see any dramatic impact on the industry. And good luck to the divestment campaigners convincing investors in less democratic countries to stop funding Australian coal.

Despite this campaign, the official forecasts are for substantial increases in Australian coal production. The Department of Industry forecasts our coal exports will increase by 1.2 per cent per year to 2050. This is an increase of 54 per cent on today’s production.

To reiterate: coal production is predicted to grow by an enormous amount, not decline. And the Department also states that coal accounts for about 64 per cent of Australia’s electricity generation, and is forecast to remain at about this level by 2050.

The divestment campaign also needs to face the inconvenient predictions about coal demand, including that India has plans to almost double its coal production by 2020, and most new electricity stations under development in India are expected to be coal-based. The Department of Industry assesses that it would be “exceptionally challenging” for India to reduce its use of coal-fired electricity (to limit greenhouse emissions). The International Energy Agency’s 2014 World Energy Outlook forecasts global coal demand increasing by 15 per cent by 2040 (in its central scenario).

Not a ringing endorsement of the divestment campaign, which seems likely to having similar  success to King Canute’s command that the tide stop coming in.

Of course, official forecasts might be wrong, and around the globe by 2050 we might all be using solar panels and Tesla batteries. But this would be driven by the lower cost of these alternatives, not the divestment campaign.

Nevertheless, let us humour the divestment campaign for a moment and assume it  causes a decline in Australia’s coal production. Unfortunately for the campaign, what is most likely is that production would simply increase overseas shifting from Australia — which has high environmental standards — to other countries where environmental standards are often lower.

World coal production would remain about the same, environmental outcomes would worsen, and Australia would lose substantial export income. The value of Australia’s coal exports are expected to be $37 billion in 2014-15. It is hard to see how this is an improvement. Of course, the divestment campaign could also try to stop coal expansion elsewhere, but (again) good luck trying to do this in less democratic countries.

Surely the divestment campaign is about reducing global coal use, not moving coal production to other economies. So let us (further) humour the divestors, and suppose that it does cut the worldwide use of coal. The campaign would no doubt argue that this would help human health.

The World Health Organisation has argued that there will be 250,000 deaths per year due to global warming in 2030. This is a very large figure, granted. But there are larger figures. The WHO has also estimated that indoor smoke from open fires and stoves caused 4.3 million deaths per year in 2012. Coal plays an essential role in replacing these cooking sources.

While we should never base decisions solely on lives lost versus lives saved, it is clear that the use of coal could easily be a net saver of life. And this isn’t count the innovations that can limit the greenhouse emissions of coal, or help avoid deaths from a warmer climate. It also doesn’t count the important impact of coal in reducing human poverty. So much for the ‘human life’ argument.

The divestment campaign also misses the patronising nature of its stance. Many of the campaigners would be strong opponents of Western imperialism. But they are perfectly happy to imply (or even state explicitly) that developing countries are bad global citizens for using coal. The campaigners would consider it is wrong to tell countries such as India and China what to think or believe, but it is good to tell them what fuels to use. The hypocrisy should be self-evident.

If they are truly concerned about the use of coal in India and China, the campaigners should persuade those countries to reduce their use, rather than lecturing them from a distance. However, that would require genuine effort, rather than mere trendsetter posturing.



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

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20 September, 2015

Massachusetts: Pilgrim nuclear plant says it may shut down

Another step towards shutting down America's electricity supply. Massachusetts has just lost its coal plants.  What's left?  Not much. They will be importing more and more power from Canada and elsewhere -- which will force already high electricity bills even higher.  But it's only the "little people" of Taxachusetts  that will suffer.  And what Leftist really cares about them? The grandees of Beacon Hill who cut down the coal plants can easily afford higher electricity bills.  Their  heating in winter and airconditioning in summer  will be unaffected -- JR

Officials at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station are considering whether they can afford the multimillion-dollar safety improvements and other reforms required by federal officials. If not, they say, they might close the plant.

After the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission downgraded the plant’s safety rating this month, Pilgrim joined two reactors in Arkansas as the least safe in the country. Expensive repairs are needed to raise the safety rating of the 43-year-old plant, run by Entergy Corp. since 1999.

“If the corporation finds that the cost of making the improvements of the plant exceed the value of the plant, the corporation may decide to shut the plant down,” said David Noyes, the plant’s director of regulatory and performance improvement.

He added: “No business decision has been made about Pilgrim. We’re looking at specific conditions, and analyzing weaknesses associated with the plant. As of right now, we don’t know the costs.”

The plant could also be shut down by the regulatory commission. A succession of unplanned shutdowns of its reactor in recent years, and inspections that revealed significant safety problems, resulted in the plant being moved to the next-to-lowest performance category two weeks ago.

None of the nation’s 99 reactors are in the lowest category, but if Pilgrim fails to comply with federal requirements, the commission will move it there. Such action would require the plant to close, at least temporarily.

The commission said the plant’s level of risk is “low to moderate.” Entergy officials said the odds of an event occurring that would damage its reactor core, before they made recent repairs, was one in every 142,857 years.

Pilgrim, which provides an average of about 12.5 percent of the state’s electricity, is located in Plymouth, 35 miles from Boston. About 5 million people live and work within a 50-mile radius of the plant.

In a recent letter to Entergy officials, Governor Charlie Baker urged Entergy to “make certain that the plant meets the highest safety standards.”

“We cannot risk the well-being of the residents of the Commonwealth,” Baker wrote.

Baker added that he was troubled that Entergy “has failed to take appropriate corrective actions to address the causes of several unplanned shutdowns dating back to 2013.”

Baker has said he sees Pilgrim as part of a “balanced approach” to the state’s energy needs, while other state lawmakers have long called for the plant to be closed.

Entergy was awarded a 20-year operating license in 2012 to continue operating Pilgrim, but opponents are hoping to use the downgrade to pressure the company to shutter the plant now. On Wednesday, state Senator Dan Wolf, a Harwich Democrat, met with advocates from the Sierra Club, the Environmental League of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group, and others.

They discussed how to advance bills in the Legislature that require the company to pay fees to store its spent nuclear fuels at Pilgrim, and that would force Entergy to show that it has enough money to cover the costs of securing its spent fuel after the plant closes.

“These bills will get across to Entergy that they need to bake these costs into running the plant and think of its financial viability,” Wolf said. “They’re going to have to make financial decisions.”

Entergy officials declined to provide information about the plant’s operating costs or revenue. Although the company’s stock price has plummeted by nearly 30 percent this year, nuclear regulatory officials have maintained that Entergy is solvent.

In a letter sent this summer to an environmental group in New York, William Dean, director of the NRC’s Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, wrote that Entergy’s “current financial qualifications are adequate to continue safe operation at Pilgrim.”

In response to questions from the Globe about the company’s finances, Lauren Burm, an Entergy spokeswoman, wrote: “Entergy does not disclose in our investor relations or Securities and Exchange Commission filings, individual plant profit, or operating cost information. It is considered proprietary business information.”

Entergy officials have six months to present the NRC with a detailed improvement plan. Commission officials will then send teams of inspectors to the plant to review the causes of the unplanned shutdowns over the past three years and to determine whether equipment needs to be replaced and whether the plant’s management needs to improve safety.

The commission bills Entergy for the inspections, which federal officials estimate will cost nearly $2 million. Entergy officials said they have already spent about $70 million to provide safety and security upgrades to the plant since the 2011 radiation leak at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear station, which has the same basic design as Pilgrim.

“We have a number of actions already ongoing to address performance gaps identified,” Noyes said. “We have existing action plans and we plan to execute those.”

State energy officials declined interview requests about how Massachusetts would make up for the lost power if Pilgrim closes.

If a closure were to happen soon, it would come as the state has made drastic cuts to its reliance on coal. Last year, the Mt. Tom power plant in Holyoke became the last of the state’s three coal plants to schedule a permanent shutdown. The Salem Harbor Power Station closed last year, while Brayton Point in Somerset is scheduled to stop operating in 2017.

The state now gets about 58 percent of its energy from natural gas, while oil supplies about 9 percent, coal about 3 percent, and renewable energy about 2 percent. The rest comes from hydroelectric power and other sources. The state would probably have to import more natural gas, which would have an impact on its carbon emissions. Nuclear power doesn’t emit carbon.

“The administration continues to engage with the Legislature on Massachusetts’ energy needs and is committed to addressing the impact of power plant retirements on energy markets,” Katie Gronendyke, a spokeswoman for the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, said in a statement.


Rubio Joins Ernst To Stop EPA'S Water Overreach ...

Today, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined lead sponsor U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) and 45 senators to introduce a joint resolution disapproving the rule submitted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) that expands the scope of federal authority over land and waterways in the U.S. under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, commonly known as Waters of the United States “WOTUS” rule.

The resolution would nullify this ill-conceived rule, sending a message to the EPA and USACE that they failed to address the concerns raised by farmers, ranchers, manufacturers and small businesses across the country.

“Hardworking Americans have had enough of Washington bureaucrats telling them how to use their land,” said Rubio. “The EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers are irresponsible to go forward with this job-killing rule despite the serious concerns raised by farmers, ranchers, manufacturers and small business owners across the country.

“I’m proud to join Senator Ernst and my Senate colleagues in preventing this harmful overreach and expansion of government jurisdiction from taking place,” Rubio added.


Even Good Climate News Flipped to Alarmism

Veterans of the climate policy debate have known for years that no matter what, those worried about emissions can take any new information to conclude: “Things are worse than we thought! We need our preferred policies more than ever!” A Working Paper from earlier this year shows just how far this trend can be pushed, whereby elite researchers took the U.N.’s reduction in the bottom range of man’s likely influence on global temperatures to argue for increased worry about the future.

“When Is Good News Bad?”

To show that I am not attacking a straw man, let me quote liberally from the Abstract of the paper, “Climate Uncertainty: When Is Good News Bad?” published early this year by Freeman, Wagner, and Zeckhauser (two of whom are at Harvard):

"Climate change is real and dangerous. Exactly how bad it will get, however, is uncertain. Uncertainty is particularly relevant for estimates of one of the key parameters: equilibrium climate sensitivity—how eventual temperatures will react as atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations double. Despite significant advances in climate science…the “likely” range has been 1.5-4.5°C for over three decades. In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) narrowed it to 2-4.5°C, only to reverse its decision in 2013, reinstating the prior range. In addition, the 2013 IPCC report removed prior mention of 3°C as the “best estimate.”

…Intuitively, it might seem that a lower bottom would be good news. Here we ask: When might apparently good news about climate sensitivity in fact be bad news? The lowered bottom value also implies higher uncertainty about the temperature increase, a definite bad. Under reasonable assumptions, both the lowering of the lower bound and the removal of the “best estimate” may well be bad news."

To paraphrase, the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), which came out in 2013, lowered the “likely” range of global warming as the result of a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Specifically, in the Fourth Assessment Report (issued in 2007), the IPCC had put the bottom end of the range at 2 degrees Celsius, but by the AR5 six years later, it was forced to lower the range by half a degree Celsius in light of the mounting evidence that temperatures were not responding as much to CO2 emissions as the computer models had projected.

At the time of the AR5’s release, many of the moderate (sometimes known as “lukewarmer”) analysts announced the good news—see for example climate scientist Judith Curry’s summary. Yet as the block quotation above illustrates, Freeman, Wagner, and Zeckhauser study various conditions in which the latest IPCC report would be bad news, meaning we should be more worried about human-caused climate change.

Turn That Smile Upside Down

To be clear, I want to explicitly confirm that there is nothing demonstrably incorrect in the analysis from Freeman et al. Although their arguments will probably only appear comprehensible to professional economists, the underlying logic of their case is straightforward enough: People are “risk averse,” meaning they care not just about the mean of an uncertain distribution but also about its variance.

For example, imagine Lottery A has a 50% chance of paying $900 and a 50% chance of paying $1,100, whereas Lottery B has a 50/50 chance of paying $300 and $1,700, respectively. Both lotteries have the same expected payoff—namely, $1,000—but Lottery B has a wider variance. It is riskier. Most people would probably choose Lottery A versus B, because it is closer to a “sure thing” of $1,000. Indeed, many people are so risk averse that they would take a guaranteed $900 (say) rather than play Lottery B, even though Lottery B’s expected payoff (of $1,000, remember) is higher than $900.

In this context, Freeman et al. develop a model of social preferences over climate outcomes in an environment of uncertainty. They document conditions under which even ostensibly “good news” that results in a reduction in the lower bound of predicted temperature increase nonetheless constitutes an inferior “lottery,” compared to a prior “lottery” in which we had a smaller variance but with the same (or even higher) mean prediction of temperature change.

This is the technique by which Freeman et al. take the IPCC’s good news and make it bad. The reduction in the lower bound on the range of climate sensitivity—from 2°C down to 1.5°C—other things equal is obviously a good thing, from the perspective of avoiding future climate change damage.
However, Freeman et al. point out that other things aren’t equal. The change in the range could mean that humans now assign a higher variance to future temperatures. Coupled with risk aversion, this could imply that we are worse off than we thought as of the Fourth Assessment Report, and that citizens should be more willing to have their governments engage in costly mitigation policies to halt carbon dioxide emissions.

Where There’s a Will, There’s a Model

To repeat, there is no demonstrable mistake in the analysis of Freeman et al. However, we should still interpret their paper with a large degree of caution.

In the first place, they most definitively do not show that the latest IPCC report actually is cause for increased alarm. Rather, they merely show that it might be. For example, on pages 5-9 of the paper they come up with specific numerical examples consistent with the broad IPCC statements, which—when plugged into their formal model—yield the answer of “bad news.” Yet to repeat, the IPCC’s statements themselves do not directly yield this answer, because they are not specific enough.

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More generally, however, we have to recognize that academic economists are very clever people and can come up with models to prove just about anything. (You think I’m bluffing?) Ask yourself this: Suppose the AR5 had instead raised the lower bound from 2°C to 2.5°C. Would Ivy League economists have produced a paper showing that this actually reduced the need for a carbon tax?

Of course, we can’t know for sure what would have happened in that alternate universe, but I am pretty sure that if the latest IPCC report had raised the bottom end of its projections, then the overwhelming interpretation would have been: “Human activities more damaging than we originally thought! The ‘social cost of carbon’ estimate has been increased by such-and-such percent. It’s more urgent than ever to impose a carbon tax and other restrictions.”


As I have pointed out repeatedly here at IER, the economic case for aggressive government policies to restrict carbon dioxide emissions is dubious at best. Indeed, we can use the IPCC’s own AR5 report to make a convincing argument that the economic costs of a 2°C cap would outweigh the benefits (in terms of avoided climate change damage).

As such, the argument from the leading economists on this issue is not one of “settled science” regarding a “clear and present danger” that is already upon us. Instead, the hot topics—epitomized in the work of Martin Weitzman, for example—involve uncertainty about the future. The claim is not that aggressive government restrictions will pay for themselves, but rather that they might be a good idea. Since we can’t prove that a climate catastrophe won’t occur, we can come up with formal economic models in which aggressive policies are justified.

To repeat, these researchers at Harvard and other elite institutions are very smart, and they haven’t made a mathematical mistake in their models. But the public should pause and ask if these sophisticated maneuvers match the more populist rhetoric they’ve heard on the issue. When even good news—in the form of a lowered estimate on the likely range of human influence on the climate—is construed as cause for worry, don’t people start to get suspicious that this is not a neutral scientific debate?


Debate no more! Jailed for scientific dissent?! Twenty climate scientists, including Top UN scientist, call for RICO investigation of climate skeptics in letter to Obama

Warmist scientists including UN IPCC Lead Author Kevin Trenberth to Obama:

'We appreciate that you are making aggressive and imaginative use of the limited tools available to you in the face of a recalcitrant Congress. One additional tool – recently proposed by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse – is a RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) investigation of corporations and other organizations that have knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change, as a means to forestall America’s response to climate change. We strongly endorse Senator Whitehouse’s call for a RICO investigation.'

Via Politico: 'Twenty climate scientists called for RICO investigation in a letter to Obama and U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch. The scientists argue that the systemic efforts to prevent the public from understanding climate change resembles the investigation undertaken against tobacco. They draw inspiration from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse who said on the Senate floor that there might be a similar conspiracy here, and a civil trial could provide the tools of discovery needed to find out.'

Top UN scientist Dr. Kevin Trenberth and 19 other scientists have become so tired of debating global warming that they are now apparently seeking to jail those who disagree with them.


Scientific ‘Consensus’ Can’t Agree On The Existence Of The Global Warming Hiatus

A rift is growing in the so-called consensus on global warming that’s as wide as the Atlantic Ocean. Scientists just can’t seem to agree on whether or not the 15-year hiatus in warming actually exists or not.

A recent study by Stanford University scientists reinforces the claim made by federal government researchers earlier this year that the hiatus in global warming was essentially a fluke in the surface temperature data and never actually existed.

The Stanford study comes just months after scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) made adjustments to surface temperature data that eliminated the 15-year hiatus in global warming. The data adjustments were highly controversial among climate scientists, but now Stanford researchers have put forward new data they say confirm there was no hiatus in warming.

“Our results clearly show that, in terms of the statistics of the long-term global temperature data, there never was a hiatus, a pause or a slowdown in global warming,” Stanford climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh said in a statement following the study’s release.

But scientists across the Atlantic aren’t buying American scientists’ claims the hiatus in warming never happened. Just a couple days before the release of the Stanford study, the UK’s Met Office — the premier climate research unit in the country — released findings that the hiatus in warming could last a few more years because of natural cooling cycles over the Atlantic Ocean.

“Observational and model estimates further suggest [Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation] shifts have an effect on global mean near-surface temperatures of about 0.1?C,” the Met Office wrote in its September climate outlook. “A rapid AMO decline could therefore maintain the current slowdown in global warming longer than would otherwise be the case.”

Though the Met Office did say this year’s El Nino is likely to make 2015 as warm or warmer than 2014 — which was declared the warmest year on record by government meteorologists. Met Office scientists also cautioned that “there are signs in the observations and near term climate predictions that are consistent with a resumption of warming.”

But even if warming resumes this next year, which is made more likely by El Nino, the Met Office still acknowledges there is in fact a slowdown or hiatus in global warming. The Met Office says “the rate of warming has slowed over the most recent 15 years or so.” This stands in stark contrast to Stanford and NOAA scientists that say the hiatus in warming never even existed.

The hiatus or pause in warming has been heavily researched in the past few years, and scientists have put forward dozens of explanations to why warming has dramatically slowed. The temperature record showed a lack of warming from the late 1990s the early 2010s, which meant that most climate models were over-predicting how much warming would be caused by man-made carbon dioxide emissions.

Now, more and more scientists are saying the pause was just an aberration in the data. NOAA scientists eliminated the hiatus from the temperature record by adjusting temperatures taken by ocean buoys upwards to match those taken from ships. The Stanford study analyzed old temperature data sets along with newly corrected records to bolster its findings that there was no pause in warming.

“By using both datasets, nobody can claim that we made up a new statistical technique in order to get a certain result,” Bala Rajaratnam, a Stanford statistician and scientist, said in a statement.

“We saw that there was a debate in the scientific community about the global warming hiatus, and we realized that the assumptions of the classical statistical tools being used were not appropriate and thus could not give reliable answers,” said Rajaratnam.


New Australian Prime Minister not going Green

How many compromises was Turnbull prepared to make to get the keys to The Lodge?  Plenty, as it turns out.

The first compromise, and perhaps the most surprising, was on climate policy. Turnbull has long been a vocal critic of Tony Abbott and Greg Hunt’s risible Direct Action policy. Yet no sooner had he taken the reins of national government than he was complementing Greg Hunt on the policy and vowing to keep it.

In Question Time yesterday, Turnbull went out of his way to praise Direct Action.

“We are talking about a very specific policy that was carefully put together by the Minister for the Environment, that was carefully considered by the Government, and it is working,” he told the House of Representatives.

Greg Hunt confirmed that Direct Action would stay, telling reporters that “the emissions reduction fund has been a spectacular success. So the policy is continuing.”

Endorsing Direct Action is a massive backflip for Turnbull.

Way back in 2010, Turnbull was savagely critical of Direct Action as a wasteful public subsidy for big polluters. “I've always believed the Liberals reject the idea that governments know best,” he said in a well-publicised speech in Parliament. “Doling out billions of taxpayers' money is neither economically efficient, nor will it be environmentally effective.”

Keeping Direct Action appears to be the first big compromise Turnbull was prepared to make, no doubt to win over some of the hardline climate denialists on the Liberal back bench. Let’s remember that Turnbull was rolled as Liberal leader in 2009 on precisely this issue, after he negotiated with Kevin Rudd and the Labor government to introduce a bipartisan emissions trading scheme.

It’s difficult to believe Turnbull really thinks Direct Action is a good policy. There is not a single independent expert in the land that thinks Direct Action can actually meet the Coalition’s 28 per cent emissions reduction target by 2025. The simple math tells us it will fail: the most recent Direct Action auction of emissions reduction bids bought around 15 per cent of the emissions reductions the government needs, but spent a quarter of the Direct Action budget.



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

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


18 September, 2015

Now for the Warmist mosquito scare

I was born and bred in the tropics, where mosquitoes sometimes seem so numerous that you almost expect them to pick you up and fly off with you.  And, you know what?  There are a lot of animals in the tropic too. Yet somehow the animals survive without the benefit of mosquito nets and mosquito repellent. Fur coats help a lot, of course.  Is there any reason to think that furry animals that have evolved in other mosquito-prone environments would do less well?  I can't see it.

And anyway, the study of local warming below was done in a period of exceptional overall temperature stability so tells us nothing about global warming.  And IF global warming does ever happen we could easily help the Caribou by aerial sprayng of DDT -- which we now know has no adverse impacts for humans or birds.  Before it was banned, people used to be fogged with DDT to kill various bugs -- and the people concerned came to no harm from it

And note Chip Knappenberger's comment below -- JR

The Atlantic is worried the caribou won’t survive massive mosquito swarms that are allegedly spawning earlier every year, harassing malnourished mothers and killing their young.

Arctic mosquito swarms are huge, sometimes containing millions of insects that can easily kill baby caribou and even harm mature adults as well. But environmentalists and liberals are claiming that a warming Arctic will only increase the frequency and severity of these death swarms.

“Mosquitoes responded to this early melt by hatching ahead of schedule,” writes The Atlantic’s Ross Andersen. “They also grew faster, meaning they spent less time in the vulnerable, developmental state that makes them easy prey for birds. More of them survived to adulthood, and that’s bad news for caribou.”
Special: New Probiotic Fat Burner Takes GNC by Storm

“Arctic mosquito swarms are the stuff of legend,” writes Andersen. “Some of them contain hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of insects. That’s enough to harass a pregnant caribou until she stops worrying about food. And it’s enough to kill caribou calves outright.”

Andersen’s article is based on a new study by Lauren Culler of the Dickey Center’s Institute for Arctic Studies at Dartmouth, who spent two summers studying mosquitos in Greenland. She found that in 2012, a very warm year in the Arctic, mosquitoes were breeding earlier.

“Caribou have no defense against mosquitoes,” Culler told Andersen, “except to run.”

“If the Arctic continues to warm, and there is every indication that it will, the summer tundra may soon be abuzz with larger and larger clouds of biting, blood-sucking insects,” Andersen warns in his article.

It’s a reasonable concern, but one that doesn’t ask an important question — how did caribou herds survive past warm periods? It’s a question that was asked by Cato Institute climate scientist Chip Knappenberger asked over Twitter.

The Earth’s climate has not been static in the last 15,000 years (there are cave paintings of caribou in Europe that are at least this old), as the world has warmed and cooled since that time.

The Middle Ages, for example, saw a warming spell that lasted until the late 1300s when a period known as the “Little Ice Age” came about and caused temperatures in Europe and other parts of the Northern Hemisphere to plunge.


Photographer with a tiny brain says he has documented the effects of global warming in the Arctic Circle

The period of the study was 3 years during the "hiatus", so whatever effects were observed were not the product of temperature change.  The guy just swallowed the kool-Aid and ASSUMED that warming was going on over that period -- JR

For the three-year Arctic Arts Project, Kerry Koepping visited some of the most remote areas in the world to visually 'measure' climate change. The experienced snapper captured a smorgasbord of ice, water, fire and fauna during 15 trips to Canada, Greenland, Iceland and Norway - each a month long. Among the locations Kerry shot from a helicopter over Iceland's Holuhraun Volcano and captured the melting glaciers in Alaska.

One snap showed 1300-year-old Vatnajokull, also known as the Crystal Cave, had receded by 100 meters in just 12 months and is not expected to exist in its current form after the 2015 summer melt.

Kerry, from Colorado, USA, said: "We used a guide as some locations are easy to reach, but others pose significant challenges.  "The last expedition was a schooner sailing trip into Scoresby Sound, Greenland.

"We had to pick up the ship in Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland, said to be the most remote community in the world. Then we sailed for 10 days.

"To be in an ice cave surrounded by ice that dates back to the Vikings is pretty heady stuff. Knowing that it will be gone in a mere few months is humbling.

"The Arctic is rather epic. It's beautiful yet stark, vast yet detailed. It really makes me feel quite small.

They were only able to reach some of the locations with the help of local guides

"I think it is important that the Arctic has a voice. A voice that's not politically based, not corporately based - here's the visual, here's the data, now you make your decision on how you will affect change?" Kerry has been photographing landscapes for the last 30 years but this was the first time working on an environmental project.

He added: "I've always been an outdoors person but finding the polygon hummocks in Alaska was a life changer.

"When photographing the Arctic, I tune in to the hidden storylines within the subject and try to communicate that sense back to the viewer.

"I feel a sense of responsibility, knowing that I may be one of only a few people on earth witnessing a given subject."


Sierra Nevada snowpack hit a 500-year low in 2015. Global warming?

Since there has been no global warming for a long time, it cannot have affected current CA snow. Snow cover is mainly an effect of  precipitation, so this is just another effect of the CA drought, which is part of a natural cycle.  CA has been through drought many times -- JR

 When California Governor Jerry Brown stood in a snowless Sierra Nevada meadow on April 1 and ordered unprecedented drought restrictions, it was the first time in 75 years that the area had lacked any sign of spring snow.

Now researchers say this year's record-low snowpack may be far more historic - and ominous - than previously realised.

In a paper published on Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, scientists estimate that the amount of snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains was the lowest it had been in more than 500 years.

"We were expecting that 2015 would be extreme, but not like this," said senior study author Valerie Trouet, a paleoclimatologist at the University of Arizona.

The report is the latest in a series of studies that have sought to characterise the depth of California's four-year drought and place it in a broader historic context. It joins a growing body of research warning that global warming will reduce the amount of snow blanketing California mountains - a development that will reduce the state's available water, even as its population continues to grow.

"This is probably the biggest water supply concern our state is facing," said Mark Gold, associate vice chancellor for environment and sustainability at the University of California, Los Angeles who was not involved in the new study. "On a scale of one to 10, it's 11."

The issue, according to UC Davis hydrology expert Helen Dahlke, is that with climate change, there will be much less snow and more rain.

"That water will just be going into the ocean unless we can figure out a way to capture some of that water quickly," said Dahlke, who was not part of Trouet's study team.

Snowpack is a key factor in California's water supply: In a normal year, melting Sierra Nevada snow provides the state with one-third of its water. Another third is pumped from underground aquifers, and the rest comes from rivers and reservoirs.

Due to its importance as a water source, officials began monitoring the snowpack in the 1930s, and have established 108 measuring stations throughout the Sierra Nevada.

This spring, researchers found that the amount of water contained in the snow on April 1 was only 5 per cent of the average snow water equivalent since monitoring began. In the case of the Phillips measuring station - where Brown ordered mandatory water-use reductions - the snowpack usually reached a height of 5 feet at that time of year.

In order to reconstruct past snow conditions, Trouet and her colleagues analysed data from the reporting stations as well as two tree ring studies. The first used measurements from 1500 living and dead blue oak trees to estimate rainfall back to the year 1400. The second included tree-ring data from a different group of trees to model temperatures for the same period.

"What we know about snow and how it varies from year to year is that there are two important climatic factors that play a role," Trouet said. "One of them is the amount of precipitation that falls and the other is the temperature at the time that precipitation falls. With higher temperatures your precipitation is going to fall as rain."

When researchers put all the data into a chronology, they saw just how exceptional the 2015 snowfall was: The chance that a "snow drought" of this magnitude would affect the entire Sierra Nevada more than once every 500 years was less than 5 percent, they concluded.

For lower mountain elevations, where temperatures are warmer, the return period was estimated to be 1000 years. At higher elevations, where temperatures are much more likely to reach freezing and cause any precipitation to fall as snow, the return period was just 95 years.

The researchers noted that while California's total precipitation in 2015 fell within the bounds of natural variability, winter temperatures were among the highest ever recorded. That means less snow and more rain, which the state is ill-equipped to collect and store.

Although it's been 500 years since the snowpack was this sparse, global warming threatens to make these conditions more frequent, according to the researchers.

"With anthropogenic warming, those high temperatures are going to be rising," Trouet said. "We can assume that the return interval is going to get shorter."

Benjamin Cook, a climate scientist at NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said the study was "another piece of the puzzle in an increasingly converging picture of a really exceptional California drought."

Other scientists said the paper highlighted the precarious nature of snowpack as a key California resource.

"We've been very lucky to have a natural system in place that's worked very well for decades and decades," Gold said. "But models show that snowpack is likely to be down because of increased temperatures, and it's a concern. Is our system set up to manage this at all?"

Lucas Silva, a soil and biogeochemistry researcher at UC Davis who was not involved in the study, said he was glad the topic was getting attention in a major journal, even though he expressed doubt that tree-ring data could accurately pinpoint past drought conditions.

A single tree ring could be influenced by several years of environmental stress caused by any number of factors, he said. "I'm curious and interested, but sceptical that they can really tell that this is about water only," Silva said.

And while forecasters said it was increasingly likely that a powerful El Nino would result in a wet fall and winter, those storms may not contribute to large snowpack.

"Temperatures this winter may be warmer than usual," wrote Daniel Swain, a Stanford University graduate student in environmental and earth system science who wasn't involved in the study. "In that sense, the present paper is very relevant. Even with increased precipitation, snow at lower elevations may actually be below average."


Global Warming: Why We Don't Need To Worry Even If It's Really True

Though some will call us "deniers," the truth is we are merely global warming skeptics. We're not skeptical of climate change, though, because we know the climate has been changing since the beginning and will continue to change throughout time. We've made this point several times.

What we're skeptical of is man's role in that change. Maybe there is an anthropogenic factor. But it's impossible to say with any degree of certainty just how much of an impact, if any, man makes. The climate is too complex, the variables too numerous.

But for the sake of argument, let's say that due to man's carbon dioxide emissions, Earth is warming at the rate the alarmists claim it is. What should we do? Those driving the global warming scare want to sharply cut human carbon dioxide emissions. But those cuts aren't free. NERA Economic Consulting says that the Environmental Protection Agency's carbon rule for power plants alone would cost consumers $366 billion over 14 years.

For all that money, we'd cut the rise in global temperature by 0.02 degrees and sea level increases by 0.01 inch. And these costs don't include restrictions that could be imposed on automobile emissions, carbon taxes, any sort of carbon-trading regime or the over-the-rainbow renewable energy programs that politics have produced.

The better path is to do what humans have always done — adapt.

Hoover Institution senior fellow Terry Anderson tells of recent anthropological research at Penn State University, which, "built on a complete sequencing of the Neanderthal genome, shows that Neanderthals survived many periods of abrupt climate change, including a 'volcanic winter' caused by a massive eruption near what is now Naples."

"If they survived and adapted to abrupt climate change," writes Anderson, "surely modern man ought to be able to adapt to long-term changes, provided climate policies don't stifle human progress and economic growth."

That last point is critical. The worst thing policymakers could do is enact schemes whose costs hurt economic development. Our capabilities to offset any problems created by a warming planet are weakened if the economy struggles. If we gut our prosperity through attempts to cut CO2 emissions, we would make dealing with warming more difficult than it should be.

This is especially true in poor nations.

"A country such as Bangladesh with a per capita income of $3,190 does not have the wherewithal to build sea walls and tidal diversions as rich countries such as the United States can with a per capita income of $53,750," writes Anderson. "Getting to the point where they might be able to better adapt will require economic growth."

None of the above means we're changing our approach to the global warming scare. We're not giving in to trendiness, pressure from celebrities and other faux climate experts, or struggling to be popular. We remain skeptics — not of science but of the hype, the politics, the exaggerations, the cooked temperature record and the wild claims that have been made about man-caused climate change. The science is ongoing — and no more settled than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


Environmental Expert Informs Lawmaker: CO2 ‘Does Not Have Health Impacts’

 An environmental expert from Texas told a Democrat congresswoman for the same state at a hearing on Friday that the greenhouse gas emissions targeted by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan are not related to health issues, including respiratory diseases like asthma.

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) asked Bryan Shaw, chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, about the health care costs in their state for people with respiratory disease from air pollutants.

“Have you factored in the cost that it would take the state to continue to afford this kind of health care cost with most of our people being poor that are living in low-income areas that are damaged more frequently by these heavy environmental violations?” asked Johnson, who said she is a nurse “by education.”

“Congresswoman, the Clean Power Plan is directed at reducing greenhouse gases, which do not impact the respiratory issues,” answered Shaw, who was one of three witnesses at a hearing of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology’s Subcommittee on Environment entitled, “State Perspectives: How EPA’s Power Plan Will Shut Down Power Plants.”

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) questioned witnesses at a House hearing on the EPA's Clean Power Plan on Sept. 11, 2015. ( Starr)

The following exchange then transpired:

Johnson:  “Wait a minute. Repeat what you just said.”

Shaw: “The co-benefits, in other words, the rule is based on reducing the greenhouse gases…”

Johnson: “I know what the rule says, but you said it does not impact respiratory?”

Shaw: “That’s correct. Greenhouse gas emissions do not have an adverse impact on respiratory health. High CO2 levels do not cause respiratory issues. I know it’s easy to make that conclusion because some of the rhetoric from EPA sort of suggests that the Clean Power Plan is going to, by reducing greenhouse gases, lead to improvement in respiratory conditions. That’s not due to reductions of CO2.”

Johnson: “What is it due to?”

Shaw: “It’s due to their co-benefits. They’re suggesting that the process that they’re mandating to reduce greenhouse gases will also accidentally, if you will, or at the same time, likely cause reduction in other emissions that they do perceive to cause respiratory impacts.

The challenge with that, though, is that they’re actually assuming that it’s going to provide health benefits even though your area is already in attainment for the PM2.5 standard. Yet, they’re assuming that reducing PM2.5 even lower leads to health benefits, even though their standards say the Houston area is already meeting the standard, and therefore, we’re not having adverse health effects associated with PM2.5.

That’s my concern  -- is that it’s misleading whenever they’ve told us that you’re going to have these health benefits associated with this rule. Most of those are unsubstantiated. The areas where there could be a benefit of those areas that are nonattainment for ozone or something along those lines, those are being addressed through other rules, and we’re making strides to comply with those regulations, so CO2 does not lead to respiratory challenges.”

Johnson: “So you’re challenging the goal of EPA. Their goal is health and safety of the people that inhabit the planet.”

Shaw: “Yes ma’am, the purpose of this rule is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and as part of that, the stated goal there is -- primarily the benefits they claim are a slight increase -- excuse me -- decrease in sea level rise -- unmeasurable – as well as a hundredth of a degree Fahrenheit reduction in increase in global temperature. Those are unmeasurable and those are not quantifiable from the benefit standpoint; therefore they went to the accidental co-benefits associated with it, not what the purpose of the rule was to claim benefits to the rule.”

Johnson: “So you’re saying it has absolutely nothing to do with the health status, that the science that has indicated that is not pure science?"

Shaw: “I’m suggesting that the goal and the objective of the Clean Power Plan and what led to this rule is climate change, climate variability, and that the contaminant that they’re specifically seeking in this, the greenhouse gases, and more, particularly carbon dioxide, which is the focus of the rule, does not have health impacts.

Carbon dioxide at the levels we that breathe it is actually good for plants. We breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. You have to get much higher levels of carbon dioxide than we’re ever going to see in the ambient air to get health effects associated with CO2 to the human health. So the goal of the plan is to address climate change, and yet that impact based on models--

 Johnson: “And climate change has no impact on health?”

 Shaw: “The model suggestions of what this rule would accomplish would be an unmeasurable decrease in sea level and one hundredth of a degree Fahrenheit in temperature change, so even the best estimate of what the climate change impact and benefit of this rule is so small as to be unquantifiable.”

Johnson: “So what we continue to see climate change, with a lot of flooding, a lot of air contamination: This is not going to impact health?”

Shaw: “For one, the IPCC -- the Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change -- has indicated that the adverse weather that we’re seeing has not been correlated with climate change. So there’s certainly a science argument to be made and some additional data to be there, but it’s not clear that the global climate change is going to have those impacts, and it’s certainly clear that this rule would not have a measurable impact on any of those measurable change in climate change.”

Johnson: “Could you submit to me your research findings and the origin of them?”

Shaw: “Sure, I will be happy to provide you some of the background information on that.”

According to his bio, Shaw is an associate professor in the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department of Texas A&M University (TAMU) with many of his courses focused on air pollution engineering. The majority of his research at TAMU concentrates on air pollution, air pollution abatement, dispersion model development, and emission factor development.

Shaw was formerly associate director of the Center for Agricultural Air Quality Engineering and Science and served as Acting Lead Scientist for Air Quality and Special Assistant to the Chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Shaw also served as a member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Science Advisory Board (SAB) Committee on Integrated Nitrogen, the EPA SAB Environmental Engineering Committee, and the Ad Hoc Panel for review of EPA's Risk and Technology Review Assessment Plan. Additionally, he is a member of the U.S. Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Air Quality Task Force.

Shaw was appointed to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality by Gov. Rick Perry in 2007 and is now chairman of the commission.


Republican governor faces pressure not to submit to Obama's climate plan

Free-market groups are putting pressure on Michigan Republican Gov. Rick Snyder to back down from his recent decision to comply with President Obama's strict new emission rules for power plants.

Snyder made the decision Sept. 1, nearly a month after Obama finalized the rules, called the Clean Power Plan. The plan places states on the hook to reduce their emissions a third by 2030, while incentivizing renewables and putting pressure on coal plants to close. It is the centerpiece of the president's climate change agenda.

A group of 16 states, including Michigan, is poised to sue the Environmental Protection Agency over the rule as soon as it is published in the Federal Register.

A letter obtained by the Washington Examiner, sent Monday night to Snyder by more than two dozen groups opposing the plan, says Snyder's choice undermines the legal effort to vanquish the regulation in court. The letter asks that the GOP governor reconsider his decision and stick to the game plan laid out by Michigan's attorney general in joining the lawsuit months ago.

"A state plan only provides the illusion of control," reads the letter, led by the advocacy group American Energy Alliance. "Instead of helping President Obama implement the rule, we believe the best approach is for states to reject state plans until the courts decide whether Obama even has the authority to impose his national energy takeover.

"For the sake of Michiganders and all Americans, it is worth the wait," the letter adds.

American Energy Alliance is the advocacy arm of the Institute for Energy, a nonprofit think tank that analyzes government regulations affecting the energy sector.

Other groups sending the letter include: Tea Party Patriots, Federalism in Action, State Budget Solutions, Energy Makes America Great, Campaign to Free America, Americans for Limited Government, Institute for Liberty, as well as the Hispanic Leadership Fund, National Black Chamber of Commerce and 60 Plus Association.

A number of the groups say the Clean Power Plan will drive up the cost of electricity, cause the energy grid to become more unstable, while overstepping states' rights.

Many of the 16 states preparing to sue EPA filed litigation in a previous attempt to squash the rule. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals said the states' challenge was premature and threw it out. The federal judges said they could not take action on a regulation that at the time was not finalized.

Now that the rule is final, the states are waiting for it to be published in the Federal Register so they can re-submit litigation.

The letter urges Snyder to wait out the lawsuit. "As you know, Michigan recently joined sixteen other states suing EPA over the carbon rule. As Michigan Attorney General [Bill] Schuette explained, the regulation is 'yet another executive action taken by President Obama and the EPA that violates the Clean Air Act and causes the price of electricity to increase, placing jobs at risk and costing Michigan families more.'"

"Choosing to submit a state plan before legal resolution of this regulation relinquishes state control of electricity and ultimately empowers federal bureaucrats," the letter says.

Snyder said Sept. 1 that complying with the Clean Power Plan was best way to keep federal regulators out of Michigan's business. "The best way to protect Michigan is to develop a state plan that reflects Michigan's priorities of adaptability, affordability, reliability and protection of the environment," he said.

"We need to seize the opportunity to make Michigan's energy decisions in Lansing, not leave them in the hands of bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.," he said.



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

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


17 September, 2015

California oilfield wastewater panic ignores first rule of toxicology

So oilfield wastewater sprayed on CA cops contains toxins!  How awful!  What the Greenies don't mention is the first law of toxicology:  The toxicity is in the dose.  We ingest minute amounts of toxins all the time and it does us no harm.  But even plain old drinking water can kill you if you drink too much of it.  Wastewater for crop usage is purified according to official standards and there is no evidence it does any harm.

“You can't find what you don't look for,” UC Berkeley researcher Seth B.C. Shonkoff recently told the LA Times, referring to the chemicals that state regulators don’t know to test for in the recycled wastewater the California oil industry sells for use on crops here in the top agricultural producing state in the US.

Chevron produces more than 10 times as much water as it does oil at its Kern River oil field in California’s Central Valley, for instance — 760,000 barrels of water a day versus 70,000 barrels of oil. Half of that water is treated and sold to the Cawelo Water District in Bakersfield, which mixes it with fresh water and sells it exclusively to farmers.

Nobody knows if that water contains chemicals from fracking or other extreme oil extraction techniques, because the companies aren't required to test for them before selling the water. Nobody knows what those chemicals are, anyway, because companies aren't required to make that information public.

And that’s just a fraction of the lucrative new market in recycled oil field water Chevron is pioneering as the climate-exacerbated drought gripping the American West show no signs of abating any time soon.

According to the LA Times, the company recycles 21 million gallons of produced water every day in California, selling it to farmers who use it on about 45,000 acres of cropland in Kern County, the nation’s “No. 2 crop county” since 2013.

Farmers rely on government regulators to guarantee that the recycled oil water they buy is safe, the Times reports, but given that state regulators don’t even know what those chemicals are, it can't very well be testing for them. But that could all change soon.

The California legislature passed a law in 2013 that establishes a regulatory framework for fracking, acidization and other unconventional well stimulations techniques, including mandatory air quality and groundwater monitoring and public disclosure of all chemicals used. The full regulations go into effect July 1, 2015 (six months before the scientific study and environmental impact study ordered by the law will be completed, but that’s another story).

Last month, state water authorities announced that all recycled oil field water would have to be tested for every chemical copmanies report using in the extraction process, and set a June 15, 2015 deadline for companies to report the results of those tests. Currently, the only tests required by the state are for naturally occurring toxins.

Environmental advocacy group Water Defense has already done its own test of the water Chevron is selling to California farmers, however, and says, “Our findings are appalling: laboratory analysis of irrigation water in the Cawelo Water District found not only oil, but known toxins and potential carcinogens including methylene chloride. Are these chemicals in the food we eat? We need to be investigating our waterways for the full range of contaminants that are going into them.”

David Ansolabehere, general manager of the Cawelo Water District, criticized Water Defense’s methods, per the LA Times, but at the same time announced that his agency and Chevron would voluntarily contract a third party to conduct tests in accordance with the new requirements.

The biggest question that needs to be answered in all this, of course, is whether or not there has been significant contamination of our food supply. At present, it’s not clear whether or not oil contamination in water used on crops could ever actually make its way into an almond or cherry or any other California-grown produce you might ever consume. But it certainly will help when we know what to look for.

Of course, this is just one of many issues the oil industry has with water that needs to be resolved. California oil wells coughed up some 3.1 billion barrels of water along with 200 million barrels of oil in 2014, much of it too salty or chemical-laden to be treated in a cost-effective manner.

Some 831 million barrels of that wastewater was injected into disposal wells last year, even as evidence was coming to light that California regulators had improperly allowed as many as 2,500 injection wells to operate in groundwater aquifers that should have been protected under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.

In response to the drought — and the fact that California has only one year of water left in its reservoirs — Governor Jerry Brown announced emergency urban water use restrictions earlier this year. Those restrictions were heavily criticized for not including the oil and agricultural industries.

State regulators, meanwhile, gave oil companies another two years to continue injecting wastewater into protected aquifers while they seek the proper exemptions from the Safe Drinking Water Act.


Obama's Alaska Global Warming Story Backfires

President Obama attempted to gin up concern about global warming during his recent high-profile trip to Alaska, but he inadvertently called attention to major flaws in alarmist global warming theory. If Obama wants to use Alaska as a poster child in the global warming debate, skeptics will be all too happy to oblige.

“I’m going because Alaskans are on the front lines” of global warming, Obama declared in a White House video. He also claimed Alaska is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet.

Obama listed a litany of alleged global warming harms occurring in Alaska. He claimed warming is destabilizing permafrost, threatening homes and infrastructure. He claimed rivers are becoming warmer and more acidic, threatening tourism. He claimed sea level is receding, causing shoreline erosion. He claimed wildfire season is longer and more intense. He claimed Arctic sea ice is shrinking.

Despite all the verbal posturing, objective facts show Obama is misrepresenting the facts regarding global warming and Alaska. Let’s start by examining his claim that Alaska is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet.

Obama made this claim by singling out a time period covering the past 60 years. Since 1955, our planet has undergone three separate and distinct temperature trends. From 1955 through the late 1970s, global temperatures cooled. From the late 1970s through the late 1990s, global temperatures warmed. From the late 1990s through the present, global temperatures have flat-lined.

In Alaska, according to the Alaska Climate Research Center (ACRC), temperatures cooled from 1955 through the 1973, warmed significantly between 1973 and 1980, and have been flat ever since. There has been no global warming in Alaska since the 1970s. Claiming Alaska has been warming at twice the global average during the past 60 years is a very imprecise (at best) and misleading (at worst) way of pointing out that Alaska warmed during a brief 7-year period more than three decades ago and did not experience any warming during the rest of the 60-year period, including the past 35 years.

Alaska’s lack of recent warming is most strikingly presented in another temperature chart published by the ACRC. The ACRC compiled temperature data for 19 locations in Alaska from 1977 through 2014. In 16 of the 19 locations, as well as Alaska as a whole, temperatures have cooled over the course of these past 37 years. By just about every measure, Alaska is cooling, not warming.

Obama also claims warming temperatures are destabilizing Alaska permafrost. Yet how can permafrost be destabilizing when its necessary prerequisite – warming temperatures – is not even happening? And even if permafrost were melting, why would this be a climate catastrophe? Permafrost, by definition, is soil that is frozen solid. Frozen soil supports very little life. Soil that is not frozen supports abundant life. Sure, there may be some short-term disruptions of the frozen soil while it undergoes transformation to non-frozen soil, but the long-term benefits of soil that supports abundant life far outweigh the long-term benefits of soil that does not support abundant life.

Obama claims rivers are becoming warmer and more acidic. Again, how are rivers becoming warmer when Alaska air temperatures have not risen during the past 35 years? Obama offered no scientific evidence to support his claim, and his claim defies the objective temperature record and common sense.

The president claims sea level is receding, causing all sorts of woes. Yet, haven’t we been told over and over again that global warming is causing sea level to rise, not recede? And if rising sea levels were supposed to be such a bad thing, then why is sea level recession all of a sudden such a bad thing?

Obama claims Alaska’s wildfire season is longer and more intense. How can wildfire season be longer when temperatures are colder? And regardless of such flaws in his logic, objective data show wildfires throughout the United States are becoming less frequent as our planet modestly warms. Indeed, the past few years have been some of the fewest numbers of wildfires on record.

Obama’s final claim, that Arctic sea ice is receding, is counterbalanced by expanding Southern Hemisphere sea ice. Global warming’s impact on polar sea ice appears to not be so global after all.

Tying these objective facts together, the inescapable conclusion is Alaskans are indeed “on the front lines” of global warming – just not in the way Obama would lead us to believe.


Carpenter Crafting Eco-Friendly Altar of Poplar wood  For Eco-Friendly Pope’s U.S. Visit

I could make some smart remarks about why Poplars should be neither grown (intrusive roots) nor harvested (wetland tree) but I will forbear for once

Deacon Dave Cahoon is working at his St. Joseph’s Carpentry Shop in Poolesville, Md., to construct 14 pieces of furniture for the altar that will be used when Pope Francis offers Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. later this month.

The handcrafted pieces are not only specifically designed for the Pope, but also for a Pope who believes in climate change and mankind’s role in it.

“Deacon Cahoon said he was inspired by Pope Francis’s recent encyclical on ecology, Laudato Si,  to use materials for the altar that did not involve any exploitation of the environment or of native workers,” the Catholic Standard reported.

Cahoon is part of a team of 12 craftsmen putting together the Pope’s altar, which was designed by Catholic University architecture students Ariadne Cerriteli, Matthew Hoffman, and Joseph Taylor and is made of poplar wood.

This is not, however, the first time Cahoon has built an altar for a Pope. Back in 2007 he constructed the altar used by Pope Benedict XVI in National’s Park.

“It’s just by the grace of God,” Cahoon told The Standard of building altars for two Popes at his Poolesville, Md., shop.

“You go along for the ride, and all along the way you see the work of the Holy Spirit,” Cahoon said.


Lawmaker seeks impeachment of EPA chief

A Republican lawmaker from Arizona wants the head of the Environmental Protection Agency impeached.

A resolution introduced Friday by Rep. Paul Gosar calls for the removal of Gina McCarthy as EPA administrator for making false statements on multiple occasions during congressional testimony. The resolution has 20 co-sponsors.

"Perjury before Congress is perjury to the American people and an affront to the fundamental principles of our republic and the rule of law," Gosar said. "Such behavior cannot be tolerated. My legislation will hold Administrator McCarthy accountable for her blatant deceptions and unlawful conduct."

The congressman accuses McCarthy of committing perjury on three occasions concerning the EPA's new Waters of the U.S. rule, also known as the Clean Water Rule. The rule, which Gosar and other Republicans oppose, gives the federal government control of various types of waterways — such as ditches and tributaries — normally under the jurisdiction of the states.

The resolution is the latest saga in the battle between congressional Republicans and the EPA, which many Republicans accuse of executive overreach.

Agriculture groups, mining companies and other groups in rural regions have expressed concerns that the water rule might pile unwanted regulations on them.

During multiple hearings spanning from February to July, Gosar said McCarthy testified that regulations on previously non-jurisdictional waters were developed based on scientific data. However, memos between officials at the Army Corps of Engineers, which is helping implement the water rule, indicate that was not necessarily true.

Gosar also said McCarthy provided false statements under oath when she claimed that the EPA had met all of the rule's legal and scientific deficiencies raised by the Army Corps of Engineers. Gosar said memos and testimony from Army Corps officials dispute those claims.

"Administrator McCarthy committed perjury and made several false statements at multiple congressional hearings," Gosar said, "and as a result, is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors — an impeachable offense."

"Administrator McCarthy is a dedicated public servant who performs her duties with the utmost respect for the law," wrote the EPA in a statement sent to the Washington Examiner in response to the resolution. "This exercise has zero merit and is nothing more than political theater. Protecting public health and the environment for all Americans should not be a political issue. All sides want clean, safe air for their children. We are fulfilling our jobs — as Congress has directed us, and as courts have reaffirmed for us — to protect public health and the environment."

This is the third time Gosar has tried to impeach an official from the Obama administration, the first two being former Attorney General Eric Holder and Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen. Holder left office in April, while Koskinen is still heading the IRS. Gosar, a three-term congressman, hails from a district in Arizona that includes large swaths of rural land. He will be up for re-election in 2016.

The Clean Water Rule rule went into effect Aug. 28. A federal judge in North Dakota placed a temporary injunction against the EPA the day before the water rule was set to be enforced, after 13 states filed a lawsuit in North Dakota citing concerns it would harm states. The EPA worked around the ruling and went ahead with enforcing the water rule in all states except those included in the lawsuit.

"The Clean Water Rule is fundamental to protecting and restoring the nation's water resources that are vital for our health, environment and economy," the EPA wrote in a litigation statement in response to the temporary injunction.


“Renewable” Energy – Powerful Words Make Us Do Stupid Things

The term “renewable” is now magical when applied to energy policy.  We understand intuitively that fossil fuels are fixed, not renewable.  Even if they are abundant now, every bit of coal, oil, or natural gas we use means there is less available, and their use causes a host of environmental and national security problems.  If an energy supply were renewable, it would be a desirable replacement for fossil fuels.  This was the simple logic of the federal Energy Policy Act of 2005, including a provision to establish a renewable fuel standard.  Renewability equals goodness.  A host of interest groups, including many environmentalists, have lined up to support almost any energy source that can carry the adjective renewable.

We can be smarter than this.  It turns out that some of policies to encourage renewable energy look just plain stupid.  We need better criteria for evaluating energy alternatives, because we must reduce fossil fuel.  (Stay tuned, I’ll return to this in the future.)

I suggest three better ways to think about energy policy – energy return on energy invested, also called net energy; power density; and life cycle assessment.  All three are more abstract and less intuitive than renewability.  Yet all three would contribute to better energy policy.

Energy return on energy invested (EROI) mirrors the idea of returns on financial investments.  This metric accounts for the fact that any energy source requires other energy sources to capture, move, and transform that energy source into heat, electricity, or work.  So the wood for our winter heating requires gasoline and oil for the chain saw, diesel fuel for the machinery to get the logs out of the, more gas to cut and split the wood, diesel to get the couple of cords of wood to our house, and human work (food energy) to haul, stack, and haul it again to the stove.  The EROI for wood is the measure of the amount of heat we get for our house from burning the wood divided by the sum of all the energy needed to harvest, process, and deliver the wood.  If the result of that calculation is greater than 1.0 then the net energy or EROI is positive; we got more energy out of the system then we put into the system.

Energy systems should be thought of in the same way we think of saving money.  We would not put $100 in the bank today with the promise of getting $95 back a year from now.  So we should not promote energy systems that put in 100 units of energy to get 95 units back, even if the system is deemed “renewable.”  We appear to have done this in the case of ethanol from corn, the primary fuel mandated from the EPA’s renewable fuel standard.

There is a vigorous debate in the academic literature about whether corn ethanol’s EROI is positive or negative.  Scientists supported by the government argue that the EROI is positive, although the amount of net energy is not large.  At best the energy out in the form of ethanol is only slightly more than the total energy it took to make this alcohol.  Others scientists, notably David Pimentel of Cornell University, suggest that the net returns are negative.  The sum of energy to plant, fertilize, irrigate, harvest the corn, to convert the corn to sugars, and to make ethanol from that sugar is greater than the energy in the ethanol. Virtually all of these energy inputs are fossil fuels. If Pimentel and others like him are correct, we are using more fossil fuel energy to make a gallon of ethanol from corn than that gallon of ethanol contains.  But it is “renewable,” so it must be good.  This strikes me as a stupid policy.  It would use less fossil fuels to just use them directly.

A second metric for evaluating alternative energy systems is power density. This is a measure championed by the Canadian geographer and energy expert Vaclav Smil.  Smil’s several books on energy are must reads for anyone who wishes to weigh in on energy issues; Energy in Nature and Society is the most comprehensive of them.  Power density, which is more abstract than EROI, measures the flow of energy in spatial terms.  Think of it as measuring how compact or dense an energy system is.  The greater the power density of the system the less space it will consume on the planet per unit of usable energy produced, an important consideration when we are trying to find energy to support more than 7 billion humans.  One of the reasons that fossil fuel systems have been so successful is that they exhibit a high power density, therefore take up less space compared to alternatives.  This fact makes finding good alternatives to fossil fuels more challenging than just calling those alternatives “renewable.”

Looking at another popular renewable energy — wind power — we see the usefulness of power density as a metric.  Since the wind blows often, if not regularly, it is assumed that its renewability makes it a desirable energy alternative.  But it has a very low power density, meaning that it will take a lot more space for the wind infrastructure to deliver the same amount of usable energy we get from fossil fuels, as we can see below from estimates made by Smil.

This much lower power density explains why even modest wind power development in Maine is so visible, in some cases degrading vista’s important to Maine’s tourism economy.  Wind power’s low power density, and therefore big footprint per unit of energy delivered, also accounts for its negative impacts on birds and bats.

A final approach to evaluating alternative energies is Life Cycle Assessment (LCA).  Here analysts attempt to measure the full costs of energy systems “from cradle to grave,” including what economists call the external effects.  These are the spillover costs when an activity imposes costs on other people that are not accounted for by typical markets where energy resources are traded.  LCA would attempt to calculate the full costs of the system, from its initial development to its eventual deconstruction once obsolete.

Going back to ethanol from corn, LCA would measure the costs of increased soil erosion and nutrient loading in the Mississippi River and other water bodies adjacent to the dramatically expanded acreage dedicated to corn production because of the Renewable Fuels Standard.  It would measure the increased hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico as these nutrients are flushed down the Mississippi.

Renewable is one of those words with many vague meanings.  That is part of its power.  It was embraced originally by environmentalists keen to find alternative energy systems to fossil fuels.  The problem was that it was also embraced by special interests who saw a way to enhance their narrow interests (sell more industrial corn, develop wind farms) in the guise of improving the environment and national security by offering “renewable” energy alternatives.  Lurking behind the rhetoric of renewability were serious environmental problems that we ignored at our own risk.

We can be smarter.


How Obama’s Environmental Policies Are Undermining the US Military and National Security

When President Obama declared earlier this year that “climate change” represents “an immediate risk to our national security” he was absolutely right.

Only, the key detail he forgot to mention is precisely why it represents such a risk: because his administration’s crazed faith that renewable energy represents a solution to “climate change” is severely impacting the defensive capabilities of the US military.

Consider the case of two giant wind projects scheduled imminently for development near vital US defense facilities.

Both have been given the go-ahead in the teeth of opposition from senior members of the US military. Neither is likely to be cancelled because they accord with the Obama administration’s green priority commitments —  which apparently take precedence over trivial issues like hurricane predictions, air defense warnings, and terrorism prevention.

Security risk #1: the Desert Wind project in North Carolina

Comprising 150 turbines, each more than 500 feet tall, this is very shortly to be built on the doorstep of the Hampton Roads Naval military base — home to one of America’s only two Relocatable Over the Horizon Radar (ROTHR) sites.

This state-of-the-art ROTHR facility is a key part of US homeland defense, charged with monitoring criminal operations, terrorist threats, and menacing activity of non-friendly countries in the Gulf of Mexico and northern South America. It also deals with hurricane predictions and climate change monitoring.

The government’s own studies have warned that turbines and radar facilities do not mix:

    "Current generation wind turbines are extremely large, radiowave-reflecting structures. The turbine blade span can exceed the wingspan of a 747 jumbo jet and the turbine tower heights are equivalent to a 40-story office building. The blades rotate every few seconds so the reflected radio waves are Doppler shifted up to a couple of hundred knots by the velocity of the blade surfaces. OTH radars detect moving targets against a background of backscatter from the earth’s surface, or clutter, by virtue of the speed-induced Doppler separation between their reflections and those of the stationary clutter. However the secondary reflection of those clutter signals off nearby turbines introduce a spectral contamination to the clutter backscatter which spreads it into target Dopplers. This creates a background against which the target returns must now compete, and the radars’ ability to detect targets is reduced, in much the same way that municipal light pollution of the night sky prevents astronomers’ ability to see stars."

This is why the Commanding Officer of the Texas military base near where the only other US ROTHR facility is located pronounced himself “extremely concerned” about the problems caused by industrial wind turbines. Also, last year, General John F Kelly of the US Marine Corps expressed to the House Armed Services Committee similar objections. He said:

    "I remain concerned about the planned construction of wind farm sites in North Carolina that will interfere with our ROTHR radar system in Virginia. I am also concerned over wind projects in Texas that will impact ROTHR systems in that state. These wind farms could and likely will adversely impact our ROTHR systems….We are working within the Department of Defense and with developers and stakeholders to develop potential mitigation solutions but I have little confidence we will succeed."

General Kelly’s concerns are understandable given that the government study quoted above recommends that wind developments of Desert Winds’ magnitude be sited a minimum of 28 miles from a ROTHR receiver if they are not seriously to degrade its performance. But Desert Winds is just 14 miles away from the ROTHR receiver. Despite this, the Navy was mandated in October 2014 to sign an agreement with the Spanish-owned wind developer Iberdrola. Astonishingly, the agreement says that the Desert Wind project can only be temporarily shut down by a “special” National Security declaration — one signed by the president. Otherwise, it can go about its business unimpeded by any objections the military may care to raise about lost operational performance.

Security Risk #2: Pantego Wind in North Carolina

This development of 50 turbines, each around 500 feet tall, is scheduled to be built near Seymour Johnson AFB in Goldsboro, NC. One of the base’s primary missions is to train fighter pilots to fly low-level routes (eg to avoid radar).

Hence this letter from the base’s conscientious CO — Col Jeannie Leavitt — to the NC governor outlining her concerns about how the wind project would affect the base’s mission and operational performance.She wrote:

    "…windmill structures and rotating blades have a demonstrable negative effect on the F-15E’s main radar and its terrain following radar system. The effects are significant at both medium and low altitude flight levels."

Subsequently, the CO authorized an in-depth study of the problem. It identified at least three serious concerns:

    It would make low-altitude air-to-air intercept training virtually impossible, leaving pilots unable to complete their syllabus.

    It would interrupt low-altitude tactical navigation and maneuvring, making training less realistic and leaving combat fliers less proficient.

    It would multiply the number of 400+ foot obstacles in the training zone by a factor of five, raising safety of flight risk, especially at night.

As a result, the developer (a company called Invenergy, based, almost inevitably, in Chicago) offered to reduce the number of turbines — though several were still to be left in the flight path of SJ pilots. When Seymour Johnson objected to this non-solution, it was overruled during a Department of Defense Siting process.

Through gritted teeth, Col Leavitt, 4th Fighter Tactical wing commander, was forced to issue a statement praising the “careful balance” of an agreement which capitalized “on the potential of renewable energy in eastern North Carolina, while allowing the 4th Fighter Wing to continue its F-15E, low-level flying mission.

To be clear, there is little if any credible evidence that renewable energy is making any difference towards mitigating climate change. It’s so unreliable it requires constant back up from conventional fossil-fuel power stations operating on spinning reserve. And its contribution to global energy production remains so small as to be negligible.

However, there is plenty of evidence to show that the Obama administration’s prioritization of wind energy is impairing America’s defence capabilities. This has been known for at least five years, as acknowledged during a June 2010 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee called “Wind Farms: Compatible with Military Readiness?” Rep Solomon Ortiz, the chairman, noted:

    "This IS a serious problem! Is there anything that we can do to preserve the military capabilities threatened by wind development at military bases? In the short term, no."

Perhaps, though, we should leave the last word on the absurdity of the situation to Rep Conaway, during a later part of the hearing, when questioning a starry eyed eco-zealot — one Dr. Dorothy Robyn — from the Department of Defense.

Rep Conaway:

    "So renewable energy comes in front of other requirements that DOD has?… I have had four-stars tell me that they have to hide all these extra costs, so they can look green. They also say that renewable energy is not mission-critical to what they are doing. You are not going to power an MRAP with a battery or wind."



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16 September, 2015

Another Greenie romanticizer

It's not easy to tell what would be the ideal state of affairs for a Greenie -- probably because there isn't one.  There is no such thing as a happy Greenie.  They have antipathies rather than  goals.  Insofar as they do have goals, however, the leading candidate would be "sustainability" -- but what that means is not at all clear.  Modern industrial civilization would have to be regarded as highly sustainable because of the way it goes from strength to strength and creates new resources all the time.  A lot of the oil and gas presently in use was not a resource until fracking made it so. But one does get the rather strong impression that modern industrial civilization is NOT sustainable from a Greenie viewpoint.

But with its kneejerk opposition to anything that is modern, Environmentalism does give the strong impression that some sort of primitive rural economy from the distant past would be the Greenie ideal.  And that ideal goes back to 19th century Germany.  And in the early 20th century it found a vigorous exponent in the world's first Green party -- Hitler's Nazi party.  And other Fascists such as Benito Mussolini and Australia's B.A. Santamaria were also rural idealists.

So the appeal of a romanticized rural past is obviously great, particularly to Fascists of various kinds, with the modern-day Ecofascists now being the prominent exponents.

But what this ideal past is like is very unclear.  It seems to correspond to no known period in any civilization.  It is a blurry dream rather than an historical reality.  Usually, however, some sort of primitive farming seems to be the dream.

But there is an even more extreme faction that even disrespects farming.  The hunter-gatherer life is the ideal.  The fact that  modern day hunter gatherers have a rather thin time of it seems to be dismissed with a wave of the hand.

Every now and again, however, someone does attempt a systematic exposition of what a more primitive life would entail -- and presents arguments for its desirability.  And a recent book that idealizes the hunter/gatherer life has recently appeared. It is reviewed by historian Martin Hutchinson below.

Hutchinson refers below to the recent discoveries at Gobekli Tepe -- in modern-day Turkey -- which have been held to suggest that it was religion not farming that gave birth to civilization.

[Some] Modern commentators, including Yuval Noah Harari in his interesting book “Sapiens – a brief history of humankind” (Harper, 2015) believe that the coming of agriculture around 10,000 years ago was a disaster for humanity, forcing people to work much harder than the previous hunter-gatherers for a less stable and reliable subsistence. Yet when you look at the transition in depth, it was rational for those who undertook it, as well as being to the immeasurable benefit of their descendants. The hunter-gatherer existence was not some Arcadian paradise, and without leaving it, civilization’s advance would have been impossible.

Harari, whose writing is elegant and witty yet whose attitudes are a dreadful intolerant blend of the Millennial (for which chronologically he does not quite qualify), the leftist, the militantly secular and the urban, describes the transition to agriculture as “History’s Biggest Fraud.” He points out that, although agriculture enabled the planet to support many more people, the living standards of the early farming peasants appear to have been far inferior to those of the hunter-gatherers who preceded them. He rhapsodizes about the good fortune of the first hunter-gatherers who crossed the Bering Strait about 12,000 BC, and had the entire continent of North and South America to forage from, filled with beasts that had never seen humans, and therefore became easy prey to their Stone Age weaponry and cunning.

That’s all very well, but the transition to agriculture did not first occur on the American continent; indeed it had still not fully occurred there when Columbus arrived 10,000 years later. According to Harari, it first occurred near the village of G?bekli Tepe, today in southern Turkey. By 8,000 BC, that wasn’t virgin land, full of juicy prey, it was among the planet’s most heavily populated areas.

A little application of Thomas Malthus will tell you that the hunter-gatherers around G?bekli Tepe were not enjoying an idyllic existence of plentiful prey and easy living. Population expands until it comes up against the constraints of the food supply, at which point starvation prevents it from expanding further. By 8,000 BC humans had been living around G?bekli Tepe for tens of thousands of years and the population had therefore reached its theoretical maximum, so the locals were living on the edge of starvation. Theoretically, they could migrate to a more fertile, less populated region, but with G?bekli Tepe at the center of humanity’s overcrowding problem, the nearest area that was not overpopulated was several thousand miles away – too far for the locals even to know about, let along migrate to in a single lifetime.

There is another problem with the Malthusian force in a hunter-gatherer society, as distinct from an agricultural society – it acts both ways. In an agricultural society once the land is fully cultivated according to the technology of the time, there is no more food and so the population begins to starve if it keeps growing. But a growing population doesn’t actually diminish the amount of food available (or not significantly – new laborers’ huts take up little land area) – it may even increase it somewhat, through switching to more labor-intensive crops.

However in a hunter-gatherer society, not only does population growth increase demand for food, it also decreases supply, as herds of prey become first depleted, then extinguished. Harari points out how many species were wiped out by our hunter-gather ancestors, even without population pressure; one can imagine that in the area around G?bekli Tepe, where population had been close to capacity for millennia, the Malthusian population pressure must have been exceptionally severe, on both sides of the equation.

Switching to agriculture was not therefore an irrational decision in the short-term, destroying the lives of those who undertook it, but a decision rational in both the short-term and the long-term, that was essential to keep alive the people around G?bekli Tepe as their traditional hunting grounds depleted even the smallest, least edible game. Harari describes with a sneer how G?bekli Tepe is also the site of the first temple complex, built even before the inhabitants settled down to agriculture. Maybe this too was a rational response; these desperately hungry people, for whom further hunting was futile because of the lack of prey, asked the gods for help and the gods responded, providing them with the means and the know-how to feed themselves, free at last from the worsening Malthusian pressure that had blighted the lives of previous generations.

The long-term benefits of agriculture were immense; apart from enabling a gigantic population increase, from 5-10 million in 10,000 BC to 500 million by 1500 it allowed that larger population to develop civilization. As hunter-gatherers, they had no possessions; hence could develop little art, no writing (where would they keep the heavy scrolls or books?) and no significant music. Also, as Harari points out, without temples they could enjoy only the simplest of religions.

To see the long-term benefits of agriculture, I take you forward almost 10,000 years, to an ancestral portrait I have just inherited, which is of my great-great-great grandmother Mary Kenworthy, the wife of a modestly prosperous Yorkshire farmer, dated 1833. They were not by any means rich, but they were literate; Mary’s husband used to read the newspaper to the villagers in the kitchen every Sunday evening.

They had art – the portrait, painted by Mary’s cousin, is no masterpiece but it is very competent and clearly influenced stylistically by contemporary high culture, a long way after the fashionable painter Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830). They had a fair range of reading matter; I have Mary’s daughter’s childhood copy of John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” which I can recommend to those who haven’t read it. Musically they were luckier than us, being influenced by high rather than low culture, although apart from church hymns and anthems Mary’s exposure to professionally produced music was probably confined to the occasional touring performance of Handel’s “Messiah.” Religiously they were especially fortunate, attending their local parish church of St. Chad’s Uppermill, Saddleworth, a fine structure with a graveyard full of family headstones and a gallery erected by an especially prosperous Kenworthy ancestor in 1711.

In short, my Kenworthy ancestors, neither rich nor prominent, had a lifestyle that hunter-gatherers could not have enjoyed in their wildest dreams, at a far higher civilizational and cultural level, none of which would have been possible but for the move to agriculture (and which was only modestly touched by the more recent Industrial and Scientific Revolutions—the railways had not yet reached Saddleworth by 1833.)

They were of course on the cusp of another change. Twenty years later, with the family fortunes badly damaged by Sir Robert Peel’s economically suicidal 1846 Repeal of the Corn Laws, Esther’s daughter was compelled to join the Industrial Revolution, marrying a moulder, son of a spindle forger, unquestionably proletarian (albeit skilled proletarian) toilers in the textile mills of nearby Oldham. For fifty years the family was thereby proletarianized, before a subsequent generation managed to scramble its way back into the middle class around 1900.

Like the Agricultural Revolution of 8,000 BC the Industrial Revolution of 1800-1900 imposed unpleasant short-term costs. But I am today materially considerably richer than was Mary Kenworthy, and have already lived much longer than she did. Moreover, with TV, the Internet, cheap books, CDs and DVDs, my cultural and intellectual life is much richer than hers, provided I have the sense to avoid the culture imposed on me from below, whereas she could rejoice in the culture imposed on her from above.

The central conclusion is clear: the traditional 19th Century view is correct that hailed the advent of agriculture as a major advance in civilization, without which nothing else would have been possible. Whatever the short-term costs (which lessened only as agricultural technology began to improve) the switch was necessary for survival to the unfortunates attempting to be hunter-gatherers while their prey was becoming extinct.

More important, without the advent of agriculture we would by now have lost the orally transmitted Homer and there would have been no Aristotle, Shakespeare, Newton or Einstein. Far from being defrauded, the early farmers toiling all week and worshiping in their new temple at weekends could rejoice in their survival and in their contribution to the future of humanity.


NOAA gets it right on CA drought.  Warmists buck

Natural weather patterns, not man-made global warming, are causing the historic drought parching California, says a study out Monday from federal scientists.

"It's important to note that California's drought, while extreme, is not an uncommon occurrence for the state," said Richard Seager, the report's lead author and professor with Columbia University's Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory. The report was sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The report did not appear in a peer-reviewed journal but was reviewed by other NOAA scientists.

"In fact, multiyear droughts appear regularly in the state's climate record, and it's a safe bet that a similar event will happen again," he said.

The persistent weather pattern over the past several years has featured a warm, dry ridge of high pressure over the eastern north Pacific Ocean and western North America. Such high-pressure ridges prevent clouds from forming and precipitation from falling.

The study notes that this ridge — which has resulted in decreased rain and snowfall since 2011 — is almost opposite to what computer models predict would result from human-caused climate change.

The NOAA report says midwinter precipitation is projected to increase because of human-caused climate change over most of the state. Seager said a low-pressure system, not a high-pressure system, would probably form off the California coast because of climate change.

Low pressure creates clouds and precipitation.

Some outside climate scientists criticized the report, saying it didn't take into effect how record warmth worsened the drought.

"The authors of the new report would really have us believe that is merely a coincidence and has nothing to do with the impact of human-caused climate change?" Penn State meteorologist Michael Mann wrote Monday in The Huffington Post. "Frankly, I don't find that even remotely plausible."

Mann said the NOAA report focuses primarily on the lack of precipitation, not the unusually high temperatures measured in the oceans as well as across California.

"This study completely fails to consider what climate change is doing to water in California," wrote Kevin Trenberth, head of climate analysis at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. He said the work "completely misses" how hotter air increases drying by evaporating more of it from the ground.


Poor nations want U.S. to pay reparations for extreme weather

Poorer nations suffering from extreme weather disasters, so much so that their citizens are seeking refuge in safer terrains outside their borders, want rich nations like the United States to pay for reparations and to relocate populations.

Preparatory talks ahead of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change to be held in Paris in December has representatives from developing nations asking for more than an already agreed upon $100 billion per year for climate change mitigation measures. They want additional compensation for weather-related disasters as well as a "displacement coordination facility" for refugees. And they want all this to be legally binding as part of the larger anticipated Paris accord.

The U.S. and wealthier nations in the European Union are balking.

The rationale for the additional funds and refugee facility is based on donor country failures to follow through cohesively on aid pledges following weather-related disasters. For example, last March, Cyclone Pam devastated islands in the South Pacific but attention quickly turned to the massive earthquake in Nepal soon thereafter. That left small nations such as Vanuatu, which was devastated, to manage its own cleanup without much in the way of international assistance.

Poorer nations blame extreme weather-related disasters on climate change stemming from emission-polluting countries that have more developed and wealthier economies.

The U.N. Paris conference aims to reach an international, legally biding agreement on climate change that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and thwart global temperature rise. A separate agreement is being eyed to address losses and damages from extreme weather events, thought to be a result of climate change.

As it stands, the Warsaw Mechanism, adopted in 2013 at the U.N. climate conference in Poland, established a structure to address losses and damages associated with climate change impacts. However that mechanism is due to expire this year when a new climate agreement is reached. Poorer nations who say they are on the front lines of climate change and suffer the worst of its extreme weather ramifications aren't pleased by the expiration. They want loss and damage provisions to be extended and expanded upon.

Reports indicate a compromise will be sought whereby the Warsaw Mechanism is extended, yet carved out from any legally binding agreement.

Meanwhile, environmental groups are lobbying to make reparations even more punitive and require polluting companies in the private sector to step up and also pay for extreme weather-related damages.

Property and casualty losses have been a point of contention for years in climate-change discussions. How to handle refugee claims is a relatively new issue that comes at a time when Europe is facing a separate refugee crisis of its own, with hordes of people seeking asylum from war-torn countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Nine civil wars are raging in countries from Pakistan to Nigeria.

Adding climate refugees to those numbers may be too much for government representatives to take on at the moment. Without question, however, a refugee facility needs to be discussed if not negotiated, as do further compensation measures for poor countries.

The $100 billion-a-year-commitment by 2020 seems like a lot of money, but increasingly it isn't looking like enough funding. With extreme weather events on the rise, so too will be the costs of cleanup and the tolls on people's lives.


China cooling on "renewables"

China’s wind and solar developers are getting much less than they anticipated in handouts from the government because of a quirk in subsidy policies, threatening to stymie growth in the world’s biggest market for clean energy.

The issue relates to the support China pays power suppliers as enticement to develop clean energy projects. Surcharges slapped onto electricity bills to fund the subsidies are too low, leaving a gap between what was promised and what’s being paid out, said Meng Xiangan, vice chairman of the China Renewable Energy Society, an industry group.

Left to continue, the trend may foreshadow a reckoning for what has become the engine of growth in the global renewables industry. While China’s hunger for energy is un-sated, less money flowing to developers could ultimately constrain China’s capacity to generate power from nonpolluting sources.

“This will weaken enthusiasm for investment and go against the development of renewable power in the long run,” Meng said.

Additional delays could ultimately eat into cash flow at companies such as China Longyuan Power Group Corp., China Datang Corporation Renewable Power Co. and others.

About 30 billion yuan ($4.7 billion) to 40 billion yuan may be owed by the government to developers in unpaid subsidies, said Li Junfeng, director general of the National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation. Some developers have been waiting since before 2012 for payments they’ve yet to receive, Li estimates.


Global Warming Goes To Court

“No challenge? poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change” declared President Obama in his most recent state of the union address last January. Environmental activists applauded, but they are not satisfied. Despite the Obama Administration’s executive initiatives, including aggressive new limits on carbon emissions from power plants, there is widespread agreement in the climate action lobby that governments everywhere are not doing enough.

After years of testifying before administrative agencies and lobbying in legislatures with disappointing results, many climate activists see the courts as their last best hope. Over the past few years, lawsuits have been filed in almost every American state and in many foreign countries asserting that the judiciary has the authority and the responsibility to order the executive and legislative branches of government to take more aggressive actions to combat climate change.

Because the judicial role is generally understood to be that of law interpreter and enforcer, not law maker, plaintiffs in these climate change lawsuits must persuade the courts that existing law requires them to order their coequal branches of government to do what they have previously failed or even declined to do. In the United States, most plaintiffs have relied on the common law doctrines of public nuisance and public trust. Pursuant to both theories, the idea is that the public has preexisting rights that are being violated by government’s failure to adequately mitigate climate change. In other countries, climate change lawsuits are more often founded on alleged government obligations under international law and on public rights implicit in international legal principles.

The difficulty for plaintiffs in all of these climate change lawsuits is that their legal theories have little basis in positive law or judicial precedent. The common law theories relied on by U.S. plaintiffs require courts to make vast leaps from prior judicial rulings, while the international law claims made elsewhere require courts to extract concrete legal rules from vague principles like fairness, sustainability, and the precautionary principle.

In the U.S. and other countries with strong rule of law traditions, most judges, even if sympathetic with the climate activists’ concerns, are reticent to engage in the sort of creative interpretation required to reach a ruling favorable to the plaintiffs. Doing so feels uncomfortably like policy making, particularly in light of the extensive efforts over the past decades to get legislative and executive officials to take action. But in all things, including judging, there are exceptions—hence the climate activists’ strategy of filing a multitude of lawsuits in courts of all sorts. Sooner or later, a court will be persuaded that the alleged climate crisis justifies judicial intervention.

This scattershot strategy has recently borne fruit in the Netherlands. In a ruling dated June 24, 2015, the Hague District Court (Chamber for Commercial Affairs) ordered the government of the Netherlands to implement climate change mitigation measures sufficient to achieve at least a 25 percent reduction (from 1990 levels) in Dutch carbon dioxide emissions from all sources (public and private) by 2020. Current government policies are projected to achieve a 14-17 percent reduction by 2020, with an 80 percent reduction by 2050. Indeed, the government is in full agreement with the plaintiffs and the court that an 80 percent reduction by 2050 is necessary to assure that carbon dioxide concentrations do not exceed 450 ppm by 2100.

Given that the plaintiffs and the government agree on the ultimate goal while disagreeing only on how to get there, why isn’t this an issue properly resolved in the executive and legislative branches of the Dutch government? Because, says the Dutch court, that government’s policy choices violate the rights of Dutch citizens.

The plaintiff in the case is the Dutch environmental organization Urgenda, described by the court as “a citizens’ platform . . . involved in the development of plans and measures to prevent climate change.” As part of a global strategy to persuade courts that they have authority to trump the climate policy decisions of the legislative and executive branches of government, Urgenda’s lawsuit resulted in a rare but significant victory for climate activists. The ruling will now be cited as precedent in pending and future lawsuits not only in the Netherlands, but across the globe.

It was inevitable that sooner or later a court would be persuaded to declare that the threat of climate change requires judicial intervention. But whatever one thinks about climate change science and the severity of the threat to human populations, the Dutch court decision is a clear usurpation of the policymaking role of the legislature.

Recognizing the brazen nature of their mandate, the Dutch judges take pains to explain why they believe they are not violating the separation of powers as it exists under Dutch law. “The task of providing legal protection from government authorities, such as the State, preeminently belongs to the domain of a judge.” “With this order,” they proclaim, “the court has not entered the domain of politics.”

For that claim to be credible, the plaintiffs must have preexisting rights that are violated by their government’s failure to enact the policies favored by plaintiffs. How are the rights of Dutch citizens infringed by their government’s choosing policies that will achieve at best a 17 percent reduction in carbon emissions as opposed to policies that would achieve a 25 percent reduction, bearing in mind that these projections of future carbon levels are highly speculative? Would a projected 20 percent reduction in emissions be sufficient, or must the predicted reduction be at least 25 percent?

It turns out the rights found to be violated by Dutch climate policy are rooted in: (1) an assortment of international agreements and the statutory and constitutional responsibility of the Dutch government to provide a “healthy and safe living environment,” (2) previous Dutch policy projected to cut emissions by 30 percent by 2020, and (3) an international scientific consensus, with which the Dutch government agrees, that 450 ppm of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the maximum that can be allowed to assure that average global surface temperatures will not rise more that 2 degrees centigrade (from 1850).

Based on a lengthy review of all of this, and notwithstanding the court’s admission that it “does not have independent expertise in this area,” the court concludes that existing Dutch climate policy constitutes a negligent breach of a duty of care owed the plaintiffs and all Dutch citizens.

A sampling of the international norms on which this duty of care is based includes “fairness,” the “precautionary principle,” “sustainability,” the “principle of a high protection level,” and the “prevention principle” (whatever any of those mean). “With due regard for all the above,” write the Dutch judges, “the answer to the question whether or not the State is exercising due care with its current climate policy depends on whether according to objective standards the reduction measures taken by the State to prevent hazardous climate change for man and the environment are sufficient.”

In assessing the legal sufficiency of the Dutch government’s climate policies, a court might be expected to look to previous cases, if not the settled laws of the Netherlands. Instead, the court offers a long series of policy conclusions including, for example: “the costs of the measures ordered by the court are not unacceptably high,” “as a developed country the Netherlands should take the lead,” and “it [is not] evident that the State has insufficient financial means to realize higher reduction measures.” And just for good measure, the court declares that it “adopts an evolutive approach,” meaning “the Court is not bound by its previous decisions” because “the interpretation of the rights and freedoms is not fixed but can take account of the social context and changes in society.”

Coming from a court in a nation that purports to adhere to the rule of law and the constitutional separation of powers, these declarations are astonishing. The Dutch court takes upon itself the clearly legislative task of determining what costs are acceptable to the Dutch people and their government. Resources expended on carbon emission reduction are resources not available for other public purposes. Choosing among the alternatives is not a judicial function. And the court’s declaration that rights and freedoms are contingent on social context and changes in society as monitored by the judiciary is a transparent abandonment of the rule of law.

Americans and Europeans will ignore this Dutch court decision at their peril. The ruling will be cited widely as similar cases come before courts around the globe. It should be roundly dismissed for what it is—a blatant affront to democratic government and a dangerous departure from the rule of law.


‘Settled Science’ Is a Myth

Never trust a politician who quotes “settled science.” It used to be “settled science” that the universe was eternal and static, that fat makes you fat, and that the sun revolves around the earth. Before “global warming,” the scare was “global cooling” — a new Ice Age would end life on earth as we know it.

Recent events have confirmed that science is rarely settled. Last week, the journal Science reported that 62 of 100 psychology studies had been overstated — when the original studies were repeated, the results were far less remarkable than originally claimed. Similarly, “settled science” myths like the consensus on man-made catastrophic climate change and the gender pay gap have also been debunked.

One fundamental characteristic of science is that it can be proven wrong. The scientific method only guides us to truth if every theory is open to investigation. Often, the greatest scientific progress happens when one theory disproves another — and “settled science” gets thrown out the window.

Psychology and the Incentives to Exaggerate Results

In 2011, University of Virginia Psychologist Brian Nozek set up the Reproducibility Project to test the strength of studies across the field. He recruited 250 researchers and chose 100 studies published in 2008. Working closely with the original researcher, Nozek’s group reproduced each study, and published their results last month.

As the New York Times reported, the project “found no evidence of fraud or that any original study was definitively false,” but a majority were overstated. “Strictly on the basis of significance — a statistical measure of how likely it is that a result did not occur by chance — 35 of the studies held up, and 62 did not,” the Times reported.

Jelte Wicherts, associate professor of methodology and statistics at the Netherlands’ Tilburg University, admitted surprise at the results. “I think we knew or suspected that the literature had problems, but to see it so clearly, on such a large scale — it’s unprecedented.”

These new results mean it is far less likely that the psychology in these studies accurately describes human behavior in general.

“Scientists have pointed to a hypercompetitive culture across science that favors novel, sexy results and provides little incentive for researchers to replicate the findings of others, or for journals to publish studies that fail to find a splashy report,” explained the New York Times’ Benedict Carey.

The “publish or perish” mentality among many professors and scientific researchers leads to a frenzied rush to promote more exciting studies, and few reasons to go back and check the work of others.

“We see this as a call to action, both to the research community to do more replication, and to funders and journals to address the dysfunctional incentives,” Nozek said.

Motives Behind the Climate Change ‘Consensus’

Media outlets and politicians like Barack Obama and John Kerry like to point to a “scientific consensus” (98 percent!) that the climate is changing, fossil fuels are to blame, and that we need strict regulations on oil and coal in order to stave off a global apocalypse. As Forbes’ Larry Bell points out, however, a large number of scientists rejects this alarmism.

In fact, more than 31,000 American scientists have signed the Oregon Petition, opposing the “consensus” on climate change. The petition opposes restrictions on fossil fuels and flatly denies the global warming alarmism.

“There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”

A 2010 George Mason University survey of 571 media broadcast meteorologists found that 63 percent believe global warming is caused by natural, not human causes.

A 2012 survey from the American Meteorological Society found that only a quarter of scientists agreed with the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that humans are primarily responsible for recent warming. 89 percent accept that the planet is warming, but only 30 percent said they were worried about it.

In 2008, the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysics of Alberta surveyed 51,000 Canadian scientists. 99 percent of the 1,077 who responded said climate is changing, but only 26 percent blamed “human activity like burning fossil fuels.” 68 percent disagreed that “the debate on the scientific causes of recent climate change is settled.”

Bell explains that the oft-cited “98% of all scientists believe in global warming” comes from a 2009 American Geophysical Union survey sent to 10,257 scientists — 3,000 of whom responded. Of those, 82 percent answered “yes” to the question “Do you think that human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?”

Of this increasingly small group, only 77 scientists had been able to publish more than half of their papers in peer-reviewed climate science journals. 75 of them said “yes” to that question. 75 is 98 percent of 77, but that does not mean that a vast majority of all American scientists support the alarmist position. Those 75 scientists don’t even necessarily believe human activity has harmed the environment, since human impacts could make it better or worse.

In 2007, Congress gave the National Academy of Sciences $5,856,000 to conduct a study on climate change. The study concluded that Earth’s temperature has risen over the past 100 years (shocker) and that human activities have increased the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. The study could not prove a link between the two, nor that this constituted an imminent threat.

“Regardless of evidence the answer is predetermined,” explained Dr. Richard Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “If government wants carbon control, that is the answer that the Academies will provide.”

The Gender Pay Gap

The liberal talking points also break down when it comes to the gender pay gap. Last week, The United Kingdom’s Press Association released a study showing that — contrary to popular belief — women actually make more money than men, until they reach their 30s. Only from that point on do men make more than women.

Ann Pickering, HR director at the telecom company O2, explained that “women are playing catchup when it comes to reaching senior well-paid positions.” In other words, the workforce is still biased towards men, but the results show up later.

Forbes’ Tim Worstall presented a much more cogent argument, however. “It’s obviously not gender discrimination because…women earn more than men before they have children. It’s thus the children, not the gender, which is the cause.”

Worstall calculates that, if a woman has two children during her 30s and takes the full amount of maternity leave available, she will spend 2 years — 20 percent of that decade — taking off work. This would certainly make her earnings seem less than a man’s, even if he was hired at the same rate.

Also, “it is well attested that many women with children think that the children are rather more important than the career,” Worstall adds. Women who voluntarily leave the workforce to care for children at home also skew the data.

Finally, Worstall follows the data to a third situation — that of unmarried and childless women, who make more money than their unmarried and childless male counterparts during their 30s.

In the United States, politicians like to cite the statistic that, on average, women make 76 cents for every dollar a man makes. CNN Money debunked this myth as far back as 2006, however. “All the wage-gap ratio reflects is a comparison of the median earnings of all working women and men who log at least 35 hours a week on the job, any job. That’s it,” writer Jeanne Sahadi explained.

This widely-cited statistic “doesn’t compare those with equal work, equal training, equal education, or equal tenure.” The author also acknowledged that the pay gap can easily be explained by women’s alternate choices, especially if or when they decide to have children.

Why Science Seems Unreliable

Each of these situations lead to skepticism about the results of scientific studies. If psychology has been overstated, global warming is not a consensus, and the gender pay gap is more complicated, these facts seem to warrant an investigation into why ‘science’ can seem so unreliable.

The answer lies in the nature of science itself. The scientific method — studying facts and coming up with theories to explain them, then testing those theories — has great explanatory power, but is never fully conclusive.

Science accepts or rejects ideas based on supporting or refuting evidence, which helps us understand how the world works. But no scientific conclusion is forever closed to further investigation, and new evidence or perspectives can bring down even the most accepted premises.

In short, if any politician tells you his program is supported by “settled science,” tell him that the only true settled science is that science is always open to further investigation.



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15 September, 2015


Lord Monckton reacts below to Snyder's 'climate scam' piece in the NYT, warning of a 'next genocide'.  I thought I was pretty acerbic at times but Monckton leaves me far behind.

There is a small coda to this Snyder nonsense that I would like to mention: As Monckton documents below, Snyder explicitly compares climate skeptics to Hitler.  In my comment on Snyder yesterday I pointed out that was actually Snyder who was comparable to Hitler!  Fair enough?  Apparently not. I got a tweet about that from someone who calls himself The Tracker -- @IdiotTracker .  His  tweet in full was:

"@jonjayray @ClimateDepot That is possibly the dumbest attempt at guilt by association I've ever seen. And I've read @JoanneNova's blog. #sad"

He shows absolutely no awareness that it was Snyder who was attempting to create guilt by association.  Selective vision at its finest! Only Leftists are allowed to talk about Hitler, apparently.  I don't in fact think I was attempting to create guilt by association.  I think I was making an accurate historical comparison, while Snyder certainly was not

The Marxstream news media have always been champions of every passing totalitarian fad, however murderous. Hitler only got away with the slaughter of 6 million Jews because the Western news media fawned upon him and demanded appeasement almost until the first shots were fired in the Second World War. Likewise, the totalitarian press fawned upon Communism, even as it killed 100 million in the 20th century alone, to such an extent that some papers could scarcely bring themselves to cheer when the Berlin wall was torn down.

Naturally, therefore, they all signed up dutifully to the climate scam, the new and ingenious but false and intrinsically genocidal pretext for the global government centered on the U.N. that, barring a miracle, will be established in Paris this December. In support of this ghastly endeavor, the New York Times ran an outstandingly repellent opinion piece on Sept. 12 by a useless professor of tiddlywinks and raffia work at Yale, one Snyder (by name and nature) describing those of us who dare to question the climate scam as adopting “an intellectual stance that is uncomfortably close to Hitler’s.”

Let us put that revolting and stunningly inapt comparison into its context. This is what the evil Snyder wrote and the New York Times(“all the junk that’s fit to debunk”) published, under the headline, “The Next Genocide”:

“Hitler spread ecological panic by claiming that only land would bring Germany security and by denying the science that promised alternatives to war. By polluting the atmosphere with greenhouse gases, the United States has done more than any other nation to bring about the next ecological panic, yet it is the only country where climate science is still resisted by certain political and business elites. These deniers tend to present the empirical findings of scientists as a conspiracy and question the validity of science – an intellectual stance that is uncomfortably close to Hitler’s.”

I have no idea how much taxpayer money this egregious waste of space has accumulated over the decades. Every cent of it was wasted.

Let us take apart Snyder’s tortuous attempt not only to deny that Hitler was a greenie but also to make out that he was somehow “anti-science.” First, Hitler did not “spread ecological panic”; he exploited environmentalism as a method of ruthless control.

The National Socialist Workers’ Party of Germany was the first in the world to adopt the “green” mantle, for Hitler and his goons were ahead of the pack in appreciating what Snyder and his overpaid, under-educated fellow goons in the batik and tie-dyeing department at Yale kindergarten well understand: If you are arrogant enough to want to control the populace, the “green” agenda – let us call it “Agenda 21? – is the very best program to provide nonsensical excuses for the governing elite to interfere expensively in every tiny detail of our lives.

And Hitler’s problem was not that he “denied the science that promised alternatives to war.” He wanted war, and he embraced the science that made it possible.

The reason for Snyder’s more than usually dumb comparison was, of course, so that he could clamber onto the “global-warming” bandwagon just as all the wheels are coming off. Snyder, plainly no scientist, labors under the elementary delusion that CO2 is “pollution.” For what does a communist need to know about science? One thing and one thing only – the party line. And Snyder knows the party line all right, for it is spouted interminably in the knitting and crochet-work department at Yale and Harvard and other places where they used to think and now merely chant currently fashionable hard-left slogans.

Snyder is, in effect, accusing the Republican Party and the few business interests not yet profiteering monstrously from the climate fraud of being as genocidal as Hitler. The truth, of course, is that the real genocide is happening unseen every day in Africa, where for a tenth of what we are already squandering on the non-problem that was “global warming,” we could give everyone cheap, reliable, clean, fossil-fueled electric power, lift them out of poverty, disease and death, and hence stabilize the population, minimizing its environmental footprint.

To get the scare going, the climate communists made certain definite predictions that have just as definitely not come to pass. Those first predictions in 1990 were to the effect that by now there would have been almost three times as much global warming. It is legitimate, therefore, to raise questions about why there has been negligible global warming in the oceans throughout the entire 11 years of systematic measurement, and none at all in the lower atmosphere for 18 years and eight months, according to the satellites.

It is Snyder, then, who is anti-science – or would be, if he or anyone in the origami and card-tricks department at Yale were bright enough. All the predictions of doom in which he believes because they constitute the party line have been proven utterly false. All the ice gone in the Arctic by 2013: Nope, it’s still there. Droughts increasing (Snyder’s hate speech is illustrated with a photo captioned to the effect that droughts are worsening): Nope, the area of the globe under drought has been declining for 30 years. Sea-level rise accelerating (Snyder’s article has a photo caption alleging that “in Bangladesh millions of people have been displaced by floods and the rising sea level”): Nope, sea level off Bangladesh has actually fallen throughout the recent record. Storms increasing: Nope, there’s been no land-falling hurricane in the U.S. for longer than at any time since records began, and global storminess has remained much the same throughout the satellite era.

Should Snyder have been allowed to preach so much malice and hate so openly, so mendaciously, and with so scandalously little intellectual rigor or moral justification? One might have hoped for better from the coloring-by-numbers department at Yale. Your Constitution, though, says hate speech is fine, and the Supreme clots will uphold it as long as the speaker is left-wing.

However, the New York Times,though it takes full advantage of the constitutional right of free speech, has shown itself to be culpably determined not to allow any point of view but its own to be argued in its pages, particularly on any question – such as climate – that lies at the heart of the communist party line that it espouses. Do not hold your breath for an early reply to Snyder’s goose-stepping in that once-great paper’s shabby columns.

Let us hope that the Grand Old Party will remember Snyder’s words of sheer, hate-filled wickedness and make absolutely sure that every penny that might otherwise have gone to the face-painting and dressing-up department at Yale in funding for any purpose is cut off and put straight back into the pockets of the hard-pressed taxpayers from which it was wrenched.

It is Snyder who is the little Hitler here. Like Hitler, he believes that only one point of view is permissible on the question of the hour. Like Hitler, he espouses what history will reveal to have been entirely the wrong point of view. Like Hitler, he accuses his opponents of genocide while advocating it himself by demanding that the U.S. should adopt the brutal, genocidal climate-communist party line. Like Hitler, he uses the environment as a threadbare cloak for rank totalitarian advocacy. Like Hitler, he hates his own country enough to spit upon it and to wish to do it harm for absolutely no good reason. Like Hitler, he distorts the scientific truth and exploits it in an unprincipled fashion for the sake of spreading hatred. Like Hitler, he knows little or no science himself. Like Hitler, he flagrantly, knowingly, repeatedly, hatefully states the direct opposite of the objective truth.

What, then, to do about Snyder? No doubt there are still a few red-blooded Americans at Yale, mingling among the etiolated, apolaustic epicenes who mince about the place. Let them, passing Snyder as he scurries earnestly toward the stenciling-and-crayons department, throw him a mocking Nazi salute and, at the tops of their voices, yell “Heil Snyder!”

The odious Snyder deserves the minting of a new word. For there are two species of totalitarian socialism on this planet, alas, and that shambling, bleating wretch is the very embodiment and quintessence of both. There is communist socialism, which believes that everything that moves should be nationalized and that everything that doesn’t move should be arrested or left to rust, and down with the United States. And there is fascist socialism, which believes grinding the poor under its jack-booted heel and cozying up to big business and allowing it to be independent just so long as it toes the party line, and down with the United States.

The New York Times and its dismal professor of silly walks and cupcake-baking are communists and fascists rolled up into one. They are fasmunists. It’s an ugly word for ugly people. Heil Snyder!


Physicists Predict Rapid Fall In Solar Activity -- to mini ice age levels

A new model of the Sun’s solar cycle is producing unprecedentedly accurate predictions of irregularities within the Sun’s 11-year heartbeat. The model draws on dynamo effects in two layers of the Sun, one close to the surface and one deep within its convection zone. Predictions from the model suggest that solar activity will fall by 60 per cent during the 2030s to conditions last seen during the ‘mini ice age’ that began in 1645.

Results were presented by Prof Valentina Zharkova to the National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno on 9 July 2015.

It is 172 years since a scientist first spotted that the Sun’s activity varies over a cycle lasting around 10 to 12 years. But every cycle is a little different and none of the models of causes to date have fully explained fluctuations. Many solar physicists have put the cause of the solar cycle down to a dynamo caused by convecting fluid deep within the Sun. Now, Zharkova and her colleagues have found that adding a second dynamo, close to the surface, completes the picture with surprising accuracy.

“We found magnetic wave components appearing in pairs, originating in two different layers in the Sun’s interior. They both have a frequency of approximately 11 years, although this frequency is slightly different, and they are offset in time.  Over the cycle, the waves fluctuate between the northern and southern hemispheres of the Sun. Combining both waves together and comparing to real data for the current solar cycle, we found that our predictions showed an accuracy of 97%,” said Zharkova.

Zharkova and her colleagues derived their model using a technique called ‘principal component analysis’ of the magnetic field observations from the Wilcox Solar Observatory in California. They examined three solar cycles-worth of magnetic field activity, covering the period from 1976-2008. In addition, they compared their predictions to average sunspot numbers, another strong marker of solar activity. All the predictions and observations were closely matched.

Looking ahead to the next solar cycles, the model predicts that the pair of waves become increasingly offset during Cycle 25, which peaks in 2022. During Cycle 26, which covers the decade from 2030-2040, the two waves will become exactly out of synch and this will cause a significant reduction in solar activity.

“In cycle 26, the two waves exactly mirror each other – peaking at the same time but in opposite hemispheres of the Sun. Their interaction will be disruptive, or they will nearly cancel each other. We predict that this will lead to the properties of a ‘Maunder minimum’,” said Zharkova. “Effectively, when the waves are approximately in phase, they can show strong interaction, or resonance, and we have strong solar activity. When they are out of phase, we have solar minimums. When there is full phase separation, we have the conditions last seen during the Maunder minimum, 370 years ago.”

Journal abstract:

Heartbeat of the sun derived with principal component analyses and prediction of solar activity on millennium scale

by Valentina Zharkova et al


In this talk we present new results of principal component analysis of the solar background magnetic field and sunspot magnetic field measured in the cycles 21-24 by Wilcox Solar Observatory and SOHO/MDI. We report a pair of principal components (PCs) of magnetic field waves covering more than 30% of the data variance and attribute these components to dynamo waves generated in two layer dynamo model. We derive mathematical laws describing these dynamo waves and describe their link to the solar activity index of sunspot numbers. Using the derived laws we predict the solar activity backward and forward for two millenniums and reveal close fit to all the observed activity features and the presence of a long-term activity cycle of 320-400 years in addition to the regular 22 year cycle. Preliminary interpretation of the PCA results with the modified Parker's two layer dynamo model accounting for both cycles (22 and 350 years) is also discussed.


Britain facing a decade of colder summers – but we'll still have global warming

Global warming is now a sort of rosary:  You just keep chanting it no matter what

After a somewhat underwhelming summer, it might not come as much of a surprise.  British summers could get cooler over the next decade, according to the Met Office.

But don’t throw away the barbecue just yet, as it’s not all bad news. Summers are also likely to be significantly drier than in recent years, a report predicts.

The changes are being driven by north Atlantic sea temperatures, which are expected to drop by around half a degree over the next decade.

While this does not sound like much, it could be enough to cool our summers by an average of 1C over ten years.

But higher temperatures elsewhere might cancel out the effect on Britain, the Met Office said.

And at the same time, the UK’s tendency for wet summers could be about to change, with far fewer showers ahead.

The Met Office has had a controversial record on forecasting summer weather. In April 2009, it predicted that Britain was ‘odds-on for a barbecue summer’ – which instead went on to be one of the wettest on record.

Professor Adam Scaife, of the Met Office’s Hadley Centre for long-range forecasting, said sea temperatures in the north Atlantic have risen in recent years, but are now expected to fall.

He told the Daily Mail the cooling effect on the UK was likely to be ‘less than a degree’, adding that other influences – such as global warming and a weather phenomenon called El Nino which heats up the Pacific Ocean – could possibly cancel out the temperature drop.

Professor Rowan Sutton of Reading University, one of the experts who reviewed the report’s findings, told a press conference: ‘Let me be absolutely clear: This does not mean we are heading for the next ice age.  ‘Absolutely not. We are talking about a modest cooling. Maybe half a degree centigrade for example in the north Atlantic.  ‘That might not sound very much but it is potentially enough to affect weather patterns in Europe and elsewhere.’

He said that a drop in Atlantic temperatures ‘favours cooler and possibly drier summers in northern Europe’. British summers could be ‘significantly drier’, he added.

Professor Sutton also said it was too early to tell whether the slower global warming seen in the past ten years – sometimes called the ‘global warming slowdown’ – was coming to an end.

While average temperatures worldwide have risen in the past decade, increases have been far slower than they were in the last 30 years of the 20th century.

The experts said other factors that could affect our weather include a potential volcanic eruption – when ash blocks out the sun’s rays causing cooler temperatures.

The El Nino phenomenon is also likely to raise temperatures in the Pacific by 2-3C.

The knock-on effects of this could heighten the risk of a particularly cold end to winter in the UK, forecasters said.


Global warming hiatus could be coming to an end: UK’s Met Office

And pigs might fly.  Lots of things COULD happen! Speculation is all that Warmists have got.  Amusing that it the report above they predicted cooling but below they are predicting warming. They sure spread their bets

Record temperatures and changes to climate patterns in the world’s oceans are among signs that a global warming pause is coming to an end, Britain’s Met Office said in a report on Monday.

The report comes just over two months before negotiators from almost 200 countries meet in Paris to thrash out a U.N. deal to curb global climate change.

In 2013, a United Nations report on climate science made an observation that temperatures had increased at a slower rate in the years since 1998 than the preceding 50 years.

But on Monday, the Met said in a report that observations of climate patterns in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans combined with record global temperatures last year and expectations 2015 and 2016 would be near record highs pointed to a changing trend.

"All of these signals are consistent with what we would expect to see at the end of the slowdown," Adam Scaife, one of the reports authors, said at a press briefing.

Last year was the warmest since records began in the 19th century, according to the U.N. World Meteorological Organization.

The El Nino weather phenomenon - a warming of sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific - is likely to contribute to another year of record temperatures in 2015. But Scaife said man-made contributions to global warming would also play a part.

"A lot of things can occur without the influence of human beings. However, they are now occurring on top of the influence coming from man’s activity," Scaife said.

"When an El Nino comes and raises the global temperature...that is the extra bit that creates a record," he said.

One of the main goals of the U.N. climate pact is to stop global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, what scientist say is needed to prevent the most catastrophic effects of climate change such as worsening floods, droughts, storms and rising seas.


U-turn! Diesel car owners betrayed in Britain

Diesel cars were supposed to be "Green">  Now they are apparently becoming "Brown"

Diesel drivers could face charges of up to £12.50 to travel into city centres across England in a bid to reduce air pollution.

The charges, expected to be introduced by 2020, are likely to affect diesel vehicles entering parts of London, Birmingham, Leeds, Derby, Nottingham and Southampton.

It comes as part of the Government’s bid to reduce levels of the pollutant nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which official figures claim is responsible for 23,500 deaths in Britain a year, and has led to soaring rates of respiratory illnesses in children. A further 29,000 deaths a year are thought to be caused by sooty particles also produced by diesel vehicles.

But last night motoring organisations and green groups reacted furiously to the proposals – pointing out drivers had been encouraged by Government tax incentives to buy diesel cars when they were thought to be less polluting because they produced less of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2).

These drivers now face the prospect of increased costs for using their vehicles.

Critics also attacked the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for attempting to ‘bury bad news’, with the plans revealed in a consultation paper released just before Jeremy Corbyn was announced as Labour leader on Saturday morning.

Alan Andrews of lobby group ClientEarth, which brought proceedings against the Government for failing to meet clean air targets, said: ‘If they genuinely had good things to shout about... they would not have sneaked it out at 9.30am on Saturday.’

London officials have said all but the cleanest diesel cars entering its Ultra Low Emission Zone from September 2020 will have to pay £12.50. This is on top of the existing congestion charge, currently at £10.

Buses and lorries will have to pay £100, but classic cars, agricultural and military vehicles and excavators will be exempt. Petrol cars registered before 2006 would also have to pay, but diesel vehicles that meet Europe’s 2015 emissions standards will not.

The other cities earmarked for the charges are likely to follow suit, with exact details to be set by local authorities.

Britain has breached the safe limits set by Brussels for NO2 in the atmosphere, and has until December 21 to submit plans to the European Commission on how it will meet tough EU targets. Earlier this year the Supreme Court also ordered the Government to cut NO2 levels.

The report divides the UK into 43 clean air areas. Scientists estimate eight will still breach pollution requirements by 2020.

These include the six city centres likely to be the target of the new charges, a stretch of road in Wales and an ‘Eastern Zone’ – including parts of Essex and East Anglia – that would come under London measures. The report says that although the new measures would reduce London’s NO2 levels to a safer target, Eastern Zone levels would still breach guidelines.

The report includes no details of measures which would help motorists who bought diesel vehicles in good faith, such as a scrappage scheme.

AA spokesman Paul Watters last night branded the proposals ‘unworkable’. He said: ‘We obviously need cleaner air, but we need to address it in a much more mature way and work towards these goals, rather than just saying “We’ll ban diesels”.

‘Drivers are confused, they have been encouraged to have low CO2 cars which were diesels and now this.’

Jenny Bates, of Friends of the Earth, said: ‘The Government’s response to the UK’s air pollution is breathtaking. It’s inadequate and it has no detail. Children and pensioners have got another five to ten years of breathing illegally filthy air before there is any action.’


Britain's government is shooting itself in the foot with array of green taxes

A punishing array of green taxes is damaging Britain’s competitiveness while failing to drive up investment or lower emissions in a significant way, the EEF has warned. In a major report, the industry body said a “decade of tinkering” had left businesses strangled by red tape and energy bills that were much higher than those faced by European competitors.

The manufacturers’ organisation said tax breaks and not tax hikes were the only way to keep Britain at the forefront of innovation while lowering emissions. Paul Raynes, the EEF’s director of policy said: “The current system of energy taxation is too complex and is hurting Britain’s competitiveness.

So instead of simply hitting firms with the big stick of ever-higher carbon taxes and levies, we should be offering them the carrot of tax breaks to invest in advanced low carbon technologies.”

George Osborne, the Chancellor, has announced a review of the green tax landscape designed to simplify and streamline the regime.

The EEF, which represents more than 20,000 companies, is calling on the Government to reduce the overall burden of energy taxation by the end of this parliament. It also wants policymakers to scrap the carbon floor price, which doubled to £18.08 per tonne of CO2 this year.

The shock announcement of the early closure of one of Britain's biggest power stations, at Ferrybridge in West Yorkshire – seven years before it needed to be closed – has come as a body blow to Britain's energy security

The top-up carbon tax was intended to provide an incentive to invest in new wind farms and nuclear plants by making it more expensive to run coal and gas plants that emit carbon. The EEF estimated the levy would cost consumers £23bn between 2013 and 2020. However, it said just £6.5bn of this would feed through to investment in renewables.

The EEF also called on the Government to scrap the “overly-complex” Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC), an energy efficiency scheme that it said would cost businesses £900m this year alone but translate into just £334m of investment over the next decade.

It wants policymakers to introduce a new tax break that would allow companies to offset their climate change levy bill against investment in enegy efficiiency improvements. While the EEF estimated this could cost £1.5bn between 2016 and 2020, it claimed that a new incentive scheme could deliver ten times as much new green investment.

“Government should use the energy taxation review as an opportunity to step back, and make some bold decisions that we believe can reduce energy costs as well as cutting back on carbon emissions, and improving the environment,” said Mr Raynes.



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

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14 September, 2015

NYT says Hitler was right!

Predicts disastrous food shortages

There is here an article in the NYT under the heading "The Next Genocide" by Timothy Snyder, a professor of history at Yale University -- who knows nothing about economics or anything much modern.  So he is a Warmist. It's such an easily summarized load of old cobblers that I am not going to reproduce any of it for once.

What he says -- correctly -- is that Hitler's Drang nach Osten was motivated by a fear of running out of resources, food resources, in particular.  Hitler wanted Eastern European farms to produce the food needed to feed Germany's growing population.

And I acknowledge that I did learn one thing from our historian about that.  He says that concern about food supplies was motivated by the food shortages that occurred in Germany during WWI. I had never made that connection but it is obviously right.

All the rest is amazingly uninsightful and ill-informed, however.  He misses the obvious point that Hitler's modern successors in having panic fits over things running out are the Greenies. A reasonable person might have concluded that since Hitler was wrong about things running out, one should also question the Greenie fear of things running out.  That is too obvious for our one-eyed historian, however.  Greenies as Hitler's successors?  Perish the thought!

Instead he basically argues that Hitler was right!  He says that food shortages are a real possibility if we do not do something about it.  He asserts without proof that various wars in Africa were caused by competition for resources and that resources everywhere are in danger of running out because of global warming.   That tribalism in Africa causes a lot of conflict he acknowledges but he thinks he can see more deeply than that.

So what will happen when global warming creates worldwide food shortages?  China!  The millions of troops of the People's Liberation Army will descend on us all and take our land.

So what is wrong with that argument?  Just about everything. To take the searingly obvious, global warming would be GOOD for crops. Crops thrive in warmth.  I come from the tropics and I can assure you that vegetation there almost leaps out and grabs you, it is so lush and vigorous.  Leave your car outside untended for 6 months and at the end of six months you could find it covered with creepers.  I have seen it happen.

It's true that many pest species also thrive in warm weather but now that DDT has decisively been shown to be harmless to humans and birds, a widespread revival of DDT use would cope with that problem very easily.

And warming would be greeted with frabjous joy in both Canada and Siberia. And note what a big place Siberia is. It is 5 million sq. miles versus 3 million sq. miles for CONUS. The cropland that would be produced by a warmer South in Siberia boggles the imagination.

And clever Canadian farmers already produce a great bounty of grains from the chilly North.  How much more they would produce if the land just beyond present useability warmed up!  They would start cropping there very rapidly.

And already in the world as we have it, the characteristic problem of agricultural productivity is glut, not shortage.  Governments all over the developed world do various things to discourage their farmers from farming.  In the USA, the Agriculture Department pays farmers to leave part of their land fallow.  Why?  Because, left to their own devices, farmers would produce so much that food prices would fall greatly and thus trap farmers in a sort of Malthusian trap.  They would get poorer by producing more.  French farmers right at this moment are mounting big anti-government protests over the fact that they get so little money for what they produce. 

So the whole basis of Prof. Snyder's scare is total crap.  Food has never before been so plentiful and hence cheaper -- and there is no end to that in sight.  The French government would fervently hope that it were but they are not going to get so lucky.

And Snyder's portrayal of China's present food situation would appear not to have been updated since Mao.  Under capitalism, those incredibly productive Chinese farmers have turned China from a net food importer to a net food exporter -- to the considerable grief of Australian wheat farmers.  Under Mao, Australian wheat put bread on the table for a lot of China.  That is no more.  China now has a surplus of grains -- among many other farm products.  Look at the origin of bargain cans of almost any food in your local supermarket and you will find that it mostly comes from China these days. As well as making most of the world's electrical goods, China now to a significant extent also feeds the world.  It's an amazing example of what capitalism can do.

One small thing that Snyder gets right is that there has been a distressing corn shortage in poorer countries in recent years -- thus bumping up the price and tending to make poor people go hungry.  He shows no knowledge that it is precisely his Greenie friends who are behind that, however.  Mandates to add ethanol to gasoline supplies in the USA have diverted much of the huge U.S. corn crop from export and into distilleries producing alcohol.  It's an inefficient way of producing alcohol but that's another story.  So Greenie meddling with the market can produce food shortages but even amid some shackles the market still produces plenty.   

Snyder is a complete ignoramus -- JR.

The prophecies never stop

Warmism is the modern world's doomsday cult.  There have been many others -- all failed. The claim that CO2 causes significant warming is entirely religious and contrary to the available data

Many of the world's greatest cities - currently home to more than one billion people - will go underwater should we burn all of the planet's available fossil fuels, scientists have warned.

Carbon emissions given off during the burning of oil, gas and coal will lead to further melting of the entirety of the Antarctic ice sheet and a destructive sea level rise, they claim.

While the west Antarctic sheet has formed the focus of most climate change studies, a new report published in Science Advances claims the continent's east may also be under threat.

Professor Anders Levermann, a study co-author, told The Independent: 'If we want to pass on cities like Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Calcutta, Hamburg and New York as our future heritage, we need to avoid tipping in east Antarctica.'

The study concluded that 'unabated carbon emissions', leading to sea-level rise, threatens the Antarctic Ice Sheet 'in its entirety'.

It stated: 'If we were to release all currently attainable fossil fuel resources, Antarctica would become almost ice-free.

'With unrestrained future CO2 emissions, the amount of sea-level rise from Antarctica could exceed tens of meters over the next 1,000 years and could ultimately lead to the loss of the entire ice sheet.

'It is unclear whether this dynamic discharge would be reversible and, if so, on which time scales.'

Professor Levermann's colleague Ken Caldeira told the Independent we could not continue to extract fossil fuels and release it into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.

'If we don't stop dumping our waste CO2 into the sky, land that is now home to more than a billion people will one day be underwater.'

It comes as scientists earlier this year warned the world must prepare itself for a rapid increase in the speed of climate change.

According to the study, the rate at which temperatures are rising in the northern hemisphere could be 0.25C per decade by 2020 - a level not seen for at least 1,000 years.

The study, carried out by U.S. researchers from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington, focused on changes over 40-year periods to determine what changes individuals could see over a lifetime.

Overall, the world is getting warmer due to increasing greenhouse gas emissions that trap the sun's heat.

But, given natural climate variability over short times scales, the likely effect of global warming over humanly relevant periods such as the length of a person's life is not so well understood.


The Myth of Climate Tipping Points

Written by Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser

Tipping is fine but “climate tipping points” are nonsense. I’m talking about climate models that have predicted such “points of no return.” You could view them as the terminal (maximum) speed in a free fall, only to come to a sudden stop when you hit the solid ground.

For example, the disgraced chairman of the IPCC (UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), R. Pachauri, declared in 2007 that the world had only about four years to save itself. The perceived danger: a runaway (tipping point exceedance) global warming that he claimed to result from carbon dioxide released by burning fossil fuels. The following year, 2008, one of Germany’s high priests of climate doom, Prof. S. Rahmstorf, Head of Earth System Analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) produced a graph showing the then observed decline of sea-ice in the Arctic’s summer (Fig. 1).
klaus fig 1

Then, in 2011, Rahmstorf publicly mused about more ice loss in the Arctic and “Two types of tipping points.” (The IPCC defines tipping point “as a threshold for abrupt and irreversible change”). To explain his theory, he showed a conceptual graph where, initially an increasing decline of Arctic minimum sea-ice that reaches a point of inflection after which the decline will be slower but still lead to a near ice-free situation not much later, reproduced here in Fig. 2.

Just to make sure that the readers got the message he wished to convey, he claimed [translated]: "There is no reason for any “all-clear signal” [with respect to sea-ice in the Arctic].”

Then, in 2012, in another lecture, lo and behold the ice had declined even further compared to 2008 and he expanded on it (see the red line in Fig. 3). The decline appeared to be rapid and unstoppable. Surely, the point of inflection in the models (black line) had well been past. Rahmstorf again made certain that the audience took home his message by emphasizing it with statements like [translated] "Last month, the [Arctic] ice cover was only approximately half the size of that in 1979” and “the actual development shows that the ice melt is much faster than the models predicted” and “unfortunately the problem [of Arctic ice melt] has in the past been strongly under-estimated; and it keeps thinning.” The entire lecture is available at .

Now to the Real World

In the following, I’d like to look at a few examples of that tipping point theory and what became of it.

1. Global Warming & Arctic Sea-Ice

Ten years ago or so, the IPCC and many “climate modellers” were all in rage: They claimed that the world was in a run-away overheating situation. They also claimed to know why: rising carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in the atmosphere.

Despite steadily rising CO2 levels since then, the warming trend has stalled for 18+ years now. Obviously, nature missed to learn from Rahmstorf’s lecture and the IPCC predictions or we all would be fried by now.

This “climate tipping point” was (according to PIK’s models) to be particularly apparent in “the most sensitive” area for that, namely the Arctic. If you compare Rahmstorf’s 2008 graph (Fig. 1) with his updated version shown in 2012 (Fig. 3), you really might have fallen for that theory. In fact, Rahmstorf even stated that “the ice extent is declining much more rapidly than predicted by the (then current) computer models. To top off the finger-wagging, he added “and it is getting thinner.” If that statement was not give the message of being past a tipping point already, I don’t know what it was meant to convey.

Once again, nature did not listen. In recent winters and summers, the northern sea-ice extent returned to normal (Fig 4).

Perhaps then, we ought to look further south in “the Arctic,” like the North American or Laurentian Great Lakes (GLs) to get a better picture.

2. Laurentian Great Lakes (GLs)

Now, personally I don’t think that the freshwater Great Lakes are part of the Arctic though it can be quite cold around their shores in winter (and, sometimes, even in summer). However, considering the definition for Arctic sea-ice, the latitude of the upper GLs (Lakes Superior, Huron and Michigan) are certainly within the latitudinal bounds of Arctic sea-ice measurements.

Anyway, the water levels of the GLs have been recorded for over 150 years and such records are widely available.

Beginning with 1980 or so, the level in Lakes Huron and Michigan (LHM, which is identical because of the wide gap at the Straights of Mackinac), was getting higher and higher to reach a new 150-year record in 1986 (Fig. 5). Many lake shore property owners then feared a “tipping point” breach and clamoured for the government(s) “to do something.”

Of course, governments need a while to respond to new situations, so, for a number of years they didn’t do anything to curb the rise. But they didn’t need to do anything after all; nature changed her mind and decided to lower the water level all by her little self. By the year 2000, the water level in LHM had declined sharply, nearly two meters below the 1986 level and it stayed there for a dozen or so years. In fact, a new all-time (150-year) record low level was reached in 2012.

Needless to say, all the people who wanted the government to “do something” about the perceived “for-ever-rise” in the mid-1980’s changed their tune and were then clamouring for the opposite government action, namely to “stop the drop.”  Large “Stop the Drop” banners could be seen at all kinds of places around the lake. Had we reached or even surpassed yet another “tipping point?” It looked that way to many.

Just when everyone was convinced that the lake levels of the 1970s were never to be seen again, Mother Nature changed her mind, once again. Between 2013 and 2015 (this year), LHM levels shot up by 1 m (3.5 ft) and are currently 1.2 m above the 2012 record low. In fact, they are now again much closer to the record high of 1986 than to the record low of 2012 (Fig. 6).

All nature needed to provide was a regular amount of rain and snow, and a couple of cold winters in a row with little wind. If you wonder how those determine the water levels in LHM, see below in section (3), if not, you can jump right to section (4).

3. Your Ice Cubes

Your ice-cubes-to-be in the fridge freeze from the outside, not the inside. The air in the freezer needs to be colder than the freezing point of the water (0 C) for that to happen. With lakes, it’s the same. When the air is colder than that, they tend to freeze over – unless the warmer (4 C) bottom water mixes with the 0 C surface water and keeps it from freezing. With deep lakes like L. Superior and L. Huron (maximum depths 406 m and 229 m, respectively), there is an enormous amount of latent heat energy stored in that relatively warm (4 C) but nevertheless quite cold water. Just a little breeze will do to create the wave action necessary to stir things up sufficiently for the surface not to freeze over.

However, when it’s calm AND cold, the surface will develop a layer of ice overnight. A few more days and nights of the same will do the trick. The entire lake surface freezes over and may stay that way for the next few weeks or months. Without any strong wind action or ship traffic to break it up (like it happens in the Arctic summer, see my previous post on Breaking Ice in the Arctic), that layer of ice reduces the evaporation rate to a fraction of the normal.

The reason is the large difference between vapour pressure of water molecules on the surface of (unfrozen) water and cold ice. In winter, the moisture content of air is very low. For that reason people need to humidify their houses in order to keep at least happy if not healthy. Without humidification, you are nature’s target for getting zapped by a high voltage discharge at every step or so; it can be annoying.

Now back to the water and ice. In order to evaporate H2O (water) molecules from any surface, the evaporation energy needs to be supplied. That is easily obtained on an open water surface (at 0 C) by the warmer water below. In contrast, a poor heat conductor like ice can only take it from the ice immediately below the surface and only with a considerable delay from the water below the ice. Together with the much lower vapour pressure of cold ice, it results in much less evaporation from the lake in a cold winter with ice cover. The magnitude of that difference can be astounding, up to 0.5 m (1.5+ ft) of lake level drop in a “warm” winter (without ice cover) and next to no drop in a cold winter with full ice cover.

I quite agree, this is a bit counter-intuitive but true nonetheless. Of course, people who model nature’s escapades from a cozy “climate office” may find it difficult to explain that to their super computer; perhaps, a (permanent) move to the real Arctic would teach the right lesson.

4. Tipping Point Theory—and Practice

The gurus who have warned of climate tipping points and predicted a runaway-warming, melting ice, rising sea levels and so forth invoking the tipping point idea were all quite coy about exactly what numerical value(s) they considered as the tipping point(s) in this or that measurement. In fact, I suspect they had no idea themselves – and for good reason – as there are no tipping points in such things as temperature, ice extent, etc. They are physical measurements that are observed on earth over a wide range and can vary tremendously at any given location and in short time. There are no points of no return in such natural variations many of which can exhibit large amplitudes and lengthy cycles.

For example, at the same time of year (late-August) at a friend’s place up north, the conditions have varied over the years from near freezing to 30+ C, from dead calm to violent storms, from lush green plant cover to the severe droughts with the maple trees shedding their leaves for lack of water and oak leaves just shriveling on the stem while still green, and a 2 m lake water level change first to a 150-year record high and then back to a 150-year low. In all those extremes over several decades, I have not noticed any tipping point from which there was no return to longer-term normal levels or even the opposite extremes. 

How quickly nature can reverse course was also seen in Australia not long ago. After years of below-normal precipitation the Great Artesian Basin aquifer had lost much of its water. Then, in 2011 and 2012, so much rain fell that it replenished the reservoir for many years to come. Of course that water was evaporated from the ocean and it was claimed to have lowered the ocean level by 7 mm or 1/3 inch. You can also look at more historic events, for example the decades-long droughts in the southwest of the U.S. that forced many of the pueblo cultures to abandon their long-held settlements. Since that time the areas have undergone more recovery and drought cycles.

In other words, the entire climate tipping point theory is pure bunk.

SOURCE  (See the original for links and graphics)

Enron Environmentalism: Carbon Credits Scam Pumps out More 'Greenhouse Gases'

Written by James Delingpole

A UN-endorsed carbon offset scheme designed to reduce emissions has actually increased them massively, a study by a green think tank has found.

As well as pumping much as 600 million tonnes more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the carbon credits scheme has been abused by countries like Russia and the Ukraine which have used them as a money making scam.

Vladyslav Zhezherin, one of the co-authors of the study by the Stockholm Environment Institute says:  “This was like printing money.”

Another co-author Anja Kollmuss has told BBC News.  “We were surprised ourselves by the extent [of the fraud], we didn’t expect such a large number.”

    “What went on was that these countries could approve these projects by themselves there was no international oversight, in particular Russia and the Ukraine didn’t have any incentive to guarantee the quality of these credits.”

To which the two obvious questions are:   Have any of these people actually been to Russia or the Ukraine?


    This stuff that these greenies have been smoking sounds totally amazing. How do we go about getting some?

The corruption they describe is by no means a recent thing. It dates back to Enron whose entire business model was based on dodgy carbon credits, which it used not to save the planet but to close down its rivals in the coal industry.

    In the early 1990s Enron had helped establish the market for, and became the major trader in, EPA’s $20 billion-per-year sulphur dioxide cap-and-trade program, the forerunner of today’s proposed carbon credit trade. This commodity exchange of emission allowances caused Enron’s stock to rapidly rise.

Then, as now, this crony capitalist scam was only made possible by the enthusiastic endorsement of greenie-lefty politicians:

    "Al Gore took office in 1993 and almost immediately became infatuated with the idea of an international environmental regulatory regime. He led a U.S. initiative to review new projects around the world and issue ‘credits’ of so many tons of annual CO2 emission reduction. Under law a tradeable system was required, which was exactly what Enron also wanted because they were already trading pollutant credits. Thence Enron vigorously lobbied Clinton and Congress, seeking EPA regulatory authority over CO2."

And also the support of other key figures in the Green Blob, such as the all-powerful environmental NGOs.

    "From 1994 to 1996, the Enron Foundation contributed nearly $1 million dollars – $990,000 – to the Nature Conservancy, whose Climate Change Project promotes global warming theories. Enron philanthropists lavished almost $1.5 million on environmental groups that support international energy controls to “reduce” global warming. Executives at Enron worked closely with the Clinton administration to help create a scaremongering climate science environment because the company believed the treaty could provide it with a monstrous financial windfall."

Everyone involved in the green circle jerk stood – and stands – to benefit from the scam.  These include: privileged countries like India and China

    "The largest and easily the most lucrative component of the CDM market, administered under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), is a peculiar racket centred on the manufacture of CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons), classified under Kyoto as greenhouse gases infinitely more potent than CO2. The way the racket works is that Chinese and Indian firms are permitted to carry on producing the refrigerant gas known as HCFC-22 until 2030. But a by-product of this process is HCFC-23, 11,700 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than CO2. The firms can then destroy the HCFC-23, claiming allocations of carbon credits worth billions for doing so…"

Eco-Blofelds, like the shady one-world-government freak and Communist sympathiser who devised the Rio Earth Summit:

    "Thus we pay billions of dollars to the Asian countries for the right to continue emitting CO2 and other greenhouse gases here in the West, including the £60 million contributed by British taxpayers to keep our civil servants warm. As a result we enrich a small number of people in China and India, including Maurice Strong, who now lives in exile in Beijing, having been caught out in 2005 for illicitly receiving $1 million from Saddam Hussein in the “Oil for Food” scandal. He played a key part in setting up China’s carbon exchange, to buy and sell the CDM credits administered by the UNFCCC – of which Strong himself was the chief architect."

Green gangster NGOs, like the WWF, which stood to make millions from the carbon protection racket:

    "If it then emerged, however, that a hidden agenda of the scheme to preserve this chunk of the forest was to allow the WWF and its partners to share the selling of carbon credits worth $60 billion, to enable firms in the industrial world to carry on emitting CO2 just as before, more than a few eyebrows might be raised. The idea is that credits representing the CO2 locked into this particular area of jungle – so remote that it is not under any threat – should be sold on the international market, allowing thousands of companies in the developed world to buy their way out of having to restrict their carbon emissions. The net effect would simply be to make the WWF and its partners much richer while making no contribution to lowering overall CO2 emissions."

And what a racket this is. In 2011, the global carbon trading market was worth $176 billion – which, as Jo Nova noted, was the same value as total global wheat production. One industry supplies about 20 per cent of the total calories consumed by the seven billion people on the planet. The other pays for Al Gore’s waterside homes, private jet travel and intimate massages.


Residence time of CO2 much exaggerated

Written by Dr Klaus L.E. Kaiser

Some scientists claim that anthropogenic (human-produced) CO2 (carbon dioxide) lasts in the atmosphere for hundreds or even thousands of years.  Of course, they also think that CO2 is the mother of all evils and, therefore, argue that the world needs to decarbonize, forget about using fossil resources (coal, oil, gas), and reduce the population from seven billion to one billion humans.

Well, if that’s so, the world must be suffering from CO2 exhalations by the ancient Sumerians, Egyptians, Romans, and everyone else who lived since that time.

How much CO2 is in the Air?

On a percentage basis, there is approximately 0.04% (or 400 ppm [parts per million]) CO2 in the air; (all numbers here are rounded to the nearest integer, just to keep things simple and not to get lost in small numerical details). Well, 0.04% does not sound like much, but when you consider the entire atmosphere, it’s a lot of tiny carbon dioxide molecules. Just to give you an idea as to how many there are, we need to count all gas molecules in the air first.

Gas Molecules in the Air

The air consists to 99% of nitrogen and oxygen. On a volume basis, each Mole (a unit of measurement) of all these gases (nitrogen, oxygen, CO2, etc.) occupies the same space, as was learned a couple of hundred years ago. One Mole of gas occupies 23 [L], (L= liters) or roughly 5 gallons of space (at common air pressure). Further, there are 6x10^23 molecules in that space of 23 L of gas. That number is known as the Avogadro Constant (AC), named after Italian chemist Amedeo Avogadro (1776-1856).

Using a rough estimate of 5x10^18 [m^3] air in the atmosphere and 1000 [L]/[m^3], and the AC, the total number of all molecules in the entire atmosphere is then:

    1.3x10^44 molecules of “air” of which there are 0.04%, or

    6x10^40 molecules of CO2.

Now, in regular notation, that’s:

60,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 molecules of CO2 in the atmosphere, give or take a few.

I am using the long notation here, rather than a power function, simply for the reason to show to you that, if you believe the claims of a long residence time of CO2 in the air, our forbearers are to blame for the claimed and CO2-ascribed “climate change.” That would clearly follow from the (also) claimed longevity (residence time) of human-produced CO2 (provided that it had any effect on climate change at all)

As you might appreciate, the longevity or residence time of carbon dioxide in the air is a critical value when it comes to determine if that so-called greenhouse gas CO2 could even remotely have any effect on the climate.

Residence Time of CO2 in Air

The mean residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere has been determined by a number of people using quite different approaches. Their results show an astounding range of conclusions, diverging by nearly three orders of magnitude between the short and long residence time or longevity estimates.

Of course, most agree that the CO2 in the atmosphere is constantly being removed from the air and either biologically assimilated into plant matter, both on land and in the water, or is chemically precipitated in water as a carbonate salt. After all, the world’s vast limestone and dolomite mountains with ammonite and other organisms’ shells clearly show that they were precipitated from the water.

The question then is strictly how long it takes for the average CO2 molecule in the air to be so taken up and converted. That conversion, by the way, also makes the oceans alkaline, a fact that few “climate modelers” seem to understand.

The residence time or longevity of CO2 in air plays an important role in the “carbon capture” and storage ideas as well. As pointed out by RH Essenhigh,if that residence time is less than 100 years, the whole carbon capture idea is nonsense, regardless of whether CO2 has any effect on the climate or not.

Cleopatra’s CO2

If the human-produced or naturally-produced CO2 in the atmosphere were really as long-lived as some like to claim, i.e. hundreds or thousands of years, it would stand to reason that the plants near you are now still living on CO2 expelled by Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt (51-12 BC) or her good friend Mark Antony and all their contemporaries. Cleo reigned for 21 years and died at age 39. Having exhaled breath with 50,000 ppm CO2, say 20,000 times a day at 0.25 L each, she alone must have emitted in her lifetime in the order of 4,000 m^3 of pure CO2. That’s about 10^5 Mole or 3x10^28 CO2 molecules. Now add to that similar amounts for her friends, enemies, and other contemporaries and you are getting into serious numbers.

Using the logic of the people who claim a 1,000+ year residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere, it follows that there are still gazillions of CO2 molecules in the air from ancient times. Hence, the present “global warming” or “climate change” clearly was brought on by Cleo and her associates. Though some of Cleo’s CO2 molecules may indeed still be around today, it could not be proven or disproven, other than with statistics. However, it also would be entirely irrelevant in the natural world.

The problem with that (Cleo) type of math is that it implies that any HUMAN-PRODUCED CO2 molecules, including those exhaled by Cleopatra, are different from those that are continuously blasted into the air by volcanoes and other natural sources.

That’s simply not true; ALL CO2 MOLECULES ARE EQUAL!

Living nature does not differentiate between your, mine, or Cleo’s CO2 emissions at all. Nor do the molecules stay around in the atmosphere for thousands of years, not even hundreds, and not even tens of years. For example, the rate of removal of carbon isotopes from the atmosphere after nuclear tests showed a half-life in air (mean residence time) of a few years only, see attached figure.

Nature Devours all CO2 Equally

The photosynthetic plants or algae near you that try to make a living by assimilating CO2 from their surroundings to grow and reproduce don’t give the slightest hoot as to where or when that CO2 originated that they are now converting to plant matter. For them, one CO2 molecule is as good as the next. The growing plants and alkaline oceans devour all CO2 molecules equally, regardless whether they were exhaled by a dinosaur 100 million years ago, or by Cleopatra 2,000 years ago, or emitted from a volcano yesterday, or by your car’s exhaust system this morning.

The miniscule differences that exist for some isotope ratios of carbon or oxygen atoms in the CO2 are similarly irrelevant for the growth of today’s plants that want to prosper and procreate. That’s why the increased atmospheric CO2 makes California’s giant sequoia and redwood trees grow faster than before, that’s why florist shops are able to offer you all those spectacular flowers (grown in high CO2 and other nutrient level conditions), or why pine seedling growers use high CO2 levels to get them off to a good start. All plants live on CO2 and the more of it (higher concentration) the better.

The Scientific Falsehood

For the same reason, it is scientifically false to claim that anthropogenic CO2 remains in the air for hundreds or even thousands of years (while claiming that other CO2 is short-lived). It may be (partially) correct ON A STATISTICAL BASIS but that is completely irrelevant when it comes to the mean residence time of the AVERAGE CO2 MOLECULE in air. That is two to three orders of magnitude shorter than “thousands of years.”

Numerous independent studies have conclusively shown that the mean residence time of CO2 in the air is in the range of five to 10 years only. TV Segalstad of the University of Oslo reviewed the findings of some 30 publications and they were all in a narrow range with a mean residence time of seven years or so.

You might ask then what’s wrong here? Perhaps a simple analogy can demonstrate the fallacy of the Cleo-type math.


If you had 400 coins of equal denomination and market value but various years of minting, would it make any difference to the amount of money remaining in your possession, after you had spent a few of such coins, as to which year of minting those spent coins were? Clearly, none at all, but some climate scientists try to tell you otherwise when it comes to CO2 molecules. For those people, it makes a difference in the amount left in your wallet as to when these coins or CO2 molecules were “minted,” or by whom, or for what reason.

Of course, that’s rubbish!

However, if you’re still unconvinced, you have my permission to blame any and all of today’s problems on Cleopatra and Marc.


Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s puzzling about-face on cancer study

My guess is that they did not wish to upset environmentalists by bringing out yet another "no effect" finding

THERE HAVE long been questions about whether living near a nuclear power plant raises the risk of cancer, but no credible scientific link has been established between radiation emissions from reactors and the disease. That hasn’t stopped some people from worrying about it, nor have calls for more research into the issue abated.

Responding to such concerns, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission three years ago commissioned the nonprofit National Academy of Sciences to update a 1990 National Cancer Institute study of cancer cases in populations around 52 power plants. (That report said there was no “excess occurrence” of the disease).

At the time, the NRC said it was moving forward with the new pilot study, because “more modern analysis methods, combined with up-to-date information sources, will provide contemporary cancer information.” Seven nuclear power plant sites were designated for the five-year project, including two in Connecticut.

This week, however, the NRC called a halt to the pilot program, saying it was going to take too long, cost too much, and — apparently — produce no new findings. The agency said it already knows, based on a raft of routine environmental data, that radiation leaks don’t cause neighbors of nuclear power plants to get cancer. Any releases that do take place are “too small to cause observable increases in cancer risk near the facilities,” it said in a statement Tuesday.

Existing science backs that up, but the NRC’s reasoning for scuttling the study is puzzling and raises concerns. It was known from the start that the research and analysis would take years to complete. And while the cost — $8 million over five years, including the $1.5 million already spent — may be significant, it is hardly the “prohibitively high” price tag cited by Brian Sheron, who runs the NRC’s Office of Regulatory Research. Cindy Folkers, with the national antinuclear group Beyond Nuclear, called it “a drop in the bucket” for an agency with an annual budget of about $1 billion.



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

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13 September, 2015

First pick your glacier

Sarah Palin pointed out that Obama had picked out one of the Alaskan glaciers that seem to be shrinking while ignoring others that are growing.  The story below is a reply to that. 

In the reply, however, they made a crucial and damaging admission:  Glacier mass is primarily a function of precipiation (snowfall, mainly) rather than of changes in air temperature. So much so that glaciers can in fact GROW amid a warming climate.  

That makes their chart below doubly amusing.  It shows that glaciers have overall been losing mass right up to the present time.  Since there has been no global warming during the last 18 years of that time, the chart proves that overall glacial mass proves NOTHING about global warming.  The shrinkage is due only to reduced snowfall/rainfall. 

But why would precipitation be reducing?  Hard to say for sure.  But there is one easy answer:  Reduced precipitation is due to COOLING. Cooling reduces evaporation off the sea and so there is less moisture to come down as rain/snow.  So the seas in most areas adjacent to glaciers are likely COOLING!  Logic is pesky stuff, is it not? -- JR

Glaciers normally grow through snow accumulation in the winter and then recede by melting in the summer. But lower levels of snow accumulation or higher temperatures will lead to an imbalance in that process and the glacier will retreat and lose mass over time.

But Palin pointed out that not all glaciers are losing ice. In a post on the opinion website IJ Review, she highlighted the Hubbard Glacier in Alaska. According to NASA, the Hubbard has indeed been advancing since measurement of the glacier began in 1895, at rates ranging from 13 meters to 36 meters per year. Here is how Leigh Sterns, a glaciologist at the University of Kansas, explained the glacier’s growth for NASA: “Hubbard’s advance is due to its large accumulation area; the glacier’s catchment basin extends far into the Saint Elias Mountains. Snow that falls in the basin either melts or flows down to the terminus, causing Hubbard to steadily grow.”

In short, regional variations and increasing snowfall thanks to climate change could cause some glaciers around the world to grow, even as global temperatures rise. In fact, the pace of the Hubbard Glacier’s advance has increased since 1984, which coincides with a period of increased precipitation rates.

Just as overall global temperatures are more relevant than what happens in individual areas, the overall trend for glaciers is more relevant, too. The global and Alaskan glacial trends are toward massive loss of ice as the world has warmed. The World Glacier Monitoring Service, which runs under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme, the World Meteorological Organization and other partners, reports that the latest data continue “the global trend in strong ice loss over the past few decades.” This general trend is apparent in the chart below, from the WGMS.

On CNN, Tapper pushed back at Palin, saying that “90 percent of glaciers, according to scientists, 90 percent of them are—are shrinking, are melting.” According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, based at the University of Colorado at Boulder, that’s true for alpine glaciers, which are most susceptible to retreat: “Over 90 percent of the measured alpine glaciers in the world are retreating, in almost every major glaciated region.” The NSIDC explains that the causes are “varied,” but “the underlying primary causes are a warming climate and the effects of increased soot and dust in areas of higher agricultural and industrial activity.” Both the Exit and Hubbard glaciers are alpine, of differing types—the former is a valley glacier, with its flow confined by valley walls and the latter is a tidewater glacier, which terminates into the ocean.

According to the most recent WGMS data, only 22 of the 126 glaciers it analyzed were adding mass, while 104—about 83 percent—were losing mass.

In spite of that trend, a minority of glaciers, such as the Hubbard, will likely continue to expand even with warmer temperatures. For example, a study published in 2014 in Nature Geoscience described the stable or growing glaciers of the Karakorum region in Asia. The reason for those glaciers’ deviation from the global trend has to do with localized changes to winter precipitation—snowfall, essentially, helps the glaciers stay stable or grow. The authors concluded that “[o]ur findings suggest a meteorological mechanism for regional differences in the glacier response to climate warming.” In other words, local weather patterns play a role in how glaciers respond to climate change.

Most glaciers in Alaska and around the world are losing ice as the world warms. Palin suggested that Obama was cherry-picking his glacier to make a point, but she was guilty of that trick herself.


Here's why the Warmists are being careful about the Pacific "blob"

The blob was covered on this blog on 11th.  It's a body of slightly warmer water in the Northern Pacific.  It is leading to slightly warmer temperatures than normal in Alaska.  At a time when EVERYTHING is due to global warming, you would think that Warmists would be seizing on the phenomenon as "proof" of global warming.  But Warmist scientists are in fact saying it is just "weather".  Why?  The recent paper below might give us a clue.  It shows that Pacific temperatures were 2 degrees HOTTER 8,000 years ago, long before humans were doing much.  So demonstrably NATURAL warming leaves the present blip for dead, suggesting that the blob is natural too --JR

Southern Ocean contributions to the Eastern Equatorial Pacific heat content during the Holocene

Julie Kalanskya et al.


Temperature reconstructions from a shallow core (375 m) from the Peru Margin are used to test the influence of Subantarctic Mode Water (SAMW) on the eastern equatorial Pacific (EEP) thermostad and thus the effect of southern high latitude climate on interior ocean heat content (OHC). Temperature estimates, based on Mg/Ca measurements of planktonic and benthic foraminifera (Neogloboquadrina dutertrei and Uvigerina spp ., respectively) show higher temperatures in the early Holocene, a cooling of ?2° by 8 kyr B.P. and after relatively stable temperatures to the present. The temperature signal is similar in direction and timing to a rather robust Holocene climate signal from the southern high latitudes suggesting it originated there and was advected to the core site in the EEP. Based on the N. dutertrei and Uvigerina Mg/Ca temperature and ?13C records we conclude that SAMW acted as a conduit transporting the southern high latitude climate to the interior of the equatorial Pacific. We propose that the early Holocene warmth is related to a southward migration of the Subtropical Front, which enhanced the influence of warm subtropical water in the region of SAMW formation and was then transported to the EEP thermostad. The early Holocene warmth recorded in the EEP thermostad has a muted sea surface temperature expression indicating this mechanism is important for sequestering heat in the ocean interior.


Greenie secrecy again  -- time to open it up?

Leaders of the scientific community, nudged by the media (including Nature), are acknowledging that a culture of science focused on rewarding eye-catching and positive findings may have resulted in major bodies of knowledge that cannot be reproduced.

Private-sector, academic and non-profit groups are leading multiple efforts to replicate selected published findings, and so far the results do not make happy reading. Several high-profile endeavours have been unable to reproduce the large majority of peer-reviewed studies that they examined. Meanwhile, the US National Academies is preparing to publish a high-profile report on scientific integrity that will flag irreproducibility as a key concern for the research enterprise.

As the spotlight shines on reproducibility, uncomfortable issues will emerge at the interface of research and 'evidence-based' policy.

Consider, for example, the Secret Science Reform Act of 2015, a US bill that would “prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from proposing, finalizing, or disseminating regulations or assessments based upon science that is not transparent or reproducible”. Passed in March by the House of Representatives essentially along party lines (Republicans in favour, Democrats opposed) and now awaiting action by the Senate, the bill has been vigorously opposed by many scientific and environmental organizations.

They argue, probably correctly, that the bill's intent is to block and even roll back environmental regulations by requiring that all data on which the rules are based be made publicly available for independent replication. One of the main objections is that a lot of the scientific research that informs regulatory decisions is not of the sort that can be replicated. For example, a statement of opposition from numerous scientific societies and universities explains that: “With respect to reproducibility of research, some scientific research, especially in areas of public health, involves longitudinal studies that are so large and of great duration that they could not realistically be reproduced. Rather, these studies are replicated utilizing statistical modeling.”

Precisely. Replication of the sort that can be done with tightly controlled laboratory experiments is indeed often impossible when you are studying the behaviour of dynamic, complex systems, for example at the intersection of human health, the natural environment and technological risks. But it is hard to see how this amounts to an argument against mandating open access to the data from these studies. Growing concerns about the quality of published scientific results have often singled out bad statistical practices and modelling assumptions, and have typically focused on the very types of science that often underlie regulations, such as efforts to quantify the population-wide health effects of a single chemical.

Although concerns about the bill's consequences are reasonable, the idea that it would be bad to make public the data underlying environmental regulations seems to contradict science's fundamental claims to objectivity and legitimacy. In June, a commentary in Science by an array of leading voices, including the current and future heads of the National Academies, flagged “increased transparency” and “increased data disclosure” as crucial elements of science's “self-correcting norm” that can help to address “the disconcerting rise in irreproducible findings” (B. Alberts et al. Science 348, 1420–1422; 2015). This is more or less the position taken by the Secret Science bill's sponsor, Representative Lamar Smith (Republican, Texas): “The bill requires the EPA to use data that is available to the public when the Agency writes its regulations. This allows independent researchers to evaluate the studies that the EPA uses to justify its regulations. This is the scientific method.”

This battle for the soul of science is almost surreal in its avoidance of the true issue, which is ideological. One side believes that the government should introduce stricter environmental regulations; the other wants fewer restrictions on the marketplace. Science is the battleground, but it cannot adjudicate this dispute. At its core, the disagreement is about values, not facts. But just as importantly, the facts themselves are inevitably incomplete, uncertain, contested and, as we have been learning, often unreliable.

Like a divorced couple bitterly fighting over the custody of their child, both sides in the Secret Science debate insist that they have only the interests of science at heart. Republicans are using a narrow, idealized portrayal of science — that it produces clear and reproducible findings — as a weapon to undercut environmental and public-health regulation of the private sector. But many scientists, environmentalists and Democrats have long used similar portrayals to justify the same regulations, and to bash Republicans as anti-scientific when they did not agree.

More and more, science is tackling questions that are relevant to society and politics. The reliability of such science is often not testable with textbook methods of replication. This means that quality assurance will increasingly become a matter of political interpretation. It also means that the 'self-correcting norm' that has served science well for the past 500 years is no longer enough to protect science's special place in society. Scientists must have the self-awareness to recognize and openly acknowledge the relationship between their political convictions and how they assess scientific evidence.


Wait, Polar Bears Can Hunt on Land?

A recent study published in the journal PLOS ONE finds that polar bears aren’t nearly as helpless as ecofascists want us to believe. In fact, they can even hunt on land. Shocking, we know. In the study abstract, authors Robert Rockwell and Linda Gormezano say, “Climate change is predicted to expand the ice-free season in western Hudson Bay and when it grows to 180 days, 28–48% of adult male polar bears are projected to starve unless nutritional deficits can be offset by foods consumed on land.”

But that nutrition can be found in snow geese and their eggs, as well as even caribou. Rockwell writes, “Polar bears are opportunists and have been documented consuming various types and combinations of land-based food since the earliest natural history records.”

Additionally, “Analysis of polar bear scats and first-hand observations have shown us that subadult polar bears, family groups, and even some adult males are already eating plants and animals during the ice-free period.”

This isn’t to say that ice melt won’t present challenges, but it is to say, once again, that the science isn’t settled. Combine this with recent news that polar bears are quite adept at diving, and the fact that their population has multiplied from 5,000 bears in the ‘60s to 25,000 bears today, and climate alarmists should just chill.


Hydrocarbons are the Major Source of Energy

Written by Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser

One Paul Gilding recently posted an article with the title “Fossil fuels are finished—the rest is just detail.” That sure made my (thinning) hair curl. What a nonsense!

This poor man (?) has no idea what he is talking about. 'Fossil fuels' (more correctly, hydrocarbons) are driving the world and will continue to do so for a very long time; in fact they are the major energy source going—and growing by leaps and bounds!

To prove my point, let’s look at some energy/fuel facts, like the bar-graph showing the world energy production by source in the year 2013, source: Manhattan Inst.

As you can see, fossil fuels account for approximately 85% of the entire world energy consumption. When you add to that the fossil energy used to build and maintain windmills, and to “pre-heat” solar renewable types of energy (see my post on “More alternative energy follies,” it’s probably more than 90% of all energy consumed. Even the “biomass” energy component needs plenty of electric or other power that, in turn, is largely supplied by fossil resources. In most cases, these fossil energy consumptions are not even accounted for in most “renewable” energy production numbers; details, details…

Altogether, the idea that fossil fuels are finished is simply preposterous. The facts are entirely different from that claim and fossil fuels are in more demand than ever. In absolute terms, coal energy alone still rises at a rate of about three times that of renewables’ energy and oil and natural gas are close behind coal. But not just the demand is steadily increasing, lo and behold, the available and known resources are as well.

Are we Running out of Hydrocarbons?

Whether you believe it or not, I do remember a specific assignment from early public school (60+ years ago), namely to write an essay (OK, say a list of points) on what would become of the world without the sun shining. It was both a serious and fun task at the time.

The question of “what would become of the world without carbon/hydrocarbon energy resources” is not much different, at least in my mind. The attached graph will demonstrate that, fossil energy is still by far the biggest and most reliable way for power generation. Whether you drive a car, fly in an airplane, enjoy a trip on a ship, turn on the lights, or just want some heat, most of all that energy is provided by fossil fuels. Even much of your “free” (as per sunshine and wind advocates’) energy is, in fact, fossil resource based.

The world may indeed run out of fossil carbon energy resources at one point. However, that point in time gets continuously pushed further into the future. Not only is the current consumption being met with new finds to compensate for it, between the new technologies and newly discovered finds, the future supply is increasing at a steady rate. For example, on Aug. 30, 2015, the Wall Street Journal, reported on a massive new natural gas find offshore Egypt’s coast in the Mediterranean Sea.

Many discoveries of similar kind are also made in other areas, onshore and offshore, all around the world. So, it’s incredibly naive and false to claim that fossil fuels are finished. Nothing of that sort is happening, neither in available resources or consumption terms.
Another point

There is also another point I’d like to mention. It’s the relative large amount of coverage given by some search engines to news items of the kind I’m referring to here. For example, Gilding’s own blog page at has not a single comment on his article and shows a grand total of “4 followers.”

However, when searching for the query given below, you’d think his works are in great demand, see for yourself. The major search engine results for the query (on Aug. 30, 2015): “gilding” +“fossil fuels are finished” are as follows:

Clearly, there appears to be a discrepancy between the results offered by these three search engines. I cannot say which one is better but am wondering about the reason for that sizable difference. Could it be because of a bias in the direction of a particular view? You be the judge on that but there’s one thing which I’m quite sure:

Gildings musings about fossil fuels being finished are total baloney.

SOURCE  (See the original for links and graphics)

Greenie irrationality at Sydney university

The Greenie religion is a powerful one.  Universities started out as religious bodies and it seems that we are returning to that.  And the religion is not much different:  Preaching doom for evildoers

Last week, Ideas@theCentre argued that Newcastle Council has entered an alternative reality by withdrawing deposits from banks that fund coal and (potentially) companies involved with alcohol.
Given the Newcastle region's dependence on coal industry and wineries, it is hard to imagine a more bizarre divestment decision.

But this week, we have another organisation entering the Twilight Zone: Sydney University is reportedly cutting its investments in mining companies while increasing investment in alcohol, soft drinks and tobacco. Sydney University is effectively saying it is OK for me to unwillingly receive second hand smoke, but it is wrong to replace unhealthy wood fires with electricity from coal.

Air pollution from indoor fires causes 4.3 million deaths around the world per year and the divestment movement opposes replacing these fires by coal-fired electricity. Yet again, a first world organisation (with reportedly $1.4 billion under investment) is dictating to developing countries that they shouldn't use coal, when coal could save more lives than would ever be lost due to global warming. The University is being paternalistic towards the third world, while at the same time academics at the University criticise Western imperialism.

In addition, as Peter Kurti has previously pointed out in relation to the Anglican Church's coal divestment strategy, coal's cheap energy has been instrumental in raising the living standards of hundreds of millions in developing countries around the globe.

The University's divorce from reality is compounded by the increased investment in tobacco, and it is hard to see how they could possibly justify that as better than investment in coal.



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

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


11 September, 2015

Here come the Climate Police: Carbon Footprints must be monitored by Big Brother on every building & street

Fascism, Communism, Environmentalism: Three peas in a pod

Cities are taking steps to combat climate change, given the scant progress made by international treaty negotiations. Los Angeles, California, home to around 4 million people, has one of the most ambitious targets: to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 35% below 1990 levels by 2030. The city has calculated its carbon 'footprint' and found that road vehicles constitute 47% of total carbon dioxide emissions, and that electricity consumption constitutes 32%1. So how should Los Angeles target its policies?

Knowing that certain roads, types of vehicle or parts of a city dominate road emissions and why people drive at specific times would tell city planners where and how to lower emissions efficiently. Improvements in traffic congestion, air quality, pedestrian conditions, and noise pollution could be aligned. But tracking emissions road by road and building by building is beyond the capacity of most cities.

Luckily, scientists are gathering the data that city managers need — in studies that match sources of CO2 and methane with atmospheric concentrations. Now the research community needs to translate this information into a form that city managers can use. Emissions data need to be merged with socio-economic information such as income, property ownership or travel habits, and placed in software tools that can query policy options and weigh up costs and benefits. And scientists should help municipalities to raise awareness of the power of detailed emissions data in tailoring climate and development policies.

Carbon hotspots

Cities account for more than 70% of global fossil-fuel CO2 emissions, the main driver of climate change. If the top 50 emitting cities were counted as one country, that 'nation' would rank third in emissions behind China and the United States2. Urban areas are set to triple globally by 2030 (ref. 3).

Much of this emitting landscape falls within the control of mayors, city planners, businesses and community groups that have responsibility for residents' health and well-being. A 2014 survey lists 228 global cities — representing nearly half a billion people — that have pledged reductions equivalent to 454 megatonnes of CO2 per year by 2020 (see Shenzhen in China, for example, aims to put an extra 35,000 electric vehicles on the road by the end of 2015. The German city of Munich aims to produce enough green electricity by 2025 to meet all its power requirements.

Yet such pledges account for only about 3% of global urban emissions and less than 1% of total global emissions projected for 2020 (ref. 4). Rich cities dominate these pledges, yet low- and middle-income countries are experiencing the greatest urban growth.

Slashing emissions requires mapping them on finer scales of space and time that reflect the human dimensions at which carbon is emitted: by individual buildings, vehicles, parks, factories and power plants. These should be tracked at least yearly. Such granular estimates are needed for several reasons: to verify emissions rates; to confirm progress towards reduction and support carbon trading, permits or taxation5; to enable more-targeted and financially efficient decisions about mitigation options6; and to identify and fix unintentional releases from, for example, leaking gas pipes or malfunctioning methane-capture equipment in landfills.

Cities already approach air-quality improvement, regional development, transport planning and waste disposal on a house or road scale. Adding low-carbon policies to these efforts could benefit them all. For example, reducing traffic congestion would lower air pollution and traffic accidents and improve commutes. And targeting residents' immediate needs widens public acceptance.

The problems

Although methods to account for community-scale emissions have been designed by non-profit organizations such as the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the World Resources Institute (see, most cities lack independent, comprehensive and comparable sources of data. The expertise and staff required to build this information are costly. Transparency of data and methods is also crucial to enable verification by third parties and to build trust.

Scientists are starting to meet these challenges. In the past five years, 'bottom-up' estimations of carbon emissions from fuel reporting, traffic data, building information and human activity are being merged with 'top-down' atmospheric measurements over cities of CO2, methane and 14CO2 — an isotope of CO2 that reflects fuel combustion7. Such efforts began in the late 2000s in Paris and in the US cities of Indianapolis, Boston, Salt Lake City and Los Angeles; more are planned for São Paulo, Brazil, and cities in Australia, China, the United Kingdom and Canada. These studies cost millions of dollars, and involve at least a dozen monitoring sites and analysis of remotely sensed data and modelling efforts. Many of these data sets are now publicly available.

Links between ground-based and satellite remote sensing are improving. For example, Japan's Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite (GOSAT) has shown8 that spaceborne CO2 measurements can constrain the 'domes' of the gas that lie above cities. This work will continue with NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 (OCO-2), which launched in July 2014.

Future space missions (such as OCO-3, planned for 2018) will have a 'city mode' that will monitor urban areas and power plants monthly. The European Space Agency's Sentinel-5 mission (to launch in 2016) should provide near-global measurements of large methane emitters on the urban scale every few days or weeks. Work is also under way to characterize infrastructure in high-resolution images. Complemented by ground-based information such as traffic data from mobile phones, this could reveal, for example, which types of building or location account for disproportionate urban emissions and why.

Much needs to be known to make the science suitable for policymakers and planners. For example, what level of granularity and accuracy is most useful? How many atmospheric monitoring stations are sufficient to calibrate or anchor emissions inventories? How does this scale with city size or types of emission (road versus industrial, say)?

Existing information systems are cumbersome, and although good at quantifying emissions, they are unable to explain the roots and controls of carbon flows. Researchers need to understand the relationships between urban carbon fluxes and the social norms, technology, economics and institutional constraints that drive emissions. This is especially important in low- and middle-income countries.

International collaboration

More collaboration among disciplines is needed. For example, engineers have modelled how emissions change when transit systems or compact urban development strategies are introduced. But technological and infrastructure changes are rarely modelled within socio-ecological systems9. Social scientists are examining the connections between wealth, population size or density and carbon emissions10, but not within realistic, economically constrained, engineered landscapes.

Translating urban carbon science into solutions requires two key steps. First, it must become 'operational'. Like weather stations, data and forecasting, the measurement, monitoring and modelling of urban carbon flows is a global need that is best accomplished collectively. This requires long-term collaborative funding and institutional support beyond the typical three-year research-grant cycle.

Second, an independent intergovernmental centre (with regional representation) is needed to ensure standardization and priority. This could be funded jointly by governments, foundations and intergovernmental institutions. Such an 'urban carbon solutions centre' must generate practical results, tools and carbon-mitigation options with the involvement of community groups, mayoral staff and energy providers. Cities could pay the solutions centre to provide information tailored to their locale. Some work could be undertaken by the private sector.

With detailed knowledge of carbon flows, cities might succeed in reducing global emissions where nations have failed.

Nature 525, 179–181 (10 September 2015) doi:10.1038/525179a

Conclusions divorced from Reality!

By Rich Kozlovich

Maury Siskel is a retired scientist in Texas who sends me stuff every day. Mostly serious stuff, but occasionally he’ll send a joke, a humorous story, or some cartoons - some funny and some political. The interesting thing about humorous stories is they so often reflect how we humans live our lives. Maury and Dog sent this story last night, and I think it’s reflective of why people fall for so much clabber from the world’s activists.

"On the outskirts of a small town, there was a big, old pecan tree just inside the cemetery fence. One day, two boys filled up a bucketful of nuts and sat down by the tree, out of sight, and began dividing the nuts. "One for you, one for me, one for you, one for me," said one boy. Several dropped and rolled down toward the fence.

Another boy came riding along the road on his bicycle. As he passed, he thought he heard voices from inside the cemetery. He slowed down to investigate. Sure enough, he heard, "One for you, one for me, one for you, one for me ...."He just knew what it was. He jumped back on his bike and rode off. Just around the bend he met an old man with a cane, hobbling along.

"Come here quick!" said the boy, "You won't believe what I heard! Satan and the Lord are down at the cemetery dividing up the souls!" The man said, "Beat it kid! Can't you see it's hard for me to walk?" When the boy insisted though, the man hobbled slowly to the cemetery. Standing by the fence they heard, "One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me." The old man whispered, "Boy, you've been tellin' me the truth. Let's see if we can see the Lord!" Shaking with fear, they peered through the fence, yet were still unable to see anything. The old man and the boy gripped the wrought iron bars of the fence tighter and tighter as they tried to get a glimpse of the Lord.

At last they heard, "One for you, one for me. That's all. Now let's go get those nuts by the fence and we'll be done...."They say the old man had the lead for a good half-mile before the kid on the bike passed him."

So, what’s the moral of this story? What message could I possibly take away from this? How about this - people will fall for anything if they start out with the wrong conclusion already in their heads!

This tale has a young boy hearing an ambiguous and incomprehensible conversation and quickly arriving at a conclusion. If we conclude from this story he came from a Christian ethic we can understand his conclusion, but it was a conclusion he didn't bother to investigate. He panics and then runs off in an emotional state and involves another party, an old man. But he was just a kid you might say. True, but what really makes this story work is bringing in an old man. Someone who should have known better, and then having him fall for the same fallacious conclusion as the young boy, both becoming embued with an irrational panic!

But what's the big deal - after all, this was just a story! It’s not real! No, but the theme is very real! Unfortunately for humanity much of what poses as science in the real world follow the concept of this story - fallacious conclusions! Conclusions charged with emotion and filled with logical fallacies, such as the “Anecdotal fallacy - using a personal experience or an isolated example instead of sound reasoning or compelling evidence, the Appeal to probability – is a statement that takes something for granted because it would probably be the case (or might be the case), the Base rate fallacy – making a probability judgment based on conditional probabilities, without taking into account the effect of prior probabilities, and then there’s the Unwarranted assumption fallacy - The fallacy of unwarranted assumption is committed when the conclusion of an argument is based on a premise (implicit or explicit) that is false or unwarranted. An assumption is unwarranted when it is false.” Much of what impacts us from scientistst involved in the world of activism ends up being conclusions in search of data to promote some cause or other."

Rachel Carson promoted the idea DDT was destroying the world’s bird population in her book Silent Spring. That was a lie and she had to know it. Rachel Carson is touted as a great scientist. She wasn’t a scientist at all.  She did no research. Carson was a writer with a science degree writing for the Fish and Wildlife Service writing about the research done by others. As a result we know she had to have access to the actual bird counts performed by the Audubon Society. She had to know the bird population of North American increased dramatically during the DDT years, including the Bald Eagle. And the robin was the most populous bird in North America. In short– she deliberately lied – and the world accepted it, as did most in the scientific community. People who had to know better!

Now we've "returned to the future", with the cycle of lies constantly being repeated by activists. They claim neonicotinoid pesticides cause Colony Collapse Disorder - that's a lie. As that lie finally unfolds they shift back to the Carson premise claiming neonicotinoids are killing birds - that's a lie too. They report "declines in certain groups and species of birds" but fail to report those declines preceded the introduction of neonics by decades. They also fail to report “other birds that rely on wetlands, such as waterfowl, have been increasing over the same period.” Clearly they should know better, but academics willingly jump on board with that same pattern of lies they accepted about DDT. It would appear fifty plus years of fact based reality haven't made a dent in their willingness to draw preconceived unfounded conclusions.

Let's try and get this once and for all - the greenies lie - lies of commission and lies of omission! That's why logical fallacies play such a large role in their pronouncements. In his book, Economic Facts and Fallacies Thomas Sowell said logical fallacies,

"are not simply crazy ideas. They are usually both plausible and logical – but with something missing. Their plausibility gains them political support. Only after that political support is strong enough to cause fallacious ideas to become government policies and programs are the missing or ignored factors likely to lead to “unintended consequences,” a phrase often heard in the wake of economic or social policy disasters. Another phrase often heard in the wake of these disasters is, ‘It seemed like a good idea at the time.” That is why it pays to look deeper into things that look good on the surface at the moment."

This is true of virtually every issue promoted by the anti–everything activists, along with their myrmidons in government and science. The universities are now so addicted to government grant money they can no longer to be trusted regarding anything they promote or publish.

Dr. Jay Lehr, one of the original founders of the USEPA, says:

" is following the government money, and it’s a problem in all industries. We’ve totally distorted science, not all of it, but certainly at the university level. They know they have to say what the government wants to hear in the grant proposal process in order to get their money.

"U.S. EPA rules the roost, and if they’re not out to prove or say bad things about chemicals of all kinds, they won’t likely get the money. This is all driven by the environmental advocacy groups that control U.S. EPA today. It’s a horrible thing, and what it has done to science mostly at the academic level is bad. But U.S. EPA’s goal is to remove every useful chemical from the environment."

Every year Retraction Watch lists hundreds of papers that have to be retracted, and many of them due to fraud. In one period in 2012 two hundred and thirty papers were retracted out of about fifteen hundred. And those were the ones caught. It's my belief there are far more that should be retracted and aren't because of the collusion among "scientists" of like persuasion. Government grant money has made science rich. When science becomes rich it becomes politics. When politics dominates science the term scientific integrity becomes an oxymoron.

De Omnibus Dubitandum – Question Everything. That's my personal motto, and is supposed to be the personal motto of every scientist in the world. Well, truth is no longer the Holy Grail of science, it's grant money. So what's to be done? Society must take oversight of science into its own hands, and that oversight should include serious penalties for fraud. When fraud is exposed, as was done in the now infamous Tulane endocrine disruption study, someone should be charged criminally. In the Tulane study not one person was charged with a crime. And as far as I can tell - that never happens in science - making science a Sacred Cow! That needs to be changed!

The term "citizen scientist" came into existence in 2014 and includes anyone “whose work is characterized by a sense of responsibility to serve the best interests of the wider community" or "'a member of the general public who engages in scientific work, often in collaboration with or under the direction of professional scientists and scientific institutions'" an amateur scientist.” That’s who we all have to become, but without allowing ourselves to be enfolded into the scientific community and used as "helpers", as is the current defining trend. If citizen science is to be effective it should be a movement of heterodoxy - having the courage to stand up to the conventional wisdom and tell the world -"you're wrong, and I'm going to tell you why!"

We cannot entrust policy promoted by “scientists”, because we know the scientific community isn't trustworthy. If we don’t stand up to be counted we will all end up like the old man and the young boy, panic stricken and running like chickens with their heads cut off, which is just what the activists want. A society that's panic stricken, ignorant and compliant to a movement that's irrational, misanthropic and morally defective.


Green Gurus Caught in Dirty Ponzi Scheme

We’re not sure what’s less surprising: That a renewable energy endeavor turned out to be a Ponzi scheme, or that it has ties to the Clintons. The Associated Press reports, “Three people were charged Thursday with running a $54 million Ponzi scheme built on promises of a green energy technology that would turn trash into fuel and ‘carbon-negative’ housing developments, neither of which were ever fully developed, federal prosecutors said. …

Prosecutors said the trio lied to investors that their ‘biochar’ technology and ‘carbon-negative’ housing in Tennessee made millions, but they had almost no earnings and used the money to repay earlier investors and for themselves.”

According to U.S. Attorney Zane Memeger, “The scheme alleged in this indictment offered investors the best of both worlds — investing in sustainable and clean energy products while also making a profit. Unfortunately for the investors, it was all a hoax and they lost precious savings. These defendants preyed on the emotions of their victims and sold them a scam.”

Sounds like the entire Obama climate change charade. The criminal charges come years after a separate civil lawsuit. “The scam allegedly ran from 2005 until 2009, even after the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil lawsuit against Wragg and Knorr’s Mantria Corp. They were ordered in 2012 to pay $37 million each,” the AP adds.

The kicker? “Two months before the SEC civil lawsuit, the company was publicly recognized for its stated commitment to ‘help mitigate global warming’ by former President Bill Clinton’s Clinton Global Initiative.

The company was cited for its plans to develop the biochar technology that it said would sequester carbon dioxide and reduce emissions in developing countries. Wragg appeared on stage with Clinton at the event in September 2009.”

Envirofascists slam Big Oil for ostensibly putting profits before principle, yet that’s exactly what happened in this case. And wouldn’t you know it? The defendants are in good company with the Clintons.


When will EPA tell the truth about Colorado's Animas River spill?

Will the public ever know why a government agency charged with protecting the environment instead dumped deadly chemicals into one of the largest sources of drinking water in the West?

The answer is: No. Not as long as Barack Obama’s rogue bureaucracies are permitted to operate as though they are above the law.  And not as long as the U.S. Congress refuses to assert its rightful powers under Article I of the Constitution.

Having a representative government means government is supposed to be subservient to the people’s elected representatives.  It does not mean allowing unelected mega-bureaucrats to continue acting with impunity – increasingly in direct contravention of the law.

On August 5, Obama's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unleashed one of the worst natural disasters in American history.  Ignoring specific warnings, one of the agency’s cleanup crews destroyed a dam near the long-abandoned Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colorado.   This so-called accident sent more than three million gallons of toxic wastewater – containing cadmium, lead, arsenic and other pollutants – pouring into Cement Creek, a tributary of the Animas River.

The pollution turned the Animas a bright yellowish-orange color --  impacting water supplies in three different states.

Compounding the crisis, EPA officials waited more than twenty-four hours to notify the public of this toxic spill.  And when EPA administrator Gina McCarthy finally got around to visiting the area (a week later) – she refused to visit Silverton.

After the initial spill, things went from bad to worse for those relying on the river.  For example Navajo farmers – unable to use water from the river – were provided with emergency water reserves from the EPA.  Unfortunately this water was contaminated, too – prompting another attempted EPA cover-up.

According to The Guardian, EPA officials originally told Navajo leaders the individual reporting the contamination was “unstable” and deliberating “agitating” in an attempt to undermine the agency.  The Navajo leader, Russell Begaye, took the EPA at its word – at least until he observed the pollution for himself.

“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” Begaye told the paper after inspecting the water and finding oily streaks in it. “I couldn’t believe the EPA’s higher-ups basically told me a lie.”

Such dishonesty from the agency has been epidemic in the aftermath of this spill.  No wonder many in the affected areas think this disaster was no accident – but rather part of an EPA conspiracy to secure additional environmental “cleanup” funding for the area.

“I don’t put anything past the EPA,” Utah state lawmaker Mike Noel recently told Newsweek.   “I’ve seen the way they use their regulating powers to shut down projects, harm mining, harm farmers.”

So what did the EPA know?  And when?  After weeks of prodding from multiple media outlets, the agency finally released heavily redacted documents on August 22 revealing its advance knowledge of the elevated risks associated with the Gold King Mine project.

“Conditions may exist that could result in a blowout of the blockages and cause a release of large volumes of contaminated mine waters and sediment from inside the mine, which contain concentrated heavy metals,” one of the documents dated June 2014 noted.

Unfortunately, an “unresponsive, secretive and unsympathetic” EPA is blocking the release of additional, un-redacted documents being sought by a congressional committee investigating the disaster.  According to the U.S. House Science Committee, the EPA is refusing to provide “documents pertaining to the Gold King Mine spill” sought in connection with an upcoming hearing.

Congress must act now to assert its constitutional authority.   For starters, McCarthy and other EPA officials must deliver these documents and provide truthful testimony regarding how they turned the Animas River into a new Crayola color -- or be found in contempt.

Meanwhile lawmakers must zero in on the EPA’s multi-billion budget like never before – starting with legislation introduced earlier this year by U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson specifically targeting its wasteful programs.

If House leadership is willing to shut down debate over appropriations bills (including the EPA’s budget) over an arcane Confederate flag, surely this merits an even bolder response.

The EPA is not above the law.  It must be held accountable -- not only for this spill, but the broader damage it is doing to the U.S. economy.


UK: Greenie has a spasm of realism about fracking

Environmentalists should keep cool heads over fracking, says Friends of the Earth's former climate campaigner.  Bryony Worthington - now Labour shadow energy minister - says fracking will create less CO2 than compressing gas in Qatar and shipping it to Britain.

But she insists shale gas should only be developed if its emissions are captured and stored underground.

The current FoE position is that more fossil fuel exploitation will further destabilise the climate.

Nonetheless, Baroness Worthington's intervention may prove significant. She is a professional climate and energy analyst, and one of the architects of the UK's radical Climate Change Act.

"We have to be realistic," she told BBC News. "We are going to be using gas for a long time because of the huge role it plays for heating homes and for industry.

"The important thing is to minimize the carbon emissions from gas. That means if we can get our own fracked gas, it's better to use that than importing gas that's been compressed at great energy cost somewhere else."

Assigning responsibility

She believes NGOs (green groups) have been opportunistic in gathering support for green causes by taking an absolute position on shale gas.

"We have the mother of all challenges getting emissions of greenhouse gases out of our energy system - environmentalists should not be adopting a priori objections to technologies but appraising them with a cool head," she argued.

Her former colleague, Friends of the Earth's director Craig Bennett, replied: "Fracking won't help us tackle climate change. Even people in the industry agree that shale gas wouldn't make any big difference to our energy sector until the mid-to-late 2020s, which is exactly when the UK needs to start getting out of gas, wherever it comes from.

"Building a whole new gas infrastructure will keep us addicted to expensive fossil fuels for decades to come, just when other European countries will be benefiting from much cheaper renewables."

Both Baroness Worthington and Mr Bennett agreed on the need to speed the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS), the process in which CO2 emissions are stripped out of power station exhausts and forced into rocks underground.

The Labour peer is urging the government to consider whether firms bringing fossil fuels into the UK should be obliged to take responsibility for capturing the resulting CO2 emissions and burying them.

This would re-frame the CO2 issue by treating CO2 as a waste product like any other, to be disposed of by the firm that used the fossil fuel.

North Sea future

She concedes that emissions from mobile sources like transport cannot be captured, but says oil importers could pay for the storage of equivalent amounts of carbon emissions in developing countries.

She said: "The UK has great potential to lead Europe on the development of CCS. But we need to consider how best to fund and incentivise it.

"The idea of requiring oil and gas extractors and importers to play their part is certainly worthy of exploration, especially done in a way that helps harness market forces to find the least cost solutions."

The Conservative peer Matt Ridley is offering his qualified support, as injecting CO2 into North Sea oil fields would enhance recovery of hard-to-get oil. He told the BBC: "A mechanism for supporting CCS without hitting electricity prices further is worth considering to give the North Sea a new lease of life.

"Given that fossil fuels are being hit with ever higher taxes, such as the UK's unilateral carbon price floor, perhaps it makes sense to replace that with a requirement that fossil fuel producers and importers divert funds to CCS projects."

However, Craig Bennett said: "Betting everything on carbon capture and storage is highly risky. There has been a billion-quid taxpayer subsidy on the table for CCS for a decade and yet it's still not happening. It's increasingly looking like a pipe dream."

The government strongly supports fracking. The Green Party opposes it. The Lib Dems support the technology, with tight environmental conditions. They also support CCS.

Labour has been cautiously in favour of fracking, although the front-runner for the leadership, Jeremy Corbyn, is anti-fracking.



Is there a connection between 2014 (the “world’s warmest year”), the even warmer 2015 and dying fish in the north Pacific? The thing that connects them is, as you may have guessed, warm water, or more specifically warm water where it should not be.
Something strange is happening to the north Pacific. It is setting sea temperature records, scrambling weather patterns, damaging ecosystems, and nudging up the global temperature. The scientists who have observed it call it after what it looks like on temperature maps of the Pacific – behold the “blob.”

“We knew almost two years ago that there was something strange happening in the north Pacific,” says Dr Bill Peterson, of NOAA’s Northwest Fish Science Center in Newport, Washington. It seems that the Summer warmth of 2014 was not dissipated later in the year. He told the GWPF, “Usually in the Gulf of Alaska huge storms in the wintertime mixes the water down super deep and cools the ocean quite a lot…but we didn’t have those storms in the Winter of 2014-15.”

The lack of storms has been linked to a persistent high-pressure ridge in the north Pacific. Some believe this was a consequence of unusual atmospheric circulation over the North Pacific and the North Atlantic. But whatever the cause, during the winter of 2013-14 a large region of the north Pacific became much warmer than normal. Dr Peterson: “So the water stayed warm all Winter, and when Spring came the water was already warm by several degrees than normal, and then of course it got warmer because of the Sun.” It was totally unprecedented. Scientists have looked back at data as far as 1905 and nothing like the “blob” has ever happened before. “These temperatures are above anything we have seen before,” adds Dr Peterson.

The abnormally warm water of the “blob” influenced global surface temperatures adding more than enough to elevate 2014 into the world’s warmest year by the two hundredths of a degree it needed to “beat” 2010. Such a small increase is not statistically significant given errors of +/- 0.1°C, but it emphasises the point that without the Pacific “blob” 2014 would have been somewhat cooler than 2010, and probably cooler than other years as well.

Another reason why 2014 was so warm was also because of an El Nino that seemed to start and then decline. Nobody understands why the event fizzled out; perhaps it was because of the influence of the “blob.”

This year has been the warmest on record which makes it almost certain it will be warmer than 2014. This is due to the blob and the resurgence of the El Nino in recent months, which many are predicting will be as strong as the 1998 event. See NOAA and the WMO.

The warmth of 2015 so far and the expectation that it will get even warmer has already given rise to headlines that the “pause” has ended and that global warming has resumed. However one does not follow from the other.

The “blob” and the El Nino are weather events not climate, natural fluctuations and not long-term trends. Seen in relation to the much discussed “pause” in global annual average surface temperatures since the late 90s, their contribution to world temperature does not represent a resumption of long term anthropogenic warming in the same way that the cool year of 2007 did not represent the onset of a rapid decline in global temperature. Both warm and cool natural fluctuations are to be expected, and it takes more than one, or even two years of higher temperature to rule out normal statistical variations and declare the “pause” has ended. Also, El Ninos are followed by La Ninas, so while 2016 is expected to be warm, subsequent years may be somewhat cooler, just as 1999 and 2000 were considerably cooler than 1998.

Dr Nick Bond of the University of Washington was the first to identify the Pacific “blob.” Asked about what would happen to it now he told the GWPF, “It should last into 2016, based on the projections from climate models used for seasonal prediction.” He added, “The winds and weather expected this winter due to El Nino should cool off the western portion of the blob, but maintain the warm waters along the west coast of North America.”

It would be fair to say that no one really knows how the “blob” and the El Nino will interact. There are many contradictory views, here, here and here.

But could there be a connection between the “blob,” the forthcoming very strong El Nino and anthropogenic climate change? Bill Peterson stresses that what is currently happening is, “certainly weather – natural variability.” But of course unusual events are looked at in a new light in these days of global warming and climate projections. What in the past would have been attributed to a once in a century event is now suspected of complicity with increasing CO2. Some scientists are certainly thinking this but no one will say that right now. It will not be possible to prove such a link for a decade at least.

The “blob” and the El Nino are developing and will make 2015 the warmest year of the instrumental era by a significant margin. It will be interesting to see how some protagonists try to wring out a resumption of long-term climatic change due to anthropogenic global warming out of two extreme weather events.



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

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


10 September, 2015

Warmists as racketeers

Alarmist climate science is essentially a criminal enterprise.

Now that I’ve got your attention, just hang on to that adjective “alarmist”.

Every time the make some doom-laden claim, they get given more money. As each prediction fails, it gets pushed on twenty years and nobody cares, because everyone knows you can’t go up against the la cosa nostra verdi. Every time they get caught out saying one thing in public but exactly the opposite in private, they weasel out of it. They do a criminal things like identity theft, and appear to be above the law. They intimidate anyone who stands up to them and get away with it too, and if they can’t get you, they’ll go after your family.

Attempt to speak out about them in the media, all the strings get pulled and whatever platform you were silly enough to imagine you had just disappears beneath your feet. You can kiss goodbye to ever getting anything published again. Stand up to them, you’ll lose not only your reputation and career, but also your livelihood.

Every time we find a flaw in the science, it somehow always seems to err towards a warmer Earth. That could be an honest error but seriously Boys and Girls, we don’t need to be experts in the bell curve to realise something is up. On any reasonable balance of probability, you’d expect something a bit roughly fifty-fifty. You don’t need to be Descartes to see that one. You sit down at a poker table with someone who is crushing all opposition with every hand all night and there’s one thing you know for sure – they’re cheating.

It’s premeditated, deliberate and totally cynical. Science is their whore, they’ll ride her as they see fit.

We’re into end of days with climate science and a few incidents of late should have disabused you of any lingering hope of any fig-leaf attempt at practising anything vaguely recognisable as serious science. The Karl et al paper was quite frankly a reversion to pulling the entrails out of some small animal and reading the portents for the planet.

It’s the new paradigm, theory now mugs the facts.

How anyone could have put their name to such an abomination is beyond me. Just to top that depth of degradation, the Royal Society on being challenged on why no global warming for nearly two decades, finally conceded that fact but smugly replied the pause would have to extend to fifty years before they started to entertain a doubt.

Get your head straight about these people, they’re nothing better than just cheap street-corner hoods in thousand dollar suits pretending to be respectable.


What Has the Pause Done to the Warming Rate?

Christopher Monckton of Brenchley has a must-read post today on Watts Up With That. “The long and model-unpredicted Great Pause of 18 years 8 months in global mean lower-troposphere temperature as recorded in the RSS satellite monthly dataset is inexorably driving down the longer-run warming rate, when the IPCC’s predictions would have led us to expect an acceleration,” he reports.

Here’s the cool thing (literally). Thanks to the pause, the trend during the full satellite record works out to just 1.21ºC per century. That is substantially below the IPCC’s central estimate in 1990, which (along with NASA scientist Jim Hansen’s overheated prediction in 1988), put global warming on the political map.

Monckton comments:

    "In 1990, the IPCC had predicted near-straight-line warming of 1 K to 2025, equivalent to almost 2.8 K/century. Of this warming, more than 0.7 K should have happened by now, but only 0.26 K has actually occurred. The IPCC’s central estimate in 1990, though made on the basis of “substantial confidence” that the models on which it relied had captured all the essential features of the climate system, has proven – thus far, at any rate – to be a near-threefold exaggeration." 

The IPCC knows its models are predicting too much warming. In the graph below, Monckton enlarges the right-hand corner of Figure 10.1(a) from the IPCC’s 2013 Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). CMIP3 is the ensemble of models used in the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), CMIP5 is the ensemble used in AR5. Although CMIP5 predicts less warming than CMIP3 ensemble, it still increasingly diverges from reality.

Note also that a 21st century warming of 1.21ºC is well within the bounds (0.3ºC-1.7ºC) of the IPCC’s lowest projection (RCP2.6), which assumes a 70% reduction in cumulative greenhouse gas emissions from 2010 to 2100 compared to baseline projections. In short, the RSS data show about the same warming rate that climate campaigners urge policymakers to achieve via draconian restrictions on carbon-based energy.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

Many global warming studies may be wrong as carbon dating found to be highly unreliable for organic matter over 30,000 years old

Radiocarbon dating, which is used to calculate the age of certain organic materials, has been found to be unreliable, and sometimes wildly so - a discovery that could upset previous studies on climate change, scientists from China and Germany said in a new paper.

Their recent analysis of sediment from the largest freshwater lake in northeast China showed that its carbon clock stopped ticking as early as 30,000 years ago, or nearly half as long as was hitherto thought.

As scientists who study earth’s (relatively) modern history rely on this measurement tool to place their findings in the correct time period, the discovery that it is unreliable could put some in a quandary.

For instance, remnants of organic matter formerly held up as solid evidence of the most recent, large-scale global warming event some 40,000 years ago may actually date back far earlier to a previous ice age.

"The radiocarbon dating technique may significantly underestimate the age of sediment for samples older than 30,000 years,” said the authors of the report from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Germany’s Leibniz Institute for Applied Geophysics.

“Thus it is necessary to pay [special] attention when using such old carbon data for palaeoclimatic or archaeological interpretations," they added.

Their work was detailed in a paper in the latest issue of the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters.

For over 50 years, scientists and researchers have relied on carbon dating to find the exact age of organic matter.

Prior to that, they had to depend on more rudimentary and imprecise methods, such as counting the number of rings on a cross-section of tree trunk.

This all changed in the 1940s when US chemist Willard Libby discovered that carbon-14, a radioactive isotope, could be used to date organic compounds.

His theory was that all living creatures have a constant proportion of radioactive and non-radioactive carbons in their body because they keep absorbing these elements from the environment.

Some examples of climate change can be seen over much shorter time periods. National Geographic photographer James Balog deployed revolutionary time-lapse cameras designed to capture a multi-year record of the world's changing glaciers in the Arctic. Photo: AP

But as soon as the creature dies it stops absorbing these and sheds any trace of carbon-14 at a decay rate of 50 per cent every 5,700 years.

By measuring the remaining amount of carbon-14 in a sample, scientists could estimate the time of death up to 60,000 years ago.

Before that, all traces of radiocarbon would be too small to detect.

But the method had one major flaw: it didn’t account for changes in the proportion of radioactive and non-radioactive carbon in the environment; and if these had changed, the estimate would most likely be wrong.

Many events can affect the levels of carbon-14 in the atmosphere, such as the burning of fossil fuel or the detonation of an atom bomb.

In the new study using samples taken from Xingkai Lake near the Sino-Russian border in Heilongjiang province, the scientists used both radiocarbon dating and another method known as optically stimulated luminescence.

Using light to measure the amount of free electrons trapped in quartz, the team was able to tell how long the samples had been kept away from sunlight, and therefore estimate when it was that they first fell in the lake.

By comparing results from the two methods, they found that carbon dating became unreliable beyond a range of 30,000 years.

The great lakes are widely believed to have appeared in China due to the massive melting of ice sheets during an exceptionally warm period some 40,000 years ago, and sediment from Xingkai Lake served as key evidence.

But the new study suggests that the sediment might be over 80,000 years old, possibly formed during an ice age.

"The carbon-14-based mega-lake hypothesis was even incorporated into modelling work to interpret regional climate dynamics,” the paper reported.

“[It] traces its link to atmospheric circulation systems such as the Asian monsoon.”

The new finding is important because it aligns with rising concern about the reliability of carbon dating, said Professor Liu Jinyi, specimen curator with the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology in Beijing.

"Many alternative methods to date objects are now available, but carbon dating is still the most popular because we have used it for a long time with such ease and comfort," said Liu, who was not involved in the study.

"But the method should be limited to young samples, and more efforts should be made to improve its accuracy," he added.


Bavaria jibs at cost of "renewables"

The German state of Bavaria will press the federal government to reduce supports for renewable energy, a high-ranking local policymaker said on Tuesday, calling the cost of green power a threat to economic growth.

“We have to step on the brakes of electricity costs. Germany’s energy transition must not become a decisive disadvantage and a risk to our welfare,” said Ilse Aigner, deputy prime minister of the south-western German state and minister for energy.

Aigner’s views matter because Bavaria has to be in line with Germany’s overall energy goals and her party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), has leverage over Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government, led by the CSU’s bigger sister party, the CDU.

She could therefore influence a federal debate planned for this autumn, after the Berlin government settled a number of energy-related disputes in July.

Critics say that the 21 billion euros ($23 billion) that German industrial and household consumers pay annually to subsidise green energy, largely through surcharges under the renewable energy act (EEG), slow competitiveness and spending in the broader economy.

Reform measures are due to be agreed by mid-2016, ushering in renewable energy tenders instead of fixed prices from 2017.

Renewable energy already amounts to over 25 percent of the national electricity mix, driven by the political desire to move to a low-carbon economy.

In Bavaria, it is 30 percent and growing, thanks to a high sun intensity encouraging photovoltaics, as well as hydroelectric, biomass, and geothermal industries.

Bavaria’s industry leaders, including heavyweights such as BMW and Siemens, say high electricity prices already hurt them as well as neighbouring Austria, whose power market is aligned with Germany’s.


More genetic engineering hysteria

No evidence of harm but bans on the way

Meat and milk from the offspring of cloned animals could be banned in Britain after a decisive vote at the European Parliament.

Shoppers have been unknowingly eating the so-called ‘Frankenfoods’ for the past four years because they can be sold without any labelling.

But yesterday MEPs voted for legislation that would permanently ban the cloning of farm animals in Europe and stop the sale of products from clones or their descendants.

Cloning of animals for food is currently subject to a temporary ban in the EU’s 28 member states, but the sale of products from the offspring is allowed.

The new legislation will stop the importation of products derived from cloned animals or their offspring, meaning embryos or sperm from clones could no longer be used by farmers.

Until now there have been no restrictions on importing semen which has come from a cloned animal. This has made it likely that tens of thousands of pigs and cows in Europe are the offspring of cloned stud animals from America, where cloning for commercial purposes is allowed.

MEPs yesterday argued that the majority of European shoppers are against consuming products from cloned animals and their offspring. Italy’s Giulia Moi, who proposed the clone ban, said it would protect the health of future generations.

She said: ‘This sends the message to our trade partners that we are not willing to put our own health, our families’ health, and future generations’ health at stake using products of dubious quality of this nature.  ‘We want to be sure that we don’t go down a path from which there is no return.’

The proposal for legislation was yesterday approved by the European Parliament in Strasbourg by 529 votes to 120. Labour and Green MEPs voted for the move, which the Tories and Ukip tried to block.

MEPs will now begin negotiating with the European Commission and member states on a draft law to introduce a ban.

Labour MEP Paul Brannen, who is the party’s agriculture spokesman, said: ‘There are strong concerns over the welfare and conditions of cloned animals, and that is why we have voted for the EU ban on animal cloning.

‘Labour MEPs believe animal welfare, food standards and biodiversity in our farming system will be protected, and we will continue to work for this.’

Fellow Labour MEP Glenis Willmott added: ‘Cloning farm animals might be a scientific advancement, but it has no environmental, social or health benefits. It takes animal husbandry in entirely the wrong direction, merely making intensive farming even more intensive.

‘There is substantial evidence that cloned animals and the surrogate mothers who carry them can suffer health and welfare problems.’

But a Defra spokesman said: ‘The Food Standards Agency has advised that food from cloned farm animals and their descendants is safe to eat. Any such ban would be disproportionate in terms of both food safety and animal welfare. All farm animals are protected by EU and national welfare legislation.’

Meat, milk, cheese and other dairy products from the offspring of cloned animals have been allowed since 2011, when the British Government and European Commission sabotaged calls for a ban.



Four current reports below: Refugees, flowering trees, uranium and Pacific islands

Moron-talk: Global warming plays havoc with Auburn cherry blossom festival (?)

What complete rubbish!  For a start, there has been no statistically significant global warming for 18 years.  So observed variations in seasons over that period cannot be attributed to that.  All that is being observed is that seasons vary from year to year -- as they always have. 

Like many Brisbane people, I like crepe myrtles.  I have eight of them in my back yard.  There must be millions of them in Brisbane.

I have 17 metres solid of blossoming trees in my back yard in January -- in three colours

In tropical North Queensland, where I originally come from, we used to call them Christmas bushes, because they began flowering in early December.  In sub-tropical Brisbane flowering normally begins in January.  It can be early January or late January.  And in some years you can get some blossom in late December.  It's just a natural cycle.  It always has been variable and it always will be.  And there is no doubt that the flowering times of cherry trees will also vary by weeks -- JR

Cherry blossom festivals bring to mind beauty, tranquillity and the traditional Japanese song Sakura Sakura: "Cherry blossoms, cherry blossoms, Across the spring sky, As far as you can see."

But the flowering of 180 trees at Auburn's annual cherry blossom festival has sent many young women into a giddy spin. "It's not quite like an Acca Dacca concert," said Greg Hodges, the curator of the Botanic Gardens with the Auburn City Council.

"People go crazy, it is like watching an old Elvis movie. There are girls jumping up and down screaming; it is not the sort of thing you expect in a garden," he said.  "It is such a quaint beauty in this day and age, and people get very excited."

A record 10,000 people visited last Saturday, and similar crowds – those wearing kimonos or Cosplay costumes get in free – are expected to visit the Botanic Garden's Japanese Garden cherry blossoms this weekend too.

Signs warn visitors not to shake the trees, even though catching a petal or capturing a photo with falling blossoms is a good omen in the eyes of some Asian visitors.

For organisers of cherry blossom festivals in Washington DC, Tokyo and Auburn, the trickiest part of the annual event is forecasting when the trees will flower, and hoping they bloom during the scheduled dates.

Specialists at the Royal Botanical Gardens Sydney say global warming is affecting when traditional late-winter and early-spring plants – from wattles to jacarandas –are flowering. Seasonal variations in rainfall and temperature can complicate timing, too.

Contrary to what most people think, a warm winter causes the cherry trees to bloom later. Mr Hodges said the trees – a mix of  flowering pear, apple, cherry and apricot trees – required a prolonged cold period in winter before they will bloom.

Because this winter was cold, about 70 per cent of the  trees are already past their prime, making him wish he had started the festival a week earlier. The white cherry and the flowering pears are still coming on, he said. Last year, he had the opposite problem. A warm 2014 winter meant there were "hardly any blossoms" in the first week.

Because these festivals are so popular, environmental groups such as WWF in the United States use them to highlight the impact of global warming. During the annual cherry blossom festival in Washington DC, WWF held a public talk on "A Blossoming Problem: The Disruptive Impacts of Climate Change on Nature's Calendar" to discuss how global warming affected cherry blossoms and other plants and animals.

A Japanese study also studied the impact of climate change on culturally significant events such as the timing of flowers on the trees.

It found 92 per cent of festival organisers said global warming was occurring, and it was affecting when trees burst into bloom. Organisers dependent on income from these festivals were more concerned about climate change than others.


Greenie group doesn't want refugees

Aid to live safely and sustainably far more effective, says  Sustainable Population Party

Sustainable Population Party rejects the moral posturing and political one-upmanship surrounding the current Syrian refugee crisis, and calls for sustainable global solutions to the human tragedy of forced migration.

In an ABC Radio interview today, World Vision CEO Reverend Tim Costello says “the [refugee] intake is the pimple on the hippopotamus” and “not really the main game.”[1]

Reverend Costello added “It's actually giving people hope in the camps that they're secure, they're going to be fed, that they don't need to flee - and above all... go back home. That's what they want to do. They just want to go back home, not come here, not go to Europe.”

William Bourke, President of the Sustainable Population Party agrees, saying “Whilst an increased intake should be considered, the current game of moral one-upmanship by politicians is unhelpful and regrettable. The government’s plans to increase the intake by 12,000 will cost a conservative $500 million, or around $40,000 per refugee.[2]

“How many people would $40,000 per year help to live safely in UN camps? According to the UNHCR, a donation of $300 per annum ‘can buy an Emergency Assistance Package to give a family the essentials for survival and shelter’.[3] If we conservatively assume a family is four people, that’s $75 per person. For every one person Australia resettles, we therefore forego the opportunity to help over 500 people in what World Vision’s Tim Costello calls ‘the main game’. Given the scale of the Syrian crisis, $500 million would be better spent helping over 6 million people than 12,000.

”Rather than simplistic moral posturing over increased permanent resettlement numbers, we align with Reverend Costello’s overriding aim to help people live safely now, and ultimately sustainably in their homeland. To achieve this ultimate goal, we also need to address underlying drivers of resource scarcity and conflict in Syria, including rapid population growth.

“Syria’s population has exploded from 3.5 million in 1950 to 23 million today. This growth dilutes natural resources like food and water, and ties into “economic problems, education costs and living costs."[4] At the current extreme growth rate, Syria will reach around 35 million by 2050. This increasing resource scarcity fuels growing conflict between militias and religious groups.

“To help address the global population crisis, Australia should also increase its total family planning and reproductive health services foreign aid from $50 million to at least $500 million immediately and to at least $1 billion by 2020, Mr Bourke added.

Press release

Australia's inaction on climate change set to dominate Pacific Island talks

Polynesians and Melanesians are not the most sophisticated people so believe the bull they are told about their low-lying islands getting submerged -- even though it isn't happening -- rather the reverse in a few cases  -- JR

Australia and New Zealand are expected to face strong criticism from Pacific Island leaders disappointed the nations are not doing more to combat climate change.

The issue will likely dominate this week’s Pacific Islands Forum leaders summit in Port Moresby, ahead of the United Nations climate change conference in Paris later in the year.

Pacific leaders want the world to work on restricting the global warming temperature rise to 1.5C, fearing a 2C target will risk the survival of many tiny islands.

Natural disaster recovery will be fresh on their minds. The summit starts on Monday, six months after Cyclone Pam, which flattened much of Vanuatu and caused heavy flooding on Tuvalu, Kiribati and the Marshall Islands.

Host nation Papua New Guinea is grappling with the opposite problem – what could be its worst drought in 20 years and a potential food crisis.

The prime minister, Peter O’Neill, has said El Niño conditions have been exacerbated by the effects of climate change.

The Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are also experiencing a dry spell.

Fiji’s prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, who is boycotting the summit and will instead send along his foreign minister, had a crack at Tony Abbott at last week’s meeting of his rival club of Pacific leaders – the Pacific Islands Development Forum – that excludes Australia.

He urged Abbott to abandon the “coalition of the selfish” and put the welfare of small Pacific Island neighbours ahead of coal industry interests.

The Abbott government has announced a carbon emissions reduction target of 26-28% on 2005 levels by 2030, which has been criticised for lacking ambition.

New Zealand’s target is a cut of 30% below 2005 levels by 2030.

The summit is expected to sign off on a joint climate change and disaster management strategy for the Pacific.


Australia’s proposed India uranium deal given cautious green light despite ‘risks’

The government-dominated treaties committee has given a cautious green light to a proposed uranium deal with India, but only if the nuclear-armed nation agrees to a number of safeguards.

India is not a signatory of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) nor the comprehensive test ban treaty (CTBT), yet the emerging world leader is in dire need of energy.

As such, the committee report notes that: “It would be fair to say that, in this debate, there are no small risks or benefits. Every issue the committee has dealt with in this inquiry bears significant potential benefits and risks.

“The question for the committee is, then, given the benefits for Australia and India from the proposed agreement, can the risks be tolerated and ameliorated,” the report asked.

To counteract the potential risks of the treaty, including the possibility for Australian uranium to be used in the formation of nuclear weapons, the committee has made six recommendations.

Among them, the recommendation that the bilateral treaty only be ratified if India manages to achieve the full separation of civil and military nuclear facilities, and that the country establishes a new, fully independent, nuclear regulatory body.

It also recommends the International Atomic Energy Agency verify that inspections of nuclear facilities live up to international standards.

India, which is nestled between nuclear-armed neighbours Pakistan and China, is estimated to possess up to 110 nuclear warheads.

Australia should commit “significant diplomatic resources” to encourage India to sign the CTBT and facilitate a regional nuclear arms limitation treaty, the report recommends.

Labor changed its party platform banning the sale of uranium to countries that have not signed the NPT in 2011, paving the way for the deal with India.

The report highlighted the huge economic benefits of the treaty.

“From Australia’s perspective, selling uranium to India would double the size of an export industry, both in terms of income and employment opportunities,” the report said. “Moreover, it will do so in regional and remote Australia at a time when lower commodity prices are having an economic impact on these regions.”

The Australian Safeguards and Non-proliferation Office estimates India’s import requirements for uranium could grow to 2,000 tonnes a year, valued at $200m. The Minerals Council of Australia thinks that could result in a net gain of 4,200 uranium mining jobs.

India currently gets about 50% of its energy from coal, which the report noted is the lesser option when compared with nuclear power. Presently, only 2% of India’s energy is generated by nuclear power.

The committee acknowledges that keeping India isolated due to its status as a non-signatory of the NPT has not resulted in the country ditching its nuclear arsenal. The bilateral treaty, it argued, would give Australia leverage to make changes and strengthen safeguards.

The Greens, in additional comments to the committee’s report, said the agreement was putting “short-term political expedience above global security”.

“As such, the Australian Greens cannot support this agreement and urge others to do likewise,” the comments said.



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

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


9 September, 2015

More on the latest scare from NASA

Scientists from Australia's CSIRO have backed it. As a result, Geologist Geoff Derrick emailed  Dr Rintoul, a so-called scientist from CSIRO -- as below:

To Dr Steve Rintoul:

Dear Steve

The CSIRO was once a respected science organisation.

By putting your name to these rancid projections from NASA on Antarctic and Greenland ice and sea levels (see below) , you have as much scientific credibility as Obama, which is close to zero.

I hope Steyn's book is now in your library.  What is contained therein should be motivation enough to examine the integrity of the alarmist world you frequent, which clearly dances to the tune of pseudoscience and unwarranted projections and scaremongering.

I wish it were otherwise. If you disagree with the NASA rubbish, then you should say so.

Does not the following statement from the NASA item concern you as a supposed scientist?  Is it ignorance, bad expression, or a healthy combination of both??

"The (OMG) project will examine the role of ocean currents and ocean temperatures in melting Greenland's ice from below. . "

The last time I looked, the ice sheet of Greenland is largely contained in a massive crustal depression, with NO contact with any ocean along it's substrate.  In the case of your Antarctic scaremongering , you should also check out the high crustal heat flow  adjacent to the West Antarctic peninsula - that has more effect than any amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.

NASA and the CSIRO obviously accept as gospel what is written in this article, such as breathless commentary that the Antarctica is "losing 118 gigatons of ice per annum over the past decade".  This equates to about 130 km3 pa, so given that there are 26 million km3 of ice around Antarctica, we could expect it to be ice free in about 200,000 years.  Be still my beating heart.

Note that the graph is calibrated in tenths of a degree and also note the clear flattening from 2000 on

Via email

IPCC is run by smallish old-boys network

That's what the article below tells us.  It also suggests that the result may be blinkered findings

Patterns of authorship in the IPCC Working Group III report

Esteve Corbera et al.


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has completed its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). Here, we explore the social scientific networks informing Working Group III (WGIII) assessment of mitigation for the AR5. Identifying authors’ institutional pathways, we highlight the persistence and extent of North–South inequalities in the authorship of the report, revealing the dominance of US and UK institutions as training sites for WGIII authors. Examining patterns of co-authorship between WGIII authors, we identify the unevenness in co-authoring relations, with a small number of authors co-writing regularly and indicative of an epistemic community’s influence over the IPCC’s definition of mitigation. These co-authoring networks follow regional patterns, with significant EU–BRICS collaboration and authors from the US relatively insular. From a disciplinary perspective, economists, engineers, physicists and natural scientists remain central to the process, with insignificant participation of scholars from the humanities. The shared training and career paths made apparent through our analysis suggest that the idea that broader geographic participation may lead to a wider range of viewpoints and cultural understandings of climate change mitigation may not be as sound as previously thought.


Wake up Obama, climate change has been happening forever

By Betsy McCaughey

President Obama hiked to Exit Glacier in Alaska last week, with photographers in tow, to send the world a message: The glacier is melting.

Obama blames it on the increasing use of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas, which he wants to restrict not only in the United States but worldwide. The photo-op was designed to build support for an international climate agreement he’s pushing hard to sell, so far with little success.

Trouble is, the president needs to get his facts straight. Exit Glacier has been shrinking for 200 years — since 1815 — long before widespread industrialization and automobiles. As the president ended his trip, he sounded the alarm again: “This state’s climate is changing before our eyes.”

News flash, Mr. President: Alaska has been buffeted by cyclical swings in climate for thousands of years. That’s true for the rest of the world, too. There was a 300-year-long Medieval heat wave, followed by a Little Ice Age that began around 1300, and then the 300-year warming period we’re in now.

The Anchorage Daily Times ran a front-page story in 1922 recording the “unheard-of temperatures” in the Arctic and glaciers disappearing. “The Arctic Ocean is warming up and icebergs are growing scarcer.”

Oblivious to the history of constant climate change, Obama pointed to Exit Glacier and said: “We want to make sure our grandkids can see this.”

He may get his wish, but it won’t be because of anything he’s doing. The current warming trend appears to be over, speculates Roger Cohen, a fellow of the American Physical Society. The Alaska

Climate Research Center reports almost no evidence of warming trends in Alaska since 1977.

Many scientists are predicting the onset of two or three centuries of cooler weather — which would mean bigger glaciers. That’s despite the world’s growing use of fossil fuels. No matter what humans do, temperature trends go up, and then down; glaciers expand and then recede; sea levels rise and then fall, explains Will Happer, professor emeritus of physics at Princeton.

That doesn’t mean pollution controls are futile. We all want to breathe clean air. But don’t blame climate change on humans. There are bigger forces at work here.

Scientists disagree about what these forces are, and are researching better ways of accurately measuring temperature trends via satellite. Amid all this controversy and uncertainty about global climate change, Obama blindly insists that his theory of global warming “is beyond dispute” and attacks his critics as “deniers.”

Sounding more like an Old Testament doomsayer than a president, Obama warned in his Alaska speech that unless carbon fuels are restricted, “we will condemn our children to a planet beyond their capacity to repair: Submerged countries. Abandoned cities. Fields no longer growing.” Sounds scary, but he’s on thin ice backing up those predictions.

Despite Obama’s professed concern for the people of Alaska affected by climate change, his visit was more about theatrics than helping locals. Alaska’s Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) lambasted

Obama’s job-killing new restrictions on oil and gas drilling in the Arctic. Obama says the region’s “very fragile,” but Murkowski is more worried that the economy is fragile. “It’s clear this administration does not care about us and sees us as nothing but a territory,” she said.

It’s a demonstration of Obama’s appalling lack of priorities. The president told his Alaska audience that “few things will disrupt our lives as profoundly as climate change.” Really, Mr. President? How about the epidemic of cop shootings in the United States, or the drowned toddlers washing up on Mediterranean shores as families flee the Middle East, or ISIS beheading thousands of Christians?

Obama says that with climate change, more than any other issue, “there is such a thing as being too late.” Tell that to a cop’s widow or the father who watched his family drown.


Obama’s deceitful, unsustainable energy decrees

Wind and solar reap taxpayer loot, while hydrocarbon energy, industries and jobs get pummeled

Paul Driessen

“That’s not the American way. That’s not progress. That’s not innovation. That’s rent-seeking and trying to protect old ways of doing business, and standing in the way of the future.” 

That wasn’t the Wall Street Journal lambasting the mandate- and subsidy-dependent renewable energy consortium. It was President Obama demonizing critics of his plans to replace carbon-based energy with wind, solar and biofuels, stymie the hydraulic fracturing revolution that’s given the United States another century of oil and gas – and “fundamentally transform” and downsize the US and global economies.

The president thinks this legacy will offset the Iran, Iraq, Islamic State and other policy debacles he will bequeath to his successors. His presidential library exhibits won’t likely mention those foreign policy fiascoes or the ways his energy policies mostly benefit the richest 1% of Americans, especially political cronies and campaign contributors – while crippling the economy and pummeling millions of families and businesses that depend on reliable, affordable oil, gas and coal energy for their income and welfare.

Mr. Obama and his regulators have already imposed enormous financial, labor, ozone, water, climate, power generation and other burdens on our economy – mostly with trifling benefits that exist only in computer models, White House press releases, and rosy reports from advocacy groups that receive billions of dollars from his Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy and other agencies. On August 24, he announced another billion-dollar program to force America to produce 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030: mostly wind and solar, plus a little more geothermal and biomass.

Those sources now provide less than 8% of all electricity, so this is a monumental increase. If the president wants to take credit for any alleged benefits, he must also accept blame for the abysmal failures.

One of the biggest is Solyndra, the solar company that got $535 million in taxpayer-guaranteed loans just before it went belly-up. A four-year investigation found that Solyndra falsified its financials, sales outlook and other business dealings and omitted material facts. However, the Department of Energy failed in its due diligence obligations and apparently buckled under White House pressure to approve the financing.

Par for the course, though, the Justice Department will not seek criminal indictments of any Solyndra officials, nor penalize any DOE apparatchiks for their willing incompetence. After all, a principal investor in the company (George Kaiser) was a major donor to Obama campaigns.

Of course, dozens of other companies also dined at the federal trough, before going under and costing us taxpayers many billions of dollars. But the administration wants more money and mandates – and more rules that destroy conventional energy competitors – to drive his climate and “transformation” agendas.

Meanwhile, he ignores the one truly and steadily innovative business that has generated real energy, jobs, wealth and tax revenues during his presidency – and largely kept the tepid Obama economy afloat: fracking. In fact, his bureaucrats are working to ban the technology on federal lands and regulate it into a marginal role elsewhere, even as the industry reduces its water use, keeps gasoline prices low, finds ways to produce oil at $45 per barrel, and proves its practices do not contaminate drinking water.

The president also ignores inconvenient facts about his “clean, eco-friendly” renewable energy utopia. For example, wind and solar facilities require vast land acreage and are increasingly moving into sensitive wildlife habitats, threatening protected and endangered birds, bats and other species.

The proposed 550-mile Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline from West Virginia shale gas fields across Virginia to southern North Carolina would impact about 4,600 acres (12% of the District of Columbia), and nearly all that land would be restored to croplands or grassy habitats as soon as the pipe is laid. The fuel is destined mostly for existing gas-fired electrical generating units on a few hundred total acres. If all that gas were used to generate electricity, it would produce 190,500 megawatt-hours of electricity per day.

In stark contrast, generating the same electricity with wind would require 46,000 400-foot turbines on some 475,000 acres of land – plus thousands of acres of towering transmission lines to urban centers hundreds of miles away. They would be permanent and highly visible eyesores and wildlife killers, crossing deforested mountain ridges and scenic areas, and generating electricity maybe 20% of the time. Building them would require millions of tons of concrete, iron, copper, rare earth metals from China’s ruined Baotou region, and petroleum for the monstrous bird- and bat-chopping turbine blades.

Energy analyst Robert Bryce says meeting the Obama EPA’s Clean Power Plan emission goals would require blanketing 34 million acres (an area larger than New York State) with wind turbines.

A 2013 study estimates that US wind turbines already kill some 573,000 birds a year – 83,000 of them bald and golden eagles and other raptors. Far better data from Europe, however, suggests that the annual US death toll is closer to 13 million birds and bats. And our wildlife agencies exempt wind companies from endangered species and other environmental laws. More turbines will multiply the carnage.

Moreover, we would still need the gas-fired units, operating inefficiently on standby spinning reserve status and going to full power dozens of times daily, whenever the wind stops blowing. Ditto for solar.

Using solar panels to generate 190,500 MWH per day would require 1.7 million acres of land – akin to blanketing Delaware and Rhode Island with habitat-destroying panels – plus long transmission lines and gas-fired units.  Los Angeles recently refused to buy power from a much smaller 2,557-acre solar project proposed for the Mojave Desert, because of impacts on desert tortoises and bighorn sheep.

President Obama never mentions any of this – or the fact that greater natural gas use is reducing carbon dioxide emissions, which he claims have replaced the sun and other powerful natural forces in driving climate change. This April, US CO2 emissions fell to their lowest level for any month in 27 years. But now that he’s sent coal marching toward history’s ash heap, natural gas is next on his target list.

To top it off, all the billions of dollars, crony corporatism, campaign cash for helpful politicians, feed-in tariffs and Renewable Fuel Standards (mandates and diktats) – and all the habitat and wildlife impacts – will raise the wind, solar, geothermal and biomass share of the nation’s energy mix from 8% today to only 10% in 2040, to supply our growing population, Energy Information Administration analysts project.

Since 2006, US households received over $18 billion just in federal income tax credits for weatherizing homes, installing solar panels, buying hybrid and electric vehicles, and other “clean energy” investments. But the bottom 60% of families received only 10% of this loot; the top 10% got 60% of the total and 90% of the subsidies and tax credits for ultra-expensive electric vehicles, like the $132,000 Tesla Model S. Worse, that $18 billion could have drilled wells to provide safe drinking water for five billion people!

The United States depends on energy-rich fossil fuels, plus nuclear and hydroelectric power – not pie-in-the-sky ideas or smoke-and-mirrors solutions to imaginary climate catastrophes. So does the rest of the world. We cannot afford pseudo-environmental ideologies, climate fabrications and dictatorial decrees.

Germany’s Energiewende (mandated energy transformation) program also seeks to replace coal and nuclear energy with wind, solar and biofuels. It has made German electricity prices (including $31.5 billion in hidden annual subsidies) nearly ten times higher than in US states that still rely on coal for power generation. The program has already killed countless jobs and threatens to send still more energy-intensive companies overseas – to countries that justifiably refuse to slash their hydrocarbon use, CO2 emissions or economic growth in the name of controlling Earth’s eternally changing climate.

Every winter, German, British and other European policies literally kill thousands of poor and elderly people who can no longer afford to heat their homes properly. Where is that vaunted liberal compassion?

Why would the United States want to proceed lemming-like down a similarly delusional energy pathway to economic ruin and the needless deaths of birds, bats and our most vulnerable citizens? Other than reelecting Mr. Obama, what did we do to deserve this? And how can we undo the damage?

Via email

The Resilience of an American Pika Metapopulation to Global Warming


The American pika (Ochotona princeps) is an insanely cute critter often found in above-timberline rock fields in the western U.S. 

Because they often live near mountain peaks, there’s been concern that global warming could push them over the top, to extinction. Writing in the Journal of Mammalogy, Smith and Nagy (2015) state that American pikas (Ochotona princeps) “have been characterized as an indicator species for the effects of global warming on animal populations,” citing the works of Smith et al. (2004), Beever and Wilkening (2011) and Ray et al. (2012). Indeed, as they continue, “a consideration of the effects of climate, primarily recent warming trends due to climate change, has dominated much of the recent literature on American pikas and their persistence.” Hoping to provide some additional insight on the subject, the two Arizona State University researchers set out to investigate the resilience of a pika metapopulation residing near Bodie, California, USA, that was exposed to several decades of natural warming.

The investigation, which Smith and Nagy characterized as “the longest study of any pika species,” focused on the Bodie metapopulation for two primary reasons. First, it is “situated at the warmest locality of any longitudinal study of the American pika.” As such, its area of habitat is comparatively warm and fully capable of inducing warm temperature stress. Second, the population has been well-studied, having been censused (for patch occupancy data) several times since the early 1970s. Given these two characteristics of the Bodie metapopulation (location and well-studied) the two researchers were able to test for a relationship between pika extinctions/recolonizations and chronic/acute temperature warming. So what did their analysis reveal?

With respect to chronic temperature warming, Smith and Nagy report that despite a relatively high rate of patch (islands of pika-suitable habitat) turnover across the study location, there was “a near balance” of pika patch extinctions and recolonizations during the past four decades of intense data collection (see figure below). Furthermore, a series of statistical analyses that were performed on the patch turnover and historic temperature data revealed there was “no evidence that warming temperatures have directly and negatively affected pika persistence at Bodie.” In fact, the only significant correlation they found among these two parameters occurred between mean maximum August temperature and the number of pika recolonizations the following year, which correlation was positive, indicating that higher August temperatures lead to a greater rate of pika recolonization the next year, a result which the authors describe as “in the opposite direction of the expectation that climate stress inhibits recolonizations.”

With respect to acute temperature warming, defined as the number of hot summer days exceeding a temperature threshold of 25°C or 28°C, Smith and Nagy write that “neither warm chronic nor acute temperatures increased the frequency of extinctions of populations on patches, and relatively cooler chronic or acute temperatures did not lead to an increase in the frequency of recolonization events.”

Taken together, the above findings demonstrate that the Bodie metapopulation of American pikas is “resilient at the individual (Smith, 1974) and population scales” to both chronic and acute temperature warming, and has “been so for at least 60 years.” And, as an “indicator species” for the effects of global warming on animal populations, the future for American pikas and other animal species looks bright!


The Fall of Mann: "A Disgrace to the Profession": The World's Scientists on Michael E Mann, his Hockey Stick and their Damage to Science

by Mark Steyn

Number One on the Climatology Hit Parade - Michael E Mann's book, Dreary Predictions, is down to Number 20.

We're a few days away from the official launch of my new book, and it's already doing quite nicely at Amazon in print and Kindle - and not too shabby north of the border, too. And it's Number One on the Climatology Hit Parade. Keep an eye on our right-hand sidebar for news of any media appearances by yours truly when the book is officially released next week.

"A Disgrace to the Profession" is about the most famous science graph of the 21st century and its inventor - Michael E Mann, the Big Climate enforcer and self-conferred Nobel Laureate who decided to sue me three years ago. Usually in these situations, the defendant is supposed to fall silent for the half-decade or more it takes the dysfunctional court system to get around to hearing the case. But I decided to go a different route. I liked this line on the book from Laura Rosen Cohen in a post called "Fighting Back Works":

"It's probably the longest, funniest, most savvily organized and meticulous "screw you" in the history of Western literature. It's probably a new genre. I don't know of any precedent for a literary vehicle of this kind.

Instead of waiting for the opportunity to flush more of his hard-earned money down the toilet, waiting for the sclerotic US justice system and Michael Mann to crush him into pulp, using their process as punishment, Steyn has gone on the offensive.

And it's a delightfully offensive book."

But it's not just me being "delightfully offensive", but a gazillion scientists - as the Prussian notes, in a piece called "Fall of Mann":

"I've been following the Mann / Steyn war pretty much since it began. The most recent twist is that Steyn, proving that Mann should really have listened to me when he had the chance, has put out a new book, "A Disgrace To The Profession": The World's Scientists – in their own words – on Michael E. Mann.

I'm eagerly awaiting my copy. The book – which consists of comments by various leading climate scientists on what they think of Mann and his ludicrous stick – dovetails nicely with my own intellectual path on this subject.

I first got into the subject of Mann and the Stick when it was being loudly trumpeted that Mann's hockey stick had been proved by National Academy of Sciences. Looking at what the Academy actually reported, this turned out to be misleading. The Academy cleared Mann of deliberate falsification, but concluded the stick was a pretty shaky piece of science. Mann seemed to agree.

Then came the beginning of the Steyn lawsuit. I was torn. On the one hand, I have a lot of respect for Steyn; on the other hand, I hated – still hate – seeing accusations of scientific dishonesty made lightly. I was also utterly unimpressed by Mann lying about his Nobel prize.

Then I found out about his habit of bullying other researchers, and generally being a megalomaniacal windbag, and was serially dishonest about, e.g., whether he'd been exonerated by different groups. Even so, I was not willing to accuse Mann of scientific dishonesty.

Then I found out what some other scientists were saying..."

Do read the rest of what the Prussian has to say. Meanwhile, reader Kelly Haughton writes:

"Thank you for doing the public service of fighting back against the Mann lawsuit. It appears to me that you are doing a great job.

I view your new book as a way of starting the trial for the lawsuit before the judge is willing to go forward. I love the idea of doing that since Mann is primarily trying to silence you while the suit is tied up. I am assuming you will be entering this book in evidence when the trial begins. Ultimately, the book proves you believed what you wrote in the original blogpost and have good reasons to believe all of the points made.

So if Mann really believes in his suit, he should sue to prevent the publishing of your new book. If he does not sue about the new book, it will weaken his original suit.

It makes me wonder what, if any, reaction to the publishing of your book, Mann's lawyers will recommend. Not sure there is a good one.

If Mann were to sue to prevent the publishing of the new book, the whole freedom of speech argument becomes even stronger.

If they do nothing, they will need to plan a defense against the material in the book. That is quite a bit of work that they were not planning on doing. Not to mention it would be difficult.

They will probably continue to delay and delay. And hope you go away.

Assuming they go for delay, I hope you have enough material for Volume 2."

Oh, I wouldn't worry about that. I like the idea of the book as "a way of starting the trial ...before the judge is willing to go forward". But we may be looking at four or five volumes before His Honor starts catching up. As for Mann's lawyers, I wouldn't presume to speculate on what they would recommend. The two main ones are rather agreeable in person, which is more than I can say for their client on the one occasion he deigned to show his face in court.



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

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8 September, 2015

NASA says sea levels will rise by a metre over the next century

And what is the basis of that prophecy?  It's not an academic journal article.  It's just a press release, which is here.  And the whole scare is based on one alleged fact: "Seas around the world have risen an average of nearly 3 inches since 1992".

One writer has looked carefully at the data concerned and concludes:

"There is nothing abnormal about sea level rising by 3 inches over a 23-yr period.  Nor is a 3 mm/yr sea level rise over a multi-decade period unusual.  There is simply no anomaly requiring an explanation.  The claim that the 3 inches if sea level rise from 1992-2015 is inline with 3 feet of sea level rise in the 21st century is patently false and demonstrably disprovable.  The accurate statement that sea level is rising faster now than it was 50 years ago is cherry-picking of the highest order."

EXPERTS fear an ice sheet the size of Queensland is melting so quickly it will cause massive storm surges capable of decimating Australia’s coastal cities within the next century.

Satellite images recently captured by NASA show large sections of Greenland and Antarctica are vanishing at a much faster rate than previously thought.

Because of this scientists now believe sea levels will rise by a metre over the next 100 to 200 years. And this is not good. Dr Steve Rintoul from the CSIRO told if the NASA predictions prove true Australia could expect more devastating flash floods similar to the one suffered by Brisbane four years ago.  [The Brisbane floods were due to negligent use of Brisbane's big flood-control dam (Wivenhoe).  They were not a "flash flood"]

He said as the average sea level rose, so did the risk of destructive storm surges. “What that means is that the frequency and severity of coastal flooding increases and those floods are more serious as the average sea level rises,” he said. “Most Australians live along the coast, and this is where we are going to feel the impact of sea levels rises.

“There is also about 150 million people that live within one metre of present day sea level, and so if sea levels rise by one metre, those people will be displaced. Many of our major cities around the world are close to sea level and also much of our industry and infrastructure is also close to the coast.

The implications of rising sea levels are quite serious because a one metre rise would cause serious disruption not just to people on low level islands but to infrastructure and the economy in countries that have a coastline.” ... blah blah blah


A Prayer For The Earth: Answering The Pope’s Call. A One Act Mini-Play

Statistician Briggs is being naughty

Father: “In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”

Penitent: “Bless me father, I have sinned. It’s been about six months since my last confession.”

Father: “Go on…”

Penitent: “I visited a prostitute twice. I gave her counterfeit money the second visit. I took drugs maybe three, four times. I haven’t gone to mass since my last confession. I didn’t make my kids go, either. But that’s because my ex took them after we divorced. Um…last time I was at mass, I dropped the wafer thing, which I know is not supposed to happen. Uh…”

Father: “Anything else?”

Penitent: “Well, I was in a hurry last week, so…”

Father: “There is no shame here, my son. You must confess all.”

Penitent: “I was late for work, so I didn’t recycle. I threw a pop can in the regular trash. And…well, I knew it was wrong. I hid the can under some coffee grounds so the EPA police wouldn’t see it. That’s it, that’s everything.”

Father: “That’s it?”

Penitent: “Yes.”

Father: “This is very bad.”

Penitent: “I know.”

Father: “Failing to recycle hurts the Earth, you know.”

Penitent: “Yeah.”

Father: “And that can was also money. The deposit. You threw away money, money that could have helped The Poor™.”

Penitent: “I figured one of those bums or illegals might fish it out. They’re always going through the trash.”

Father: “No person is illegal, my son.”

Penitent: “Even those who break the law? No—I’m kidding. I’m joking. Nervous tension. You know how it is.”

Father: “Our bishop said we must be on ‘environmental alert‘. That we must examine our lifestyles with respect to the Earth. We need to meditate on how Brother Sky and Sister Moon feed and nurture us. The bishop said we need to ‘have a greater awareness of environmental and ecological issues’. He wants us to moderate our lifestyles. That’s it. That’s key. I’ve thought a lot about that and I feel we need to put the Earth first and foremost in our lifestyles. With every action, we need to ask, ‘Is this good or bad for the Earth?'”

Penitent: “It was just one can, and—”

Father: “That’s how it starts! A can is tossed into the wrong bin might seem like a small crime, but it’s a gateway. It opens the door. It starts you on a dark path. Today it’s a can, tomorrow you use a large wattage light bulb when you could have got by with one half as bright. And once you do that, what’s to stop you switching on the air conditioning? Next thing you know you’re leaving the car on idle at red lights, forgetting, even, that you have a carbon footprint. You mustn’t forget that your behavior influences others. If everybody threw cans away, the planet itself could face global warming! We could see a temperature rise of nearly a quarter of a degree by the century’s end. And then where would we be?”

Penitent: “I know. I am sorry.”

Father: “Yes, I can sense that you are. It’s well that you came in, and today of all days. It proves the Earth is watching out for you. Today, in case you have forgotten, is the day the Holy Father set aside to pray for the Earth. To pray for the ‘Care of Creation’. The Pope wants us to ask God’s forgiveness ‘for sins committed against the world in which we live.’ Your blithe can was one of these sins. ”

Penitent: “I see that.”

Father: “Pope Francis said we are experiencing an ‘ecological crisis’. He said, ‘living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience.’ No more cans in the trash!”

Penitent: “Yes. I mean, no, father. Never again.”

Father: “Very well. I can feel that you are contrite. The Pope wants us to ‘reaffirm [our] personal vocation to be stewards of creation.’ So for your penance I want you to meditate on what the Earth means to you. And re-read the EPA’s Steps to an Environmentally Pure Life. Make that your prayer for Creation.”

Penitent: “I will.”

Father: “I absolve your from your environmental sins. Go in peace and sin no more.”

Penitent: “Thank you, father.”


Cooling coming?

New study Shows Climate Dominance By The 200-Year Solar Cycle …Cooling coming in the 21st Century!


A large number of investigations of paleoclimate have noted the influence of a 200 year oscillation which has been related to the De Vries/Suess cycle of solar activity. As such studies were concerned mostly with local climate, we  have used extensive northern hemispheric proxy data sets of Büntgen and of Christiansen/Ljungqvist together with a southern hemispheric tree-ring set, all with 1 year time resolution, to analyze the climate influence of the solar cycle. As there is increasing interest in temperature rise rates, as opposed to present absolute  temperatures, we have analyzed temperature differences over 100 years to shed light on climate dynamics of at least the last 2500 years. Fourier- and Wavelet transforms as well as nonlinear optimization to sine functions show the dominance of the 200 year cycle. The sine wave character of the climate oscillations permits an approximate prediction of the near future climate.”

I can't see how they can use data from only 100 years to examine a 200 year cycle but maybe I am missing something.  If they are right we have just passed the peak of the cycle and are in for declining temperatures from now on


UK: Anti-fracking protesters to be labelled 'extremists' by police thanks to Government terror strategy

And the attention-seekers are squealing

Anti-fracking protesters could be viewed as potential extremists under the government’s new counter-terrorism strategy, police have told teachers.

The bizarre advice was offered during a training session as part of the Prevent strategy, which aims to stop youngsters being brainwashed by Islamic extremists.

The group of 100 teachers were told that people campaigning against fracking in their local area could be regarded as having extreme views.

They were also warned that environmental activists and anti-capitalists could be deemed a threat, with the Green MP Caroline Lucas given as an example.

Dylan Murphy, a history teacher present at the training day, said: ‘The thing that set alarm bells ringing in my head was when he started talking about environmental activists. ‘I thought, “Are you equating anti-fracking protests and environmental protesters with neo-Nazis and terrorists?”’

Yesterday, critics voiced concerns that officers appeared to be widening the remit of counterterrorism strategies in schools to include protest groups.

Amanda Brown, assistant general secretary of the NUT teaching union, said: ‘I’m quite alarmed that a police officer, who people would trust and think is offering the right advice, would say that it might be considered as extremism that someone is expressing their right, in a democracy, to express a view.’ [Demonstrators do more than express a view]

The training session was delivered to teachers from several different schools in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, the Times Educational Supplement reported.

One teacher said the officer referred to the behaviour of Ms Lucas – who was arrested for her part in blocking a road at an anti-fracking demonstration in 2013 – as an example of extremism.

A source at West Yorkshire Police confirmed that the officer at the session had referred to the MP as an example but did not intend to suggest that she was a violent extremist.

The source also confirmed that the attending teachers, drawn from across the Kirklees district, were warned about anti-capitalist and environmental extremists, as well as far-Right and al-Qaeda-inspired extremism.

Ms Lucas said she is ‘shocked’ and is planning to write to the police to complain.

‘Equating peaceful political demonstrations with violent extremism is both offensive and deeply misguided,’ the MP said. ‘It’s this kind of thinking that has led police in this country to waste vast amounts of taxpayers’ money in infiltrating environmental groups.’

Under controversial new guidelines, teachers are required to monitor their pupils and flag up any concerns they may have about radicalisation.

The latest version of the Prevent strategy was published in 2011 and lists international terrorism as well as terrorism connected with Northern Ireland and the extreme Right, as threats.

No mention is made of environmental or anti-capitalist groups.

The government has defined extremism in its Prevent strategy as: ‘Vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.’

Russ Foster, assistant chief commissioner at West Yorkshire Police, said: ‘The police acknowledge the right of people to protest in a lawful manner. However, should an individual seek to use violence in furtherance of their view, then Prevent would seek to engage with them.’


Of Photo-Ops, Glaciers, and Climate Change

Last week, President Barack Obama traveled to Alaska to opine on the perils of climate change. The backdrop for his rumination was the Exit Glacier, which has retreated 187 feet in the past year (and 1.25 miles in the last 200 years). “This is as good of a signpost of what we’re dealing with when it comes to climate change as just about anything,” he said.

Obama isn’t the first politician to use a retreating glacier as a backdrop both to opine on the perils of warming and to advocate for active government intervention in the economy to mitigate the supposed effects of climate change.

Back in 2007, Nancy Pelosi, majority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives and a bipartisan group of representatives, traveled to Greenland for a day, in theory to learn about global warming and observe Sermeq Kujalleq (Jakobshavn Glacier), “the world’s fastest glacier” near Ilulissat. It has become a mandatory stop of the global warming tour. As this Greenlandic tourist website proclaims:

Climate change becomes more of a hot topic each day. The Ilulissat Icefjord, and the Greenland Ice Cap that produces it, are increasingly in the spotlight. We Greenlanders are thankful for the growing interest in an issue that we live with and adapt to constantly, but even more so, we are proud to be at the center of important research with global implications. Visiting the Ilulissat Icefjord is not only about seeing a large calving glacier or melting icebergs before it’s too late. It is a unique opportunity to be active in the climate change conversation here at ‘ground zero’ and to let your experiences in Greenland inspire your life back home.

I visited Ilulissat shortly after Pelosi and spent several days there due to a strike by Air Greenland. Wandering the town after spending several hours exploring the glacier on foot, by air, and by boat, it was hard to conclude that Pelosi did not spend too much time studying global warming. She was in town for a day, and almost every store in town had a thank you note from the Majority Leader from her time shopping. And while the speed of Sermeq Kujalleq is impressive and might be worrying if representative of all glaciers, Pelosi, and crew neglected to mention is that the adjacent Sermeq Avannarleq (“The dead glacier”) is remarkably stable.

Back to President Obama. The Exit Glacier may be in retreat, but other Alaskan glaciers are growing. What Obama did essentially was cherry-pick to force conclusions that the evidence would not necessarily support (much like he did to justify the Iran deal). And that assumes that climate change and global warming would actually be as bad for the economy and humanity as some of the doomsayers preach. After all, as I’ve argued over at the American Enterprise Institute, between 1900 and 2000, the average global temperatures rose 0.65 Celsius. During the same period, global average life expectancy pretty much doubled to over 60 years old. Average global per capita income increased almost ten-fold over the same period from $680 to $6,500. If rate of warming is the concern, the end of the “little ice age” between the 14th and 19th century should have brought a retraction in global health and economy, but it didn’t. Likewise, height of Islamic civilization coincided with the “medieval warm period.”

A few months ago, I was talking to a Navy meteorologist about her job. She had done her training at Pennsylvania State, one of the best programs for meteorology. She was explaining how difficult it was: she needed to study the same hard science and advanced mathematics as other scientists, but while physicists, biologists, chemists, and others can strictly control laboratory conditions to isolate variables, meteorologists and climatologists cannot. That makes predictions—and often the science itself—far more difficult. While evidence suggests some anthropogenic impact on warming, politicians and scientists emphasizing the human aspect are undercut by the repeated failure of their models to predict warming trends, even if such failures might simply be the result of the extraordinary complexity of the atmosphere.

With the Iran deal apparently done (if the Iranians themselves don’t throw a wrench into it), both President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have suggested they will focus their remaining efforts on tackling climate change. Let’s hope that Obama and Kerry will be prepared for a more serious debate and will have the self-confidence and mastery of the facts to argue rather than mudsling or engage in vacuous photo-ops on the taxpayer dime.


Global warming or natural variability?

A new paper attributes spring floods in Texas and Oklahoma to manmade global warming. Still, critics say it could also be an issue of natural variability.

It's long been said that human-driven emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere make the earth warmer. As temperature increases, so does the amount of moisture in the atmosphere. In times of rain, that results in more water coming down. Meanwhile, some scientists believe that human-caused warming of the oceans adds to El Niño cycles, something that also affects the atmosphere. A new paper published in Geophysical Research Letters ties these things together as a cause of May 2015 floods in Texas and Oklahoma.

Chip Knappenberger is a former research coordinator at the Virginia State Climatology Office and is now serving as assistant director of the center for the study of science at the Cato Institute. He says it's possible the authors of the paper are misidentifying things.

Knappenberger: "Well, it is easy, I think, to fool yourselves into thinking you're finding a global-warming signal in the realm of natural variability, because natural variability is a tricky thing,” he says.

“It takes all sorts of forms and timescales, and if you're not fully aware of all that, you can find something that looks like what you think anthropogenic global warming signals look like somewhere in that noise of natural variability. It seems to me, looking over this study, that there is a possibility - a pretty strong possibility - that is what's going on here."

This is not the only research tying manmade global warming to natural disasters. Knappenberger doubts this will be the last that will be heard about such findings.

"They're never going to see otherwise because there is this notion that anthropogenic global warming has this sort of magical quality,” he tells OneNewsNow. “No matter what you're looking for, you can typically blame it on global warming. From droughts to floods to blizzards to record heat to tornadoes, it's a contrast of opposites, but you can always come back to Aha! Anthropogenic global warming is the cause of that.

"So, when you get down to it, it has a very magical quality that way, and things with magical qualities tend to run with how you think science should be. If you can explain everything with one theory, it's probably not likely what's going on."

Even so, atmospheric scientists point to man's burning of fossil fuels as the principle driver of global warming or climate change.

"Putting more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere through human activity does have an effect on the overall atmosphere and weather systems,” Knappenberger acknowledges. “But whether you can identify that effect and whether that effect rises above the natural noise to become significant in a way that we should worry about it is where the argument lies.

"I'm here to say that natural variability still plays a large role especially on local and regional spatial scales, more so than [does] global warming."



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

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


7 September, 2015

British Met Office boss slams Greenie for exaggerating warming

It's not a sudden onrush of honesty.  He just doesn't want warming predictions to be falsified too soon.  He could well still be alive in 15 years time and he doesn't want to be laughed at

One of Britain’s top climate scientists has launched a blistering attack on actress Emma Thompson and the BBC, accusing them of ‘scaremongering’ over the speed of global warming – and risking a worsening of the refugee crisis.

Richard Betts, head of climate impacts research at the Met Office and a professor at Exeter University, launched his attack on Twitter about an interview Ms Thompson gave to Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis last Wednesday.

He followed it up with a longer critique – an extract of which this newspaper publishes today – on the website of HELIX, a prestigious EU-wide climate research programme which he also directs.

The actress, a Greenpeace activist who that morning had taken part in a protest against Shell’s plans to drill for oil in the Arctic, warned that if the drilling went ahead, the world would be a staggering 4C hotter by 2030.

She said: ‘If they take out of the Earth all the oil they want to take out, if you look at the science, our temperature will rise 4 degrees Celsius by 2030, and that’s not sustainable.’

Ms Maitlis did not challenge her.

In his first tweet, Prof Betts asked: ‘Who briefed Emma Thompson? Clearly not someone who actually knows about climate science.’

He added: ‘Has it occurred to scaremongers like Emma Thompson that exaggerating climate change could drive more migration unnecessarily? Irresponsible.’

Other scientists were equally critical. Dr Ed Hawkins, at Reading University, told this newspaper: ‘Climate change poses substantial risks to humans and ecosystems, but what Emma Thompson said about the timescales of predicted warming was inaccurate.’

In his blog post, Prof Betts points out that the authoritative UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change gives a ‘wide range of estimates of the speed of future warming’ – but none of them is anywhere near 4C by 2030.

He adds that under the highest scenario for future emissions, ‘the earliest time of reaching 4C above pre-industrial was around 2070, and the latest sometime after 2100’.

Ms Thompson hit back yesterday, saying: ‘I’d like to say to him [Richard Betts]: Are you insane, have you been to the Arctic, have you seen the state of the glaciers? I’ve talked to the experts... this is not scaremongering.’

A BBC spokeswoman said: ‘In a longer interview Emily would have pressed Thompson to justify her assertion.’ She refused to say whether the BBC would be correcting Ms Thompson’s statement.

Comment by Professor Richard Betts, Met Office head of climate impacts research:

In a recent BBC Newsnight item, the actress Emma Thompson spoke passionately and in no uncertain terms about 4C warming by the year 2030, and stated that ‘in a few years… whole swathes of the Earth will become uninhabitable’. These statements do not reflect what the science actually says.

Some might argue that the focus should be on worst-case catastrophic scenarios, leaving no room for doubt, in order to promote urgency in emissions cuts.

It’s certainly easy to see why this might be tempting, as global emissions have continued to rise despite clear indications that unchecked climate change poses large risks.

This seems to be the case in Emma Thompson’s recent BBC Newsnight item. Does this matter? What’s the harm in a bit of exaggeration if it’s in a good cause? To my mind, there are three reasons why it’s a problem.

Firstly, making wild predictions that don’t come true obviously harms your credibility. It’s the old ‘boy who cried wolf’ story – he made up the story of the wolf, so when it eventually did come, nobody believed him. There was a wolf, but only later on.

When the world has not become a barren wasteland within a few years, it will be easy for critics to say that the whole climate change problem has been exaggerated.

It has not been exaggerated – at least not by mainstream science – but that will be easily overlooked when harking back to these claims.

Secondly, if people come to believe that catastrophic impacts are only round the corner, this could lead to wrong decisions made in panic.

A lot is being done to make us more resilient to the climate change we’ve already set in motion – new flood defences, plans for reservoirs and water supplies, and so on. But these are expensive, and doing these too early could cost billions. And if people are scared into moving away from their homelands because they think it will be uninhabitable, this would only add to the existing refugee crisis, for no good reason.

Finally, even if the world does make major emissions cuts very soon, this will take time to filter through into tangible effects on global warming. There is already more warming in the pipeline which is unavoidable. Therefore anything projected for the next few years is already unavoidable.

If ‘whole swathes’ really will become uninhabitable ‘in a few years’, then there is absolutely nothing we can do about it, however urgently we cut emissions.

Whether Shell drills for Arctic oil or not, the changes for the next few years are already locked in. Emma Thompson’s apocalyptic vision is therefore one of despair, not something that can credibly be avoided through action, however drastic.

Fortunately, while Ms Thompson’s concerns are valid in the longer term, her timing isn’t supported by the science.

Higher levels of climate change and the associated risks are further off than she fears, and hence could still be avoided.

Whether we choose to attempt to do this or to try instead to live with the risks is a choice the world needs to make. There are no easy options, and such a choice is hugely important. It needs to be properly informed by sound science, communicated responsibly to the world.


Pesky Greenland: When all else fails, blame the sun

Warmists normally pooh-pooh the influence of the sun.  But Greenland is very important to Warmists.  It's one of the few bits of the Arctic that is not sea ice -- so it's the only bit that could raise sea-levels if its ice melted.  But it doesn't always melt when it "should".  So we see a lot of "post hoc" explanations below.  Such explanations are in principle of little value.  Good science is predictive.  You can explain anything after the event

The sun’s activity could be affecting a key ocean circulation mechanism that plays an important role in regulating Greenland’s climate, according to a new study. The phenomenon could be partially responsible for cool temperatures the island experienced in the late 20th century and potentially lead to increased melting of the Greenland ice sheet in the coming decades, the new research suggests.

Scientists have sought to understand why Greenland cooled during the 1970s through the early 1990s while most of the Northern Hemisphere experienced rising temperatures as a result of greenhouse warming.

The new study suggests high solar activity starting in the 1950s and continuing through the 1980s played a role in slowing down ocean circulation between the South Atlantic and the North Atlantic oceans. Combined with an influx of fresh water from melting glaciers, this slow-down halted warm water and air from reaching Greenland and cooled the island while temperatures rose across the rest of the Northern Hemisphere, according to the new study accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

The new research also suggests weak solar activity, like the sun is currently experiencing, could slowly fire up the ocean circulation mechanism, increasing the amount of warm water and air flowing to Greenland.

Starting around 2025, temperatures in Greenland could increase more than anticipated and the island’s ice sheet could melt faster than projected, according to Takuro Kobashi, a climate scientist with the Department of Climate and Environmental Physics at the University of Bern in Switzerland and lead author of the new study.

This unexpected ice loss would compound projected sea-level rise expected to occur as a result of climate change, Kobashi said. The melting Greenland ice sheet accounted for one-third of the 3.2 millimeters (0.13 inches) rise in global sea level every year from 1992 to 2011.

“We need to really consider how solar activity will change in the future,” said Kobashi. “If solar activity becomes really low, as scientists expect, the Greenland ice sheet will melt faster than we expected from the climate model with just greenhouse gas [warming].”

The new study compared past solar activity with historical temperature records to figure out if the cooling Greenland experienced during the late 20th century was part of a long-term pattern.

The team used ice cores drilled from the Greenland ice sheet to reconstruct snow temperatures for the past 2,100 years. A relatively new technique, which measures argon and nitrogen gases trapped in the ice, allowed the scientists to measure small changes in temperature at 10- to 20-year increments.

The ice cores showed that for the past 2,000 years changes in Greenland temperatures have generally followed any temperature shifts occurring in the Northern Hemisphere. The new research found that the change in Greenland temperatures vacillated up and down around the average change in Northern Hemisphere temperatures over time. The vacillations coincided with changes in the sun’s energy output that occurred over multiple decades, according to the new study.

When the sun’s energy output increased, there was a bigger drop in Greenland’s temperature compared to the change in average temperature across the Northern Hemisphere. When the sun’s energy output decreased, there was a larger increase in Greenland’s temperature compared to the change in average temperature that occurred across the Northern Hemisphere.

Climate models showed that changes in solar activity could prompt shifts in ocean and air circulation in the North Atlantic that affect Greenland’s climate, according to the new study.

Water circulation in the Atlantic follows a steady pattern of movement, called the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). Warm water flows from the South Atlantic toward the North Atlantic, transferring heat toward Greenland. As the water cools, it sinks to the ocean floor and travels south toward the tropics, completing the circular pattern.

During a period of high solar activity, more energy from the sun reaches Earth and is transferred to tropical waters. When this warmer-than-usual water reaches the North Atlantic, it is not dense enough to sink. With nowhere to go, the water causes a traffic jam and the water circulation pattern slows down.

Changes in solar activity can also alter the atmospheric circulation pattern over the Atlantic, which in turn affects ocean circulation, but how this process works is still unknown, said Kobashi.

In the late 20th century, there also was a compounding problem. Large amounts of freshwater gushed into the North Atlantic as climate change caused increased melting of glaciers, icebergs, and the Greenland ice sheet. Freshwater, being more buoyant than salt water, entered the intersection where cool water drops to the ocean floor and travels south to the tropics. Climate models showed that the water in the intersection became less salty and less likely to sink. Models also showed that additional freshwater came from an increase in rainfall, according to the new study.

The traffic jam worsened and the water circulation pattern that transfers heat from the South Atlantic to the North Atlantic slowed. This slow-down caused the air above Greenland to cool and temperatures there to drop, according to the new study.

Because the oceans take a long time to heat up or cool down, the temperature changes in Greenland lagged 10 to 40 years behind the high solar activity, showing up from the 1970s through the early 1990s, according to the new study.

The new study suggests low solar activity could have the opposite effect and lead to warmer temperatures in Greenland in another decade. When there is less solar energy reaching the Earth, water reaching Greenland easily sinks and returns to the tropics along the ocean floor. The water circulation pattern speeds up, quickly funneling heat toward Greenland and warming the island.

The new study makes a good case that the solar maximum in the 1950s through the 1980s may have played a role in the cooling Greenland saw in the late 20th century, said Michael Mann, a climate  scientist with the Department of Meteorology at Penn State University in University Park, Pennsylvania, who was not involved in the new study.

Another recent study by Mann and his colleagues proposed that trapped greenhouse gases from fossil fuel burning caused warming across the Northern Hemisphere and triggered an increase in ice melt. This led to the slowdown in ocean circulation and a cooler Greenland.

Both studies suggest buoyant meltwater from melting glaciers would have interrupted the sinking of the AMOC and its return to the tropics along the bottom of the ocean. But the new research suggests solar activity is the main driver behind the changes to the ocean circulation pattern.

“I’m open-minded that the real answer is more complicated, and it may be a combination of the two hypotheses,” said Mann. “This article paves the way for a more in-depth look at what is going on. The challenge now will be teasing apart the two effects and trying to assess the relative importance of both of them.”

Kobashi contends that solar activity explains the change in ocean circulation and Greenland warming since 1995, which he says cannot be explained by increasing greenhouse gases alone.


The abrupt Northern Hemispheric (NH) warming at the end of the 20th century has been attributed to an enhanced greenhouse effect. Yet, Greenland and surrounding subpolar North Atlantic remained anomalously cold in 1970s- early 1990s. Here, we reconstructed robust Greenland temperature records (NGRIP and GISP2) over the past 2100 years using argon and nitrogen isotopes in air trapped within ice cores, and show that this cold anomaly was part of a recursive pattern of antiphase Greenland temperature responses to solar variability with a possible multidecadal lag. We hypothesize that high solar activity during the modern solar maximum (ca. 1950s-1980s) resulted in a cooling over Greenland and surrounding subpolar North Atlantic through the slow-down of Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) with atmospheric feedback processes.

Reference:  Modern solar maximum forced late 20th century Greenland cooling by T. Kobashi, J. E. Box, B. M. Vinther, K. Goto-Azuma, T. Blunier, J. W. C. White, T. Nakaegawa and C. S. Andresen published in Geophysical Research Letters DOI: 10.1002/2015GL064764


Some more adhocery: Guardian Says They Could Have Predicted The Hiatus Which They Also Say Never Happened

Steve Goddard is the clipping collector.  They are very damning


ScreenHunter_10319 Sep. 05 08.10


Scientists Discover There are 2.64 Trillion More Trees on Earth, Washington Post Whines About Deforestation

They often put out tree counts.  This shows how much faith we should put in such counts. Apparently there are too many salmon in the Pacific Ocean now as well.  Europe was down to less than 10% forest cover 200 years ago, now it is over 30% due to a combination of developing silviculture (tree farming) and substituting coal for wood as fuel in smelters and glassworks

Leave it to the Washington Post to spoil good news with climate alarmism.

Science and environment reporter Chris Mooney reported that a new study of trees concluded the world’s tree population was 7.6 times greater than previously estimated. The researchers calculate that there are more than 3 trillion trees on the planet, 2.64 trillion more than they’d thought there were.

To the average person that sounds like great news. However, Mooney and the scientists he consulted claimed this is not good news.

Mooney quoted Thomas Crowther, one of the study’s authors, who said, “We can now say that there’s less trees than at any point in human civilization.” Crowther is a postdoctoral researcher at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

The rest of the Post story and the scientists it quoted complained about the threat of climate change and deforestation. Mooney quoted one of the 38 co-authors of the study, but turned to three other individuals not involved in the research to provide commentary about it.

One of them, conservation biologist at the United Nations Foundation Thomas Lovejoy who is also a supporter of climate alarmist Al Gore -- speculated that the study, “does not say there’s more forest. It just says there’s more trees in the forest.” Lovejoy also suggested that the existence of an additional 2.64 trillion trees does not change the the current understanding of deforestation rates throughout the world.

The study was originally inspired by a request from Plant for the Planet, a youth organization which “leads the United Nations Environment Programme’s ‘Billion Tree Campaign.’” Plant for the Planet asked Crowther to provide a baseline number of trees so they would know how many more to plant in order to reach their one billion goal.


Unsettled science

Aerosols from Moderate Volcanos Now Blamed for Global Warming Hiatus

While looking for quotes on an upcoming post about Ocean Heat Content, I ran across the press release for a new paper (in press) by Neely et al, which blames the recent slowdown in global warming on smaller more moderate volcanos.

Many readers will recall the October 2011 article by Paul Voosen titled "Provoked scientists try to explain lag in global warming".  The article presented the different responses from a number of climate scientists, including John Barnes, Kevin Trenberth, Susan Solomon, Jean-Paul Vernier, Ben Santer, John Daniel, Judith Lean, James Hansen, Martin Wild, and Graeme Stephens, to the question, “Why, despite steadily accumulating greenhouse gases, did the rise of the planet’s temperature stall for the past decade?”  The different replies led Roger Pielke, Sr. to note at the end of his post "Candid Comments from Climate Scientists":

"These extracts from the Greenwire article illustrate why the climate system is not yet well understood. The science is NOT solved"

Judith Curry provided running commentary in her post "Candid Comments from Global Warming Scientists".  If you haven’t read it, it’s a worthwhile read.

Neely et al  2013  (in press) blames moderate volcanos. According to a press release from the University of Colorado Boulder:

"A team led by the University of Colorado Boulder looking for clues about why Earth did not warm as much as scientists expected between 2000 and 2010 now thinks the culprits are hiding in plain sight — dozens of volcanoes spewing sulfur dioxide.

The study results essentially exonerate Asia, including India and China, two countries that are estimated to have increased their industrial sulfur dioxide emissions by about 60 percent from 2000 to 2010 through coal burning, said lead study author Ryan Neely, who led the research as part of his CU-Boulder doctoral thesis. Small amounts of sulfur dioxide emissions from Earth’s surface eventually rise 12 to 20 miles into the stratospheric aerosol layer of the atmosphere, where chemical reactions create sulfuric acid and water particles that reflect sunlight back to space, cooling the planet."

The paper (in press) is Neely et al (2013) Recent anthropogenic increases in SO2 from Asia have minimal impact on stratospheric aerosol.

The abstract reads:

"Observations suggest that the optical depth of the stratospheric aerosol layer between 20 and 30?km has increased 4–10% per year since 2000, which is significant for Earth’s climate. Contributions to this increase both from moderate volcanic eruptions and from enhanced coal burning in Asia have been suggested. Current observations are insufficient to attribute the contribution of the different sources. Here we use a global climate model coupled to an aerosol microphysical model to partition the contribution of each. We employ model runs that include the increases in anthropogenic sulfur dioxide (SO2) over Asia and the moderate volcanic explosive injections of SO2 observed from 2000 to 2010. Comparison of the model results to observations reveals that moderate volcanic eruptions, rather than anthropogenic influences, are the primary source of the observed increases in stratospheric aerosol."

Bottom line: There’s still no consensus from climate scientists about the cause of the slowdown in the warming rate of global surface temperatures.

And of course, the sea surface temperature and ocean heat content reveal another reason: there hadn’t been a strong El Niño to release monumental volumes of warm water from below the surface of the tropical Pacific and shift up the sea surface temperatures of the Atlantic, Indian and West Pacific Oceans.  Refer to my essay “The Manmade Global Warming Challenge” and my ebook Who Turned on the Heat?


Australian senators Keep Hammering the Great Wind Power Fraud

Following almost 6 months of solid graft, 8 hearings in 4 States and the ACT, dozens of witnesses and almost 500 submissions, the Senate Inquiry into the great wind power fraud delivered its ‘doorstop’ final report, which runs to some 350 pages – available here: Senate Report

The first 200 pages are filled with facts, clarity, common sense and compassion; the balance, labelled “Labor’s dissenting report”, was written by the wind industry’s parasites and spruikers – including the Clean Energy Council (these days a front for Infigen aka Babcock & Brown); theAustralian Wind Alliance; and Leigh Ewbank from the Enemies of the Earth.

Predictably, Labor’s dissenting report is filled with fantasy, fallacy and fiction – pumping up the ‘wonders’ of wind; completely ignoring the cost of the single greatest subsidy rort in the history of the Commonwealth; and treating the wind industry’s hundreds of unnecessary victims – of incessant turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound – with the kind of malice, usually reserved for sworn and bitter foreign enemies.

And the wind industry’s stooge on the Inquiry, Anne Urquhart – is still out their fighting a faltering, rearguard action – long after the battle for wind power supremacy was lost – a bit like the tales of ragged, 80 year old Japanese soldiers that kept fighting the Imperial War, until they were dragged out of the jungle and into the 21st Century. Nevermind the facts, when delusion will do!

Among those Senators on the Committee – who pulled no punches in getting the truth out – were Liberal Senator from WA, Chris Back and STT Champion, Liberal Democratic Party Senator, David Leyonhjelm from NSW.

While the wind industry and its parasites have been praying to the Wind-Gods that the whole thing might just ‘blow over’, those Senators on the Inquiry – not in thrall of Infigen, Vestas & Co – are still in there fighting for a fair-go for rural communities, across the Country; and power consumers, everywhere.

Always pleased to disappoint the beleaguered and dwindling band of wind worshippers in this country, STT is delighted that Chris Back and David Leyonhjelm show no sign of letting up.



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

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


6 September, 2015

Why the Earth Is Heating So Fast: On the Dangerous Difference Between Science and Political Science

Bill McKibben doesn't seem to read his own headline.  He presents NO evidence below that "the Earth Is Heating So Fast".  Mainly because it isn't.  The satellites do not lie.

All he mentions is a speculative paper by committed Warmists in a Warmist publication which says (unsurprisingly) that we should stop mining "fossil" fuels.  What Jesus said of Satan is true of Bill McKibben: "There is no truth in him" (John 8:44)

President Obama is visiting Alaska this week?—?a territory changing as rapidly as any on earth thanks to global warming. He’s talking constantly about the danger that climate change poses to the planet (a welcome development given that he managed to go through virtually the entire 2012 election without even mentioning it). And everything he’s saying is right: we are a nation, and a planet, beset by fire, flood, drought. It’s the hottest year in earth’s recorded history. July was the hottest month ever measured on planet earth. [Not according to the more comprehensive satellite measurements]

But of course the alarm he’s sounding is muffled by the fact that earlier this year he gave Shell Oil a permit to go drill in the Arctic, potentially opening up a giant new pool of oil. [So???] ....

Earlier this year, before Obama made his decision to let Shell go a’drilling, a team of scientists published a key paper in one of the planet’s most rigorous [rigorously in favor of global warming] scientific journals, Nature. After extensive calculation of the atmosphere’s carbon concentration, these scientists listed the deposits of coal, oil and gas we had to leave alone if we wanted to keep climate change from going past the 2 degree Celsius red line set by the planet’s nations, a target solemnly agreed to by…President Obama at the climate talks in Copenhagen in 2009. Here’s what those scientists said: “development of resources in the Arctic and any increase in unconventional oil production are incommensurate with efforts to limit average global warming to 2 °C.”

In this case, the scientists are serving as proxies for physics. They’re not expressing an opinion; they’re reporting on the world’s actual limits. It’s as if physics is saying, “I’m unhappy with this situation.” Or…not unhappy.

Now, presidents can’t do everything physics demands on climate change. For one thing, Republicans get in the way. And for another we obviously can’t shut down all use of fossil fuels overnight, though in terms of climate change that would be smart. All we can do is move as quickly as possible towards a renewable future. Which is precisely why we shouldn’t even consider opening up a vast new pool of oil, one that we won’t even be able to tap for 10 or 20 years. When you’re in a hole the first rule is stop digging?—?and yet we’ve just given Shell a giant shovel.

The point is, we’ve got to stop pretending. The idea that you’re doing the right thing when you meet in the middle is, in this case, a dangerous delusion. It’s as if King Solomon had really wanted to cut the baby in half; some things simply can’t be split down the middle.


America should not be in debt

How America’s abundance can be harnessed to stop our debt spiral

By Rick Manning

off limitsElectricity is the lifeblood of industry.

Inexpensive, reliable electricity is an essential element that business leaders consider when choosing where to locate a job-creating factory, and this is one of the United States’ natural competitive advantages.

America is blessed with abundant natural resources, including natural gas reserves that have caused President Obama to call our nation the “Saudi Arabia” of natural gas. We have a new abundance of oil with the potential of massive amounts of recoverable oil reserves, along with at least one field that would dwarf Texas and North Dakota combined when the technology is developed to release it. Our nation has 28 percent of all the recoverable coal in the world, enough to meet our needs for 261 years.

As virtually everyone knows, this potential economic boon is a direct result of the ingenuity of people in the oil and gas industry who have developed innovative ways to safely release shale oil and natural gas to the surface and those who have created safer ways to extract coal from the earth. And it is these creators who Obama’s environmental team are desperately trying to regulate out of existence through manufactured concerns about methane, coal-fired power plants and other global warming schemes.

But this is not a piece about the environmental regulations, but rather one about the economic peril facing our nation should Obama’s agenda prevail.

Here is the economic reality our nation faces: America has a national debt of approximately $18.6 trillion. The last time the national debt was paid down by any amount was 1957, fifty-eight years ago. Even in the so-called balanced budget years in the 1990s, the national debt went up, putting the lie to one more Clinton legacy.

But why does the national debt matter at all, and what impact might it have on America’s economic future?

The way to understand the national debt is to think of it as a credit card balance in your household — a balance that you are constantly adding to, and the payments you make only cover the interest payments. Eventually, even those interest payments swamp your ability to pay them if the principal becomes too large.

That is where the United States is headed unless something drastic happens.

The Office of Management and Budget projects that America will add approximately $3 trillion more to the national debt if we stay the course and don’t go on a spending spree. In these projections they estimate that total interest payments, including those owed to Social Security and Medicare, on the debt will double from last year’s 2014 payments to just under $800 billion in 2020. These assumptions are based upon a return to normal interest rates. Should the market demand higher rates of return on U.S. debt, the problem gets even worse.

These same estimates have revenues increasing from $3 trillion to $4.3 trillion from 2014 to 2020 with our nation’s economic growth holding steady between 2.3 and 3.1 percent, while spending increases over the same period by slightly less than $1.5 trillion.

Why is all this important?

Because it demonstrates that the current economic path is unsustainable, and only two solutions present themselves: spend less money and/or increase revenues.

On the spending side, it is unlikely that Congress and the President will have the political will to substantially cut, much less stop, the growth of the majority of spending, which rests in the entitlement side of the equation and is on autopilot.

While not giving up that fight, the best way to win it is to lower the demand for government services like Medicaid, welfare and unemployment insurance by changing the economic landscape in our nation by ratcheting up GDP growth dramatically.

And this brings us back to inexpensive electricity, and the high-paying domestic jobs that are created as a consequence.

Should the Obama administration have their way on the strangling environmental regulations that are projected by the U.S. government to increase electricity costs by 16 percent over the next two decades – as well as threaten the availability of stable electricity supplies – we will have squandered any opportunity to grow out of the debt death spiral in which our economy finds itself.

If Obama’s job-killing climate agenda is stopped, creating increased revenue flows without the need for new taxes, our nation will still need to tackle the spending side of the equation to balance the budget and lower our national debt to GDP levels to healthy levels. However, if we fail to defeat Obama’s environmental agenda, it becomes almost impossible to reverse the vicious economic cycle of debt that has ensnared us.

Obviously, there are a myriad of other factors like currency, trade rules, and labor costs which factor into the economic growth equation, but America’s natural resource abundance is our worldwide competitive advantage. Eliminating that advantage through environmental rules deliberately designed to drive up energy costs can only be classified as suicidal.

Congress can take the first step in thwarting Obama’s environmental strangling of America’s economic growth by defunding the enforcement of his anti-coal burning utility regulation and methane regulations this month, allowing the next President to decide if our nation should be fundamentally transformed into dust left on the ash heap of history.


Dumbcluck Pushes Solar Power--In Arctic Town That Sees Little Sun in Winter

President Obama promoted solar energy to residents of Kotzebue, an Alaskan town located 26 miles north of the Arctic Circle that gets less than six hours of sunlight for 34 days in early December through early January.

“I know you guys have started putting up solar panels and wind turbines around Kotzebue. And because energy costs are pretty severe up here, for remote Alaskan communities, one of the biggest problems is high energy costs,” the president said in a speech he delivered during a three-day tour of the state in which he stressed the dangers of climate change.

“One of the reasons I came up here is to really focus on what is probably the biggest challenge our planet faces. If there’s one thing that threatens opportunity and prosperity for everybody, wherever we live, it’s the threat of a changing climate,” said Obama, the first president to venture north of the Arctic Circle.

“We are the number-one producer of oil and gas. But we’re transitioning away from energy that creates the carbon that’s warming the planet and threatening our health and our environment, and we’re going all in on clean, renewable energy sources like wind and solar. And Alaska has the natural resources to be a global leader in this effort,” the president said.

“So we’re going to deploy more new clean-energy projects on Native lands, and that’s going to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, promote new jobs and new growth in your communities,” he added.

Kotzebue – a town of about 3,000 residents that bills itself as the “Gateway to the Arctic” – is one of 15 major communities in Alaska’s Far North Region that are located north of the Arctic Circle, according to, the state’s official tourism agency.

The Arctic Circle is the boundary for the “midnight sun”, a phenomenon caused by the tilt in the Earth’s axis in which the sun does not set in the summer or conversely rise in the winter.

On December 22, the winter solstice, the sun rises in Kotzebue at 10:12 am and sets at 3:42 pm – for a total of just five and a half hours of sunlight.  During the 34 days between December 3rd and January 6th, Kotzebue’s days are less than six hours long.

In Barrow, the northernmost town in Alaska which is located 330 miles north of the Arctic Circle, there are 67 winter days in which the sun does not shine at all, according to


Levin on Obama’s Climate Agenda: It's Not About The Environment, But Destroying the American Lifestyle

Nationally syndicated radio show host Mark Levin argued on Tuesday that the real purpose behind President Obama’s climate agenda is destroying the American lifestyle, not saving the environment.

“This isn’t about the environment,” said Levin. “He’s a Degrowther. This is about destroying the American lifestyle, and at the heart of the American lifestyle is the American energy system.”

Here is a transcript of what Mark Levin had to say:

    “Let me do this again, let me do this again. Obama despises capitalism. He’s a Marxist. He’s an Alinskyite. That’s a fact. He’s buddies with Ayers. He’s buddies with Wright. So, he despises free markets. Notice the word ‘free.’ He despises them. He’s a control freak as most egomaniacs are. He wishes to reshuffle society, to socially engineer it. He’s stuck in what was once a constitutional system as he tries to break free from it time and time again, as he usurps it. This isn’t about the environment. He’s a Degrowther. This is about destroying the American lifestyle, and at the heart of the American lifestyle is the American energy system -- fossil fuels.

    “Quote, from page 111 out of the degrowth movement in Europe, which Obama is fully aware of because he’s part of it: ‘Sustainable degrowth is a downscaling of production and consumption that increases human well-being and enhances ecological conditions and equity on the planet.’ Mr. Producer let us post this chapter again on my social sites. It’s free.

    ‘It calls for a future where societies live ...’ -- I’m quoting from them -- ‘where societies live within their ecological means, with open, localized economies and resources more equally distributed, through new forms of democratic institutions. It’s an essential economic strategy to pursue in overdeveloped countries like the United States for the well-being of the planet of underdeveloped populations, and yes, even of the sick, stressed, overweight consumer populations in overdeveloped countries.’

    “This is why I emphasized Kerry emphasizing global, global, global.

    “This is international redistribution of rights. And what these Marxists leftists believe is, we have too much. We have too much material; we have too much wealth; we have too much energy. It’s not about reducing carbon pollution. It’s about reducing your lifestyle, your well-being.”


Sea Level Analyst: “Not Possible To Torture Coastal Tide-Gauge Data Into Yielding A Sea-Level Rise Anywhere Near 3.3 mm/yr”!

By David A. Burton

Many may not be aware of this, but satellite altimeters are incapable of measuring sea-level at the coasts, among other significant problems.

Coastal tide gauges, on the other hand, measure sea-level at this important location – which is where it really matters. Tide gauge measurements of sea-level are far more reliable than satellite altimetry, and of much longer duration. The longest tide-gauge records of sea-level measurements are nearly ten times as long as the combined satellite measurement record, and twenty times as long as any single satellite measurement record.

No sign of any acceleration

NOAA has done linear regression analysis on sea-level measurements (relative sea-level) from 225 long term tide gauges around the world, which have data spanning at least 50 years. (Note: the literature indicates that at least 50-60 years of data are required to determine a robust long term sea-level trend from a tide gauge record.) There’s no sign of any acceleration (increase in rate) in most of those tide-gauge records.

More than 85% of stations show less rise than 3.3 mm/year

The rate of measured sea-level rise (SLR) varies from -17.59 mm/yr at Skagway, Alaska, to +9.39 mm/yr at Kushiro, Japan. 197 of 225 stations (87.6%) have recorded less than 3.3 mm/yr sea-level rise. At 47 of 225 stations (20.9%) sea level is falling, rather than rising. Just 28 of 225 stations (12.4%) have recorded more than 3.3 mm/yr sea-level rise.

The average SLR at those 225 gauges is +0.90 mm/yr. The median is +1.41 mm/yr.

That appears to be slightly less than the true global average, because a disproportionate number of those 225 stations are northern hemisphere stations affected by post glacial rebound (i.e., the land is rising faster). On the other hand quite a few long-term tide gauges which are substantially affected by subsidence (i.e., the land is sinking), often due to extraction of water, oil, or natural gas, or due to the location having been elevated with fill dirt which is compacting (Ex.: Galveston).

I downloaded the two sea-level measurement spreadsheet files (U.S. and global) from NOAA’s page, and combined them into a single Excel spreadsheet. For ease of sorting I changed the U.S. station ID numbers by adding an “A-” prefix. I also added “average” and “median” lines at the end of the spreadsheet.

The average of all 375 NOAA-analyzed stations is 1.28 mm/yr, and the median is 1.71 mm/yr:

NOAA says that the average is 1.7-1.8 mm/yr. Some of the difference between the calculated average and NOAA’s figure for MSL rise may be due to the addition of model-derived GIA adjustments to the measured rates when calculating the average to account for post glacial rebound (PGR). My guess is that they’re using Prof. Richard Peltier’s figures. Unfortunately, those figures are only very loosely correlated with what is actually happening at the tide-gauge locations.

Prof. Peltier also estimates that melt-water load from the melting of the great ice sheets (~10k years ago) is causing the ocean floors to sink by enough to cause a 0.3 mm/yr fall in sea-level, absent other factors. That number (0.3 mm/yr) is usually added to calculated “global average” sea-level rise rates, inflating the reported average, even though the resulting sum is not truly sea-level, and is not useful for projecting sea-level for coastal planning. It’s an attempt to calculate what the rate of sea-level rise would be were it not for the hypothesized sinking of the ocean floor.

50-60 years of data needed to establish trend

Unfortunately, many of the tide station records in NOAA’s expanded list of 375 are too short to be appropriate for measuring sea-level trends. The literature indicates that at least 50-60 years of data are needed to establish a robust sea-level trend from a tide station record. But the shortest record in NOAA’s list is Apra Harbor, Guam, with just 21 years of data. The text at the top of NOAA’s page says, “Trends with the widest confidence intervals are based on only 30-40 years of data.” But that is incorrect. I suspect they wrote it before they added the gauges with very short records.

So I also made a version of this spreadsheet in which stations with records shorter than 50 years are omitted.

Considering only tide stations with records of at least 50 years, the average and median rates of MSL rise (of the 225 remaining stations) are 0.90 mm/yr and 1.41 mm/yr, respectively:

I also tried limiting it to stations with records of at least 60 years, with very similar results: average 0.77 mm/yr, and median 1.37 mm/yr.

The average (0.90 mm/yr) is probably unrealistically low, due to the disproportionate number of stations in northern Europe which see low or negative rates of measured sea-level rise due to post glacial rebound. The fact that the average is less than the median also suggests that there are a disproportionate number of low-end outliers.

I also tried another approach, in which I excluded the most extreme latitudes. I started with just the “50+ year” stations, and included only stations within a latitude range of 45 (i.e., I excluded stations above 45 north or below 45 south). The resulting average and median for 137 stations were 2.22 mm/y and 2.02 mm/yr, respectively:

That approach largely solves the problem of low-side bias introduced by stations which are affected by PGR (which lowers the calculated average), but it doesn’t solve the problem of high-side bias introduced by stations affected by subsidence (which raises the calculated average). So the average (2.22 mm/yr) is probably unrealistically high. The fact that the average is greater than the median also suggests that there are a disproportionate number of high-end outliers.

So I tried another approach, this time explicitly eliminating “outliers.” I started with just the “50+ year” stations, but excluded the 40 stations with the lowest rate of sea-level rise (including most of those experiencing falling sea-level), and the 30 stations with the highest rate of sea-level rise (including most of those experiencing severe land subsidence, like Galveston, which is built on sinking fill dirt).

The resulting average and median rates of sea-level rise (calculated from 155 stations) are both 1.48 mm/yr:

That figure, 1.48 mm/yr, is the current best estimate of globally averaged coastal sea-level rise. At first glance excluding more low outliers than high outliers might seem to bias the result to the high end. But I think it is justifiable because of the disproportionate number of northern European and North American stations at locations where the land is rising due to post glacial rebound. The fact that the median and average are equal suggests that there aren’t disproportionate numbers of either high or low outliers.

I also tried excluding the low and high 35 stations, and the result was an average MSL rise of 1.36 mm/yr, and median 1.41 mm/yr, which suggests that it includes more low outliers than high outliers.

Note that 1.48 mm/yr is less than six inches per century. Also if you add Peltier’s +0.3 mm/yr GIA to that calculated 1.48 mm/yr global average rate of MSL rise, the sum is within NOAA’s 1.7-1.8 mm/yr range.

It is not possible to torture the tide-gauge data into yielding a globally averaged rate of relative sea-level rise anywhere near 3.3 mm/yr.”

SOURCE  (See the original for links)


Australian conservative Think-Tank praised for role in carbon tax demise

THE Institute of Public Affairs is in the running to win an international prize for its role in repealing the carbon tax.

THE right-wing think tank is a finalist for the $US100,000 ($A142,000) Templeton Freedom Award, granted by American non-profit organisation The Atlas Network.

A glowing description of the IPA's campaign strategy against the carbon tax, which was passed under the Gillard government in 2011 and repealed by the Abbott government in 2014, is detailed on The Atlas Network website.

The report lauds the IPA's influence in the Australian media landscape.

"Starting from the day the tax was announced, the IPA took an active role in the mainstream media to counter the misinformation that advocates of the carbon tax were peddling," the report reads.

"The IPA's research and analysis of the economics underpinning the case for the carbon tax appeared in print media outlets 209 times between Jan 1, 2010, and July 31, 2014.

"IPA research scholars also featured on radio and television stations around Australia, with 363 radio appearances between 2008 and 2013 and 261 television appearances in the same time frame."

The report praises the effectiveness of then IPA policy director Tim Wilson's efforts in representing a "contrarian perspective".

IPA deputy executive director James Paterson is quoted in the report saying revenue raised by the carbon tax was used to "grow the welfare state, subsidise politically favoured industries and engage in economy-wide welfare distribution".

The report concludes: "The carbon tax repeal has signalled that Australia is more open for business by eliminating costly compliance measures that served as a significant financial and time burden on Australian businesses and provided a significant barrier to entry for the energy market, especially for potential large investors."

The IPA will find out if it has won the prize at a New York event in November.



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

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


4 September, 2015

Scientific Reaction to Velikovsky - Symptomatic of Climate Science Debacle

The immediate reaction of the Green/Left to the article below will be an "ad hominem" one.  They will say that Tim Ball has now proven himself a loony.  "He believes in that crazy Velikovsky guy", they will say. 

That is of course NOT the point of the article below at all.  Ball does NOT say that he accepts the Velikovsky theories. He does however note that some of Velikovsky's predictions have been  borne out, which is more than you can say about Warmist predictions.

The point of the article below is that Velikovsky was greeted with censorship, not reasoned debate.  Sound familiar?

As it happens, I long ago read all three of Velikovsky's books and found them interesting.  His cosmological explanations however require a much more changing solar system than is plausible so I do not accept his explanation for the interesting phenomena that he draws together.  If his work had been regarded as an interesting starting point we might by now have some improvenents in historical knowledge (and note that Tim Ball is mostly an  historian).  But that was not to be.  Velikovsky upset too much of that wonderful "consensus" so minds snapped shut.

Many years ago, a colleague approached the President of the University with our plan to hold a conference on the ideas of Immanuel Velikovsky. He angrily rejected the plan saying he would not allow anything on campus associated with that charlatan. The President was a physicist and Velikovsky had challenged prevailing scientific views.

In some ways, it doesn’t matter whether Velikovsky was right or wrong. The problem was the reprehensible actions of the scientific community. His treatment holds many lessons for today’s debate over climate change.

Complexity of the corruption by the few scientists who hijacked climate science is revealed by comparison. They quickly established their views as the prevailing ‘truth’ through the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) by deliberately misusing climate science and also misusing basic science. They isolated anyone who challenged either part of their false science in the same way Velikovsky was marginalized.

Dogma Replaces Dogma

Western science and religion battled for hundreds of years. Many conflicts involved new ideas and their final victories were considered turning points in the fight for people’s beliefs. In winning, science became more dogmatic than the religion it replaced.

Gradually the focus shifted from a conflict with religion to rejection of new ideas by practitioners of the prevailing scientific views.

Historically, new scientific ideas were vigorously resisted and their proponents attacked by religion. That comment is now true within science. Usually most people don’t care or don’t understand the significance of the new ideas. Copernicus put the Sun at the centre of our solar system but it doesn’t matter for most as long as the sun rises and sets.

A critical change in the adoption and infiltration of ideas came with extension of government-controlled education. From kindergarten through university, it became indoctrination not education.

Graduation is allowed once you’ve demonstrated a grasp of the current ‘truths’. Questioning those truths poses a threat to your assessment and even progress. The quandary is that this contradicts advancement of knowledge and understanding, especially of science. Consider the general reaction to Gore’s comment about global warming theory that “the science is settled.”

Rapid spread and lack of understanding of the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) theory occurred because it quickly became part of school curricula. This was exacerbated because knowledge of science is necessary, but the subject was mostly covered in social sciences. It reflects the political nature of the subject and resulted in extensive indoctrination of ignorance. Graduates of this ignorance now control education, science and politics at all levels.

The Velikovsky Affair

Velikovsky was a Russian medical doctor with a lifelong interest in providing possible explanations for events recorded in historic records. A multi-linguist, he read original works from several middle-eastern cultures. He was on sabbatical in the US researching a book when World War II began. He stayed and began producing works on what the establishment categorized as catastrophism. Putting him in that category is part of the attack on his ideas from mainstream scientists.

Consider the pejorative nature of this quote from Wikipedia. “Velikovsky began to develop the radical catastrophist cosmology and revised chronology theories for which he would become notorious.” Why “radical” or “notorious”; these are judgmental adjectives used because he dared to suggest there is another interpretation of the evidence.

His views became problematic when Macmillan published Worlds in Collision in 1950. The book immediately became a best seller. There were several problems for establishment thinking.

    Catastrophic events were contrary to the prevailing philosophy of uniformitarianism.

    He was trained in medicine not geology or astronomy.

    He was Russian, a serious problem in the McCarthy era.

    He dared to suggest that historical records were of actual events – an idea problematic in climate science even today.

    Worse, he used the Bible as a source of evidence.

Wikipedia comments again show the bias. “Even before its appearance, the book was enveloped by furious controversy, when Harper’s Magazine published a highly positive feature on it, as did Reader’s Digest with what would today be called a creationist slant.” Ah, the dreaded anti-science word creationism.

    He was not indoctrinated by formal education in academic science – the bastions of dogmatism and intellectual tunnel vision.

    His ideas did not conform to established astronomical views on planetary motion.

    He published his ideas in popular magazines and trade books that went directly to the public who might challenge official science.

    He followed success of World’s in Collision with another bestseller Ages in Chaos.

    His work was interdisciplinary at a time of specialization. Worse, it blended science with the humanities and the social sciences.

Velikovsky’s story is fascinating, but my focus is on the reactions of the establishment, especially of Harlow Shapley. He had a checkered career apparently shaped by his rigid thinking and personal animosities. After graduating from Princeton, he worked at the Mount Wilson Observatory, then Harvard College Observatories. He attended the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science, which is at best a most pointed title. He was influential in forming government funded science institutions including the National Academy of Sciences. The latter has an ignominious part in the global warming debacle.

Macmillan was the only publisher in history who surrendered a best seller at peak sales. Shapely denied any involvement in the action. Velikovsky subsequently exposed his role in a letter to the Harvard Crimson. Macmillan was vulnerable to Shapley’s threats of curtailing academic textbooks because that was their major source of income. As with all these matters, the action is blameworthy, but the cover up compounds the error. Velikovsky discusses the events in Stargazers and Gravediggers.

Velikovsky’s major ideas built on the claim that Earth has experienced natural global disasters throughout its history. The major cause of natural catastrophes was brushes with other objects in the solar system and beyond. It’s probably thanks to Velikovsky that Walter and Luis Alvarez were able to propose the claim that a collision with an asteroid 65 million years ago led to extinction of dinosaurs. The father/son connection serendipitously allowed cross-discipline discussion between physics and geology. The intellectual isolation of specialization has undermined the ability to understand.

Science is the Ability to Predict

In the end, Velikovsky succeeded because he passed the ultimate test of science: the ability to predict. More important, they were in contradiction to prevailing views.

He made many and apparently, none is incorrect to date. The interesting one was the temperature of Venus which was almost double what the textbooks said.

The same textbooks that incorrectly use Venus as an example of runaway CO2 induced Greenhouse Effect.

Failure of the University President to approve a conference on Velikovsky was symptomatic of the dogmatic, closed minds that pervade modern science.

The few scientists involved with the AGW debacle deliberately exploited and practiced that condition.

Their actions indicate they saw this as a battle, but it was against the truth and as Aeschylus said, “In war, truth is the first casualty.”


Love those "adjustments" and "data filling"

Oceans getting toasty?  They're just guessing

A new study by Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IAP) proposed a new estimate on upper 0-700m ocean warming rate from 1970 to 2014: 0.55 ± 0.14 × 1022 J yr?1 (168TW). This estimate indicates a quicker upper ocean warming than previous estimates (i.e. the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report, IPCC-AR5).

Ocean heat content (OHC) change contributes substantially to global sea level rise (30%~50%), and provides a key metric for the earth’s energy budget (90% of the earth’s energy imbalance is stored in the ocean), so it is a vital task for the climate research community to estimate historical OHC. While there are large uncertainties regarding its value. IPCC AR5 provided five independent estimates of historical OHC change from 1970 to 2010 by five different international groups ranging from 74TW~137TW. Among these values, the minimum is as much as a half of the maximum, implying large divergence in the assessment of the ocean warming rate. That’s because there are several major error sources during OHC estimation.

Dr. Cheng Lijing, Prof. Zhu Jiang from IAP carried out a series of studies examining and quantifying the error sources in OHC estimates, including systematic biases in ocean temperature observations: expendable bathythermograph (XBT) data (Cheng et al. 2014), insufficient vertical resolution of historical temperature profiles (Cheng and Zhu, 2014a), choosing a proper climatology, and  how to infill the data gaps (Cheng and Zhu, 2014b). These improvements lead to a new reconstruction of historical upper (0–700 m) OHC change, which is presented in this study as the Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IAP) version of historical upper OHC assessment. 

Cheng and Zhu then worked with John Abraham from University of St. Thomas, USA, and obtained upper 0–700 m OHC trend which is 0.55 ± 0.14 × 1022 J yr?1 (168TW) from 1970 to 2014 (Figure 1a, in red), stronger than IPCC-AR5’s estimates. The long-term trend reveals the signal of anthropogenic forcing since industrial revolution, and inter-annual variability is dominated by El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO).

Furthermore, they show that Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, Phase 5 (CMIP5) simulations have limited ability in capturing the interannual and decadal variability of historical upper OHC changes during the past 45 years (Figure 1b).

Co-author John Abraham has described this research in his bog posting for The Guardian. Here is an excerpt:

"My colleagues and I have a new publication, which better characterizes this heating and also compares climate model predictions with actual measurements. It turns out models have under-predicted ocean warming over the past few decades.

"But how would you measure the ocean? How would you make consistent, long-term measurements that would allow people to compare ocean heat from decades ago to today? How would you make enough measurements throughout the ocean so that we have a true global picture?

"This is one of the most challenging problems in climate science, and one that my colleagues and I are working hard on. We look throughout measurement history; first measurements were made with canvas buckets, then insulated buckets, and other more progressively complex devices. Many measurements were made along ocean passageways as ships transported goods across the planet.

"As more ship travel occurred, and more measurements were made, the coverage of temperature measurements across the globe increased. So, over time, we say the temporal and spatial resolution increased. As these changes occurred, you have to be careful that any trend you see isn’t just an artifact of the resolution or the instrument accuracy.

"We also pay attention on one particularly important measurement device called the eXpendable BathyThermograph (XBT). This device, originally designed to make crude measurements for navies, has been used for years by climate scientists. There is systematic bias in XBT data, which creates spurious “ocean warm decades” from 1970s to early 1980s as reported in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report.

"What my colleagues determined was that we could reduce past errors in the ocean heat content (OHC) record by correcting systematic measurement biases, filling in gaps where no information is available, and by choosing a proper comparison climate. This new paper doesn’t solve all of the OHC issues, but it makes a great stride in clearing up past questions.

"Lead author, Dr. Lijing Cheng (who works for the International Center for Climate and Environment Sciences in China) applied four separate improvements to data. He focused his attention on the heating in the upper 700 meters of ocean waters because that depth has the best measurements and it also is the region where much of the global warming heat goes.

"Going back to 1970, we find that the upper 700-meter water layer temperature has increased approximately 0.3°C (approximately 0.55°F). While that may not sound like a lot, we have to remember this is a huge amount of water and consequently it requires an enormous amount of energy.

"We separated the world’s oceans into the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian. All three of these oceans are warming with the Atlantic warming the most. We also calculated the ocean heating by using 40 state-of-the-art climate models. Over the period from 1970, the climate models have under-predicted the warming by 15%.

"A remarkably close match that gives us a lot of confidence in the models. On the other hand, the models were not able to predict shorter-term fluctuations in ocean heating contained within the observed time period."


Ocean heat content (OHC) change contributes substantially to global sea level rise, so it is a vital task for the climate research community to estimate historical OHC. While there are large uncertainties regarding its value, in this study, the authors discuss recent progress to reduce the errors in OHC estimates, including corrections to the systematic biases in expendable bathythermograph (XBT) data, filling gaps in the data, and choosing a proper climatology. These improvements lead to a better reconstruction of historical upper (0–700 m) OHC change, which is presented in this study as the Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IAP) version of historical upper OHC assessment. Challenges still remain; for example, there is still no general consensus on mapping methods. Furthermore, we show that Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, Phase 5 (CMIP5) simulations have limited ability in capturing the interannual and decadal variability of historical upper OHC changes during the past 45 years.

Global upper ocean heat content estimation: recent progress and the remaining challenges by Cheng L. J. Zhu, and J. Abraham published in Atmospheric and Oceanic Science Letters, 8. DOI:10.3878/AOSL20150031


Obama Is Ignoring the Science on Climate Change

President Obama gave a doom and gloom speech yesterday at the Global Leadership in the Arctic (GLACIER) conference in Alaska to build momentum for the U.N. climate deal in Paris this December.

So far less than one third of countries have submitted plans to cut carbon dioxide emissions by the Wall Street Journal’s count.

According to Obama, “Climate change is happening faster than we’re acting” and the world is facing a future of more fires, more melting, more warming, more suffering.

But there are at least two major problems with his focus on global warming as he’s presented it in Alaska.

Ignoring Evidence On Climate Change

Obama continues to ignore science that doesn’t fit his narrative and has ignored sound evidence from people who disagree with him. Many of the environmental trends Obama has warned of do not appear to fit current realities.

In his speech he warned that,

“If [current] trend lines continue the way they are, there’s not going to be a nation on this earth that’s not going to be impacted negatively…More drought, more floods, rising sea levels, greater migration, more refugees, more scarcity, more conflict.”

However, Judith Curry, professor at Georgia Institute for Technology and participant in the International Panel on Climate Change and National Academy of Sciences, writes that when politicians talk about an undeniable climate “consensus” they are brushing over “very substantial disagreement about climate change that arises from:

Insufficient observational evidence

Disagreement about the value of different classes of evidence (e.g. models)

Disagreement about the appropriate logical framework for linking and assessing the evidence

Assessments of areas of ambiguity and ignorance

Belief polarization as a result of politicization of the science
All this leaves multiple ways to interpret and reason about the available evidence.”

Curry, and others with evidence countering the president’s narrative of an accelerating and catastrophic warming, are labeled by Obama as “critics,” “cynics,” “deniers,” and on “their own shrinking island.”

Yet data of observed reality collected from the U.N.’s International Panel on Climate Change and the U.S. National Climate Data Center does not show increasing frequency of extreme weather across the globe, whether you look at hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, or floods.

With so much yet unknown or unclear, one has to wonder if we are entirely misdiagnosing the problem.

What Will New Measures Do?

Obama hasn’t given Americans, or the world, an answer to perhaps the most important question: what kind of impact will global warming measures accomplish?

For starters, Federal subsidies and tax credits for wind and solar have cost billions of dollars while only increasing wind and solar contribution to the American energy by only 5 percent. In addition, it has tied both industries to government dependence with only minor success.

Energy efficiency mandates have reduced choices for Americans through the back door of regulation.

That has meant more expensive kitchen appliances or car models that must prioritize carbon dioxide emissions over other preferences like size, safety, or performance, not to mention an insult to the ability of Americans to make good energy efficiency choices for themselves.

And the Clean Power Plan, should it survive the serious legal problems with the regulations, promises to create a $2.5 trillion loss in GDP, hundreds of thousands of jobs lost, and a total income loss of $7,000 per person by 2030.

Those hardest hit will be people in manufacturing and with lower incomes.

Rich with irony, Obama warned that if we don’t act on climate change there would be “entire industries of people who can’t practice their livelihood.”

Tell that to those in the coal industry facing the gauntlet of the Clean Power Plan and a slew of other federal regulations, or miners and oil companies in Alaska in the crosshairs of the Obama administration’s zero carbon economy.

As it turns out, these mandates and subsidies also prove to be barriers to the progress and innovation the Obama administration wants.

Where does it get us on the path to addressing global warming?

Just shy of nowhere, or less than 0.002 degrees Celsius using an EPA model.

Jim Hansen, far from Obama’s global warming “deniers,” called the Clean Power Plan “practically worthless,” even though it is the centerpiece of the Obama administration’s climate agenda.

The administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, responsible for the Clean Power Plan, has testified before Congress that the Clean Power Plan isn’t about reducing global temperatures but “an investment opportunity” and “the tone and tenor” of international climate discussions.

Too many government policies, at home and abroad, make opportunity further out of reach under the misguided notion of making a dent in global warming.

In the process they thwart the opportunity, mobility, and wealth that can empower people to deal with environmental challenges.


Hidden emails reveal a secret anti-fossil fuel network involving the White House, Democrat governors, wealthy donors and foundations, and front groups

By Marita Noon

Most of us feel that time goes by faster as we get older. It does. When you are five years old, one year represents 20 percent of your life. Yet, when you are fifty, that same calendar year is only 2 percent of your life — making that single timeframe much smaller. Those of us involved in fighting the bad energy policies coming out of Washington have a similar feeling: the second term of the Obama Administration seems to be throwing much more at us and at such speed that we can barely keep up. Likewise, they are.

We knew that President Obama was planning to fundamentally transform America, but even many of his initial supporters have been shocked as his true intentions have been revealed. Following his November 2012 reelection, his administration has removed any pretense of representing the majority of Americans and has pursued his ideological agenda with wild abandon — leaving many of us feeling incapacitated, thrown to the curb as it speeds by.

His legacy climate change agenda is at the core of the rapid-fire regulations and the disregard for any speed bump the courts may place in front of the administration. When the Supreme Court smacked it down for failing to consider economic impacts of the mercury and air toxics standards for power plants, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) responded with a shrug, as their goal had essentially already been met. On August 27, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction — blocking the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers from enforcing the Waters of the United States rule in the thirteen states that requested the injunction. The response? The Hill reports, “The Obama administration says it will largely enforce the regulation as planned.”

Having failed to push the unpopular policies through Congress, the administration has resorted to regulatory overreach — and assembled a campaign to use friendly governors and state attorneys general offices, in collaboration with pressure groups and ideologically aligned benefactors, to advance the agenda.

The White House knows that the public is not with them. While polls show that slightly more than half of the American public believe the “effects of global warming are already happening,” it repeatedly comes in at the bottom of the list of priorities on which Americans think Obama and Congress should focus. The President’s pet policy fares even worse when pollsters ask if Americans agree that “government should do more to curb climate change, even at the expense of economic growth.” Only 12 percent “strongly agree.” Additionally, the very age group — young voters — that helped propel Obama into the Oval Office, is the group least convinced that climate change is a reality and the least “likely to support government funding for climate change solutions.”

It is, presumably, for this reason that a scheme hatched by now-disgraced former Oregon Governor Kitzhaber’s highest-paid aide Dan Carol — “a former Democratic opposition researcher,” who, according to the Oregonian, “worked on behalf of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama” — received an enthusiastic response from the White House and its allies. Remember, Kitzhaber resigned from office on February 13, 2015, amid allegations of criminal wrongdoing for the role his fiancée, Cylvia Hayes, held in his office and whether she used that role to obtain private consulting work promoting the climate change agenda. Carol, who was paid close to double Kitzhaber’s salary, according to a new report from Energy & Environment Legal Institute, left his public position “after appearing to have too closely intertwined government and the tax-payer dependent ‘clean energy’ industry with interest group lobbies.”

The goal of what was originally called “Dan’s concept” was to bring about a “coalescence of private financial and ideological interests with public offices to advance the officeholders’ agenda and political aspiration” — more specifically: “to bring the Obama Administration’s plans to reality and to protect them.”

This was done, according to dozens of emails obtained through federal and state open record laws “through a coordinated campaign of parallel advocacy to support close coordination of public offices” and involved a “political operation with outside staff funded by some of the biggest names in left-liberal foundation giving,” including, according to the emails, Tom Steyer, Michael Bloomberg, the Rockefeller Brothers, and the Hewlett Foundation. The first emails in the scandal began in mid-2013.

Kitzhaber wasn’t the only governor involved — he’s just the only one, so far, to resign. Many Democrat governors and their staff supported the scheme. You’d expect that California’s Governor Jerry Brown or Virginia’s Terry McAuliffe are part of the plan — called, among other names, the Governors Climate Compact — as they are avid supporters of the President’s climate change initiatives. What is surprising is Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear’s “quiet engagement.” He decried Obama’s Clean Power Plan (final rule announced on August 3, 2015), as being “disastrous” for Kentucky. In a statement about the Plan, he said, “I have remained steadfast in my support of Kentucky’s important coal and manufacturing industries, and the affordable energy and good jobs they provide the Commonwealth and the nation.” Yet, he isn’t opposing the rule and emails show that he is part of the “core group of governors quietly working to promote the climate agenda.”

In response to the records request, Beshear’s office “asserts that ‘no records’ exist in its files involving the Steyer campaign.” According to the E&E Legal report, there are “numerous emails from other governors copying a senior Beshear aide on her official account, emails which Beshear’s office surely possesses, unless it has chosen to destroy politically damaging emails.” An email bearing that aide’s name, Rebecca Byers, includes Kentucky as one of the states “that can’t commit to the GCC [Governors Climate Compact] publicly now but would welcome quiet engagement.”

Other states indicated in the emails include Minnesota, Rhode Island, Illinois, Connecticut, California, Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Delaware, Maryland, Colorado, New York, Vermont, and Virginia. Three newly-elected Republican governors have been targeted by the campaign — Larry Hogan (Md.), Charlie Baker (Mass.), and Bruce Rauner (Ill.). Reelected Republican Governor Rick Snyder (Mich.) has apparently joined the “core group.”

I’ve read the entire report — which had me holding my breath as if I were reading a spy thriller — and reviewed the emails.

The amount of coordination involved in the multi-state plan is shocking. The amount of money involved is staggering — a six-month budget of $1,030,000 for the orchestrators and multi-state director and $180,000 to a group to produce a paper supporting the plan’s claims. And, as the 55-page report points out, this collection of emails is in no way complete. As the report notes, “Context and common sense indicate that the emails E&E Legal obtained and detail in this report do not represent all relevant correspondence pulling together the scheme they describe. Public records laws extend to those records created, sent or received by public servants; private sector correspondence is only captured when copying public offices, with the caveat that most of the White House is exempt. Further, however, the records we have obtained reflect more than the time and other parameters of our requests; they are also a function of the thoroughness of offices’ responses, the willingness of former and current staff to search nonofficial accounts, and even several stonewalls as noted in the following pages.”

The E&E Legal report was of particular interest to me in that it followed the theme of my extensive coverage of Obama’s green energy, crony corruption scandal. Many of the same names, with which I’d become familiar, popped up over and over again: Terry McAuliffe, who received government funding for his failed electric car enterprise; Cathy Zoi, who worked for the Department of Energy; and, of course, John Podesta, who ran the Center for American Progress and who helped write the 2009 Stimulus Bill, and who then became a “senior advisor” to President Obama and is presently campaign manager for Hillary Clinton.

It also caught my attention because little more than a month ago — perhaps with a hint that this report was forthcoming — the Huffington Post published a story claiming that groups like mine were part of a “secret network of fossil fuel and utility backed groups working to stop clean energy.” Calling me — along with others — out by name, the author states, “The strategy of creating and funding many different organizations and front groups provides an artificial chorus of voices united behind eliminating or weakening renewable energy laws.” He concludes that the attacks “are the result of coordinated, national campaigns orchestrated by utilities and fossil fuel companies through their trade associations and front groups.”

Oh, how I wish we were that well-coordinated and funded. If we were, I would have written this column last week when the E&E Legal report was released. Instead of receiving the information from the source, a New York City journalist forwarded it to me.

Yes, I am part of a loosely-affiliated network of people who share similar concerns. Once a year, I meet with a group of private citizens and activists over property rights issues. I am on an email list of individuals and groups opposing wind turbines — often for different reasons. I have a cadre of scientists I’ve met at different meetings upon whom I do call for their varied expertise. Individuals often email me tips and news stories. True, most of the folks on my nearly 5,000-person email distribution list are part of the energy industry — though there are plenty of concerned citizens, too. In 2014, the average donation to my organization was under $500.

Imagine what we could do with the same amount of money and coordination the E&E Legal report revealed, after all we have the public on our side — average citizens whose utility bills are going up by double digits due to the policies espoused by President Obama and his politically connected allies who benefit from Americans’ tax dollars.

I hope you’ll join our chorus — you can subscribe and/or contribute to my efforts. We are not working in the shadows and are, in fact, proud of our efforts on behalf of all Americans, their jobs, and energy that is effective, efficient, and economical.

If this small — but organized and well-funded — group pushing Obama’s agenda were allowed to run rampant, without the roadblocks little pockets of opposition (like my group) erect though public education and exposure of the facts (such this E&E Legal report), it is scary to think about where America would be today. Remember, you are either part of the problem or part of the solution.


Obama coal plan will boost electricity bills 16%, drive companies offshore

As President Obama jetted to Alaska Monday to talk up his climate change plans, burning through nearly 17,000 gallons of fuel, a new report showed that his "Clean Power Plan" will increase consumer electric bills 16 percent and speed plans by job-creating manufacturers to flee America's high fuel costs.

The free-market focused Institute for Energy Research said that Obama's plan to replace coal-fired plants with renewable energy makers like windmills and solar will force companies to spend up to four times more on energy and hit consumers.

"The so-called Clean Power Plan is expected to decrease carbon dioxide emissions in the generating sector by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2032. To do this, massive amounts of coal-fired generating capacity will be shuttered and wind and solar power will be built in their stead—technologies that cost 2 to 4 times more than the coal capacity that is being shuttered," said the group in a report issued Monday.

They also cited the impact on consumers: "According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), residential electricity prices are expected to be 16 percent higher in real prices than today due to the proposed regulation and others imposed on the generating sector by EIA."

Obama and his supporters have been touting the positive impacts of the plan, but the report attempts to put a price on the initiative.

He was expected to discuss climate change in Alaska and the results of doing nothing. Air Force One burns about five gallons per mile, for a total of 16,875 gallons used to promote climate change initiatives in Alaska.

Several states have sued to stop his plan.

The report, which quotes multiple government and other official sources, said that the development of energy in the United States, leading to cheaper prices, has lured many American companies back to the homeland to set up shop. Even some Chinese firms are relocating to the U.S. because of cheaper energy.

But it warns that the attractiveness of the United States will end with the new Obama regulations.

"Low energy prices and American ingenuity have brought manufacturing back to this country. However, all this is likely to change as President Obama's regulations go into effect, making electricity and natural gas prices escalate, forcing companies to accept higher domestic operating costs or move offshore," warned the report.

The report concluded: "President Obama is making energy prices escalate due to stringent environmental regulations being promulgated by the EPA. Due to the timing of these regulations, most of the price increases will not been seen by the public until his second term is up. Nonetheless, the headway the United States made to bring manufacturing back to America is being threatened. The result will be a loss of jobs that we cannot afford."


Australia:  "Organic" farmer loses his attempt to impose organic practices on his neighbours

An organic farmer in Western Australia whose crop was contaminated with genetically modified (GM) canola from a neighbouring farm has lost his court appeal for compensation.

Steve Marsh of Kojonup lost organic certification over most of his farmland in 2010 after genetically modified seeds and swathes blew onto his farm.

Mr Marsh went to court, seeking more than $80,000 in compensation.

But last year the Supreme Court dismissed the case, saying neighbour Michael Baxter had not acted negligently and could not be held responsible just for growing a GM crop in a conventional way.  It also awarded Mr Baxter costs.

The Court of Appeal has now dismissed appeals on the case and the costs in a two-to-one decision.

Earlier this year it was revealed that Monsanto had contributed to Mr Baxter's costs while Mr Marsh's campaign has been supported by the Safe Food Foundation.

Outside the court, Mr Baxter said he had been confident of winning.  "We certainly never doubted all the way through that we were probably going to be on the winning side," he said.

"This should never have even gone to court because between farmers, we should've just had a chat over the fence, had a couple of beers, you know, this would've been all sorted out.

"He's an organic farmer, he can't spray, he can't use chemicals, you know he's got red mite, he's got aphids, he's got rust, he's got all the diseases in the world, does he worry about that?

"They blow over the fence, I get them all the time.  "Do I whinge, do I complain? No, not at all."

Mr Baxter said he had no relationship with Mr Marsh anymore.

"He took the hard line, he made the decision," he said.

He thanked the Pastoralists and Graziers Association for their support.

The decision was another blow for Mr Marsh.  "I guess what this has demonstrated is that common law does not protect farmers against GM contamination, that's obviously very clear," he said.

"This argument that it's like a leaf blowing next door or something blowing next door, it's quite ridiculous.

"This product's got a technology in it, it's got a patent on it to start with, so you can't tell me a leaf blowing next door or an aphid or a weed is the same as GM technologies."

Mr Marsh said he was considering whether to appeal to the High Court.  "It was obviously a two-one decision so they weren't all against us," he said.

Mr Marsh was asked whether he was prepared for the possibility of losing his farm.

"You've got to deal with what you've got to deal with - if you don't stand for what you believe is right then that's it," he said.

The court had sought to rule on costs, but that will be decided on submissions in the coming weeks after a request from Mr Marsh's counsel.  Costs are estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Mr Baxter has said the funds he received from Monsanto were considered to be a loan, and the support was no different to what Mr Marsh had received from other groups.

Safe Food Foundation Director Scott Kinnear described Mr Marsh as a "hero" for "standing up" to GM technology.

Speaking outside the court, Mr Kinnear said the farmer would continue to have the organisation's support if he decided to appeal further.  "We have to sort this issue out, we have to sort it out either in the courts, or politically it needs to be sorted out," he said.

Mr Kinnear said Mr Marsh was already "down significantly on funds".  "He's lost his sheep, which was a significant part of his income," he said.  "We have to help him get back to where he was."

Pastoralists and Graziers Association grain growers' committee chairman John Snook said the decision had big implications for farmers.

"What it means is [farmers] can grow GM canola with certainty, they don't have to be worried about being potentially attacked and sued by an organic neighbour," he said.  "We have always stood by Michael Baxter and will continue to do so until this issue is completely finished."

Appeals Court president Justice Carmel McLure decided in favour of Mr Marsh and his wife, who were both appellants.

She found the interference with the appellants' use and enjoyment of their property was both substantial and unreasonable and constituted a private nuisance.

Justice McLure said Mr Baxter "had actual knowledge of the risk of decertification when he engaged in the conduct which caused the harm to the appellants". She said Mr Marsh was entitled to damages amounting to $85,000.

But Justice David Newnes and Justice Graeme Murphy decided in favour of Mr Baxter.

They said Mr Marsh's choice of farming operations did not mean Mr Baxter's lawful use of his own land "constituted a wrongful interference with the appellants' use or enjoyment of their land".

They also said Mr Marsh and his wife had "put their land to an abnormally sensitive use" and they could not "unilaterally enlarge their own rights" and impose limitations on their neighbours to a greater extent than would otherwise be the case.



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

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


3 September, 2015

Obama’s war on the poor continues

By Rick Manning

The past few years have been marked by Obama releasing new regulation after new regulation designed to increase the price of low-cost, readily-available fuel so that higher-cost, less-available alternatives become economically viable. The resulting higher electricity costs represent the most regressive form of regulatory taxation imaginable as the less fortunate have almost no way, short of being cold, of avoiding the costs.

The stated objective of lowering carbon emissions might make sense if these very regulations weren’t projected to have the perverse effect of encouraging the continued and expanded burning of these fuels in countries with significantly lower environmental standards while costing hundreds of thousands of American jobs.

When coupled with the Obama Administration’s goal of establishing a Trans-Pacific Partnership that will encourage outsourcing manufacturing to nations with virtually non-existent environmental protections, the net result would be fewer well-paying jobs here at home to help raise the middle class and more pollution worldwide.

But this may be considered an esoteric argument. One Obama EPA regulation that would have an obvious devastating impact on the very poor is the EPA’s rule on residential wood heaters. This regulation would make the cost of manufacturing heaters that burn wood prohibitively expensive denying consumers a low-cost means to safely heat their homes using wood.

In spite of the belief of those who cash government paychecks every other week, many people in our nation depend upon burning wood for heat in the winter even in the affluent Washington, D.C. area. Nationally, one in ten homes depends upon wood heat in some form with just under two percent using it as their primary source.

The need is so great that the men at Chesapeake Church in Calvert County, Maryland, spend a couple of weekends in the late fall and winter chopping and delivering wood to those who depend upon burning that wood to stay warm.

This is not a vanity, return-to-the-rustic-days-of-old crackpot fantasy of better living that entices Birkenstock-wearing enviros to cook and heat with wood. No, it is survival for people who find themselves struggling to put food on the table.

Yet, the elitists at the EPA are trying to regulate safe, wood-burning heaters out of existence, leaving the poor to use dangerous alternatives to survive sub-freezing temperatures.

Fortunately, Representative David Rouzer (R-N.C.) has introduced legislation to repeal this War on the Poor regulation saying, “The federal government has no business telling private citizens how they should heat their homes.”

It is expected that Rouzer will be working with his colleagues in the House in September to attach language to the upcoming government funding bill which will stop the wood-burning heater rule in its tracks.

With winter on the way, Congress needs to act to protect the less fortunate by allowing them to choose affordable alternatives to safely heat their homes. The only better option would be to force the EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to trade places for a few weeks in February with those who depend upon wood heat in sub-freezing temperatures and see if she changes her mind about her Agency’s attempt to force the poor to sacrifice basic necessities on the altar of climate change.


Bicycles don't belong on busy city streets

Jeff Jacoby is talking about his native Boston but his words have wide applicability elsewhere

The Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain is more than a renowned horticultural jewel; it is also a splendid venue for cyclists, with miles of meandering paths and gorgeous views of Boston. The Charles River Esplanade is another bikers' oasis, part of an 18-mile loop along the river that separates Boston from Cambridge. For commuters, the Southwest Corridor Park that stretches from Back Bay to Forest Hills is a marvel of urban design that offers terrific biking in the heart of the city.

Busy thoroughfares aren't meant for cyclists. They are meant for the cars, trucks, and buses that transport the vast majority of people moving through the nation's cities.

If you want to ride a bicycle in Boston, you've got plenty of great places to do it.

Massachusetts Avenue during business hours isn't — and shouldn't be — one of them.

The death last month of cyclist Anita Kurmann, who was fatally struck by a tractor-trailer turning from Mass. Ave. onto Beacon Street, was a terrible tragedy. The 38-year-old medical researcher was at least the 13th cyclist killed in a collision with a motor vehicle on city streets since 2010. That number is sure to rise if Boston keeps encouraging people to ride bicycles where bicycles don't belong.

Busy thoroughfares aren't meant for cyclists. They are meant for the cars, trucks, and buses that transport the vast majority of people moving through the nation's cities. Those vehicles weigh thousands of pounds, operate at 300-plus horsepower, and are indispensable to the economic and social well-being of virtually every American community. Bicycles can be an enjoyable, even exhilarating, way to get around. So can horses, skis, and roller skates. Adding any of them to the flow of motorized traffic on roads that already tend to be too clogged, however, is irresponsible and dangerous.

According to the latest Census Bureau data, more than 122 million people commute each day by car, truck, or van. Fewer than 900,000 bike to work. Do the math: For every cyclist pedaling to or from work, there are 136 drivers. Add the passengers who commute by bus and streetcar, and that ratio is even more lopsided. When it comes to urban transportation, bike riders play a trifling role — literally less than a rounding error. Far more people walk to work.

This isn't "sharing the road." It is a foolhardy policy of treating bicycles — flimsy, slow, and distracting — as the equivalent of motor vehicles, which are faster, more powerful, and vastly more numerous.

But that doesn't deter the bicycle lobby, which could give lessons in brass to Donald Trump. Advocates demand more and more access to city streets, no matter how frustrating to the vast majority of drivers for whom those streets are designed. On many major roads, lanes for cars have been shrunk in order to carve out cycling lanes. "Share the Road," signs pointedly admonish drivers, as though sound traffic management calls for treating flimsy, slow, and distracting bikes as the equal of faster, more powerful motor vehicles.

And "sharing" the road, increasingly, isn't enough: Signs now decree "Bicycles May Use Full Lane," warning motorists that the biker ahead of them causing traffic to crawl has every right to be in the middle of the lane. And if there's only one lane of traffic in each direction, so that traffic on a city street is effectively reduced to the speed of a lone cyclist? Too bad.

All of which might be marginally more tolerable if bikers operated under the same restrictions that drivers do. But cyclists pay no taxes, don't have to be insured, undergo no safety inspections, and needn't register their vehicles. They don't get pulled over for riding without reflectors or headlamps, don't have to carry an operator's license, and aren't required to pass either a written or a road test in order to pedal in the streets. And have you ever seen a cop ticket a cyclist who ran a red light, weaved recklessly among lanes, or made an illegal turn? Me neither.

Bikes aren't treated like cars for a very good reason: Bikes aren't like cars. Which is exactly why they don't belong on busy city streets. Cyclists and traffic don't mix. It's not just foolish to pretend otherwise. It's deadly.


Oil, America's Inexhaustible Resource

By Stephen Moore

“The United States of America cannot afford to bet our long-term prosperity, our long-term security on a resource that will eventually run out, and even before it runs out will get more and more expensive to extract from the ground.” —Barack Obama, 2011.

In August 1859 on the eve of the Civil War, Col. Edwin Laurentine Drake completed the first commercial oil well in the United States on Oil Creek just outside of Titusville, Pa. Over the next century and a half, oil and gas companies have extracted tens of billions of barrels of oil from the ground from California to New York and nearly everywhere in between.

During that time period, one thing has been constant: Doomsayers and declinists have predicted that we would soon drill the last barrel of oil. Famously in the 1920s, the U.S. Department of Interior projected less than a few decades' worth of recoverable oil in the United States. Jimmy Carter declared in 1980 that by 2000 we’d be nearly out of oil — running on empty.

Last month, the Department of Energy reported that the U.S. hit a new energy milestone: We produced 9.52 million barrels a day. That was very close to the highest output level in recorded history. So much for running out.

Something else has happened in recent weeks that almost no one — least of all President Obama — would have predicted. The price of oil fell below $40 a barrel. Adjusted for inflation, that makes oil cheaper today than at almost anytime in history. Adjusted for wages, we work less to buy gasoline and oil today than nearly ever before.

Welcome to the age of oil and gas abundance. One of the people who predicted all of this 40 years ago was the late, great economist Julian Simon. When cultural icons like doomsayer Paul Ehrlich of Stanford University were assuring us that the end was nigh when it came to oil, food, copper, tin and farmland, and that the earth would soon be freezing over because of cooling trends, it was Julian Simon who declared they were all wrong. He was regarded as a lunatic, in today’s left-wing jargon, a “denier,” but he was right, and the “scientific consensus” was entirely and almost negligently wrong.

The experts at the Institute for Energy Research recently published an inventory of American energy given current technological capabilities. Their research shows that we have 500 years worth of coal and natural gas and at least 200 years worth of oil. The wellspring of energy in America will never run dry.

The reason we never run out of “finite” resources is that human ingenuity runs forward at a far faster pace than the rate we use up oil, gas or food. The shale oil and gas revolution — thanks to fracking technologies — nearly tripled overnight our oil and gas reserves. We now produce three times as much food with one-third as much manpower at one-third the cost than we did in 1950.

That the left-wing doomsayers have been time and again discredited in their Malthusian warnings has several policy implications. First, would you keep buying stock from a broker who kept giving you all the wrong advice and losing your money?

Then why do we listen to the same crowd of doomsayers who still say we are running out of oil or that the earth is going to heat up into a fireball? Their credibility and their “scientific consensus” have rarely been right. They are like the boy who cries wolf over and over.

Second, there are high costs to false fears. President Obama has many times justified the $100 billion we’ve wasted on renewable energy subsidies by the claim that we’re running out of oil.

Third, many of the same Malthusians who told us we were running out of oil and food are the intellectual giants behind the global warming industry. These are the ones who say that the debate is over on global warming, that they can’t possibly be wrong, that the science is settled and that those who question their religious-like conviction have been bought off by the Koch brothers or big oil. Given their abysmal track record, is it asking too much of them to consider that they might just be wrong?

Several years ago, I declared on a television show that America will never run out of oil and gas, and that our supplies are inexhaustible. I was flooded with angry letters and emails. My favorite note came from a junior high school science teacher who wrote me: “How could you say such a stupid thing? Even my sixth-graders understand that oil is a finite resource.” Well, a sixth-grader might believe that tripe.

What is disconcerting is that the president of the United States, the media and many “scientists” still believe it. Paul Ehrlich once said that one thing the world will never run out of “is idiots.” Alas, he was right for once.


Severe winters caused by global warming, says new study

”If your winter has been brutally cold in Tokyo or Toledo in recent years, you can thank global warming in the Arctic", a new study suggests

"Snowfalls across Europe and Asia were the highest in decades last year, while frigid cold in the northeast U.S. led to natural gas shortages and price spikes that year. This year, Boston got buried under more than 9 feet (2.7 meters) of snow, an all-time high.”

Such weather disasters will be more likely due to rising global temperatures,  the article continues, because changes in Arctic air flows “produce favorable conditions for severe winters in East Asia or North America.

We’re apparently supposed to believe that the hotter it gets, the colder it gets. The research was led by Jong-Seong Kug of Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea.

They did test this story during the “polar vortex” of 2013-2014,   But now its backed by ‘studies’ (& just in time for the climate change conference).”

So now when you are neck deep in snow & your city runs out of grit, you can blame AGW.


Today's words of wisdom come from Ruth Dixon's review of Lord Stern's latest opus

Stern is...selective in his choice of data. He frequently ignores mainstream scientific evidence (such as that found in the authoritative reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)) in favour of outlying estimates....

The type of small-scale solar PV [Stern] describes is a good way to supply electricity for lights, phone and internet access to remote communities, but it is fanciful to suppose that such systems can provide enough power for cooking....

Even in his own words, Stern makes clear that he does not view objectivity as an overriding concern...


Obama takes veiled shot at Australian PM on Climate?

Speaking to a global leadership conference on the Arctic, President Obama says that those who want to ignore the science 'are on their own shrinking island' and any world leader that doesn't take climate change seriously is 'not fit to lead.'  

As the highest profile leader to rebuff Obama's pressure on climate, Australian prime minister Tony Abbott famously called much of the science behind catastrophic climate change 'absolute crap' and successfully repealed Australia's deeply unpopular carbon tax.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: "So the time to heed the critics and the cynics and the deniers has passed. The time to plead ignorance is surely passed. Those who want to ignore the science they are increasingly alone. They are on their own shrinking island. [...] Any leader willing to take a gamble on a future like that, any so-called leader who does not take this issue seriously or treats it like a joke, is not fit to lead."


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

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


2 September, 2015

Some real fun below

If deliberate deception is fun.  It's fun to expose it anyway. "Slate's" crooked "Bad astronomer", Phil Plait, is at it again.  Read here and here to see two of his recent attempted deceptions eviscerated. 

What we read below is no exception.  He is just a global warming apparatchik.  There is no truth in him (John 8:44). How do we know that?

He says that sea levels have been rising since 1992, which is correct.  They have been rising for much longer than that, in fact. He also says the rise is due to global warming, which is not correct. How do we know that?  Look at the chart below.  You can see that the graph of rises climbs steadily.  It did NOT stop 18 years ago when global warming stopped.  So clearly the two phenomena are unrelated.  Sea levels did not stop rising when warming stopped. QED.

Warmists really are the most disgusting crooks.  Fortunately they are also transparent crooks if one looks at all closely at their claims

Do you think global warming is something that only affects us sometime in the future, decades or centuries from now?

Think again. Our planet heating up is affecting us now, and has been for decades. We’re already seeing a lot of serious problems due to it: extreme weather, more devastating hurricanes, wildfires, and sea level rise.

Of all these, the last seems most like science fiction. Seriously, the levels of the ocean are going up? It can’t be much, right?

Think again, again. NASA just released results from several satellite observations going back to 1992. Those 23 years of data show that the oceans of the planet have risen substantially in that time: over 6 centimeters (2.5 inches) on average, with some places on Earth seeing more than 22 cm (9 inches)!

The cause of all this is obvious and very real: global warming. As human activity — primarily dumping 40 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year — causes the Earth’s surface temperature to go up, a lot of that energy is absorbed by the oceans, causing them to expand. Some of it is absorbed at the poles, melting ice there.

Sea ice melting at the north pole is bad enough, but the land ice melting is nothing short of catastrophic. Climatologists have already shown that the melting of the West Antarctica ice sheet may be unstoppable. We may be locked in — that is, inevitably going to suffer from — a full meter of sea level rise, three feet. This may take a century or more, but it’s coming. And while that may seem like a long time, think of it this way: A meter per century is a centimeter every year, an inch every 2.5 years.

Mind you, that’s vertical rise. Look at the slope of a beach and you can see that a small rise vertically means a lot of horizontal reach to the ocean, too. We’ll see beaches disappear, coastlines changed. More immediately, we’ll see storm surges do far more damage as it takes less rise in the water levels to inundate cities. Remember what the surge from Hurricane Sandy did to NYC? We’ll be seeing more and more of that.

This is the new normal. And the scary thing is not so much that the new normal is bad, it’s that with more warming, rising sea levels, and changing weather patterns, the new normal will continue to get worse. There may not be a normal any more.

And all that time, the temperatures will rise, the glaciers will melt, the sea levels will rise, and we’ll be that much deeper into a catastrophe that is already well underway.


Ethical collapse at the University of Western Australia

They will do anything to prop up their Warmist psychologist Stephan Lewandowsky and his very odd research methods

The Lewandowsky, Gignac, and Oberauer paper in PLOS ONE has been substantially corrected. I had alerted the journal last fall that there were serious errors in the paper, including the presence of a 32,757-year-old in the data, along with a 5-year-old and six other minors. The paleoparticipant in particular had knocked out the true correlation between age and the conspiracy belief items (the authors had reported there was no correlation between age and anything else.)

Deeply troubling issues remain. The authors have been inexplicably unwilling to remove the minors from their data, and have in fact retained two 14-year-olds, two 15-year-olds, a 16-year-old, and a 17-year-old. This is strange given that the sample started with 1,001 participants. It is also wildly unethical.

To provide some context, let me lay out the timeline:

October 4, 2013: Lewandowsky was alerted on his own website that there was a 32,757-year-old and a 5-year-old in his data.

There was no correction. Recall that he had reported analyses of the age variable in the paper, and that these analyses were erroneous because of the 32,757-year-old.

August 18, 2014: On the PLOS ONE page for the paper, I alerted the authors to the 32,757-year-old, the 5-year-old, and the six other minors in their data (along with several other problems with the study.)

There was no correction.

September 22, 2014: I contacted PLOS ONE directly and reported the issue. I had waited over a month for the authors to correct their paper after the notification on August 18, but they had mysteriously done nothing, so it was time to contact the journal.

August 13, 2015: Finally, a correction was published. It is comprehensive, as there were many errors in their analyses beyond the age variable.

I'd like to pause here to say that PLOS ONE is beautiful and ethically distinctive. They insisted that the authors publish a proper correction, and that it thoroughly address the issues and errors in the original. They also placed a link to the correction on top of the original paper. The authors did not want to issue a proper correction. Rather, Lewandowsky preferred to simply post a comment on the PLOS ONE page for the paper and call it a corrigendum. This would not have been salient to people reading the paper on the PLOS ONE page, as it requires that one click on the Comments link and go into the threads. Notably, Lewandowsky's "corrigendum" was erroneous and required a corrigendum of its own... It was also remarkably vague and uninformative.

A serious ethical issue remains – they kept the minors in their data (except the 5-year-old.) They had no prior IRB approval to use minors, nor did they have prior IRB approval to waive parental consent. In fact, the "ethics" office at the University of Western Australia appears to be trying to retroactively approve the use of minors as well as ignoring the issue of parental consent. This is ethically impossible, and wildly out of step with human research ethics worldwide. It also cleanly contradicts the provisions of the Australian National Statement on Ethical Conduct of Human Research (PDF). In particular, it contradicts paragraphs 4.2.7 through 4.2.10, and 4.2.12. The conduct of the UWA ethics office is consistent with all their prior efforts to cover up Lewandowsky's misconduct, particularly with respect to Lewandowsky's Psych Science paper, which should be treated as a fraud case. UWA has refused everyone's data requests for that paper, and has refused to investigate. Corruption is serious problem with human institutions, one that I increasingly think deserves a social science Manhattan Project to better understand and ameliorate. UWA is a classic case of corruption, one that mirrors those reported by Martin.

Here is the critical paragraph regarding minors in the PLOS ONE correction:

"Several minors (age 14–17) were included in the data set for this study because this population contributes to public opinions on politics and scientific issues (e.g. in the classroom). This project was conducted under the guidelines of the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NH&MRC). According to NH&MRC there is no explicit minimum age at which people can give informed consent (as per What is required instead is to ascertain the young person’s competence to give informed consent. In our study, competence to give consent is evident from the fact that for a young person to be included in our study, they had to be a vetted member of a nationally representative survey panel run by (partner of, who collected the data). According to information received from the panel provider, they are legally empowered to empanel people as young as 13. However, young people under 15 are recruited to the panel with parental involvement. Parental consent was otherwise not required. Moreover, for survey respondents to have been included in the primary data set, they were required to answer an attention filter question correctly, further attesting to their competence to give informed consent. The UWA Human Rights Ethics Committee reviewed this issue and affirmed that “The project was undertaken in a manner that is consistent with the Australian National Statement of Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007).”

The above may be difficult for people to parse and unpack. Here are the essentials we can extract from it:

1. There was no prior IRB approval for the use of minors. (UWA's review was retroactive, amazingly.)

2. Parental consent was not obtained for minors who were at least 15 years of age.

3. Obtaining parental consent for 13 and 14-year-olds was delegated to a market research company. However, the term "consent" is not used in this case. Rather, the authors claim that the market research company recruited these kids with "parental involvement". It's not clear what this term means.

4. The UWA "ethics" committee is attempting to grant retroactive approval for the use of minors and the lack of parental consent, as well as the delegation of consent obtainment to a market research company. They cite the National Statement of (sic) Ethical Conduct in Human Research, even though it contains no provision for retroactive approvals or cover-ups. In fact, the Statement does not contemplate such absurdities at all.

Every one of the above four points is revolutionary. This is an ethical collapse. Researchers worldwide would be stunned to hear of this. No IRB approval for the use of minors? No parental consent? A new age threshold of 15 for parental consent, and 13 for participation? Delegating parental consent to a market research company? An IRB acting as a retroactive instrument? An IRB covering up the unapproved use of minors? I'm not sure we've ever encountered any one of these things. Having all of these happen at the same time is a singularity, an ethical event horizon that dims the sun.

Notably, their citation of the NH&MRC page is a sham. The page makes no mention of age or minimum ages. It ultimately defers to Chapter 4.2, which takes for granted that there is IRB approval to use minors, as well as parental consent. (See the Respect and Standing Parental Consent sections.) It does not contemplate a universe where IRB approval is not obtained. It's extremely disturbing that staff at UWA would try to deceive the scientific community with a sham citation.

I contacted UWA about these issues some months ago. As far as I can tell, they refuse to investigate. It's as though their ethics office is specifically designed to not investigate complaints if they think they can escape scrutiny and legal consequences. Mark Dixon of the UWA anti-ethics office said the following in an e-mail:

"However, this project was designed for a general demographic. Surveys targeted to a general population do not prohibit the collection of data from minors should they happen to respond to the survey."

"You are probably aware that the survey written up in the article was an online survey, where consent is indicated by the act of taking the survey."

"Inclusion or omission of outliers, such as the '5 year old' and the '32,000 year old', are reasonable scholarship when accompanied by explanatory notes. However, it would be unusual to actually delete data points from a data-set, so I don't understand your concern about the remaining presence of such data-points in the data-set."

"You expressed concern that the survey “… did not even ask participants for their ages until the end of the study, after participation and any "consent" had been secured". Demographic information is routinely collected at the end of a survey. This is not an unusual practice."

To say that these statements are alarming is an understatement. He thinks research ethics doesn't apply to online studies. He thinks we don't need to obtain consent for online studies, that simply participating is consent. He thinks 5-year-olds and 32,757-year-olds are "outliers" and that it is reasonable to retain them (is he aware that the age variable was analyzed?) He thinks researchers can ask someone's age at the end of a study. This person retains the title "Associate Director (Research Integrity)", yet he appears to know nothing of research or research integrity. The best explanations here are that he has no training in human research ethics and/or he's corrupt. This is such an extraordinary case.

For lay readers, let me note the following:

1. An online study is a study like any other study. The same research ethics apply. There's nothing special about an online study. Whether someone is sitting in front of a computer in a campus lab, or in their bedroom, the same ethical provisions apply.

2. We always require people to be at least 18 years of age, unless we are specifically studyinging minors (which would require explicit IRB approval).

3. We always include a consent form or information sheet at the start of an online study. This form explains the nature of the study, what participants can expect, how long it should take, what risks participation may pose to the participant, any compensation they will receive, and so forth. Notably, the form will explicitly note that one must be at least 18 to participate.

4. We always ask age up front, typically the first page after a person chooses to participate (after having read the consent or information sheet.)

5. We always validate the age field, such that the entered age must be at least 18 (and typically we'll cap the acceptable age at 99 or so to prevent fake ages like 533 or 32,757.) All modern survey platforms offer this validation feature. A person cannot say that they are 5 years old, or 15 years old, and proceed to participate in an IRB-approved psychology study. We can't do anything about people who lie about their ages – either in an online study or an in-person study on campus – but if they submit a minor age, it's a full stop. Because of this, there should never be minors or immortals in our data.

At this point, I think PLOS ONE should retract the paper. We can't have unapproved – or retroactively approved – minors in data. UWA is clearly engaged in a cover-up, and their guidance should not inform PLOS ONE's, or any journal's, decisions. This exposes the structural ethical vulnerability we have in science – we rely on institutions with profound conflicts of interest to investigate themselves, to investigate their own researchers. We have broad evidence that they often attempt to cover up malpractice, though the percentages are unclear. Journals need to fashion their own processes, and rely much less on university "finders of fact". We should also think about provisioning independent investigators. In any case, UWA's conduct deserves to be be escalated and widely exposed, and it will be. This is far from over – we can't just sit passively given the severity of the ethical breaches here, and we won't.

Substantive note: The correction does not address one of the substantive errors in the original. Gender is the largest predictor of GMO attitudes. They never reported this, but rather implied that gender did no work. A lot of times boring variables like age and gender explain a lot of variance, and in this case gender explained more than any other. (Women trusted GMOs less, using Lewandowsky's primitive linear correlations on the scale index. It's unclear whether women actually distrusted GMOs – i.e. where the women clustered on the items. A correlation doesn't tell you this. A bad researcher would say "women distrusted GMOs" given a negative correlation coefficient, without specifying descriptives or their actual, substantive placement on the scale, which could in fact be pro-GMO, just less pro than men.)


The Old Farmer’s Almanac Versus Global Warming Alarmists

Climate change, previously known as global warming, is a national security issue according to President Obama. This was the message he delivered to recent U.S. Coast Guard Academy graduates. Funny, but when I think of national security issues other things come to mind, such as the rise of ISIS, cyber hacking by the Russians and Chinese, nukes in “Death to America” Iran, or our open borders.

Global warming, touted by noted climate scientist Al Gore, has morphed into climate change since actual planetary warming stopped in 1998, when Mr. Gore was still the Vice-President. Since then we have been treated to cold snowy winters, not only here but elsewhere in the world.

What about the upcoming winter? Will we finally see the predicted warming? The Old Farmer’s Almanac just released its forecast for the upcoming winter. “Super cold with a slew of snow for much of the country, even in places that don’t usually see to much of it, like the Pacific Northwest.”
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Who cares what a folksy book of hocus pocus for farmers says about the weather? We know better. Al Gore, Barack Obama, and the supposed consensus of 97 percent of climate scientists all say global warming, climate change, is real. They base their reasoning on “solar cycles, climatology, and meteorology” which happens to be what the Old Farmer’s Almanac uses for its forecast too.

So who’s right? Last year the Almanac predicted, “Snowfall will be above normal in most of the Northeast.” Turns out Boston set a new record for the snowiest season. Eight years ago, “Al Gore predicted that the North Pole could be completely liquidated by 2014 due to the impending threat of global warming.” Instead the Arctic ice cap is growing.

It seems global warming only exists in the world of computer models. And how accurate are these predictions? When tropical storm Sandy became a hurricane, the forecast track was all over the map, literally. Most models had her heading to Bermuda and only a few tracks leading to the New York metro area. This was only five days before she made landfall in New Jersey.
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Yet similar models used by Al Gore and the 97 percent consensus are guiding U.S. energy, economic, and foreign policy. It seems the Old Farmer’s Almanac is more accurate than the models used by the global warming alarmist smart set. But the Almanac isn’t being used to guide policy, instead it’s simply put out there to use or not use as you choose.

“Some meteorologists generally pooh-pooh the Almanac’s forecasts as too unscientific to be worth much,” but what about the government’s predictions about global warming or climate change? Pooh-pooh the pronouncements of Al Gore or Barack Obama and you are a “denier.” Who are the real deniers? Those questioning and challenging a decade of spurious government predictions? Or those doubling down in the face of ongoing contradictions to their predictions of impending calamity?

How about some science? Create a model and test its validity. If it predicts accurately, we’ll listen. If not, shut up and go back to the drawing board.


Biotech Foods Can Save People and the Environment

Approximately 800 million people are currently malnourished, and the world’s population is expected to rise by 2 billion by the year 2050. If we use current technologies—or, Heaven forbid, roll back use of modern agricultural practices—we will have to plow down literally millions of acres to relieve the projected hunger expected to come as a result of the growing population. Fortunately, a widespread embrace of biotechnology and genetically modified (GM) crops can help ensure there is enough food for all.

Earth is bountiful and fecund, but it does not yield its treasures without hard work. Earth’s natural ability to produce the food necessary to feed human and animal populations has been enhanced greatly since the agricultural revolution more than 10,000 years ago. Our forbearers applied ingenuity and innovation to the improvement of crops; increased the efficiency of our land and water use; and improved methods of distribution, storage, and defense against animal and plants pests.

Even so, millions of people still suffer from privation and starvation. The world’s farmers currently produce more than enough food to feed Earth’s 7 billion people, using approximately 6 million square miles—an amount of land equal in size to the United States and Europe. Where malnutrition, famine, and starvation still occur, it is caused by broken distribution systems due to wars (civil and otherwise), poor infrastructure, flawed political and economic institutions, and authoritarian regimes that use starvation as a political tool.

That won’t always be the case, however. The planet’s population is expected to peak during this century at approximately 9 billion. It will then likely taper off rapidly. In order to feed that peak population and their pets with diets similar to those currently enjoyed by people in developed countries, we will have to triple the production of food by 2050. Even if all farmers adopt the modern farming practices with high inputs of fertilizers and pesticides, the most we can realistically hope to do is double crop production on the current amount of land we are using.

There is only so much arable land and water usable for crop production. Substantially expanding the amount of land under active cultivation, which would be exceptionally difficult, would be a disaster for wildlife and native plants. The lands most likely to be converted to agriculture are forests, rangelands, and other wildlands, especially in the tropics—the most biodiverse region on Earth, where most population growth is occurring and where hunger and where malnutrition is most prominent.

Fortunately, there is another way of raising yields: The judicious use of biotechnology to produce hardier, disease-resistant, pest-resistant, vitamin-fortified crops that more efficiently use water and can be grown more readily on marginal lands can increase global food production by the threefold margin needed for the world’s 9 billion people. And it can be done while only marginally increasing the amount of acreage in production.

Unfortunately, environmental extremists have targeted the use of bioengineering. They raise baseless fears about “Frankenfoods” escaping the lab, and they argue no technology should be used until it can be shown to pose absolutely no risks whatsoever to humans or the environment.

Arguing biotech researchers are “playing God,” environmental groups such as Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group have threatened to lead a consumer boycott of companies that use bioengineered foods and to create a flood of negative publicity.

Several countries have banned the use of bioengineered foods, and the Free Thought Project lists 400 mostly small companies that claim not to use bioengineered products. More countries and companies jumping on the “ban the genetically modified organisms” bandwagon could devastate farmers who have begun to rely on biotech foods to raise yields while reducing their use of costly pesticides.

These scares are decidedly unscientific. Responding to environmentalist scare tactics, the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society, the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association, and every major research body that has looked into the health and safety of genetically modified crops have endorsed their use.

A research assessment published in Critical Reviews in Biotechnology in 2014 examining 1,783 studies on the safety and environmental impacts of genetically modified foods confirmed this. The Italian researchers couldn’t find a single credible example of GM foods posing any harm to humans or animals. Nor did they find any evidence GM crops have any negative environmental impact.

Unlike crops developed through traditional crossbreeding techniques, genetically modified foods are among the most extensively studied scientific subjects in history. Simply put, they are safe.

Extreme environmentalists ignore the very real dangers of doing without the new technologies. Turning our back on nutritional, safe, bioengineered foods would irresponsibly condemn millions of people to unnecessary suffering and, in some cases, even death. Nowthat would be “playing God” with a vengeance.


How Environmental NGOs use junk science, hysteria about fracking-induced earthquakes to trash energy projects

Regulators do a good job of monitoring fracking-induced earthquakes, putting mitigation plans in place

In Part 1 of this column I examined how ENGOs and their “experts” used flimsy science and exaggerated claims to call for the end of fracking in NE British Columbia. In Part 2, I deflate their criticisms of fracking-induced earthquakes.

frackingThere is currently a public discussion in British Columbia around fracking-induced tremors because of news reporting about an Aug. 2014 4.6 magnitude earthquake north of Fort Nelson, BC. that was confirmed to be caused by Progress Energy fracking operations, as well as a 4.4 tremor on Aug. 17 2015 that is suspected of having the same cause.

In a recent Canadian Press story we ran in Beacon Energy News, a retired geoscientist who authored a report for a far-left think tank claimed LNG development in BC would increase seismic activity by five times. An “earthquake expert” from a far-left university claimed the USA suffered earthquakes of 5.0 to 6.0 because of fracking. And, wholly predictably, an eco-activist called for BC to stop fracking altogether.

What nonsense. Upon even a cursory examination, the anti-fracking argument falls flat on its face for a number of reasons.

One, Progress Energy said it doesn’t need to ramp up drilling – as claimed by David Hughes, the geoscientist – to supply Pacific NorthWest LNG’s planned plant and export terminal near Prince Rupert.

“Our upstream drilling activity will remain relatively consistent with current levels over the life of the LNG project or may even decline and therefore pose no incremental risk,” said spokeswoman Stacie Dley in an email to CP.

Two, the BC Oil and Gas Commission has industry standard rules in place to minimize fracking-induced quakes. And so far they seem to be working.

The regulator recorded 193 fracking-caused quakes between August 2013 and October 2014 in the Montney Trend, a siltstone formation stretching from near Dawson Creek to the Rocky Mountain foothills. Of about 7,500 fracking operations, only 11 triggered events felt at the surface. None caused injuries or damage.

A 2012 report showed that 297 seismic events were triggered by fracking but only one was felt at surface.

To geologists, an earthquake is an earthquake regardless of its strength. But the seismic incidents recorded by the Commission’s instruments were micro-earthquakes, most of them between 1.8 and 3 on the Richter scale. Fracking-induced earthquakes above 4.0 are very rare.

And if the Commission’s protocols continue to work as designed, the number of felt quakes will continue to be tiny.

Three, earthquakes have not been linked to fracking in the US, as claimed by John Clague, a Simon Fraser University earthquake expert quoted in the CP story.

American induced-earthquakes are almost always caused by waste water disposal wells, which are entirely different from fracking. For every barrel of oil produced from a well, about eight to 10 barrels of water are brought to surface. The “produced water” is re-injected under high pressure into the reservoir at special disposal wells, which in a few cases have been found to create fractures several miles away. The result has been a big increase in earthquake activity in Oklahoma and to a lesser extent in Texas.

A recent study by a team of researchers from Southern Methodist University made that very clear, but American media – including CNN – got it all wrong and said the study attributed the quakes to fracking. The scientists were so frustrated with the technically illiterate reporters that Dr. Michael Hornbach said, “[W]e’re not talking at all about fracking. In fact, it’s been driving us crazy, frankly, that people keep using it in the press.”

So, what do the facts of this story tell us?

To date  both Canadian and American experience says that fracking generally induces a small number of micro-earthquakes and a very tiny number of larger earthquakes that are felt on surface but do not damage property. Regulators in British Columbia and Alberta – and American jurisdictions like Texas – have strict protocols in place that require fracking crews to cease operations in the event of a larger quake and to not start up again until a mitigation plan has been approved.

In other words, absolutely no justification for the demand by Eoin Madden of the Wilderness Committee “to press pause, take a step back, and say, ‘Do we want to fragment the whole of northeastern BC so we can extract gas out of it this way, or is there a different way for us?”’

At least, no justification based upon science and the known facts.


Obama’s Focus in Oil-Rich Alaska Is Climate Change--As Putin Deploys Warships

As President Obama prepares to become the first sitting president to travel north of the Arctic Circle this week, the administration’s concerns revolve largely around climate change.

This contrasts with the more overtly geostrategic approach to the contested region being pursued by Russia, which this year carried out large-scale military maneuvers in the region involving Northern Fleet vessels and aircraft.

Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a major conference in Anchorage, which Obama will attend on Monday, ahead of the president’s visit Wednesday to the small town of Kotzebue in the Alaskan Arctic.

The focus of the Anchorage event and the president’s three-day visit to the state is climate change, as Obama made clear in his weekly broadcast.

Citing wildfires, storm surges, shoreline erosion and melting glaciers, Obama said Alaskans are already living with the effects of climate change, adding that “if we do nothing,” temperatures in Alaska are projected to rise by 6-12 degrees by 2100.

“This is all real,” he said. “This is happening to our fellow Americans right now.”

Although Obama also spoke in the broadcast about ongoing U.S. oil and gas needs and the importance of relying more on domestic than foreign supplies, climate change appears to be center stage during the Alaska visit.

The one-day event being chaired by Kerry is called the “Conference on Global Leadership in the Arctic: Cooperation, Innovation, Engagement and Resilience” – or GLACIER.

According to the department, representatives from the U.S. and some 20 other nations with direct or indirect Arctic interests “will discuss individual and collective action to address climate change in the Arctic” and “raise the visibility of climate impacts in the Arctic as a harbinger for the world, and the Arctic’s unique role in global climate change.”

Further down the agenda, participants will also discuss other issues, such as emergency response and unregulated fishing in the region.

“It’s obvious that the president has chosen climate change as one of his legacy issues,” a senior State Department official briefing on the trip said from Anchorage on Friday. “It is the broader global issue of climate change, but as he’s learned more about the American Arctic and the rather significant impact that climate change is having on his country, he’s made the time to come up here and take a look at it himself.”

By contrast, Russia’s interests in the region center on expanding its military presence in support of its claims to a region believed to have significant untapped resources – especially as sea routes become more accessible due to receding sea ice, attributed to rising temperatures.

President Vladimir Putin in late 2013 announced that he had instructed military commanders to “devote special attention to deploying infrastructure and military units in the Arctic,” to protect Russia’s national interests.

Russia then reopened a Soviet-era military outpost on the New Siberian (Novosibirsk) islands – an archipelago in Russia’s far northeast – and said more would follow.

The Defense Ministry announced a decision to set up an Arctic Strategic Command, and the move to expand military presence in the Arctic was underscored by Putin in a revised military doctrine at the end of last year.

National identity, economic priority

An often-cited 2008 U.S. Geological Survey report found that “the Arctic accounts for about 13 percent of the undiscovered oil, 30 percent of the undiscovered natural gas, and 20 percent of the undiscovered natural gas liquids in the world.”

The United States, Russia, Canada, Norway and Denmark all have territory bordering the Arctic, but it is Russia that has been most aggressive in asserting its claims. It graphically underlined its intentions in 2007 when it dispatched a mini-submarine to plant a titanium Russian flag on the Arctic floor in a symbolic assertion of sovereignty.

A titanium capsule bearing a Russian flag is planted by a mini submarine on the Arctic Ocean seabed under the North Pole, during a record dive in 2007. (AP Photo/Association of Russian Polar Explorers)
Early this month, Moscow submitted to a United Nations body a claim for 463,000 square miles of the Arctic, including the North Pole, calling it an extension of its undersea continental shelf. More than a decade ago, the U.N. rejected a similar submission, asking Russia to provide more scientific evidence to back it up.

A new Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) study examining Moscow’s Arctic policy explains the significance to Russia of a region that accounts for around one-fifth of its gross domestic product and 22 percent of its exports.

“For Russia, the Arctic is an important issue of national identity, as well as an enormous economic priority (20 percent of Russia’s GDP is generated in the Arctic) and security necessity where national resources are spent,” it says.

“[E]nvironmental considerations (although noted in its strategic documents) and indigenous communities are largely an afterthought.”

“For the United States, it is the exact opposite,” CSIS Europe program director Heather Conley and research associate Caroline Rohloff write. “The United States does not see itself as an Arctic nation and it prioritizes the environment and scientific research first with economic development and security a distant second due to insufficient national resources and political support.”

Russia’s extensive Arctic claim was submitted to a U.N. body called the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, in line with the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Other countries, notably Denmark and Canada, also have claims in the region, although the U.S. has not submitted any, since it is has not ratified UNCLOS.

“For me, it comes as no surprise that the Russians’ claim is so large,” the senior State Department official said. “They have half the coastline of the Arctic Ocean and they have devoted a lot of science to documenting their claim, and they’re going through the proper process within the Law of the Sea Treaty.”

“And my only regret is that the United States is not able to have standing under that treaty because we have not acceded to it yet,” said the official, adding that the administration remains hopeful that Senate will ratify it.

UNCLOS opponents argue among other things that the treaty will subject U.S. sovereignty to an international body and involve burdensome environmental regulations. The military and business interests support ratification



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1 September, 2015

Electric fishing boat is a bit of a joke

Unless it spends time at sea not under power (dangerous) it has to be back in port only 10 hours after it left.  Pesky  if it runs into a storm

The world’s first electric commercial fishing vessel will be powered by a Corvus lithium polymer Energy Storage System (ESS) integrated with a Siemens propulsion system

Corvus Energy announced a Corvus ESS with a Siemens BlueDrive PlusC marine propulsion system will power the Selfa Elmax 1099 electric fishing boat designed and built by Selfa Arctic AS. The 11 meter electric vessel will have a 195 kWh ESS consisting of 30 Corvus AT6500 lithium polymer battery modules. The fishing boat, designed to operate entirely on Corvus battery power over a planned 10-hour working day, will also have a small 50kW auxiliary generator and can be charged overnight by plugging into the electrical grid.

Norwegian fishing company Øra AS will operate the first Selfa Elmax 1099 designed by Norwegian shipbuilder Selfa Arctic AS. The electric vessel to be named “Karoline” will be commissioned in Trondheim Norway this August and will be presented to the country's Minister of Fisheries, Elisabeth Aspaker, in the same month. The Karoline will then be tested in the demanding conditions off the coast of Tjeldsundet in Northern Norway. In September, the boat will be moved to Tromso Norway to be part of the daily operations of Øra AS. While fishing the vessel will operate emissions free, eliminating all greenhouse gasses including CO2. The boat will also generate less noise and vibration than a standard diesel engine powered fishing vessel.

“We have been working on this electric boat design for some time, and Corvus batteries are part of the design solution. Their innovative battery technology enables the vessel to meet the needed performance specifications, that is, to operate electrically for a full fishing day.” Said Erik Ianssen, Selfa Arctic AS President & CEO. “With successful sea trials completed we are planning serial production of the vessel.”


Watch students wake up about warming

It’s back to school time.  For many students, that means back to indoctrination time.

But there are those fighting back.  CFACT’s Collegians are working hard to challenge the liberal orthodoxy all too rampant on America’s colleges and universities. Our chapters are often among the most dynamic groups on campus.

For decades we’ve trained young people to think critically for themselves and share that gift with others.

A good case in point, our student leaders at the University of Alabama, Birmingham shared a simple graph of satellite temperature measurements recently with their classmates.  The graph reveals that there has been no meaningful change in global temperatures for most of those students’ lives.

Watch the double take students do when confronted with the straight facts that there has been no dramatic global warming as they’ve been led to believe.

The good news?  Students got it.  Some were upset. Virtually all were surprised. The only thing they needed was access to the truth.

You’ll be heartened to see these bright youngsters casting aside the politically-correct hype they’ve been fed and forming valid conclusions based on sound scientific data.

When students get the unvarnished facts, all of our futures are bright.


Scientists' computer models on global warming are unreliable

Here we go again, the scientists at NOAA/NASA showing their bias toward promoting global warming and the need for massive government intervention. Can we say enough to these meaningless Chicken Little proclamations and get back to real science?

They indicate July 2015 beat their previous warmest month (July 2011) by 2 one-hundredths of a degree and this totals to an increase of 8 one-hundredths of a degree Celsius over the prior record (July 1998). However, their stated statistical margin of error is 14 one-hundredths of a degree. Therefore, the margin of error is seven time greater than the July 2015 increase recorded and almost 2 times the recorded change since July 1998. Can we really say this is a significant and meaningful warming trend?

At the current level of 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere, we are significantly below other periods in the Earth's history where the levels of 6,000 parts per million have been recorded and there was no human contribution. This only confirms that actual human contribution to carbon dioxide is insignificant as compared to the Earth's vegetation and the oceans.

Almost all of the computer models in the past 30 years that made predictions for 15-20 years into the future have proven to be wrong and have grossly overstated the warming. Therefore, how can we trust these very unreliable computer models? Throw in the fact that they all ignore any impact from the sun and the Earth's oceans, and they truly become farcical.


The UK "Guardian" says below: Please keep subsidizing our demographic

In terms of timing, last week’s government decision to slash subsidies that help families and small businesses install solar panels could not have been worse. This year promises to be the hottest on record. At the same time, international negotiations on the establishment of climate change controls are scheduled to reach their peak in Paris in a few months.

The world is looking to developed nations to set an example on how to cut the carbon emissions that are triggering global temperature rises and the British government could once have played an authoritative role in these talks. Unfortunately, David Cameron’s administration has decided, over the last few months, to abandon nearly all its commitments to protecting the environment and to its pledges to create new green technologies that could wean us off our urge to burn fossil fuels.

In June, it announced cuts to the financial support available to developers of new onshore wind turbines, the cheapest form of renewable power available. Now it has followed up this cutback with one that will greatly reduce the financial help that is given to those seeking to install solar panels to generate electric power. Both industries, solar and onshore wind, will inevitably suffer.

It is an unfortunate development, not just from the perspective of national prestige, but in terms of lost opportunity. Britain has the chance to take a lead in developing renewable technologies, including wave and tidal energy plants. Yet within a few months of coming to office, the current Conservative administration has made it clear it wants to have nothing to do with green technology. It is a short-sighted attitude. Britain has much to gain from developing expertise in this field because, sooner or later, the world is going to end up depending on renewable power.

Continued support for green technology, such a solar power, is therefore good for Britain and for the rest of the world.


Climate issues we do need to address

We need to fix the climate of fraud, corruption, and policies that kill jobs, hope and people

Paul Driessen

Reeling stock markets across the globe hammered savings, pension funds, innovation and growth. US stocks lost over $2 trillion in market value in eight days, before rallying somewhat, while the far smaller Shanghai Composite Index lost $1 trillion in four days of trading, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Battered economies continue to struggle. Investment banks are pulling out of developing countries. An already exploding and imploding Middle East now confronts a nuclear arms race and human exodus.

Complying just with federal regulations already costs American businesses and families $1.9 trillion per year, the Competitive Enterprise Institute calculates. That’s more than all 2014 personal and corporate income tax receipts combined – and Obama bureaucrats issued 3,554 new rules and regulations last year.

EPA’s 2,691-page Clean Power Plan is designed to eliminate coal mining and coal-fired power plants – and minimize natural gas substitutes. The CPP requires that gas use can increase by only 22% above 2012 levels by 2022, and just 5% per year thereafter. On top of that, new natural gas-fueled generating units that replace coal-fired power plants absurdly do not count toward state CO2 reduction mandates.

That means millions of acres of new wind and solar installations that generate expensive, unreliable electricity – and survive only because of subsidies, tariffs, anti-fossil fuel mandates, and exemptions from endangered species, environmental impact and other requirements that block fossil fuel projects. 

Anti-energy, anti-growth policies imposed in name of preventing “dangerous manmade climate change” impact everything we do. For minority, elderly and working class families, they bring soaring electricity costs, rising unemployment, unproductive lives on government assistance, diminished health and welfare, and shorter life spans. They hogtie economies and kill jobs, prolong and worsen economic quagmires, crush aspirations and opportunities, perpetuate poverty, and foster anger, unrest and conflict.

None of these hard realities seems to bother President Obama, though. In fact, he is determined to use the December climate conference in Paris to lock the United States into binding treaty commitments to slash the common folks’ fossil fuel use, CO2 emissions, economic growth and job creation even further.

Anyone who cares about living standards, lifting billions of people out of abject poverty, and reining in the power of unaccountable US, EU and UN bureaucrats needs to pay attention and get involved.

Earth’s climate is doing pretty much what it always has: responding to powerful natural forces, changing, and driving atmospheric patterns and weather events that benefit some, harm others and sometimes wreak devastation. It is not doing what gloom-and-doom computer models and headlines predicted.

We do not need to “fix” or “control” the climate. We couldn’t if we tried. We do need to fix the climate of fraud, corruption and destructive policies that kill jobs, dreams and people. We need to realize that most countries will not commit economic suicide. They may sign a climate treaty – but for reasons that have nothing to do with environmental protection … and only if their obligations are distant and ephemeral.

Mr. Obama has said from the outset that he would use executive decrees to “fundamentally transform” the United States and ensure that electricity prices “necessarily skyrocket.” He has kept his word.

He and his friends in the UN, EU, Big Green and Climate Crisis Industry have also made it clear that they intend to use the Paris conference to negotiate the future distribution of the world’s wealth and resources, determine what economic growth and living standards are “ecologically feasible,” and transform the global economic development model: replacing sovereign nations and free enterprise capitalism with global governance and decision-making based on “sustainable development” and “dangerous manmade climate change” mantras. 1992 climate conference organizers even said saving the world requires that they cause “industrialized civilization to collapse.” They intend to keep their promises.

Impoverished people in developing countries reject this agenda. They want sustained development, not sustainable development. They want decent jobs and modern houses, hospitals and living standards.

Thus, under the proposed Paris treaty, only developed countries will be required to slash fossil fuel use. “Poor” nations (including China, India, Brazil, Indonesia and Russia) will not be obligated to reduce their carbon-based energy use or carbon dioxide/greenhouse gas emissions by any specific amounts or dates – though some say they “intend to try” to reduce emissions or may present non-binding targets some years from now. Most will dramatically increase their oil, gas and coal use, and CO2/GHG emissions.

The real bribe to induce poor nations to sign a new treaty is a binding commitment that increasingly less developed, less energy-powered, less rich countries will give “poor” nations (or at least their ruling elites) $100 billion per year in climate adaptation, mitigation and reparation payments. That’s to cover damages that developed nations have supposedly inflicted on Earth’s climate. FRCs (Formerly Rich Countries) will also be required to give “poor” nations advanced energy and other technologies, at no cost.

Even more insane, the entire basis for this agenda, this treaty, these commitments and non-commitments, is bald assertions – driven by garbage in/garbage out computer models and deceptive, fraudulent science – that humanity faces “unprecedented” global warming, rising ocean, weather and other calamities.

About the only unprecedented event in the past century is that no category 3-5 hurricane has hit the USA in nearly a decade. Climate alarmists refuse to discuss that. Their other assertions are pure fiction.

Claims that 2014 was the “hottest year on record,” and July 2015 was “the hottest July” since “at least 1880,” are based on city and airport temperatures that are always several degrees higher than those at nearby rural sites. (Satellite data show no warming for 18 years.) The “superheated planet” alarums involve hundredths of a degree: less than the margin of error. They are based mainly on only 1,200 measuring stations for Earth’s entire surface – with few in the coldest regions, and millions of acres of missing data simply extrapolated from urban numbers. The “hottest ever” charade also assumes reliable temperature data exist for the entire USA and planet all the way back to 1880! It defies belief.

(For more examples of climate scare deceit, see Climate Hype Exposed, Heartland’s Top 10 Global Warming Lies, the Aussie temperature scam, the Gore-a-thon analysis, and much more.

Imagine your life without electricity, or only when it’s available, or costing so much you can’t afford it and your now-bankrupt former employer couldn’t afford either. Imagine the EPA and UN controlling the juice that powers everything in your life: transportation, manufacturing, communications, entertainment, life after dark, life in hot and cold weather, the enormous infrastructure and energy demands that feed your smart phone. No wonder Google scientists finally admitted renewable energy is a pipedream.

Too many environmental laws no longer focus on protecting the environment. They have become bureaucratic weapons to protect chosen industries and destroy those connected to carbon-based fuels.

Denying people access to abundant, reliable, affordable hydrocarbon energy is immoral – and often lethal. It is an unconscionable crime against humanity to implement policies that pretend to protect the world’s energy-deprived masses from hypothetical manmade climate dangers decades from now – by perpetuating energy deprivation, poverty, malnutrition and disease that kill millions of them tomorrow.

Letting this climate fear mongering continue also means fewer jobs, more welfare, lower living standards, and deteriorating health and welfare – except for ruling elites. But so far too few politicians, candidates, clergy and business leaders have shown the courage to speak out – even as every Democratic would-be successor to Mr. Obama seems hell-bent on going even further than he has on all these policies.

Our next president and congress must focus on job and economic growth, and overall human welfare. They must review and roll back destructive regulations, root out the fraud and corruption, and restore honesty, transparency and real science to our political and regulatory system.

Via email

Global warming made me do it

By T. Gamble

As with any social change, there are consequences to the acceptance of new moral and societal standards. So it is with the newest move to accept transgender decisions as “normal,” a-la Bruce Jenner’s change from a man to female Caitlyn. These type situations invariably involve great stress upon the nucleus of the family as it adjusts to the new person and struggles with the decision.

South Georgia is not immune to these types of circumstances.

I heard of a young man in a neighboring county who has decided to become a woman. His family is adamantly opposed to the idea. I will only reveal his first name, Ryan. Ryan wishes to go the whole route, including a complete and full sex change. His friends and family are committed to stopping Ryan no matter the costs.

It is, as one can imagine, an epic struggle. Ryan fights for his right to be who he wants to be, even if it means altering his body and alienating his family. His family will do anything to avoid what they believe is a rash and permanent decision that should not happen. Court battles and heated arguments are on the horizon.

The church has gathered a prayer group to pray for Ryan. He has gathered a strong ally from several gay and transgender organizations. Who will win this battle is anybody’s guess, but Hollywood has noticed. I have decided to soon produce a new movie about this heart-wrenching matter. It will be told from the view of the family. It will be named “Saving Ryan’s Privates.”

I anticipate the movie will be a roaring success, but if it is not, I will blame it on global warming. In fact, from here on out, I will blame all my shortcomings on global warming. This will surprise my wife. Not the fact I blame things on global warming, but the fact I admit I have any shortcomings.

You see, global warming is now blamed for everything, including the almost certain demise of the polar bear, even though there are more polar bears now than at any time in the history of polar bear counting. It is also why we had the most snow ever in Boston this year. After all, Earth’s average temperature has risen 0.9 degrees in the last century. Yes, it once got to 98 degrees on a hot summer day, but now it reaches 98.9.

Scientists claim certain animals are now migrating further north. Who knew they were so sensitive as to move once temperatures increased 1 degree? I guess they would all just go extinct if they lived in my house, where temperatures can vary 4 to 6 degrees on any given day.

If I am late to work, global warming caused it, as we all know cars don’t run as well in high heat. Punch a co-worker in an argument? Well, now, now … tempers do tend to flare in high heat. Miss a mortgage payment? The human brain can’t function well in high heat. Got too drunk last night? High heat requires plenty of fluids. Yep, it is all because of global warming.

See you at the Academy Awards — unless global warming gets me first.



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

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


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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

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

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

Warmism is a powerful religion that aims to control most of our lives. It is nearly as powerful as the Catholic Church once was

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

The plight of the bumblebee -- an egregious example of crooked "science"

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

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."


Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough - Michael Crichton

"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" – Richard Feynman

"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

Calvin Coolidge said, "If you see 10 troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you." He could have been talking about Warmists.

Some advice from long ago for Warmists: "If ifs and ans were pots and pans,there'd be no room for tinkers". It's a nursery rhyme harking back to Middle English times when "an" could mean "if". Tinkers were semi-skilled itinerant workers who fixed holes and handles in pots and pans -- which were valuable household items for most of our history. Warmists are very big on "ifs", mays", "might" etc. But all sorts of things "may" happen, including global cooling

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate" -- William of Occam

Was Paracelsus a 16th century libertarian? His motto was: "Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest" which means "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself." He was certainly a rebel in his rejection of authority and his reliance on observable facts and is as such one of the founders of modern medicine

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman

Something no Warmist could take on board: "Knuth once warned a correspondent, "Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it." -- Prof. Donald Knuth, whom some regard as the world's smartest man

"To be green is to be irrational, misanthropic and morally defective. They are the barbarians at the gate we have to stand against" -- Rich Kozlovich


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.


Climate is just the sum of weather. So if you cannot forecast the weather a month in advance, you will not be able to forecast the climate 50 years in advance. And official meteorologists such as Britain's Met Office and Australia's BOM, are very poor forecasters of weather. The Met office has in fact given up on making seasonal forecasts because they have so often got such forecasts embarrassingly wrong. Their global-warming-powered "models" just did not deliver

Here's how that "97% consensus" figure was arrived at

97% of scientists want to get another research grant

Hearing a Government Funded Scientist say let me tell you the truth, is like hearing a Used Car Salesman saying let me tell you the truth.

A strange Green/Left conceit: They seem to think (e.g. here) that no-one should spend money opposing them and that conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with

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"

Cook the crook who cooks the books

The great and fraudulent scare about lead

Green/Left denial of the facts explained: "Rejection lies in this, that when the light came into the world men preferred darkness to light; preferred it, because their doings were evil. Anyone who acts shamefully hates the light, will not come into the light, for fear that his doings will be found out. Whereas the man whose life is true comes to the light" John 3:19-21 (Knox)

Against the long history of huge temperature variation in the earth's climate (ice ages etc.), the .6 of one degree average rise reported by the U.N. "experts" for the entire 20th century (a rise so small that you would not be able to detect such a difference personally without instruments) shows, if anything, that the 20th century was a time of exceptional temperature stability.

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)


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