Friday, September 19, 2014


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

Tweet from Patrick Moore







A Closer Look At Record August Fraud From NASA

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

And NASA says it was the hottest August ever.



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



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

SOURCE




What Can Conservatives Do About Climate Change?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOURCE





Scientists turn to Pope Francis to "save the planet"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOURCE



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The proposed EPA plan will chase away more American industry

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

The proposed EPA plan will kill hundreds of thousands of jobs

In late July, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) International President Edwin D. Hill said: “If these rules are implemented as written, dozens of coal plants will shut down and with no plans to replace them, tens of thousands of jobs will be lost and global carbon emissions will rise anyway.”

Investor’s Business Daily reports: “The IBEW has now joined the United Mine Workers of America, the Boilermakers and several other unions opposed to the new anti-carbon rules.” The United Mine Workers of America has estimated that the rule will result in 187,000 direct and indirect job losses in the utility, rail, and coal industries in 2020 and cumulative wage and benefit losses from these sectors of $208 billion between 2015 and 2035.

The EPA rules hitting industry in rapid succession create uncertainty — and, as we’ve seen with Obamacare — uncertainty thwarts investment and hiring. The same industries that will be taking the regulatory hit from the CPP, are expecting additional impacts from the follow-on rules that are yet to be promulgated. No wonder the economy is sluggish and the jobs picture is bleak.

The proposed EPA plan will cause harsh economic consequences while having virtually no impact on the reported goal of stopping global climate change

From increased energy costs to job losses, the CPP will damage the economy. A statement from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers on the EPA proposal, points out: “estimates regarding the damage to jobs and the economy created by poorly planned climate regulations have consistently been shown to be true in comparison to the overly optimistic predictions made by the EPA.”

Perhaps these economic consequences would be worth it, if they actually did anything to really reduce carbon-dioxide emissions — assuming what humans breathe out and plants breathe in is actually the cause of global warming. But even the EPA acknowledges that the CPP is less about reductions and more about being a global leader to “prompt and leverage international decisions and action.” In Hillary Clinton’s September 4 speech at Senator Harry Reid’s National Clean Energy Summit, she stated that the U.S. needs to lead other countries in green energy and that we need to show the world we are committed.

Yet, the U.S., which did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol, is the first country to actually reduce carbon dioxide emissions and meet the Kyoto requirements. We are already a leader, but the other countries aren’t following — instead they are abandoning the sinking green ship and Germany, which claims to still be committed to the green ideology, is actually increasing its number of coal-fueled power plants and CO2 emissions. Carbon dioxide emissions from non-Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries — such as China and India—are projected to grow by nine billion tons per year. The Partnership for a Better Energy Future reports: “for every ton of CO2 reduced in 2030 as a result of EPA’s rule, the rest of the world will have increased emissions by more than 16 tons.” Our reduction in 2030 would offset the equivalent of just 13.5 days of carbon-dioxide emissions from China. The CPP will become the definition of “all pain and no gain.” Or, as economist Thomas Sowell calls it: “replacing what worked with what sounded good.”

The EPA’s October 16 deadline will be upon us before you know it. Take a few minutes now to send them your comments. Pick any of the above suggestions, customize them as you please, and send them on to the EPA. For America to grow, we need energy that is effective, efficient, and economical, rather than that which is threatened by the EPA’s flood of excessive and burdensome regulations.

SOURCE




Australia: NSW faces gas shortages due to onerous environmental requirements

The New South Wales government says "nothing is off the table" in its desperate bid to stave off potential shortages in gas supplies that could drive manufacturers from the state and push up household energy bills if coal seam gas projects by AGL Energy and Santos don't start up on time.

NSW deputy secretary for resources and energy Kylie Hargreaves said on Thursday that gas savings schemes were under study, as well as ways to help gas users switch to electricity, so additional gas could be made available instead to heavy users that rely on it.

But she said that the government was assuming that potential gas shortages would not arrive as early as some observers were warning, and that by the time it was assuming - 2018-19 - both AGL's Gloucester CSG project in the northern Hunter region and Santos's Pilliga CSG project should have come into production as long as they meet regulatory requirements for approval.

"We're looking at everything, nothing is off the table in all honesty because we just want to make sure we try and do whatever is reasonable to try and address the pressures in the industry," Ms Hargreaves told a conference in Sydney.

"The last thing we want is manufacturing going out the door."

NSW, which produces only 5 per cent of its own gas, has been slow to develop its plentiful CSG resources and projects such as Gloucester and Pilliga are running behind schedule.

Santos had been targeting mid-2014 to lodge an environmental impact statement for its controversial $2 billion Pilliga project but has yet to submit the document, putting its tentative schedule for production in 2017 in doubt. AGL has flagged a final investment decision for its Gloucester project in the December quarter this year. Those two projects could together supply 70 per cent of NSW's gas requirements by 2020, although production initiallly would be lower.

But industrial gas users at the conference, including petrochemicals producer Qenos, queried the NSW government's appreciation of the problems the lack of certainty on future gas supplies are having on their businesses, and signalled they were having difficulty sourcing gas from 2017 onwards.

Ms Hargreaves said the government was dealing with individual projects to try to facilitate gas supplies to customers that rely on them.

Western Power non-executive director Paul Underwood questioned whether the NSW government had considered the possibility of building an LNG import terminal to tackle the problem.

"We're open to be looking at any and all options," Ms Hargreaves said. "Our fundamental driver is security of supply, affordability of supply, and I'm happy to look at almost anything in that space."

The idea of a gas pipeline from the Northern Territory that could bring gas to NSW via South AUstralia or Queensland is also being supported by the NSW government, she added.

Ms Hargreaves said that the government also had a working group into how to help gas users to switch to electricity if necessary and possible, and making that gas available to heavy users that depend on it for their business. It is also studying the potential for a scheme that would create financial incentives for organisations to invest in projects to save gas, similar to the Energy Savings Scheme in electricity.

SOURCE

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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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Thursday, September 18, 2014



Are spiders getting bigger? Warm summer has caused arachnids to grow larger, say experts

Amusing.  On several occasions Warmists have claimed that warming will make people and animals SHRINK in size

Enjoyed the summer? You’re not alone: Experts have warned that homes may be set for an invasion of larger than normal spiders who have feasted on an abundance of prey in the last few months.

That’s because this year the warm summer has allowed certain spiders to eat more than usual and grow to their upper limits.

And it could mean we’ll see more and more large spiders in our homes in the coming months.

The mild summer has meant the eight-legged creatures have had plenty to eat and very few have perished.

With temperatures set to fall, experts from Sydney University have said the larger-than-usual house spiders will be heading indoors in the coming weeks to find a mate.

Professor Adam Hart of the University of Gloucestershire agreed with their predication and said: ‘This year has been seemingly a good one for the invertebrates which spiders feed on, and it’s quite mild out there.’

Spiders are growing far larger in the city than in rural environments, researchers have said.

They found that rather than thriving in areas with lots of vegetation, golden orb weaver spiders living in urban areas of Sydney, Australia, were larger and had more babies.

The say cities have an abundance of food and city lights could be to blame.

'City-dwelling orb-weaving spiders grow larger and could produce more offspring than their country cousins our research shows,' said Elizabeth Lowe of the University of Sydney, who led the research.

This study shows invertebrates are sensitive to urbanisation but that not all species are negatively affected by living in cities.

Both sexes stay in their webs until the autumn when the males become nomadic and search for females.

Mr Lawrence Bee of the British Arachnological Society tells MailOnline that people often notice larger spiders this year as the cold weather drives them inside, with males hunting for females.

But he agrees that the particularly mild summer we’ve had, not too hot and not too cold, will have given spiders access to more prey.

But Professor Hart said people have nothing to fear from big creepy crawlies because spiders are the a free pest control service.

SOURCE





Report: Green Lobbyists Kept ‘Revolving Door’ Spinning at EPA

Green lobbyists kept the “revolving door” at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) spinning despite President Obama’s assurances to the nation that he slammed it shut on his first day in office, according to an interim report released Monday by the Energy and Environmental Legal Institute (E&E Legal).

“On my first day in office, we closed the revolving door between lobbying firms and the government so that no one in my administration would make decisions based on the interests of former or future employers,” Obama said in his weekly address on Jan. 23, 2010.

But based on EPA emails obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by E&E Legal and the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), “the truth, as this report documents, is quite different,” author Christopher Horner wrote.

“EPA’s connection with green pressure groups is a classic case of a ‘revolving door’,” Horner stated.  “It is noteworthy that every member of the EPA’s senior leadership who has not made his or her career in the EPA or state level environmental agencies has a history of employment with green pressure groups,” the report noted. Likewise, “outgoing officials frequently find themselves working for these same green pressure groups when they leave the EPA.”

Calling EPA “among the most closed, ideological and politicized organizations in government,” the report found that instead of keeping environmental lobbyists at arms’ length, as Obama had promised, EPA officials fostered a climate of “improper influence and collusion in pursuit of a shared and admittedly ideological agenda.”

“The EPA and various green groups do research for one another, coordinate messages with one another, support one another’s efforts and coordinate their efforts toward a shared goal, as if the EPA and outside green groups were one and the same,” Horner noted in the report.

Such “unprecedented” collaboration between green lobbyists and EPA officials runs “contrary to Executive Order 12674,” which states that “employees shall act impartially and not give preferential treatment to any private organization or individual.”

“Contrary to candidate Obama’s promise to run the ‘most transparent administration in history,’ free of conflicts of interest, documents reveal that various environmentalist pressure groups with extreme agendas have unprecedented access to and influence upon their former colleagues and other ideological allies who are now EPA officials. EPA serves as an extension of these groups and neither EPA nor the groups recognize any distinction between them,” the report added.

The alleged collusion ranged from “working together to orchestrate public hearings” to “jointly target[ing] individual power plants to block under any new EPA standards to the Obama administration's internally declared "war on coal.”

EPA officials also “repeatedly gave green groups a leg up in submitting comments for the administrative record… before the record was open for comments to the general public,” the report stated.

And while green lobbyists were welcomed at the EPA to help write new regulations, private parties who would be most affected by the rules were told to wait until they were finished.

E&E Legal found that political appointees at EPA are “almost exclusively…environmental activists from anti-energy ‘green’ pressure groups” such as the Sierra Club and the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) who “want coal eliminated entirely, and like-minded career bureaucrats."

Emails between Sierra Club lobbyist John Coequyt and Michael Goo, former head of EPA’s Office of Policy and former staff member at NRDC, showed they arranged to meet at a Marriott Hotel near EPA headquarters in Washington, presumably to avoid Coequyt having to sign the agency’s visitor log, the report noted.

Georgetown Law Professor Lisa Heinzerling -  the lead counsel in Massachusetts v. EPA, a 2007 landmark case in which the U.S. Supreme Court allowed, but did not require, EPA to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant – was “brought to the Obama EPA immediately, clearly for the purpose of orchestrating mandatory regulation of CO2, which she just as quickly set about to do,” Horner pointed out.

Heinzerling served as the EPA’s senior climate policy counsel and associate administrator of the Office of Policy from January 2009 to December 2010. She “was given the lead role in formally obtaining the outcome that defined her career – reversing EPA’s interpretation of the Clean Air Act and Massachusetts v. EPA, and otherwise crafting the ‘global warming’ agenda.”

“A more obvious appearance of conflict is hardly imaginable,” Horner pointed out.

The emails also showed that “EPA officials, and particularly senior Obama appointees driving the regulatory agenda, have minds that are unalterably made up on important regulatory issues… they had worked on as activists much of their lives…with a predetermined goal that would not be shaken by facts, economics, the effect on the American public, or any other concern,” he added.

“Under the law, this makes them unfit to participate in regulations on these topics.”

SOURCE





DA's abuse of discretion should be condemned, not cheered

PROSECUTORS ROUTINELY reduce criminal charges or waive them altogether. They agree to plea bargains. They settle misdemeanor cases in exchange for compensation to the victim. Under our legal system, the government's prosecuting attorneys have extraordinary leeway in deciding whom to prosecute, and for which offenses, and what punishment to seek.


Before a crowd outside the courthouse, District Attorney Sam Sutter waves a manifesto published in Rolling Stone by a well-known climate alarmist, Bill McKibben. "You know where my heart is," the DA declared.

So when Sam Sutter, the district attorney for Bristol County, announced last week that he would drop the criminal charges pending against two global-warming activists for illegally blocking a shipment of coal to a power plant in Somerset, Mass., he was exercising prosecutorial discretion — something DAs do every day.

Clearly, that's not why it made news. Nor is it why Sutter is being hailed — wrongly — as a hero on the environmental left.

Sutter made his announcement moments before Jay O'Hara and Ken Ward were to go on trial for their stunt in Somerset, for which they faced charges that included conspiracy to commit a crime, disorderly conduct, and negligent operation of a motor vessel. Conviction could have meant up to nine months' imprisonment. The defendants didn't deny their actions; they said they were willing to go to jail in order to protest the burning of coal and what they regard as the government's "terrible" climate policies.

"If I was convicted by a jury of my peers," O'Hara said in a radio interview, "I was ready and prepared to face the consequences of my action, knowing that that … is the sort of commitment that changes hearts when people see other people put their lives on the line for something that really matters." The defendants had planned to invoke a so-called "necessity" defense, arguing that though they broke the law when they blocked the shipping channel, they did so to prevent a greater harm — i.e., climate change.

But instead of proceeding to a jury trial, Sutter dropped the charges at the last minute. O'Hara and Ward were merely required to pay $4,000 as civil restitution to the town of Somerset for its costs.

Reasonable people can debate whether the protesters' blockade was a noble gesture of civil disobedience or merely obnoxious grandstanding, and whether their "coal is stupid" campaign reflects scientific thinking or crackpot hysteria. Did it make more sense to let them off with a monetary payment, rather than indulging them in what they hoped to turn into a high-profile trial of government policy and the morality of using fossil fuels? On that too there could be room for debate.

But Sutter went way beyond the ethical bounds of prosecutorial discretion. He announced, in a manner calculated to attract maximum publicity, that he was letting O'Hara and Ward off the hook because he agrees with their political views.

"Climate change is one of the gravest crises our planet has ever faced," Sutter declaimed to a cheering crowd outside Fall River District Court. "In my humble opinion, the political leadership on this issue has been sorely lacking…. This symbolizes our commitment, at the Bristol County district attorney's office, to take a leadership role on this issue."

And to be sure no one missed the nakedly ideological character of his action, Sutter said he would "certainly" take part in a global-warming protest march planned for Sept. 21 in New York City. He held aloft a manifesto published in Rolling Stone by a well-known climate alarmist, Bill McKibben. "How do you like that?" Sutter called to the crowd. "So you know where my heart is."

The DA's behavior was worse than disgraceful, it was dangerous. It was an egregious abuse of his authority as a prosecutor: not that he dropped the charges against two lawbreaking protesters, but that he did so because he wants to promote their controversial cause — and to promote his own "leadership" on the issue.

Climate activists Jay O'Hara and Ken Ward aboard the vessel they used to block the delivery of 40,000 tons of coal to a power plant in Somerset, Mass.

Sutter isn't the first DA to misuse his prosecutorial discretion because he sympathizes with a criminal's outlook. "During the civil rights era," notes the Southern Poverty Law Center, "white prosecutors in Southern towns notoriously refused to bring charges against whites for racially based hate crimes against African Americans — even when the evidence in favor of prosecution was overwhelming."

It may be tempting for those who see climate change as a crisis to applaud Sutter's overtly political decision. Would they feel the same way about an anti-abortion DA who refused to prosecute demonstrators for blockading a Planned Parenthood clinic? Would they cheer a prosecutor whose antipathy to Islam led him to drop the charges against trespassers preventing construction of a mosque, and then to trumpet his "leadership" in doing so?

Prosecutors aren't elected to make public policy — not on fossil fuels, or civil rights, or abortion, or anything else. Their job is to enforce the law, not to enact it. What Sutter did was contemptible, not commendable, and no one should have been cheering.

SOURCE





Attack of the NGOs

Who are these None governmental Organizations (NGOs) shock troops and how do they operate? It's a vast matrix composed of both the private NGO groups and representatives of the UN and representatives of a large number of US federal agencies - all working together behind the scenes, quietly making policy for the rest of us. And when I attempt to expose them, they vehemently deny there is any collusion - "pay no attention to that man behind the curtain." Sorry, the truth is - this is how it works. No vote. No public input. Just the enforcement of an agenda through the willing participation of private groups and government officials who forgot their purpose was to represent, not dictate to us. The NGOs are the storm troopers necessary to make it all happen.

One rarely hears of it. Few elected officials raise an eyebrow. The media makes no mention of it. But power is slowly slipping away from our elected representatives. In much the same way Mao Tse tung had his Red Guards, so the UN has its NGOs. They may well be your masters of tomorrow, and you don't even know who or what they are.

There are, in fact, two parallel, complimentary forces at work in the world, working together to advance the global Sustainable Development agenda, ultimately leading toward UN global governance. Those two forces are the UN itself and non-governmental organizations (NGOs.)

Beginning with the United Nations, the infrastructure pushing the Sustainable Development agenda is a vast, international matrix. At the top of the heap is the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP).

Created in 1973 by the UN General Assembly, the UNEP is the catalyst through which the global environmental agenda is implemented. Virtually all of the international environmental programs and policy changes that have occurred globally in the past three decades are the result of UNEP efforts.
But the UNEP doesn't operate on its own. Influencing it and helping to write policy are thousands of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). These are private groups which seek to implement a specific political agenda. Through the UN infrastructure, particularly through the UNEP, they have great power.

The phrase "non-governmental organization" came into use with the establishment of the United Nations Organization in 1945 with provisions in Article 71 of Chapter 10 of the United Nations Charter. The term describes a consultative role for organizations that are neither government nor member states of the UN.

NGOs are not just any private group hoping to influence policy. True NGOs are officially sanctioned by the United Nations. Such status was created by UN Resolution 1296 in 1948, giving NGOs official "Consultative" status to the UN. That means they can not only sit in on international meetings, but can actively participate in creating policy, right along side government representatives.

There are numerous classifications of NGO's. The two most common are "Operational" and "Advocacy." Operational NGOs are involved with designing and implementing specific projects such as feeding the hungry or organizing relief projects. These groups can be religious or secular. They can be community-based, national or international. The International Red Cross falls under the category of an operational NGO.

Advocacy NGOs are promoting a specific political agenda. They lobby government bodies, use the news media and organize activist-oriented events, all designed to raise awareness and apply pressure to promote their causes which include environmental issues, human rights, poverty, education, children, drinking water, and population control - to name a few. Amnesty International is the largest human rights advocacy NGO in the world. Organized globally, it has more than 1.8 million members, supporters and subscribers in over 150 countries.

Today these NGOs have power nearly equal to member nations when it comes to writing U.N. policy. Just as civil service bureaucrats provide the infrastructure for government operation, so to do NGOs provide such infrastructure for the U.N. In fact, most U.N. policy is first debated and then written by the NGOs and presented to national government officials at international meetings for approval and ratification. It is through this process that the individual political agendas of the NGO groups enter the international political arena.

The policies sometimes come in the form of international treaties or simply as policy guidelines. Once the documents are presented to and accepted by representatives of member states and world leaders, obscure political agendas of private organizations suddenly become international policy, and are then adopted as national and local laws by U.N. member states. Through this very system, Sustainable Development has grown from a collection of ideas and wish lists of a wide variety of private organizations to become the most widely implemented tool in the U.N.'s quest for global governance.

The three most powerful organizations influencing UNEP policy are three international NGOs. They are the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the International Union for Conservation and Nature (IUCN). These three groups provide the philosophy, objectives and methodology for the international environmental agenda through a series of official reports and studies such as: World Conservation Strategy, published in 1980 by all three groups; Global Biodiversity Strategy, published in 1992; and Global Biodiversity Assessment, published in 1996.

These groups not only influence UNEP's agenda, they also influence a staggering array of international and national NGOs around the world. Jay Hair, former head of the National Wildlife Federation, one of the U.S.'s largest environmental organizations, was also the president of the IUCN. Hair later turned up as co-chairman of the Presidents Council on Sustainable Development.


The WWF maintains a network of national chapters around the world, which influence, if not dominate, NGO activities at the national level. It is at the national level where NGOs agitate and lobby national governments to implement the policies that the IUCN, WWF and WRI get written into the documents that are advanced by the UNEP. In this manner, the world grows ever closer to global governance.

Other than treaties, how does UNEP policy become U.S. policy? Specifically, the IUCN has an incredible mix of U.S. government agencies along with major U.S. NGOs as members. Federal agencies include the Department of State, Department of Interior, Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Park Service (NPS) the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the Fish and Wildlife service. These agencies send representatives to all meetings of the UNEP.

Also attending those meetings as active members are NGO representatives. These include activist groups such as the Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, National Wildlife Federation, Zero Population growth, Planned Parenthood, the Sierra Club, the National Education Association, and hundreds more. These groups all have specific political agendas they desire to become law. Through their official contact with government agencies working side-by-side with the UNEP, their political wish lists become official government policy.

How can this be, you ask? How can private organizations control policy and share equal power to elected officials? Here's how it works.

When the dust settled over the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, five major documents were forced into international policy that will change forever how national policy is made. More importantly, the Rio Summit produced the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). UNCED outlined a new procedure for shaping policy. The procedure has no name, nor is it dictatorial. It is perhaps best described as "controlled consensus" or "affirmative acquiescence."

Put in simple street language, the procedure really amounts to a collection of NGOs, bureaucrats and government officials, all working together toward a predetermined outcome. They have met together in meetings, written policy statements based on international agreements, which they helped to create and now they are about to impose laws and regulations that will have dire effects on people's lives and national economies. Yet, with barely a twinge of conscience they move forward with the policy, saying nothing. No one objects. It's understood. Everyone goes along. For this is a barbaric procedure that insures their desired outcome without the ugliness of bloodshed, or even debate. It is the procedure used to advance the radical, global environmental agenda.

The UNCED procedure utilizes four elements of power: international government (UN); national governments; non-governmental organizations, and philanthropic institutions.

The NGOs are the key to the process. They create policy ideas from their own private agendas. The policy idea is then adopted by one or more U.N. organizations for consideration at a regional conference. Each conference is preceded by an NGO forum designed specifically to bring NGO activists into the debate. There they are fully briefed on the policy and then trained to prepare papers and lobby and influence the official delegates of the conference. In this way, the NGOs control the debate and assure the policy is adopted.

The ultimate goal of the conference is to produce a "Convention," which is a legally- drawn policy statement on specific issues. Once the "Convention" is adopted by the delegates, it is sent to the national governments for official ratification. Once that is done, the new policy becomes international law.

Then the real work begins. Compliance must be assured. Again, the NGOs come into the picture. They are responsible for pressuring Congress to write national laws in order to comply with the treaty. One trick used to assure compliance is to write into the laws the concept of third-party lawsuits.

NGOs now regularly sue the government and private citizens to force policy. They have their legal fees and even damage awards paid to them out of the government treasury. Through a coordinated process, hundreds of NGOs are at work in Congress, in every state government and in every local community, advancing some component of the global environmental agenda.

However, the United States Constitution's Tenth Amendment bars the Federal Government from writing laws that dictate local policy. To by pass this roadblock, NGOs encourage Congress to include special grants to help states and communities to fund the new policy, should they want to "voluntarily" comply.

Should a community or state refuse to participate "voluntarily," local chapters of the NGOs are trained to go into action. They begin to pressure city councils or county commissioners to accept the grants and implement the policy. Should they meet resistance, they begin to issue news releases telling the community their elected officials are losing millions of dollars for the community. The pressure continues until the grant is finally taken and the policy becomes local law. This practice has resulted in the NGOs gaining incredible power on the local level. Today, a great number of communities are actually run by NGO members as city and county governments are staffed by NGO members. They serve on local unelected boards and regional councils that the NGOs helped to create. Local representative government is slowly relinquishing its power to the NGOs.

Americans must begin to understand that the debate over environmental issues have very little to do with clean water and air and much more to do with the establishment of power. NGOs are gaining it, locally elected officials are losing it as the structure of American government changes to accommodate the private agendas of NGOs.

SOURCE




New EPA killer coolant regs a crony boon to DuPont

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced plans to speed up the process of phasing out and banning the cooling agent used in most cars and refrigerators (HFC-134a).

This isn’t the first of such moves from the EPA. In 1978, the federal environmental agency began banning the use of Freon in the U.S. because the coolant allegedly caused damage to the ozone layer of the atmosphere, in favor of the HFC-134a coolant now facing universal bans from the EPA because of its “greenhouse” impact on the atmosphere.

The new chemical which is already replacing HFC-134a in Cadillacs and other vehicles is a compound known as HFO-1234yf.

There is, however, a peculiar connection between this series of federal bans, the timing of the bans, and the company holding the patents to the substances.

The EPA began banning Freon in 1978 — and DuPont’s patent for Freon expired in 1979. When DuPont invented Freon’s EPA-approved replacement (HFC-134a), they applauded the move to ban Freon. The catch was that, in addition to banning Freon from new development, refrigeration units would need to replace Freon with DuPont’s new HFC-134a.

A generation later, the same environmental alarmists have adopted new environmental scare tactics to create regulations that will profit the same corporate giants. The ozone layer has dropped out of national headlines in favor of global warming-causing “greenhouse gasses” (such as what you’re presently exhaling as you read this). Conveniently, HFC-134a has now been characterized as a very potent “greenhouse gas,” and therefore finds itself in the crosshairs of the EPA and environmental fear mongers everywhere.

But not to the detriment of HFC-creator DuPont. HFC’s proposed replacement (HFO-1234yf) was created by DuPont who now, along with Honeywell, holds a patent on the cooling chemical.

Therefore, EPA and DuPont again find themselves with mutually beneficial goals that are not necessarily better for the American people. Just as the replacement for Freon had detrimental effects on cooling technology, HFO-1234yf faces serious public safety questions, as noted by the Daily Mail in 2013.

Among the concerns, research has pointed out that the new product is toxic, combustible, and extremely dangerous when exposed to a heated engine (say, after a crash).

Auto manufacturers such as BMW and Mercedes Benz, who have been dealing with this issue in Europe, flatly refuse to use the new chemicals in their vehicles.

But none of that is stopping the EPA from moving forward to rewarding DuPont another major payday and putting people at risk for the sake of “environmental protection.”

SOURCE





At least 150 companies prep for carbon prices

At least 150 major companies worldwide — including ExxonMobil, Google, Microsoft and 26 others in the United States — are already making business plans that assume they will be taxed on their carbon pollution, a report out today says.

The U.S. has yet to impose a price on heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions, but other nations are starting to do so as a way to address global warming, so U.S.-based companies are factoring an eventual one into their plans, says the international non-profit CDP, formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project. The report is the group's first one to look at corporate carbon pricing on a global scale.

"We're seeing companies taking steps they're not required to, and they're doing this to be competitive in a carbon-constrained world," says Zoe Antitch, spokeswoman of CDP North America, noting many do business in multiple countries. "They're looking ahead. ... They're climate ready."

The report comes one week before leaders of 100-plus countries convene Sept. 23 in New York City for the United Nations' Climate Summit, at which leaders of many nations and corporations are expected to announce their plans to reduce carbon emissions.The World Bank is calling for carbon pricing as a key strategy.

"A price on carbon creates incentives," Rachel Kyte, the World Bank Group's special envoy for climate change, told reporters last week. By hiking the price of fossil fuels such as oil and coal, which emit the most carbon dioxide when burned, she said it spurs investments in energy efficiency and non-polluting renewable power such as solar and wind. She said Canada's British Columbia has had a "revenue-neutral" carbon tax since 2008, and its CO2 emissions have fallen while its economy has grown.

Yet in the U.S., some business leaders and GOP members of Congress remain opposed to taxing carbon emissions, saying it could raise consumer prices for energy. They helped defeat President Obama's legislative push for a national cap-and-trade system in which overall emissions are capped but companies that exceed the limits can buy emission credits from those that emitted less.

So Obama's Environmental Protection Agency, acting without Congress, proposed in June to cut carbon emissions from existing U.S. power plants 30% by 2030. The EPA rule would allow states to meet varying reduction targets by closing coal-fired power plants, saving energy, using more renewable power or forming regional cap-and-trade programs.

California has its own such program, as do nine Northeastern U.S. states, which have created the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative or RGGI.

Other countries have adopted them as well. China, which has several regional programs, has announced it will implement a national cap-and-trade by 2020. The European Union began its Emissions Trading Scheme in 2005. It covers power plants and factories. The United Kingdom has its own program to include additional emitters.

London-based CDP, which surveys thousands of companies every year on their climate policies on behalf of institutional investors, found that 496 companies worldwide say they already participate in a carbon-pricing scheme, including 96 U.S.-based corporations. Of these U.S. companies, 69 say they're regulated by the EU's program.

The CDP's first report on corporate carbon pricing, released in December, looked only at U.S. companies. Like this year, 29 companies said they had placed an internal price on carbon, 18 of which appear in today's report. Those 18: Delphi Automotive, Walt Disney, Apache, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Devon Energy, ExxonMobil, Hess, Cummins, Delta Air, Google, Ameren, American Electric Power, CMS Energy, Duke Energy, Entergy, Integrys Energy and Xcel Energy.

Eleven fell off last year's list, including Wal-Mart, General Electric and BP, but others joined this year's disclosure, including Microsoft, Bank of America, Dow Chemical and Goldman Sachs.

"We expect the number will be a lot higher next year," says Nigel Topping, CDP's executive director, noting his group will specifically ask companies whether they've placed an internal price on carbon. He says the 2013 and 2014 surveys did not do that, so companies had to volunteer the information. He says some that fell off this year's list may not have stopped pricing carbon but simply did not report it.

New Orleans-based Entergy, which runs power plants and provides electricity to customers in four southern states, uses a carbon price to help determine the "best mix" of future energy sources, says Chuck Barlow, its vice president of environmental strategy and policy.

U.S. companies report setting a range of carbon prices, from Microsoft's low of $6 per ton of carbon dioxide emitted to ExxonMobil's $80 per ton — up from $60 per ton last year.

"The risk of climate change is clear, and the risk warrants action," William Colton, ExxonMobil's vice president of corporate strategic planning, said in March in disclosing how the world's largest oil and gas producer assesses the risks of its fossil fuel assets. He said the company, which has shifted some of its production from oil to less-polluting natural gas, is trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in its operations and is supporting research that could lead to technology breakthroughs in energy.

SOURCE

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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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Wednesday, September 17, 2014


DiCaprio film magnifies the real climate change 'monster'

Real problem is monstrous government programs that perpetuate poverty, disease and death

By Tom Harris and Bob Carter

In Carbon, Leonardo DiCaprio’s new film about the “climate crisis,” we are told the world is threatened by a “carbon monster.” Coal, oil, natural gas and other carbon-based forms of energy are causing dangerous climate change and must be turned off as soon as possible, DiCaprio insists.

But he has identified the wrong monster. The real one is the climate scare – something DiCaprio promotes with his sensationalist, error-riddled movie. That is the real threat to civilization.

Carbon is the first of four films that DiCaprio planned to release in the weeks prior to the United Nations’ Climate Summit 2014, to be held in New York City September 23. If Carbon is any indication of what the rest of the series will be like, the public needs to brace itself against still more mind-numbing global warming propaganda.

DiCaprio repeatedly uses the “carbon pollution” and “carbon poison” misnomers – when he’s really talking about carbon dioxide (CO2), the plant-fertilizing gas that is essential for all life on Earth. But in addition to that deception, DiCaprio’s film is based on a myth: that CO2 from human activities is causing catastrophic climate change.

The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) lists thousands of scientific papers that either debunk or cast serious doubt on this popular though misguided notion.

Oregon-based physicist Dr. Gordon Fulks explains that the climate scare has “become a sort of societal pathogen that virulently spreads misinformation in tiny packages like a virus. CO2 is said to be responsible for global warming that is not occurring, for accelerated sea level rise that is not occurring, for net glacial and sea ice melt that is not occurring, for ocean acidification that is not occurring, and for increasing extreme weather that is not occurring.”

Fulks is right. DiCaprio’s film is just another vector for spreading the virus.

According to NASA satellites and ground-based temperature measurements, global warming ceased in the late 1990s, some 18 years ago. And yet, CO2 levels have risen almost 10% since 1997, a figure that represents an astonishing 30% of all human-related emissions since the industrial revolution began. These facts contradict all CO2-based climate models, upon which nearly all global warming concerns are founded. Similarly:

* Rates of sea-level rise remain small and are even decelerating; over recent decades they have averaged about 1 mm/year as measured by tide gauges and 2-3 mm/year as inferred from “adjusted” satellite data. That works out to a mere 4 to 12 inches per century, which is hardly a cause for alarm.

* Satellites also show a greater expanse of Antarctic sea ice now than at any time since space-based measurements began in 1979. During this period, Arctic sea ice has remained well within historic bounds and fluctuations, dating back centuries.

* The NIPCC’s March 2014 Biological Impacts report explains that the minute decline in alkalinity of the oceans projected by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s speculative computer models is small compared with the daily and seasonal changes that marine organisms already experience. Neither the IPCC nor the NIPCC forecasts that human CO2 emissions will cause oceans to become acidic in the coming centuries. They have become ever so slightly less alkaline over recent decades, but they are still very far from becoming acidic.

* A 2012 IPCC report concluded that there has been no significant increase in either the frequency or the intensity of extreme weather events in the modern era. The NIPCC 2013 report concluded the same. For the United States, the eight and one-half years since a category 3-5 hurricane made landfall is the longest such period since at least 1900.

The costs of feeding the climate change monster are staggering. According to the Congressional Research Service, between 2001 and 2014 the US Government spent $131 billion on human-caused climate change projects. They also allowed tax breaks for anti-CO2 energy initiatives totaling $176 billion.

Federal government spending on climate change and renewable energy is now running at $11 billion a year, and tax breaks at about $20 billion a year – for a total of more than double the total value of all wheat produced in the United States in 2013 ($14.4 billion).

Dr. Bjørn Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, calculates that the European Union’s goal of a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions below 1990 levels by 2020 will cost almost $100 billion annually by 2020 – or more than $7 trillion over the course of this century.

That is currently the most severe target in the world. It has caused EU energy prices to rise ominously, costing numerous jobs, sending millions of families into “fuel poverty,” and resulting in thousands of mostly elderly people dying from hypothermia, because they could not afford to heat their homes properly during cold winter months.

Lomborg, a supporter of the UN’s climate science, asserts, “After spending all that money, we would not even be able to tell the difference” between global temperatures a century from now with a 20% reduction in EU carbon dioxide emissions by 2020, or without it.

So, Al Gore was right in one respect. Climate change is indeed a moral issue.

There is nothing quite so immoral as wealthy, well-fed, well-housed Westerners like Messrs. Gore and DiCaprio promoting the waste of huge amounts of money on futile anti-global warming policies – money that could instead be spent improving living standards and saving lives in developing countries.

Billions of people in those poor nations lack adequate lights, refrigeration, sanitation, schooling, clean water and proper health services. Tens of millions of them suffer needlessly from malnutrition and horrible diseases of poverty, and millions of them die prematurely every year.

Denying them the finances to build inexpensive hydrocarbon-fired power stations has been aptly described as technological genocide. That is where the moral outrage should lie.

Perhaps Mr DiCaprio would like to make a film about this – the real climate monster.

Via email




Solar storm has lessons

Dr Charles R. Anderson

Recent observations of the effects of a massive solar storm on the Earth’s atmosphere made by NASA using the SABER instrument on the TIMED satellite have very important implications for the two main classes of hypotheses backing the idea of catastrophic man-made global warming.  burning earth

During this solar storm, gigantic quantities of energy were dumped into the Earth’s upper atmosphere by highly energetic particles.  The SABER instrument measures the infrared emissions from the Earth’s upper atmosphere.  The NASA measurements of those infrared emissions during the solar storm showed that 95% of the energy dumped into upper atmosphere was quickly re-emitted into space.  There was no significant warming of the Earth’s surface.

The significance with respect to the various man-made global warming hypotheses of this observation has often not been well-explained by critics of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (AGW).  The fact that the energy arrives in the atmosphere as energetic particles has often been glossed over in such commentaries, yet this is very important.

The energy of the solar storm is not of the same nature as the mix of ultraviolet (UV), visible light, and near and mid infrared radiation which provides the Earth with heat energy on a daily basis.  Though this important difference exists, the results of the solar storm energy measurements by NASA are still crucially significant for one of the principal global warming hypotheses and somewhat significant for the other main AGW hypothesis.

There are two standard hypotheses for the global warming mechanism that CO2 is supposed to provide at a catastrophic level:

1)  A large back-radiation effect near the Earth surface caused by water vapor and CO2, which warms the surface.

2)  A delay or decrease in radiation in the upper troposphere or stratosphere caused by increased CO2 and NO.

As I have discussed many times on my blog, most recently in Simple Explanation of Why Greenhouse Gases Do Not Warm the Earth’s Surface, back-radiation at the Earth’s surface is insignificant because the mean free path for the infrared radiation absorptions of water vapor and carbon dioxide are very short and the corresponding temperature differences between the surface and the lower few meters of the atmosphere are therefore very small.

The smaller than claimed infrared radiation from the surface is very quickly absorbed and distributed to nitrogen, oxygen, and argon in the air due to the very high collision rate in the lower atmosphere.  These primary air molecules do not radiate this energy and it is then mostly transported by convection upward or toward the poles.  Water vapor and CO2 actually slightly increase the rate of energy transport upward following the downward temperature and density gradients.

Thus Hypothesis 1 fails to make physical sense.  As more and more proponents of catastrophic AGW have realized this failure, they have turned to the second hypothesis as the justification for AGW.

Hypothesis 2 also fails.  See: Does Increased CO2 Cause a Decrease in Infrared Emission to Space?  Once again the lack of a significant temperature gradient in the upper troposphere for radiation purposes and no temperature gradient in the tropopause is one significant  problem for this hypothesis.  It is hard to change the temperature much of the CO2 emitters.  Another problem is that more and slightly warmer infrared emitters causes any warming in the upper atmosphere to be reduced because more emitters are sending individually increased radiation into space.  For the same reasons that Hypothesis 1 fails, it is also not possible for the warming CO2 absorbers to transmit energy back to the Earth's surface by radiation, so any effect of warming remains in the upper atmosphere.

The major significance of the NASA SABER measurements on how effectively CO2 and NO eliminated the energy of the solar storm is that this is confirmation of my argument that Hypothesis 2 fails.

A local warming high in the atmosphere does not result in a warming of the surface of the Earth.  Indeed, the infrared gases are highly effective in cooling the atmosphere, especially in the upper atmosphere where the mean free path for infrared absorption by CO2 and NO is longer than near sea level.

As I initially pointed out in Slaying the Sky Dragon, the back-radiation effects claimed for infrared active gases were so small that the role of such gases in absorbing solar radiation before it could arrive at the surface of the Earth was a very significant cooling effect of these wrongly designated greenhouse gases.

A warming of the atmosphere thousands of meters above the surface is not an equivalent warming of the surface where we live.  Very little such atmospheric energy is transported to the surface.  This remains true as I have more thoroughly explained more recently here:  Infrared-Absorbing Gases and the Earth’s Surface Temperature: A Relatively Simple Baseline Evaluation of the Physics.

The fact that I have pointed to my own explanations for the failures in the physics of Hypothesis 1 and Hypothesis 2 is not a claim that I am the only scientist who has understood the bad physics of these crucial catastrophic man-made global warming arguments.

Fortunately, more and more scientists have come to understand the physics either wholly or in good part.  More and more scientists have come to understand that the two hypotheses used to explain catastrophic AGW are either wrong or at least dubious.

SOURCE





America’s accessible cities

In a triumph for the automobile, allegedly "dumb" growth beats "smart" growth

Cities have been pivotal to improved living standards, because of the opportunities they facilitate. This is particularly evident over the past two centuries, as world urbanization has risen from 3 percent to over 50 percent, and to more than 80 percent in the United States.

The prosperity of urban residents depends in large measure on their ability to reach the best available jobs in the city in a reasonable period of time. This requires access. University of Paris economists Remy Prud’homme and Chang Woon Lee and othershave shown that cities tend to perform better economically if the transport system permits more jobs to be reached in a fixed time, such as 30 minutes. Cities are defined as metropolitan areas, which include core municipalities and suburbs. As former World Bank planner Alain Bertaud has indicated, “large labor markets are the raison d’être of large cities.”

With frequent press attention on traffic congestion and “gridlock,” it may be surprising that work trip travel times in US cities are better than those of high income competitors in other nations. Indeed, the University of Minnesota’s David Levinson, found that the typical employee can reach two-thirds of jobs in major US metropolitan areas within 30 minutes.

Census Bureau data indicates that the average work trip travel time in US cities of more than 5 million population was approximately 29 minutes each way. Western European cities of more than 5 million population have an average travel time of 32 minutes. Toronto, Canada’s only city of this size, has a travel time of 33 minutes. East Asian cities with more than 5 million residents (Tokyo, Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto, Nagoya, Seoul, Hong Kong and Singapore) have far longer average travel times — at 42 minutes. Australia’s two largest cities (Sydney and Melbourne), which are yet to reach 5 million, have an average travel times of 35 minutes.

A number of examples can be cited. For all its well known traffic congestion, Los Angeles has the shortest travel time of any high income world megacity (cities over 10 million population), at just 27 minutes. Paris and New York are the strongest competitors, at 34 minutes, while Tokyo’s 50 minutes is nearly double that of Los Angeles (estimated from travel time distributions reported by the Japan Statistics Bureau).

Dallas-Fort Worth is the best performing US city between 5 million and 10 million population, at 26 minutes. Travel time in Houston, Miami and Philadelphia is almost as short, at 27 minutes. Only the Germany’s Ruhr Valley (Essen-Duisburg-Dortmund) does better than these cities, at 24 minutes. Hong Kong’s travel time is the longest in this population category, at 46 minutes. This may be surprising, since in many ways Hong Kong conforms to current urban planning ideals. It is the densest urban area in the high income world and the largest transit work trip market share.

The US travel time advantage extends to metropolitan areas with more than 1,000,000 population. The average work trip travel time was 25 minutes in the US, compared to 27 minutes in Western Europe and 28 minutes in Canada. No data was found for the smaller metropolitan areas of East Asia or Australia.

Why are US cities so accessible? Despite the hostility of planners toward the automobile, the secret lies in automobile access. Generally, automobiles are faster than other modes, such as transit, walking and cycling for trips of the lengths required in modern metropolitan areas. The US also has more dispersed (decentralized) employment, which increases access and shortens travel times. Only 8 percent of major metropolitan area employment is in the downtown areas (central business districts) in US cities. Similar factors account for the Ruhr Valley’s quick travel times in Germany, with unusual employment dispersion and comprehensive freeway coverage (for Europe).

By contrast, nearly half the population and half of the jobs are in pre-1980 suburban areas (not the urban core), according to my analysis of zip code data. This makes more employment closer to people throughout the metropolitan area, on generally less congested roads.

Meanwhile, cars are getting cleaner. The Department of Energy forecasts the new US (and Canadian) fuel economy standards will reduce gross greenhouse gas emissions a quarter by 2040, despite a strong increase in driving and a conservative assumption of no progress in new car emissions after 2025. Yet things are likely to get much better, with groundbreaking advances by manufacturers, automated vehicle developers and government agencies. The California Air Resources Board is aiming for a statewide fleet that emits zero emissions by 2050, on the way to 100 percent.

Superior access is one reason that US cities dominate international income rankings. Access to greater employment choices is good for metropolitan economies. The result is a higher standard of living and less poverty than would otherwise be the case.

SOURCE




The much feared talk by climatologist Judith Curry (excerpts)

Just the news that she was GOING TO give a public talk has had Warmists frothing

Climatologist Dr. Judith Curry, who was until recently the Chair of School of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology, detailed her conversion from a scientist who accepted the global warming “consensus” on man-made global warming to one who now openly challenges it. Curry spoke at the National Press Club in Washington DC on September 16 at an event sponsored by the George C. Marshall Institute.

Curry warned of possible global cooling. “We also see a cooling period starting around the turn of the (21st) century.” She also suggested that the “current cool phase will continue until the 2030s.”

“Even on the timescale of decade or two, we could end up be very surprised on how the climate plays out and it might not be getting warmer like the UN IPCC says,” Curry noted.  “We don’t know what’s going to happen. All other things being equal – yes — more carbon dioxide means warmer, but all other things are never equal,” she emphasized.

“We just don’t know. I think we are fooling ourselves to think that CO2 control knob really influences climate on these decadal or even century time scales,” she added.

“I view the [climate change] problem as a ‘big wicked mess,” Curry told the crowd at luncheon assembled. “The main problem is we are putting the policy cart before the scientific horse,” Curry said.

Curry believes the United Nations has distorted the research of global warming and shifted too much on carbon dioxide as the “control knob” of the climate system. “Climate scientists have focused primarily on greenhouse gases,” Curry noted, linking that focus on the IPCC’s focus and the funding streams available to scientists who focus on CO2.  “Other factors relatively neglected,” Curry declared.

“The early articulation of a preferred policy option by the UN framework marginalized research on broader issues surrounding climate change and resulted in an overconfident assessment of the importance of greenhouse gases in future climate change and stifled development of a broad range of policy options.”

Curry also dismissed the UN global climate treaty process. “Relying on global international treaty to solve the problem — which I do not think would really solve the problem even if it was implemented – is politically unviable and economically unviable

Curry told of her conversion and how she ended up disillusioned with the so-called “consensus.”

“Prior to 2005, I was comfortably ensconced in academia,” Curry noted and discussed how she grew increasingly “uneasy about how the UN IPCC dealt with uncertainty.”

Curry’s turning point was the Climategate email controversy in 2009. She said she was disappointed at the “lack of transparency” and the ‘silence” of many of her colleagues about the behavior of the upper echelon of the UN scientists revealed in the emails.

Curry showed the headline from Scientific American termed her a “heretic” and the headline blared: ‘Climate Heretic’: ‘Judith Curry Turns on Her Colleagues’

Crushing of Scientific Dissent

Curry spoke of the “intolerance of dissent” and attempts to silence skeptic in the global warming discussion today. “President Obama said in his State of the Union address, ‘we don’t have time for a meeting of the flat earth society.’”

She called claims of a 97% consensus “deeply flawed.”

“You cannot even talk about these kinds of issues in the mainstream climate debate. We get called ‘deniers’. This is a very sad state of affairs,” she noted.

“Careerism is a big problem. It much more beneficial to join the dominant paradigm, rather than to fight against it,” Curry explained.

“If I were nontenured scientist, I would fear for my job! But I am a senior scientist with retirement in my sight, so I can afford to do what I want, say what I think.”

“I no longer write government grant proposals. I have lot more independence. I truly feel liberated by not having to chase dollars,” she added.

Curry lamented the current state of academia. “There is a system in place with an emphasis on paper counts, an emphasis on dollars, and it is very difficult to dig in and work on hard problem. You have got to keep cranking it out. I really despair. I really despair,” she said.

“I see more of our graduates going into private sector rather than academia,” she added.

Curry was optimistic about how the internet is changing things for the better. “Social media is changing things like crazy. The whole emphasis on peer review being challenged by social media and open access journals. The whole dynamic of research and higher academia is changing for the better,” she explained.

“I was on that treadmill, I am mostly off it now and it is very liberating to be off that treadmill,” she added.

Severe Weather

Curry also challenged the notion that there was more “extreme weather” today. “Much of the severe weather we think we are seeing right now — you look back to the 1930 and 1950s and this is what we were seeing also. This is weather amnesia,” she noted.

“Sandy was a category one, when it struck. There is nothing exceptional about a category one hurricane striking New York City. What was exceptional was the damage and this was associated with extreme wealth and development in that region,” she said.

“We have seen that the hurricane landfalls have become fewer in last few decades overall. So you cannot blame it on global warming,” she said.

Sea Level Rise

Curry downplayed sea level rise fears. “If you look back to the 1930 and 1940s, the rate of sea level rise was at least as large as recent values when there was little contribution of human caused warming.”

“Bangladesh, this is the poster child for sea level rise – has an estimated only 10-15% of their sea level rise associated with warming, the rest of it is associated with land use issues and geological issues. So trying to cure the sea level problem by reducing warming — even if that were possible — is only going to address a fraction of the sea level rise issue,” Curry said.

She also laughed about the growing number of excuses (currently at 52) for the global warming ‘pause‘, approaching 18 years according to satellite data.

SOURCE





Windmill blues in Germany

Dr Klaus L.E. Kaiser

The first large scale wind-power installation, some 100 km (65 miles) offshore the northwest coast of Germany has finally been connected to the grid. The Offshore-Windpark Deutsche Bucht is a wind farm with a total of 80 wind turbine towers, each with a hub height of 100 m (300 ft.) above the sea and a combined design output of some 400 Megawatts in electric power.

Connection to the Grid

Because of delays in getting the underwater cabling and connection to the power grid on land, the whole power park was standing idle for the last two years. In order to prevent potential damage to gear boxes and turbines, each tower was supplied with energy from small gasoline-powered electricity generators for that time.

Several years behind schedule, the Bard 1 wind farm finally came together in March 2014. The wind farm was connected to the electrical grid and started to deliver energy. Alas, it did not last very long.  In March, the separate AC-to-DC converter station at the facility suffered a “meltdown.” A new converter installed a few days ago was shut down not much later without explanation.

HVDC Converters

The alternating current (AC) coming from the turbines cannot be directly transmitted to the grid. Instead, it needs to be converted to high voltage direct current (HVDC) first. In principle, that is a straight forward task and has been solved for a long time. All the high-tension electrical power transmission lines around the world use such HVDC converters. So what’s the problem with the wind farm converter?

In contrast to a steady one-source input, like from a nuclear or coal-fired power plant, a wind farm has many smaller sources with the output of each constantly varying with conditions like wind direction, wind speed and blade angle. Such variations lead to destabilizing energy-oscillations in the whole system that cannot be handled by the current converters. To make matters worse, the engineers have yet to fully understand the nature of the problem and to come up with any solution for it.

Investor Worries

In short, the power that may be in the offshore wind (if and when it blows) cannot easily be controlled and converted into anything useful at this time. With Germany’s plans for another 10,000 offshore turbines some investors are getting a bit worried about the possibility of unsolvable systemic problems with such far-offshore wind power systems.

Of course, one has to ask why wind power installations have enjoyed the attention of investors to begin with. It was all based on the tax write-offs and guaranteed energy feed-in tariffs some governments in Europe and elsewhere bestowed upon them. Both in the U.S. and Canada such government schemes for “alternative energy” are still in full bloom.

In contrast, other countries have seen the light and are going in the opposite direction, building new coal-fired and nuclear power plants as fast as they can.

New Power Plants

While in the U.S. coal mines are closing down and the miners being laid off, the opposite is happening elsewhere on the globe. China, India, France and Hungary, to name a few, are building new power plants based on coal and/or nuclear fuel. Even Japan, which closed down its nuclear power plants after the Fukushima sea quake, is set to restart several reactors next month. On a global scale, however, coal is still the king in terms of stationary electric power generation.

Despite a consumption of 90 million barrels of oil per day, the world needs more coal than ever, about 8,000 million tons per year. Most of that is used for electric power, the rest mainly for heating. Obviously, with estimated reserves many multiples of that annual consumption, the world is not going to run out of coal tomorrow.

Real “Alternatives”

The world has enough uranium resources to satisfy the demand for several hundred years alone. Then there is the potential for thorium-based reactors, with a potential fuel supply in the U.S. for another 1,000 years. The holy grail of energy independence, however, would be controlled nuclear fusion. If that can be achieved, the earth would have an unlimited power supply. Now that would really be “alternative power.”

The highly touted, government-subsidized, unreliable, intermittent and expensive “alternative power” schemes currently in vogue are nothing but a phenomenal waste of money. As evident from the described wind farm in Germany, the required technology is not in place at this time, perhaps may never be.

SOURCE



New book promotes MORE CO2

As ever-more scientists denounce misguided attempts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the evidence grows that more CO2 in the atmosphere, not less, is best.

 A new book ‘About Face!’ by two respected scientists and an economist makes the case for adding more CO2 to earth’s atmosphere.



The scientists are Madhav Khandekar in Canada and Cliff Ollier in Australia, plus economist Arthur Middleton Hughes in the USA. They show us why CO2 is essential to all life on earth. It is plant food.

The authors say, “We believe that the more CO2 there is in the atmosphere the bigger and better plants will grow all over the world. Three million people die each year because the prices of food are too high for them. We want to increase CO2 in the atmosphere and reduce world malnutrition.”

The Authors' Synopsis

This book is highly controversial as billions of dollars are involved in ethanol and climate control. The Obama Administration is planning to shut down all coal fired electric plants because they emit CO2 in amounts more than the EPA permits. This will cost more than $300 billion dollars and result in more than 100,000 unemployed. We say that such actions are unnecessary and wrong.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issues periodic reports that predict the warming of the earth and that the warming will raise the level of the oceans, and bring on wild weather such as hurricanes, droughts, floods, tornadoes, etc. None of this is true. It has no scientific basis.

Today, more than one million people die from malaria in Africa and other less developed areas. None die from malaria in the US, Europe, Australia or other developed countries where the mosquitos that spread malaria have been wiped out using DDT.

The US and UN have forbidden these less developed areas to use DDT. This must be changed. More than three million people die from malnutrition because of the high price of food partly due to 14% of the world corn crop being converted to ethanol.  We cite studies that show that increasing CO2 in the atmosphere by 300 ppm will increase food production by 36% in every country in the world on all continents.

This increase can result from abandoning the thousands of laws and regulations that inhibit emission of CO2. Carbon dioxide is a harmless, odorless, tasteless gas that is essential to photosynthesis – the basis of plant growth – without which life on earth would end.

Copies of 'About Face!' are available to buy securely online now at secure.mybookorders.com

SOURCE

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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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Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Plans to Turn ‘Politically Binding’ UN Climate Change Accord Into Federal Law

Obama administration officials who say they intend to sign a “politically binding” agreement to drastically reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions at the United Nations’ (UN) climate change conference in Paris next year already have a legal strategy to turn any non-binding accord into federal law, warns Christopher Horner, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).

Horner told CNSNews.com that the “name and shame” effort is an alternative to a new climate change treaty already being drafted by the UN that would have to be ratified by the U.S. Senate.

“Obama’s statement acknowledges that he cannot get a new climate treaty past China or U.S. voters,” Horner told CNSNews.com.

But he added that environmental activists are already planning to employ the same collusive sue-and-settle strategy they have used in the past to impose draconian energy restrictions on all Americans even though there’s been no global warming for nearly 18 years.

’It’s quite clear under Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution that after the president signs it, any binding international law agreement has to be ratified by the Senate,” Horner explained.

But he noted that “activist green groups, in conjunction with the New York attorney general’s office, have already developed plans to use the federal courts to force Americans to drastically reduce their energy consumption whether or not Obama signs a new climate change treaty in Paris next year” to replace the expired Kyoto Protocol.

Horner predicted the White House strategy in a 2009 paper published by the Federalist Society, in which he wrote: “It appears that Kyoto will be the subject of a controversial effort to sharply revise U.S. environmental treaty practice…. waiving the Constitution’s requirement of Senate ratification by reclassifying the product of talks as a congressional-Executive agreement, not a treaty.” (See Kyoto II ...Emerging Strategy.pdf)

”You can’t just dismiss this if you know what they’re trying to do,” Horner said, pointing to a copy of a court pleading drafted by environmental activists that he received from the New York attorney general’s office under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request two years ago .

The draft lawsuit argues that the federal government should be required to honor its international commitments even if they are not ratified by the Senate.

The strategy was confirmed in June by Yvo De Boer, the UN’s former climate chief. “If the U.S. feels that ‘internationally legally binding’ has little value, and that the real value lies in legally-binding national commitments, then these regulations can be the way for the U.S. to show leadership,” De Boer said.

“We know where this is going,” Horner told CNSNews.com. “As they intend, it will end up in the courts, not the Senate. The issue would come down to 'How do you implement it?' and that is where stunts like the NY AG's come in. You get a court to turn these gestures into law and/or a friendly administration to roll over and get a court's blessing by settling a ‘sue-and-settle’ case.”

“You can’t trust the courts not to do that, and it will be as good as ratifying” a climate treaty as far as Americans are concerned, added Horner, author of Red Hot Lies: How Global Warming Alarmists Use Threats, Fraud and Deception to Keep You Misinformed.

The Paris accord will primarily target Western developed nations such as the United States, Horner pointed out. ”The argument is: ‘The atmosphere is a pie, and you’ve already had your slice’.”

“We need another Byrd-Hagel Resolution,” he added, referring to a July 1997 resolution that passed the Senate unanimously. It stated that the United States would not be a signatory to any climate change agreement that did not include developing countries and that would “result in serious harm to the economy of the United States.”

Marlo Lewis, Horner’s colleague at CEI, believes that the strategy will also prevent future presidents and Congresses from rolling back burdensome Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations.

“Obama will use the climate action plan initiatives as a basis for demanding similar ‘pledges’ from other nations – but also use the hoped-for agreement to lock in his domestic climate agenda. If he pulls it off, future Congresses and the next president won’t be able to overturn EPA regulations, for example, without violating our Framework Convention ‘pledges’ to the ‘international community’,” Lewis predicts.

The UK’s Lord Christopher Monckton, who has attended all the UN climate change conferences, including the one held in Durban, South Africa in 2011, previously told CNSNews.com that “the next big moment of danger will be in Paris in December of next year.”

That’s because one of the publicly stated outcomes of the Durban conference was “a decision by Parties to adopt a universal legal agreement on climate change as soon as possible, and no later than 2015.”

SOURCE





Fracking doesn't contaminate water supplies, faulty shale gas wells do

Leaks from faulty shale gas and oil wells have contaminated water supplies, but fracking itself is not to blame, according to new research.

Fracking involves drilling a well deep underground and then pumping water, sand and chemicals down it at high pressure to fracture the rocks, enabling shale gas or oil trapped within them to flow out.

Critics of the controversial process have often claimed that it pollutes water supplies, citing examples of contamination at shale gas sites in the US.

The 2010 film Gaslands showed residents near fracking sites who were able to set alight to the water from their taps, apparently due to methane contamination.

In a paper published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists analysed the origins of the gas in contaminated water by shale wells in Pennsylvania and Texas, two of the biggest drilling regions in the US.

They found that the fracturing of the rocks was not to blame for the leaks. Instead, botched construction of the wells led to gas or oil escaping through cracks in metal casing or through faulty cement seals.

Thomas H Darrah, assistant professor of earth science at Ohio State, who led the study, said: "Our data clearly show that the contamination in these clusters stems from well-integrity problems such as poor casing and cementing.

"The good news is that most of the issues we have identified can potentially be avoided by future improvements in well integrity."

Avner Vengosh, professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke, said: "These results appear to rule out the possibility that methane has migrated up into drinking water aquifers because of horizontal drilling or hydraulic fracturing, as some people feared."

The distinction is important because it suggests fracking is not intrinsically polluting and should be able to take place safely if wells are constructed properly.

Problems of faulty well construction can also lead to leaks from conventional oil and gas wells.

However, extracting gas from shale requires a far greater intensity of wells than conventional drilling.

Ministers in the UK insist that the regulatory regime is far stricter in the US and should prevent such leaks.

But critics say there are insufficient safeguards to ensure the process is conducted safely and are likely to seize on the study as further evidence that shale gas exploration can be damaging.

Robert B. Jackson professor of environmental and earth sciences at Stanford and Duke, one of the report's authors, said: "People's water has been harmed by drilling. In Texas, we even saw two homes go from clean to contaminated after our sampling began."

The findings echo those of a study by Researching Fracking in Europe (ReFINE), backed by the British Geological Survey and published earlier this year, which also found that although shale gas wells can leak, fracking itself was not to blame. Problems with the structure of the wells – such as inadequate cement seals - were responsible.

ReFINE found that more than six per cent of wells in a major shale exploration region in Pennsylvania had reported some kind of leak.

Professor Richard Davies of Durham University, one of the report’s authors, told the Telegraph at the time: "We have not found any evidence that fracking is the problem. It’s the boreholes that could cause water contamination, and emissions into the atmosphere.

“Shale gas requires a lot of wells to be drilled; more wells to produce the same volume of gas from shale as from a conventional reservoir. That’s why well integrity is critical.”

The study found that of 143 wells that were in use in the UK in 2000, one had leaked. But it found this was “likely to be an underestimate of the actual number of wells that have experienced integrity failure” because of lack of data.

SOURCE





Don’t give up America’s economic and competitive advantage

War is upon us, ISIS is brazenly beheading American journalists—with a promise of more to come; Christian congregations have been bombed during worship, churches have been destroyed, monasteries attacked, entire cities purged, hundreds of thousands have fled, while others have been slaughtered; and cities, weapons, banks, and key infrastructures are being captured.

Surely, with all of these horrors playing out before our eyes, the crisis in Syria and Iraq is the “most consequential, urgent, sweeping collection of challenges we face.” No, the quote above was made about climate change by Hillary Clinton—the heavy favorite for the Democratic 2016 presidential nomination—before a standing-room-only crowd at Senator Harry Reid’s seventh National Clean Energy Summit (NCES 7.0) held in Las Vegas on Thursday, September 4.

We could almost forgive Secretary of State John Kerry for his similar statement made in Jakarta, Indonesia, on February 16, when he referred to climate change as: “perhaps the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.” ISIS hadn’t yet erupted onto the international stage. But now we know better. We know that the world isn’t less violent than it has ever been. We know that it isn’t more tolerant than it has ever been.

Apparently, Clinton hasn’t been following the news. Or, as Senator Rand Paul pointed out: she’s “battling climate change instead of terrorism.”

Clinton’s speech on Thursday was presented to a “friendly crowd,” who cheered her on. In his introduction, Reid declared that Clinton is: “able to explain things in a way we all understand” and said that she was: “the first to identify the fact that there is something called climate change.” Her spot on the program has been referenced as: “her first energy and climate speech of a publicity tour that many believe is the springboard to a presidential campaign.”

While no one in the Mandalay Bay ballroom questioned the validity of her statements—and the Q & A session led by White House Senior Advisor John Podesta resembled a lovefest—there was more than her misperception about “the challenges we face as a nation and a world” to question.

For example, when addressing “unpredictable” subsidies for green energy projects, she claimed that $500 billion is spent every year subsidizing fossil fuels. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), in 2012, global fossil fuel subsidies did, in fact, total $544 billion, however, citing that figure in the same breath as U.S. tax incentives for renewable energy is deceptive at best.

The Institute for Energy Research (IER) did a study on global energy subsidies that revealed: “Fossil fuel consumption subsidies are most prevalent in the Middle East and in North Africa.” The IER report states: “On a per-person basis, fossil fuel consumption subsidies are highest for the United Arab Emirates at $4,172 per person, Kuwait at $3,729 per person and Saudi Arabia at $2,291 per person.” It concludes: “Many Americans are confused by the large amount of global fossil fuel consumption subsidies that the IEA calculates, not realizing that these subsidies have nothing to do with tax policy, research and development or loan guarantees, where most U.S. programs are directed.”

A white paper from the Independent Petroleum Association of America offered the following insights culled from a Congressional Research Service Memo titled Energy Production by Source and Energy Tax Incentives. “While fossil fuels (including oil, natural gas, and coal) accounted for 78 percent of domestic energy production, they received just 13 percent of energy related ‘tax incentives’ in 2009. Meanwhile, renewables accounted for more than 77 percent of the roughly $20 billion in ‘tax incentives’ that went to energy, but generated less than 11 percent of domestic energy production. Renewables have received additional boosts as part of Federal spending packages enacted under the banner of economic recovery.”

Let’s look at those “incentives” for renewables and why they are “unpredictable.” Germany and Spain led the world in green energy subsidies but have since considerably dialed back on them.

In Germany, after more than a decade of green-energy subsidies, its electricity rates and carbon-dioxide emissions have gone up. According to a September 4 Reuter’s report, Germany’s reliance on coal has gone up each of the past four years. Germany is looking at levies for residential photo-voltaic system owners—something also being considered (and, in some cases, implemented) in the U.S.

After nearly100 billion of U.S. taxpayer dollars have gone to green-energy projects, the stimulus-funded program has been plagued with failure, corruption, and illegal activity—though the Department of Energy recently announced a new round of loan guarantees for green-energy projects. Meanwhile—as has happened in Germany—utility bills have gone up and public support for subsidies has declined. After more than twenty years, the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy finally expired on December 31, 2013—though forces that benefit from it are still hoping to extend it retroactively. (Clinton did point out that wind energy is a very big part of farmers’ income in New York.) The PTC is “unpredictable” at best.

In her Q & A session, Clinton said: “One day last summer, Germany got 74 percent of its energy from renewables.” Like the comment about $500 billion in global subsidies for fossil fuels, her speech writers did their homework—but they plucked data without looking deeper and as a result made her look foolish. The 74 percent figure is fact. But it represents a fraction of only one day, not recent history, or even a pattern. One month later, Germany got 50 percent of its electricity demand from solar—but six months earlier, in the January cold, it got only 0.1 percent. In his post in the Energy Collective, Robert Wilson, a PhD Student in Mathematical Ecology at the University of Strathclyde, calls Germany’s situation: “more of a coal lock-in than a solar revolution,” as the need for electricity, especially in the cold, grey days of January, requires the steady supply of coal-fueled electricity.

One other item to question: Clinton clearly collaborates with her former boss on his Clean Power Plan, which has a growing coalition of opponents as diverse as the Exotic Wildlife Association, the Foundry Association of Michigan, California Cotton Growers Association, Texas Aggregates and Concrete Association, The Fertilizer Institute, Georgia Railroad Association, Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation, electric utilities and co-ops, and city and state Chambers of Commerce from coast-to-coast.

The Clean Power Plan is about reducing carbon-dioxide emission from existing power plants. In her speech, Clinton repeated a falsehood Obama likes to reference: reducing CO2 emissions will improve children’s’ respiratory health.

“Hillary apparently doesn’t know the difference between soot and CO2,” quipped Jane Orient, MD, and president of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness. She continued: “And the American Lung Association pretends it doesn’t. No one can claim that the tiny increase in CO2 from coal-fueled generating stations increases asthma—just being indoors with other breathing humans increases CO2 much more and doesn’t cause asthma.”

Orient went on to explain: “Some very bad studies of associations between high air pollution days and ‘premature’ deaths are used to extrapolate as with the liner no-threshold radiation hypothesis—lots of diesel exhaust may provoke an asthma attack, therefore a vanishingly small increase in soot affecting many people will cause some asthma. Some dust is soot, which is carbon, quod erat demonstratum.” She added: “Unemployment, poverty, high electricity bills don’t figure into the calculation.”

Dr. Charles Battig, a board certified anesthesiologist, told me: “asthma sufferers, just like individuals without any respiratory disease, have 4 to 5 percent CO2 in their lungs as a normal component of their exhaled air. The CO2 levels will vary during an asthma attack. The presence of CO2 in expired air is normal for all humans, and ambient CO2 is not a trigger for an asthmatic attack.  CO2 is not a pathological pollutant per se at levels 100 times that of ambient (inspired air); 400ppm ambient vs. 40,000 ppm in expired air.”

As Reid announced, Clinton may be able to “able to explain things in a way we all understand,” but she is creative with the data—using it to make the points she needed to curry favor with the NCES 7.0 audience.

In its review of her speech, the National Journal pointed out: “As expected, Clinton’s keynote address at the National Clean Energy Summit didn’t wade into much controversial territory.” She never touched on the Keystone pipeline that the State Department positively reviewed under her watch and which, in 2010, she stated that she was “inclined to approve.”

Clinton did, however, take a couple risks for which she deserves some credit. She strayed from the safe turf, when she admitted that Obama’s trajectory on climate change policy hit “a brick wall of opposition” at the 2009 United Nations climate talks in Copenhagen.

She also acknowledged: “Energy is a major part of our foreign policy.” As such, she supports development of American natural gas and oil, calling it an example “of American innovation changing the game.”

Addressing the benefits of producing and exporting natural gas and oil, she said: “Assuming that our production stays at the levels, or even as some predict, goes higher, I do think there’s a play there.” Noting it could help Europe and Asia, she added: “This is a great economic advantage, a competitive advantage, for us. …We don’t want to give that up.”

America does have an energy advantage—and Clinton is correct: “We don’t want to give that up.” Why then, does she (and President Obama) support policies that would take that away—or at least, not encourage our energy growth?

That fact that Clinton chose to start her publicity tour, the perceived springboard to her presidential campaign, with a speech on energy should signal to all of America how important the topic truly is. Energy makes America great!

SOURCE





The Ozone Hole Isn’t Fixed. But That’s No Worry

Matt Ridley

The risk from extra UV light is just one of the dangers that have been overplayed by the eco-exaggerators

The ozone layer is healing. Or so said the news last week. Thanks to a treaty signed in Montreal in 1989 to get rid of refrigerant chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), the planet’s stratospheric sunscreen has at last begun thickening again. Planetary disaster has been averted by politics.

For reasons I will explain, this news deserves to be taken with a large pinch of salt. You do not have to dig far to find evidence that the ozone hole was never nearly as dangerous as some people said, that it is not necessarily healing yet and that it might not have been caused mainly by CFCs anyway.

The timing of the announcement was plainly political: it came on the 25th anniversary of the treaty, and just before a big United Nations climate conference in New York, the aim of which is to push for a climate treaty modelled on the ozone one.

Here’s what was actually announced last week, in the words of a Nasa scientist, Paul Newman: “From 2000 to 2013, ozone levels climbed 4 per cent in the key mid-northern latitudes.” That’s a pretty small change and it is in the wrong place. The ozone thinning that worried everybody in the 1980s was over Antarctica.

Over northern latitudes, ozone concentration has been falling by about 4 per cent each March before recovering. Over Antarctica, since 1980, the ozone concentration has fallen by 40 or 50 per cent each September before the sun rebuilds it.

So what’s happening to the Antarctic ozone hole? Thanks to a diligent blogger named Anthony Watts, I came across a press release also from Nasa about nine months ago, which said: “Two new studies show that signs of recovery are not yet present, and that temperature and winds are still driving any annual changes in ozone hole size.”

As recently as 2006, Nasa announced, quoting Paul Newman again, that the Antarctic ozone hole that year was “the largest ever recorded”. The following year a paper in Nature magazine from Markus Rex, a German scientist, presented new evidence that suggested CFCs may be responsible for less than 40 per cent of ozone destruction anyway. Besides, nobody knows for sure how big the ozone hole was each spring before CFCs were invented. All we know is that it varies from year to year.

How much damage did the ozone hole ever threaten to do anyway? It is fascinating to go back and read what the usual hyperventilating eco-exaggerators said about ozone thinning in the 1980s. As a result of the extra ultraviolet light coming through the Antarctic ozone hole, southernmost parts of Patagonia and New Zealand see about 12 per cent more UV light than expected. This means that the weak September sunshine, though it feels much the same, has the power to cause sunburn more like that of latitudes a few hundred miles north. Hardly Armageddon.

The New York Times reported “an increase in Twilight Zone-type reports of sheep and rabbits with cataracts” in southern Chile. Not to be outdone, Al Gore wrote that “hunters now report finding blind rabbits; fisherman catch blind salmon”. Zoologists briefly blamed the near extinction of many amphibian species on thin ozone. Melanoma in people was also said to be on the rise as a result.

This was nonsense. Frogs were dying out because of a fungal disease spread from Africa — nothing to do with ozone. Rabbits and fish blinded by a little extra sunlight proved to be as mythical as unicorns. An eye disease in Chilean sheep was happening outside the ozone-depleted zone and was caused by an infection called pinkeye — nothing to do with UV light. And melanoma incidence in people actually levelled out during the period when the ozone got thinner.

Then remember that the ozone hole appears when the sky is dark all day, and over an uninhabited continent. Even if it persists into the Antarctic spring and spills north briefly, the hole allows 50 times less ultraviolet light through than would hit your skin at the equator at sea level (let alone at a high altitude) in the tropics. So it would be bonkers to worry about UV as you sailed round Cape Horn in spring, say, but not when you stopped at the Galapagos: the skin cancer risk is 50 times higher in the latter place.

This kind of eco-exaggeration has been going on for 50 years. In the 1960s Rachel Carson said there was an epidemic of childhood cancer caused by DDT; it was not true — DDT had environmental effects but did not cause human cancers.

In the 1970s the Sahara desert was said be advancing a mile a year; it was not true — the region south of the Sahara has grown markedly greener and more thickly vegetated in recent decades.

In the 1980s acid rain was said to be devastating European forests; not true — any local declines in woodland were caused by pests or local pollution, not by the sulphates and nitrates in rain, which may have contributed to an actual increase in the overall growth rate of European forests during the decade.

In the 1990s sperm counts were said to be plummeting thanks to pollution with man-made “endocrine disruptor” chemicals; not true — there was no fall in sperm counts.

In the 2000s the Gulf Stream was said to be failing and hurricanes were said to be getting more numerous and worse, thanks to global warming; neither was true, except in a Hollywood studio.

The motive for last week’s announcement was to nudge world leaders towards a treaty on climate change by reminding them of how well the ozone treaty worked. But getting the world to agree to cease production of one rare class of chemical, for which substitutes existed, and which only a few companies mainly in rich countries manufactured, was a very different proposition from setting out to decarbonise the whole economy, when each of us depends on burning carbon (and hydrogen) for almost every product, service, meal, comfort and journey in our lives.

The true lesson of the ozone story is that taking precautionary action on the basis of dubious evidence and exaggerated claims might be all right if the action does relatively little economic harm.

However, loading the entire world economy with costly energy, and new environmental risks based on exaggerated claims about what might in future happen to the climate makes less sense.

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Cross-Party Alliance in N.E. England: Punishing ‘Green’ Taxes Threaten UK’s Energy Intensive Industries

TEESSIDE’S “proud industrial heritage” faces further decline because of punishing ‘green’ taxes, the Government was warned yesterday (Thursday, September 11).

A cross-party alliance of the region’s MPs used a Commons debate to urge ministers to ease the pain for energy intensive industries, including steel and chemicals.

The plea follows the introduction of a ‘carbon tax’ – a minimum price for the energy produced, to cover the cost of pollution and to stimulate new, renewable forms of energy.

Earlier this year, the Chancellor capped that price floor at £18 per tonne of CO2 from 2016, instead of allowing a rise to £30 by 2020 – saving industries around £4bn over three years.

But Alex Cunningham (Lab; Stockton North) argued the move did not go far enough, saying: “The Tees Valley has long been synonymous with heavy industry and the thirst for energy that it necessarily entails.

“The cooling towers and chimney stacks that still adorn, if not dominate, parts of the region’s skyline are testimony to Teesside’s proud industrial heritage.


“But the decline of those industries will be hastened if actions are not taken to lessen the burdens imposed by carbon taxes and levies.”

The Labour MP raised the “struggles” of GrowHow, a fertiliser company in his constituency, which had to pay three times as much for gas as its Russian competitors.

And he added: “Similarly, German electricity prices on a delivered basis for very large users in 2013 equated to €38 per MW, against £70 per MW in the UK.

“The situation is set to get much worse over the next decade. UK energy and climate change policies will add around £30 to every megawatt of electricity by 2020, substantially more than for any other country.”

The plea was echoed by Ian Swales (Lib Dem; Redcar), who pointed out how the Tata beam mill in his constituency made beams for the new World Trade Centre.

He said: “Their beams are in nine of the ten tallest buildings in the world. Steel beams cannot be made without using a great deal of energy - there are physical and chemical limits.

“When I see the UK’s attitude to these sorts of policies, I often feel like we are playing cricket, while other countries are playing rugby, boules or other sports that we do not recognise.”

In reply, Treasury minister Priti Patel insisted the Government was committed to ensuring that manufacturing was able to remain competitive during the shift to low carbon production.

And she stressed that ministers were pressing the European Commission for a review of the sectors of industry eligible for compensation.

That followed Labour criticism that, of the £250m promised by the Chancellor in 2011, only £31m has been paid out – with no companies compensated for domestic carbon taxes.

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Welcome To Green Britain: Poor Face ‘Heat-Or Eat’ Problem

Summary

Do households cut back on food spending to finance the additional cost of keeping warm during spells of unseasonably cold weather? For households which cannot smooth consumption over time, we describe how cold weather shocks are equivalent to income shocks. We merge detailed household level expenditure data from older households with historical regional weather information. We find evidence that the poorest of older households cannot smooth fuel spending over the worst temperature shocks. Statistically significant reductions in food spending occur in response to winter temperatures 2 or more standard deviations colder than expected, which occur about 1 winter month in 40; reductions in food expenditure are considerably larger in poorer households.

More at Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society) Volume 177, Issue 1, pages 281–294, January 2014

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