Sunday, April 26, 2015

New Survey Shows TV Weathercasters have been bullied into accepting global warming

TV weather forecasters aren't always climate change experts. But they are often responsible for informing the public about climate change impacts in real time, so it's important that they accurately reflect the science.

Fortunately, a new survey from George Mason University provides some hope in that regard. It found that more than nine out of ten broadcast meteorologists acknowledge that climate change is happening, and about two-thirds say human activities play a significant role.

This represents notable progress from George Mason's 2010 survey, when 27 percent of weather forecasters shockingly agreed that "global warming is a scam."

Most weathercasters now recognize that climate change has and will continue to impact the weather in their area, with rising temperatures and extreme weather events like heat waves and heavy storms.

And importantly, they feel it is appropriate to convey the science of climate change to their audiences.

So why are weathercasters coming around on climate change?

Following the last survey, a grassroots non-profit organization called Forecast the Facts launched a campaign calling on TV meteorologists to "report the facts about climate change" and drawing attention to those who weren't.

Now, most TV forecasters say they have read findings from the National Climate Assessment, a report by the U.S. government to inform Americans about the climate change impacts already occurring all across the country.

But while more and more meteorologists are accepting climate science, the forecasters at Fox News are still casting doubt and denial.

Fox News' senior meteorologist, Janice Dean, claims that "anything past a five day forecast is impossible to predict," and that "we're not going to be able to prove climate change for decades, even centuries."

And then there's the other Fox News favorite: Weatherbell Analytics Chief Forecaster Joe Bastardi. The network often turns to Bastardi for climate commentary, providing him a forum to spout anti-science denial, like his claims that man-made climate change is "an obvious fraud" and that the human contribution to carbon dioxide levels is too "tiny" to cause warming.  Fox hosts Bill O'Reilly and Neil Cavuto have both admitted that Bastardi is -- in O'Reilly's words -- a "climate change denier," and yet they and their Fox News colleagues keep hosting him time and time again.

As the nation's meteorologists continue to educate themselves about climate science, it looks like Fox News' forecasts will remain misleading with a strong chance of denial.


Ask a beetle. How fast is climate change? Temperature-sensitive beetle populations in the Arctic will help researchers study climate

This is just theory with no climate data offered

Scientists have been logging changes in weather patterns and temperatures in the Arctic for some time. Now they need to find ways to measure how these changes in climate are affecting biodiversity. One of the best places to look may be down at our feet, at beetles. That`s because, as a McGill research team discovered after doing the first large-scale survey of Arctic beetles, these six-legged critters are not only abundant in number but also diverse in feeding habits and what they eat is closely linked to the latitude in which they are found.

As a result, McGill researchers believe that Arctic beetles may prove to be ideal markers of climate change, since any changes in climate that affect the soil, plants and animals on which the beetles depend are likely to be quickly reflected in changes in the beetle communities.

A team of researchers led by Prof. Chris Buddle and Dr. Crystal Ernst of McGill's Dept. of Natural Resource Sciences, were able to identify more than 460 different species of Arctic beetles in locations ranging from the edge of the boreal forest in Northern Ontario to Ellesmere Island in the far north. More significantly, they found that there were clear differences in what beetles are found where along this north-south gradient, and the ecological roles they fulfilled differed depending on the latitude in which they lived.

"Depending on the latitude and the temperature, Arctic beetles perform a range of ecological functions such as pollinating or feeding on plants, preying on other insects, and breaking down decaying matter," says Ernst, who is the first author on the study published in PLOS ONE. "In the far north, there are generally very high numbers of predators and far fewer beetles which eat plants, while further south the reverse is generally true."

The discovery that Arctic beetles may be especially sensitive to temperature has implications for future climate change monitoring.
"As temperatures in northern regions rise or become more variable, there is a strong possibility that the beetle communities will undergo significant changes in response," says Buddle, the lead researcher. "Whether these changes will have positive or negative effects on Arctic ecosystems and the other animals and plants living there remains to be seen, but it is clear that beetles' sensitivity to climate make them ideal targets for long-term biodiversity monitoring in the far north."


Solar tax credits are not `conservative' or `free market'

By Marita Noon

The solar industry has poured a startling amount of effort and funding - much of it backed by California-based, billionaire hedge fund manager Tom Steyer, who is heavily invested in solar - into attempting to gain the legislative favor needed for it to survive.

Nationwide, the growth of the renewable power industry is dependent on a combination of big government mandates, tax credits, and subsidies - making it the perfect target of wrath from limited-government, free-market, and/or fiscally-conservative individuals and policymakers.

Some proposed legislation would prop up the industry (Florida), and force it to stand on its own (Louisiana).

In Louisiana, about 80 percent of the cost of solar installation is paid for through a combination of federal and state tax credits.

In discussing the state's dramatic $1.6 billion budget shortfall, The Advocate's Mark Ballard, on April 6, aptly pointed out that the solar industry promises a "full-court press to protect" Louisiana's generous tax credits that it says are "vital to its survival." Ballard cites State Revenue Secretary Tim Barfield, who called the solar tax credit's cost to the state's taxpayers "one of the fastest-growing. The solar credit cost $63.5 million in 2014, up from $9 million in 2013." Plans to ratchet back - not remove - the tax credit, Ballard reports, could save the state $57 million.

Facing the loss of the essential-to-survival tax credit, legislators have been besieged by solar supporters. State Senator Robert Adley says many, claiming to be "a businessman," have sat in his office to plead the case. He snaps back, "You are not a businessman. A real businessman has skin in the game; has his own money at risk. With eighty percent of your costs coming from the taxpayers, you don't depend on the market, you depend on the government. You are feeding at the trough."

Representative J. Lance Harris agrees. "This subsidy absolutely makes no sense, there's no energy crisis!  We've got plenty of oil, plenty of natural gas, and plenty of electricity. What if the taxpayer subsidized eighty percent of the cost of a new Porsche for anyone who wanted one?  There's no difference; it's misguided and ridiculous."

As part of its "full-court press," the solar industry is bringing the Tea Party's Judas Iscariot equivalent to town. Debbie Dooley, who was part of the original Tea Party movement back in 2009, has since capitalized on the affiliation by claiming - as she did in her April 7 Facebook post crowing about "speaking directly after Al Gore" at an event in New York - that she is "advancing energy choice in a conservative way through free market competition."

A power source that depends on big government handouts of taxpayer dollars for "survival" doesn't qualify as "conservative" or "free market."

During a recent trip to Louisiana, I was discussing the state's generous solar subsidies on Jeff Crouere's Ringside Politics radio show. He asked me how the solar subsidies were working. I explained that the answer depended on which side of the equation you stood. For the solar industry and homeowners, who benefited from the subsidies, it was working well. But for the taxpayers and ratepayers, not so good. We chatted for a few minutes about the situation and, then, had a caller who couldn't have been more perfect if I'd scripted him.

The caller planned to dispute my argument and, instead, ended up reinforcing it.

He told about his rooftop solar system - with which he was very happy. Why wouldn't he be happy? He got a $40,000 system for $7,000. He explained that, now, after five years of payments, his electricity was virtually "free."

I was pleased that the caller addressed the system's $40,000 cost. If one only listens to the ads, you'd think a solar system is cheap. He went on to say that he "got a generous check from Bobby Jindal" and he "took advantage of the federal incentives" - which resulted in his $7000 cost. He bragged that he amortized the cost over five years. He argued with me over my assertion that a few rooftop solar customers penalized the entire ratebase.

At the end of the call, Crouere asked for my response. I pointed out how the caller made my point. Courtesy of Louisiana and federal taxpayers, he got a $40,000 system for $7,000. Because the utility is required to buy the surplus electricity his system generates (when it does) during the sunny days at full retail, known as net metering, and he buys it back at night, his bill is essentially zero. But any business owner knows that you can't buy your product at retail and sell it at retail and stay in business for long. Because of people like the caller, who, as Senator Adley stated, are "feeding at the trough," costs for all ratepayers must increase to cover all the expenses of generating and delivering electricity that he is using but not paying for.

Yes, the caller benefited from the system, but taxpayers and ratepayers are the victims of his windfall. Like Dooley, he believed it was a free-market choice. Yet, government subsidies picking solar as a winner, make it possible -even attractive - for him.

The Advocate quotes Dooley as saying, "Conservatives want to champion free market choice, and not let the government pick the winners and losers" - though that is exactly what the state's solar subsidies, for which she shills, do. No other industry receives 63.5 million of Louisiana taxpayers' dollars in one year. Yes, the industry claims it has created 1,200 jobs, which costs taxpayers almost $53,000 per job.

In defending the subsidies, solar supporters, like Dooley, claim that the fossil fuel industry gets them too. However, in 2013, the state's oil-and-gas industry paid nearly $1.5 billion in state taxes and supports 64,669 jobs in the extraction, pipeline, and refining industries - not including indirect taxes and jobs. The petroleum industry gives; solar takes away.

As the Louisiana legislature looks at ways to fix the budget deficit, it is clear where cuts, rather than encouragement, should take place.


Lindsey Graham: `I Believe Climate Change Is Real,' But Reject Cap and Trade

In an interview with "Fox News Sunday," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he believes "climate change is real," but he rejects the cap and trade solution proposed by former Vice President Al Gore.
"I believe climate change is real, but I reject the cap and trade solution of . of Al Gore. He's made a religion. It's a problem," he said.

Gore's proposed cap and trade system would penalize companies for exceeding carbon emissions limits. Last month, Gore said politicians who deny that climate change is an "accepted science" should pay a price.

Host Chris Wallace noted that in his home state of South Caroline, Graham is running fourth behind Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Jeb Bush and Sen. Ted Cruz (R- Texas). He asked if Graham was too far in the center of nondefense issues to win the Republican presidential nomination.

"You believe that climate change is real and the federal government must address it. You're open to raising attacks as part of a grand bargain. You support comprehensive immigration reform," said Wallace. After noting where Graham ranks among other GOP presidential hopefuls, he asked: "Are you too moderate? Are you too far in the center on nondefense issues to win the Republican nomination?"

"Not at all," Graham said, adding that not only does he believe in climate change, he would like to "clean up the air and water, become more energy independent, create jobs" and he is for offshore drilling.

"I'm for finding oil and gas that we own," Graham said. "I'm for clean coal, I'm for natural gas, but I would like a lower carbon economy over time. Clean up the air and create jobs in the process."


Green Times for Energy Efficiency, No Thanks to Government

Are you feeling green this Earth Day? You should. The White House would have you believe our days are numbered because we've failed to enter another ice age (take a moment to shiver in the irony), but statistics suggest we're in unprecedented times - in terms of energy efficiency.

But here's the kicker: Neither Earth Day nor government intervention have anything to do with our greener ways. Based on data from the Energy Information Administration, American Enterprise Institute's Mark Perry writes, "In 2014, it required only 6,110 BTUs of energy (petroleum, natural gas, coal, nuclear and renewables) to produce each real dollar of GDP, which was the least amount of energy required to produce a dollar of real GDP in US history."

That's even more extraordinary when you consider how much the economy has expanded. "[T]he US economy was 28% larger last year than 14 years ago, even though slightly less total energy was required in 2014 than in 2000 (98.324 vs. 98.819 quadrillion BTUs) to produce $3.5 trillion more real output," says Perry. "That would be like adding an economy about the size of Germany's to the US, but without requiring any additional energy to produce 28% more output!"

And consider this even crazier statistic: It cost a whopping 15,930 BTUs in 1949 to squeeze out just $2 trillion in GDP. So next time you hear demagogues claiming we're dirtying up our planet, tell them we're living in remarkably efficient times relative to yesteryear using the same old fossil fuels. And tell them they can thank capitalist innovators for the progress.


Greenie headaches for ship owners

Lloyd’s Register Issues Emissions Guidance

With key dates looming - 2016 NOx compliance and a 2018 review of fuel availability ahead of a global cap for SOx emissions, LR’s new guidelines and updated technical information supports operators’ investment decisions

This new guidance addresses operational and in-service considerations reflecting further accumulated experience from working with clients, industry groups and regulators. As well as a focus on exhaust gas treatment (scrubbers) the guidance also examines the wider scope of options for SOx/NOx compliance beyond exhaust gas treatment.

Since an earlier version of this report was issued in 2012, early adopters of the technology, mainly passenger ship and ferry operators,  have committed to fleet-wide scrubber implementation programmes. Early adopters gain valuable operational experience as well as a head start in both understanding the technology and realising any benefits.

In the majority of the tanker, bulk carrier and container segments the uptake of scrubber technology remains slow. With shorter periods inside Emission Control Areas (ECAs), lower fuel consumption (especially due to slow steaming) and typically lower asset residual values, the business case for installing scrubber technology on deep sea tank, bulk or container ships is not, yet, either strong enough or urgent enough.

The bunker price collapse during 2014 has been another factor. While the price difference between heavy fuel and distillates has remained relatively constant, the fuel costs inside ECAs have reduced giving operators more time to consider their options.
Recently, several suppliers have released new hybrid fuel products for ECA compliance. These are aimed to address the operational risks of operating on distillates but they also present several challenges of their own.

Looking ahead, there are two key years: 2016 and 2018

Ships constructed after January 1, 2016 will need to comply with NOx Tier III when trading to US/Canada and we explore some of the technological options. Other ECAs for NOx may be introduced in the future affecting, however, only newly constructed vessels.

In 2018, IMO will publish a fuel availability study determining whether the global 0.50% sulphur limit will enter into force in 2020 or 2025. If it is 2020, the implications will be widespread: a possible rapid uptake of scrubber technology (with a question mark on whether supply could cover the demand) and the potential for a dramatic increase in operational costs for those who choose to operate on distillate fuels.

Whether LNG will make the leap from niche fuel to mainstream is a big question. Early adopters of LNG-as-fuel could start seeing a real return on their investment and any 'LNG-ready' ships may start converting to LNG-fuelled, if and when the bunkering infrastructure develops sufficiently.

The time for decisions is fast approaching. If in 2012 the industry needed to start considering their options, today, in 2015, time is running out. The compliance options are clear. Ship operators need to evaluate compliance strategies specific to their ships, operation and risk criteria. At Lloyd’s Register, we are ready to offer our independent support on the journey from making decisions to implementing them.



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

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Predictions of doom scaled back

The authors below rightly point to the fact that there is a great and unpredictable variability in climate events and say that natural variability is enough to account for the recent "pause" in warming.  They also point out that only the more modest predictions of doom fit in with what has actually happened.

So they show that the models are not necessarily wrong but can offer no evidence that they are right.  To do that they would have to dig out some of the mythical warmth from the deep oceans.

They do not face the fact that their research shows that all the climate variations to date fall within the range of natural variability -- so manmade CO2 effects do not need to be invoked to explain any climate events so far

I have appended the journal abstract to the article below.  I have paragraphed it in the hope of making it more widely comprehensible

Global warming more moderate than worst-case models, empirical data suggest


A study based on 1,000 years of temperature records suggests global warming is not progressing as fast as it would under the most severe emissions scenarios outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Natural decade-to-decade variability in surface temperatures can account for some much-discussed recent changes in the rate of warming. Empirical data, rather than climate models, were used to estimate this variability.

We are seeing "middle of the road" warming. Natural variability in surface temperatures -- caused by interactions between the ocean and atmosphere, and other natural factors -- can account for observed changes in the recent rates of warming from decade to decade, new data suggests.

A new study based on 1,000 years of temperature records suggests global warming is not progressing as fast as it would under the most severe emissions scenarios outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

"Based on our analysis, a middle-of-the-road warming scenario is more likely, at least for now," said Patrick T. Brown, a doctoral student in climatology at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment. "But this could change."

The Duke-led study shows that natural variability in surface temperatures -- caused by interactions between the ocean and atmosphere, and other natural factors -- can account for observed changes in the recent rates of warming from decade to decade.

The researchers say these "climate wiggles" can slow or speed the rate of warming from decade to decade, and accentuate or offset the effects of increases in greenhouse gas concentrations. If not properly explained and accounted for, they may skew the reliability of climate models and lead to over-interpretation of short-term temperature trends.

The research, published today in the peer-reviewed journal Scientific Reports, uses empirical data, rather than the more commonly used climate models, to estimate decade-to-decade variability.

"At any given time, we could start warming at a faster rate if greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere increase without any offsetting changes in aerosol concentrations or natural variability," said Wenhong Li, assistant professor of climate at Duke, who conducted the study with Brown.

The team examined whether climate models, such as those used by the IPCC, accurately account for natural chaotic variability that can occur in the rate of global warming as a result of interactions between the ocean and atmosphere, and other natural factors.

To test how accurate climate models are at accounting for variations in the rate of warming, Brown and Li, along with colleagues from San Jose State University and the USDA, created a new statistical model based on reconstructed empirical records of surface temperatures over the last 1,000 years.

"By comparing our model against theirs, we found that climate models largely get the 'big picture' right but seem to underestimate the magnitude of natural decade-to-decade climate wiggles," Brown said. "Our model shows these wiggles can be big enough that they could have accounted for a reasonable portion of the accelerated warming we experienced from 1975 to 2000, as well as the reduced rate in warming that occurred from 2002 to 2013."
Further comparative analysis of the models revealed another intriguing insight.

"Statistically, it's pretty unlikely that an 11-year hiatus in warming, like the one we saw at the start of this century, would occur if the underlying human-caused warming was progressing at a rate as fast as the most severe IPCC projections," Brown said. "Hiatus periods of 11 years or longer are more likely to occur under a middle-of-the-road scenario."

Under the IPCC's middle-of-the-road scenario, there was a 70 percent likelihood that at least one hiatus lasting 11 years or longer would occur between 1993 and 2050, Brown said. "That matches up well with what we're seeing."

There's no guarantee, however, that this rate of warming will remain steady in coming years, Li stressed. "Our analysis clearly shows that we shouldn't expect the observed rates of warming to be constant. They can and do change."

Journal Reference:
Patrick T. Brown, Wenhong Li, Eugene C. Cordero and Steven A. Mauget. Comparing the Model-Simulated Global Warming Signal to Observations Using Empirical Estimates of Unforced Noise. Scientific Reports, April 21, 2015 DOI: 10.1038/srep09957

Comparing the model-simulated global warming signal to observations using empirical estimates of unforced noise

Patrick T. Brown et al.


The comparison of observed global mean surface air temperature (GMT) change to the mean change simulated by climate models has received much public and scientific attention. For a given global warming signal produced by a climate model ensemble, there exists an envelope of GMT values representing the range of possible unforced states of the climate system (the Envelope of Unforced Noise; EUN).

Typically, the EUN is derived from climate models themselves, but climate models might not accurately simulate the correct characteristics of unforced GMT variability. Here, we simulate a new, empirical, EUN that is based on instrumental and reconstructed surface temperature records.

We compare the forced GMT signal produced by climate models to observations while noting the range of GMT values provided by the empirical EUN. We find that the empirical EUN is wide enough so that the interdecadal variability in the rate of global warming over the 20th century does not necessarily require corresponding variability in the rate-of-increase of the forced signal.

The empirical EUN also indicates that the reduced GMT warming over the past decade or so is still consistent with a middle emission scenario's forced signal, but is likely inconsistent with the steepest emission scenario's forced signal.


The White House is Lying About Climate Change and Health

By Alan Caruba

Let us begin with the understanding that there is no connection between the climate and health. The climate is something measured in decades and centuries, so what happened in the last century has nothing to do with whether you are sneezing today.

The weather surely can help generate health problems. For example in the northeastern states, the Lyme disease season is beginning. Between 1992 and 2010 reported cases of Lyme disease doubled to nearly 23,000 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but CDC officials believe the actual number of those infected may have been three times that number.

Lyme disease is transmitted by deer ticks and since these tiny insects will hitch a ride on birds, squirrels, mice and small animals as well, even if you live in an area without deer, the possibility of being bitten by a deer tick is just as likely. This increases for people who love gardening or outdoor recreational activities such as hiking and camping. Children, too, are particularly susceptible.

The fact that Lyme disease shows up in the Spring simply tells you that the warm weather facilitates the tick population. The weather has always been tied the mating habits and activities of various species, but that does not mean that is constitutes a massive threat to everyone's health.

That's not the way the White House sees it. On April 7 the administration made it official. It announced that it is "committed to combating the health impacts of climate change and protecting the health of future generations."

Since the climate changes over extended periods of time, not just month to month, one has to wonder what "health impacts" the White House has in mind. The last Little Ice Age lasted from around 1300 to 1850. It was cold all over Europe and North America. Does the White House propose that it can "protect" us from a new one? If so, that's absurd.

Let us understand, too, that there has always been what the White House announcement calls "extreme weather events."  Notice the change from "climate" to "weather"? Among the events identified are "severe droughts and wildfires to more powerful hurricanes and record heat waves." Has there been a time when such weather-related events have not occurred? In fact, there are times when they don't. For example, there hasn't been a single Category 3-5 hurricane hit the U.S. mainland since 2005!

The White House has launched a massive brainwashing effort using many elements of the federal government to frighten Americans using the "climate" and the "weather." How deceptive is it?

One example is sufficient. The President has claimed that climate change was the cause of one of his daughter's asthma. In its announcement, it claimed that "In the past three decades, the percentage of Americans with asthma has more than doubled and climate change is putting these individuals and many other vulnerable populations at greater risk of landing in the hospital."

Here's what the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America has to say about the various causes of asthma.

"Since asthma has a genetic origin and is a disease you are born with, passed down from generation to generation, the question isn't really `what causes asthma', but rather `what causes asthma symptoms to appear?' People with asthma have inflamed airways which are super-sensitive to thinks which do not bother other people."

What the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America is telling us is that there is no direct connection between either the climate or the weather and the illness called asthma.

Those who suffer this disease however can be affected by a range of triggers such as irritants in the air, pollens, molds, and even cockroach droppings. Infections such as colds, flu, and sore throats are among the leading triggers for asthma attacks in children.

The facts, the truth, were no deterrent to the April 7 White House twelve-page announcement of all the things it intends to do to brainwash Americans into believing that there is a connection between the "climate" and health.

Here's just a few of the dozens of events and programs it will initiate so that the media will report on them and thus convey the message that climate change is the greatest threat to Americans today:

"The Administration is expanding its Climate Data Initiative to include more than 150 health-relevant datasets.this is intended to help communities and businesses reduce the health impacts of climate change."  Only there are no such impacts.

The Administration is announcing a coalition of Deans from 30 medical, public health, and nursing schools around the country, who are committing to ensure that the next generation of health professionals is trained to address the health impacts of climate change." Only there are no such impacts.

"Announcing the White House Climate Change and Health Summit." It will feature the Surgeon General who will lead discussions to "the public health impacts of climate change and identify opportunities to minimize these impacts." Only there are no impacts and nothing that could be done if there were.

From the Department of Homeland Security to the Department of the Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency, many elements of the federal government will be integrated into this massive brainwashing effort.

What can be done to ignore a government determined to lie to everyone about a "threat" that does not exist? Not much.


Some Inconvenient Man-Made Global Warming Truths

By professional forecaster Joe Bastardi

 My last article went over some aspects of man-made global warming that would let me know I may have the wrong idea on the issue. But I wonder if any alarmists have stopped to look at some of their most cherished metrics going the opposite way of their forecast. People that live in the real world understand that if reality is contrary to your predictions, it means you are wrong (or at least can be).

It's been nearly 10 years since the Oscar-winning film "An Inconvenient Truth" came out, so here's a question we should be asking: Are we worse off today than the movie implied? Let's look at some of those aspects.

The movie came out at a time I believe was meant to capitalize on the monster back-to-back hurricane seasons of 2004 and 2005. But it was pretty arrogant to think that peak was the new norm. Then again, arrogance is the child of ignorance - in this case ignorance of an easy to see global cycle represented nicely by the ACE (accumulated cyclonic energy) index.

Much of that peak was courtesy of the major uptick in tropical Pacific activity due to the cyclical warming of the Pacific Decadol Oscillation, meaning more frequent El Ni¤os and higher activity in an ocean where two-thirds of global tropical activity typically occurs. The Atlantic warmed in the `90s (and is in the waning stages of that warm cycle now), but the Pacific cooling started in 2007. There will still be El Ni¤o spikes, such as the upcoming hurricane season that's off to a fast start in the Pacific. Globally, however, you can see there is nothing to support the hysteria "An Inconvenient Truth" was trying to push.

The fact is, it's been amazingly quiet relative to what it could be. In a way, the inconvenient truth is that a return to the '30s, '40s and '50s, with major hurricane hits on the U.S. coast, would create a big problem - because of the major build up of population, not CO2. ( has had our hurricane forecast out since March. Here is the update of it for all to read.)

The infamous prophecies of an ice-free Arctic has a long and storied history, and this article from Real Science, which documents a lot of who said what and when, says it better than I can.

In any case, global sea ice looks like this:

Here's the Arctic against the average:

The U.S. climate model looks too optimistic to me, but it suggests we can all breath a big sigh of relief because the Arctic isn't likely to melt away this summer. (Notice too we are seeing less melting in the summer, but it's still not getting winters back to normal.) This is an anomaly chart:

There also appears to be a comeback in total ice volume.

Moreover, the Southern Hemisphere ice cap continues to impress.

Now, I've heard many arguments as to why we shouldn't pay attention to Antarctica, among them the idea it's actually melting and sending fresh water into the ocean, where it's "easier to freeze.". But you can be darn sure if the northern ice cap was melting away completely each summer, or the southern ice cap was trending down instead of up, it would be trumpeted as a sign that alarmists were right. The problem though is that no matter what happens, they claim they're right.

I do think as far as really quantifying the cause for variations, both up and down, water vapor is what we should be measuring. But since we keep running to the global temperature, let's look at what the National Centers for Environmental Prediction's (NCEP) analysis is depicting over the last 10 years:

The turn of the PDO in 2007 coincides nicely with a drop in the specific humidity over the tropics, opposite the trapping hot spot theory the EPA uses in one of its three lines of evidence for its endangerment finding.

Temperatures have trended a bit down mostly because of drops after the El Ni¤o spikes of '07 and '10. We have another El Ni¤o now that should fade in 2016. This time, however, the Atlantic will be cooler. So the five-year forecast from me is another spike, followed by a greater drop than the ones before.

(Side note: As far as I know, the folks over at NCEP aren't known "deniers" of climate change. Nor am I. Quite the contrary - when the debate was referred to as global warming, I was saying it's simply the natural back-and-forth of the climate. The term "climate change" is redundant. The design of the system with the sun, the oceans, stochastic events, the placement of land and ocean, etc., argue that all we are seeing is the constant search in nature for a balance it can never attain but will always strive for. And when there is strife, there will be plenty of back-and-forth. The climate is always in a state of change; it' inherent in the very definition of climate. Example: Since there have been both rain forests and glaciers in the state of Wisconsin, given a long enough period of time, the climate of Wisconsin is such that both rain forests and glaciers can occur.)

I would expect the coming 15 years to see a more pronounced cooling since the Atlantic is starting to flip to its colder cycle. The waning days of the warm cycle has stacked much of the warm water against the United States - a pattern very similar, in the decadol sense, to the late 1950s!

Tornadoes: Again, the hysteria after the spike in 2011 was meant to capitalize on that, with no regard for actual facts. This part of the agenda has grown so desperate, I have seen climate hysterics refer to any tornado as a "fossil-fueled" event even with tornadoes near record lows. Someone must have stuck sand in the gas tank.

As of April 19, we are only six above the record low for the date.

Wildfires are also way below average. You can link here every time you hear how "bad" wildfires are to see exactly where we are against the averages.

As of April 17, we are at the third lowest total fires in the past 11 years, and fourth lowest in total acreage. This is big, because all these cherished metrics, and many more that were being pushed so hard 10 years ago, have not gone the way they were forecasted. Yet given the continued drumbeat from people pushing it, you would never know they even care about the facts.

I will leave you with this. As aforementioned, the EPA used model projections as one of its three lines of evidence in their endangerment finding, which was baffling to me. How can you use a future event as factual evidence? This chart, created by Dr. John Christy at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, shows without a doubt acceptance of models is folly, which is interesting given a quote out of Proverbs 19:3: "A person's own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the LORD."

Those of us who bring up these issues are not God in no way, shape or form. In fact, we're quite the opposite: We believe that is very much an open question - not exactly God-like not knowing what tomorrow will bring and actually, as I wrote last time, looking for weaknesses in our own arguments. Yet it appears that when the folly is pointed out, there is rage against us. So who are the ones acting like they think they are "God" in this matter, knowing without a doubt what tomorrow will bring? Seems like folly to me.

Yes, the truth can be inconvenient, especially when confronting people that play God about tomorrow.


More Warmist chartmanship --  from the U.S Climate Panic Bureau

Chartmanship is a sub-set of lying with statistics

In the process of writing our upcoming book, The Lukewarmer's Manifesto, we wandered into the funhouse of the 2014 National Climate Assessment (NCA).

Recall that the NCA is a product of the federal government's U.S. Global Change Research Program, whose motto is "Thirteen Agencies, One Mission: Empower the Nation with Global Change Science." In their case, "empower" is synonymous with "indoctrinate."  Here is a good example:

The section on hurricanes in Chapter 2 ("Our Changing Climate") caught our eye. The NCA has a sidebar on the history of the hurricane "power dissipation index" (PDI), a well-known cubic function of the wind velocity. The NCAs graphs  begin in 1970 and end in 2009 (a full four years before the NCA was released).

They include a trend line through the PDI data beginning in 1980 that's going up for whatever reason and that is apparently convenient for drawing an association with human-caused global warming. But had the NCA authors consulted a longer record, say, from 1920 to 2013 (the last year data was available for the 2014 NCA) they could have readily ruled out any role of global warming.

The NCA's reason for not using a longer record is that "there is considerable uncertainty in the record prior to the satellite era (early 1970s)."

On the surface, that's true, but it is disingenuous. According to Dr. Chris Landsea who helped developed the National Hurricane Center's Atlantic hurricane history data (known as HURDAT2):

".some storms were  missed, and many intensities are too low in the preaircraft reconnaissance era (before 1944 in the western half of the basin) and in the pre-satellite era (before 1972 for the entire basin)"

In other words, the earlier PDI data prior to 1972 could be an underestimate, but it certainly isn't an overestimate.

Dr. Ryan Maue was kind enough to provide us with the PDI record based upon the National Hurricane Center's  HURDAT2 data back to 1920. There's no significant trend when this record is examined, despite a warming of approximately 0.75øC in the earth's surface temperature history. In this context, the NCA's trend line (indicated in our figure in red) seems nothing but absurd.

Atlantic Basin Power Dissipation Index calculated from HURDAT2 by Ryan Maue

The NCA could have used this data, which, for its 2014 volume, ended in 2013. The trend in 1980-2009 is shown as per the NCA.

A voluminous literature supports the notion that periodic changes in the north-south temperature gradient in the Atlantic Ocean (known, not surprisingly, as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO)), are related to hurricane activity in the North Atlantic.

According to Dr. Maue, the trend line drawn in the NCA basically starts during the negative phase of the AMO cycle (which promotes low hurricane activity) and ends during a positive phase (which is favorable for high levels of hurricane activity). A more accurate assessment of hurricane activity would begin in 1950 (reducing the influence of the cyclical nature of the AMO) and indicates a trend of zero (similar to the one beginning in 1920).

But such data apparently is a distraction when trying to paint an administration-preferred picture of the influence of anthropogenic climate change.


Barack Obama crusades against climate change, Republicans in Florida visit

Barack Obama travelled to Florida on Wednesday afternoon with the express intention of picking a fight with a Republican Party that refuses to acknowledge the cause and threat of climate change.

You can see how the politics made the visit irresistible to a president who has made action on climate change a central concern of his second term.

Not only is southern Florida already suffering from a sea level rise that has left aquifers saline and regularly inundates downtown South Beach, Miami; its governor, Rick Scott, has forbidden public officials, including engineers and scientists, from using the terms "climate change" or "global warming" in official communications.

This has proved particularly awkward for those working on infrastructure being built to combat the rising sea, but made state government committee hearings more amusing, with Democrats playing a sort of parlour game in which they try to trick public servants into uttering the banned words.

With Air Force One on the ground in Miami and commanding the nation's media attention on Wednesday, the President began went about trolling Governor Scott with some zest with a speech in which he uttered the words "climate change" 18 times in 15 minutes.

In case anyone missed the point the White House twitter feed joined in with the message:  "Refusing to say the words 'climate change' doesn't mean it is not happening."

But Rick Scott was not the main target of Obama's political mission. In his sights were the two Floridians who are among the leading Republican contenders for the 2016 presidential election, Senator Marco Rubio and former governor Jeb Bush.

Rubio once believed in climate change, but as the White House beckoned he evolved on the issue, falling into line with Republican orthodoxy. "I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it," he told ABC News last May.

Bush, often portrayed as a Republican moderate with the gumption to take stands against his party, holds a similar view.

He has employed the "I am not a scientist" line often used by Republicans seeking to duck the issue, and last year he told Fox: "It is not unanimous among scientists that [climate change] is disproportionately man-made. What I get a little tired of on the left is this idea that somehow science has decided all this so you can't have a view."

Obama fears that not only would either candidate fail to act on climate change should they win office, they would wind back the advances he has made, particularly the Environmental Protection Agency's imposition of the 30 per cent reduction in emissions from coal fired power stations.

He also believes that the Republican Party is on the wrong side of history on the issue, and that their stance could prove politically useful for the likely Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton.

For her part, Clinton is standing by Obama's action. "The unprecedented action that President Obama has taken must be defended at all costs," she said at a dinner for the League of Conservation Voters last month, The Guardian reported.

The president is of the view that strong and demonstrable American action on climate change is key to securing international action at the upcoming Paris climate talks.

The White House was upfront about its agenda too.

"The president is hoping that his visit to the Everglades on Earth Day will prompt an elevated political debate about making climate change a priority," the White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on a conference call before the trip. "Those Republicans who choose to deny the reality of climate change, they do that to the detriment of the people they're elected to represent. The debate we seek is one that puts this issue in a prominent place on the public agenda."

Standing in the Everglades National Park, the famous wetlands that are now under threat, Obama declared in frank terms that, "2014 was the planet's warmest year on record.  Fourteen of the 15 hottest years on record have all fallen in the first 15 years of this century.

"This is not a problem for another generation.  Not anymore.  This is a problem now.  It has serious implications for the way we live right now.  Stronger storms.  Deeper droughts.  Longer wildfire seasons.  The world's top climate scientists are warning that a changing climate already affects the air that our children are breathing."

What Governor Scott made of Obama's raid on his state, and the president's insouciant use of established scientific fact in political debate, is not yet clear.

In keeping with protocol the White House had invited the governor to join the president for the event, but for some reason Scott was otherwise occupied.

He responded to the president's incursion via Twitter, demanding that the federal government pony up US$58 million in funding for Everglades restoration.

"Our environment is too important to neglect & it's time for the federal government to focus on real solutions and live up to their promises," he sniffed.


Bjorn Lomborg: The Danish truth-teller

Bjorn Lomborg can still be an antagonistic provocateur. But current events are proving him right and his old enemies are being won over

At this point in his life, Bjorn Lomborg is resigned to being the skunk at the party. He knows he is scorned in left-leaning circles because of his persistent criticism of environmentalism. He knows he has become a lightning rod in the contentious debate over climate change.  "I'm a name you use to polarise with," Lomborg says to me. He's right. The discourse that involves him has a Thunderdome feel. His many detractors don't just want to refute him; they want to shred him.

Yet there are signs that the times might have caught up with Lomborg's utilitarian approach to the world's thorniest sustainability challenges.  For example, Europeans are finding it hard to swallow the economic reality of the renewable energy dream. According to a May report by the European Commission, gas prices for industry rose 35% in Europe but fell by 66% in America between 2005 and 2012.

And because of subsidies, this year German consumers will be paying 20 billion euros for electricity from solar, wind and biogas plants, whose market price is just over three billion euros.

As Lomborg wrote in a recent blog post, "Current green energy policies are failing for a simple reason: renewables are far too expensive. The solution is to innovate the price of renewables downward."

Meanwhile, he tells me, "Let's make sure we focus on things where for every dollar you spend, you do tens of dollars of good and not do so many things where you spend a dollar and do only a few cents of good."

It's a message reprised in a soon-to-be published book he has edited: How Much Have Global Problems Cost the World? In the introduction Lomborg sets the stage by asking, "Where can we do the most good first?" This seems a reasonable question to consider in a world with competing priorities.

So why would anyone want to shred Lomborg?

It's been that way for more than a decade, since Lomborg shot to fame in 2001 with his first book, The Skeptical Environmentalist, a broad critique of the environmental movement that infuriated many ecologists and greens. The notoriety transformed the little-known Danish statistician into a globe-trotting public intellectual.

He solidified his bad-boy status in 2007 with a book called "Cool It" (spawning a documentary with the same title), which argued that global warming concerns were legitimate but often dramatically overstated, and that government policies to rein in carbon emissions were ineffective and far too costly.

Since then, Lomborg has not shied from combat. Last January in the Wall Street Journal he accused US president Barack Obama of "fear-mongering" about global warming. In pointed barbs on Twitter and Facebook, he has frequently chastised greens for exaggerating the climate threat and ecological problems. Recently, after the mysterious honeybee die-off triggered another round of anguished handwringing, he wrote an opinion piece that concluded, "Panic is rarely the way to confront problems, so let's get real. We have a bee-problem, but not a beepocalypse."

Given his high profile, it's worth asking at this stage in his career if  Lomborg is a voice of reason, a professional pot stirrer, or a trollish ankle-biter. The answer probably depends on where you sit in these debates. His combative style, he insists, is a necessary consequence of challenging conventional wisdom.

For instance, the prevailing assumption in green circles is that renewable energy can soon power the world if given the chance. But that's a pipe dream, Lomborg asserts: "A lot of people are saying, `We need to put up more solar panels and wind turbines'. We need to have someone say, `Sorry that's not going to work. That's not the solution. At best, it's just a tiny, tiny part of it. If you're going to get global warming fixed, you need to get much, much cheaper energy and that's about innovation.' And I think, fundamentally, there's no nice way you can say that."

Perhaps, but what Lomborg sees as unvarnished truth-telling others view as contributing to the climate debate's rancour and partisan divide, which is especially pronounced in Australia and the United States.

If there is a fine line between making people uncomfortable and alienating them, Lomborg hasn't straddled it well. At one juncture in our conversation, when I tell him that he seems unable to shake his reputation as a divisive provocateur, he agrees, saying this has been the case especially in his home country: "In many places in Denmark, I know families have this sort of agreement that they won't mention my name at the dinner table, because it makes for uncomfortable conversation."

If Danish families won't mention his name, it's likely that they aren't talking about his ideas. Which begs another question: what if the way Lomborg gets his points across turns people off from even considering them, despite their merits?

There is a poignant scene in the 2010 Cool It documentary, when Lomborg visits his ailing mother in a home for the elderly. In a voice-over he references the shellacking he took after the 2001 publication of The Skeptical Environmentalist, which made a worldwide splash. (From a marketing standpoint it helped that the upbeat, congenial author portrayed himself as a nature-loving former Greenpeace member.)

In the book, Lomborg argued that the state of the environment was improving overall and that an array of global problems, from the rate of species extinctions to climate change, were not nearly as bad as they had been made out to be by greens.

The blowback was punishing. Eminent environmental scientists denounced the text as deeply flawed, charging that he made his case with selective and out-of-context evidence. In 2002, Scientific American published a detailed rebuttal by four scientists entitled "Misleading Math about the Earth". An academic committee under the auspices of the Danish government accused him of "scientific dishonesty". In the film, Lomborg says that during this turbulent period he found safe harbour in the company of his unconditionally loving mother.

A movie critic might find this scene gratuitous, but it did humanise him. The same could be said for other scenes in Cool It, of Lomborg feeding impoverished children in Africa or riding his bike through the streets of Copenhagen.

Aside from these attempts to make him a more sympathetic figure, the film aimed to be a pragmatic counter to Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, the mid-2000s best-selling book and Oscar-winning documentary inspired by it, which depicted climate change as an urgent threat to humanity.

Lomborg, by contrast, argued that some activists and an enabling media trafficked in global warming hysteria. His larger argument - the crux of Cool It - was that manmade climate change was real but posed a relatively distant and unclear threat and was thus not nearly as urgent as the dire problems affecting human welfare today, such as the rampant diseases, crushing poverty and lack of clean water in the developing world.

I know what you're thinking. Why can't we tackle malaria and global warming at the same time? This is a rejoinder that Lomborg hears often, that humans can walk and chew gum at the same time. His response to me: "I'm not saying we can't do more things; I'm saying we can't do everything. We have a tendency to focus on things that look scary on TV, that have great PR groups, that have cute animals, and that's not necessarily the best way to prioritise our efforts."

That's also not necessarily a line of thinking that communicates well to the average person who, as science tells us, is governed much more by emotion than reason. For instance, why is it that pictures of polar bears stranded on pieces of floating ice have become iconic totems in the climate debate? True, the polar bear is not a basis for climate policy, but it serves as a potent (albeit over-used) symbol of an extraordinarily complex issue. It activates the part of our brain that makes us think and possibly care about climate change.

Of course, translating that concern into meaningful action has proven next to impossible. This is because people are focused on the wrong kinds of actions, Lomborg says, like buying a Prius or, at the national level in some countries, swearing off nuclear power and building more solar panels and wind turbines. The latter is a noble effort, but as Germany has recently discovered, trying to meet all its energy needs with sunshine and wind has led to greater reliance on coal-powered electricity. That can't be good for the climate or polar bears.

Why, then, has Germany's grand experiment with renewable energy been much admired in the global green community? The answer, perhaps, lies in a point Lomborg stresses several times in our conversation, such as in this zinger: "The global warming conversation is filled with people who literally believe we just need a few more solar panels and we're good to go."

Fortunately for Lomborg, who is pro-nuclear, pro-natural gas and pro-biotechnology, he is no longer the only prominent skunk at the party. The respected climate scientist James Hansen has come out strongly for nuclear power; he has also ridiculed the notion that green energy can help the world kick its carbon habit any time soon. In a widely distributed essay several years ago, Hansen wrote: "Suggesting that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy." The recent documentary Pandora's Promise features a roster of environmentalists making the case for nuclear power.

Another band of green writers and thinkers has started to champion economic growth and genetically modified crops as good for the environment and humanity. One of the most forceful and articulate of this group is Mark Lynas, the British environmentalist and author of several books, including an award-winning book on the dangers of climate change.

Also notable about Lynas is that he once threw a pie in Lomborg's face. It was in 2001, shortly after publication of The Skeptical Environmentalist. Lomborg was at a bookstore in Oxford, England, getting ready to talk about his new controversial text when Lynas stepped up to the podium and creamed him, yelling "Pies for lies!". Grainy footage of the incident can be seen on YouTube and is featured in Cool It as an illustration of the furious reaction to The Skeptical Environmentalist.

Lynas has since left his radical-activist self in the past and apologised to Lomborg. The two have had respectful exchanges on environmental issues. When I recently contacted Lynas, via email, he said he still thought The Skeptical Environmentalist "was highly selective in its citations and pretty biased overall", which echoes what many critics have said of the book. But he also praised Lomborg's recent work (with his Copenhagen Consensus Institute, a policy think tank) as "valuable and interesting" and observed: "I think his general effort hasn't so much been about science as about economics - in particular an insistence that cost-benefit analysis can be a valuable tool in deciding where to prioritise resources."

These nuanced attitudes on technology and economic policy seem to herald a new kind of environmentalism in the making, what some have called eco-pragmatism. If they take root, it's easy to imagine Lomborg's arguments gaining a more receptive audience. He would at least be in tune with the zeitgeist.

For his part, Lomborg says he thinks the times have finally caught up with him. "The three main messages" of The Skeptical Environmentalist  "have actually gotten through pretty well," he contends. These are, one, overall things are getting better, not worse; two, we need to prioritise our problems; and three, we need to focus on the things where we can do the most good. Lomborg says that he has "talked to lots of people who were initially very against" what he said in the book but who "have slowly come around" to agreeing.

That may be, but there's no denying the lasting fallout to his image from the beating the book took in the environmentalist and scientific communities, where he is still regarded, at best, suspiciously and, at worst, as an enemy. Lomborg chalks this up to the "you're either with us or against us" mentality that has poisoned the climate and environmental debates. Case in point: because Lomborg has been an outspoken critic of what he calls "global warming hysteria," he has for years been tagged as a "climate denier". He chafes at the charge and passionately defends himself against it.

Indeed, despite being named by Time magazine (in 2008) as one of the world's 100 most influential people, to a great extent Lomborg has not been able to shake the popular impressions of him that formed in response to The Skeptical Environmentalist. The book has cast a long shadow he can't escape, something he acknowledges: "You say Bjorn Lomborg and with that you mean everything bad in the world. It's shorthand for that. If you never read anything I wrote or heard me speak, you'd  think I must be this wild-eyed person that wants to kill everything and pave over nature."

He's telling me this via Skype from the kitchen of his 80 m2 flat in Prague, where he moved last year "after I was disowned by the Danish government". The story, according to Lomborg, is this: in 2011, the new centre-left government came into office promising to defund his Copenhagen Consensus Institute, which focuses on how to solve the world's biggest challenges in a cost-efficient manner. Lomborg says he was the intended target. After the government pulled the institute's funding, Denmark's foreign minister reportedly bragged in a speech that, "we have closed Bjorn Lomborg's institute".

I ask Lomborg why that would prompt him to leave his homeland. "I'm not going to stay in a country that doesn't want me," he says indignantly.

This latest episode in the ongoing chronicles of Lomborg vs. The World underscores the kind of baggage he can't shed.

If all these battles have taken their toll, Lomborg hides it well. At 48,  he retains his boyish blond visage and still bounds around in his trademark black T-shirt and sneakers. Despite all the blows he's taken, there have been no knockout punches. After moving to Prague, he reconstituted the Copenhagen Consensus Institute into a US-based non-profit organisation. He maintains a busy schedule, churning out a steady stream of op-ed pieces and travelling 150-200 days a year, giving speeches and attending academic functions.

When asked if he thinks he could have done anything differently over a decade ago - perhaps toned down his scorching criticism - Lomborg hesitates for a few seconds. "No," he says, then adds, "Of course with 12 years hindsight, I'm sure I could have hit it better."

Can Lomborg ever win over his adversaries? Given that some greens are now coming around to his way of thinking - embracing pragmatic solutions for the world's daunting energy and environmental problems - he may have a second chance.  Whether he makes the most of it might depend on the lessons he's learned since becoming the world's most famous sceptical environmentalist



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


Thursday, April 23, 2015

John Kerry: On Earth Day, time running out for climate change

I agree that time is running out for the global warming scam. That is why they are getting so frantic.  But who would believe an old fraud like Kerry, anyway

In the 1950s and 60s, America's natural resources were in bad shape. Communities were so polluted that clouds of smog lingered over cities like Los Angeles. Rivers and lakes were filled with chemicals. In my hometown of Boston, the harbor was among the nation's most polluted waterways.

We were on a dangerous path. But on April 22, 1970, after years of mounting concern and hard work, the first-ever Earth Day took place, and a new commitment to action took hold. Thanks in no small part to campaigns begun that day, our air, water and land are in far better shape now than 45 years ago — even as our population and economy have steadily grown.

There is a lesson in that experience, because America is once again on a dangerous path — along with the rest of the world. Climate change, if unchecked, is an urgent threat to health, food supplies, biodiversity and livelihoods across the globe.

The solution to climate change is staring us in the face. It's energy policy. If we pursue a global clean energy economy, we can cut dramatically the amount of carbon pollution we emit into the atmosphere and prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

So we know how to address climate change. The question is whether national and local leaders will summon the political will to do it effectively and soon.


Rubio: ‘Humans Not Responsible for Climate Change in the Way Some of These People...Are Trying to Make Us Believe'

In an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, GOP presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said he believes “humans are not responsible for climate change in the way” some want people to believe.

“Humans are not responsible for climate change in the way some of these people out there are trying to make us believe, for the following reason: I believe climate is changing, because there's never been a moment where the climate is not changing,” said Rubio.

Rubio questioned how much former Vice President Al Gore’s proposed cap and trade system would actually change the pace of climate change and how much it will cost the U.S. economy.

“The question is, what percentage of that or what is due to human activity? If we do the things they want us to do, cap and trade, you name it, how much will that change the pace of climate’s change vs. how much will it cost to our economy?” Rubio said.

“Scientists can't tell us what impact it would have on reversing these changes, but I can tell you with certainty it would have a devastating impact on our economy,” he added. [Well put, Señor]


UN Chief Wants Action on $100 Billion Climate Fund

More than five years after President Obama and other leaders agreed on a 2020 goal of raising $100 billion each year from public and private sources to help developing countries deal with climate change, the United Nations wants to see action.
Ahead of Earth Day on Wednesday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is pointing to a meeting next month in New York where he says he will be looking for clear indications from governments and investors as to how the ambitious goal will be reached.

“Climate change is the defining issue of our times,” he told a conference hosted by Bloomberg New Energy Finance last week. “It is also an enormous economic opportunity.”

On Saturday Ban again tackled the subject, at an International Monetary Fund event in Washington.

“We need a credible trajectory for realizing the $100 billion goal per year by 2020, as well as the operationalization of the Green Climate Fund,” he said.

“This was a commitment which was made in 2009 during the Copenhagen climate change summit meeting. We have only mobilized $10 billion as an initial capitalization of this Green Climate Fund. I would really hope that there will be a trajectory, a path, which will be shown to the member-states.”

And at a pre-Earth Day concert on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Saturday night, Ban called on concert-goers to raise their voices in support.

“I want to hear from you,” he told the crowd. “It’s our last chance to slow global warming.”

Launched in 2011 as a result of that 2009 decision in Denmark, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) is designed to help developing countries curb “greenhouse gas” emissions and cope with occurrences blamed on climate change, such as rising sea levels.

The aim is to reach $100 billion a year by 2020.

As of April 10, the fund had received pledges from 33 countries, totaling $10.2 billion. That includes a $3 billion pledge by Obama last November, by far the largest contribution promised to date. Some GOP lawmakers have signaled an intention to push back.

The next big date on the international climate calendar is a U.N. climate mega-conference in Paris in November that is meant to deliver a new global agreement.

Ban and U.N. climate officials want clarity on the financing issue, as a confidence booster ahead of the Paris gathering.

Subsidies in the firing line

According to the World Bank, two key ways for governments to free up funding to help achieve the $100 billion target is by “putting a price on carbon” – through carbon taxes or emission trading schemes – and phasing out fossil fuel subsidies.

“With a small percentage of the money that saved by ending subsidies or of the revenue raised from a carbon tax or permit sale going to climate finance, governments could help meet the $100 billion climate finance commitment and other mitigation and adaptation needs,” it said in a report Saturday on the IMF and World Bank spring meetings in Washington.

A coalition of eight countries – Costa Rica, Denmark, Ethiopia, Finland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland – is targeting the subsidy issue in particular. The coalition, calling itself “Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform,” said on Friday governments spent more than $548 billion on fossil fuel subsidies in 2013.

The group noted pointedly that this was more than five times more than the $100 billion target for climate mitigation and adaptation by 2020.

“The elimination of fossil fuel subsidies would make a significant contribution to the goal of keeping average temperatures from rising more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels,” the coalition added, referring to the goal which world leaders several years ago decided was necessary to avoid what global warming advocates say will be potentially catastrophic effects on the planet.


Study: EPA Preparing to Slash Another 300,000 Jobs

The Environmental Protection Agency is putting the final touches on a rule requiring a 30% reduction of CO2 emissions from fossil fuel-burning power plants by 2030. An independent analysis by The Heritage Foundation predicts “[a]n average employment shortfall of nearly 300,000 jobs,” adding the U.S. may lose half a million jobs in the manufacturing sector and 45% of the jobs in the coal mining industry.

As for the EPA, it says collateral damage could cost up to 80,000 jobs. But a new American Action Forum report, whose findings mirror that of Heritage, says the EPA isn’t taking secondary impacts into consideration. All told, nearly 100 power plants may be taken offline, which will have major economic ramifications. “Based on American Action Forum (AAF) research … more than 90 coal-fired power plants could be retired across the country,” write Catrina Rorke and Sam Batkins. “Secondary employment impacts suggest that EPA’s power plant regulation could eliminate 296,000 jobs, about the population of Cincinnati, Ohio, and more than the total number of jobs the economy created in February 2015.”

The writers conclude, “EPA might tout the benefits of its proposal, but the significant job losses are just as noteworthy.” Indeed. Unfortunately, all that’s important in the minds of this administration is, as EPA administrator Gina McCarthy explained, “We have a moral obligation to act.” A very contorted moral obligation.


Paul Krugman’s Solar Delusions

Solar’s getting cheaper, but it can never be a big reducer of carbon emissions. Solar energy can solve global warming. That’s what Paul Krugman claims in his April 18 column in the New York Times, “Salvation Gets Cheap.” Krugman extolled “the incredible recent decline in the cost of renewable energy, solar power in particular.”

He used to dismiss the claim that renewable energy would be a major source of global energy “as hippie-dippy wishful thinking.” But now, he says, thanks to the falling price of renewable energy, the process of decarbonization can be accelerated and “drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are now within fairly easy reach.”

Solar is getting cheaper. And solar capacity is growing rapidly. But Krugman is still wrong. Solar won’t result in “drastic cuts” in greenhouse-gas emissions for two simple reasons: scale and cost.

Before going further, let me be clear: I’m bullish on solar. I’ve invested in solar. A decade ago, I paid to have 3,200 watts of solar panels installed on my roof. Why? Simple: I got a big subsidy. Austin Energy paid two-thirds of the cost of my $23,000 system, and those panels now provide about 30 percent of the electricity my family and I consume.

I will also gladly stipulate that Krugman is right about the plummeting cost of solar. In 1980, the average global cost of a solar photovoltaic module (which converts sunlight into electricity) was about $23 per watt. Today, it’s less than $1 per watt. Those falling costs are helping accelerate solar deployment. Between 2007 and 2012, according to BP, global solar capacity grew ten-fold and now stands at about 100,000 megawatts.

But that torrid growth doesn’t spell the end of hydrocarbons. Even if we forget the incurable intermittency of solar energy — which requires grid operators to have stand-by conventional generation capacity (from natural gas, coal, or nuclear) available for periods when the sun isn’t shining — the reason why cheaper solar panels won’t lead to major cuts in global carbon dioxide emissions is that solar’s contribution remains infinitesimally small.

Between 2007 and 2012, the same period during which solar capacity grew tenfold, global coal consumption rose by the equivalent of more than 10 million barrels of oil per day. Meanwhile, in 2012, the contribution of global solar production was equivalent to roughly 400,000 barrels of oil a day. Put another way, over the past half decade or so, just the growth in coal use is equal to about 25 times the contribution now being made by all of the world’s solar projects. And the coal-fired power plants that have been built over the past few years are likely to run for decades.

Why is coal use soaring around the world? Because demand for electricity is soaring. Since 1985, global electricity production has been growing by an average of about 450 terawatt-hours per year. The International Energy Agency expects global electricity use to continue growing by about that same amount every year through 2035.

Germany has more installed solar-energy capacity that any other country, with about 33,000 megawatts of installed photovoltaic panels. In 2012, those panels produced 28 terawatt-hours of electricity. Just to keep pace with the growth in global electricity demand by using solar energy alone would require installing 16 times as much photovoltaic capacity as all of Germany’s existing capacity — every year.

Despite the math, Krugman has been hyping solar for years. Back in 2011, Krugman claimed that we are “on the cusp of an energy transformation driven by the rapidly falling cost of solar power.” Sure, the costs of solar are falling, but it still remains far more expensive than coal, natural gas, or nuclear. Last week, the Energy Information Administration released its latest estimates for the cost of new electricity-generation capacity. By 2019, the agency projects, the cost of one megawatt-hour of electricity produced from solar photovoltaics will be $130. The same amount of electricity produced from natural gas will cost about half as much, $66, while a megawatt-hour of energy produced from a conventional coal-fired plant will cost $96. Nuclear, at $96 per megawatt-hour, will also remain less expensive than solar.

To bolster his claim that solar can save the world from global warming, Krugman cites the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, saying that the new document “asserts that the economic impact” of drastically overhauling our energy and power systems would “be surprisingly small” and would “basically amount to a rounding error, around 0.06 percent per year.”

But Krugman neglects to mention the outlandish assumptions the IPCC made in making its cost estimate. Those assumptions: “All of the countries of the world begin mitigation immediately, there is a single global carbon price, and all key technologies are available.”

A single global carbon price? If there’s one clear message from the last decade or so of climate-change meetings in places like Copenhagen, Bonn, Durbin, and elsewhere, it’s this: The countries of the world will not agree to a carbon tax. Hell, we can’t even get universal agreement to ban land mines, and yet the IPCC is making cost projections based on a universal price on carbon!

If Krugman and the IPCC scientists think that the transition to an economy based on renewable energy will be cheap, they haven’t been paying attention to what’s happening in Europe. In Spain, subsidies for renewables have resulted in some $35 billion in governmental debt that must now be retired.

Since 2000, Germany alone has spent about $100 billion on renewable energy, and Germany’s environment minister recently estimated that the country may have to spend as much as $1.3 trillion over the next 25 years as it attempts to reach its targets of producing 35 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050.

Krugman may not want to admit it, but here’s the truth: For all of its merits and rapidly declining cost, solar energy cannot even keep pace with the growth in global electricity demand, much less replace significant amounts of hydrocarbons or allow “drastic cuts” in carbon dioxide emissions.

Climate change is among the most difficult issues of our time. If we are going to be serious about it addressing it, we have to be serious about the low-carbon sources that can provide the vast quantities of energy that the world demands at prices consumers can afford. Yes, solar will play a role in the years ahead. But the fuels of the future are N2N: natural gas to nuclear.


The Abbott government has put Australia's renewable energy industry into limbo -- and almost no-one seems to care

Well done!  The writer below is a Warmist but his facts are pretty right

18 months after the election of a government supposedly “open for business”, the renewables industry in this country is in ruins.

Investment has fallen off a cliff – down a stunning 90 per cent since early 2013. More than 2000 jobs have disappeared. Almost no new large-scale renewable energy is being built in Australia, so hostile has the environment become. Banco Santander, the world's third-largest clean energy lender, packed up and left in March.

The reason? The government has sabotaged the industry. According to international energy consultants Bloomberg New Energy Finance, “the Australian large-scale clean energy industry has become practically uninvestable due to ongoing uncertainty caused by the government's review of the Renewable Energy Target.”

As we’ve chronicled here at New Matilda, the Renewable Energy Target was once the tripartisan policy of the Coalition, Labor and the Greens. The law, which was passed under the Howard government, mandates that there must be 41,000 gigawatt hours of renewable electricity fed into the grid by 2020.

Before the 2013 election, the Coalition promised many times to keep the RET. “We have no plans to change the renewable energy target,” Tony Abbott said in September 2011. “We will be keeping the renewable energy target,” Environment Minister Greg Hunt said in February 2013. “The Coalition supports the current system, including the 41,000 gigawatt hours target,” Liberal Senator Simon Birmingham said in July 2013.

The promise was broken in early 2014, when the government announced that former Caltex boss, noted climate change denier Dick Warbuton, would head up a review. Surprise, surprise: the review recommended abolishing the RET altogether. Energy Minister Ian Macfarlane then used the report as political cover to attempt to slash the RET, to 26,000 hours.

But the RET is a law which requires amendment, and Macfarlane has been unable to get any cross-bench support for his changes. He instead said he would “negotiate” with Labor over a revised target. After first refusing any kind of compromise, Labor eventually came all the way down to 33,500 hours. Macfarlane is holding out for 32,000. In the meantime, renewables investment tanked, and has never recovered.

You get the impression the Coalition is quite happy that negotiations have stalled. No deal on the RET means the renewables industry stays in limbo, killing investment and destroying the medium-term prospects of the sector. Meanwhile, carbon permit-free coal makes windfall profits. And Macfarlane doesn’t even have to do anything. He can just fiddle while the renewables sector burns.

If this wasn’t the Abbott government, and we weren’t talking about renewable energy, it would be difficult to believe. Imagine a government that set out, quite openly, to destroy an entire sector of business activity, for purely ideological reasons – breaking an iron-clad election promise in the process.

But that’s precisely what’s happened in renewable energy, which depends upon the RET to leverage new investment into the Australian grid. It might be the biggest scandal in economic policy in recent history – and almost no-one seems to care.



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


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

UN Secretary General to Visit Vatican to Discuss Climate Change

As one religious leader to another.  Neither is a scientist

In a speech at the National Press Club on Thursday, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced that he will visit the Vatican later this month to meet with Pope Francis to discuss common concerns, “including the encyclical on the environment that he plans to issue in the month ahead.”

“The world is now recognizing a basic truth of our times: We need to buy insurance for the planet,” Ban said. “We must all be ambitious as we look to conclude on our agreement at the climate change conference in Paris in December.”

“There’s a strong moral dimension to this effort,” he said. “Today I’d like to announce that I will visit the Vatican this month and meet with his Holiness to discuss common concern, including the encyclical on the environment that he plans to issue in the month ahead.

“I think this should be first time for any secretary general to be invited by the pope,” he added.

Also in attendance at the April 28 meeting will be the pope’s top representative on the environment Cardinal Peter Turkson and American economist Jeffrey Sachs, the Associated Press reported.

The pope will deliver what is considered the first major encyclical of his papacy this summer on the issue of global warming and the environment.

Although Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI took stances in favor of the environment, Pope Francis will be the first to address climate change in “a significant way,” the AP reported.

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences said the purpose of the workshop is to “raise awareness and build a consensus that the values of sustainable development cohere with values of the leading religious traditions, with a special focus on the most vulnerable; to elevate the debate on the moral dimensions of protecting the environment in advance of the papal encyclical; and to help build a global movement across all religions for sustainable development and climate change throughout 2015 and beyond.”

In turn, Ban has invited the pope and other world leaders to the UN for a special summit meeting in September.

“For my part, I have invited Pope Francis to the United Nations and also President Obama and all the leaders of the world to a special summit meeting in September at the United Nations, asking them to adopt this visionary and ambitious sustainable development agenda, and I’m sure that all the leaders will come and declare their visions to the world as a way of celebrating 70th anniversary of the United Nations,” he added.

“There are still some people who do not want to acknowledge climate change, but there is climate change,” Ban said. “By any standard,” the scientific evidence “clearly” shows that “climate change is happening,” and “it’s approaching much, much faster” than expected.

“Tackling climate change is an urgent part of the picture. This climate change is a defining issue of our times,” he said.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are the first generation that can end poverty and we are the last generation to address climate change. This is a fact, and we must act now,” he added.

The secretary general’s speech at the National Press Club comes two days before the Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day event on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., an event to mark the 45th anniversary of Earth Day. Musical guests at the event include: Mary J. Blige, No Doubt, Fall Out Boy, Usher, Train, and Common. It will be hosted by Will.i.Am and Soledad O’Brien.

Saturday’s event was timed to coincide with the spring meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). Earth Day takes place on April 22. The first Earth Day took place on April 22 in 1970, according to the Earth Day Network.


The Environmental Insane Asylum

By Alan Caruba

Earth Day was declared in 1970 and for the past 45 years we have all been living in the Environmental Insane Asylum, being told over and over again to believe things that are the equivalent of Green hallucinations. Now the entire month of April has been declared Earth Month, but in truth not a day goes by when we are not assailed with the bold-faced lies that comprise environmentalism.

Around the globe, the worst part of this is that we are being victimized by people we are told to respect from the President of the United States to the Pope of the Catholic Church. Their environmentalism is pure socialism.

Organizations whom we expect to tell the truth keep telling us that “climate change is one of the biggest global security threats of the 21st century.”  This was a recent statement by “world leaders” like the G7, a group of finance ministers and central bank governors of seven advanced economies, the International Monetary Fund, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States. On April 17 they adopted a report about the “threat” put together by think tanks that included the European Union Institute for Security Studies and the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.

When I speak of “climate” I am referring to data gathered not just about decades, but centuries of the Earth’s cycles of warming and cooling. When I speak of “weather”, the closest any of us get to it other than today’s, are local predictions no longer than a few days’ time at best. The weather is in a constant state of flux.

Climate change is not a threat and most certainly there is no global warming. As Prof. Bob Carter, a geologist at James Cook College in Queensland, Australia, has written, “For many years now, human-caused climate change has been viewed as a large and urgent problem. In truth, however, the biggest part of the problem is neither environmental nor scientific, but a self-created political fiasco.”

The fact that the Earth is now into the nineteenth year of a natural planetary cooling cycle seems to never be acknowledged or reported. “The problem here,” says Prof. Carter, “is not that of climate change per se, but rather that of the sophisticated scientific brainwashing that has been inflicted on the public, bureaucrats and politicians alike.”

In a book I recommend to everyone, “Climate for the Layman” by Anthony Bright-Paul, he draws on the best well-known science about the Earth noting that “Since there is no such thing as a temperature of the whole Earth all talk of global warming is simply illogical, ill thought out, and needs to be discarded for the sake of clarity. The globe is warming and cooling in different locations concurrently every minute of the day and night.”

“Since it is abundantly clear that there is no one temperature of the atmosphere all talk of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is simply an exercise in futility.” A look at the globe from either of its two poles to its equator and everything in between tells us with simple logic that being able to determine its “temperature” is impossible. The Earth, however, has gone through numerous warming and cooling cycles, all of which were the result of more or less solar radiation.

The Sun was and is the determining factor. The assertion that humans have any influence or impact that can determine whether the Earth is warmer or cooler is absurd.

The Earth had passed through warming and cooling cycles for billions of years before humans even existed, yet we are told that the generation of carbon dioxide through the use of machinery in manufacturing, transportation or any other use is causing the build-up of “greenhouse gases” in the atmosphere. We are told to give up the use of coal, oil and natural gas. That is a definition of insanity!

Here’s the simple truth that most people are not told: The Sun warms the Earth and the Earth warms the atmosphere.

As for carbon dioxide, the amount generated by human activity represents a miniscule percentage of the 0.04% in the Earth’s atmosphere. There has been more carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere—well before humans existed—contributing to the growth of all manner of vegetation which in turn generated oxygen.

Without carbon dioxide there would be no life on Earth. It feeds the vegetation on which animal life depends directly and indirectly. As Anthony Bright-Paul says, “A slight increase in atmosphere of carbon dioxide will not and cannot produce any warming, but can be hugely beneficial to a green planet.”

The Earth’s atmosphere is approximately 78% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen, 0.9% Argon, 0.04% Carbon Dioxide, and the rest is water vapor and trace gases in very small amounts. They interact to provide an environment in which life, animal and vegetable, exists on Earth.

When you live in a Global Environmental Insane Asylum, you are not likely to hear or read the truth, but you can arrive at it using simple logic. We know instinctively that humans do not control the waves of our huge oceans, nor the vast tectonic plates beneath our feet, the eruptions of volcanoes, the Jetstream, cloud formation, or any of the elements of the weather we experience, such as thunder, lightning, and other acts of Nature.

Why would we blindly assume or agree to the torrent of lies that humans are “causing” climate change? The answer is that on Earth Day, Wednesday, April 22, we will be deluged with the propaganda of countless organizations worldwide that we are, in fact, endangering a “fragile” planet Earth.  We hear and read that every other day of the year as well.

The achievement of the human race and the last 5,000 years of so-called civilization is the way we have learned to adapt to Nature by creating habitats from villages to cities in which to survive and because we have devised a vast global agricultural and ranching system to feed seven billion of us.

As for the weather, John Christy, the director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama, says he cringes “when I hear overstated confidence from those who describe the projected evolution of global weather patterns over the next one hundred years, especially when I consider how difficult it is to accurately predict that system’s behavior over the next five days.”

“Mother Nature,” says Christy, “simply operates at a level of complexity that is, at this point, behind the mastery of mere mortals—such as scientists—and the tools available to us.”

Whether it is the President or the Pope, or the countless politicians and bureaucrats, along with multitudes of “environmental” organizations, as well as self-serving “scientists”, all aided by the media, a virtual Green Army has been deliberately deceiving and misleading the citizens of planet Earth for four and a half decades. It won’t stop any time soon, but it must before the charade of environmentalism leaves us all enslaved by the quest for political control over our lives that hides behind it.

We must escape the Environmental Insane Asylum in which they want us to live.

Via email

What Are You Willing to Give Up for Earth Day?

Comrades, Earth Day is just around the corner. We’re not talking about Christmas or Easter or Yom Kippur, we’re talking about Lenin’s Birthday!

Now some outdated, religious traditions include themes of guilt and forgiveness. You know the routine. We are guilty before God and justly deserving of His punishment, but He lays our sins on His Son, Jesus Christ, and that by believing in Him we can find forgiveness of sin and eternal life. But that’s so two millennia ago.

On the other hand, Earth Day (Lenin’s Birthday!) is so progressive that it offers guilt and more guilt! See, in this advanced, highly evolved, and inclusive belief system, you are guilty before Gaia for exhaling and destroying her atmosphere, turning it into an “open sewer” to quote the Prophet Algore (PBUH). Now with Gaia, there’s none of this nonsense about atonement, justification, or propitiation. Those are big words and too hard for you to understand. You’re guilty because you might drive an SUV, consume food, once used electricity, or maybe you’re just plain white. You may have accessed healthcare to prolong your selfish, resource sucking life, and that means some poor minority child or kitten was denied healthcare – just because of you.

Forgiveness? Are you serious? When it comes to the Green Gospel, there’s only one solution, and that’s extermination. If it wasn’t for man, Bambi’s mother would be alive today instead of having her head mounted over some redneck’s fireplace desecrated with a bandanna and non-union manufactured sunglasses. We need a plan for sustainability. That’s a big word, but what it means is that we get to decide who’s a burden to Earth Mother, and who isn’t.

So who’s guilty, you ask? Probably you. Why do you think you dig holes in the ground on Earth Day? One happy day, perhaps Next Tuesday™, our government will be empowered to recycle its non-productive, Earth exploiting citizens. It’s called giving back, and it’s the only way you can redeem yourself. If we don’t take action now, all the furry animals will be dead in just ten years.

But until Next Tuesday comes along, you need to do your part. You need to confess your guilt. You need to give back. So in the days leading up to Earth Day, you need to tearfully, publicly, and loudly proclaim your sins against Gaia. You need to publish your shame by wearing awareness ribbons and riding a bicycle. In so doing, you induce feelings of necessary guilt in others, and you get a smug sense of self-righteous satisfaction because you care more. What’s not to like?

So come on, comrades, what are you willing to confess and give up in the days left before Earth Day?

SOURCE [Satire]

The True Costs—and Beneficiaries—of Green Energy

Earth Day is celebrated once a year, but policymakers make lasting choices about natural resources day in and day out. Legislation dealing with some aspect of fossil fuels or clean energy, for example, comes up frequently in state houses and the halls of Congress. Wind power has been the leading beneficiary of the alternative-energy zeitgeist, but as Independent Institute Research Fellow Randy T. Simmons explains in a recent piece in Newsweek, subsidies for this technology have cost taxpayers far more than they realize--$30 billion over the past 35 years.

One reason, according to Simmons, is that the public overlooks key costs associated with wind power. The venerable financial advisory firm Lazard estimates that wind power costs $37 to $81 per megawatt hour, but after factoring in hidden costs, such as the need to run coal or natural gas plants when the skies are still (i.e., “baseload cycling”), the true cost of wind power is more like $149 per megawatt hour. Moreover, electricity consumers typically have little say in energy policy. Consequently, state-level mandates for renewable energy usage ensure that they are forced to buy more expensive but ostensibly “clean and green” power such as wind energy. If not consumers, who benefits? Foreign-owned wind companies, who in 2010 were awarded 84 percent of U.S. clean-energy grants.

Ethanol is another product that has benefited from government mandates. As Independent Institute Research Fellow Randall Holcombe explains, the requirement that gasoline refineries add ethanol to their fuel products has doubled the price of corn, resulting in a transfer of $32 billion from consumers to farmers in 2011 alone. That amounts to an average benefit of $79,875 per U.S. corn farmer. Holcombe writes: “This is a good example of how legislation providing concentrated benefits to an interest group and imposing disbursed costs on everybody can maintain political supports.”


Obama Warns U.S.: ‘Climate Change Poses Immediate Risks to Our National Security’

President Barack Obama warned the American people in his weekly address today that “there’s no greater threat” than climate change and that it “poses immediate risks to our national security.”

He said Americans need to work against climate change because “it’s about protecting our God-given natural wonders.”

“Wednesday is Earth Day, a day to appreciate and protect this precious planet we call home,” said Obama. “And today, there’s no greater threat to our planet than climate change.”

“This winter was cold in parts of our country--as some folks in Congress like to point out--but around the world, it was the warmest ever recorded,” said Obama.

“And the fact that the climate is changing has very serious implications for the way we live now.  Stronger storms.  Deeper droughts.  Longer wildfire seasons,” he said. “The world’s top climate scientists are warning us that a changing climate already affects the air our kids breathe. Last week, the Surgeon General and I spoke with public experts about how climate change is already affecting patients across the country. The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security.”

Obama said we need to counter climate change in the interests of families and children.

“This is an issue that’s bigger and longer-lasting than my presidency,” he said. “It’s about protecting our God-given natural wonders, and the good jobs that rely on them. It’s about shielding our cities and our families from disaster and harm. It’s about keeping our kids healthy and safe.”


Preventing a Coming Ice Age

By S. Fred Singer

Geo-engineering has become a buzzword again, thanks to a recent two-volume report of the US National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council [NAS-NRC 2015;].  Driven by exaggerated concerns about greenhouse (GH) warming catastrophes, the reports pursued mainly two project ideas:

Reducing atmospheric levels of the GH-gas CO2, starting with fairly innocuous schemes like planting tree farms to fertilizing the Southern Oceans by adding missing micro-nutrients (an idea much favored by the late oceanographer Roger Revelle) – all the way to full-scale engineering proposals that involve the direct removal of ambient CO2, with subsequent underground sequestration – a vastly more expensive undertaking of dubious technical feasibility.

The other favored approach would try to increase Earth’s albedo to reduce the amounts of solar energy reaching the surface.  In analogy with volcanic eruptions, reflective aerosols would be injected into the stratosphere – a costly and unproven scheme, likely to constitute an environmental hazard to stratospheric ozone.

It is doubtful that either project will gain approval – beyond further studies and some feasibility tests.  Costs and risks are too high, and they may not even be needed.  Yet geo-engineering seems to make perfect sense when used to overcome a sure-to-arise ice-age glaciation.


Earth has been cooling for about 65 million years (ma) and has experienced a series of some 20 glaciations (“ice ages”) for the most recent 2-3 ma (“Quaternary”).  Ice-core data indicate a typical duration for each glaciation of 41,000 and then 100,000 years – with a gradual onset, but with a sudden termination into a warm Interglacial period of typical duration of 10,000 years.  [Imbrie, Science 1976; Ice Ages, 1986]

Our present Interglacial, the Holocene period, has now lasted over 11,000 years and (some think) may soon end, making way for the next ice age.  (Some calculations [by A. Berger], however, suggest that the Holocene may last much longer than 10,000 years.)

According to the “astronomical theory” of Milankovitch, the timing of these cycles is controlled by changes in the Earth’s orbit eccentricity, inclination of the spin axis, and its precession.  Although Milankovitch provides a useful guide on timing, there is still much research required to understand the full physics of the glaciations [Roe, GeophysResLett 2006].

The timing of these cycles

According to theoretical speculation, the onset of glaciation is caused by a positive feedback at a sensitive “tipping point.”  Judiciously planned intervention there might destroy this positive feedback and thereby delay or even cancel an ice-age cycle.  It is widely believed that a glaciation initiates when a high-latitude (at about 65 degN) snowfield survives during summer and then expands year-by-year as a result. [The initiation may occur stochastically during a (cold) sunspot minimum or after a major volcanic eruption.]  Weather satellites provide a ready means for digitally identifying and tracking such critical snowfields.  They can then be controlled or removed by the deposition of solar-energy-absorbing soot.

In any case, ice ages impose severe stresses on human populations and on the ecology.  During the most recent ice age, some 20,000 years ago, mile-thick ice sheets covered much of North America and all of northern Europe.  Global sea levels were 120 meters lower than today.  The English Channel was a huge river, draining the Rhine, Maas, Thames, and the melt water from the ice sheets, into the Bay of Biscayne.

In addition to the ice ages, less severe coolings and warmings have occurred on an irregular, 1500-year cycle (the so-called Dansgaard-Oeschger-Bond cycles) [see Singer & Avery, Unstoppable Global Warming, 2007].  Their likely cause is solar variability [according to Bond, Science 2001].  The most recent events include the Medieval Warm Period (around 1000 AD), the Little Ice Age, and the Modern Warming that started around 1850 AD [Loehle & Singer, Can J Earth Sci 2010].  Historic records, gathered mainly from European data, indicate that the cold periods had severe economic impacts, causing failed harvests and widespread starvation and disease [Lamb, Climate, 1972].  In his forthcoming book “Climate & Collapse: The Secret of Human Sustainability,” my colleague Dennis Avery, an agricultural economist and historian, has greatly elaborated on these themes of climatology pioneer Lamb.

There is little that can be done to mitigate the 1500-year cycles, if indeed they are controlled by solar activity.  Here, adaptation may provide the only means of dealing with the disastrous effects of the cold periods.  Research should be directed to discovering the best methods of countering the damaging impacts of cooling on human populations.

The Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) occurred about 18,000 years ago, with the Great Lakes a remnant of this recent glaciation.  A wide swath of land south of the ice was treeless tundra, unsuitable for agriculture.  The human population was small but survived.  [See Van Alden and Davis, Neanderthals and Humans in the European Landscape during the Last Glaciation, Cambridge Press, McDonnell Institute monograph. Also: Soares et al, Climate Change and Postglacial Human Dispersal in Southeast Asia, Molecular Biology and Evolution 25, 2008; as well as other references cited by Avery].

The onset of the next glaciation, another ice age, is widely expected.  It would spell a severe test for humanity but would probably not terminate human existence on the planet.  It would not match the ultimate catastrophe, the impact of a large asteroid, such as occurred 65 million years ago at the beginning of the Tertiary, which wiped out the dinosaurs.

The survival of the human race depends very much on advanced technology.  This is especially the case for climate change.  Good-quality agricultural land will be limited; but hothouse yields could be high.  An efficient distribution system could alleviate the threat of starvation for a reduced population.  Nuclear energy, based on uranium/thorium fission and on fusion reactors, may provide the mainstay of civilization.  We may well be living underground, but not necessarily in caves.

An international cooperative project to stop ice ages

I can visualize a possible international collaboration that might involve three teams in North America, Europe, and Asia, working independently and using their own satellite systems -- but coordinating their efforts under WMO (World Meteorological Organization) auspices.  The satellites, using simple TV cameras, could keep track of any long-term growth in surface albedo from snow and ice; an averaging interval might be 3-10 years.

Once such secular growth has been detected, each of the three teams would carry out a plan to stop such growth.  Though operating independently, they might consult widely on the best techniques for generating and depositing soot and for keeping track of albedo changes.

The aim, of course, is to break the positive feedback cycle that presumably leads to the growth of an ice-age glaciation.  One can think of various practical problems that could arise; yet none of them seem insurmountable or particularly costly.  But a test would certainly be worthwhile.

Stopping the next ice age appears to be well within our technical capability and carries a huge benefit-to-cost ratio.  An investment of millions would prevent the loss of trillions of dollars.



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