Friday, October 24, 2014



Oreskes, merchant of smear



Fred Singer has decided not to sue over the grievous libel directed at him by Naomi Oreskes & Co. but he has suggested that his supporters reprint two articles from a few years back wherein both he and another writer have critiqued her work.  What she says now is more shrill than in the past but her accusations are basically now old ones so the effort of composing a new reply would be superfluous.The two articles follow the backgrounder below:

Atmospheric physicist S. Fred Singer pioneered upper-atmosphere ozone measurements with rockets and later devised the satellite instrument used to monitor ozone. He is Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia and founding director of the US Weather Satellite Service (now NESDIS-NOAA). He is a Fellow of the Heartland Institute and the Independent Institute. His book Unstoppable Global Warming - Every 1500 Years (Rowman & Littlefield, 2007) presents the evidence for natural climate cycles of warming and cooling and became a NY Times best-seller. He is the organizer of NIPCC (Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change), editor of its 2008 report "Nature - Not Human Activity - Rules the Climate" , and coauthor of "Climate Change Reconsidered," published in 2009, with conclusions contrary to those of the IPCC . As a reviewer of IPCC reports, he presumably shares the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore and 2,000 others.




Naomi Oreskes, Conspiracy Queen

By Norman Rogers

Naomi Oreskes is the environmentalist Noam Chomsky.  She thinks that anyone who questions environmentalist doctrine is evil.  Her crusade is to expose the presumed ulterior motives of the critics.   According to Oreskes, if you question the dubious studies concerning secondhand tobacco smoke, you must be in the pay of tobacco companies.  If you question global warming, you must be working for a fossil fuel company.  If you question the DDT ban, you must part of a right wing conspiracy to weaken faith in government regulators.

Oreskes is the author of one of the silliest articles ever to appear in the journal Science.  She claimed that she analyzed 928 peer-reviewed papers on global warming and 100% agreed with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concerning global warming.  If you go to the website of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) you can find hundreds of peer reviewed papers that disagree with the IPCC in one way or another.

Her latest book, with co-author Erik Conway, is Merchants of Doubt.  In this tedious book she treats us to the details of numerous disputes between those who subscribe to normative environmental theology and those who don't.  Normative environmental theology is the sort of theology that is preached by the Sierra Club or the Union of Concerned Scientists.  Oreskes is a professor and an important administrator at the University of California.  Like Chomsky, she cloaks her endless conspiracy theories in the machinery of scholarship.  Her 343 page book has 64 pages of notes.  A pig with lipstick is still a pig.

 Neither Oreskes nor her co-author have strong scientific educations and it shows.  From her book it is obvious that she enjoyed access to many scientists, but somehow none of her scientist friends found the time to proof read Merchants of Doubt.  This is not hard to understand.  Merchants of Doubt is a book of unsurpassed monotony.  Conspiracy theories get boring very quickly, especially when the conspiracies are all variations of a few crude plots.  A number of informed critiques of Merchants of Doubt can be seen in the 1-star Amazon reviews.

In the introduction to Merchants of Doubt the fact that adding CO2 to the atmosphere causes the stratosphere to cool and the troposphere to warm is explained as follows:

But if the warming is caused by greenhouse gases emitted at the surface and largely trapped in the lower atmosphere, then we expect the troposphere to warm, but the stratosphere to cool.

It is a bit difficult to know what this sentence means but it is clear that Oreskes hasn't the faintest idea concerning radiation and the role of greenhouse gases.  Greenhouse gases (mostly CO2) are not trapped in the lower atmosphere but are well mixed up to and including the stratosphere.  CO2 causes the stratosphere to cool because CO2 is a good radiator of infrared radiation and thus improves the capability to exhaust stratospheric heat to space as radiation.  Cooling of the stratosphere is not evidence of global warming.  It is evidence of increased CO2 in the atmosphere.  The distinction is important.

The climategate emails are hundreds of emails among important scientists that show them to be perverting scientific protocols and practicing propaganda to promote global warming alarmism.  Ben Santer is a prominent player in the climategate emails.  He is most famous for saying this about the global warming skeptic scientist Patrick Michaels:

"Next time I see Pat Michaels at a scientific meeting, I'll be tempted to beat  the crap out of him.  Very tempted."

Oreskes, apparently before the release of the climategate emails, said this about Ben Santer:

"He's thoroughly moderate...  soft-spoken, almost self-effacing ...  you might think he was an accountant..."[i]

Ben Santer, who may be Oreskes' favorite scientist, has been struggling for years with the skeptics concerning the relative heating of the upper troposphere.  He has resorted to publishing papers with as many of 24 co-authors, apparently in an attempt to make his arguments more credible by collecting a lot of scientists willing to support him.

In Oreskes' milieu, it is apparently a bad thing to be anti-communist.  She attacks and psychoanalyzes the physicist Frederick Seitz for his "strident" and "unalloyed" anti-communism.  She puts thoughts in Seitz's head.  He thinks his colleagues are "ingrates" and he "has an uneasy time with the masses." He was "hawkish" and "superior." Another physicist, William Nierenberg, is also psychoanalyzed by Oreskes.   According to her Nierenberg "hated environmentalists" and was "overconfident."  Nierenberg's son Nicholas Nierenberg has been so upset by Oreskes' distortions of his father's work that he started a website to refute Oreskes.  The sin of these eminent physicists for Oreskes is that they were critics of environmental extremism and strong supporters of the United States in the Cold War.  Seitz and Nierenberg are both dead and thus cannot defend themselves.

Fred Singer is a scientist who has been in the forefront of defending science against junk science.  This is not an easy road to take.  Junk science is a basic tool for groups that are pushing ideological positions.  Subtle distinctions are not welcomed by the ideological groups.  If you acknowledge that smoking cigarettes causes cancer, but then you dare to say that the hazard presented by secondhand smoke is exaggerated, you are tagged as a supporter of cancer.  If you say that the case for man-caused global warming is full of holes you are tagged as an agent of fossil fuel companies.  Very few scientists are brave enough to take the heat and personal attacks the come from standing up to junk science.  Fred Singer has been doing it for a long time.  In his late 80's, he is still writing scientific papers and traveling the world giving lectures.  Oreskes is a promoter of junk science and for that reason cannot abide Fred Singer.  Singer is her favorite punching bag.  His name appears dozens of times in Merchants of Doubt.

Should we be surprised that Naomi Oreskes is a professor at the University of California and has been promoted to an administrative position?  After all Noam Chomsky was a professor at MIT.  But Chomsky was a professor because of his work in linguistics, not because he believes in crazy conspiracies.  It seems that Naomi Oreskes is successful not in spite of her love of conspiracy, but exactly because she promotes conspiracies.  This makes one wonder what has happened to the intellectual climate at the University of California.

The science establishment has fallen so low that it thinks it is a useful tactic to deal with its critics by accusing them of conspiracies financed by tobacco companies and oil companies.   For the last 50 years, starting with DDT, we have been subjected to junk science scares.  The scares were invariably false or exaggerated.  Most of these scares were not more than brief media sensations, but some scares have been disruptive, diverting attention from real problems.  The king of all scares is global warming.  Taken seriously, it requires revamping the entire world economy and making us all poorer.  The predictions of global warming disaster are deeply flawed junk science dressed up with an impressive "scientific" structure of panels, committees and organizations.  The global warming scare is rapidly collapsing.  Scientists outside of the global warming bubble are pointing out the flaws in the science and a coterie of well-informed bloggers is getting out the message by bypassing the establishment media where critics' voices are generally blocked.  Nature is helping because the earth and the oceans are failing to warm according to script.

That a conspiracist like Naomi Oreskes would be welcomed by the global warming scientific establishment and invited to speak at the December 2010 American Geophysical Union meeting is a symptom of increasing desperation.  The global warming advocates have dug themselves into a deep hole and they can't seem to stop digging.  Ironically Oreskes spoke at a meeting where Exxon Mobil was the biggest financial contributor[ii].  Apparently it's not a conspiracy if Exxon Mobil gives its money to the right people.

SOURCE





Science and Smear Merchants

By S. Fred Singer

Professor Naomi Oreskes, of the University of California in San Diego, claims to be a science historian.  One can readily demonstrate that she is neither a credible scientist nor a credible historian; the best evidence is right there in her recent book, "Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming," coauthored with Eric Conway.  Her science is faulty; her historical procedures are thoroughly unprofessional.  She is, however, an accomplished polemicist, who has found time for world lecture tours, promoting her book and her ideological views, while being paid by the citizens of California.  Her book tries to smear four senior physicists -- of whom I am the only surviving one.  I view it as my obligation to defend the reputations of my late colleagues and good friends against her libelous charges.

Oreskes is well-known from her 2004 article in Science that claimed a complete scientific consensus about manmade global warming; it launched her career as a polemicist.  Her claim was based on examining the abstracts of some 900 published papers.  Unfortunately, she missed more than 11,000 papers through an incorrect Internet search.  She published a discreet "Correction"; yet she has never retracted her ideologically based claim about consensus.  Al Gore still quotes her result, which has been contradicted by several, more competent studies (by Peiser, Schulte, Bray and von Storch; Lemonick in SciAm, etc).

Turning first to the her science, her book discusses acidification, as measured by the pH coefficient.  She states that a pH of 6.0 denotes neutrality (page 67, MoD).  Let's be charitable and chalk this off to sloppy proofreading.

Elsewhere in the book (page 29), she claims that beryllium is a "heavy metal" and tries to back this up with references.  I wonder if she knows that the atomic weight of beryllium is only 9, compared to, say, uranium, which is mostly 238.  A comparison of these two numbers should tell anyone which one is the heavy metal.

 Her understanding of the Greenhouse Effect is plain comical; she posits that CO2 is "trapped" in the troposphere -- and that's why the stratosphere is cooling.  Equally wrong is her understanding of what climate models are capable of; she actually believes that they can predict forest fires in Russia, floods in Pakistan and China -- nothing but calamities everywhere -- and tells climate scientists in a recent lecture: If the predictions of climate models have come true, then why don't people believe them [see this]?  Perhaps because people are not gullible.

But the most amazing science blunder in her book is her hypothesis about how cigarette-smoking causes cancer (page 28).  She blames it on oxygen-15, a radioactive isotope of the common oxygen-16.  I wonder if she knows that the half-life of O-15 is only 122 seconds.  Of course, she does not spell out how O-15 gets into cigarette smoke, whether it is in the paper or in the tobacco itself.  If the latter, does she believe that the O-15 is created by the burning of tobacco?  If so, this would be a fantastic discovery, worthy of an alchemist.  Perhaps someone should make her aware of the difference between radioactive and "reactive" oxygen; the two words do sound similar.

I am sure one would find more examples of scientific ignorance in a careful reading of the rest of the book.  But why bother?

Having demonstrated her scientific "expertise," let's turn to her historical expertise.  Any careful historian would use primary sources and would at least try to interview the scientists she proceeds to smear.  There is no trace of that in Oreskes' book.  She has never taken the trouble to interview Dr. Robert Jastrow, founder of the NASA-Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and later Director of the Mt. Wilson Astronomical Observatory and founding president of the renowned George C Marshall Institute in Washington, DC.  I can find no evidence that she ever interviewed Dr. William Nierenberg, director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, who actually lived in San Diego and was readily accessible.  And I doubt if she ever even met Dr. Frederick Seitz, the main target of her venom.

Seitz was the most distinguished of the group of physicists that are attacked in the book.  He had served as President of the US National Academy of Sciences and of the American Physical Society, and later as President of Rockefeller University.  He had been awarded numerous honorary degrees from universities here and abroad, as well as the prestigious National Medal of Science from the White House.

Instead of seeking firsthand information in the tradition of historical research, Oreskes relies on secondary or tertiary sources, quoting people who agree with her ideology.  A good example of this is her discussion of acid rain and of the White House panel (under Reagan, in 1982) chaired by Bill Nierenberg, on which I also served.  Here she relies on what she was told by Dr. Gene Likens, whose research funding depends on portraying acid rain as a very serious environmental problem.  It most definitely is not -- and indeed disappeared from view as soon as Congress passed legislation designed to reduce the effect.

An amazing discovery: I found that Oreskes gives me credit (or blames me) for inventing "cap-and-trade," the trading of emission rights under a fixed cap of total emissions (see pp. 91-93).  I had never claimed such a priority because I honestly don't know if this idea had been published anywhere.  It seemed like the natural thing to suggest in order to reduce total cost -- once an emission cap had been set.

My example involved smelters that emit SO2 copiously versus electric utilities that burn coal containing some sulfur.  I even constructed what amounts to a "supply curve" in which the bulk of the emission control is borne initially by the lowest-cost units.  Of course, Likens and some others on the panel, antagonistic to coal-burning electric utilities, objected to having my discussion included in the panel report.  Nierenberg solved the problem neatly by putting my contribution into a signed Appendix, thereby satisfying some panel members who did not want be responsible for a proposal that might let some electric utilities off the hook.

We have established so far that Oreskes is neither a scientist of any sort nor a careful professional historian.  She is, however, a "pop-psychologist."  It seems she has figured out what motivates the four senior physicists she libels in her book; it is "anti-communism."  Really!  This is not only stated explicitly but she also identifies them throughout as "Cold Warriors."

Well, now we know at least where Oreskes stands in the political spectrum.

SOURCE






Global warming and African religion

Does global warming affect African religion?  Of course it does!  Global warming affects everything!  I can't say I am strongly seized by the urgency of the "problem", however.  Maybe a devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ could as a result supplant African native religions, something I would applaud.  At any event the paper is rubbish.  It is just a series of assertions based on opinion rather than any quantified research

The Impact of Climate Change on African Traditional Religious Practices

By Christian NG

Abstract

Developing countries especially in the African continent are bearing the brunt of the impact of climate change. However, what have not been brought to the fore are the impacts of the phenomenon of climate change on African traditional religious practices. This paper, therefore attempts to critically evaluate the impact of climate change on African traditional religious practices. This study is based on two basic assumptions-first, the African traditional religion employs natural elements as mode of expression of its faith. Secondly, the African world is suffused with religion. Using a critical phenomenological method of analysis, it was found that African traditional religion has directly and indirectly been affected by the consequences of climate change in Africa. The paper, however, recommended among other things, a collective cum community adjustment approach to the realities of climate change.

J Earth Sci Clim Change 5:209. doi: 10.4172/2157-7617.1000209





Smoking Gun Of Massive Climate Fraud At NCDC And The EPA

The EPA has this graph on their website, based on the NCDC Climate Extremes Index



It shows that the area of the US with hot daily summer temperatures is at record levels.

The graph is completely fraudulent. In fact it is inverted. Prior to 1960, the area of the US which reached 100 degrees during summer was quite a bit higher, and in 1936 seventy-five percent of stations reached 100 degrees. The percentage of the US reaching 100 degrees every year is much lower now, with 2014 close to a record low.

The EPA graph shows 2012 as the hottest, when in fact it wasn’t even in the top ten. They show 1936 at 50%, when in fact it was 75%.



Next is the minimum temperature graph – again in sharp disagreement with the EPA graph.



This metric is not affected by TOBS or homogenization. Apparently the good people at NCDC are simply fabricating numbers, because I used their thermometer data in this analysis.

SOURCE





Fossil-Fueled Fiction

By weather forecaster Joe Bastardi

It’s been a heck of a week for hysteria in the so-called Climate War. Apparently, with all the other things going on in the world, the hysteria has to be whipped up so people actually pay attention to this trumped-up agenda.

Look at this, an inconvenient truth if hysteria is your agenda: “World Disasters Report for 2013 – lowest number of catastrophies and deaths in 10 years.”

That’s right. All this screaming and yelling about how bad it is, and we find that we are at a decade low in terms of catastrophes and deaths. Wait a minute – isn’t this extreme of non-extremes an extreme in itself? This lack of disasters is a disaster since it’s a sign there has to be more disasters. After all, how can there be any less? Don’t be surprised if that argument shows up. After all, only in the world of the AGW alarmists can a record-breaking amount of ice in the Southern Hemisphere and the third highest snow total for September in the Northern Hemisphere be a sign it’s getting warmer. Apparently, humans are also changing the freeze process. Perhaps water now freezes at higher temperatures and that’s the reason increases in snow and ice are a sign it’s warmer? (Sarcasm.)

And then we get this from the founder of the “#ClimateSilence” and “#DontFundEvil” campaigns, Brad Johnson, who calls himself “Climatebrad”: “Dangerous, Fossil-Fueled Hurricane Gonzalo Barrels Toward Bermuda.”

Is that so? Gonzalo went through the area we said in April would be primed for the strongest storms. We predicted one or two major hurricanes.

Guess what? Gonzalo was the second major hurricane of the year.

Apparently, this “fossil fuel” didn’t work too well. It weakened from Category 4 to Category 2 as it reached Bermuda – quite a bit different from the non-fossil fuel Hazel in October 1954 which hit the North Carolina coast as a Category 4 and caused hurricane force winds all the way into Canada.

Moreover, the hurricane season this year has gone almost exactly as our non-fossil fuel-based forecast said it would when we put it out in April! Look at the tracks of the storms, where we had the two prime regions for storm. All of the hurricanes had hit maximum intensity in our two main areas. We had little activity in the deep tropics. Over 80% of the total ACE (Accumulated Cyclone Energy) index this year is in the two shaded areas. If there is any criticism, it’s that the area of highest threat should have been centered east about 300 miles. But without any of this fossil fuel nonsense, this forecast from April targeted the season we have had. We are within one now of the total number and all the hurricanes (Dolly was tropical storm) have gone through our areas. If we get a late season development later this week, it reaches the low end of the total number. The forecast had one or two major hurricanes, and we’ve had two form. As of Sunday PM, we are near 75% of total ACE.

Or how about this for a headline: “Some cities try to stem the fossil-fueled flood in South Florida.”

There's the strategy! Every event is fossil-fueled now. This example is from someone who could not possibly have had the life he has had, or could do what he does (this applies to all of us) without fossil fuels. Which is one of the things that bugs me so much about the whole AGW movement. Here we are, all nice and warm with our marvelous technology, and the same people and industries that help so much make it that way are now demonized and destroyed. I believe the word to describe someone that does that is “ingrate.”

Just a reminder folks: The true"hockey sticks" of fossil fuel, given the fact there are tree ring studies such as Liu’s from China, are not with temperatures, but with world wide GDP and life expectancy.


Temperatures from 400BC -- no hockeystick


Wealth from 1500 AD.  A REAL hockeystick


Another real hockestick

Though showing you only a couple of examples, it’s obvious the strategy of the AGW alarmists is to simply blame everything on fossil fuels. Even in the year of a lack of extreme events, they are trumpeting all weather events as evidence they are right. In a way, they are playing an “Everybody Gets a Trophy” card (no matter what we say, we are right, give me my trophy) and a victim card (the evil fossil fuel people are destroying us; never mind we are far better off than we would have been if what we are pushing was enacted from the get-go).

I guess then it’s okay for me to call what they do what it is: FOSSIL-FUELED PROPAGANDA.  Why not? They claim everything else is.

SOURCE






No apologies to Bob Carter?

When Carter first drew attention to the cessation of global warming after 1998, he was roundly abused, condemned and told he was wrong.  Now that even Warmists admit to what they call the "pause" in warming, is anybody apologizing to Carter and admitting that he was right after all?  Certainly no Warmists are

It was an Australian scientist, Bob Carter, who first drew attention to the flattening trend in an article in Britain’s The Telegraph in April 2006. Carter reviewed the official temperature records of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia for the years 1998 to 2005 and asked: “Does something not strike you as odd?”

Carter’s reward for identifying the lack of global warming was to have his professional reputation trashed. When Carter repeated his suggestion in the Australian press a year later, the CSIRO felt obliged to respond. Carter had presented “an unethical misrepresentation of the facts”, wrote Andrew Ash, acting director of the CSIRO’s Climate Adaptation Flagship. “All scientists welcome honest criticism since it helps to sharpen our analyses and improve our understanding, but scepticism based on half-truths and misrepresentation of facts is not helpful.”

ABC online’s The Drum refused to run his commentary. ABC Radio National’s science broadcaster Robyn Williams gave an open microphone to Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change communications director Bob Ward, who accused Carter of “desperately seeking bits of information to back up a ­theory”.

Political scientist Robert Manne said the likes of Carter, award-winning geologist Ian Plimer and former head of the National Climate Centre at the Bureau of Meteorology William Kininmonth “have to be resisted and indeed denounced” along with the “anti-political correctness and anti-collectivist ideologues, the right-wing media and the fossil fuel corporations”.

As recently as two years ago, former finance minister Nick Minchin was mocked on the ABC’s Q&A for suggesting that temperatures had plateaued. “There is a major problem with the warmist argument because we have had rising CO2 but we haven’t had the commensurate rise in temperature that the IPCC predicted,” he said.

“That’s just not true Nick,” responded Anna Rose, chairwoman of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition.

The University of NSW’s Matthew England joined in. “What Nick just said is actually not true. The IPCC projections of 1990 have borne out very accurately the projections now 22 years old.”

As it happens, it was true. The 1990 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report predicted temperature rises of 0.3C each decade. In fact, according to the latest report global temperatures have risen only 0.14C per decade since 1978.

In September last year a draft version of the fifth assessment report of the IPCC’s working group 1 that assesses the physical science of climate finally acknowledged the gap between computer projections and observed surface temperatures between 1998 and 2012. The IPCC was not so bold as to admit that its previous reports were wrong. It did accept, however, that there had been a “global mean surface temperature trend hiatus”, which amounts to the same thing.

If science worked as purely as Francis Bacon suggested it should, by the application of induction and observation, climate science would have moved on by now. Experts, however, are only human. Too many professional reputations have been invested in a fixed idea for it to be simply abandoned.

The heating has not stopped, we are told, it has simply “paused”. The word bristles with presumption. Despite their appalling track record in the past 20 years, climate scientists still believe they can predict how temperatures will move in the future.

“The ocean is absorbing huge amounts of heat energy and then will toss it back on us further along,” Dr Karl told Delroy.

Nobody suggested that temperatures should rise in a straight line, he said. “It’s much more complicated than that … there are so many factors involved, El Nino, La Nina, Pacific Decadal Oscillation, etc, that suggests that you need a 17-year window to able to look past the noise.

“And here they are saying we’re looking at a nine-year window and it looks sort of not as uppity as before. Well that’s easy, it’s not a 17-year window.” Dr Karl Kruszelnicki is ignoring facts that even Warmists now admit -- the "pause" has gone on for 18 years]

SOURCE

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Thursday, October 23, 2014


Do Italian chamois prove global warming?



In the Italian Alps there are records of the weight of animals shot by hunters -- and the carcasses of chamois goats are now quite a bit lighter than they used to be.  Why?

The Warmist researchers below discovered that betwen 1979 and 2010 temperatures in the study area rose substantially  -- by around 3 degrees.  And that is the first oddity.  Global temperatures over that time rose by only tenths of a degree.  So there were some LOCAL effects at work on temperatures in the area.  The results tell us nothing about GLOBAL warming.

But do they tell us anything about what might be if the whole world warmed by the same amount?

Probably not.  In best Warmist style they used models to analyse  their data,  thus introducing possibilities of arbitrariness.  And the result is that there is no clear test of whether temperature was the driver of the effects observed.  And there was another clear driver -- population density.  The population of animals in the study area rose during the time of the study. So if there are more goats competing for feed each goat is likely to be less well-fed.  And calorie deficiency is well know to shrink body mass.

So competent research would have used some type of regression analysis to remove the effect of density before temperature effects were looked for.  The authors did not do that.  They simply plugged in both density and temperature into their models -- leaving unanswered whether there was any statistically significant effect of temperature after the variations in density had been allowed for.  Very sloppy!




Goats are shrinking as a result of climate change, researchers have claimed.  They say Alpine goats now weigh about 25 per cent less than animals of the same age in the 1980s.  Researchers say it is a stark indication of how quickly climate change can affect animals.

They appear to be shrinking in size as they react to changes in climate, according to new research from Durham University.

The researchers studied the impacts of changes in temperature on the body size of Alpine Chamois, a species of mountain goat, over the past 30 years.  To their surprise, they discovered that young Chamois now weigh about 25 per cent less than animals of the same age in the 1980s.

In recent years, decreases in body size have been identified in a variety of animal species, and have frequently been linked to the changing climate.  However, the researchers say the decline in size of Chamois observed in this study is striking in its speed and magnitude.

The research, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council is published in the journal Frontiers in Zoology.

Lead author Dr Tom Mason, in the School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, at Durham University, said: 'Body size declines attributed to climate change are widespread in the animal kingdom, with many fish, bird and mammal species getting smaller.

'However the decreases we observe here are astonishing. 'The impacts on Chamois weight could pose real problems for the survival of these populations.'

The team delved into long-term records of Chamois body weights provided by hunters in the Italian Alps.

They discovered that the declines were strongly linked to the warming climate in the study region, which became 3-4oC warmer during the 30 years of the study.

The team believes that higher temperatures are affecting how chamois behave.

'We know that Chamois cope with hot periods by resting more and spending less time searching for food, and this may be restricting their size more than the quality of the vegetation they eat,' said Co-author Dr Stephen Willis.

'If climate change results in similar behavioural and body mass changes in domestic livestock, this could have impacts on agricultural productivity in coming decades.'

SOURCE

Environmental change and long-term body mass declines in an alpine mammal

By Tom HE Mason et al.

Abstract

Introduction
Climate and environmental change have driven widespread changes in body size, particularly declines, across a range of taxonomic groups in recent decades. Size declines could substantially impact on the functioning of ecosystems. To date, most studies suggest that temporal trends in size have resulted indirectly from climate change modifying resource availability and quality, affecting the ability of individuals to acquire resources and grow.

Results
Here, we investigate striking long-term body mass declines in juvenile Alpine chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra), within three neighbouring populations in the Italian Alps. We find strong evidence that increasing population density and warming temperatures during spring and summer are linked to the mass declines. We find no evidence that the timing or productivity of resources have been altered during this period.

Conclusions
We conclude that it is unlikely that environmental change has driven body size change indirectly via effects on resource productivity or phenology [growth cycles]. Instead, we propose that environmental change has limited the ability of individuals to acquire resources. This could be due to increases in the intensity of competition and decreases in time spent foraging, owing to high temperatures. Our findings add weight to a growing body of evidence for long-term body size reductions and provide considerable insight into the potential drivers of such trends. Furthermore, we highlight the potential for appropriate management, for instance increases in harvest size, to counteract the impacts of climate change on body mass.

Frontiers in Zoology 2014, 11:69  doi:10.1186/s12983-014-0069-6





A New Documentary Profiles "Liars for Hire"

The story below -- based on a book by Naomi Oreskes --  calls distinguished climate scientist Fred Singer (a man who has made enormous contributions to atmospheric physics research) a liar and a snake-oil salesman.  It is as we constantly get from Warmists -- all abuse with not a single scientific datum mentioned.  Logicians refer to such discourse as the "argumentum ad hominem"  -- one of the classic informal fallacies of logic.  But who expects logic from Warmists?

So why the extreme abuse of a prominent and truth-telling scientist?  It is the old Leftist tactic of projection -- accusing others of what is true of yourself. As I have pointed out recently, it is Naomi Oreskes who is the fraud and a liar.  She published a claim that all the scientific journal abstracts she could find on global warming agreed with it.  Benny Peiser, however, tried to replicate her study but got radically different results.  Skepticas can PROVE who the fraud is

Fred Singer has been taking advice on whether he should sue over  the libels against him but there is no way he can match the deep pockets of the Greenies.  If Oreskes & Co.  appeal a verdict against them, the cost could run to well over a million and even if they lose the appeal Singer would still face a huge loss.  In America, unlike most other jurisdictions, costs are usually not awarded against the unsuccessful party.  Very few Americans can afford to contest a libel



The New York Film Festival, now in its fifty-second year, is unusual in that it combines big-money extravaganzas like Gone Girl and Birdman with small, worthy films whose publicity budgets would barely cover the cost of Ben Affleck’s body waxings. Given the presence of so much of the film world in one place, the festival allows these latter movies to vastly increase their ability to secure media attention without the tens of millions of dollars that the studios devote to their superheroes.

A new documentary shown twice at the festival, and scheduled to be released in March, got my attention. Merchants of Doubt is directed by Robert Kenner and based on the 2010 book by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, two esteemed historians of science. The film, simultaneously entertaining, instructive and extremely important, traces the techniques through which profit-seeking corporations seek to undermine honest science in the public mind so that they might continue to make money poisoning our bodies and destroying our planet.

The argument can be condensed to one simple idea: the tactics perfected by the tobacco industry, which were designed to obfuscate the cancer-causing nature of its products back in the 1950s and ’60s, are now widespread throughout corporate America. When an internal Brown & Williamson memo declared decades ago, “Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the ‘body of fact’ that exists in the mind of the general public,” it created the template for countless oil, coal, chemical, agricultural, tobacco and manufacturing companies, as well as the front groups they fund and, more than occasionally, invent. By paying off members of Congress and exploiting the structural vulnerabilities of “objective” journalism, these companies have been able to fool the public and enrich themselves through a kind of slow-motion “murder for hire” operation.

The book is a first-rate piece of journalistic investigation and scientific inquiry. But we live in a culture in which the influence of books pales in comparison with that of cinema (to say nothing of television or even video games). Naomi Oreskes, who appears extensively in the film, told me that, yes, “the technical content is greatly simplified…. In the book, we had extensive but (hopefully) clear explanations of the science, including how and when scientists had come to understand the threats represented by acid rain, ozone depletion, climate change, etc. The film, however, has greater emotional impact. It’s less intellectual, but more visceral.”

The pioneers in the field are not only the liars for hire employed by the tobacco industry for so many decades, but also Cold War scientists like Robert Jastrow, Fred Seitz and William Nierenberg, who initially founded the George C. Marshall Institute to promote Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars boondoggle and then switched gears to lie about climate change—a task in which they’ve been joined by scientist/snake-oil salesman Fred Singer, who also cares more about opposing all forms of corporate regulation than he does about truth.

But the star of this show is the astonishingly charming rogue Marc Morano, a frequent cable-television guest who admits, “I’m not a scientist, but I do play one on TV.” Morano, the founder of ClimateDepot.com, not only spouts his nefarious nonsense about science everywhere he goes but is also in the business of ensuring the mau-mauing of genuine scientific researchers who have felt a responsibility to go public with the dangers we face. “We went after James Hansen and Michael Oppenheimer and had a lot of fun with it…we mocked and ridiculed,” Morano brags. He has also published their private e-mails, both as a means of harassment and as a warning to other scientists who might be considering doing the same thing.

Where are the media in all of this? As Oreskes explains, “It was an explicit part of the strategy of merchandising doubt to use the media to create the impression of controversy. If the media are not pulled in, the strategy fails. So a large part of the story is industry courting and, where necessary, pressuring the media to give ‘equal time’ to its views. Interestingly, what we found was that overt pressure was fairly rare. The media didn’t need to be pressured.”

SOURCE





Some wisdom from 1884



This New York Herald article of Friday, February 1, 1884 says that  climate change is not involved in the California drought of that era.  It points out the cyclicity of droughts in California.  So the present California drought has to be just part of a natural cycle too  -- particularly as there has been no global warming for the last 18 years





Climate change now 'irreversible' - claim

One wonders what drives the guy to make these unfounded prophecies. The only evidence he offers is the old theory that rising CO2 levels will have catastrophic effects -- despite the fact that markedly rising CO2 levels have had NO effect for the last 18 years.  He does say that CO2 for some reason takes 40 years to have an effect but that is a strange claim -- well outside the usual Warmist models.  It is however a safe claim: He may well not live long enough to see his theory disconfirmed.

He also thinks chemtrails are “geoengineering” the planet and that 9/11 was a controlled demolition.  He also lives in a straw house in the middle of the woods surrounded by animals.  A paranoid schzophrenic would be my guess




The climate change message is just depressing, no matter what way you look at it.  Best case scenario, we all have to change our lives dramatically, just to keep us vaguely on the right track.  Worst case scenario - were all doomed.

Unsurprisingly, that's a hard message for scientists to get us all to listen to, which might be why Professor emeritus Guy McPherson is a teacher of natural resources, ecology and evolutionary biology, but is also a grief counsellor on the side.

Prof McPherson taught and conducted research at the University of Arizona for 20 years before leaving the university in 2009.

He will be speaking about climate change in guest lectures in New Zealand from October 22 to November 1.

You can catch Prof McPherson at an event co-organised by AUT's School of Social Sciences and Public Policy and the Pacific Media Centre in Auckland on October 22 at 5.30pm.

Tonight on the Paul Henry Show, he explains that due to the arrogance of humans, the damage done is too far along and now irreversible.

Now, the only way to help planet Earth is to "terminate industrial civilisation".

SOURCE





Shale Boom Helping American Consumers as Never Before

Oil traders might see the 27 percent slide in global prices as a bear market. For U.S. consumers, it's more like an early holiday gift.

The drop in crude has pulled retail gasoline down more than 50 cents a gallon from the year's high in April. That means annual savings of $500 for the average U.S. household, which consumes about 1,000 gallons of fuel a year, according to data from the Federal Highway Administration and Energy Information Administration.

"That's like somebody putting dollars right in your pocket," David Hackett, the president of Stillwater Associates, an energy consultant in Irvine, California, said by phone on Oct. 14. "That sounds like Christmas presents, going out to dinner, being able to do something."

Gasoline's slide represents the biggest benefit that U.S. consumers have seen to date from a record boom in domestic oil production, a surge that's contributing to a global crude glut and helping reduce international prices. U.S. gasoline is being exported at record levels for this time of year.

More from Bloomberg.com: Monaco Murders Reveal Six Hidden Real Estate Billionaires

The average retail price fell 1.9 cents to $3.144 a gallon, Heathrow, Florida-based motoring group AAA said on its website. That's down from this year's peak of $3.696 in April and the lowest since February 2011. Futures have decreased 84 cents on the New York Mercantile Exchange over the same period, signaling there may be further declines at the pump.

Following Crude

Gasoline is following the larger drop in the oil market. Brent crude, the global benchmark, closed at $86.16 a barrel today on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange after slipping yesterday to $82.60, the lowest level since November 2010. U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate settled at $82.75 today on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after trading below $80 yesterday for the first time since 2012.

Prices are falling with U.S. oil output at the highest level since 1985 and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries producing the most in more than a year. At the same time, the Paris-based International Energy Agency lowered its estimate for global demand growth for this year and next in an Oct. 14 report.

Americans are spending about $230 million a day less on gasoline than they were on July 4, based on prices and consumption, said Michael Green, a Washington-based spokesman for AAA, the country's biggest motoring group.

‘Free Money'

Most consumers are paying $5 to $15 less to fill their tanks than they were around the Fourth of July, according to Green. "This is free money that people can use for savings or other spending in time for holiday shopping," he said by e-mail on Oct. 15.

On top of sliding energy prices, food costs fell 0.7 percent in September, driven lower by eggs, baked goods and meat, IHS Inc., an Englewood, Colorado-based consultant, said in research note on Oct. 15. Combined, the drops stand to improve the holiday season both under the Christmas tree and on the dinner table, said Michael Montgomery, a U.S. economist at IHS.

"The two most observed prices by consumers are food and energy and they play the largest role in forming consumer opinions about inflation, providing a little more room for luxuries rather than facing a squeeze from necessities," he said in the report.

Retail sales over this holiday season, from November through December, are expected to be up 4.2 percent from last year, according to IHS. That excludes motor vehicles, gasoline and food purchases.

Holiday Season

"This holiday season -- with just about six weeks until Black Friday -- is expected to glitter in comparison to the last two years," Chris G. Christopher Jr., director of IHS's U.S. consumer economics group, said in a report on Oct. 15. "The recent news on the consumer front has been relatively favorable, especially as pump prices are falling."

Black Friday, the day after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, marks the start of the holiday shopping season. It falls on Nov. 28 this year.

Americans' expectations for the economy in October climbed to the highest level in almost two years. A measure tracking the economic outlook increased to 51 this month, the strongest since November 2012, from 41.5 in September, data from the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index showed yesterday.

Retail Sales

Retail sales slid 0.3 percent in September, following a 0.6 percent gain in August that was the biggest in four months, Commerce Department figures show.

"Reconciling consumer confidence with consumer spending continues to be a challenge," said Jack Kleinhenz, the chief economist at the National Retail Federation in Washington, who described last month's retail sales as "surprisingly weak."

While spending on gasoline accounts for less than 5 percent of the average person's disposable income, it has an "undue influence on consumer confidence" because of the way the fuel is sold and paid for, Christopher said Oct. 15 by phone from Lexington, Massachusetts.

"When you go over to that pump, and you squeeze that liquid into your car, you're seeing the amount going higher and higher, and that's an unusual way of consuming something," Christopher said. "It's the way we purchase it. It's immediate. Gasoline is different from almost any other consumer item."

SOURCE





Big dam building program in Australia

The Greenies will be livid

PLANS  for the biggest dam-building and irrigation program in decades will be unveiled today in a major policy blueprint for the ­future of the nation’s agricultural sector that identifies 27 water projects for potential commonwealth investment.

The agricultural competitiveness green paper will outline a ­nation-building agenda that contemplates dam expansions, infrastructure development and greater access to ports.

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce will declare the government is moving to reinvigorate the dam-building agenda, arguing that it must recapture the vision and purpose of the post-war Snowy Mountains Scheme.

“Water is wealth and stored water is a bank,’’ Mr Joyce will say. “Sometimes the biggest impediment to our nation returning to the vision and purpose that built the Snowy Mountains Scheme is ourselves ably assisted by the ­caveats of sacred invertebrates, amphibians and molluscs.

“Chaffey Dam (in NSW) was almost stopped by the booroolong frog, Nathan Dam (in Queensland) was stopped by the boggo­moss snail, yet Lake Argyle (in Western Australia) created two RAMSAR wetlands that would prevent us getting rid of that dam, not that we want to.’’

The last major greenfields dam completed in Australia was the Wyarolong Dam in southeast Queensland, finished in 2011.

The pace of dam development has slowed significantly across the ­nation since the 1980s amid increasing opposition from envir­onmentalists to new projects.

The green paper identifies six irrigation projects in Tasmania and Victoria that could be considered for federal government ­investment within a year.

Five of these are Tasmanian ­irrigation projects — Southern Highlands, Scottsdale, Circular Head, Swan Valley and North Esk — and the sixth is the southern pipeline project in the Macalister irrigation district in Victoria’s Gippsland.

Four projects — the Emu Swamp dam on the Severn River near Stanthorpe in Queensland, an expansion of the Nathan Dam on the Dawson River in Queensland, the Wellington Dam ­Revival Project in Western Australia and the Lindenow Valley Water Security Project on the Mitchell River in Victoria — are identified as potential candidates for federal funding, pending further investigation.

Another 17 projects are flagged as likely to be suitable for further consideration for assistance to ­accelerate feasibility studies, cost-benefit analysis or design.

These include the water infrastructure components of stage three of the Ord irrigation scheme in Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

Four projects in NSW have been identified, including an ­enlargement of the Lostock Dam in NSW’s Hunter Valley, Apsley Dam at Walcha, the Mole River Dam in northern NSW and ­Needles Gap on the central ­tablelands.

A string of major water projects have been identified in north Queensland: the Burdekin Falls Dam expansion; the Fitzroy Agricultural Corridor; the Mitchell River system; Nullinga Dam near Cairns; and Urannah Dam near Collinsville.

Further study is slated for a north Queensland irrigated agriculture strategy around the Flinders and Gilbert river catchments. In South Australia, upgrades to dams in the Clare Valley and the use of waste water in the northern Adelaide plains are under consideration.

While emphasising not every project will get federal funding or go ahead, Mr Joyce says the government’s dams program has ­already started. “In the last month we have started the construction of the Chaffey Dam upgrade (in NSW) and allocated $15.9 million for the continuation of the piping and capping of the Great Artesian bores,” he says.

Mr Joyce will say the nation must drive down transport costs to make the rural sector more ­effective and leverage the mining sector’s common interest in requiring water and the movement of bulk commodities. He will highlight the government’s $300m to start the inland rail line between Melbourne and Brisbane and say he hopes it is later ­extended to Gladstone.

“We must work with the mining industry to see the transport capital and water capital built that is in both our interests as bulk commodity producers and users,’’ he will tell the National Farmers Federation congress in Canberra today.

The green paper will argue that improving access to reliable water supplies and better managing existing water resources is ­essential for the continued growth of the agricultural sector.

Water resources in northern Australia are less developed than in the south, meaning opportunities exist for strategic developments to support the development of water-dependent industries. About 65 per cent of Australia’s run-off occurs in far north Australia and coastal Queensland, and only 6.8 per cent in the Murray-Darling Basin.

Declaring farming and “primary and overwhelming ownership” of farms by Australians to be a national good, Mr Joyce will argue that if the nation wants to increase its agricultural output, it must motivate and send the right signals to make people want to do that.

This will involve cheaper and more effective ways of getting products to market.

The paper will argue that while a market solution is preferable, monopolies and oligopolies must be closely monitored and a fair return to the landholder is essential to the future of the industry.

The paper will back the controversial “effects test’’ supported by the chairman of the government’s competition review, Ian Harper.

Mr Harper, in his interim ­review, backed an effects test that would prohibit business and trading conduct that would have the effect of substantially lessening competition.

The 27 water projects listed in the green paper were identified after Mr Joyce chaired a ministerial working group to identity how investment in water infrastructure, such as dams and groundwater storage, could be ­accelerated and to identify priorities for investment. Tony Abbott put dam building on the national agenda prior to the last election, at the height of the Queensland floods in 2011.

The green paper will argue that government involvement in water infrastructure development should be directed to activities that are in the national interest, deliver net economic and social benefits, and broader public benefits. But given the states and territories have primary responsibility for water resources, strong state government support for a project is also a prerequisite.

SOURCE

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

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

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014


UK: Didcot fire raises risk of winter blackouts and soaring prices

One more unexpected interruption to power supplies could cause a "serious" shortage and soaring prices, expert warns.  "Green" Britain has shaved its safety margin to the bone in order to phase out "dirty" coal and gas power stations

The fire at Didcot power station has raised the risk of Britain facing blackouts and soaring prices this winter, a leading energy analyst has warned.

Just one or two more unexpected events - such as power plant closures - "could cause a serious security of supply event, and a probable surge in wholesale prices", Peter Atherton of Liberum Capital said.

The fire-affected half of Didcot B, a gas-fired power station in Oxfordshire, remains offline after a major blaze on Sunday night which damaged its cooling towers.

The plant has the capacity to supply about one million homes.

The closure of old coal and oil-fired power plants has eroded Britain's spare capacity margins - the safety buffer between maximum capacity and peak demand - over recent years.

A series of fires and safety incidents at other power plants had worsened the situation over recent months, leaving spare margins much tighter than expected this winter and leading National Grid to invoke emergency measures to stop blackouts.

“The loss of this plant would not normally be a cause for concern. But UK energy policy has managed to engineer historically low reserve margins as we head into winter,” Mr Atherton said.

He said that most other advanced economies would have enough spare capacity to cope with perhaps 10 unexpected events limiting supplies - but the UK's precarious situation meant it may be able to cope with just four.

"Unfortunately, the UK has now seen three unexpected events before the clock change. Another one or two could cause a serious security of supply event, and a probable surge in wholesale prices," he said.

Mr Atherton said the fire - which follows fires at Ironbridge and Ferrybridge in recent months - "may just be an unusual run of events, or it might suggest that the aging power station fleet is becoming more vulnerable to accidents".

“The odds are still that UK will escape a security of supply crunch this winter. But the mere fact that a security of supply crisis is a material possibility is in itself a sign of huge policy failure in our view.”

Didcot B is owned by Npower’s parent company RWE, which said the fire has not caused any disruption to energy supplies.

The company's other power station at the site, Didcot A, was closed last year.

“I’ve been reassured by National Grid that there is no risk to electricity supplies,” said Ed Davey, secretary of state for energy and climate change.

SOURCE





Farmer’s Harassment Claim Against Green Group to Get Airing

Martha Boneta says a regional conservation group has trespassed repeatedly on her small farm in Paris, Va., about an hour outside Washington, D.C.

Boneta says the group, the Piedmont Environmental Council, has attempted to drive her off the farm through overzealous zoning enforcement, unwarranted and overly invasive inspections and an IRS audit she says was instigated by one of its board members.

The group argues that it has done nothing more than perform its duty to enforce a legal agreement with Boneta and decries the failure “to see eye-to-eye” with Boneta on how to do so.

He Said, She Said, Court Said

The dispute has had this he-said, she-said quality to it for years. But recent events have  brought increased scrutiny of the actions of the Piedmont Environmental Council, which was founded in 1972 and bills itself as “one of the most effective community-based environmental groups in the country.”

Among them: A court ruling scaled back the organization’s inspection rights on Boneta’s 64-acre Liberty Farm. A judge sided with a winery owner in a similar dispute with the habitat preservation group Ducks Unlimited. And documents revealed that a member of the group’s board wanted to put spy cameras on Boneta’s property.

And now, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, listed as  a co-holder of the conservation easement at the center of the dispute, will afford 20 minutes each to Boneta and the Piedmont Environmental Council to explain the situation as part of its regular board meeting to be held Thursday, Nov. 6, in Richmond, Va.

The Virginia Outdoors Foundation is a public agency with a board of trustees that meets at least three times per year to take up easement enforcement and policy matters, help preserve open lands and solicit private donations for preservation purposes.

The foundation, created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1966, has no power to constrain the actions of the Piedmont Environmental Council or other conservation organizations and no oversight role in state law.

But the fact that an agency with a stake in the easement at issue in the case of Boneta’s farm is holding a hearing to examine the actions of the other co-holder suggests a tipping point in the tussle.

Bonner Cohen, senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research in Washington, D.C., a pro-property rights group that has studied the dispute, said the Virginia Outdoors Foundation has “good reason to be concerned” about the environmental council’s “abuse of its … authority.”

Cohen said:

There is nothing in the conservation easement that gives the PEC the power to harass and humiliate Martha Boneta, as the organization has repeatedly done over the years. The only way to put an end to this outrageous behavior is to sever the PEC from any responsibility for the easement.

The Piedmont Environmental Council declined comment for this story.

Courts and Courts of Public Opinion

Easements are agreements that landowners enter into with government, quasi-government or private conservation entities in which the landowners receive tax breaks or other benefits in exchange for foregoing development of their property. The easement on Boneta’s farm permits commercial, industrial, residential and agricultural uses.

Boneta bought her farm from the Piedmont Environmental Council in 2006 with the easement attached. According to county tax records, though, she never received tax breaks for it. She has spent most of the intervening years fighting the group in court.

In 2009, the group sued Boneta after an inspection for compliance with the easement compliance turned up agricultural tires and an expandable hose attachment used to wash the mud off visitors’ boots. The group claimed the hose and tires compromised the “viewshed” of the area.

The matter was settled out of court. But at the time, the Piedmont Environmental Council noted Boneta had made improvements to a barn complex and a blacksmith shop called “The Smithy.”

Although she is permitted under the easement to make these changes, the environmental group claimed she made them so she could install apartments and rent them as residential dwellings in violation of the easement.

That claim brought two more years of litigation, which resulted in a settlement agreement reached on Oct. 11, 2011. The environmental group had to stipulate Boneta didn’t have apartments on the property, and Boneta had to agree to allow four inspections a year to ensure she didn’t build any.

Last fall, Boneta filed a lawsuit in Fauquier County Circuit Court that said the environmental council and two of its members, the husband-and-wife real estate team of Phillip and Patricia Thomas, had taken another tack.

Her suit said the Thomases lobbied a zoning administrator and members of the elected Fauquier County Board of Supervisors to issue citations of zoning violations against her property. That suit has not gone to trial.

Zoning Changes Give Rise to ‘Boneta Bill’

Boneta has had better luck in the Virginia General Assembly. In 2013, she and others convinced lawmakers to pass legislation that came to be known as the Boneta Bill. The measure strengthens property rights and redefines what constitutes “farm activities” to prevent localities from imposing overly burdensome regulations on family farms throughout Virginia.

Boneta began to rally support for the legislation in August 2012, when Fauquier County fined her for having a children’s birthday party in her barn.

But the state’s protection of property rights hasn’t stopped the Piedmont Environmental Council from overzealous enforcement of the easement, Boneta says.

She has claimed, and those who have visited Liberty Farm during inspections agree, that the preservation group has looked through her personal belongings and gone far beyond what was needed to measure for the size of an apartment.

Boneta called the inspections “trespassing” and a “fishing expedition for which it has no basis” in her counterclaim to the group’s 2009 suit.

Brett C. Glymph, executive director of the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, told The Daily Signal the foundation doesn’t authorize or condone any of the Piedmont Environmental Council’s actions at Liberty Farm, but it can’t do much about them. Glymph said:

“The PEC is responsible for the building structures and the architecture, while the VOF has its own areas such as the Oak Road Forest and the land itself. We administer our part; they administer theirs.”

Security Cameras Turned Down

Although Glymph would not discuss the litigation between the environmental group and Boneta, she did say Boneta has caused no trouble for the Virginia Outdoors Foundation and that her organization turned down the environmental council’s entreaty to install surveillance cameras on the farm.

Memoranda uncovered by The Daily Signal revealed that Heather Richards, who serves both on the environmental group’s board and as its vice president of conservation and rural programs, suggested putting in the cameras to monitor Boneta’s activities. The foundation declined, and the project did not go forward.

“We have never thought that security cameras were necessary,” Glymph said. “Up until now, this is not something that has been in our toolkit, and I don’t think it’s something the VOF would employ.”

A similar dispute a few miles north of Boneta’s farm, in Loudoun County, Va., indicates momentum in the courts could be in her favor.

Ducks Unlimited, the waterfowl and wetlands conservation group, alleged 14 easement violations by the owner of Chrysalis Winery. A Loudoun County judge sided with the winery and ruled the easement provided ample room for “evolving” agricultural activities.

If the Nov. 6 hearing does reveal the Piedmont Environmental Council  has overstepped its bounds, friends of Boneta and property rights activists are poised to take action.

William Hurd, a former solicitor general—or chief legal defender—of Virginia, is among those who will testify on behalf of Boneta. “We are carefully reviewing the options,” Hurd said, adding:

Conservation easements can be wonderful things, but it is evident the PEC has abused its authority as an easement holder. The situation cries out for either a judicial or legislative solution.

Hurd said he hasn’t settled on a remedy. But Tom DeWeese, president of the American Policy Center, a Virginia group that champions free markets and property rights, has called for a congressional investigation of the environmental council.

DeWeese also proposed a change in state law to allow property owners to opt out of easement agreements after five years.

“Right now the easements exist in perpetuity, and this is a problem because there is no real oversight for how they are managed,” DeWeese said. “The PEC can move the easements around to the government and other land trusts. But the landowner is stuck forever with the easement.”

SOURCE




Even Squid Hate Greenpeace

I don’t usually side with the giant squid. Between all the tentacles, the beak and their bad breath, it’s hard to sympathize with them. But when giant squids take on Greenpeace, we all win.

A rare giant squid has been caught on video attacking a Greenpeace submarine in the Bering Sea.

The Greenpeace expedition is part of the organisation’s campaign to protect the sealife from industrial fishing, which Greenpeace claims is uprooting and crushing coral and sponge communities.

Greenpeace’s website says. “…We must take a precautionary approach and set aside representative portions of critical habitat – such as in the Bering Sea Canyons – as an insurance policy for our future.”

Or we could just dump all Greenpeace members there and let the giant squid take care of things.

But it also appears that Greenpeace doesn’t actually know anything about the creatures it wants to protect as it was not a giant squid. Considering the size of the sub, if it were a giant squid, the sub would have been a tic tac.

"And their attackers weren’t a squid of the giant variety, but a pair of Humboldt squids, nicknamed “jumbo squid” or “red devil” for their famed aggression and the red colour the squid turn when in hunting or attack mode.

Although these squid can get pretty big — up to 6.2 ft in mantle length and up to 100 lb in weight, these guys are relatively titchy — no longer than a few feet in length, maximum. Their size, however, is no indication of courage: colored a brilliant red, they have a brave go at the sub before swimming off in a puff of ink."

6 feet is not really big. Giant squid, whose existence is still somewhat controversial, are estimated to be in the 30 to 40 feet range and have been known to attack whales.

SOURCE





Don't Believe Desperate Wildlife Extinction Claims

Alan Caruba

One thing that those of us who have been longtime observers and debunkers of the lies surrounding global warming and/or climate change have noticed is that the “Warmists” have gotten increasingly desperate after more than eighteen years in which there has been no warming.

As what they call “a pause” continues, they are coming up with some of the most absurd “research” to make their case.  When you consider that not one single computer model produced by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or any of the other charlatans was accurate, one can imagine their sense of panic at this point.

The latest claims were made by the wildlife group, WWF, the Zoological Society of London, and other affiliated groups. On October 1st, it was reported that, based on “an analysis of thousands of vertebrate species,” populations had fallen 52% between 1970 and 2010. In 2012 the same group had claimed they had declined 28% over a similar period of time. So now we are expected to believe that within two years’ time a massive larger decline had been detected.

The claims are absurd. I won’t insult you by repeating them. Suffice to say they did not begin to cover the thousands of species that share planet Earth with humans, but you can be sure that it was humans that got blamed for the alleged declines, along with the usual recommendations that we give up the use of fossil fuels and other aspects of modern life to save some furry creature somewhere.

For years we have been hearing that polar bears have been in decline, but one of the leading authorities on this species, zoologist Dr. Susan Crockford, has a report, “Ten good reasons not to worry about polar bears”, posted on the website of the Global warming Policy Foundation, led by Dr. Benny Pieser, a longtime critic of those behind the global warming hoax.

Dr. Crockford called polar bears “a conservation success story. Their numbers have rebounded remarkably since 1973 and we can say for sure that there are more polar bears now than there were 40 years ago.

Over on CFACT’s Climate Depot.com website, similar claims about walruses were debunked by Dr. Crockford who noted that mass haulouts (areas where they congregate) of Pacific walrus and stampede deaths are not new, now due to low ice cover. “The attempts by WWF and others to link this event to global warming is self-serving nonsense,” said Dr. Crockford,, “that has nothing to do with science…this is blatant nonsense and those who support or encourage this interpretation are misinforming the public.”

“The Pacific walrus remains abundant, numbering at least 200,000 by some accounts, double the number in the 1950s.”

The same time I read the article about the wildlife extinction claims, an email arrived from the Sierra Club—the kind they send to thousands who support its agenda—saying “For a mother polar bear and her cubs, the ice is already melting around them. The last thing they need to contend with is an oil spill.”  The claim about ice is another lie because Arctic ice has been expanding, not melting, in the same fashion as ice in the Antarctic. The real reason for the email was to protest “two massive drilling leases” and prevent access to Alaskan oil.

The Sierra Club and other environmental organizations have been on the front lines to get the Obama administration to keep the Keystone XL oil pipeline from being constructed. It has been senselessly delayed for six years despite the jobs and energy independence it will provide. One wonders if the top brass at the Sierra Club actually drive cars or do they all just bike to work?

In a similar fashion, in May the Union of Concerned Scientists announced that, thanks to climate change, our national landmarks such as Ellis Island, the Everglades, and Cape Canaveral will be endangered, claiming that face a serious and uncertain future in a world of rising sea levels, frequent wildfires, flooding and other natural events. Only the sea levels are rising in millimeters, not inches or feet. There have been fewer forest fires and far fewer hurricanes of late. In short, this is just one more desperate Green claim.

If the Greens are so concerned for wildlife, why don’t they protest the wind power turbines that slaughter thousands of birds and bats, and are exempted from prohibitions on the killing of eagles and condors? Because they are hypocrites, that’s why.

Species extinction, like climate change, is a normal, natural aspect of life on Earth. It has nothing to do with human activities. There were no humans around to blame for the Great Permian Extinction when 90% of all life on Earth was destroyed. Global warming periods and abundant carbon dioxide have never been causes of mass extinctions.

Craig Rucker, president of CFACT, the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, says the Warmists “actually want us to believe that global warming is responsible for the Ebola virus, the rise of ISIS, and for tens of thousands of walruses getting together to ‘haul out’ on a beach in Alaska. Attributing such things to global warming is among the most shameless tactics in the warming campaign’s playbook.”

SOURCE




Virtuecrats

Although unannounced, there are three political parties in the United States: Democrats, Republicans and Virtuecrats. The latter is bipartisan. It includes independents and many political agnostics. What it doesn't include are skeptics. The Virtuecrats are true believers, sure that what they are doing and marching for is right.

Recently 400,000 of them paraded through the streets of New York in behalf of Global Warming, Saving the Earth, Climate Control or all of the above. They believe that the science behind global warming is settled. Hence there is nothing to debate.

What they are unwilling to consider is that the science to which they refer is anything but settled. If you think about it, doubt should emerge. Discerning a pattern from the past does not constitute knowledge of the future, especially if you are dealing with a variety of unpredictable and idiosyncratic events. Man-made carbon factors represent one variable in a complex equation that includes natural conditions such as volcanic eruptions and sun-spot theory. Therefore a straight line extrapolation from point A in the past to point B in the future is mere guesswork.

Surely there are sophisticated records of temperatures around the world. But the recording of global temperatures over time is no different from evaluating the purchasing power of the dollar over time. What you cannot predict are the imponderables associated with human behavior. That, in no small part, explains why models designed as predictors are flawed.

One might assume that the Leonardo DiCaprio's of the world would exercise caution in their claims, even open-minded skepticism. But such a stance would diminish their zealotry and zealotry is a reason for demonstrating. A Virtuecrat must be sure. He must feel good about himself for standing up against the skeptics and those who just don't get it. They know for sure that greedy capitalists are behind the plot to promote fossil fuels which ultimately pollute the atmosphere and promote global warming.

Now the capitalism which they abhor not only has produced an unprecedented standard of living that many in the world would like to emulate, it also has produced the leisure time for the demonstrations they engage in. Were it not for this "dirty capitalism" Mr. DiCaprio certainly could not afford to buy a $35 million dollar apartment in lower Manhattan.

Of course, there is another obvious point overlooked by the Virtuecrats: the two most populous nations on the globe, India and China, do not have any interest in pursuing fossil fuel reduction. It might well be asked of the Virtuecrats why they aren't marching on the streets of Beijing. After all, the Chinese are the world's worst offenders of environmental propriety. It might even be asked why they aren't marching in Bismark North Dakota where an oil boom has produced a bonanza of wealth for local residents.

The Virtuecrats are sure they get it, when in fact they don't. They are not scientific; they are not thoughtful and they are not tolerant. Why, then, do we tolerate them? The answer lies in the psychological condition of standing by a cause that is beneficial to mankind. When you march with celebrities, you are putting yourself on the line, challenging "the system." It feels good.

Unfortunately feel good propositions rarely translate into sound policy. H.L. Mencken once said "every complex idea has a simple solution, which is usually wrong." Alas, the Virtuecrats have it wrong, even if the cause makes them feel superior to everyone else.

SOURCE




Ed Miliband and Baroness Worthington, the most expensive man and woman in Britain’s history

Who are potentially the most expensive man and woman in Britain, due over the next 36 years to cost this country £1.3 trillion, equivalent to our entire, ever-swelling National Debt?

The man is Ed Miliband, who in 2008 pushed through the final version of the Climate Change Act. It made us the only country in the world legally committed between now and 2050 to cutting our emissions of CO2 by a staggering 80 per cent. Even then, the Government projected that this would cost us up to £734 billion. The latest figures from the EU and the International Energy Agency suggest that, for Britain to reach this target, it would now cost even more: £1,300 billion.

Less well known, however, is the extraordinary story of how this most expensive Act ever put on the statute book originated in the first place. Google “Bryony Worthington YouTube” and you will see the video of a young climate activist, now known as Baroness Worthington, describing how she first conceived the idea of such a policy when she was campaigns director on climate change for Friends of the Earth.

After David Cameron became Tory leader in 2005, bent on “remaking” his party, she put to him that he should adopt her proposal. She describes how, when David Miliband became environment secretary, desperate not to be “out-greened” by the Tories, he called on her to head a small team in his ministry tasked with urgently drafting such a Bill. When, in 2008, brother Ed took over as head of the new Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc), he raised the emissions-cut target from 60 to 80 per cent, at almost double the cost.

The Bill passed the Commons by 463 votes to three, after a debate in which not a single MP asked how such an ambitious target could in practice be achieved without destroying virtually our entire economy.

But this is what at last one senior politician, Owen Paterson, dared to question in his lecture last week to the Global Warming Policy Foundation. Thanks to advance coverage given to his speech in last week’s Sunday Telegraph, with its front-page headline “Let’s rip up the Climate Change Act”, Mr Paterson has at last set off a proper debate on our energy future – one that is years overdue.

As I wrote last week, Paterson was able, backed by a mountain of expert research, to show how Decc’s current policy, outlined in its “2050 Pathway Analysis” –and amplified by similar statements from the European Commission – is pure make-believe. It alone might merit front-page headlines: that, within 16 years, Decc seriously contemplates closing down all our existing energy supplies from the nasty, CO2-emitting fossil fuels that currently supply 70 per cent of our electricity. Out will go all cooking and central heating by gas. Almost everything, including our transport system, will have to be powered by electricity, for which we will, by 2050, need twice as much as we currently use. This will largely be supplied by 17 times as many wind turbines as we already have, and up to 12 more monster nuclear power plants like the one proposed in Somerset, which may not produce a watt of electricity within 10 years.

What has been striking about the outraged response from green zealots to Paterson’s speech is how they did not begin to understand his practical proposals for how an otherwise inevitable disaster can be averted.

There was, of course, a knee-jerk howl of derision from the likes of Lord Stern and Lord Deben, along with a blizzard of personal abuse across the Twittersphere. But the more thoughtful among them, such as the BBC’s Roger Harrabin, tried instead to ride with the punch, by claiming that Decc was already looking at all the parts of Paterson’s “Plan B” for keeping our lights on. So there was really nothing new about what he was saying, despite his devastating evidence showing how Decc’s current strategy, like the Climate Change Act itself, cannot possibly work.

The zealots simply cannot grasp how our energy future might be transformed by “combined heat and power”, ending the waste of almost half the energy we use to create electricity. Or how hundreds of small, wholly safe nuclear reactors could provide us with a huge new source of both electricity and heat within a decade or so. Or how sophisticated “demand management” technology could shave another huge chunk off our electricity needs, without us even noticing.

And all this could achieve a far greater cut in our carbon emissions (for what that is worth) than we can hope for under Decc’s unworkable policy.

When Mr Paterson’s radical proposals are properly examined, unblinkered by green make-believe, it will be seen that he has at last launched the properly informed national debate that alone might save our economy from a barely imaginable catastrophe.

SOURCE

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

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

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014



Climate change 'prophets, and projectors, and half-instructed meteorologists': the press found them amusing back in 1871‏



THREE consecutive years of drought, while they have stimulated the inventive resources of practical agriculturalists, have had the natural effect of calling forth a plentiful crop of speculation from weather prophets, and projectors, and half-instructed meteorologists, and all the philosophic tribe of Laputa in general, to whom the periodical press now affords such fatal facilities. We have often noticed that in the tabular statements of those compilers of weather records who write to the Times, useful and welcome as their communications are, every season is sure to be “extraordinary”, almost every month one of the driest or wettest, or windiest, coldest or hottest, ever known. Much observation, which ought to correct a tendency to exaggerate, seems in some minds to have rather a tendency to increase it.

The cutting is from the THE BRISBANE COURIER, TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 1871.

Hat-tip: Steven Goddard.  Steven Goddard's blog Real Science is an excellent resource to find old press cuttings relevant to climate that would enhance many a school project by helping give the perspective which is so easily missed.

The above example would grace any project quoting any of today's 'half-instructed meteorologists' such as James Hansen (an astro-physicist) or Gavin Schmidt (a computer programmer) or Al Gore (no qualifications to speak of) as they take pains to persuade us that we are seeing "extraordinary" weather thanks to their pet obsession, carbon dioxide.  The press today, and now of course the broadcast media, are sure to give them 'fatal facilities' and have done so for decades, without even the sardonic challenge of the above quote.

Note also the calm assurance about the three consecutive years of drought.  Today, this would be amplified as a crisis, a a catastrophe, as a forerunner of doom to come.  Back in 1871, they merely noted that the drought would have 'stimulated the inventive resources of practical agriculturalists'.  Perhaps they were made of sterner stuff in those days.  Perhaps they were less readily panicked.  Perhaps we could learn from them.

SOURCE




CO2 Contributes Less Than 2.5% Of The Greenhouse Effect

Contrary to all the BS being spewed by top climate scientists, their own models shows that CO2 has almost no impact on climate. The graph below shows the greenhouse effect during mid-latitude summer for three scenarios, calculated using RRTM – the model used by NCAR in their climate and weather models

Current atmosphere
No CO2
Double CO2



(Note the mid-troposphere hot spot)

At the surface during mid-latitude summers, the amount of downwelling longwave radiation due to CO2 is less than 3%. Doubling CO2 would only increase the greenhouse effect by one third of one percent. Yet climate scientists blame mid-latitude summer heatwaves on this.

We constantly hear BS from people like Gavin claiming  that the CO2 contributes 20-30% to the greenhouse effect, but their own models show this is complete nonsense.

Call this scam off – there is no science behind it.

The effect is higher during high latitude winters, where there is very little water vapor.

[UPDATED] I added high latitude winters at Tallbloke’s request. The proportional effect is larger there, because of a shortage of water vapor.



In the tropics, the CO2 proportion of the greenhouse effect is less than 1.5% – and  a doubling of CO2 has almost no effect.



SOURCE





The Climate Sensitivity Controversy

The concept of Climate Sensitivity (CS) is a useful way to describe the effects of carbon dioxide on the climate.  CS can be derived either from climate models or empirically – with the hope that the two results are concordant.   Let’s look at models first.

Some 30 years ago, the National Academy of Sciences set up a group under MIT meteorologist Jules Charney to study this problem.  Their report arrived at a CS value of 1.5 to 4.5 degC of global climate warming for a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide.  One immediately notices the huge uncertainty, a factor of 3.  Yet the climate forcing of CO2 is known much more precisely.

The explanation for this wide uncertainty range of CS lies in our imperfect knowledge of (1) feedback from clouds and from water vapor (WV is the most important atmospheric greenhouse gas) and (2) the radiative effects of aerosols in changing the albedo of the Earth atmosphere and thereby the amount of sunlight reaching the surface.

This range of 1.5 – 4.5 degC has become canonical by now.  In fact, the most recent report of the IPCC [2013] gives the same range for CS—even after 25 years and spending billions of dollars on the development of climate models.  As my colleague Kenneth Haapala points out, it’s been a poor return on investment.

Of course, the models have become much more sophisticated and complex. And the number of models has increased exponentially.  Every self-respecting nation nowadays wants to have its own climate model; the United States already has five major ones and is considering financing yet another.  But fundamentally, not much has changed.  The extent of the positive feedback from water vapor, which implicitly amplifies the forcing of CO2 in all of the models, is still uncertain and so are the detailed influences of cloudiness and of various kinds of aerosols.

It is well to point out that we refer here to the so-called “equilibrium climate sensitivity,” which is reached after the climate system has had time to adjust to the higher CO2 levels.  One should also point out that CS refers to a doubling of pre-industrial CO2 -- assuming a value of 280ppm.  Also, CO2 forcing increases only as the logarithm of CO2 concentration, although this fact is seldom explicitly recognized.

Of course, the proper way to determine Climate Sensitivity (CS) is empirically -- by using the climate data.  But at this point many problems arise. First, selection of the proper time interval.  It is generally recognized that there has been little if any warming in the last 18 years; so presumably, the climate sensitivity of the 21st century is effectively zero.  Analysts of CS have therefore concentrated their efforts on the “reported” warming of the Earth’s surface between 1975 and 2000 (which may not even be real).  These analysts have published a dozen or more “best numbers” -- generally near 1.5 degC, the lower end of the CS range of the models.

A dispute among skeptics

All these analyses are based on the warming of the last part of the 20th century -- from about 1978 to 2000 -- the so called “satellite era.”  But there is no reason at all to define climate sensitivity in terms of surface temperature.  Since the best global data we have come from weather satellites, it makes sense to use their atmospheric temperatures as the base for determining CS.

But the satellite data do not seem to show a warming trend -- although there is a dispute on this point even among so-called “climate skeptics.”  One can illustrate this dispute by looking at the graph below.  If one draws a best straight line through all of the satellite data from 1978 to 2013, one can discern a small positive (warming) trend.  But is this really the best way to describe the situation?  Another way is to draw a line of zero slope up to 1997, note a one-year spike in 1998 (caused by a Super El Nino), and then document a sudden increase (“jump”) around 2001 and zero trend thereafter.  Clearly, if the trend is zero between 1978 and 1997, then the climate sensitivity will be close to zero also.


Graph by Don Rapp, based on UAH-MSU data

I happen to disagree with both methods described in the graph.  I note that after the 1998 spike, temperature returns to its pre-1998 lower value -- between 1999 and 2000.  I would therefore put the “jump”, the step-like increase, at around 2001-2002.  We now have zero slopes both before 2000 and after 2002 -- and therefore corresponding values of CS which are close to zero.

The moral of the story is that the best empirical data we have show very little influence on global temperatures from rising CO2 levels.

Now there are still two puzzles:

First, why is there so little post-2002 warming from carbon dioxide -- which after all is a greenhouse gas and is increasing in the atmosphere?  The best answer I can think of is a negative feedback from water vapor -- not a positive feedback -- which counteracts the forcing produced by CO2.  Similarly, one could argue for a negative feedback from increased cloudiness.  However, it is necessary to demonstrate both of these feedback possibilities empirically by examining the appropriate data.

An additional possibility may exist, namely that the forcing increase of CO2 is close to zero at just about the value that exists in the atmosphere today.  Again this needs to be demonstrated by examining the appropriate data.

Finally, another puzzle: If indeed the climate sensitivity is close to zero from 1978-to 2000, and again from 2002 to present, why do surface thermometers indicate a warming trend only in the first interval, but not in the second interval?  What accounts for the reported warming during the period 1978-2000?

All of this requires a good deal of work to investigate various plausible hypotheses, which we’ll leave for another time.  Meanwhile, to quote Nobel laureate MIT professor Robert Solow: “Maybe that’s why God created graduate students.”

I should note that I am somewhat out of step here with my fellow skeptics.  Few of them would agree with me that the climate sensitivity (CS) is indeed close to zero.  I will have to publish the analyses to prove my point and try to convince them.  Of course, nothing, no set of facts, will ever convince the confirmed climate alarmists.

SOURCE





Oil price fall won't break shale industry's back

Competition from shale has forced traditional oil producers to accept lower prices.  But could prices go too low for shale to be viable?

The downward spiralling oil price has led to growing tensions between the powerful Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) oil cartel and the US shale industry, but analysts reckon prices need to fall even further to  hurt American producers.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil has slumped close to 20 per cent since June this year to $US83.18 per barrel, while Brent crude oil has spiralled more than 23 per cent lower to $US86.46 per barrel.

Many OPEC members, led by Saudi Arabia, refuse to curtail production for fear of losing market share to the growing US shale liquids industry.

"In the face of falling global and US crude oil prices, a key question becomes: how low would WTI prices have to go to meaningfully slow down US shale production growth?" Citi analyst Eric Lee said.

WTI oil prices at $US70 per barrel could begin to reduce new well production in the US, by up to 30 per cent if costs are at the high end of estimates, but by close to zero if costs are at the low end of estimates, Mr Lee said.

"To bring US shale production growth to zero – that is, to reduce new-well production to only just cover legacy well declines – might need prices ranging from $US40-60 per barrel," Mr Lee said.

There is a diverse range of breakeven prices across the US shale industry, even if fringe production output is cut, productivity gains could offset any price support.

"A 40 per cent reduction in rigs or more might be needed to completely flatten production growth but this is based on modelled reductions of average wells, not the least productive wells. Productivity gains can also offset this further. In any case, at $US70 WTI, this is a slowdown, not a halt, in production growth," Mr Lee said.

International Energy Agency executive director Maria van der Hoeven estimated 98 per cent of oil and condensates produced in the US had a breakeven price of less than $US80 a barrel, and 82 per cent has a breakeven price of $US60 or lower.

CLSA head of Asian oil and gas Simon Powell said that the recent correction in oil prices wasn't only related to North American liquid production.

Rather it was driven by a culmination of factors which also included extra production in the Middle East, Libya returning to the market and Iraq producing despite the insurgence threat there, as well as easing Asian demand creating a supply glut.

"The world is in oversupply right now. But, [northern hemisphere] winter is just around the corner. "

The Saudis and the rest of OPEC are likely to signal production cuts prior to their next meeting in late November, Mr Powell said.

"The Saudis saying that they wouldn't cut was just sending a message to the rest of OPEC saying 'why should we be the only ones who have to cut?'."

The market is also wrongly assuming that US shale production can "continue into the stratosphere" Mr Powell said.

"Production costs for shale liquids in America will rise because the nice and easy stuff has been got at. It'll still be good, but I think the rate of liquid production growth in the US will slow."

SOURCE




 
Britain needs political climate change to cut soaring energy bills

Targets for renewables are unattainable, futile – and will cost Britons trillions of pounds

Owen Paterson, the former environment secretary, has described the renewable energy targets as “the single most regressive policy we have seen in this country since the Sheriff of Nottingham”

It is surprisingly common for our main political parties and policy-makers to agree about something. When they do, they are usually wrong; the longer they agree, the wronger they get. Few important people dare challenge them.

Forty years ago, all three parties thought that you could control inflation only by having prices and incomes policies. The government, businesses and trade unions negotiated the levels of both. The guru economist JK Galbraith announced that such policies would “last forever”. Then Mrs Thatcher questioned them. By the turn of the century, no free country in the world had prices and incomes policies.

Some time in this century, we reached a similar state of clever-silly unanimity over green policies, especially carbon emission controls and renewables targets. All parties (except five brave Tories voting against) voted for the second reading of the Climate Change Act in 2008.

I have just re-read the environmental sections of the three main party manifestoes at the last general election. Although they lay in to one another (“Labour have said the right things about climate change, but these have proved little more than warm words”), they are comically interchangeable. They all want the same policy – answering 15 per cent of energy demand from renewables by 2020, and making the British economy “carbon-neutral” by 2050. The latter target is agreed by all EU states, but only Britain, in that Act, actually made it law.

In any subject involving “science”, we voters still respond more deferentially than we do to ordinary political discourse. So, for some years, we humoured the climate-change lobby, and nodded our heads gravely when experts told us we must help save the planet. But most of us behaved like churchgoers listening to boring sermons. We accepted what we were told, on the unspoken assumption that it wouldn’t make much difference to anything and because the vicar (originally the Rev T Blair) seemed quite a nice chap.

This began to change for at least two direct reasons – rising electricity bills and sprouting wind-farms. We started to wonder whether it was true, as environmentalists argue, that conventional energy costs must inevitably rise and so a green levy would miraculously cut our bills in the end. We began to notice that in the United States, thanks to the shale revolution, prices have fallen dramatically and so have carbon emissions. Today, we observe that coal, gas and oil prices are falling too.

As for wind farms, it seemed a bit strange that an innovation designed to save our beautiful world wreaked unique havoc on the best landscape. When we learnt that wind power needed vast amounts of conventional power back-up because of intermittency, we started to see it as the greatest physical folly in our island story.

Yet no mainstream political party engaged with this. You could tell that they were worried about the symptoms of their own policies – hence Ed Miliband’s call for an energy price freeze. But none wanted to discuss the causes. Owen Paterson, then the environment secretary, was the only minister who dared raise doubts. He annoyed what he calls the “green blob”. David Cameron duly sacked him this summer.

In the Global Warming Policy Foundation lecture on Wednesday, Mr Paterson said of wind farms that “this paltry supply of onshore wind, nowhere near enough to hit the 2050 targets, has devastated landscapes, blighted views, divided communities, killed eagles…” When this was quoted on the BBC News, he was saying no more than millions of ordinary people have been saying for years. Yet it was very striking to hear it in public, because no other elected person charged with these responsibilities had said anything like this before.

It would have been better still if the BBC had completed the Paterson sentence. He went on to say that wind turbines had devastated “the very wilderness that the 'green blob’ claims to love, with new access tracks cut deep into peat, boosted production of carbon-intensive cement, and driven up fuel poverty, while richly rewarding landowners”. This, Mr Paterson also said, is “the single most regressive policy we have seen in this country since the Sheriff of Nottingham”. He is right, and because his party, and the Liberal Democrats, and Labour, have all agreed to the sheriff’s extortions, they are letting Nigel Farage play Robin Hood. As the theme song of the TV version used to say, “He cleared up all the trouble on the English country scene, and still found plenty of time to sing”.

Mr Paterson’s argument is that there are much better ways to get cleaner energy. He talks about shale, Combined Heat And Power, “small modular nuclear” and the interesting things that NHS hospitals and others who have their own generators can do to “shave the peaks off demand”. Being no expert, I cannot tell whether he is right here, though these ideas seem to accord with his desire to bring common sense to the subject. He also raises a bigger point, which is that what we have set ourselves is unattainable.

The wind power needed for the EU to hit the 2050 targets would have to rise from the current 42,000 turbines to 500,000. For this you would need, Mr Paterson calculates, an area which would “wall-to-wall carpet Northern Ireland, Wales, Belgium, Holland and Portugal combined”. According to International Energy Agency figures broken down into national components, target fulfilment would cost Britain £1.3 trillion. That is roughly the size of our national debt.

So obviously Mr Paterson is right to say that we should invoke the clause in the Climate Change Act which allows for its suspension. But, despite his notable trenchancy, I would say he is being quite cautious about what is really happening. Even if Britain and the whole of the EU were to stick to our emissions targets (which we surely won’t), and to hit them (which, actually, we can’t), we would still not come anywhere close to what we are told is needed to save the planet. This is for a very simple reason: the rest of the world won’t do it.

Last year, carbon emissions per head in China exceeded those of Britain for the first time, and China has more than 20 times as many heads as we do. The EU is responsible for less than 10 per cent of global emissions, so when we set our targets we knew – and said – that we were in no position to stop global warming. The point was to set a lead which others would follow.

They haven’t. Since the debacle of the Copenhagen Summit of 2009 when the developed world failed to persuade the developing one to join our saintly masochism, this has been obvious. There is a “second commitment period” of the process started by the Kyoto Protocol. New Zealand has withdrawn from it. Canada has repudiated Kyoto altogether. The only two non-European countries still in the second period are Kazakhstan and Australia, and Australia is now reviewing its commitment. Europe’s gesture has proved futile, and is getting ever more expensive, in taxes, bills and jobs. Even the European Commission has spotted this, and is beginning to tiptoe away from the policy.

But not the British parties and policy elites. In August 1914, Sir Edward Grey famously said, “The lamps are going out all over Europe”. He was speaking of the war we had inflicted on ourselves. A century later, we are threatening to put them out again, with different motives, but equal folly. Everywhere else, the lamps are staying on.

Isn’t it rather extraordinary that no mainstream party has dared to point any of this out? Don’t they know there’s an election on? Is it surprising that voters think “They’re all the same”?

SOURCE





GREENIE ROUNDUP FROM AUSTRALKIA

Three current articles below

‘Degrees in activism’ put brake on growth

AUSTRALIA’S largest resources companies have warned green activists campaigning for an end to fossil fuels are ­destroying jobs and fast becoming one of the greatest challenges to growth.

Andrew Smith, the chairman of the Australian arm of Anglo-Dutch company Shell, yesterday led the debate against what he ­labelled university students with “degrees in activism”, arguing that they were spreading misinformation and manipulating communities to slow the pace of development.

“Challenging decisions will face more effective campaigns of public outrage, some of it based on confected outrage whipped up by university graduates armed with degrees in activism,” Mr Smith said. “But we cannot allow these dynamics to halt Australian progress.”

Activism courses are being taught in legal, politics and ­humanities departments at several universities and are often ­focused on political theory and understanding the role of activism in democracy.

Aidan Ricketts, a law lecturer at Southern Cross University in Lismore, runs a course named Public Interest Advocacy. Its blurb says it provides “skills for successfully advocating for public interest concerns”.

Mr Ricketts described it as an “advanced form of citizenship education”. The lecturer, himself an activist against the use of coal-seam gas, said it was “nonsense” to suggest that universities were preparing students to confect outrage and manipulate information.

“That is a cheap swipe at other people’s opinion’s that Shell don’t agree with,” Mr Ricketts said.

Rio Tinto’s energy chief executive, Harry Kenyon-Slaney, knows the impact activists can have on projects, after his company’s expansion of its Warkworth coalmine in NSW was halted by opposition groups, putting 1300 jobs at risk.

“This is a mine that has been part of the Hunter Valley community for 30 years and provides work for 1300 people, but we’ve spent five years so far trying to ­secure its future in the face of ­opposition from activist groups such as The Australia Institute,” Mr Kenyon-Slaney said.

“People at the extreme end of the debate who would like to see all coal exports cease are willing not only to destroy jobs here in Australia, but also the social and economic development that cheap and abundant energy brings around the world.”

Whitehaven Coal has been a constant target of green activists determined to frustrate the development of its Maules Creek coalmine in NSW. Its chairman, Mark Vaile, former head of the Nationals party, said activists had zero accountability for their actions.

“The information the green ­activists put out is never tested,” Mr Vaile said.

The Australian National University has come under attack after its recent decision to divest its holdings in seven companies — including Santos, Newcrest Mining and Iluka Resources — because it said the companies had a poor record on environmental responsibility. “What is the next thing that the so-called ethical investors and university funds withdraw from?” Mr Vaile said. “Are they now, if they stick to their principles, going to withdraw from all investment in the agricultural industries in Australia, as they are also significant emitters of greenhouse gases?”

Mr Vaile, who recently returned from South Korea, said Australia was now viewed with concern as an investment destination because of the uncertainty in terms of the timing of projects.

“Prospective investors are looking at the fact that approved projects are being challenged in court by some organisation who are unaccountable,” he said.

“We have the government promoting Australia as an investment destination, negotiating FTAs, yet at a state level you have regulations that can be used and abused by green activists.”

Ahri Tallon, a former student of Mr Ricketts, said that in ­addition to legal skills the course had taught him how to organise meetings and demonstrations and engage with the media.

“Real Australian progress is an active and participatory democracy where decisions are transparent, accountable and debated,” he said.

SOURCE

ANU decision to sell fossil fuel company holdings not enough: students

An Australian National University (ANU) decision to sell off about $16 million worth of its investments in seven fossil fuel companies does not go far enough, a students' group says.

ANU said it would divesting itself of shares in Newcrest Mining, Iluka Resources, Oil Search and Santos, among other companies.

Vice-chancellor Professor Ian Young said it was important that the university did not invest in companies that are doing some form of social harm.

"Essentially the criteria which we look at looks at their environmental emissions and any social issues associated with them," he said.

"For instance it many look at their position on Indigenous affairs and also the governance."

It is wrong for ANU to continue to profit from these industries that are responsible for the wreckage of the planet.

But Louis Klee from the group ANU Fossil Free said while it was a big achievement for the university, the decision did not go far enough.

He said the ANU still had major holdings in BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Woodside Petroleum.

"It is wrong for ANU to continue to profit from these industries that are responsible for the wreckage of the planet," he said.

However, Professor Young, who us an environmental researcher, said there was nothing wrong with investing these companies.

"These are major Australian companies, they're resources companies," he said.

"Resources are a major part of the Australian economy that underpins our whole society.

"This is not a case of simply saying the university will not invest in resources companies. We do.

"In fact, it would be very difficult to structure a meaningful portfolio in Australia that didn't."

Professor Young said there should be an orderly transition from fossil fuels to alternative energies.

"The reality is that this is a process that is going to take decades to occur," he said.

The University introduced a socially responsible investment policy earlier this year.

SOURCE

Let them divest, but not with taxpayers cake

The response to the Australian National University's decision to divest itself of holdings in certain  [fossil fuel] companies has been way out of proportion to the importance of the decision - and both sides of the debate are long on rhetoric and short on facts.

The argument has focused on whether the industries represented by the companies being divested are important for Australia's economy, especially the contributions from Infrastructure Minister Jamie Briggs and the Treasurer.

This argument is overdone. The ANU holds about $16 million in shares in the seven companies (disclosure: the managing director of one of the seven, Iluka Resources, is on the board of the CIS). That $16 million is about 1% of the university's total investment holdings, and the revenue from the entire portfolio was barely 5% of the university's total revenue.

The ANU's holdings represent less than 0.05% of the combined market capitalisation of those companies which approaches $40 billion.

These investments are not financially significant for the university or the companies, so the impact on the economy as a whole will almost certainly be negligible. Which makes the overreaction from politicians, up to and including the Prime Minister, puzzling. At a time when the government is trying to encourage greater financial independence among universities, it seems very odd to try and micromanage their investment decisions.

Unless the ANU's new strategy mentions an exciting new investment in magic beans, if it's not imposing greater costs on the taxpayers then it really shouldn't be the business of government.

The government's interest here is limited to protecting taxpayers by ensuring the ANU exercises due diligence and care with taxpayers' funds. In the absence of evidence that this investment policy will materially impact ANU's revenue the government should be cautious about interfering.

Divestment can be an expression of free speech. In fact it is one of the more valuable aspects of speech because people are a lot more honest with their money than they are with their slogans (as the failure of 'buy Australian' industry policy continually demonstrates).

The problem is when supposed social responsibility transfers costs to taxpayers. Too many non-government organisations and other rent-seekers want to have their public funded cake and eat their private progressive values too.

By all means, use your free speech to criticise industries you don't like and divest any shares you hold, but don't think this entitles you to extra taxpayer money if it leaves you out of pocket.

SOURCE

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