Tuesday, July 22, 2014


This weathercaster has earned farmers’ trust. He also believes climate change doesn’t exist

This is a rather idiotic reporter from WaPo --  A business reporter.  Seems to think every Warmist believes any bad weather is part of AGW trend.  Reporter goes to absurd lengths to make skeptic look like lone extremist.  Despite all peer reviewed studies and data showing extremes having no trend or declining

Bledsoe has cultivated a strong following among the tough men and women with whom he’s able to identify.

“We give this guy a little more credence than we do others because he comes from a ranch family,” says Larry Fillmore, who owns some 15,000 acres of high plains, and has been pasturing his herd in South Dakota through the drought. “He knows the environment, and he knows the problems we have.” His neighbor, Dwight Watson, nods agreement. “It’s more than just a computer.”

That’s fine, when Bledsoe is telling farmers when to plant and what kind of winter to expect. But inevitably, he gets asked whether any of the withering dryness they’ve been through over the past decade has to do with that thing they’ve been hearing about on the news — global warming. His answer: Not the man-made kind.

“If you go back through history, there were droughts that lasted decades. Something drove the Anastasi out of the Southwest,” Bledsoe explains, talking about how tree ring data suggests the late 1800s were a dry time too. “If someone comes to me and says, ‘Do you believe man is changing and driving our climate and how it works?’ I’m just not there, because I see other drivers as being much bigger governors in where we go.”

Even as the rest of the nation has started coming around to the idea that human activity has contributed to the extreme weather of the past few years, Bledsoe is among the holdouts, spreading climate skepticism in person, on the air, and online — and he’s not alone. According to one 2011 survey, more than a third of weather casters deny that pumping carbon dioxide into the air has anything to do with the increasingly extreme conditions they’re reporting. And they’re as close to scientific expertise as many households get.

The meteorologist profession has cast a weather eye on the idea of anthropogenic climate change ever since the 1980s, when it was a crackpot theory in a NASA lab. Doubts really took root in the 1990s, when President Bill Clinton first invited weathercasters to the White House, to try to win their support for the U.S.’ bid to negotiate a global treaty on climate change (a trick that President Barack Obama tried recently as well). As the Columbia Journalism Review chronicled, many of them reacted negatively to the idea of a politician getting them to buy into a scientific conclusion and a policy prescription, all at once.

“Climate change and global warming are so value-laden,” says Bob Henson, a spokesperson at the Boulder, Colo.-based University Center for Atmospheric Research, who published a history of broadcast meteorology in 2010. “People think it’s not referring to the physical effect so much as it is to the policy response.”

Henson says the outright refusal to acknowledge global warming has softened somewhat in recent years. At the annual meeting of the American Meteorologists Association, the issue has been so contentious that attendees requested small group sessions to talk through it, but this year the voices of climate denial weren’t as loud. “The dialogue is much more, ‘what does it mean?’” Henson says.

That may have something to do with an outreach campaign by weathercasters able to model how to talk about climate change effectively, even in the 2-minute weekend forecast format. Since climate is a complicated and nuanced subject, broadcasters are also encouraged to take their message  to Facebook or blogs, where they can explain at more length.

When Bledsoe blogs, though, his message just becomes more anti-climate change, not less. And often, because of the pairing of climate science and the policies deemed necessary to address it, that’s what his conservative rural audience wants to hear. On his blog last November, he recounted being asked about climate change during a speaking engagement at a California Beef Improvement Association conference in Reno, Nev.

“I told them that I think it is a economic and political agenda that has nothing to do with climate or protecting the environment,” Bledsoe wrote. “I told them it has to do with taxes and control…They said it was refreshing to hear that from a scientist, as almost all of those that attended believe it is nothing but a hoax.” Bledsoe opposes Colorado’s renewable energy mandates, which he says will raise electricity costs for drought-stricken farmers, and it’s easier to do that when you don’t think there’s anything wrong with the status quo.

But Bledsoe isn’t just pandering. He also feels he’s well-grounded in the science, having closely studied ocean currents, which he says are stronger drivers of the current warming trend.

“I see both sides fudging the data. What I try to do is take all that out of the way, and show them what I believe are the natural drivers of our climate, because our climate has been changing forever,” Bledsoe says. “The misinformation campaign is being run at a high level, and a high speed, and most people are too busy to do the research for themselves.”

That’s why Mike Nelson, chief meteorologist at ABC 7NEws in Denver, thought Bledsoe was worth trying to win over. Two summers ago, he invited the younger weathercaster to meet with climate scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, so they could hash out the science. A healthy exchange of opinions followed, but both parties went home with their minds unchanged.

“Brian Bledsoe is the one I respect the most — he’s not just throwing back the normal Fox News talking points,” Nelson says. “He’s just unconvinced that the increase in greenhouse gas emissions is going to be outweighed by these deep ocean circulations.” Nelson figured they’d agree to disagree, and the two haven’t talked since.

Ultimately, Bledsoe probably isn’t harming the farmers who trust his advice — in the medium term, his forecasts look similar to those of someone who thinks the greenhouse effect is causing the longer dry spells, not ocean currents. He’s still telling people in Southeast Colorado to buckle down for another couple decades of drought, and not to have any illusions that the rainfall of the 80s and 90s will return anytime soon.

“The thing that’s got me as much traction as it has, is I’ve been right,” Bledsoe says.”I want to show you what the weather’s going to be like going forward, so you can deal with it. It’s knock-down, drag-out depending on who you talk to. And I hate that, because it really sucks the science out of it.”

SOURCE



Hunt for oil and gas to begin off East Coast

The Obama administration opened up the Atlantic to oil and gas exploration for the first time in nearly four decades on Friday.

The announcement from Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) allows the use of air guns and sonic sensors to search off of the East Coast.

It is a major step toward allowing future drilling in the Atlantic, which has remained off-limits for over 30 years.

While the decision doesn't guarantee that lease sales for drilling in Atlantic waters will be included in the Interior Department's five-year plan for 2017-2022, it is a step in that direction.

"After thoroughly reviewing the analysis, coordinating with Federal agencies and considering extensive public input, the bureau has identified a path forward that addresses the need to update the nearly four-decade-old data in the region while protecting marine life and cultural sites,” acting BOEM Director Walter D. Cruickshank said.

Geophysical research companies contracted by the oil and gas industry will still need to apply for individual permits before conducting tests and undergo strict environmental reviews.

Still, the decision is a win for industry, which will get a chance to prove the potential in the Atlantic for oil, gas, and renewable energy.

Environmentalists, on the other hand, expressed frustration with the administration for allowing testing, which they argue is harmful to marine life in the Atlantic.

"For more than 30 years, the Atlantic coast has been off limits to offshore drilling. Today, our government appears to be folding to the pressure of Big Oil and its big money," said OCEANA spokeswoman Claire Douglass.

Green groups say the tests could kill thousands of marine mammals, injuring dolphins and endangered whales.

The Natural Resources Defense Council called seismic testing the "gateway drug to offshore drilling."

While the decision favors the industry, oil and gas companies aren't getting everything they want.

The American Petroleum Institute said Interior is keeping in place "arbitrary" restrictions that "lack scientific support," and that will "discourage" exploration.

BOEM doesn't expect surveys to begin until early next year but will consider permit applications as they come in.

After a permit is issued, the contractor will have one year from that date to conduct tests.

The decision comes after the release of an environmental impact study in February that detailed precautions companies should take when conducting tests.

SOURCE






The sun has gone quiet…solar cycle 24 continues to rank as one of the weakest cycles more than a century

Overview

Ten days ago, the sun was quite active and peppered with several large spots. Now the sun has gone quiet and it is nearly completely blank. It appears that the solar maximum phase for solar cycle 24 may have been reached and it is not very impressive. It looks as if this solar cycle is “double-peaked” (see below) which is not all that uncommon; however, it is somewhat rare that the second peak in sunspot number during the solar max phase is larger than the first. In fact, this solar cycle continues to rank among the weakest on record which continues the recent trend for increasingly weaker cycles. The current predicted and observed size makes this the smallest sunspot cycle since Cycle 14 which had a maximum of 64.2 in February of 1906. Going back to 1755, there have been only a few solar cycles in the previous 23 that have had a lower number of sunspots during its maximum phase. For this reason, many solar researchers are calling this current solar maximum a “mini-max”. Solar cycle 24 began after an unusually deep solar minimum that lasted from 2007 to 2009. In fact, in 2008 and 2009, there were almost no sunspots, a very unusual situation during a solar minimum phase that had not happened for almost a century.

Consequences of a weak solar cycle

First, the weak solar cycle has resulted in rather benign “space weather” in recent times with generally weaker-than-normal geomagnetic storms. By all Earth-based measures of geomagnetic and geoeffective solar activity, this cycle has been extremely quiet. However, there is some evidence that most large events such as strong solar flares and significant geomagnetic storms tend to occur in the declining phase of the solar cycle. In other words, there is still a chance for significant solar activity in the months and years ahead.

Second, it is pretty well understood that solar activity has a direct impact on temperatures at very high altitudes in a part of the Earth’s atmosphere called the thermosphere. This is the biggest layer of the Earth’s atmosphere which lies directly above the mesosphere and below the exosphere. Thermospheric temperatures increase with altitude due to absorption of highly energetic solar radiation and are highly dependent on solar activity.

Finally, if history is a guide, it is safe to say that weak solar activity for a prolonged period of time can have a negative impact on global temperatures in the troposphere which is the bottom-most layer of Earth’s atmosphere - and where we all live. There have been two notable historical periods with decades-long episodes of low solar activity. The first period is known as the “Maunder Minimum”, named after the solar astronomer Edward Maunder, and it lasted from around 1645 to 1715. The second one is referred to as the “Dalton Minimum”, named for the English meteorologist John Dalton, and it lasted from about 1790 to 1830. Both of these historical periods coincided with below-normal global temperatures in an era now referred to by many as the “Little Ice Age”. In addition, research studies in just the past couple of decades have found a complicated relationship between solar activity, cosmic rays, and clouds on Earth. This research suggests that in times of low solar activity where solar winds are typically weak; more cosmic rays reach the Earth’s atmosphere which, in turn, has been found to lead to an increase in certain types of clouds that can act to cool the Earth.

Outlook

The increasingly likely outcome for an historically weak solar cycle continues the recent downward trend in sunspot cycle strength that began over twenty years ago during solar cycle 22. If this trend continues for the next couple of cycles, then there would likely be more talk of another “grand minimum” for the sun. Some solar scientists are already predicting that the next solar cycle, #25, will be even weaker than this current one. However, it is just too early for high confidence in these predictions since some solar scientists believe that the best predictor of future solar cycle strength involves activity at the sun’s poles during a solar minimum and the next solar minimum is still likely several years away.

SOURCE





BBC, Climate Change & Censorship: Interview With Benny Peiser

Benny Peiser is a social anthropologist best known for his work on the portrayal of climate change. The founder of CCNet, a leading climate policy network, Peiser is co-editor of the journal Energy and Environment and director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

Following the BBC's recent decision to uphold a complaint against comments made by climate change sceptic Lord Lawson on the Today programme, we spoke to Peiser about scientific consensus and climate change in the media.

Q. The BBC's head of editorial complaint recently said that Lord Lawson’s views are not supported by any evidence from such things as computer modelling scientific research; thus, they should strengthen their editorial procedures to avoid misleading the public.

Do you think there is such a thing as a unanimous scientific consensus about climate change today?

A. I think this is irrelevant. I mean, there is a general agreement on CO2 and greenhouse gas: that we are pumping CO2 into the atmosphere and that this will have a warming effect. This is agreed by everyone so that is not the real issue. Even the sceptics agree to that. So, this is a red herring, because no one denies the basic physics, no one denies the basic facts.

And that was not part of the discussion at the BBC anyhow. It was about the flooding this winter and whether it was caused by climate change, as well as what to do about climate change. And, of course, there is no consensus about these issues. So, the BBC is using a red herring to deny critics of climate policies and climate alarmism a forum.

Q. A question of rhetoric then?

A. No. It's a bit like saying, “do you accept that there is a European Union?” This is the consensus, right, and because Euro-sceptics don’t accept that there is a European Union, they shouldn’t be interviewed on the BBC because they deny the existence of the European Union.

Q.I see.

A. It’s an argument that no one denies, but which is used to silence critics of the policies, and the subsidies, and the billions of pounds being thrown at the problem. So I think it is basically censorship, using a scientific argument that is standing on water. No one really questions this general consensus.

Q. So this is a problem of censorship? We know that climate change is a debate that attracts some extremely strong opinions. Why do you think this is?

A. This is not about scientific proof. It’s about how serious is it and what should we do about it, you see. It is only the BBC who claims this is about scientific proof. As I’ve just said, no one is questioning the basic physics; no one is question the basic consensus. So this is not about denying climate change or denying the effects of greenhouse gas or that there is human contribution… this is all a red herring. This is about denying anyone who criticises the green lobbyists and the green agenda from raising their criticisms. This is what is at stake. It’s not about the science.

Q. So do you think that, when it comes to the media, it is a one-sided kind of alarmist perception of risk that comes into question?

A. Of course, because they are well-known for pointing out everything that is alarming and being silent on reports that show it is not as alarming. So you have a bias in favour of alarm, and a kind of ignoring any evidence that suggests that it might not be that alarming.

It’s about people who think we are facing doomsday, and people who are thinking that the issue of climate change is exaggerated. And if you deny anyone sceptical of the apocalyptic doomsday prophecies, then you get in a position where the BBC is so biased that MPs are beginning to consider cutting the license fee, or abolishing the license fee altogether, because people are beginning to be upset by the BBC’s bias.

This is a self-defeating policy; the BBC is digging its own grave by annoying half of the population who are known to be sceptical about the alarmist claims which are not substantiated, which are not founded on any evidence. They are only based on on some kinds of computer modelling, which is not scientific evidence.

Q. So scientific evidence, such as computer modelling and research, is being used as an instrument in the rhetoric?

A. Well there is a big difference between observation, what you actually observe in reality – that’s what I would call evidence – and computer models that try to model the climate in 50 or 100 years time. I wouldn’t call that evidence. There is a difference between evidence and people saying, “if we don’t act now then in 50 or a 100 years time we will face mega catastrophe”. That’s not evidence, it is speculation.

Q. So, for example, if someone were to say, “scientific knowledge or evidence is always a requirement to express criticism toward the prevailing views on climate change as portrayed in the media,” would you agree with that kind of comment?

A. No, of course not. Because what is scientific knowledge, you know? Who decides what scientific knowledge is? Do you have to be a climate scientist to have scientific knowledge or do you have to have enough information? Who decides who’s qualified to decide what the right policy is? Because at the end of the day, the scientist cannot tell us what is the best approach to deal with climate change.

The scientists have no idea about costs and benefits; about policy and economics. The scientists only know the atmosphere, they know how the atmosphere functions. But if you want to decide what to do about climate change then the climate scientists are really the least likely to understand what policies or alternatives there are.

The climate debate is not just about the science, but also about policies, about economics, costs, benefits. That’s where the scientists are unequipped, and where the economists and policy makers are those at the forefront of the debate. The BBC makes it out as if it was all about the science, but it isn’t. There are so many other questions where the climate scientists simply haven’t got the expertise, or certainly less expertise.

Q. Do you think this is part of the reason why there was a controversy with Lord Lawson when the argument was made that he shouldn’t be censored because he had an argument more in terms of economics and policy making, rather than science?

A. Of course. And in any case, if the BBC were to adhere to this policy, they would never ever again interview Ed Miliband or any MPs or Minister or policy maker on climate change, right? For example, you mention Lord Lawson, who has written extensively about climate change issues over the last six, seven years. If he can’t be interviewed because he is not a scientist, well then you cannot interview any politician.

Q, Do you think Lord Lawson is an authoritative and representative figure of the views of climate change when it comes to critics or sceptics?

Well of course. He’s one of the world’s leading authorities who has written, as I said, extensively on climate change. He is not a climate scientist, but I just said this was not about science. It is about what to do about climate, how Britain may again be flooded in the future. So it’s not about science, it is about what are the best ways of dealing with flooding in the future.

Q. In the press, the argument has been put forward quite regularly that sceptics or critics are already over-represented in media coverage, which is said to be misleading the public. Is that a fact? Or do you think the BBC should give more air time to climate change critics/ sceptics?

A. Well they haven’t in the past. Take Lord Lawson. That was the first time ever that he’s been interviewed on climate change. And if you think about the hundreds of reports over the years by the BBC, climate sceptics are a very and increasingly rare species.

Climate sceptics are definitely not under-represented, but simply absent when it comes to the number of media outlets. However, because there is that bias in the BBC and other news organisations, they are finding their own outlets. The climate-sceptical bloggers are increasingly popular and have huge readerships, and a number of newspapers can see that there is a real market for more balanced views.

Take for instance the Times, the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail. These newspapers have realized that the BBC and others are ignoring alternative views and so they are providing the half of the population who are sceptics an opportunity to have more balanced reporting. They can see the big opportunity that the BBC is ruling out.

As I said, from surveys, more than half of the British public is sceptical, so if the BBC alienates more than half of the population then they only have themselves to blame if the British public don’t anymore want to pay for the BBC.

Q. Do you think there might also be a confusion created by separating people in two strict camps: either you are a sceptic or you are a firm believer in climate change? Perhaps there could be a more constructive critic of authoritative knowledge or prevailing rhetoric?

A. When the BBC interviewed the sceptical scientists like Professor Carter they also got complaints from those who said it was wrong, so it’s not about knowledge or because you are not a climate scientist. They don’t even interview scientists who are sceptical, and on the very rare occasion – once every two years – that they perhaps have an interview with a sceptical scientist, they also get complaints. So this is not about people not being knowledgeable, it’s that people don’t want to listen to any critics. That is as simple as that, they do not want to, or do not like the idea of a debate on this issue.

Q. Do you think this is because it threatens the status quo and stability on the issue of climate change?

A. Well, they realise that ‘facts’, the simple facts of climate change do not adapt to some kind of doomsday alarming scenario. That is their biggest fear. And that is what they don’t want the public to hear. They want their message to be that we are facing global disaster and unless we act now it will be too late. They don’t want to hear anyone who says, “hold on! Look out of the window, it’s not as bad as the models predict…”

Q. So it is rhetoric of risk?

A. At the end of the day there is a big industry behind this campaign, let’s not forget. There’s a huge green energy industry which relies on billions of subsidies on government policy. All the people who own wind farms and solar panels and bio-fuel lands all rely on government support. Without the alarm there would not be that much money going into their pockets. So there are big industrial claims behind this campaign who make hundreds of millions of pounds on the back of this alarm.

Q. Why do you think that climate change discussion generally has divided largely along political lines? For example, some might associate scepticism about climate change with right wing politics etc.

A. Well in Europe this is not the case. That is the case in the U.S. and perhaps in Australia. In Europe, it is really that almost all parties have signed up to the climate agenda. There is no political divide on the climate agenda. I mean, it's beginning to look as if more and more governments, both left and right, are becoming concerned because the costs are piling up and because Europe is becoming uncompetitive as a result. So there is a growing concern that Europe, through its climate policies, is damaging the economy and making energy costs ever more expensive, and that therefore European industries are becoming increasingly uncompetitive. But that is a general concern, not a left or right issue, though in the US it is, yes.

Q.Do you think the problem of competitiveness is related to the avoidance of a more constructive debate?

A. Well initially, 10 or 20 years ago, the Europeans thought that the climate alarm would help their economy. They thought that Europe would create or produce renewable technologies which could then be exported to the rest of the world. That was the idea, but they forgot that China and other Asian countries could produce these renewable technologies much cheaper and much quicker. So now they are concerned about the Chinese selling solar panels to Europeans, and the Europeans subsidising Chinese solar panels.

So, there are all sorts of big problems in the whole concept that climate change policies could be good for the economy. In reality they have just added to energy costs and it’s a much bigger problem now for many governments around Europe, not least because the shale revolution has brought down the energy crisis in the U.S. and is making live industry in Europe very difficult. As I said, there are other issues involved aside from the science which make the climate debate so contentious, because you are talking about a multi-billion Euro industry that relies on governments to keep handing out money.

If the alarm goes, a lot of green industries that rely on subsidies will go bankrupt as they rely on people being alarmed. Without the alarm, we would not have wind and solar energy; we would not have the need for renewable energy without the climate alarm.

Q. How could the discussion about climate change be improved in the media more generally? How could we make the discussion more constructive?

A. Well, it is difficult. By and large you improve it by making it as factual, as objective, and as balanced as possible. Also, moving away from the basic scientific issues to focus on the real, big divides and problems which have to do with what we are going to do about climate change. That is where the big question mark remains. And, as you may have noticed, it is much more difficult and more complex than the simplistic way the BBC portrays the controversy.

SOURCE





Owen Paterson: I’m Proud Of Standing Up To The Green Lobby

Like the nationalised industries and obstructive trade unions of the 1970s, the Green Blob has become a powerful self-serving caucus; it is the job of the elected politician to stand up to them

Every prime minister has the right to choose his team to take Britain into the general election and I am confident that my able successor at Defra, Liz Truss, will do an excellent job. It has been a privilege to take on the challenges of the rural economy and environment. However, I leave the post with great misgivings about the power and irresponsibility of – to coin a phrase – the Green Blob.

By this I mean the mutually supportive network of environmental pressure groups, renewable energy companies and some public officials who keep each other well supplied with lavish funds, scare stories and green tape. This tangled triangle of unelected busybodies claims to have the interests of the planet and the countryside at heart, but it is increasingly clear that it is focusing on the wrong issues and doing real harm while profiting handsomely.

Local conservationists on the ground do wonderful work to protect and improve wild landscapes, as do farmers, rural businesses and ordinary people. They are a world away from the highly paid globe-trotters of the Green Blob who besieged me with their self-serving demands, many of which would have harmed the natural environment.

I soon realised that the greens and their industrial and bureaucratic allies are used to getting things their own way. I received more death threats in a few months at Defra than I ever did as secretary of state for Northern Ireland. My home address was circulated worldwide with an incitement to trash it; I was burnt in effigy by Greenpeace as I was recovering from an operation to save my eyesight. But I did not set out to be popular with lobbyists and I never forgot that they were not the people I was elected to serve.

Indeed, I am proud that my departure was greeted with such gloating by spokespeople for the Green Party and Friends of the Earth.

It was not my job to do the bidding of two organisations that are little more than anti-capitalist agitprop groups most of whose leaders could not tell a snakeshead fritillary from a silver-washed fritillary. I saw my task as improving both the environment and the rural economy; many in the green movement believed in neither.

Their goal was to enhance their own income streams and influence by myth making and lobbying. Would they have been as determined to blacken my name if I was not challenging them rather effectively?

When I arrived at Defra I found a department that had become under successive Labour governments a milch cow for the Green Blob.

Just as Michael Gove set out to refocus education policy on the needs of children rather than teachers and bureaucrats and Iain Duncan Smith set out to empower the most vulnerable, so I began to reorganise the department around four priorities: to grow the rural economy, to improve the environment, and to safeguard both plant and animal health.

The Green Blob sprouts especially vigorously in Brussels. The European Commission website reveals that a staggering 150 million euros (£119  million) was paid to the top nine green NGOs from 2007-13.

European Union officials give generous grants to green groups so that they will lobby it for regulations that then require large budgets to enforce. When I attended a council meeting of elected EU ministers on shale gas in Lithuania last year, we were lectured by a man using largely untrue clichés about the dangers of shale gas. We discovered that he was from the European Environment Bureau, an umbrella group for unelected, taxpayer-subsidised green lobby groups. Speaking of Europe, I remain proud to have achieved some renegotiations.

The discard ban ends the scandalous practice of throwing away perfectly edible fish, we broke the council deadlock on GM crops, so decisions may be repatriated to member countries and we headed off bans on fracking. Judge me by my opponents.

When I proposed a solution to the dreadful suffering of cattle, badgers and farmers as a result of the bovine tuberculosis epidemic that Labour allowed to develop, I was opposed by rich pop stars who had never been faced with having to cull a pregnant heifer. (Interestingly, very recent local evidence suggests the decline in TB in the cull area may already have begun.)

When I spoke up for the landscapes of this beautiful country against the heavily subsidised industry that wants to spoil them with wind turbines at vast cost to ordinary people, vast reward to rich landowners and undetectable effects on carbon dioxide emissions, I was frustrated by colleagues from the so-called Liberal Democrat Party.

When I encouraged the search for affordable energy from shale gas to help grow the rural economy and lift people out of fuel poverty, I was opposed by a dress designer for whom energy bills are trivial concerns. [...]

Yes, I’ve annoyed these people, but they don’t represent the real countryside of farmers and workers, of birds and butterflies.

Like the nationalised industries and obstructive trade unions of the 1970s, the Green Blob has become a powerful self-serving caucus; it is the job of the elected politician to stand up to them. We must have the courage to tackle it head on, as Tony Abbott in Australia and Stephen Harper in Canada have done, or the economy and the environment will both continue to suffer.

* Owen Paterson is a former secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs.

SOURCE






Australia: Why is it The Greens are treated by the media as having the moral high ground?

The snobs in the Canberra press pack tend to ignore Senator John Madigan of the DLP so chances are you won't see much of this speech he gave in Parliament reported.

However, here, he raises some quite significant questions about the integrity of the Greens when it comes to what really motivates their "clean energy" commitment ..... $$$

He also joins the dots between interesting figures lingering behind the scenes of The Greens and the Palmer Party.



Senator Madigan asks a question that deserves some pondering .... why is it that The Greens are treated by the media as having the moral high ground on just about every subject?

SOURCE

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Monday, July 21, 2014


Warmists assume what they have to prove

There are a great number of models that have been put out out by Warmists  -- all with slightly different assumptions.  And the assumptions are the key.  With different assumptions you could predict cooling.  But there are only a small minority that come close to the temperatures actually observed.

So the latest effort by some well-known Warmists simply picks out those models that have done best and says:  "Aha!  The models are good after all!"

Read the abstract below and see for yourself.  They say: "only those models with natural variability (represented by El Niño/Southern Oscillation) largely in phase with observations are selected"  and then say "These tests show that climate models have provided good estimates of 15-year trends". It is just one huge cherry-picking exercise where they pick out models that have for some reason got close to the facts and then proclaim that they have predicted something.  It is a classical example of being wise after the event.  Newpaper article followed by the journal abstract below

A common refrain by climate sceptics that surface temperatures have not warmed over the past 17 years, implying climate models predicting otherwise are unreliable, has been refuted by new research led by James Risbey, a senior CSIRO researcher.

Setting aside the fact the equal hottest years on record - 2005 and 2010 - fall well within the past 17 years, Dr Risbey and fellow researchers examined claims - including by some members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - that models overestimated global warming.

In a study published in Nature Climate Change on Monday, the team found that models actually generate good estimates of recent and past trends provided they also took into account natural variability, particularly the key El Nino-La Nina phases in the Pacific.

“You’re always going to get periods when the warming slows down or speeds up relative to the mean rate because we have these strong natural cycles,” Dr Risbey said.

In roughly 30-year cycles, the Pacific alternates between periods of more frequent El Ninos - when the ocean gives back heat to the atmosphere - to La Ninas, when it acts as a massive heat sink, setting in train relatively cool periods for surface temperatures.

By selecting climate models in phase with natural variability, the research found that model trends have been consistent with observed trends, even during the recent “slowdown” period for warming, Dr Risbey said.

“The climate is simply variable on short time scales but that variability is superimposed on an unmistakable long-term warming trend,” he said.

While sceptics have lately relied on a naturally cool phase of the global cycle to fan doubts about climate change, the fact temperature records continue to fall even during a La-Nina dominated period is notable, Dr Risbey said.

The temperature forcing from the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere “is beginning to overwhelm the natural variability on even shorter decadal time scales”, he said.

“We will always set more heat records during an El Nino [phase] ... than we will during the opposite but we’re still setting records even during the cold phase because we’re still warming,” Dr Risbey said.

While climatologists are wary about picking when the Pacific will switch back to an El-Nino dominated phase, the world may get an inkling of what is in store if an El Nino event is confirmed later this year.

The Bureau of Meteorology last week maintained its estimate of a 70 per cent chance of an El Nino this year. It noted, though, that warming sea-surface temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific had yet to trigger the consistent reinforcing atmospheric patterns such as a stalling or reversal in the easterly trade winds.

Even without the threshold being reached, however, El-Nino-like conditions had already contributed to the warmest May and June on record and equal-warmest April. Australia too has continued to see well-above average temperatures, with last year and the 12 months to June 30 setting records for warmth.

Data out this week from the US may confirm early readings that June's sea-surface temperatures were the biggest departure from long-term averages for any month.

SOURCE

Well-estimated global surface warming in climate projections selected for ENSO phase

By James S. Risbey, Stephan Lewandowsky, Clothilde Langlais, Didier P. Monselesan, Terence J. O’Kane & Naomi Oreskes

Abstract

The question of how climate model projections have tracked the actual evolution of global mean surface air temperature is important in establishing the credibility of their projections. Some studies and the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report suggest that the recent 15-year period (1998–2012) provides evidence that models are overestimating current temperature evolution. Such comparisons are not evidence against model trends because they represent only one realization where the decadal natural variability component of the model climate is generally not in phase with observations. We present a more appropriate test of models where only those models with natural variability (represented by El Niño/Southern Oscillation) largely in phase with observations are selected from multi-model ensembles for comparison with observations. These tests show that climate models have provided good estimates of 15-year trends, including for recent periods and for Pacific spatial trend patterns.

SOURCE






Warmists admit that skeptics are right

There is a big sulk from "Salon" below about the fact that the NYT printed a favorable story about skeptic John Christy.  But it is hard to fathom how Warmist minds work because towards the end of their screed below they admit exactly what Christy and most skeptics are saying.  I have highlighted the passage

The New York Times missed the mark big time in its new profile of John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, and prominent climate skeptic who “finds himself a target of suspicion” — and derision, and sometimes even insults — from his peers. Ostensibly, it’s an examination of the way that climate science has become politicized, to the extent that those with dissenting views are silenced or attacked by the cult of mainstream climate science. In reality, it’s an overly credulous and sympathetic portrayal of someone who, his claims having been almost completely discredited, is trying to spin the story in a way that makes him out to be a victim.

Perhaps, writer Michael Wines speculates, the reason why other climate scientists are so mean to Christy (people drew mean cartoons about him!) is because he’s “providing legitimacy to those who refuse to acknowledge” that the consequences of climate change are likely to be dire. The use of the word “legitimacy” is questionable: Unlike those who contest the scientific consensus on climate change with little or no background in climate science themselves, Christy does boast a bevy of credentials, as Wines is careful to denote. Christy’s actual research, on the other hand, along with the data that he insists, in the profile, to be beholden to — well, that’s been deflated, disproven and debunked by all manner of other, highly qualified experts. A dispute over his inaccurate climate models that Wines dismisses as a “scientific tit for tat,” meanwhile, is seen by others as a conscious attempt to misinform the public, in the interest of promoting climate skepticism.
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A difference in perspective, perhaps. But in downplaying the many and legitimate issues with Christy’s research, Wines fails to treat this “skeptic” with much skepticism of his own. And worse still, the profile plays into an image that Christy has been working to build — one not of an anti-science “denier,” but instead of a modern-day Galileo, one who dares to contradict mainstream opinion and who will be vindicated by history — in this case, when the effects of climate change turns out to not be so bad, after all. See, for example, the Wall Street Journal Op-Ed Christy authored this February with fellow skeptic Richard McNider. In response to comments by Secretary of State John Kerry, who accused climate skeptics of belonging to the “Flat Earth Society,” they wrote:

    "But who are the Flat Earthers, and who is ignoring the scientific facts? In ancient times, the notion of a flat Earth was the scientific consensus, and it was only a minority who dared question this belief. We are among today’s scientists who are skeptical about the so-called consensus on climate change. Does that make us modern-day Flat Earthers, as Mr. Kerry suggests, or are we among those who defy the prevailing wisdom to declare that the world is round?"

This interpretation of history, as Joe Romm pointed out at the time, is yet another misconception, as the flat Earth myth was a pre-scientific belief, disproven by — you guessed it — science. Christy and McNiders’ inflated perception of themselves only serves to further confuse the public’s understanding of the scientific consensus on climate change. Their rhetoric, while appealing, falls apart upon examination.

As for the contention, among environmentalists, that Christy may be “a pawn of the fossil-fuel industry who distorts science to fit his own ideology”? Wines dismisses that in a parenthetical comment from Christy (“I don’t take money from industries”), and leaves it at that. This, again, plays right into Christy’s desire to be seen as misunderstood — he’s been careful to avoid associations not just with polluting industries, but with most of the groups dedicated to spreading climate denial. He doesn’t attend the Heartland Institute’s annual climate denial conferences, he told the Times’ Andrew Revkin several years back, because he wants to avoid “guilt by association.”

Yet Christy’s perspective on global warming — that the effects will be mild, and potentially even beneficial — is more or less aligned with those voiced by the participants in Heartland’s most recent conference, which took place last week. Aside from a few remaining loonies, most deniers have by now conceded the two most basic facts of climate change: that the climate is changing, and that man-made emissions of greenhouse gases are at least partially responsible. Christy’s not special in this regard. Instead, he’s part of a growing movement that Will Oremus, writing in Slate, describes as an effort to rebrand climate denial as “climate optimism”: the idea that climate change, while real, isn’t something worth worrying about — and certainly not worth making an effort to mitigate. In some ways, this is even more dangerous than flat-out denial, which is at least easy to shut down; climate optimism, instead, conflates science with conservative political ideology, as Oremus explains:

    "In fact, it’s not unreasonable to see the climate fight as part of a much broader ideological war in American society, says Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication. The debate over causes is often a proxy for a debate over solutions, which are likely to require global cooperation and government intervention in people’s lives. Leiserowitz’s research shows that climate deniers tend to be committed to values like individualism and small government while those most concerned about climate change are more likely to hold egalitarian and community-oriented political views.

    That doesn’t mean, of course, that the evidence on both sides is equal. There’s a reason the climate deniers are losing the scientific debate, and it isn’t because academia is better funded than the energy industry. All of which helps to explain how climate optimism might be a more appealing approach these days than climate denial. Models of how climate change will impact society and the economy are subject to far more uncertainty than the science that links greenhouse gas emissions to the 20th-century warming trend. The costs of mitigating those emissions are more readily grasped: higher energy bills, government spending on alternative energy projects, lost jobs at coal plants."

Accepting climate change, but not accepting that we should do anything about it: It’s that ideologically driven belief, and not a debate over science itself, that is the real way in which climate change has become politicized.

None of this is to suggest that there shouldn’t be a debate about science, or that all climate science is settled. Most of what we know about the future effects of climate change, including just how severe they will be, remains decidedly unsettled, and will remain so until they actually come to pass. Because 97 percent of scientists agree that human activity is contributing to changes in our climate, the debate now can and should be about what the evidence suggests, and what we ought to do about it. But the reason why Christy has attracted so much vitriol is because he’s on the radical fringe of both of those conversations: he’s using error-laden research and misleading claims to advocate for some adaptation and zero mitigation. The American Association for the Advancement of Science compares such a strategy to barreling down the highway without the benefit of seat belts or airbags; more colorfully, in Wines’ article, MIT professor Kerry Emanuel suggests “It’s kind of like telling a little girl who’s trying to run across a busy street to catch a school bus to go for it, knowing there’s a substantial chance that she’ll be killed. She might make it. But it’s a big gamble to take.”

Christy’s supporters are already up in arms about that one. But the comparison is apt, and it’s the reason why, even if history does turn out to vindicate Christy, he won’t be remembered as an anti-establishment hero. He’ll just be someone who, against all evidence to the contrary, got really, really lucky, and put not just a little girl, but the entire world at risk in the process.

SOURCE





One of the sadder examples of what the human race produces






NO HUMAN-CAUSED SEA LEVEL RISE SAY GERMAN SCIENTISTS

German scientists show that constant alarmist messages about dramatic and dangerously rising sea levels cannot be confirmed by raw tidal measurements. According to expert Klaus-Eckart Puls “measurements are actually showing the opposite.” Only "mysterious" government computer models show rises in sea levels, says the report.tidal measure

Making the announcement on behalf of the European Institute for Climate and Energy Klaus-Eckart Puls says:

“Worldwide, neither tidal gauge data (200 years) nor satellite data (20 years) show any acceleration of sea level rise. That is in stark contrast to all past and current statements by the IPCC and several climate (research) institutes and climate-models. Moreover, there are indications that the satellite data (showing a higher [double] rate of increase) are significantly “over-corrected.”” [See ref 28 in the report]

‘Mysterious Case’ or Data Rigging?

The European Institute for Climate and Energy expressed their concerns about the reliability of certain official computer models adding, “Instead of adjusting the satellite data to those actually measured on the ground and correcting them downward, the discrepancy between gauge and satellite measurements continue to this date. Somehow, that does not appear to bother anyone. A mysterious case.”

Wilhelmshaven coast scientist, Karl-Ernst Behre from the Lower Saxony Institute for Historical Coastal Research (NIHK ) explains that the best evidence shows sea levels have only been rising naturally “since the end of the last ice age we have good knowledge of the sea level changes on the German North Sea coast.”

The latest German research shows that sea level has risen naturally due to global warming by more than 50 meters in the past 10,000 years, says Behre. It has been nothing to do with humans.

"The increase has increasingly slowed when one considers the overarching trend of the last 3000 years. In the "youngest" 400 years (1600-2000) there have been (without the GIA correction) an increase of 1.35 m, in the past 100 years, only one such 25 cm, thus slowing it down further."

No Evidence of Increased Floods

The European Institute for Climate are also able to confirm there is no evidence that the floods are getting worse. 'We have measured the flood levels for 100 years, during which time the mean high water is up by 25cm which fits the natural rise in sea level. There is no evidence of more frequent floods. "

Sea levels alone are not the only factor – changes in the landmass due to the rise and fall of geological movements, especially plate tectonics, volcanism and glacial processes can superficially affect sea levels (Isostasy and Eustasie).

Not helping the cause of alarmism is the fact well-known German land subsidence should be making any supposed sea level rise look even more pronounced, as the report shows.

As for the German North Sea coast Behre explains that in 2011, a work was published on the trends of 15 coastal levels in the German Bight. A graph  detailing the findings shows the actual extent of sea level rises, proving no human signal.



This was part of a wider range of studies dealing with the ongoing Holocene vertical land movements of the last millennium in southern Scandinavia, Jutland, the North Frisian Islands, the south arch over Denmark and the middle Baltic Sea. It proved:

"The North Sea basin is already a very long time an area of subsidence, tectonic subsidence and this holds true even today. The German coast lies on the upper part of this reduction area. In the area of the German Bight there is shown to be a tectonically induced mean decrease from 0.64 cm / century, in the West it is 0.54 cm / century as in the east and consequently is overall a small amount.”

As such, the authors are able to confirm there is no trend. All measured changes in sea levels can thus be attributed only to a natural origin conistent with the ongoing glacial retreat our planet has been experiencing since the onset of the Holocene Period around 11,000 years ago.

SOURCE



                 

Killing marine life with ethanol

Ethanol damages your cars, small engines, food budget – and kills Gulf of Mexico animals

Paul Driessen

Ethanol and other biofuel mandates and subsidies got started when politicians bought into claims that we are rapidly depleting our petroleum, and fossil-fuel-driven global warming is boiling the planet.

Hydraulic fracturing destroyed the depletion myth. It also reminds us that “peak oil” applies only if we wrongly assume that resource needs and technologies never change. The 18-year “hiatus” in planetary warming has forced alarmists to change their terminology to climate change, climate disruption and extreme weather mantras – which allow them to continue demanding that we stop using the hydrocarbons that provide 82% of the energy that makes our economy, jobs and living standards possible.

In recent years, people have discovered that ethanol harms lawn mowers and other small engines. The fuel additive also drives up gasoline prices, reduces automotive mileage and corrodes engine parts.

Corn-for-ethanol growers make a lot of money. But meat, egg and fish producers pay more for feed, driving up family food bills. Biofuel mandates also mean aid agencies pay more for corn and wheat, so more malnourished people go hungry longer. This is not what most would call “environmental justice.”

The 10% blends are bad enough. 15% ethanol is much worse, and truckers say a highly corrosive 20% blend will be needed to meet California’s looming low carbon fuel standards.

US law mandates that ethanol production must triple between 2007 and 2020 – even though motorists are driving less and thus using less gasoline, which then means refiners need less ethanol to produce 10% blends. That “blend wall” (between what’s needed and what’s produced) is driving the push to allow 15% ethanol blends, which would void most car engine warranties.

The guaranteed income incentivizes farmers to take land out of conservation easements, pasture land and wildlife habitat, and grow corn instead. Just to meet current ethanol quotas, US farmers are now growing corn on an area the size of Iowa. Growing and harvesting this corn and turning it into ethanol also requires massive quantities of pesticides, fertilizers, fossil fuels and water.

Corn-based ethanol requires 2,500 to 29,000 gallons of fresh water per million Btu of energy – compared to at most 6.0 gallons of fresh or brackish water per million Btu of energy produced via fracking. Across its life cycle, ethanol production and use also releases more carbon dioxide per gallon than gasoline.

Now we learn that ethanol is bad for the environment in another way. It kills marine life.

A large portion of the nitrogen fertilizers needed to grow all that corn gets washed off the land and into streams and rivers that drain into the Gulf of Mexico, where they cause enormous summertime algae blooms. When the algae die, their decomposition consumes oxygen in the water – creating enormous low-oxygen (hypoxic) and zero-oxygen (anoxic) regions.

Marine life cannot survive in those “dead zones.” Fish swim away, but shrimp, oysters, clams, mussels, crabs, sea cucumbers and other stationary or slow moving bottom dwellers cannot escape. They just die.

Thousands of square miles of water off the coast of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas as far southwest as Corpus Christi can remain blanketed by a dead zone until fall winds or tropical storms or hurricanes come through. These events cool the water down, churn up the anoxic zones, bring in new oxygen supplies, and restore livability.

In 2012, nearly 2,900 square miles (about the size of Delaware) turned into a dead zone. Last year, because of much greater water flow from the Corn Belt, the region of animal cadavers covered nearly 8,560 square miles (New Jersey). This year, the zone of death could cover a more average Connecticut-size 4,630 to 5,700 square miles, say Louisiana State University, Texas A&M and other researchers, due to lower water flows; strong eddy currents south of the Mississippi Delta could also be playing a role.

A friend of mine recently observed vast stretches of green algae blooms in the normally “blue water” areas beyond the 15-mile-wide region where fresh Mississippi River waters mix with Gulf of Mexico salt water, in the Mississippi Canyon area south of Louisiana. The green zone extended to some 40 miles from shore, he said. As the algae die, they will create huge new suffocation zones, rising up into the water column, invisible from the air and surface, but deadly to millions of creatures that cannot swim away.

The dead zones also mean fishermen, crabbers, shrimpers and other recreational and commercial boaters must travel much further from shore to find anything, putting them at greater risk in the event of storms.

“More nitrate comes off corn fields than it does from any other crop, by far,” says Louisiana State University zoologist Gene Turner. The nitrogen drives the formation of dead zones, and the “primary culprit” driving the entire process is corn-based ethanol, adds Larry McKinney, executive director of the Harte Research Center for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi.

The US Geological Survey estimates that 153,000 metric tons of nitrogen fertilizer and other nutrients flowed down the Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers in May 2013. That was 16% more than the average amount over the previous three decades. The enormous nutrient runoff is primarily the result of feeding just one crop: corn for ethanol, the USGS affirms. The lost seafood is worth tens of millions of dollars.

Fertilizer and pesticide runoff is substantially higher in wet years. But in dry years much of the excess chemical application just builds up in the soil, waiting for the next big rainy season to unleash it. The more acreage we put in corn for ethanol – and soybeans for biodiesel – the worse the fertilizer and pesticide runoff, algae blooms, dead zones and eradicated marine life become in wet years.

Water use is also skyrocketing to grow these biofuel crops. And if it weren’t for biotechnology, the problems would be far worse. GMO corn is engineered to need less water, and to kill insects that feed on the crops with far lower pesticide use than for traditional, non-biotech varieties. However, the same greens who hate hydrocarbons and promote ethanol and biodiesel also detest biotechnology. Go figure.

Some biofuel advocates tout cellulosic ethanol as a partial solution – because switchgrass requires less fertilizer, and this perennial’s roots help stabilize the soil and reduce runoff. But no one has yet been able to turn this pipedream source into ethanol on a commercial scale. Another potential manmade fuel could be methanol from natural gas produced via hydraulic fracturing, but greens continue to oppose fracking.

This algae boom, bust and dead zone phenomenon may not be an ecological crisis, and it’s been going on for decades. But why make it worse, with an expensive, engine-wrecking fuel that eco-activists, politicians and ethanol lobbyists pretend is better for the planet than fossil fuels? Why don’t biofuel boosters at least include this serious, recurring environmental damage in their cost-benefit analyses?

And why do we continue to tolerate the double standards? Environmentalists, politicians and bureaucrats come down with iron fists on any private sector damages involving fossil fuel or nuclear power. They have different standards for the “natural” and “eco-friendly” “alternatives” they advocate. Ethanol from corn is just one example. An even more grotesque double standard involves wind turbines.

Big Green activists and Big Government bureaucrats (especially Fish & Wildlife Service) let Big Wind companies kill eagles and other raptors, conduct deliberately insufficient and incompetent body counts, hide and bury carcasses, and even store hundreds of dead eagles in freezers, away from prying eyes. Using German and Swedish studies as a guide, Save the Eagles International experts calculate that the real US wind turbine death toll is probably 13 million or more birds and bats every year, slaughtered in the name of saving the planet from computer-concocted ravages of manmade global warming.

These policies are unsustainable and intolerable. The same environmental and endangered species standards must be applied to all our energy alternatives – and the ethanol quotas must be terminated.

Via email





Iowan’s USDA appointment raises concern

The appointment of Iowa’s Angela Tagtow, a controversial “environmental nutritionist” and local food activist, to head the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion is causing more headaches for the agency, already facing criticism about politicization of federal nutrition advice and its consequences for public health.

By using the government’s official dietary guidelines as a tool to advance her well-established environmentalist agenda, Tagtow would undermine the USDA’s mandate — to provide families with science-based, impartial nutrition advice.

The USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services administer the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, which makes recommendations regarding the dietary guidelines mandated by Congress. The guidelines, now being revised, are the basis for federal food and nutrition programs and welfare benefits such as SNAP and educational campaigns, including MyPlate (formerly the food pyramid). The USDA touts them to be “authoritative advice for people 2 years and older about how good dietary habits can promote health and reduce risk for major chronic diseases.”

The fourth meeting of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee started Thursday and will conclude today.

According to Politico, recent advisory committee meetings raised eyebrows because “hot-button issues, such as diet and climate change,” are being discussed in an unprecedented way. The committee has even dedicated one of five subcommittees to “food sustainability and safety” to discuss how the food we eat contributes to climate change and how the government should recommend changes to our diets based on those concerns.

Sustainable food systems and environmental protection may be important, but these issues don’t belong in discussions of healthy eating.

That hasn’t stopped the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee from delving deeply into them over the past year. In the January meeting of the committee, member Miriam Nelson gushed about the importance of promoting foods that have the “littlest impact on the environment” and invited testimony from sustainability expert Kate Clancy, who argued it would be “perilous” not to take global climate change into account when dispensing dietary advice.

In April, a USDA spokesperson seemed to back away from the row by minimizing the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s role in policy-making, saying, “The committee is still in the early stages of its work, so it is premature to guess what their recommendations might be, and even more premature to speculate about what will be included in the final dietary guidelines.”

But the appointment of Tagtow to the USDA office responsible for not only developing and promoting the dietary guidelines, but advancing prominent programs such as MyPlate, suggests that the USDA is doubling down on raising the profile of our diet’s alleged effect on the climate and other issues that have more to do with political science than nutritional science.

For instance, Tagtow boasts that the mission of her consulting firm, Environmental Nutrition Solutions, “is to establish healthier food systems that are resilient, sustainable, ecologically sound, socially acceptable and economically viable.”

This isn’t nutrition. This is code language for politically charged activism. In what amounts to her policy platform statement, Tagtow writes that we should select meat and dairy products from animals that have been fed only grass diets.

She also repeats the myth that meat is an environmentally reckless form of protein, suggesting a plant-based diet instead. She says we should reduce our consumption of meat, lean or not, not because of any potential health benefits, but in order to “conserve natural resources and energy.”

Tagtow has suggested that Iowans could improve the state’s economy by eating only food grown in the state, at least part of the year.

She touted a Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture study, claiming that ” if Iowans ate five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, and Iowa farmers supplied that produce for three months of the year, these additional crops would add $300 million and more than 4,000 jobs to the Iowa economy.”

She fails to mention that in her utopian Iowa, residents wouldn’t likely enjoy the benefits of staples like oranges or pineapples for those months. Nor does she consider the devastation to Iowa’s agricultural community if her agro-protectionist ideals were implemented in other states.

Well, now she’s headed to the federal government to promote her narrow ideology.

The maxim that in government, “personnel is policy,” is especially true here, given Tagtow’s policymaking role. The priorities she’s spent her career advancing are far from the consensus among mainstream nutritionists.

Her appointment is a slap in the face to thousands of men and women in nutrition who daily work tirelessly and impartially to help Americans eat better. And it casts doubt over whether USDA is willing to dispense nutrition advice based on science rather than an activist agenda.

SOURCE




Australia: Greenie meat pies rejected

Meat pies are often said to be Australia's national food and I certainly am a fancier of them.  The ones I buy have chunks of steak in them and cost around $3.50



Sustainable. Organic. Locally sourced. These four words bulldoze us at every supermarket corner, on every menu and during many a MasterChef ad break. But how happy are we to pay a higher price for such produce?

A Victorian bakery has removed a meat pie from its menu because of complaints the price was too high.

At RedBeard Bakery in Trentham, about an hour north-west of Melbourne, a conversation similar to the following took place at least 10 times a week:

“One pie, thanks mate.”

“No worries. That'll be $8.”

“You're bloody kidding me! That's highway robbery!”

“Our ingredients are sourced locally and we know the farmers. The meat is grass-fed and sustainable. The pastry is made with organic butter and hand-rolled. The pie is put together by hand and cooked in our 19th century Scotch oven. It actually costs us $8 to make, so we're really providing a community service.”

“Whatever, mate. I didn't ask for a sermon.”

Fed up with explaining the price to tourists and tradies alike, RedBeard co-owner and baker Al Reid ceased making the pie in June.

“Every day there were embarrassing, stilted conversations with customers trying to justify why you're charging what is actually quite a reasonable price given the quality of the product and the labour input,” Reid says. “Customers' perceptions of what a pie should cost seem to be based on what you pay at a footy match. Pies ain't pies, just like oils ain't oils.”

Reid says cheap, mass-produced factory pies are often just gravy, corn starch and pastry made with margarine and transfats. They're cheap for a reason.

The removal of RedBeard's pie ignited a flutter of comments on its Facebook page. Most of these lamented the loss and suggested the complainers buy their frozen pies elsewhere.

But where does popular opinion lie?

An article this writer penned about Sydney's best dumplings attracted a wealth of comments on the theme that prices at high-end dumpling houses are absurd when you can purchase 12 dumplings for $4 “down the road”.

This is true. The Chinatowns of Melbourne and Sydney are rife with dumpling houses that trade potstickers by the pound. However, for the most part these little parcels of (admittedly delicious) mystery meat are in no way organic or sustainable. This is why you'll pay more “up the road”.

At Mr Wong, dim sum master Eric Koh uses Alaskan king crab in his noodle wraps (one for $12) and dumplings. It's not cheap, but then, Alaskan king crab fishing isn't easy: it takes place only in autumn; specific size requirements must be met, and only males can be kept.

“I think that in the past many dim sum chefs did not necessarily appreciate the importance of quality ingredients,” Koh says. “It required a vast amount of research to develop my knowledge about the individual ingredients and the skills needed to make the best quality dumplings possible. In the last five to 10 years more people are appreciating the value of dumplings and understanding that you pay for what you get.”

If RedBeard Bakery was selling $8 organic pies in Surry Hills or Collingwood, would it have attracted the same daily criticism? Probably not. Mary's burger bar in Newtown sells cheeseburgers for $14 – and not the type of baby-elephant-sized cheeseburgers that even a Texan would struggle to finish. They're not much bigger than one from Macca's but Mary's is packed to its exposed rafters every night with punters scoffing them down.

The price is justified: Mary's burger patties are made from a mix of high quality, house-smoked brisket, chuck and rump. But a takeaway store charging $14 for a burger this size in country NSW would be unthinkable.

Then there are the hand-cut chips at Hooked Healthy Seafood in Melbourne. Made from locally grown potatoes that are delivered fresh and unfrozen, the chips are big, fat and incredibly tasty. They will also set you back $7.95 for a large serving. That price would be laughed at in a palm-oil-using fish-and-chippery, but at Hooked (which has shops in Fitzroy, Windsor and Hawthorn) the chips have a status approaching legendary.

Despite justified prices and no shortage of customers, user review sites for Hooked host a good deal of “overpriced” and “rip-off” rants – especially comparing it to chippies (again) “down the road”.

Will Australia reach a point where we can all agree that $8 for a pie made from local, organic ingredients is justifiable? Signs are promising. But while buzzwords like "organic" and "sustainable" are bandied around without wider education on the processes and costs associated with producing organic and sustainable food, that day seems some time away.

And Coles selling four frozen pies for $4 doesn't help.

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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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Climate data from air, land, sea and ice in 2013 reflect trends of a warming planet; Increases in temperature, sea level and CO2 observed

The Warmists at NOAA are clutching at straws here.

1). They say that just three countries in the Southern hemisphere had record high temperatures.  But if it's GLOBAL warming, shouldn't the high temperatures have happened in more countries than that? Nothing in the Northern hemisphere? If a phenomenon is not global it is local and of no use in upholding Warmist dogma.  There are plenty of local weather influences.

2). And it's a wonder that they mention the rise in CO2 at all, now at a level that was once predicted to be catastrophic.  Where is the catastrophe?

3). And they say that the global temperature  ranked "between second and sixth depending upon the dataset used". So which is it?  The ranking is obviously far from solid.

4). And they say: "sea surface temperature for 2013 was among the 10 warmest on record".  That means that there were 9 years when it was warmer.  So it actually COOLED in 2003.

I will comment no further on such hilarious garbage

In 2013, the vast majority of worldwide climate indicators—greenhouse gases, sea levels, global temperatures, etc.—continued to reflect trends of a warmer planet, according to the indicators assessed in the State of the Climate in 2013 report, released online today by the American Meteorological Society.

Scientists from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., served as the lead editors of the report, which was compiled by 425 scientists from 57 countries around the world (highlights, visuals, full report). It provides a detailed update on global climate indicators, notable weather events, and other data collected by environmental monitoring stations and instruments on air, land, sea, and ice.

“These findings reinforce what scientists for decades have observed: that our planet is becoming a warmer place,” said NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D. “This report provides the foundational information we need to develop tools and services for communities, business, and nations to prepare for, and build resilience to, the impacts of climate change.”

The report uses dozens of climate indicators to track patterns, changes, and trends of the global climate system, including greenhouse gases; temperatures throughout the atmosphere, ocean, and land; cloud cover; sea level; ocean salinity; sea ice extent; and snow cover. These indicators often reflect many thousands of measurements from multiple independent datasets. The report also details cases of unusual and extreme regional events, such as Super Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated portions of Southeast Asia in November 2013.

Highlights:

    Greenhouse gases continued to climb: Major greenhouse gas concentrations, including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide, continued to rise during 2013, once again reaching historic high values. Atmospheric CO2 concentrations increased by 2.8 ppm in 2013, reaching a global average of 395.3 ppm for the year. At the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, the daily concentration of CO2 exceeded 400 ppm on May 9 for the first time since measurements began at the site in 1958. This milestone follows observational sites in the Arctic that observed this CO2 threshold of 400 ppm in spring 2012.

    Warm temperature trends continued near the Earth’s surface: Four major independent datasets show 2013 was among the warmest years on record, ranking between second and sixth depending upon the dataset used. In the Southern Hemisphere, Australia observed its warmest year on record, while Argentina had its second warmest and New Zealand its third warmest.

    Sea surface temperatures increased: Four independent datasets indicate that the globally averaged sea surface temperature for 2013 was among the 10 warmest on record. El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-neutral conditions in the eastern central Pacific Ocean and a negative Pacific decadal oscillation pattern in the North Pacific had the largest impacts on the global sea surface temperature during the year. The North Pacific was record warm for 2013.

    Sea level continued to rise: Global mean sea level continued to rise during 2013, on pace with a trend of 3.2 ± 0.4 mm per year over the past two decades.

    The Arctic continued to warm; sea ice extent remained low: The Arctic observed its seventh warmest year since records began in the early 20th century. Record high temperatures were measured at 20-meter depth at permafrost stations in Alaska. Arctic sea ice extent was the sixth lowest since satellite observations began in 1979. All seven lowest sea ice extents on record have occurred in the past seven years.

    Antarctic sea ice extent reached record high for second year in a row; South Pole station set record high temperature: The Antarctic maximum sea ice extent reached a record high of 7.56 million square miles on October 1. This is 0.7 percent higher than the previous record high extent of 7.51 million square miles that occurred in 2012 and 8.6 percent higher than the record low maximum sea ice extent of 6.96 million square miles that occurred in 1986. Near the end of the year, the South Pole had its highest annual temperature since records began in 1957.

    Tropical cyclones near average overall / Historic Super Typhoon: The number of tropical cyclones during 2013 was slightly above average, with a total of 94 storms, in comparison to the 1981-2010 average of 89. The North Atlantic Basin had its quietest season since 1994. However, in the Western North Pacific Basin, Super Typhoon Haiyan – the deadliest cyclone of 2013 – had the highest wind speed ever assigned to a tropical cyclone, with one-minute sustained winds estimated to be 196 miles per hour.

State of the Climate in 2013 is the 24th edition in a peer-reviewed series published annually as a special supplement to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. The journal makes the full report openly available online.

"State of the Climate is vital to documenting the world's climate," said Dr. Keith Seitter, AMS Executive Director. "AMS members in all parts of the world contribute to this NOAA-led effort to give the public a detailed scientific snapshot of what's happening in our world and builds on prior reports we've published."

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Owen Paterson to give climate sceptic group's keynote address

Owen Paterson, the sacked Environment Secretary, has signed up to deliver the annual lecture of the controversial climate sceptic group founded by former Chancellor Nigel Lawson.

Mr Paterson, who was frequently accused of climate scepticism by environmental campaigners during his tenure, was axed in Monday's reshuffle and had already warned the Prime Minister he intended to be vocal from the backbenches.

The Global Warming Policy Foundation, founded by Mr Lawson in 2009, describes itself as "open-minded on the contested science of global warming" but "deeply concerned about the costs and other implications of many of the policies currently being advocated".

Critics say it misleads people by casting doubt on the overwhelming scientific consensus over manmade climate change.

Mr Paterson will deliver the GWPF's annual lecture in October, the group announced on Friday.

Last year's lecture was delivered by John Howard, the former Australian Prime Minister, who described advocates of tackling climate change as “alarmists” and “zealots”.

Asked on Friday whether he GWPF engagement confirmed he was a climate sceptic, Mr Paterson said only: "I am a realistic country person."

"I'm giving the lecture, my views will be made clear then," he told the Telegraph, while appearing at the CLA Game Fair.

Mr Paterson's speech will have the potential to embarrass David Cameron, who has said climate change is one of the most serious threats facing the UK.

Mr Paterson was criticised for his response to the floods last winter, which Mr Cameron said he "strongly suspected" were linked to climate change.

Environmental groups suggested that Mr Paterson had failed to take the increasing risk of floods seriously because he was sceptical of climate science.

Tony Bosworth, Friends of the Earth energy campaigner, tweeted that Mr Paterson was revealing his "true colours" while Ben Stewart, Greenpeace UK's head of news, tweeted "that didn't take long".

Guy Shrubsole, Friends of the Earth climate campaigner said: "This is beyond satire, and confirms that Owen Paterson was never fit to hold the post of Environment Secretary.

"Liz Truss must make a clean break with her predecessor by backing urgent action to slash emissions, and by speaking to scientists and experts - not the climate quacks at the GWPF."

Mr Paterson said he was “disappointed” to lose his job on Monday night after being summoned to the Prime Minister’s Commons office, and said he wanted to push his “clear ideas” about the future of the country.

“At this critical moment in our nation’s history, I have clear ideas on the future of the UK and its place in the world. I intend to continue to serve my country and constituents from the backbenches,” he said in a letter released by Downing Street.

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The Prince Really is Potty – Dangerously So!

By Rich Kozlovich

Prince Charles has been criticized a lot over the years, including for claiming how ‘crucial’ it is to talk to plants. He claims, "I happily talk to the plants and trees, and listen to them. I think it's absolutely crucial," "Everything I've done here, it's like almost with your children. Every tree has a meaning for me."
I’m willing to bet the ancient Druids felt the same way.

One thing we must come to understand about these ‘green’ loons is this.  The issue is now and has always been, the battle between nature worshipers and worshipers of God. Modern environmentalism is nothing more than a neo-pagan nature worshiping movement that is irrational, misanthropic and morally defective, dressed up to appear modern and science based in its approach and thinking.

I’ve been reading R. Mark Musser’s Nazi Oaks, which outlines the historical accuracy of my statement. The policies, philosophy and programs promoted by the Green movement in the West, including the Prince’s, originated in the dark mist covered forests of ancient Germania and the nature worship of the ancient Celtic religion of the Druids, who were the educated, professional class, whose function was to be the intermediaries between the gods and mankind. They would make the decisions for their people.  Sound familiar?

In the mid to late 1800’s German philosophers attempted to define these pagan originated concepts into a modern philosophy, and people like Martin Heidegger, who promoted his green claptrap well into the 20th century, helped to develop it into codified law under the Nazis. Everything the green movement has espoused in modern times is nothing more than a carbon copy of Nazi green laws, including the Precautionary Principle.

It has been claimed that the Precautionary Principle originated in the 1970's, with the German green movement and the influence of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. That may have been a strong influence for adopting it in the Maastricht treaty, but while the origin is clearly German, the philosophy goes back much further. According to Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen in a chapter which appeared in the book “Interpreting the Precautionary Principle” edited by Tim O’Riordan and James Cameron, the Precautionary Principle;

“evolved out of the German Socio-legal tradition, created in the heyday of democratic socialism in the 1930’s, centering on the concept of good household management. This was regarded as a constructive partnership between the individual, the economy and the state to manage change so as to improve the lot of both society and the natural world upon which it deepened for survival.

 This invested the precautionary principle with a managerial or programmable quality, a purposeful role in guiding future political and regularity action.

In short, under the concept of Precautionary Principle – which no matter what is claimed is virtually indefinable in the real world, or if you will, unendingly re-definable according to someone's whim - was codifying central planning for everything by elitists bureaucrats that “know best” for everyone and who would make all the decisions using ‘saving the planet’ as a theme to justify tyranny. Remember who ran Germany in the 1930’s? Adolph Hitler! A monstrous incompetent who’s “Interior Minister Wilhelm Frick considered those who were mentally ill, incurable sick or handicapped to be useless eaters”. He was one of the primary authors of Nazi euthanasia law. Accordingly his contribution to “Nazism was to envisage the monstrous and cloak it in law”.
Please keep that sentence in mind as we go along.

The Prince has been quoted as saying, "I got a lot of flak for a lot of things”….."I mean, potty this, potty that, loony this, loony that." Well, maybe there’s a reason for those expressed views.  They're accurate!

This is a future monarch who privately ‘consorts’ with government ministers to promote his pet policies, including his views on climate change, modern agricultural practices, genetically modified organisms, which he claims, “despite all evidence to the contrary, will lead to mass extinction of our species”. One journalist, Jeff Randall, suggested to the Prince that the future of farming perhaps should be with industrial-scale production, the Prince 'exploded' saying 'That would be the complete destruction of everything!' And he’s frustrated because no one in government will go along with his ‘potty’ views on 'complementary medicine’, which would include coffee enemas as a cure for cancer.

Quite frankly, I never understood why the British has a Constitutional Monarchy that’s not permitted to express opinions, privately or publically. If that’s the case just dump them, but that’s another issue.

It’s claimed the Prince isn’t an unkind man, in fact it appears just the opposite according to one writer, but that truly calls the caliber of his mind into question. It’s been said, “If you are waiting to be the King of the United Kingdom, and you’ve waited a very long time, you genuinely have to engage with something or you’d go spare.” Well, perhaps that’s the problem. This is man who has lived an amazingly privileged life, for which he did nothing to earn, and desperately desires to be meaningful.

Well, he chose poorly and he’s failed!  One writer noted;

“Everything that Charles holds dear, certainly. While he is always accorded the reputation of being a 'progressive', in fact, he is a spectacularly reactionary figure, whose ideal vision of Britain is a kind of pre-industrial paradise — which never existed.“
There are a number of things we know for sure. The policies the Prince promotes such as; “renewable energy only, no pesticides, no industrial-scale farming — would lead to a crippling increase in the prices of everything from home heating to the cereal we feed our children.” “The point is that all the technological advances the Prince detests have been designed to reduce the cost of living for the public. Yes, the companies that make those breakthroughs are motivated above all by the desire to increase profits — but that does not make their achievements contemptible. “

As for Nobel-Prize winner Norman Borlaug’s Green Revolution which saved untold millions in India - the Prince denounced it. Truth is the sublime convergence of history and reality, and the ‘self sufficient and sustainable’ practices the Prince promotes “slaughtered millions of populations on the subcontinent”. Is it possible he can’t be aware of that? That’s a historical fact he must be aware of.  The Prince is, as all the world’s leaders, at the center of the information world.  How can he be unaware of the history of what occurred before modern agriculture?

Norman Borlaug was what Prince Charles would love to be. A truly great man, and may have been the greatest man to live in the 20th century for his “Green Revolution”, possibly saving the lives of a billion people from starvation. A man who earned all the accolades accorded to him including the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal and India’s second highest civilian honor, the Padma Vibhushan.

When Borlaug's work has been challenged by these prominent pampered people like the Prince he states:

'They have never experienced the physical sensation of hunger. If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for 50 years, they'd be outraged that fashionable elitists were trying to deny them these things.”

Of course the Prince and his cohorts make the claim they’re saving the planet, but the reality is they’re codifying or attempting to codify laws that would be monstrous to billions of people. They’re not saving the planet they’re attempting to impose a worldwide government that will plan and execute laws at the expense of the people living on it. The number one thought that's shared by all these greenies is there are too many people on the planet.  The 'moderates' among them wish to eliminate between four and five billion people.  The minority wishes for mankind to cease to exist.

The Prince is dangerous in a number of ways because he has a platform on the world's stage, and he’s is either historically ignorant- or chooses to be.  He is intellectually and scientifically ignorant – or chooses to be.   And he must be morally clueless - and chooses to be - because he’s chosen to ignore the history and science showing all his views are irrational, misanthropic and morally defective.

SOURCE





An eco-friendly Harley Davidson – worst idea ever?

Within a year, an eco-friendly, electronic version of the famous motorcycle will be on sale – without the va-va-vroom which gives us such a thrill.

The idea of an electronic version of the Harley Davidson is the worst idea in commercial history – after Cherry Coke and the autobiography of Michaela Biancofiore, the Italian politician. The Harley Davidson is akin to a garish bimbo - and yet the whole essence of such a bimbo is her very appearance.

To deprive the Harley Davidson of its infamous noisome rumble, and to replace it with an electric alternative, is not only an awful idea, it’s just weird. It’s like taking away the chug-chug sound from an espresso machine, or the school bell from playtime, or the fanfare of a military parade. These are unrivalled sounds, and the vulgar, bombastic noise of a Harley is also historic, it being the only motor sound to be protected by copyright.

That’s not all. Women say that a Harley’s roar is the last bastion of true virility, a hallmark of authentic masculinity. You feel and even know that a heterosexual male is driving one. Even if it’s a bit boorish, the bike is still masculine.

My fear now with this metrosexual version of the Harley is that your typical biker will soon adapt himself to it. Before you know it, we’ll be finding hordes of these one-time ex-centurions of the road dressed in dyed skinny-jeans and moccasins.

You can’t ride a Harley that makes no noise. You can’t ask for a ride in a contraption that makes the same sound as a golf cart or a child’s toy. Be gone with your puny, eco-Harley Davidson, I implore you. Perhaps the planet won’t be grateful to us for saying as much, but women will be. And how!

SOURCE




People, your TVs are too big!

Earlier this year, Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat secretary of state for energy, hit a new low in proposals to deal with Britain’s inadequate and pricey energy supply. In a startling new insight, he declared that the government would pay factories to shut down at times of peak demand, that no economic activity would be curtailed by such a measure, and that it was ‘cheaper than building new power stations’.

Now he has gone one worse.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have just published a report with the oxymoronic title Powering the Nation 2: Electricity use in homes, and how to reduce it. It pretty much does to households what Davey’s earlier scheme proposed for factories. True, the government won’t pay you to switch off the TV, lights and other appliances in your home; but, to save on Britain’s consumption of energy, it would like you to buy smaller TVs, if you’re a working-class telly addict. And, if you’re middle class, it would like you to stop buying big fridges.

‘We cannot make informed decisions about electricity generation’, the report pompously declares, ‘without also understanding the potential for efficiencies and savings from households… This relies on robust data and analysis.’ What the authors – researchers at Loughborough University and consultancy firm Cambridge Architectural Research – mean by this turns out to be simple. Manufacturers of household appliances need to improve the energy efficiency of their machines – despite the fact that, according to DECC itself, they have been doing exactly this.

Old people and poor people (or members of Britain’s ‘claimant culture’, according to the classification quoted from the market research company Experian) need to stop using electricity to heat their homes, and switch to gas instead. And everyone should cut back, so that, in sum, energy savings equivalent to ‘more than the annual output of two large (1.5 GW) power stations’ can be made.
Related categories

As Nicola Terry, a co-author of the report, put it: ‘Why do we need a bigger TV, and why do we need a bigger fridge? [The trouble is that] when people go to the shop they think, that’s bigger it must be better.’

The disdain felt by the authors for the populace is all too palpable. The possibility that people might want a bigger screen to enjoy the World Cup does not seem to occur to our learned experts. And have they never considered the possibility that dispensing with big freezers and, instead, making a daily visit to get your super fresh in-season organically-grown pesticide-free victuals could actually use a lot of petrol?

No, they haven’t. They know better than the plebs. Just keep on with fruitless efforts to lower demand for energy. Anything, anything but build new power stations!

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Australian carbon price helped curb emissions, ANU study finds

As something of a coincidence with Australia's repeal of the carbon tax, a study has come out claiming that the tax did have the effect intended.  A report of the study plus the journal abstract is given below.  There is no intrinsic problem with that conclusion.  Taxing something does generally reduce demand for it.  I nonetheless think that the report is pure guesswork.  I cannot see how they can separate out the effect of the tax from other  factors bearing down on electricity generation.  

For most of the period surveyed the Labor government was in power, energetically pressing a variety of policies designed to have the same effect as the tax.  The winding back of brown coal powered generation in Victoria is the most obvious example of that.  Shutting down the cheapest power generators in the country took some time but it did eventually happen to some extent in the latter phase of ALP rule.

And if you read the abstract, it is clear that estimates (guesses) were involved.  Their admission:  "There are fundamental difficulties in attributing observed changes in demand and supply to specific causes" is very much to the point

Australia cut carbon dioxide emissions from its electricity sector by as much as 17 million tonnes because of the carbon price and would have curbed more had industry expected the price to be permanent, according to an Australian National University study.

The report, due to be submitted for peer-reviewed publication, found the two years of the carbon price had a discernible impact on emissions even assuming conservative responses by consumers and businesses.

“We see the carbon price doing what it was meant to do, and what it was expected to do, namely dampen demand and shift the supply from dirtier to cleaner sources of electricity,” said Associate Professor Frank Jotzo, director of the Centre for Climate Economics and Policy, and a co-author of the report with the centre’s Marianna O’Gorman.

The paper comes as the Senate voted on Thursday to bring almost five years of Coalition campaigning against a price on carbon to an end by repealing the tax. Labor and the Greens say they will continue to push for a price on emissions.

The ANU report, which used official market data to the end of June, found the drop in power demand attributed to the carbon price was between 2.5 and 4.2 terawatt-hours per year, or about 1.3 to 2.3 per cent of the National Electricity Market serving about 80 per cent of Australia’s population.

Emissions-intensive brown and black coal-fired power generators cut output, with about 4 gigawatts of capacity taken offline. The emissions intensity of NEM supply dropped between 16 and 28 kilograms of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour of supply, underscoring the role of carbon pricing rather than slumping demand in curbing pollution, the paper said.

However, investors’ doubts that the carbon tax would last – fostered in part by then opposition leader Tony Abbott’s “blood oath” to repeal it if the Coalition took office - meant high-emissions generators were mothballed rather than permanently closed.

“We’d expect the impact of the carbon price would have been larger, perhaps far larger, if there had been an expectation that the carbon price would have continued,” Professor Jotzo said.

Falling demand

Environment Minister Greg Hunt has said repeatedly that the carbon tax was ineffective, stating Australia’s total emissions fell 0.1 per cent in the first year.

More recent figures, though, show the emissions drop accelerated, with 2013’s 0.8 per cent economy-wide fall the largest annual reduction in the 24 years of monitoring. In the power sector, the industry most directly covered by the carbon price, emissions fell 5 per cent.

“As confirmed by Origin Energy managing director Grant King, there are other factors resulting in lower emissions in the electricity sector – including lower demand, the impact of the [Renewable Energy Target], flooding at the Yallourn power station and increased hydro output,” a spokesman for Mr Hunt said.

However, the ANU paper takes those factors into account in estimating the carbon price impact, Professor Jotzo said.

Rather, the impact of the carbon price is probably understated. The highly politicised debate preceded its implementation by about a year, prompting energy consumers to focus more on electricity costs – and presumably to begin making savings – well before the tax began.

“We would expect politically motivated talk ... may well have had a large impact on people’s power usage patterns,” Professor Jotzo said....

“The only thing that went wrong in Australia was the politics of climate change policy,” Professor Jotzo said. “There was nothing inherently wrong with scheme.”

SOURCE

Impact of the carbon price on Australia’s electricity demand, supply and emissions

Marianna O'Gorman, Frank Jotzo

Abstract:

Australia’s carbon price has been in operation for two years. The electricity sector accounts for the majority of emissions covered under the scheme. This paper examines the impact of the carbon price on the electricity sector between 1 July 2012 and 30 June 2014, focusing on the National Electricity Market (NEM). Over this period, electricity demand in the NEM declined by 3.8 per cent, the emissions intensity of electricity supply by 4.6 per cent, and overall emissions by 8.2 per cent, compared to the two-year period before the carbon price. We detail observable changes in power demand and supply mix, and estimate the quantitative effect of the effect of the carbon price. We estimate that the carbon price led to an average 10 per cent increase in nominal retail household electricity prices, an average 15 per cent increase in industrial electricity prices and a 59 per cent increase in wholesale (spot) electricity prices. It is likely that in response, households, businesses and the industrial sector reduced their electricity use. We estimate the demand reduction attributable to the carbon price at 2.5 to 4.2 TWh per year, about 1.3 to 2.3 per cent of total electricity demand in the NEM. The carbon price markedly changed relative costs between different types of power plants. Emissions-intensive brown coal and black coal generators reduced output and 4GW of emissions-intensive generation capacity was taken offline. We estimate that these shifts in the supply mix resulted in a 16 to 28kg CO2/MWh reduction in the emissions intensity of power supply in the NEM, a reduction between 1.8 and 3.3 per cent. The combined impact attributable to the carbon price is estimated as a reduction of between 5 and 8 million tonnes of CO2 emissions (3.2 to 5 per cent) in 2012/13 and between 6 and 9 million tonnes (3.5 to 5.6 per cent) in 2013/14, and between 11 and 17 million tonnes cumulatively. There are fundamental difficulties in attributing observed changes in demand and supply to specific causes, especially over the short term, and in this light we use conservative parameters in the estimation of the effect of the carbon price. We conclude that the carbon price has worked as expected in terms of its short-term impacts. However, its effect on investment in power generation assets has probably been limited, because of policy uncertainty about the continuation of the carbon pricing mechanism. For emissions pricing to have its full effect, a stable, long-term policy framework is needed.

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