Friday, November 24, 2017



An attempt to prop up an EPA obsession. Does fine dust kill you?

Because motor vehicles put out a lot of fine particles from their exhausts, the EPA has long tried to show that such pollution kills you.  But the EPA are not alone in that.  With great regularity studies from all sources emerge which show that living near a major road has adverse health consequences.  I have critiqued many of those studies over the years and ALL of them fail to allow for confounding.  For instance, it is mainly the poor who live beside major roads and the poor are unhealthier anyway. So the association between roads and health is actually an association between poverty and health -- an association we knew all along.

The study below seems to be similarly inconclusive. The poor probably live in more polluted areas.  As far as I can tell they failed to account for poverty and other social class variables that could have mediated the findings.  And they have no actual data on anyone's cause of death.  Because a person who died lived near a polluted area they simply assume that pollution was the cause of his death.  That seems to me to be assuming what you have to prove.

Futhermore all the associations reported were in the form of  very low relative risks clustered around 1.0, which is most parsimoniously interpreted as "no association".  There is much more that could be said about this study and Steve Milloy has said it.  Like many studies before it, this study too is junk


Long-Term PM 2.5 Exposure and Respiratory, Cancer, and Cardiovascular Mortality in Older US Adults

Vivian C Pun, Fatemeh Kazemiparkouhi, Justin Manjourides, Helen H Suh

Abstract

The impact of chronic exposure to fine particulate matter (particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter less than or equal to 2.5 μm (PM2.5)) on respiratory disease and lung cancer mortality is poorly understood. In a cohort of 18.9 million Medicare beneficiaries (4.2 million deaths) living across the conterminous United States between 2000 and 2008, we examined the association between chronic PM2.5 exposure and cause-specific mortality. We evaluated confounding through adjustment for neighborhood behavioral covariates and decomposition of PM2.5 into 2 spatiotemporal scales. We found significantly positive associations of 12-month moving average PM2.5 exposures (per 10-μg/m3 increase) with respiratory, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and pneumonia mortality, with risk ratios ranging from 1.10 to 1.24. We also found significant PM2.5-associated elevated risks for cardiovascular and lung cancer mortality. Risk ratios generally increased with longer moving averages; for example, an elevation in 60-month moving average PM2.5 exposures was linked to 1.33 times the lung cancer mortality risk (95% confidence interval: 1.24, 1.40), as compared with 1.13 (95% confidence interval: 1.11, 1.15) for 12-month moving average exposures. Observed associations were robust in multivariable models, although evidence of unmeasured confounding remained. In this large cohort of US elderly, we provide important new evidence that long-term PM2.5 exposure is significantly related to increased mortality from respiratory disease, lung cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

American Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 180, Issue 12, 15 December 2014, Pages 1159–1167





UK: Another environmental bureaucracy?  Protect us from it!

Local action improves the environment, not more officials
My Times column on environmental policy:

Michael Gove, the environment secretary, is right to promise higher, not lower, environmental standards once we leave the European Union. Britain has always been a pioneer of environmental policy, and indeed many of our protections pre-date our joining the EU. Besides, thanks to the productivity of our farmers, we can spare land for nature in increasing amounts, and thanks to new science and technology, we can afford ever more effective interventions on behalf of wildlife. Improvement, not just protection, is the aim.

But if Mr Gove thinks that the way to achieve this is to set up a new statutory body, “independent of government” with “clear authority” whose job is to “uphold environmental standards”, then he has clearly been spending far too much time with north London greens rather than real conservationists. This is their agenda, not wildlife’s. Too many urban activists in the environmental movement simply see policy as a cash cow to be milked to support paper-pushers enforcing rules while doing precious little on the ground to help the environment.

The first problem with Mr Gove’s proposal is that such a body already exists. Or rather three of them already exist. If you wish to do anything to or with a species of plant, animal or fungus in the British countryside, the chances are that you will need permission from Natural England (or its Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish equivalents) or the Environment Agency, or the Forestry Commission. Or if you are in a national park, add in the national park authority. And then there are the conservation officers of local authorities. Oh, and the Committee on Climate Change will probably sermonise too.

In short, the last thing the natterjack toads and sphagnum mosses of the British Isles need is another vast bureaucracy. They need people in boots, not people in suits. On land, Natural England is almost all the things Mr Gove promises: an arm’s-length, independent, science-based body with “real authority”; in the water, ditto the Environment Agency; in woodland, ditto the Forestry Commission.

So what’s going on? Mr Gove is too canny a politician to set up another quango for the sake of it, and he is familiar enough with the tenets of public-choice theory to know that “regulatory capture” is a very real problem. That is to say, the vested interests in the environmental lobby groups would soon dominate such a body, directly or indirectly.

But the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has long made clear its opposition to grouse shooting practices, despite their economic and ecological benefits, and has asked the European Commission to find Natural England in breach of the Habitats Directive by not doing enough to ban such burning. Brussels is a sort of appeal court for green pressure groups when they don’t like what British government agencies do. That is essentially what spooks environmentalists about Brexit: the loss of a power of last resort to overrule the government and its arm’s-length agencies.

To which I say, and Mr Gove should say: welcome to democracy. Natural England is answerable to parliament, as are the politicians who appoint its board. If it goes rogue and does something that is arguably bad for its mission, then complain through parliament. There is still judicial review as well.

The arrangement by which unelected organisations such as the RSPB get unelected commissioners in Brussels to decide what should happen in say, Wensleydale, whatever British politicians or civil servants decide, is exactly the problem Brexit is there to address. If an organisation wants to alter policy, let it take on the interests it opposes in parliament rather than behind the notoriously closed doors of Brussels: it can get its view heard in questions to ministers, select committee hearings, meetings of all-party groups in two Houses — all on the record. That’s democracy.

We can’t afford to be complacent about environmental standards. They need to be improved and strengthened. Our agencies and civil servants do far too little about invasive species at the moment, for example. The EU has been futile in the battle to save the red squirrel from the grey. I want to prevent the extinction of the curlew, which is a real danger throughout all of England except on Pennine grouse moors, where heather burning is vital to its continuing survival.

Yes, Natural England and the Environment Agency are frustratingly obtuse at times. I have battled the former over its (until recently) idiotic policies on great crested newts, where fences to keep them off development sites make far less sense than agreements that developers should create habitat for them. I have battled the latter over its not allowing us to eat the invasive American crayfish infesting certain rivers in the north of England, thus preventing us improving, perhaps saving, the ecology of an entire river.

But what is wrong here is the policy and its execution, not the administrative structure. Talk to anybody in the countryside involved in conservation and you will find them brimming with ideas about how to help wildlife. For example, we currently incentivise some farmers to cultivate seedy plants to encourage birds in winter, but most of these run out of seed by February and the birds starve then. It is an easy fix to require plants with longer-lasting seeds; it does not require a super-powerful new body. Countryside policy is disfigured by the triumph of intentions over outcomes.

The last thing the environment needs is further nationalisation. It needs a free schools-type revolution. Ofgreen, as Mr Gove’s new body should be called, would be an undemocratic, interest-group-captured, top-down hindrance to the exciting task of steadily improving our environment with ingenious science, imaginative policy and local decision-making.

SOURCE




An MIT Study Linking Hurricane Harvey Rainfall To Climate Change Is Alarmist Bunk

Says Rep. LAMAR SMITH, Chairman, House Science Space, and Technology Committee

An article published last week by The Daily Caller, entitled “Here’s The Inconvenient Truth Behind MIT’s Study Linking Hurricane Harvey to Global Warming,” rightly exposes the major flaws in a newly-published Massachusetts Institute of Technology climate change study.

The MIT study attempts to attribute rainfall during Hurricane Harvey to climate change. As expected, media outlets are sensationalizing the findings of the study without checking the facts. The result is a continuation of the alarmist climate rhetoric we have seen for years.

Many of the extreme weather events cited by the media have no link to climate change.

This hurricane season has been no different. For instance, Hurricane Harvey was portrayed in the media as a deadly consequence of a warming climate. However, the facts are that this just isn’t the case. When looking at historical data for hurricanes affecting the United States, the data shows no trend over time.

The United States recently experienced one of its longest hurricane “droughts” in modern history, spanning a decade since a major hurricane made landfall.

Likewise, flooding has been found to have no correlation to climate change. Even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found in its latest report that there is a lack of scientific evidence pertaining to floods and thus it has low confidence regarding any trends in magnitude or frequency of floods on a global scale.

The story is the same for many indicators of extreme weather, such as tornadoes and drought.

The data does not support the claims often made in the media, yet this does not stop journalists from using alarmist rhetoric to gain a larger readership. Scientists should look to trends before making dire predictions about extreme weather, but the trends show no link to climate change.

Basing a hypothesis on flawed reasoning and assumptions goes against the scientific method. These types of practices are all too common today. Scientists should instead adhere to sound science that is based on the core principles of the scientific method. These principles will steer scientists in the right direction. Assuming an outcome with no supporting evidence will not.

While the media will continue to report unfounded claims about climate change, the facts don’t lie.

SOURCE




EPA Progresses Through HUNDREDS Of FOIA Requests Left Unanswered Under Obama

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials are making progress on responding to the hundreds of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests left unanswered by former President Barack Obama’s administration.

EPA FOIA officers had responded as of October, to 70 percent of the 652 requests left open at the beginning of 2017, according to an agency release. Some requests had been open since 2008.

That doesn’t include the 34 pre-2017 FOIA requests submitted to EPA’s Office of the Inspector General, according to an agency release.

“We are committed to transparency,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a statement.

“EPA staff have quickly responded to the challenge to clear the backlog of FOIAs that built up from the previous administration, all while continuing to respond to the large volume of incoming requests,” Pruitt said.

It’s a big commitment since the agency has been hit with a surge of FOIAs from environmentalists and news outlets, all looking to find out about the inner workings of President Donald Trump’s administration.

EPA received 11,493 FOIA requests in fiscal year 2017, that is the most they’ve gotten since 2007 when outside groups filed 11,820 records requests. EPA got 995 more FOIAs this year than in 2016.

The Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard noted in September several FOIAs wanted “all emails that include ‘climate change’ in them, a list in the millions and will be costly in money and hours to retrieve.”

Bedard pointed to another FOIA from “New York Times reporter Eric Lipton seeking emails that include his name.” Lipton has been a thorn in the side of EPA officials and has been digging into Pruitt’s political activity for years.

Conservative groups have been some of the most vocal critics of EPA’s handling of FOIAs. Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) senior fellow Chris Horner accused EPA of sitting on FOIA’s submitted by conservative groups.

EPA’s inspector general investigated and found no evidence of political interference in FOIA requests, but Horner contested the findings, arguing it was the process, not political appointees, that hampered conservative requests.

Horner said he’d been stonewalled in FOIA requests for former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s emails. Horner eventually sued EPA and got access to Jackson’s emails, that were masked using a fake alias.

CEI also sued EPA in 2015 over the agency’s extremely slow handling of a FOIA request for emails from Jackson’s alias account “Richard Windsor.”

EPA said it would release the 120,000 records associated with CEI’s request at a pace of 100 per month — meaning the FOIA request will be fully processed in about 100 years.

SOURCE





Australia:  China will finance Adani coal mine, insiders say, as Greenies vow obstruction

The Adani Group is close to securing finance for its controversial coal mine and railway project in outback Queensland, with an announcement expected in coming weeks that Chinese state-owned enterprises, banks, and export credit agencies are backing the venture.

Australian taxpayers may be let off the hook under the deal, which could mean Adani no longer requires an Australian Government-subsidised loan of up to $1 billion for the railway it needs to transport the coal to port.

But China's money will come at the cost of local jobs.

Chinese enterprises and export credit agencies invariably require that materials for key infrastructure are sourced from China, effectively shifting work out of Australia and undermining Adani's claims its project will create many thousands of additional jobs for Queensland.

Jobs and exports from existing coal regions will be decimated by new project, according to new research.

Just days ago, a director of Adani Mining, an Australian subsidiary of the Adani Group's flagship company Adani Enterprises, told industry figures Adani had secured Chinese funding for the Carmichael mine in North Queensland and the Carmichael rail project.

He said Adani would not need the loan from the Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) to fund the 388-kilometre railway, and claimed a formal announcement of "financial close" was imminent, the ABC has been told.

Details are sketchy, however the ABC revealed earlier this month that a Chinese state-owned enterprise, China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC), was in negotiations with Adani for contracts to build key mining plant and equipment in return for China's financial backing of the Carmichael mine.

CMEC is listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange, but is 78 per cent owned by the giant Chinese state-owned enterprise China National Machinery Industry Corporation Ltd, or Sinomach.

Media player: "Space" to play, "M" to mute, "left" and "right" to seek.

We asked if you thought leaving Australian taxpayers off the hook in funding the coal mine was more important than keeping jobs in Queensland.

Adani Mining's chief executive Jeyakumar Janakaraj told Reuters in October that Adani was in talks to secure loans from export credit agencies for its mining equipment and tie up other funding.

"The company is in advanced discussions in all these cases with merely term sheets under final negotiations," he said.

Mr Janakaraj said Adani was looking to sell minority equity stakes in the coal project, and rail line, to financial institutions and contractors to help fund it.

"By the end of this financial year, all things will be in place," he said.

The Indian financial year ends on March 31.

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.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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Thursday, November 23, 2017



That pesky Antarctic

A careful new reconstruction of the Antarctic climate record confirms much of what skeptics have been saying. They found evidence of a medieval warm period ("between 300 and 1000 CE") and the Little Ice Age ("1200 to 1900 CE") and show some recent warming as a rebound off the LIA.  They also show that the Antarctic peninsula -- the Warmist's favorite bit of Antarctica  -- is anomalous. I have often pointed to subsurface vulcanism as an influence on peninsula temperatures.  I have truncated the Abstract below at the point where they leave the facts and drift into speculation


Antarctic climate variability on regional and continental scales over the last 2000 years

Barbara Stenni plus Uncle Tom Cobleigh and all

Abstract

Climate trends in the Antarctic region remain poorly characterized, owing to the brevity and scarcity of direct climate observations and the large magnitude of interannual to decadal-scale climate variability. Here, within the framework of the PAGES Antarctica2k working group, we build an enlarged database of ice core water stable isotope records from Antarctica, consisting of 112 records. We produce both unweighted and weighted isotopic (? 18O) composites and temperature reconstructions since 0 CE, binned at 5- and 10-year resolution, for seven climatically distinct regions covering the Antarctic continent. Following earlier work of the Antarctica2k working group, we also produce composites and reconstructions for the broader regions of East Antarctica, West Antarctica and the whole continent. We use three methods for our temperature reconstructions: (i) a temperature scaling based on the ? 18O–temperature relationship output from an ECHAM5-wiso model simulation nudged to ERA-Interim atmospheric reanalyses from 1979 to 2013, and adjusted for the West Antarctic Ice Sheet region to borehole temperature data, (ii) a temperature scaling of the isotopic normalized anomalies to the variance of the regional reanalysis temperature and (iii) a composite-plus scaling approach used in a previous continent-scale reconstruction of Antarctic temperature since 1 CE but applied to the new Antarctic ice core database.

Our new reconstructions confirm a significant cooling trend from 0 to 1900 CE across all Antarctic regions where records extend back into the 1st millennium, with the exception of the Wilkes Land coast and Weddell Sea coast regions.

Within this long-term cooling trend from 0 to 1900 CE, we find that the warmest period occurs between 300 and 1000 CE, and the coldest interval occurs from 1200 to 1900 CE.

Since 1900 CE, significant warming trends are identified for the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, the Dronning Maud Land coast and the Antarctic Peninsula regions, and these trends are robust across the distribution of records that contribute to the unweighted isotopic composites and also significant in the weighted temperature reconstructions.

Only for the Antarctic Peninsula is this most recent century-scale trend unusual in the context of natural variability over the last 2000 years.

SOURCE





EPA Spending $1.2 Million on ‘Environmental Justice’

Taxpayer-funded projects to focus on 'community capacity-building' and 'consensus building'

The Environmental Protection Agency is spending $1.2 million on "environmental justice."

The agency will award 10 grants to nonprofit organizations and religious groups, according to a grant announcement released earlier this month.

"EPA defines ‘environmental justice' as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies," the announcement states. "Fair treatment means that no one group of people, including racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic groups, should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, municipal, and commercial operations or the execution of federal, state, local, and tribal environmental programs and policies."

Grant opportunities are available to "environmental justice networks," "faith based organizations and those affiliated with religious institutions," and other nonprofit groups.

The EPA said it would give special consideration to grant proposals from rural areas.

Groups will have until February to apply. "The total estimated funding for this competitive opportunity is approximately $1,200,000," the EPA said, with plans to award 10 projects in different regions worth $120,000 each.

Under the Obama administration, the EPA spent $90,000 per year on an "Environmental Justice Academy."

The academy and the latest round of EPA environmental justice grants follow the EPA's "Collaborative Problem-Solving Model," a seven-step flow chart that urges communities to work together to "bring about positive change" for sustainability.

Steps in the "Collaborative Problem-Solving Model" include "community capacity-building," "consensus building," and "sound management."

Taxpayer-funded projects will go to underserved communities, which the EPA defines as a "community with environmental justice concerns and/or vulnerable populations, including minority, low income, rural, tribal, and indigenous populations that may be disproportionately impacted by environmental harms and risks and has a local environmental and/or public health issue that is identified in the applicant's proposal."

SOURCE




Badgering Badgers on Climate Change

The Cap Times in Madison, Wisconsin, recently ran an article titled “Climate change is here: Wisconsin is seeing earlier springs, later falls, less snow and more floods,” to which a Badger state resident called our attention.

It’s typical climate alarmist propaganda, and it bemoans what it considers the ignorance, or worse, of those who disagree:

“There are still people who refuse to see what the vast majority of scientists consider self-evident. The president has called climate change a Chinese hoax. The governor’s chief environmental agency, the Department of Natural Resources, has eliminated climate research, disbanded its science bureau and scrubbed all mention of climate change from its website. The agency’s communications director didn’t respond to a Cap Times request for an interview on the subject.”

“Badger State folks have a front-row seat to the effects of global warming,” the article continues. It then discusses rising temperatures and predictions of “earlier springs, later falls, less snow, less lake ice, more floods, more drought, more algae” as well as “more heat.”

The article begins by referring to a map taken from a U.S. Department of Agriculture report on “plant hardiness” for the state: “The new map marked a sea change. … The new map extended the state’s warmest zone — with temperatures bottoming out at minus 10 to minus 15 degrees — from two small pockets clinging to the Lake Michigan coast near Manitowoc and Milwaukee to a swath that runs from the Illinois border up the coast to the tip of Door County.

Madison, which used to be the westernmost point of the next warmest zone — with coldest temperatures bottoming out at minus 20 to minus 15 degrees — is now squarely in the middle. The coldest zone — minus 35 to minus 40 degrees — has fallen completely off of the map.”

Although in an agricultural state, you’d think this would be celebrated as great news, the article treats this news as catastrophe coming ‘round the corner.

Well, what’s to be said? How do we respond?

The first and most important point to make about that article is simply that it uses a sleight of hand typical of many climate alarmists. It speaks of “climate change” with the tacit assumption that it’s primarily human-induced. But changes in temperature — upward and downward — have happened throughout Earth’s history, long before any human activity could conceivably have contributed anything significant to them.

The second is that it considers only a relatively short period in Wisconsin’s climate history. Had it gone back, via proxy measures, to the Medieval Warm Period, the Roman Warm Period, the Minoan Warm Period, or especially the Holocene Climate Optimum, it would have found Wisconsin’s climate equally warm or warmer.

A third failure in the article is to focus on negative consequences of Wisconsin’s warming while ignoring positive consequences. Earlier annual thaw and later annual freeze mean longer growing seasons; fewer cold snaps mean fewer temperature-related deaths (because cold snaps kill 10 times as many per day as heat waves); and increasing precipitation raises crop yields.

Those are fairly broad problems with the article. Now for a few more technical, narrower matters.

“One of the many findings was the 1.1-degree statewide temperature increase between 1950 and 2006,” the article reports. “Scientists expect the average statewide temperature to rise by another 6 or 7 degrees by mid-century, and possibly as much as 9 degrees. Even discounting the worst-case scenario, that’s an acceleration over the increase between 1950 and 2006 by a factor of about eight.”

The rate of rise reported for 1950–2006 was 0.196 degrees per decade. To rise by 6 degrees by mid-century would require a decadal rate of 1.875 degrees ([6/32]*10), which is not eight but nine times the prior rate — and that’s just for the lowest number they present. So their math is a little off. For the highest, 9 degrees by mid-century, the decadal rate would have to be 2.8125 degrees, which is 14.35 times the prior rate.

But the really crucial question is, what basis have they for projecting that the rate of rise will increase by a factor of 9 to 14.35 times? Well, granted that we’re talking about the future, the only possible basis is computer modeling. Two problems then arise.

First, the computer global climate models have consistently predicted two to three times as much warming as actually observed, so it would make sense to adjust their projections of future warming downward by one-half to two-thirds, i.e., from “6 or 7 degrees by mid-century, and possibly as much as 9 degrees,” to “2 or 3, or 2.33 or 3.5 degrees by mid-century, and possibly as much as 3 to 4.5 degrees.”

Those would still indicate an increase in the decadal rate by a factor of 3.19 to 6.78 times instead of 9 to 14.35 times. What could justify the prediction of such an increase in the rate? Again, we’re left with only the computer models.

But, as the comparison between observed and predicted warming rates shows, the models haven’t been validated (a charitable way of putting it), and another important difference between predictions and observations pushes us hard toward the conclusion that the models are invalidated. What’s that?

It’s the fact that none of the models predicted the complete absence of statistically significant increase in global average temperature from early 1997 to late 2015, a period of roughly 18 years and nine months and typically called simply “the pause,” while various modelers had said in the late 2000s and early 2010s that a period of no statistically significant warming lasting eight or more years couldn’t be reconciled with the models.

Even more important, the computer models’ predictions, inflated as they have been, and as wrong as they were about the pause, predict that warming (two to three times observed) to be driven 100% by human activity, none at all by natural. But there are two problems with that assumption.

The first is that the fact of past warming in the absence of the alleged human causes demonstrates that we can’t be sure a priori that human activity drove all the observed warming.

The second is that recent research by John Christy, Joseph D'Aleo, and James Wallace finds that if you control for solar, volcanic, and ocean current (especially El Niño/La Niña Southern Oscillation), no warming is left to blame on human activity.

The article also assumes that the warming predicted will be harmful to people — e.g., in the discussion of heart waves. But, as I pointed out above, cold snaps kill 10 times as many people per day as heat waves, which implies that with warming you’ll get a reduction in temperature-related deaths. Further, simply looking at migration patterns for temperature-sensitive people — primarily the aged — tells you they recognize that they’re healthier in warmer than in colder climates. They move closer to the equator, not farther from it.

In short, insofar as the article, and the research on which it’s based, is intended to persuade people that we should “do something” to prevent the feared warming, and insofar as we can only “do something” about the human causes of it, not about natural causes, both the article and the research paper commit the post hoc fallacy. Seeing that some warming has occurred, and predicting that more warming will occur, they jump to the conclusion that it must be caused by human activity. But there are other possible causes, they can’t be ruled out, and the Christy-D'Aleo-Wallace research makes it quite likely that natural causes far outweigh human causes.

SOURCE





Keystone XL pipeline gets Nebraska’s approval, clearing a key hurdle in 9-year effort and allowing Trump to claim a win

TransCanada’s $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline got the go-ahead from the Nebraska Public Service Commission on Monday, clearing the last regulatory hurdle in a nine-year effort to build a line to carry thick crude oil from Alberta’s tar sands region to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast.

But the five-member commission rejected TransCanada’s preferred route and voted to approve an alternative plan that would move the pipeline further east. The route of the new pipeline, which would carry 830,000 barrels a day of crude, would circumvent more of the state’s ecologically delicate Sandhills region.

The commission’s decision to back an alternative route could complicate TransCanada’s plans, forcing the pipeline company to arrange easements from different landowners. In its submissions, TransCanada had portrayed the alternative route as unworkable. Further litigation is likely.

“As a result of today’s decision, we will conduct a careful review of the Public Service Commission’s ruling while assessing how the decision would impact the cost and schedule of the project,” Russ Girling, TransCanada’s chief executive, said in a statement.

But the commission’s decision could still enable President Trump to claim a victory on a campaign issue. Trump revived the project with an executive order during his first week in office and later gave it the required federal approvals.

In 2012, President Barack Obama approved the construction of the southern leg of the original Keystone XL pipeline proposal; it ran from Cushing, Okla., to Port Arthur, Tex. But in late 2015, he turned down TransCanada’s application to build a pipeline through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska, citing climate concerns and Nebraska’s ecological concerns.

The 3-2 commission decision comes just four days after a rupture in the existing Keystone pipeline also owned by TransCanada leaked an estimated 5,000 barrels of crude oil in a rural part of northeast South Dakota. The spill, the latest in a series of leaks on the existing pipeline, raised concerns about other potential spills, economic impact and climate change.

The independent commission had come under pressure from the Nebraska state legislature and labor unions to approve the pipeline while environmental groups and prairie populists have vowed to appeal, if necessary, to the courts and follow that up with civil disobedience.

The commissioners who voted for the pipeline permit included Frank E. Landis Jr., a lawyer first elected in 1988; Rod Johnson, a former Republican state legislator; and Tim Schram, a former county commissioner. The pipeline was opposed by newly elected Mary Ridder, a cattle rancher from the Sandhills region, and Crystal Rhoades, who has worked with a variety of community organizations before becoming a commissioner.

While the approved alternative route would largely avoid the Sandhills, it would still cross small shallow parts of the Ogallala aquifer, the main source of drinking and irrigation water in Nebraska and much of the Great Plains.

In her dissent, Rhoades said she opposed the pipeline regardless of the route. She said that the pipeline was not in the state’s public interest, that jobs would not go to Nebraskans, that it would create “significant burdens” on landowners whose use of the pipeline corridor would be limited, and that she was still worried about the environmental impact.

“All human-made infrastructure degrades and fails over time,” she wrote. “No infrastructure ever designed has lasted for eternity and there is no reason to believe this pipeline will be an exception.” Rhoades acknowledged that the commission was not supposed to weigh the risks of spills, but she said the state’s Department of Environmental Quality had included it in the record.

While TransCanada has promoted the pipeline project as a jobs creator, Rhoades said that “there was no evidence provided that any jobs created by the construction of this project would be given to Nebraska residents.”

She also said that TransCanada had failed to consult Nebraska’s Native American tribes. She noted that the company said it had consulted with the Southern Ponca Tribe, but Rhoades said that resides in Oklahoma. “This is the equivalent of asking a distant relative for permission to do a major construction in your backyard,” she wrote.

The impetus for the controversial pipeline has been to provide transportation for the thick bitumen produced in Alberta to the Gulf Coast. Many oil sands producers currently ship crude by railroad, which is not immune from accidents. Pipeline transportation is also cheaper than rail.

“Nebraska’s decision today greatly diminishes the political risk for the project, likely clearing the way for increased volumes of West Canadian heavy crude to reach the Gulf Coast,” Zachary Rogers, refining and oil markets research analyst at Wood Mackenzie, said in an email.

The Association of Oil Pipe Lines hailed the decision, saying that sales of construction equipment in Nebraska would generate $16.5 million in tax revenue for state government. In its first full year of operation, the Keystone XL would generate $11.8 million in additional property taxes for counties in the state of Nebraska, the group said.

But critics said that the property where the pipeline would cross would lose value. And climate change activists are trying to block increased output in the oil sands region, where high amounts of energy are needed to extract the oil.

David Domina, who represented landowners before the commission, called the commission’s decision a victory. “TransCanada had the burden of proof and its proof failed,” his firm said in a statement. The firm said that any party could appeal the PSC order within 30 days. The Court of Appeals would then review the matter without a jury and using only the record created during the PSC hearings.

Rhoades said the new route would create new problems because there are an estimate 40 landowners along who did not know they lie along the new pipeline path.

The Sierra Club also greeted the commission’s decision as a partial victory. It said in a statement that during its testimony in the PSC’s public hearings, TransCanada had “argued that building along an alternative route would be unworkable, and will now need additional easements if the company tries to proceed with the project.”

The Sierra Club added that it would oppose the pipeline along any route because “the pipeline would transport dirty, climate-polluting tar sands through Nebraska to the Gulf Coast for export, threatening land, water, and communities along the way.”

“It is a huge victory for us today,” Jane Kleeb, longtime foe of the pipeline and now head of the Nebraska Democratic Party, said in an email. She said “it opens all sorts of legal challenges.”

SOURCE





Legal battle in Australia: James Cook Univer­sity trying to muzzle critic of coral reef alarmism

Outspoken James Cook Univer­sity professor Peter Ridd has taken Federal Court action claiming conflict of interest, apprehended bias and actual bias against vice-chancellor Sandra Harding.

Professor Ridd wants JCU to drop a misconduct investigation launched following his interview with Alan Jones on Sky News on August 1 in which he criticised the quality of Great Barrier Reef science.

In the interview, he said research findings by major institutions could not be trusted. “We can no longer trust the scientific organisations like the Australian Institute of Marine Science, even things like the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.

“The science is coming out not properly checked, tested or replicated, and this is a great shame.”

JCU responded in late August by launching a formal investigation for misconduct which could result in Professor Ridd’s employment being terminated.

Professor Ridd engaged legal counsel, with new accusations being made by JCU and Federal Court action being lodged by him.

JCU has said Professor Ridd’s comments were “not in the collegial and academic spirit of the search for knowledge, understanding and truth”. It said his comments had denigrated AIMS and the ARC Centre and were “not respectful and courteous”.

In letters lodged with the court, JCU said Professor Ridd’s comments could damage the reputation of AIMS and the university’s relationship with it.

In a letter to JCU on September 7, Professor Ridd’s legal team, ­Mahoneys, called on JCU to drop the case. They said the university suffered a conflict of interest in its investigation.

“The vice-chancellor is a council member (akin to a director) of the Australian Institute of Marine Science,” Mahoneys said. “The vice-chancellor is in a position of conflict between her duties and ­office to the AIMS and to bringing an impartial mind to a decision on the allegations (against Professor Ridd).”

JCU responded on September 19 that it was “not satisfied that there has been no serious misconduct or that the allegations are unsubstantiated”. It said Professor Ridd “must not disclose or discuss these matters with the media or in any other public forum”.

Mahoneys responded on September 27, repeating concerns about conflict of interest: “There are only two conclusions our ­client can reach as to why the complaint is continuing to be prosecuted: incompetence or act­ual bias, neither of which is satisfactory or tolerable to our client.”

JCU then engaged law firm Clayton Utz, which on October 6 wrote to Mahoneys to say: “The matters you have raised are not matters that prevent JCU from ­addressing your client’s conduct and JCU’s expectations of your client as a JCU employee.”

Mahoneys responded on ­October 13 that the Utz response was “evasive and inadequate”.

On October 17, Clayton Utz wrote “further allegations and concerns” had been raised against Professor Ridd. “These matters ­related to allegations of similar conduct and/or a pattern of insubordination and denigration of the university,” Clayton Utz wrote. It rejected the allegation of bias, ­apprehended bias, or inability of the officers of the university to ­address Professor Ridd’s conduct.

JCU again wrote to Professor Ridd on October 23 highlighting comments made to Jones. In the Jones interview, Professor Ridd said: “I think that most of the scientists who are pushing out this stuff — they genuinely believe that there are problems with the reef; I just don’t think they’re very objective about the science they do, I think they’re emotionally ­attached to their subject.” In its letter, JCU said it “is not satisfied that the principles of academic freedom excuse or justify your comments”.

The university said it did not accept a conflict of interest or apprehended bias existed.

On November 7, Mahoneys said “new evidence” was “entirely separate”. “The revised offending conduct cannot reasonably have had any effect on the relationship of trust and confidence between employer and employee, that is, of course, unless the employer was hypersensitive in the extreme and determined to find slight in every action,” Mahoneys responded.

Professor Ridd said in correspondence to The Australian he hoped the court action would “draw attention to the quality ­assurance problems in science and the obligation of universities in general to genuinely foster debate, argument and the clash of ideas”.

“I think it is right to challenge our science institutions about whether their work is reliable and trustworthy,” he said.

A JCU spokesman said “it is not appropriate to comment on confidential matters’’.

SOURCE

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017



An amazingly silly attempt to erase the "pause"

They recalculated Arctic temperatures from readings off buoys floating in the Arctic ocean.  You are apparently supposed to assume that those temperatures are the product of anthropogenic global warming.  But the Arctic is known for vulcanism --  at the Gakkel ridge and elsewhere -- so basing the new data on instruments afloat in the Arctic ocean tells us nothing. The high temperatures were almost certainly caused by all the undersea volcanoes warming the Arctic ocean, not by anthropogenic global warming. The causes of the warming were irretrievably muddled.

And here's the amazing bit.  Their own findings showed that the elevated Arctic temperatures were not part of anthropogenic global warming.  They found that the Arctic was warming at five times the rate in the rest of the world.  Their own data showed that they were studying something NON-global!  Warmism produces some quite crippled thinking


An apparent pause in global warming that spawned a decade-long controversy never took place, according to new data.

Between 1998 and 2012, the world is thought to have experienced a slower rise in temperatures.

This 'pause' has been cited by climate skeptics as a sign that the climate is less sensitive to greenhouse gases than previously thought. But new research suggests the so-called global warming hiatus was the result of missing data from the Arctic, not a real downturn.

And the more accurate data actually shows that the Arctic region is warming up five times quicker than the rest of the world.

A University of Alaska Fairbanks professor and his colleagues in China constructed the first data set of surface temperatures from across the world that significantly improves representation of the Arctic during the 'global warming hiatus.'

They analysed temperature data collected from buoys drifting in the Arctic Ocean.

Professor Xiangdong Zhang, an atmospheric scientist with UAF's International Arctic Research Centre, said: ' 'We recalculated the average global temperatures from 1998-2012 and found that the rate of global warming had continued to rise at 0.112C per decade instead of slowing down to 0.05C per decade as previously thought.

'We estimated a new rate of Arctic warming at 0.659 C per decade from 1998-2014.

'Compared with the newly estimated global warming rate of 0.130 C per decade, the Arctic has warmed more than five time the global average.

'The new data set and resulting estimates show conclusively that global warming did not take a break.

The global average temperature has risen only slightly since 1998 – which is surprising, considering scientific climate models predicted considerable warming due to rising greenhouse gas emissions.

Some people used this apparent contradiction to question climate change per se – or at least the harm potential caused by greenhouse gases – as well as the validity of the climate models.

Meanwhile, the majority of climate researchers continued to emphasise that the short-term 'warming hiatus' could largely be explained on the basis of current scientific understanding and did not contradict longer term warming.

The latest study recalculated the average global temperatures from 1998-2012 and found that the rate of global warming had continued to rise at 0.112C per decade instead of slowing down to 0.05C per decade as previously thought.

'It was missing Arctic temperature data, not Mother Nature, created the seeming slowdown of global warming from 1998 to 2012.'

The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change incorporated new methods of working the Arctic temperature data into global temperature data so that they could better estimate the average temperatures.

Most current estimates use global data that tend to represent a long time span and provide good coverage of a global geographic area. But the remote Arctic lacks a robust network of instruments to collect temperature data.

So the team relied on temperature data collected from the International Arctic Buoy Program at the University of Washington and for global data, the team used newly corrected sea surface temperatures from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

This led to them rejecting the idea of a 'global warming hiatus' by reestimating the average global temperatures during that time period with more accurate and representative data.

The Earth's average global temperatures have been rising over the past century and accelerating as more human produced carbon dioxide enters and lingers in the atmosphere, which is why the idea of 'global warming hiatus' seemed baffling.

Some scientists theorised that an unusually warm El Niño in the years 1997-1998 and an extended period afterwards without occurrence of El Nino in the tropical Pacific Ocean may have disrupted the rate of global warming.

It also highlights the importance of considering the Arctic when thinking about climate change.

Until recently many scientists didn't consider the Arctic big enough to greatly influence the average global temperatures.

Prof Zhang added: 'The Arctic is remote only in terms of physical distance.

'In terms of science, it's close to every one of us. It's a necessary part of the equation and the answer affects us all.'

SOURCE





The green civil war: A lawsuit reveals a bitter split over renewable energy

One hopes the lawsuit proceeds.  It will draw judicial and probably public attention to crooked Greenie "science" -- JR

Matt Ridley

You can always tell when there is a United Nations Climate Conference of the Parties (COP) coming up, because there are any number of carefully timed press releases about how hot it has been or is going to get in the future. The media has been snowed under with such things for a while now, and sure enough, this week sees the gathering in Bonn of the usual circus of thousands of diplomats, bureaucrats, quangocrats, envirocrats and twittercrats.

Sceptics and lukewarmers are not welcome, despite the falling poll numbers for alarmism: in Britain public “concern” over climate change has dropped steadily from 82% in 2005 to 60% today – which is in line with the scientific evidence that warming is proving slower and less harmful than the models predicted. As Professor Myles Allen of Oxford University said in September “We haven’t seen that rapid acceleration in warming after 2000 that we see in the models. We haven’t seen that in the observations.” It’s nice to have that confirmed authoritatively, but of course the public has known the truth for some time.

Meanwhile, NASA says the globe has 14% more green vegetation than 33 years ago, largely because of extra carbon dioxide in the air, which makes plants grow faster and use less water doing so, in all ecosystems from the arctic to the tropics.

Germany is an inappropriate, even embarrassing, place for the climate circus to meet. Its “Energiewende” is probably the most expensive, ambitious and comprehensive carbon-reduction policy in the world, for the size of the country. But it has been a pretty big disaster, in its own terms (emissions remain stubbornly high), as well as economically and ecologically. It is the main sticking point in the talks between political parties to form a new “Jamaica” coalition, with the Green party trying to take the “coal” out of coalition and the Free Democrats trying to keep it in.

The German countryside is now pockmarked with 28,000 wind turbines, rashes of solar farms and lashings of anaerobic digesters making gas out of maize crops. Renewables are now providing more than a third of Germany’s electricity, which sounds like a green triumph. But the cost is enormous. The cost of subsidising all this so far is about €190 billion, and is heading for 500 billion euros in total by 2025

In spite of that, the impact on emissions has been small, even if you count biogas as low-carbon (which it is not). This is because to back up and balance the renewables, while killing off nuclear (to appease greens scared by Fukushima), the country is unable to reduce and has actually had had to expand its coal-burning sector. It has built 10 gigawatts of coal-burning power stations in the past five years. Last year Germany’s carbon dioxide emissions actually rose.

Meanwhile, the renewables are causing an environmental disaster as well as an economic one. The wind farms kill thousands of rare birds of prey every year, the biogas plants cause run-off and soil erosion, while the solar farms industrialise and denature the land. Many soi-disant ‘environmentalists’ are shamefully silent. “If dead eagles and kites were found next to chemicals plants or nuclear power stations, the public reaction would be fierce and furious,” says Michael Miersch of the German Wildlife Foundation.

As this quotation illustrates, the green movement is fracturing. Half of it is becoming ever more shrill in favour of the renewable-energy industry, a crony-capitalist business that takes money disproportionately from the poor (through poorly controlled levies on consumers) and gives it disproportionately to the rich through rents and dividends. (To declare an interest, my family business does receive money for one wind turbine, which we give away, but has turned down many more offers; we also get money from unsubsidised coal mining.)

Thus adverts have been appearing all over London recently boasting, unconvincingly, about the halving cost of wind power, though not offering to give up the subsidy addiction. They bear the logos of wind companies and big green multinationals like Greenpeace and WWF. Big Green is increasingly behaving like the PR arm of Big Wind.

Other greens and climate scientists, however, have lost faith in renewables, arguing that they have diverted funds from more worthwhile projects and have effectively killed nuclear power in some parts of the world – because nuclear cannot economically be turned on and off to match the intermittent nature of wind output. Globally, wind power produced just 0.7% of total energy use (including transport and heat) last year, showing how minuscule its contribution to decarbonisation is, even after decades of subsidy.

These two tribes – the ones who argue that only nuclear can deliver carbon-free energy on a sufficient scale to make a difference versus the ones who are wedded to a renewable future, whatever the cost – have now fallen out badly inside the scientific establishment. A paper by Stanford University professor Mark Jacobson and colleagues published in December 2015 argued that the continental United States could meet virtually 100% of its energy needs using wind, water and solar power alone by 2050.

A rebuttal paper, published in the same journal (the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) in June this year by Christopher Clack and 20 colleagues from various universities and companies argued that Jacobson had made absurd assumptions to reach his conclusion. For instance America would have to increase its hydro-electric capacity by an implausible amount to back up intermittent wind and solar. This would be unfeasible physically, let alone environmentally – dams are not good for wildlife.

Dr Clack’s paper argues that Dr Jacobson’s paper “contains modeling errors; incorrect, implausible, and/or inadequately supported assumptions; and the application of methods inappropriate to the task. In short, the analysis performed in [it] does not support the claim that such a system would perform at reasonable cost and provide reliable power.”

To the astonishment of the entire world of science, Dr Jacobson has responded by suing the journal and Dr Clack and his colleagues for defamation, demanding $10 million in damages. Jacobson argues that the Clack paper contains “materially misleading errors” and the decision to publish it “has had grave ramifications” for his reputation and career.

The history of science is full of feuds, often bitter ones, going back to Isaac Newton’s vendetta against Gottfried Leibniz and beyond. But that is how science works – through disagreement followed by discussion. Not by taking your enemy to court. “Using court to resolve sci issues? Generally a bad idea” tweeted Gavin Schmidt of NASA – who has none the less defended a similar law suit by the climate scientist Michael Mann against the journalist Mark Steyn. “Enormously chilling for academic discourse. Would I ever write a paper challenging Jacobson’s analyses, even if they’re wrong? No way” tweeted Professor Roger Pielke of Colorado University in Boulder.

Reality is slowly dawning on at least some of the climatocrats meeting in Bonn, that their success in scaring the world as to future global warming has enabled an eruption of profitable capitalism to occur under the disguise of saving the planet. The economist Bruce Yandle has a phrase for this phenomenon, whereby pious preaching goes along with pure profiteering: “Bootleggers and Baptists”. During Prohibition in the 1920s, an unholy alliance developed between Baptist preachers and the lucrative bootlegging industry, both of which favoured a ban on alcohol, one through misguided principle, the other because they cynically saw a way of increasing the price of their product and gouging the consumer. After little more than a decade Prohibition collapsed under the weight of its own hypocritical contradictions. Will Green Prohibition go the same way? It certainly deserves to.

SOURCE




Canada’s Climate Action Plans: Are They Cost-effective?

Four provinces in Canada (Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec) have promulgated “action plans” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These plans have several broad components. There is a carbon pricing component; there are assortments of energy efficiency programs; there is a “renewable energy” component; and most of the plans have vehicle electrification components (or such programs have been enacted separately from the climate action plans).

For example, Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan consists of five key elements: a coal-power phase-out by 2030, a tripling of renewable energy generation to reach 30 percent of generation by 2030, reducing emissions from the oil and gas sector, creating Energy Efficiency Alberta to deliver cost-saving programs, and implementing an economy-wide price on carbon.

Ontario’s climate action plan contains similar efforts, including a “Green Bank” to fund efficiency programs, increasing vehicle electrification, running education programs for homeowners seeking more efficient buildings, and, of course, supporting their “carbon market” which unlike Alberta is a cap-and-trade carbon emission trading system.

Quebec and British Columbia have similar programs. But a review of literature as well as an examination of how carbon pricing is being implemented in Canada suggests that the money of Canadians will not be well spent on these carbon action plans.

An examination of Canada’s various carbon pricing programs reveals a history of flawed implementation that undermines the utility and efficiency of carbon pricing. Rather than obeying fundamental economic principles of true revenue neutrality, regulatory displacement, and allowing markets to find lower cost ways to reduce carbon, Canada’s carbon taxes are piled on top of regulations, are not revenue neutral, and subvert the functioning of energy markets by mandating particular technologies such as wind and solar power, and electric vehicles.

With regard to efficiency programs, studies from the US and abroad suggest that home efficiency programs often underperform, proving less effective than predicted at reducing energy use, and coming in at a cost far in excess of what was originally planned. In some cases, this inverts the cost-benefit analyses used to justify the programs.

Vehicle electrification is the newest intervention into energy markets and consumer behavior. Ontario, for example, offers up to $14,000 worth of subsidies for buying an electric car, waives HST on the purchase, and throws in “free energy” for overnight charging. BC is a bit less generous, with only $6,000 subsidies for the electric cars, but is another with more lucre on tap if you install a charging station. But the laboratory of electrification has to be California, which has pushed vehicle electrification for more than 20 years. California’s experience is telling. As Los Angeles Times reporter Russ Mitchell points out, “[o]ver seven years, the state of California has spent $449 million on consumer rebates to boost sales of zero-emission vehicles. So far, the subsidies haven’t moved the needle much. In 2016, of the just over 2 million cars sold in the state, only 75,000 were pure-electric and plug-in hybrid cars. To date, out of 26 million cars and light trucks registered in California, just 315,000 are electric or plug-in hybrids.” And the cost of GHG reductions for this program? Researchers have estimated that Ontario’s spending on electric cars reduces greenhouse gases at a cost of $523/tonne, while Quebec’s price of avoided emissions comes in at $288/tonne.

Finally, all of Canada’s climate action plans feature the expansion of renewable energy. But Canada’s own experience with that in Ontario has been nothing short of disastrous. Ontario’s renewable expansion has come at a stunningly high cost, with electricity prices in Ontario having risen by 71 percent from 2008 to 2016, over twice the average growth in electricity prices elsewhere in Canada. From 2008 to 2015, electricity prices also increased two-and-a-half times faster than household disposable income in Ontario. The growth in electricity prices was almost four times greater than inflation and over four-and-a-half times the growth of Ontario’s economy (real GDP).

Canada’s climate action plans include carbon pricing, but also rely heavily on regulatory interventions that undermine its efficiency properties, such as expanding renewable sources, energy efficiency measures, and vehicle electrification. There is little reason to believe that money will be well spent on these efforts. Every jurisdiction in Canada with a carbon pricing program has violated the fundamental economics of such programs in ways that will greatly inflate their costs and impair their effectiveness. Evidence from the economic literature suggests that the energy efficiency programs proposed by the various provincial climate plans are likely to cost more than projected and deliver fewer savings than promised. Electric vehicle subsidies are likely to hit Canadians in the pocketbooks, producing at best small quantities of greenhouse gas emission reductions at exorbitant costs.

Canadian governments have aggressively, and with little up-front analysis, rolled out climate action plans that are going to cost a great deal of money, but, most likely, will yield very little return in terms of environmental benefits. Governments would be well advised to slow or temporarily halt their climate action program implementation, and give the public solid analysis of their proposed programs’ economic costs and benefits.

SOURCE




GREENIE ROUNDUP FROM AUSTRALIA

Four current articles below

Green voters are snobs, says Labor Party survey

About 70 per cent of Greens voters in inner Melbourne are rich, dislike unions and think suburban people are backwards, ­racist and bigoted, Labor has concluded based on its own research.

A six-month survey of Melbourne Greens voters has encouraged the Victorian Labor Party to give up on campaigning to most of them, arguing they do not share Labor values and are closer to the Liberals.

Labor has dubbed them “Teal Greens”, with teal being a colour blend of green and blue. The party has decided to target the 30 per cent “Red Greens” in Melbourne’s inner city who are typically university students or Millennials starting their careers.

“Red Greens” are usually renters who are more likely to come from Labor families, while “Teal Greens” own expensive inner-city homes and have parents who vote Liberal.

The qualitative research surveyed more than 50 Greens voters in inner suburbs such as Fitzroy, Brunswick and Clifton Hill, from January to June this year. Party sources said the findings showed the biggest concern of many Greens voters was the ­notion of living in the outer suburbs that contributed to their ­interest in local planning laws.

“Teal Greens” are usually highly paid professionals in two-wage households, are aged in their 30s and 40s and “look down on” ­people in suburbs, thinking they hold Australia back from being “tolerant” and “just”.

After the Greens’ victory in the state seat of Northcote at the weekend, Labor faces a fight to hold inner-Melbourne federal seats such as Batman, Wills and Melbourne Ports. Labor thinks the broader boundaries of the electorates will help it retain the seats as they encompass modest suburbs as well as affluent inner-city ones.

Victorian senator Kim Carr said: “The blue Greens are really the hardcore Liberal types in their attitudes, the red Greens are more sympathetic to our message. There is the homeowners and the renters big divide.

“The homeowners talk about their sense of privilege and their sense of entitlement, their wealth is the natural order of things ­rather than good fortune.”

Senator Carr, the federal ­opposition industry spokesman, said many “blue Greens” migrated into inner-city Labor seats from traditionally Liberal areas or from Sydney and Brisbane.

“These are traditionally Liberal voters that are moving into these areas. They are not Labor people,” Senator Carr said. “They claim to be progressive social values but we surveyed them and their biggest fear was actually being forced to live in Pascoe Vale and Coburg.

Their real anxieties are different to what they claim them to be. Their preoccupations are ­essentially material conditions, not with the state of the world ­environment.” The “blue Greens” traded on “snob appeal” and were closed to Labor, he said.

Greens MP Adam Bandt said the claims were “fairytales” and voters were shifting because of Labor’s support for offshore processing and the Adani coalmine.

SOURCE

Greenie dam-hatred to cost Queenslanders big

Foot-dragging on building Rookwood Weir

Queenslanders face a $500 million bill to pay for 600 B-double trucks to transport water into central Queensland every day unless the weir was built, an explosive report kept secret by the State Government revealed.

A shock business case for Rookwood Weir warns Rockhampton and nearby towns could run out of water from just one “failed wet season”, raising questions why the State Government repeatedly refuses Mr Turnbull’s offer to build the weir.

The Prime Minister yesterday accused the Premier of being “beholden to an inner-city Green-Left agenda that doesn’t like dams”.

Sources told The Courier-Mail that Mr Turnbull had pledged to fund the entire project in a meeting with Ms Palaszczuk earlier this year.

Speaking in Mackay this morning, Ms Palaszczuk said her Cabinet is still yet to receive the full business case for the project but conceded her Government has received the Lower Fitzroy River Infrastructure Report.

“Let’s be very clear, with Rookwood Weir, I attended a meeting with the Prime Minister, Senator Matt Canavan and Barnaby Joyce,” she said.

“What was discussed there very clearly was ... they would look at building and operating it themselves. Subsequently to that we did not hear anything further about that proposition that they were canvassing at that meeting.

“Let me make it clear, after the meeting some of his (Mr Turnbull’s) senior officials came up to my senior officials and said ‘oh no they don’t mean that’. So lets get some clarification from him, does he want to pay for the whole lot? If he does, all well and good.”

Ms Palaszczuk also said she was not concerned that Rockhampton would run out of water, despite the project continually being stalled. “I am not concerned because the detailed work is happening and will be discussed by Cabinet,” she said.

“Unfortunately I believe there is a little bit of politics being played locally but I believe in the best interests of Central Queensland — we need to work together.”

Asked in north Queensland yesterday if there had been any progress on the Rookwood Weir business case, the Premier said: “No, not at the moment.”

The 229-page Lower Fitzroy River Infrastructure Project report, exclusively obtained by The Courier-Mail, was commissioned by State Government-owned corporation, the Gladstone Area Water Board. It implores the Government to build the weir and soon, advising it is the cheapest way to secure water for the region.

The report was handed to the State Government on October 27, which was two days before the election was called.

However, Building Queensland, which provides the State Government with independent advice on major infrastructure, provided its assessment in September.

Rockhampton’s main source of water is the Fitzroy Barrage storage, which is heavily reliant on regular seasonal inflows, including the annual wet season, to maintain supply.

The report flagged water would have to be trucked in from Awoonga Dam if there was not enough water.

“Building Queensland estimated ... a total cost for five months’ emergency supply at $486 million, while noting that there were doubts over the feasibility of this solution,’’ the report said.

“Gladstone Area Water Board’s position is that this solution is not feasible at the required scale (and) the logistics involved are daunting. “(It would mean) 4000 daily B-double movements of a 260km round trip.

“Working 24 hours, seven days and assuming a filling, travel, delivery and return travel time of only 3.5-4 hours, a fleet of at least 600 B-doubles would be required.

“The as-yet unidentified filling point(s) and delivery point(s), and the regional road network would need to be able to accommodate the constant movement of 300 B-doubles in each direction between Rockhampton and Awoonga, ie approximately two departures per minute.”

The report revealed power could become more expensive for Queenslanders because Stanwell power station might need to reduce its water use during severe water restrictions.

“Rockhampton’s continued reliance on a single source is particularly risky because that source is uniquely vulnerable to low inflows,’’ the report said.

“The characteristics of the barrage storage and the Fitzroy flows, combined with Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast’s demand, mean the storage is insufficient to make sure supply can survive a single failed wet season.

“In the event of a period of low rainfall, such as a failed wet season, Rockhampton has no means to respond with demand management measures or contingent water supply arranges and instead is likely to experience a complete supply failure.”

The report also pointed to a boom for the agricultural sector because more water meant more crops.

SOURCE

Diesels win the day

They are very polluting and run on "fossil" fuels but what the heck!  Anything is better than the demon coal

South Australia, Australia’s wind power capital, has signed up to squander $150 million on one of Elon Musk’s creations, that would power the state for all of 4 minutes when the wind stops blowing and/or the sun goes down.

Weatherill’s wonder has been nicknamed the ‘NeverReady’ battery by wits in SA, because, despite being trumpeted for months as SA’s saviour, it is unlikely to be operable this Summer.

Meanwhile, over the border in Victoria, a long-touted plan for mega-batteries in that State has just run out of juice.
Instead of running on wind and sunshine – having killed the 1,600 MW baseload plant, Hazelwood earlier this year – Victorians (like their South Australian cousins) are going to be running on diesel powered generators. Oh, the irony.

Plans for two large-scale batteries to help secure Victoria’s power supplies this summer are in disarray, with a $25 million proposal by the Andrews government still in the planning stage months after construction was due to start.

Touted as a “game-changer” by Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio when she and Premier Daniel ­Andrews announced the investment in March, no successful bidder has been announced for the storage initiative.

The project, which is meant to deliver two 20-megawatt batteries with combined capacity of at least 100MWh, was due to start construction in August so it would be ready for peak demand in January.

The state will now rely on diesel generators pumping up to 100MW of power into the grid to guard against blackouts during heatwaves. It is understood the government is still assessing the bids to provide the batteries, but a spokesman for Ms D’Ambrosio yesterday declined to answer questions about the delay and whether the battery plan would proceed.

“We’re making sure Victoria is equipped with the next generation of energy technologies that will support a resilient energy system,” the spokesman said.

The batteries were to be installed in western Victoria, and each would be capable of powering a town such as Bendigo or Ballarat for up to four hours during a peak demand period.

Opposition energy spokesman David Southwick said the Andrews government was “delivering a third-world energy policy” and changing its policy on the run.

“These are desperate policy ­announcements by a government who simply can’t figure out how to solve the problem they created in closing down Hazelwood and taking 22 per cent of energy out of the market,” he said.

Experts have previously questioned the business case for large-scale storage in Victoria and whether $25m would be sufficient to pay for it. The government has claimed energy storage will play a “vital” role in integrating renewable energy into the network and improving grid reliability.

“This initiative will highlight Victoria’s position as a leader in managing the transition to a secure and modern energy system through deployment of new energy technologies,” the state’s Environment Department said in an information packet for potential bidders.

AGL Energy has flagged plans to build a 250MW battery — which would be the world’s biggest battery and more than twice the size of the 100MW plant being built by Tesla in South Australia — at the site of the Liddell black- coal power station.

The federal government last month unveiled the National Energy Guarantee, which attempts to align climate and energy policy by obliging retailers to buy certain amounts of energy from ready-to-use power such as coal, gas, pumped hydro and batteries, and from renewable sources such as wind and solar to lower emissions.

SOURCE

'No plans' to shut power plants: Qld Labor

Queensland's Labor government says it has no plans to shut down state-owned coal-fired power stations so it can meet its renewable energy target.

Energy Minister Mark Bailey has rubbished a new analysis of Labor's 50 per cent renewable target by 2030, which warns of power station closures and an increased risk of widespread blackouts.

He says the analysis is the work of former LNP federal candidate Jonathan Pavetto, and claims of plant closures are politically-driven nonsense. "We have got no plans to close any of them," Mr Bailey has told ABC radio.

"Mr Pavetto was intimately involved in the privatisation program as a consultant by Tim Nicholls and Campbell Newman ... you've got to see it in that context."

Mr Pavetto, an electricity economist, produced the analysis for the Australian Institute for Progress, whose executive director is former Queensland Liberal Party vice president Graham Young and whose directors include former Queensland Liberal Party state president Bob Tucker.

Mr Pavetto's analysis says Stanwell's Tarong plant near Kingaroy would be first to close in 2018-19, followed by two units at the Gladstone Power Station in 2020-21 and Stanwell's Rockhampton station in 2026-27.

He also warns Labor's green power policy could result in blackouts across the state, for up to 15 per cent of the year, once the policy is in full force.

Mr Pavetto went on ABC radio on Monday to defend his views, which he says are backed by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

"What their reporting shows is that to get to a 50 per cent renewable target by 2030 - and they have modelled this - is that there will be some requirement to close down power stations in Queensland," he said.

He says AEMO has stated in its National Transmission Network Development Plan that coal-fired power generation would have to be cut to reach the 2030 renewables target, with Tarong, half of the Gladstone plant, and then Rockhampton to close.

"If you're going to be having a 50 per cent renewables capacity ... you have to displace some of that coal generation from somewhere," Mr Pavetto said.

The Electrical Trades Union backed the Labor government, calling Mr Pavetto's work a "deeply partisan" analysis from a right-wing think-tank backed by Liberals. Union spokesman Keith McKenzie says the ETU trusted Labor not to shut power plants and not to sell public assets.

LNP leader Tim Nicholls says he's seen the reports of plant closures, and his party flatly rejected Labor's "crazy" renewable energy target.

"Queenslanders want reliable and affordable power; they don't want to end up like South Australia with blackouts and the most expensive power in the western world," he told reporters in Bundaberg.

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.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017



Trump's climate stance galvanises world

In a childish display of petulance, the global elite use climate nonsense to show their hatred of Trump

If the Paris accord was the spark igniting the global fight against climate change, then the latest round of talks, held in Bonn, served to fan the flames.

These were not talks intending to deliver bombshell moments for the 10,000 government delegates, 8000 business and policy leaders or the 2000 members of the media who gathered near the Rhine. These talks were about tightening the bolts on the Paris Agreement to drive momentum behind the global climate juggernaut.

It has been two years since 194 countries agreed to limit global warming to less than 2C above the Earth's pre-industrial average. In an act of almost audacious ambition, the Paris accord aims to keep temperatures within 1.5C by reducing net carbon emissions to zero.

But this was two years ago. Since then the US, the world's second greatest polluter, elected Donald Trump as president on soaring campaign rhetoric over a coal renaissance for the forgotten pockets of the US.

Trump duly followed through on threats to withdraw from the accord, pull research funding for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and loosen federal regulation on coal use.

But in an intriguing diplomatic twist Trump's unilateral U-turn has proved to be the kindling for a fired-up climate agenda. Christiana Figueres, the UN's chief climate negotiator, went as far as to say she thanks him.

"Trump's announcement provoked an unparalleled wave of support for the treaty. He shored up the world's resolve on climate action, and for that we can all be grateful," she says.

Tom Delay, once an executive at Royal Dutch Shell, is now the chief executive of the Carbon Trust, a UK climate advisory group. Not so long ago, he says the common riposte of chief executives was to "be realistic" about the potential of clean technologies.

This is an argument fast being unwound. The falling cost of renewable energy and growing pool of investment waiting to flood into green growth has bolstered the confidence of business and finance leaders representing trillions of pounds.

"This is not about taking the moral high ground. There's very little 'morality' in what is being argued. Quite simply, there's now a business case to do something different and do it better," he says.

The heavily heckled members of the US delegation felt the full brunt of the "enormous pushback" against their president's policies. Few others there supported the views, meaning that instead of polarising the conference, the US stance served as a warning beacon for which side of the debate was safest.

Opposition to Trump was perhaps fiercest from with his own country. Billionaire businessman Michael Bloomberg is leading the charge, delivering a staggering broadside against the president via a climate action report, billed as the "first communication to the international community" of US climate goals, on a non-federal level, since Trump's rejection of the Paris Agreement.

Bloomberg calls it the American Pledge, neatly reclaiming a commitment to tackling climate change as a national endeavour while alienating Trump as somehow "un-American" in this context.

The report finds that 20 US states, 110 US cities and some 1400 businesses worth more than $US25 trillion have adopted quantified emissions reduction targets despite the administration's views. The most ambitious of these targets, such as those adopted by California, mirror similar emissions-cutting goals as national governments.

SOURCE





Overpopulation Is Not Killing the Planet

And yet ecofascists keep arguing that the "moral" thing to do is have fewer children

Population control to save the planet is hardly a new idea. It goes back at least 50 years. Indeed, we’ve written about it many times before.

The latest entry in this man-hating earth-worship genre is from NBC News in a “think” piece entitled “Science proves kids are bad for Earth. Morality suggests we stop having them.” The author, Travis Rieder of the Berman Institute of Bioethics, begins, “A startling and honestly distressing view is beginning to receive serious consideration in both academic and popular discussions of climate change ethics.”

Um, “beginning to”? Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb was published in 1968 and received a lot of attention from lefty environmentalists. Ehrlich predicted a “substantial increase in the world death rate” within a decade because of the difficulty in feeding so many people. Of course, Ehrlich’s dire prediction didn’t happen — on the contrary, there’s more food now than ever. But when have, er, inconvenient truths ever stopped leftists from hollering the same apocalyptic climate warnings even louder? In fact, despite being a false prophet, Ehrlich wrote two more books on population control in the 1990s.

Note the irony here: Totalitarian regimes are responsible for the only real famines since Ehrlich first warned of food shortages, yet his and other ecofascists’ solution is … totalitarian population control. What could go wrong?

Thus it’s no surprise that an academic like Rieder would smugly assert, “Moral responsibility simply isn’t mathematical. If you buy this view of responsibility, you might eventually admit that having many children is wrong, or at least morally suspect, for standard environmental reasons: Having a child imposes high emissions on the world, while the parents get the benefit. So like with any high-cost luxury, we should limit our indulgence.”

He tries to back off some, adding, “I am certainly not arguing that we should shame parents, or even that we’re obligated to have a certain number of children. As I’ve said elsewhere, I don’t think there is a tidy answer to the challenging questions of procreative ethics. But that does not mean we’re off the moral hook.”

Yet the implication of such morality remains that if you can’t limit your own “indulgence,” government might just have to step in. The only recipe leftists ever offer is to eliminate choice by way of ever more powerful government — even if it means violating another of their long-held tenets: “Get your laws out of my bedroom/off my body.”

SOURCE





False promises in Canadian climate change goals

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau agreed to the United Nations’ Paris climate accord in 2015, he repeated exactly what his predecessor, Jean Chretien, did when he signed the UN’s Kyoto climate accord in 1997.

Both Liberal prime ministers committed Canadians to achieving industrial greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions they knew they couldn’t deliver.

In 2007, a decade after Chretien signed Kyoto, and a year after the Liberals lost power to Stephen Harper’s Conservatives in 2006, Chretien’s principal secretary, Eddie Goldenberg, acknowledged that Chretien knew when he signed Kyoto that Canada had very little chance of achieving the emission cuts he promised.

But he said Chretien believed it was necessary to prepare Canadians for future actions needed to reduce emissions.

Except that never happened.

When Trudeau agreed in 2015 to less onerous emission cuts for Canada under the Paris climate accord, the Liberals again knew they couldn’t achieve them.

The Trudeau Liberals, unlike the Chretien Liberals after the fact, haven’t admitted they can’t achieve Trudeau’s Paris accord emission reduction commitments for 2020 and 2030. But it’s inconceivable they do not know they cannot achieve them.

The UN itself said last month Canada is very likely to miss its 2020 and 2030 commitments unless it buys billions of dollars worth of carbon offsets annually on international carbon markets.

But these markets are riddled with fraud, so there’s no guarantee any offsets Canada buys will actually reduce global emissions.

Basic math tells us the Trudeau Liberals today, as did the Chretien Liberals in 1997, know they cannot meet the commitments they’ve made to the UN.

In 1997, Chretien committed Canada to reducing its GHG emissions to an annual average of 6% below 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012.

Since Canada’s emissions in 1990 were 611 megatonnes annually (a megatonne, or MT, equals one million tonnes), Chretien would have had to reduce emissions to an average of 574 Mt annually between 2008 and 2012.

When the Liberals, now led by Paul Martin, lost power to the Harper Conservatives in 2006, Canada’s emissions were 729 Mt annually, 155 Mts above Chretien’s Kyoto commitment, which would have started in 2008.

Using 2006 figures, that means the Liberals, had they remained in power, would have had to shut down the equivalent of Canada’s entire oil and gas sector (161.6 Mt annually in 2006) starting within two years.

The Trudeau government faces the same dilemma.

The UN reported last month that for Trudeau to fulfill his 2015 Paris accord commitments to lower Canada’s emissions to 17% below 2005 levels by 2020 and to 30% by 2030, Canada will have to cut its emissions by 111 Mt annually by 2020 and 219 Mt annually by 2030.

To meet his 2020 commitment, Trudeau will have to shut down the equivalent of Canada’s entire electricity sector (79 Mt annually) and 44% of its agricultural sector (73 Mt annually) within three years.

To meet his 2030 commitment, Trudeau will have to shut down the equivalent of Canada’s entire transportation sector (173 Mt annually), plus its entire waste disposal sector (48 Mt annually) in 13 years.

Given that this is impossible, the last thing Trudeau, and Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna want to talk about — as we saw last week at the UN’s Bonn climate summit — is their plan to reduce Canada’s emissions to the levels Trudeau promised the UN for 2020 and 2030.

That’s because they don’t have one.

SOURCE





Delusions of grandeur: Catherine McKenna Calls Herself “Minister Responsible For Weather”

If Catherine McKenna’s goal is to use Twitter to get attention, she’s doing quite well. But if her goal is to exude an image of competence, there’s definitely some room for improvement.

McKenna’s latest “interesting” tweet can be seen below:



That’s not how it works.

McKenna’s foolish tweets would be funny, if not for the fact that the terrible policies she and Trudeau are implementing are destroying real jobs and hurting Canadian workers.

It’s easy for people like McKenna and Trudeau to feel relaxed and have a fun time when they’re getting hundreds of thousands of dollars from the taxpayers and have job security for 4 years.

Meanwhile, they’re destroying Canada’s coal industry, and imposing restrictions and adding to a bureaucracy that takes wealth and opportunity from Canadians. So, it’s even more disturbing when the Minister of the Environment doesn’t even seem to know what her job is.

Canadians deserve far better.

SOURCE




Renewables Battery ‘Boom’: Exploding Mega-Storage System Generates Fireball & Toxic Lithium Plume

There’s nothing ‘stable and secure’ about lithium batteries. As Samsung mobile phone owners are painfully aware, lithium batteries have a horrifying habit of spontaneous ignition. And there have been plenty of incidents where the lithium batteries in Tesla’s electric cars have suddenly exploded in flames

A wind power storage battery has exploded into flames at a power station located near the city of Brussels. The fire resulted in a cloud of toxic fumes that flew over the city and forced thousands of people to stay at home.

The battery was part of the first real live testing of power batteries being used to store wind power in Belgium. After less than one month, the test miserably failed with the battery being destroyed by fire and residents hiding in their houses to escape the polluted cloud. Here is the story.

On Saturday the 11th of November 2017, around noon, people in some western areas of the city of Brussels (Belgium) could smell a strong and irritating odour that some described as being similar to the smell of “burning plastic”.

A little later, the population was informed of a fire going on in the Electrabel-Engie power plant located at Drogenbos.

Electrabel-Engie is the main electricity producer in Belgium, and operates a gas turbine power plant in Drogenbos, a village located at the western limit of the city of Brussels – where the wind came from at the time of the accident.

An official alert was broadcast by the Belgian authorities

Still a bit later, some local newspapers explained that “a container-size lithium battery has blown up in flames. The fire has produced a cloud of potentially toxic smoke”. The message circulating on the social networks was that “a cloud full of toxic lithium was blowing over the city”.

It took several hours for firemen to control the fire. The alert was lifted around 4pm local time. No injuries were reported, although some people did complain of respiratory irritation.

At that time the population was informed that “Measures of air pollution were normal and they were no more risks for health or the environment”. However they didn’t say what were the pollutants found in previous measurements and in what quantities they were present in the air.

So, apparently, they did indeed start up full-scale testing of their carefully selected batteries. But it took less than one month for the first of them to blow up in flames and force tens of thousands of inhabitants to stay hidden indoors to avoid the toxic cloud that resulted from this experiment.

One of the mainstream newspapers has reported a press release of the Electrabel-Engie group saying that the “battery that has burned was not in operation at the time the fire broke out”. Let’s hope that at least this one is fake news, otherwise it would mean that these batteries are just chemical bombs ready to explode at any time.

If the dream of wind proponents is to materialize, our landscapes will be scattered with such container-size batteries. In the light of what occurred this weekend in Drogenbos, authorities everywhere should take note and impose on the industry safety measures to protect the public and avoid the possibility of another such accident.

Not a single article in the local media mentioned the link between the battery that has polluted the city of Brussels and wind power backup and storage requirements.

For the uninformed reader, the message was that “the villain Electrabel that operates nuclear power plants has once again polluted the environment”. But this accident was really due to the presence of wind turbines in the power production system.
We should see it as chemical pollution directly related to supposedly ‘clean’ wind power.

Welcome to your exciting wind, sun and battery ‘powered’ future!

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.  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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