Friday, December 09, 2016



Meteorologist tries to debunk Breitbart

The point she made is an old one and already well answered.  The fall in temperature was NOT found only in the satellite record.  There were similar falls in other measures.  See here. And the land-based record is important precisely because it shows changes first, before the ocean does.  There is more thermal inertia in the oceans but the ocean surface moves in the same direction as the land surface.  So the land record is predictive of overall cooling, which was the point.  The lady is just a pretty face


AN ATMOSPHERIC scientist has delivered a scathing response to alt-right website Breitbart for trying to use a video “with my face on it” to back its misleading views on climate change.

Kait Parker, from the US cable show The Weather Channel, recorded a video debunking Breitbart’s claims saying: “Here’s the thing — science doesn’t care about your opinion”.

“Cherry picking and twisting the facts will not change the future, nor the fact ... that the Earth is warming,” Ms Parker says in the video published on Tuesday.

Ms Parker’s response was prompted by a Breitbart article that suggested global warming was nothing but a scare and that global temperatures were actually falling.

“Problem is they used a completely unrelated video of la nina with my face in it to attempt to back their point,” she said.

“What’s worse is that the US committee on space, science and technology actually tweeted it out.”

The climatologist then proceeded to completely dismantle Breitbart’s article, debunking the conclusions it makes.

She said one claim that global land temperatures had plummeted by one degree since the beginning of this year was based on one satellite estimate, and when land temperatures were combined with sea surface temperatures, you actually get a record high temperature.

“Land temperatures aren’t an appropriate measure, the Earth is 70 per cent water and water is where we store most of our heat energy,” she said.

SOURCE




Record Ice Growth In Greenland Continues

Greenland is the only part of the Arctic where ice-cover matters.  The rest of the Arctic is floating ice -- which does not raise the water level if it melts

Greenland’s surface has been gaining about three billion tons of ice every day since September 1, blowing away all prior records for ice gain.



Meanwhile, fake news sites like the Guardian continue to lie about Greenland (and everything else.)

SOURCE




EPA pick finalized

And the Green/Left are wailing.  See below:

It’s official: Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, the person who has wrote this year that “debate is far from settled” about climate change, has been selected by President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team as the future administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Folks who care about the future of the planet may spew out a sigh of relief; famed climate change denier Myron Ebell, who’s heading the EPA transition team and was rumored to head the EPA, won’t take the helm.

They shouldn’t. Ebell may be paid by fossil fuel companies to spread lies about the science of global warming, but Pruitt does something objectively worse: He is paid by fossil fuel companies to wage an all-out war on environmental regulation with American tax dollars.

As Oklahoma’s attorney general, Pruitt has sued the EPA several times over incoming regulations dealing with air quality and pollution. His challenges deal not only with rules limiting the greenhouse gas emissions that cause the planet to warm up, but also more local public health concerns like soot and particulate emissions that lead to smog pollution. He’s lost every time.

What will happen when EPA’s most powerful enemy is in the captain’s seat? We’re about to find out.

SOURCE





UK slashes number of Foreign Office climate change staff

The UK has cut the number of Foreign Office staff working on climate change, despite ministers arguing the issue should be a top foreign policy priority.

The Liberal Democrats said it was “appalling” and sent “the wrong signals” to the world, after a minister revealed the figures in a recent parliamentary answer.

Experts said that with Donald Trump promising to roll back international climate efforts and with 2016 set to be the hottest on record, it was a bad time to cut back.

In London, the number of staff working full time on climate change is down by more than two thirds, from 26 in July 2013 to eight now. Overseas, the figure is down from 177 in March 2013 to 149 today.

The UK’s climate change diplomacy is respected internationally, and was seen as playing an important role in the run-up to the Paris agreement, which was agreed in France last year and recently came into force.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns, minister of state for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), said last year: “Climate change is not only a threat to the environment but to global security and economic prosperity. That therefore makes it a top priority not only for environment ministers but foreign ministers too.”

Questions were raised by former ministers about the UK’s commitment to leadership on climate change when the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) was abolished and merged into the business department in the summer, a move former Labour leader Ed Miliband branded “plain stupid”.

Lynne Featherstone, the Lib Dem environment spokesperson, said: “It’s appalling that the number of people working on climate change in the Foreign Office has been substantially reduced, especially now that the Decc has been disbanded.

“It sends all the wrong signals about this government’s commitment to tackling our biggest global threat, and undermines the work being done to encourage other nations to take action.”

British diplomatic efforts on climate change have in the past included trying to influence macro economic policy in China to encourage its economy to cut carbon, and pressing the US intelligence community on the risk global warming poses to security. But the Foreign Office’s prioritisation of climate change has been “chipped away” in recent years, say observers.

“This is not a good time to be cutting back on Foreign Office staff working on climate change,” said Tom Burke of thinktank E3G, who was adviser to the FCO’s top climate envoy until 2012.

“At a recent private meeting in the state department, the US climate envoy again emphasised how important Britain’s climate diplomacy was in driving forward ambition on climate change. As Trump turns the US back into a climate laggard, rather than the leader it has become, our role in building on Paris becomes essential.”

He said the UK’s leverage in international climate negotiations was a result of the Foreign Office’s capability to shape conversations on climate change in capitalcities around the world.

A government spokeswoman said: “The UK’s commitment and leadership on climate action, internationally and domestically, is as strong as ever and we are recognised as the second best country in the world for tackling climate change.

“We take a whole of government approach to our climate change ambitions so that we can benefit from the low carbon transition in our industrial strategy as we deliver an economy that works for all.”

SOURCE




The Non-Expert Problem and Climate Change Science

By Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert

Before I start, let me say as clearly as possible that I agree with the scientific consensus on climate change. If science says something is true – according to most scientists, and consistent with the scientific method – I accept their verdict.

I realize that science can change its mind, of course. Saying something is “true” in a scientific sense always leaves open the option of later reassessing that view if new evidence comes to light. Something can be “true” according to science while simultaneously being completely wrong. Science allows that odd situation to exist, at least temporarily, while we crawl toward truth.

So when I say I agree with the scientific consensus on climate change, I’m endorsing the scientific consensus for the same reason I endorsed Hillary Clinton for the first part of the election – as a strategy to protect myself. I endorse the scientific consensus on climate change to protect my career and reputation. To do otherwise would be dumb, at least in my situation.

As regular readers of this blog already know, human brains did not evolve to understand reality in any deep way. If some of us survive and procreate, that’s good enough for evolution. It doesn’t matter that you live in a movie that says you will reincarnate after you die, while I live in a movie that says reality is a software simulation, and perhaps our mutual friend lives in a movie in which his prophet flew to heaven on a winged horse. Those are very different realities, but it doesn’t stop any of us from procreating.  This lesson about the subjective nature of reality is one we learned from watching Trump’s march to the election. As the world looked on, everything they thought they understood about Trump’s chances dissolved in front of them. And yet the world still worked fine.

This perceptual change in humanity is happening as I predicted it would a year before Trump won. I told you he would change more than politics. I said he would open a crack in reality so you could view it through a new filter. That transformation is well underway. I’ll widen the crack a bit more today.

If you have been involved in any climate change debates online or in person, you know they always take the following trajectory: Climate science believers state that all the evidence, and 98% of scientists, are on the same side. Then skeptics provide links to credible-sounding articles that say the science is bunk, and why. How the heck can you – a non-expert – judge who is right?

You probably are not a scientist, and that means you can’t independently evaluate any of the climate science claims. You didn’t do the data collection or the experiments yourself. You could try to assess the credibility of the scientists using your common sense and experience, but let’s face it – you aren’t good at that. So what do you do?

You probably default to trusting whatever the majority of scientists tell you. And the majority says climate science is real and we need to do something about it. But how reliable are experts, even when they are mostly on the same side?

Ask the majority of polling experts who said Trump had only a 2% chance of becoming president. Ask the experts who said the government’s historical “food pyramid” was good science. Ask the experts who used to say marijuana was a gateway drug. Ask the experts who used to say sexual orientation is just a choice. Ask the experts who said alcoholism is a moral failure and not a matter of genetics.

There are plenty of examples where the majority of experts were wrong. What you really want to know is whether climate change looks more like the sort of thing that turns out to be right or the sort of thing that turns out to be wrong. Let’s dig into that question.

It seems to me that a majority of experts could be wrong whenever you have a pattern that looks like this:

1. A theory has been “adjusted” in the past to maintain the conclusion even though the data has changed. For example, “Global warming” evolved to “climate change” because the models didn’t show universal warming.

2. Prediction models are complicated. When things are complicated you have more room for error. Climate science models are complicated.

3. The models require human judgement to decide how variables should be treated. This allows humans to “tune” the output to a desired end. This is the case with climate science models.

4. There is a severe social or economic penalty for having the “wrong” opinion in the field. As I already said, I agree with the consensus of climate scientists because saying otherwise in public would be social and career suicide for me even as a cartoonist. Imagine how much worse the pressure would be if science was my career.

5. There are so many variables that can be measured – and so many that can be ignored – that you can produce any result you want by choosing what to measure and what to ignore. Our measurement sensors do not cover all locations on earth, from the upper atmosphere to the bottom of the ocean, so we have the option to use the measurements that fit our predictions while discounting the rest.

6. The argument from the other side looks disturbingly credible.

One of the things that always fascinated me about jury trials is that attorneys from both sides can sound so convincing even though the evidence points in only one direction. A defendant is either guilty or innocent, but good lawyers can make you see it either way. Climate science is similar. I’ve seen airtight arguments that say climate science is solid and true, and I’ve seen equally credible-looking arguments that say it is bunk. From my non-scientist perspective, I can’t tell the difference. Both sides look convincing to me.

As I have described in this blog before, I’m a trained hypnotist and I have studied the methods of persuasion for years. That gives me a bit of context that is different from the norm. In my experience, and based on my training, it is normal and routine for the “majority of experts” to be completely wrong about important stuff. But in the two-dimensional world where persuasion isn’t much of a thing, it probably looks to most of you that experts are usually right, especially when they are overwhelmingly on the same side and there is a mountain of confirming evidence.

We like to think we arrived at our decisions about climate science by using our common sense and good judgement to evaluate the credibility of experts. Some of you think you have superior sources of information as well. But both sides are wrong. No one is using reason, facts, or common sense to arrive at a decision about climate science. Here’s what you are using to arrive at your decision:

1. Fear

2. Unwarranted trust in experts

3. Pattern recognition

On the question of fear, if you believe that experts are good at predicting future doom, you are probably scared to death by climate change. But in my experience, any danger we humans see coming far in the future we always find a way to fix. We didn’t run out of food because of population growth. We didn’t run out of oil as predicted. We didn’t have a problem with the Year 2000 bug, and so on. I refer to this phenomenon as the Adams Law of Slow-Moving Disasters. When we see a disaster coming – as we do with climate science – we have an unbroken track record of avoiding doom. In the case of climate change danger, there are a number of technologies under development that can directly scrub the atmosphere if needed.

On the question of trusting experts, my frame of reference is the field of influence and persuasion. From my point of view – and given the examples of mass delusion that I have personally witnessed (including Trump’s election), I see experts as far less credible than most people assume.

And when it comes to pattern recognition, I see the climate science skeptics within the scientific community as being similar to Shy Trump Supporters. The fact that a majority of scientists agree with climate science either means the evidence is one-sided or the social/economic pressures are high. And as we can plainly see, the cost of disagreeing with climate science is unreasonably high if you are a scientist.

While it is true that a scientist can become famous and make a big difference by bucking conventional wisdom and proving a new theory, anything short of total certainty would make that a suicide mission. And climate science doesn’t provide the option of total certainty.

To put it another way, it would be easy for a physicist to buck the majority by showing that her math worked. Math is math. But if your science depends on human judgement to decide which measurements to include and which ones to “tune,” you don’t have that option. Being a rebel theoretical physicist is relatively easy if your numbers add up. But being a rebel climate scientist is just plain stupid. So don’t expect to see many of the latter. Scientists can often be wrong, but rarely are they stupid.

To strengthen my point today, and in celebration of my reopening of the blog commenting section, please provide your links to pro and con arguments about climate science. This might be the only place in the world you will see links to both sides. If you want to be amazed, see how persuasive BOTH sides of this debate are.

As I said above, I accept the consensus of climate science experts when they say that climate science is real and accurate. But I do that to protect my reputation and my income. I have no way to evaluate the work of scientists.

If you ask me how scared I am of climate changes ruining the planet, I have to say it is near the bottom of my worries. If science is right, and the danger is real, we’ll find ways to scrub the atmosphere as needed. We always find ways to avoid slow-moving dangers. And if the risk of climate change isn’t real, I will say I knew it all along because climate science matches all of the criteria for a mass hallucination by experts.

SOURCE

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

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

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Thursday, December 08, 2016



'Remarkable year': What's behind the record low sea ice in Antarctica?

Above is the heading on an article by Peter Hannam appearing in the Sydney Morning Herald on Nov. 27. I dealt with it  on Nov. 29th., using logic alone.

But Tony Heller has now attacked it using 20th century climate history, which is his specialty.  He shows that the principal area of recent sea-ice loss is a polynya (big hole) in the ice of the Weddel sea.  He then goes on to show that a very similar hole in the same place also occurred in 1976, when it was attributed to global cooling





So which is it?  Does a polynya prove global warming or global cooling?  Neither, of course.  It is just one of the natural phenomena that we do not understand -- though a guess that it is due to an underwater volcano would probably not be far off.  There is a lot of underwater vulcanism at both poles.

Tony also has fun with another claim in the Peter Hannam article that reported ice loss in the Northern hemisphere too.  In commenting on that ice loss, Peter said:  "With less ice to reflect the sun's radiation to space, more heat is absorbed by the oceans, added to the warming".

Tony's reply to that was crushing on two grounds: "If Peter actually knew anything about the earth, he would know that the sun doesn’t shine in the Arctic in November – and open water in the Arctic Ocean in November allows heat to escape to the much colder air."




Fracking-Contaminated Groundwater: The Myth that Failed

The myth that hydraulic fracturing, commonly called “fracking,” of oil and natural gas is responsible for the widespread, systemic contamination of groundwater (the stuff you drink) is one that is proving tremendously hard to kill. Like a hoard of Birkenstock-and-white-sock-wearing terminators—and here I paraphrase the film—proponents of fracking bans can’t be bargained with, can’t be reasoned with, can’t feel pity or remorse or fear, and they absolutely will not stop, ever, until fracking is dead.

No matter how many blows they get dealt, they keep on coming. No matter what the scientific literature says, they will not stray from their mission.

When you recognize you are dealing with people who consider the piffle in an anti-fracking piece of Manichaean agitprop like the film Gasland to be holy writ, this isn’t very surprising. The problem, however, is not that the congregation believes these things (cultists gonna cult); the problem is your average layman, who does not follow this issue too closely, is also susceptible to believing these things.

Simply put, despite their hysterical claims and protestations to the contrary, the existing scientific evidence shows hydraulic fracturing processes do not pose a systemic impact on groundwater. The latest blow comes from Wyoming’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), which released a final report earlier this month on drilling activity near the town of Pavillion.

A December 2011 draft report by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that hinted at a link between drilling and water contamination turned Pavillion into a locus of the hydraulic fracturing debate, despite then-EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson stating after the report’s release, “… in no case have we made a definitive determination that the fracking process has caused chemicals to enter groundwater.” EPA officials also expressed concern internally over the “inflammatory and irresponsible” media coverage of the report.

After EPA’s handling of the testing was criticized by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Geological Survey, among others, EPA turned the investigation over to DEQ in 2013.

The DEQ report concluded drilling activity did not contaminate well water there and that any contaminants found in those wells were likely to be naturally occurring. Further, the monitoring wells EPA drilled were done incorrectly, and the agency itself accidentally introduced the very contaminants that it later detected and reported on.

“Evidence does not indicate that hydraulic fracturing fluids have risen to shallow depths utilized by water-supply wells,” states the report’s accompanying fact sheet. “Also, based on an evaluation of hydraulic fracturing history, and methods used in the Pavillion Gas Field, it is unlikely that hydraulic fracturing has caused any impacts to the water-supply wells.”

The DEQ report is no lone wolf. Since 2010, there have been at least 15 of these peer-reviewed studies have been produced, including ones by the Bureau of Economic Geology at the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas-Austin, the Department of Geology at the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Cincinnati, the California Council on Science and Technology and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, and Germany’s Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources.

The most noteworthy of these is a multi-year study conducted by the EPA itself. Released in June 2015, the study is widely considered to be the most exhaustive research to date on the subject of hydraulic fracturing. The EPA researchers found fracking has not led to systemic impacts on drinking water, stating, “the number of cases where drinking water resources were impacted is small relative to the number of hydraulically fractured wells.”

The fracking process has transformed the energy outlook of the United States over the past decade, and the rise of shale gas as a replacement for coal has been primarily responsible for the United States now enjoying its lowest level of carbon-dioxide emissions since 1989. The oil and natural gas hydraulic fracturing has enabled us to exploit are cost-effective and abundant, and they can ensure the United States is the world’s largest energy producer well beyond the 21st century.

Federal, state, and local governments have tested thousands of sites for hydraulic fracturing pollution of groundwater and drinking water resources. Flatly, there is no scientific justification for banning hydraulic fracturing or over-regulating it out of existence over concern for groundwater contamination. Regulation should only be based on the best available scientific literature, not on wild, unfounded claims of based on misinformation, fear, and superstition.

SOURCE




EPA May Finally Have to Answer for the Animas River Spill

Remember when the Environmental Protection Agency caused a discharge of 3 million gallons of toxic water into the Animas River, and no one was held accountable? Now the Supreme Court is getting involved.

The toxic spill occurred in August 2015 when EPA workers accidentally caused a leak in an abandoned mine near Durango, Colorado.

Contaminants spread into vital water sources that serve Colorado, New Mexico, and the Navajo Nation. The Animas River provides water for drinking, farming, ranching, and tourism in those places.

New Mexico and Colorado are both suing the EPA, and now the Supreme Court has asked the acting solicitor general of the United States, Ian H. Gershengorn, to weigh in on the pending litigation.

This request represents one more chance for the government, and possibly the Trump administration, to hold the EPA accountable for its fiasco.

Accidents by private parties that are remarkably similar to the Animas River spill have led to criminal prosecutions in the past. Consider an example from Alaska:

[One] back-hoe operator accidentally struck an oil pipeline in Alaska in 1994, and 1,000 to 5,000 gallons of oil spilled into the Skagway River. The Environmental Protection Agency had his supervisor—who was at home and off-duty at the time of the accident—criminally prosecuted for negligent discharge under the Clean Water Act.

A district court sentenced him to six months in prison, another six months in a halfway house, another six months on supervised release, and imposed a $5,000 fine.

The article goes on:

A second back-hoe operator accidentally struck open the flooded Gold King Mine of Colorado in August 2015, and 3,000,000 gallons of yellow water laced with mercury, lead, and other toxic heavy metals spilled into the Animas River—a regional source of water for drinking and irrigation. The EPA worked to contain the spill, but it held no one accountable.

The main difference, of course, is the second back-hoe operator happened to work for the EPA.

In October, the Office of the Inspector General, which investigates waste, fraud, and abuse within federal agencies, told congressional staff that “it had found evidence of criminal wrongdoing by the EPA” in relation to the Animas River spill. That included “providing false statements in a criminal investigation and violation of the Clean Water Act.”

But the Department of Justice refused to do anything about it, despite the fact that it routinely goes after private parties for relatively trivial acts, such as the Skagway River spill mentioned above, and a separate incident involving the discharge of “1,000 gallons of sewage into a ditch connected to a local reservoir.”

Taking the EPA to Task

The New Mexico attorney general and the Navajo Nation did what the federal government refused to do: “hold [the agency] to the same standards that [it] would anyone that would have created this situation,” something that EPA Regional Director Shaun McGrath had promised the agency would do right after the spill occurred.

Both New Mexico and the Navajo Nation sued the EPA in federal court. Specifically, New Mexico filed suit against the EPA, Gina McCarthy in her official capacity as EPA administrator, the EPA’s excavation contractor, and several mining companies, requesting “full and just compensation” for the environmental and economic damage caused by the EPA’s spill.

The Navajo Nation’s complaint argued that “after one of the most significant environmental catastrophes in history, the Nation and the Navajo people have yet to have their waterways cleaned, their losses compensated, their health protected, or their way of life restored.”

New Mexico Sues Colorado

New Mexico also sued the state of Colorado in the Supreme Court, claiming that the EPA’s spill “was the coup de grâce of two decades of disastrous environmental decision-making by Colorado, for which New Mexico and its citizens are now paying the price.”

New Mexico argues that Colorado should be held responsible for lingering pollution at several mine sites, and for the “hazardous conditions” that led to the EPA turning the Animas River yellow.

As part of the long, complex history of regional mines, some Colorado government officials authorized a mining company to plug drainage tunnels below several mines, causing “the mine’s tunnels and workings [to] fill with potentially billions of gallons of water, essentially transforming the mine into an enormous wastewater storage facility.”

US Supreme Court: What Does the Executive Branch Think?

Now the Supreme Court has asked Gershengorn to file a brief in New Mexico v. Colorado expressing the Obama administration’s views on the matter. The solicitor general represents the executive branch in litigation before the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court’s request is important because the EPA is ultimately responsible for the Animas River spill. This request provides a further opportunity to discover unpublished facts about the cause of the Animas River spill.

President Barack Obama’s Justice Department has refused to prosecute anyone at the EPA, which sends a clear signal as to what it thinks on the matter.

On Oct. 12, members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Committee on Natural Resources sent a stinging letter to the Justice Department.

“By not taking up the case,” the congressmen wrote, Justice officials “give the appearance of hypocrisy, and seem to indicate that there is one set of rules for private citizens and another for the federal government. The EPA disaster deserves the same level of accountability to which private citizens are held.”

But on Friday, Jan. 20, there will be a new administration at the helm of the Justice Department. And this new administration might have a new perspective on the matter.

If Obama’s DOJ does not act before Jan. 20, a Trump DOJ could send the Supreme Court a brief with a very similar opinion to what Congress and the public have expressed. And the EPA might have to publicly defend its actions before Congress again.

That could become tougher for the agency, because its sole defense for the ongoing lack of accountability is invalid.

The EPA’s Special Pleading

At a June oversight hearing, members of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works asked Cynthia Giles, head of the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, why the agency had not taken action against any parties responsible for the spill.

Giles stated that “law and enforcement distinguishes between the company who makes and releases pollution and the entities that are trying to respond and clean up pollution that other people created.”

But the EPA is wrong. For proof, read the text of the Clean Water Act, the implementing regulations, and opinions by the Supreme Court and two federal circuits. They all make clear that the government is subject to the Clean Water Act in the same manner as private parties.

The only basis for the EPA’s position is a 2012 EPA memorandum co-authored by Giles herself. But the EPA cannot exempt itself from federal criminal law.

Perhaps the solicitor general will agree. According to their October letter, key members of Congress certainly do.

Thus, the Supreme Court’s request for the solicitor general to get involved provides more opportunity for the federal government to make a choice: Either stop criminally prosecuting private parties for mere accidents, or hold its own actors to the same standards and penalties.

SOURCE





California's New Cow Fart Regulations Totally Stink

New law aims to reduce bovine flatulance, but will the cows obey?

Livestock are responsible for roughly 15 percent of the world's greenhouse gases, but if you think getting people to stop driving their cars or using electricity is a difficult task, good luck preventing cows from farting.

California is going to try.

"This bill curbs these dangerous pollutants and thereby protects public health and slows climate change," said Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement when he signed the bill in September, against the wishes of the state's farmers.

The law won't stop cows from farting, of course, because cows are notoriously disrespectful of human-passed laws. Instead, it will make life more difficult for dairy farmers in California.

Dairy farms will be required to reduce methane emissions to 40 percent below their 2013 levels by 2030. The state will spend $50 million help offset the cost of so-called "dairy digesters," which are intended to capture methane spewed from cows and convert it into electricity. After that, the state's Air Resources Board will have the authority to set whatever regulations they deem necessary to reach the stated goal.

Cow farts—or "bovine entric fermentation" if you want to sound smart—pump a lot of methane into the environment. A single cow can produce up to 130 gallons of methane in a single day (even that's not as bad as what dinosaur farts could do), and methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

Even if California were to find a way to stop cows from farting—or, more likely, if it were to regulate all its dairy farms out of existence—there would be a miniscule impact on global methane levels. California isn't even the leading producer of agricultural methane in the United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

On a global scale, the tiny microbes that grow on the roots of rice plants produce 30 percent of all agricultural methane on Earth.

California's not the first to target cows in an effort to rein-in global warming. Some ethical vegetarian groups have allied with global warming activists to call for reducing the number of cows in Africa.

The attack on dairy cows is part of a broader effort to reduce California's greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. Doing that means giving a lot more power ot the state's Air Resources Board, which now finds itself in the business of regulating what comes out of bovine buttocks. According to an Associated Press report this week, the board is hoping California's proposal will be a model for other states to follow.

SOURCE




Rolling back environmental progress?

Having achieved major goals, US should refocus EPA and other environmental agencies

Paul Driessen

Donald Trump plans to “roll back progress” on climate change, energy and the environment, activists, regulators and their media allies assert. The claim depends on one’s definition of “progress.”

These interest groups define “progress” as ever-expanding laws, regulations, bureaucracies and power, to bring air and water emissions of every description down to zero, to prevent diseases that they attribute to manmade pollutants and forestall “dangerous manmade climate change.” Achieving those goals requires controlling nearly every facet of our economy, industries, lives, livelihoods and living standards.

If we are talking about halting and reversing this unbridled federal control, President-Elect Trump has promised to roll “progress” back – and not a moment too soon, if we are to rejuvenate our economy.

Federal land, resource and environmental agencies have unleashed tsunamis of regulations in recent years, and President Obama is poised to issue many more before January 20. The total cost of complying with federal rules was about $1 trillion annually in 2006. It has since doubled, raising the federal reporting and compliance burden to $6,000 per person per year, through late-2016.

The Obama Administration has thus far imposed some $743 billion of those new costs, via 4,432 new rules requiring 754 million hours of paperwork, according to a new American Action Forum analysis. The $2 trillion cumulative annual tab is more than all federal individual and corporate taxes collected in 2015; includes 10 billion hours dealing with paperwork; and does not include state or local regulations. Land use and environmental compliance costs account for a sizable and growing portion of this total.

These costs hogtie innovation, job creation and economic growth. They make millions unemployed.

So let us examine “progress” against two other standards: (1) pollution reductions to date; and (2) the validity of claims used to justify ever more burdensome and expensive environmental regulations.

We can never have zero pollution. The laws of diminishing returns increasingly come into play: getting rid of the last 10% can cost as much as eliminating the initial 90% and is rarely needed. And we cannot control nature’s pollution: volcanoes, forest fires, poisonous algae blooms, deep ocean vents, erosion of rocks bearing mercury and other toxic substances, and other sources.

However, we can reach the point where remaining pollutants pose few or no health risks – and we have largely done so. Since 1970, America’s cars have eliminated nearly 99% of pollutants that once came out of tailpipes, notes Air Quality in America co-author Joel Schwartz. Refiners have eliminated lead from gasoline and reduced its sulfur content by some 95% – while coal-fired power plants now remove 80-95% of the particulates, mercury, nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide that they emitted in 1970.

Asthma may be rising, but it’s certainly not because of pollution rates that have fallen dramatically.

Water quality has also skyrocketed. Along the river where I grew up in Wisconsin, a dozen pairs of bald eagles now nest where there were none when I was a kid, when you couldn’t eat the fish or swim in the polluted water. The same thing happened across the USA. Other problems remain to be addressed.

As President-Elect Trump has quipped, “It used to be that cars were made in Flint, and you couldn’t drink the water in Mexico. Now our cars are made in Mexico, and you can’t drink the water in Flint.”

That’s because local officials and the USEPA didn’t do their jobs – didn’t monitor or fix failing, corroded lead water pipes. Repairing Flint’s system, and addressing water and sewer problems in other cities, will cost billions of dollars. If we are forced to spend tens or hundreds of billions on exaggerated, fabricated or imaginary risks, there will be little left to resolve our remaining real health problems.

Let us celebrate our progress, and turn our attention to real problems that still must be corrected. Let us also examine claims used to justify regulations – and roll back rules that don’t pass scientific muster.

EPA insists that saving fuel and reducing pollution from now super-clean vehicles requires that cars and light trucks get 54.5 mpg by 2025. But achieving this will force people to drive smaller, lighter, more plasticized, less safe cars – and millions more will be maimed and killed. EPA doesn’t mention that, or acknowledge that fracking ensures another century of oil and gasoline: time to devise new energy sources.

Above all, though, the Environmental Protection Agency’s reason for being, for wanting to steadily expand its budget and personnel, for seeking to regulate our farms, factories, homes and energy supplies, for trying to drive entire industries into bankruptcy – is its assertion that humans are causing catastrophic climate change, thereby endangering human health and welfare. The claims do not withstand scrutiny.

Even as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels continue to rise – spurring plant growth worldwide – except during the strong 2015-16 El Niño, average global temperatures have remained steady for 18 years. Polar and Greenland ice caps, sea levels, hurricanes, floods and droughts refuse to behave in accord with climate chaos claims, computer model predictions, or EPA and Obama White House assertions.

Meanwhile, as EPA moves to impose its “Clean Power Plan” and other draconian rules, developed and developing nations alike are building new coal-fired power plants every week, greatly expanding their oil and gas use, and reducing wind and solar subsidies. Even EPA analyses recognize that ending nearly all US fossil fuel use will prevent an undetectable global temperature rise of just 0.02 degrees by 2100.

So EPA has tried to justify its job and economy-killing climate change and coal eradication rules by claiming they will bring huge “ancillary” health benefits. Those claims too are pure hogwash.

US coal-fired power plants emit less than 0.5% of all the mercury that enters Earth’s atmosphere every year from Asian power plants, forest fires, volcanoes, subsea vents and geysers. EPA nonetheless claims its rules will magically bring benefits like an imperceptible 0.00209-point improvement in IQ scores!

The agency also says banning coal-fired power plants will reduce “carcinogenic” and “lethal” levels of microscopic particulate matter (soot) in America’s air. But EPA has no medical evidence that what is still in our air poses actual problems. In fact, EPA-funded researchers illegally subjected human test subjects – including elderly, asthmatic, diabetic and cardiac patients – to 8, 30 or even 60 times more soot per volume (for up to two hours) than what EPA claims is dangerous or lethal. And yet, no one got sick.

Obviously, EPA’s air quality standards and dire warnings about soot are totally out of whack with reality.

The federal government next concocted what it calls the “social cost of carbon” framework. It assigns a price to using carbon-based fuels and emitting carbon dioxide, by blaming US fossil fuels and CO2 for every imaginable and imaginary “harm” to wildlife, climate and humans worldwide. It completely ignores the enormous and undeniable benefits of using those fuels, the equally important benefits of plant-fertilizing CO2, and horrendous damage that would result from eliminating 81% of America’s energy.

Indeed, EPA and other regulators routinely ignore the impacts that their draconian regulations have on people’s jobs, living standards, health and welfare – including reduced or lost incomes, lower nutrition, welfare dependency, drug and alcohol abuse, and shorter life spans. They then present scientists, “health” and “environmental” organizations and advisory committees that approve and applaud the regulations anyway – often because the agencies pay them millions of dollars a year to do so.

That’s how bureaucrats remain powerful, unaccountable and immune from being fired or having to compensate victims for their incompetent or even deliberate falsifications and actions. We end up being protected from exaggerated and fabricated risks, years or decades from now – by having jobs, companies, industries, families, communities, and our overall health and welfare hammered by over-regulation today.

America’s voters rejected this agenda. Over 90% of the nation’s counties voted to Trump the bridge hand to tyranny. We do not want to roll back true environmental progress. But we do demand a return to sanity, science, and honest consideration of our overall health, welfare and “human environment” in approving regulations that govern our lives. Let’s insist that the new Congress and Administration do exactly that.

Via email

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

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

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Wednesday, December 07, 2016



Dana Nuccitelli is up to his old tricks again

He tells a good story if you don't know the details he leaves out or distorts. At issue is the cause of the 2015/2016 global  warming.  But the graph below really tells it all.  The warming was a typical El Nino peak, not the sustained rise we might have expected of anthropogenic global warming.



And if the rise WERE caused by anthropogenic global warming, there would have to have been a rise in the CO2 content of the atmosphere during 2015 and 2016 to cause it.  But there was not.  The latest readings are that CO2 levels plateaued in 2015 and 2016  -- something I have been pointing out for many months, just from a scan of the raw numbers as they came up at Mauna Loa and Cape Grim.

People sometimes talk of delayed heating, of warming being "left over" from previous years -- but that is nonsense.  Those little CO2 molecules are either up there bouncing heat or they are not.  If I put a pot of water on the gas and a little later turn the gas off, the water immediately starts to cool.  It does not keep on getting warmer for a while. There is no delayed heating.

Nuccitelli doesn't have a leg to stand on.  He is just a skilled liar.  Warmists are great cherrypickers so it is amusing that Nuccitelli is one of those who have accused David Rose of cherrypicking.   I did however put up yesterday a thorough  demolition of that claim


Fake news tries to blame human-caused global warming on El Niño
Climate scientists and real science journalists pushed back, holding the post-truth crowd accountable

Human carbon pollution is heating the Earth incredibly fast. On top of that long-term human-caused global warming trend, there are fluctuations caused by various natural factors. One of these is the El Niño/La Niña cycle. The combination of human-caused warming and a strong El Niño event are on the verge of causing an unprecedented three consecutive record-breaking hot years.

Simply put, without global warming we would not be seeing record-breaking heat year after year. In fact, 2014 broke the temperature record without an El Niño assist, and then El Niño helped push 2015 over 2014, and 2016 over 2015.

Sadly, we live in a post-truth world dominated by fake news in which people increasingly seek information that confirms their ideological beliefs, rather than information that’s factually accurate from reliable sources. Because people have become incredibly polarized on the subject of climate change, those with a conservative worldview who prefer maintaining the status quo to the steps we need to take to prevent a climate catastrophe often seek out climate science-denying stories.

Into that environment step conservative columnists David Rose at the Mail on Sunday, parroted by Ross Clark in The Spectator and James Delingpole for Breitbart, all trying to blame the current record-shattering hot global temperatures entirely on El Niño. Perhaps saddest of all, the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee tweeted the Breitbart piece, to which Senator Bernie Sanders appropriately responded:

Where'd you get your PhD? Trump University?

The conservative columnists made their case by claiming that, with the recent strong El Niño event ending, temperatures are “plummeting,” thus blaming the record heat on El Niño. There are several fatal flaws in their case.

First, the “plummet” they cite is not in global temperatures on the surface where we live, and where temperatures are easiest to measure accurately, but rather in satellite estimates of the temperature of the lower atmosphere above the portions of Earth’s surface covered by land masses. Second, although the satellite data extend as far back as 1979, and the global surface temperature data to 1880, they cherry pick the data by only showing the portion since 1997. Third, the argument is based entirely upon one relatively cool month (October 2016) that was only cool in that particularly cherry-picked data set.

The argument is easily debunked. While there was a strong El Niño event in 2015–2016, there was an equally strong event in 1997–1998. The two events had very similar short-term warming influences on global surface temperatures, but according to Nasa, 2016 will be about 0.35°C hotter than 1998. That difference is due to the long-term, human-caused global warming trend. In fact, according to Nasa, even October 2016 was hotter than every month on record prior to 1998. These “plummeting” post-El Niño temperatures are still as hot as the hottest month at the peak of the 1998 El Niño.

SOURCE





Obama Administration Sides With Protesters, Halting Construction of Dakota Access Pipeline

The Department of the Army handed protesters of the Dakota Access pipeline a victory Sunday when it announced the project would be re-routed. The decision came on the eve of the government’s Monday deadline for protesters to evacuate their encampment.

For the past several months, members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have waged a campaign against the pipeline, drawing the support of environmentalists and liberal entertainers. They were upset that the pipeline would cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota. Now, the company installing the 1,172-mile pipeline will have to find another route or appeal to the incoming Trump administration in 2017.

“Although we have had continuing discussion and exchanges of new information with the Standing Rock Sioux and Dakota Access, it’s clear that there’s more work to do,” Jo-Ellen Darcy, the Army’s assistant secretary for civil works, said in the statement Sunday. “The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.”

It’s unclear what protesters will do Monday, when they face the deadline to leave. Even before Sunday’s decision, North Dakota’s congressman warned that the fight over the pipeline would likely continue.

“The idea that [the pipeline protest] is about the environment is bogus,” Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said last week in an interview with Daily Signal editor in chief Rob Bluey.

The pipeline is designed to transport oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota to southern Illinois.

Prior to Sunday’s announcement, Energy Transfer Partners, the company in charge of the project, had estimated it would be fully operational by the end of this year. It is already over 90 percent complete, but environmentalists and citizens of the nearby Standing Rock Sioux Reservation successful halted its construction.

On April 1, tribal citizens founded the “Sacred Stone Camp” near the construction site to protest the pipeline. The group is concerned that it will be constructed close enough to the tribe’s water source, the Missouri River, to cause spillage.

However, according to Time magazine, the pipeline does not pass through tribal land. Since Sacred Stone’s founding, the site has been subject to ongoing protests to halt the pipeline’s construction.

State officials and the Army Corps of Engineers have issued an evacuation notice to protesters, but Cramer said it is unlikely they will comply.

“They have … issued an evacuation notice for the land that the camp is on, the illegal camp, and so as of next Monday [Dec. 5], anyone staying there will be trespassing,” Cramer said.

When asked if he was confident that the protesters would leave by the deadline, the congressman said:

I’m not, because the tribe and others have committed to staying there. I will tell you that the 2 feet of snow or so that they’ve got in the last couple of days probably is a greater distraction than an evacuation notice from the [U.S. Army] Corps of Engineers, but winter can be a very sobering time in North Dakota on the prairie.

“What started out as a prayerful, peaceful protest of course has turned into a very violent and aggressive riot in many cases,” the congressman said in his interview with The Daily Signal. “The blending of agitators and out-of-state people with a different agenda than just protection of water for the tribe has created a lot of chaos,” he said.

In the interview, Cramer also rejected the idea that protesters were seeking to defend the environment against the pipeline’s construction.

“This oil is being produced today. It’s being moved now. It’s just not being moved by this efficient, safe means of transportation,” Cramer said. “So the idea that some of this is about the environment is bogus. This oil is going to be produced. So I just think that many of the arguments against it are ironic at best and hypocritical most likely.”

When asked about how he believed the management of federal lands would change under the incoming Trump administration, Cramer expressed optimism that President-elect Donald Trump would handle things differently.

“We own … over $50 trillion … worth of oil and gas. [Trump is] a businessman; he knows what $50 trillion could do for our country,” Cramer said, adding:

Mr. Trump is also an environmentalist. The idea of just exploiting federal lands is something he doesn’t take lightly either, but he’s also smart enough to know that modern technology and appropriate safeguards can be put in place to do it in a safe and reasonable manner while at the same time exploiting it for the benefit of our economy and job creation and, certainly, national security.

SOURCE




New EPA rules push regulatory costs past $1 trillion, $3,080 per person

The new implementation of EPA rules on heavy trucks has boosted the 10-year regulatory burden on America past $1 trillion, 75 percent of which have been imposed by the Obama administration.

That amounts to a one-time charge of $3,080 per person, or an annual cost of $540, according to a new analysis from American Action Forum.

"In other words, each year every person, regardless of age, in the nation is responsible for paying roughly $540 in regulatory costs. These burdens might take the form of higher prices, fewer jobs, or reduced wages," said AAF's Sam Batkins, director of regulatory policy at the watchdog group.

The staggering amount is likely to surge even higher as President Obama scrambles to lock in several environmental regulations before leaving office. He has already broken records for new regulations and added red tape this year and still has 50 days in office.

Incoming President-elect Trump has promised to kill two current regulations for every new one he adds.

The new high in regulatory costs, said Batkins, came after new fuel standards for trucks were implemented.

His study goes back to 2005, when George W. Bush was president, and said that Obama is responsible for about three-quarters of the added regulatory costs.

"The Obama Administration surpassed 500 major regulations last summer, imposing $625 billion in cumulative costs. Earlier this year, regulators published the administration's 600th major rule, increasing burdens to $743 billion.

Now, thanks to data from the last term of the Bush Administration and another billion-dollar rule from EPA, the regulatory tally has surpassed $1 trillion. These figures are direct estimates from federal regulators, but it will take more than an effort from these regulators to amend hundreds of major regulations. Congress, the next president, and even the courts must participate in the next generation of regulatory modernization," he reported.

SOURCE





Reality Check: Despite Climate Change Vow, China Pushes to Dig More Coal

America’s uncertain stance toward global warming under the coming administration of Donald J. Trump has given China a leading role (sic!) in the fight against climate change. It has called on the United States to recognize established science and to work with other countries to reduce dependence on dirty fuels like coal and oil. But there is a problem: Even as it does so, China is scrambling to mine and burn more coal.

A lack of stockpiles and worries about electricity blackouts are spurring Chinese officials to reverse curbs that once helped reduce coal production. Mines are reopening. Miners are being lured back with fatter paychecks.

China’s response to coal scarcity shows how hard it will be to wean the country off coal. That makes it harder for China and the world to meet emissions targets, as Chinese coal is the world’s largest single source of carbon emissions from human activities.

Among China watchers, the turnabout also has contributed to questions about the fate of China’s current crop of economic planners. [...]

Coal still produces almost three-quarters of China’s electricity, despite ambitious hydroelectric dam projects and the world’s largest program to install solar panels and build wind turbines. Coal use in China also produces more emissions than all the oil, coal and gas consumed in the United States.

“I get a kick out of people in the West who think China is decarbonizing, because I see no sign of it whatsoever,” said Brock Silvers, a Shanghai banker who has previously served on the boards of two Chinese coal companies.

Troubled by pollution and worries about rising sea levels, China moved in recent months to rein in coal. Coal production dropped 3 percent last year — a result of that effort, but also a sign of slowing economic growth as well as a gradual shift in the Chinese economy toward American-style consumer spending and away from exports and heavy manufacturing.

That prompted the International Energy Agency to offer an optimistic reassessment this autumn: Chinese coal use peaked in 2013 and would now decline.

China’s reversal now is prompting skepticism. “There is still a peak coming,” said Xizhou Zhou, the head of Asia and Pacific gas and power analysis at IHS Energy, a global consulting group. “It’s still going to increase.”

IHS Energy forecasts that Chinese coal demand will not peak until 2026.

SOURCE




Australia: Greenie panic about Great Barrier Reef could harm tourism and agriculture

The Queensland and Federal Governments' reef 2050 progress report to UNESCO says land clearing is a significant challenge to future sustainability.

Scientists link land clearing to sediment runoff and poor water quality, and the report says it could put the reef on UNESCO's 'in danger' list.

Cynthia Sabag, who runs a tropical fruit farm halfway between Townsville and Cairns, said she is concerned about the health of the Great Barrier Reef, but does not think farming is to blame for its deterioration.

"It seems that agriculture has often been made the scapegoat in this debate," she said. "There was no evidence on our land that any of our farming was causing runoff, which would affect the Great Barrier Reef."

The State Government recently failed to pass laws to stop clearing, and now the Federal Government says it might intervene.

That would be a win for conservationists, but for Ms Sabag a return to more precarious times when she was not allowed to clear land for farming. "The way it was prior to the legislation, we had no hope whatsoever of ever selling our property and no hope of retiring, which is pretty demoralising," she said.

"This sort of has given us some hope, but we've lost 10 years of our life and 10 years of developing a property."

Agricultural industry body AgForce echoes Ms Sabag's concerns.

President Grant Maudsley said some politicians do not understand the challenges of managing rural properties.  "It's easy on the left side of politics ... to point at the bush and say the bush is doing the wrong things," he said. "It's simply not the case."

"We would prefer to go down a policy outcome ... and have a little talk about things, but to keep pointing the finger consistently time and time again at one issue as being the problem is rubbish."

Mr Maudsley hopes the reef will not make UNESCO's 'in danger' list and disputes evidence that land clearing is the problem.

"What we're all looking for is reducing runoff, but you don't do that by having all trees and all grass, you have a combination of both," he said. "If you have a complete tree landscape, you actually end up with a really high density of trees, which actually reduces the cover on the ground and water actually runs off."

Mr Maudsley also points out other sectors, including mining, have a role to play in restoring health to the reef.

Conservationists agree and criticise the report's failure to make any substantial policy commitments to dealing with climate change.

Imogen Zethoven from the Australian Marine Conservation Society said reducing fossil fuels is a key part of that. "We really have to start taking some tough decisions, and one of them is that we really should not be opening up any new coal mines," Ms Zethoven said.

She is concerned about the proposed controversial Adani coal mine in the Galilee Basin, which has just secured a rail line, a temporary construction camp and is now seeking federal government funding. "[It's a] devastating mine that will really spell disaster for the reef," she said.

"We are also extremely concerned that the Federal Government appears to be using taxpayer money to fund this reef-destroying project."

"We know that there is a serious issue with jobs in north Queensland, but it's not about any old job, it's the right job.

"It's about jobs that are in industries that are the future, like renewable energy, jobs that are in the tourism sector, which is growing, that will be terribly hurt if this massive Adani coal mine goes ahead."

If the reef is placed on the 'in danger' list it could potentially lose its world heritage status and that could have devastating impacts on the tourism sector.

Daniel Gschwind from Queensland's Tourism Industry Council said it could deter visitors and undermine Australia's reputation as a tourist destination.

"The money they spend on the visits to the reef, to Queensland, to north Queensland amounts to between $5-6 billion every year," Mr Gschwind said.

"That money circulates through local communities, regional communities, on and on, and it employs and generates employment for about 50,000 Queenslanders."

He said UNESCO's assessment is putting the international spotlight on Australia, and the next few years could see it emerge as either the hero or the villain of environmental management.

SOURCE

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

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

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Tuesday, December 06, 2016



New Antarctic panic is just the usual dishonest rubbish

At the risk of extreme tautology, the Larsen C Ice Shelf is a SHELF -- a long, narrow, frosty rim floating on the water alongside the coast of Antarctica.  And as Archimedes discovered over 2,000 years ago, the melting of floating ice does NOT raise the water level.  So the "rising sea level" threat can be put to bed conclusively.

But what about global warming?  It does get one brief mention below.  Since the Antarctic ice as a whole is growing, that is an impossible explanation.

The cause of the melting will undoubtedly be subsurface vulcanism.  The Larsen C Ice Shelf is on the Antarctic peninsula and the Western Antarctic as a whole is known for subsurface vulcanism.

And the Larsen C Ice Shelf in particular is in fact known to have cold seeps underneath it, which are a sort of cool volcano.  Whether they are warm enough to explain the recent melting is not clear but in the circumstances there is a good chance that there are hotter areas nearby


An enormous rift has opened up in a section of the Antarctic ice shelf spanning 300 feet. The Larsen C Ice Shelf is gradually breaking up and will eventually produce an iceberg the size of Delaware before it disintegrates entirely.

A team of researchers flew over the gigantic crack in the ice and calculated it to be about 70 miles long, more than 300 feet wide and about a third of a mile deep.

'The crack completely cuts through the Ice Shelf but it does not go all the way across it – once it does, it will produce an iceberg roughly the size of the state of Delaware,' NASA said in a press release.

The collapse of the Larsen B ice shelf on the east side of the Antarctic Peninsula in 2002 saw a 1,235 square miles (3,200 square km) section of ice break apart into thousands of icebergs in just 35 days.

Larsen B was thought to have been stable for up to 12,000 years, according to studies on the collapse, but had become a hotspot of global warming.

Previous studies had suggested that the ice shelf began melting only a few years before it disintegrated in 2002.

Rising summertime temperatures are thought to have increased the water flow into cracks which then acted like wedges to lever the ice shelf apart.

It sparked widespread concern about the impact that climate change is having on the ice sheet balance in Antarctica, although a recent study showed ice mass on the continent has actually increased.

Antarctica is gaining more ice than it loses, research by Nasa last year found. It said Antarctica's ice sheet is thickening enough to outweigh increased losses caused by melting glaciers.

The research challenges the conclusions of other studies, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's report which says that Antarctica is losing land ice overall. But it also warns that losses could offset the gains in years to come.

The increase in Antarctic snow began 10,000 years ago and continues in East Antarctica and the interior of West Antarctica by an average of 0.7 inches (1.7cm) per year, according to the space agency.

Researchers analysed satellite data to demonstrate the Antarctic ice sheet showed a net gain of 112 billion tons of ice a year from 1992 to 2001.

That net gain slowed to 82 billion tons of ice per year between 2003 and 2008.

The collapse of the Larsen Ice shelf in 2002, which is one of the biggest on record, is thought to have triggered further acceleration and thinning of the glaciers behind it.

There are now growing fears over the remaining section of the Larsen B ice shelf - which is around 625 square miles, and the large Larsen C ice shelf further to the south.

A recent study revealed that on the opposite side of the Antarctic Peninsula, more than 386 square miles of ice – an area the size of Berlin – has been lost in the past 40 years.

But elsewhere in the Antarctic, the ice sheet has been growing. Satellite data showed that the continent's vast ice sheet has showed a net gain of 112 billion tons of ice each year between 1992 and 2001.

However, between 2003 and 2008, that has slowed to 82 billion tons of ice per year.

SOURCE




One subsidy breeds another

Having distorted the market by big subsidies for "renewables", generating power from gas is no longer economic in Britain.  But Britain needs gas for baseload power.  So now they have to subsidize gas too -- or risk blackouts in the near future.  So huge amounts of money are being wasted for no advantage


As a result of Britain’s energy policies, building new gas-fired power plants is no longer economic. Now, the Government has to subsidise gas investors to keep the lights on.

Four years ago this week, the Government unveiled plans for a bold new dash for gas. New gas-fired power stations, then-energy secretary Ed Davey said, would be required to “provide crucial capacity to keep the lights on”.

A new Gas Generation Strategy backed “significant investment” in up to 26 gigawatts (GW) of new plants by 2030. Since then, energy ministers have come and gone, support for solar and onshore wind has been scrapped and the drive for new nuclear has faced security and cost worries.

But support for gas had been unwavering. Relatively cheap and quick to build, much cleaner than coal, and able to generate even when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine, gas plants tick all the Government’s boxes. “In the next 10 years, it’s imperative that we get new gas-fired power stations built,” Amber Rudd, Davey’s successor, declared last year.

There’s just one problem: pretty much no one’s building them. Only one new station, at Carrington in Manchester, has been completed since 2013 as investment has dried up. This week, though, that could be about to change. A subsidy scheme designed to keep the lights on could, analysts believe, secure construction of several big new gas plants.

Few could dispute that the UK needs new power plants. “An awful lot of capacity has either closed or is closing,” explains Richard Howard, of Policy Exchange. The think-tank calculates that some 23GW of conventional thermal power plant capacity has been closed or mothballed since 2010. “That’s more than a third of peak demand,” says Howard. “And a further 24GW of coal and nuclear is expected to close between now and 2025. We need to build some new capacity – otherwise the lights will go out.”

The problem is, the UK electricity market has changed so much – due in large part to the growth of subsidised renewables – investors say they can no longer justify building new plants based solely on their likely returns from selling power in the market. “Essentially no new capacity is being built without some form of government-backed contract,” Howard says.

SOURCE




Mass: West Roxbury pipeline to open, despite protests

A Houston energy company plans to start transmitting gas through a pipeline in densely populated West Roxbury on Thursday, despite two years of protests by neighbors and the continued objections of city officials concerned about public safety.

The news outraged neighbors who fear the pipeline could explode because it travels near an open quarry where dynamite is regularly detonated.

“If that thing is going to blow – and we believe it will blow at a certain point — we’re done,” said Nancy Wilson, who lives about three blocks from the pipeline and has been arrested twice while protesting its construction. “We just assume we will be incinerated because of this.”

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and other city officials sent letters Monday to federal energy regulators and to the Houston company that owns the pipeline accusing the firm of breaking its promise to share critical safety plans with the Boston police and fire departments.

The commissioners of those departments say that Houston-based Spectra Energy Corp. told them they could see the security plan for a crucial gas transfer station outside the quarry’s entrance on Grove Street as well as a “heat map” that indicates which neighbors would need to be evacuated in the event of a leak. But Spectra representatives have not shared that information with the city, the commissioners contend.

“Without this vital information, Boston police and fire will be unable to assess additional security that may be needed and unable to effectively respond in the case of an emergency,” Police Commissioner William B. Evans and Fire Commissioner Joseph E. Finn wrote to Algonquin Gas Transmission LLC, a Spectra subsidiary.

Spectra released a statement on Wednesday that noted the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last week approved the start of gas service in the pipeline and said that transmission is “ready to begin” on Thursday. The five-mile pipeline is part of a larger, $1 billion-project designed to increase the supply of natural gas to New England.

“The West Roxbury Lateral will provide National Grid with additional supplies of clean burning, affordable natural gas for homes, hospitals, businesses, and schools in the city of Boston,” the statement said. “The Algonquin system has operated safely in the region for more than 60 years. The . . . project facilities are designed, constructed, operated, and maintained to meet or exceed federal safety standards and regulations.”

The company said it was reviewing Monday’s letter from Evans and Finn and would respond. Evans said earlier this week during an interview on WGBH radio that city lawyers are considering what other steps they might be able to take to stop the opening of the pipeline.

Walsh already filed a federal lawsuit earlier this year challenging the federal commission’s approval of the project. Oral arguments have not been scheduled in the case.

Walsh said in an interview Wednesday that, unless the court intervenes, there is “virtually zero ability by the city or the state to be able to halt this type of pipeline after it gets approved by the federal government.”

He said, however, he is still hopeful that the pipeline can be relocated.

“If you’re looking for a place in any part of the city of Boston to locate this, the last place I would probably put this is next to a quarry,” Walsh said.

US Representative Stephen F. Lynch, another pipeline opponent, wrote to the commission twice this month, saying that it was reckless for the agency to allow the project to proceed and that it puts countless lives at risk.

He pointed to several recent pipeline disasters, including a Nov. 16 explosion in Canton, Ill., that killed one person and injured 12.

In addition to raising safety concerns, many neighbors also argue the project will delay the region’s long-overdue transition to renewable energy sources.

Neighbors have held frequent demonstrations at the site and tried to block construction of the project over the summer. Twenty-three people, including Al Gore’s daughter, Karenna, were arrested during one demonstration in June.

SOURCE




Vilifying David Rose: Attacking The Messenger Over Sharp Drop In Land Temps

In the Mail on Sunday last week, David Rose penned an article pointing out the very sharp decline in RSS land only data to October 2016, indicating that ocean surface temperatures might also cool significantly soon and that perhaps scientists and the media over-played the role of man-made global warming in the spike in global temperatures in early 2016 which were precipitated by the natural warming event of El Nino 2015/16. Predictably, he has been vilified for doing so, called a denier, accused of cherry-picking the data to suit his ‘denialist’ agenda etc. etc.

All pretty familiar stuff now to those used to observing the spectacle which is warmist kick-back against any who dare to question any aspect of ‘The Science’.

James Delingpole then joined the fray and published at Breitbart, referencing Rose’s article, pointing out the “icy silence” from climate alarmists following the large drop in land temperatures (as measured by RSS satellite but also, as it happens, by GISS and UAH). Warmist fury peaked El Nino-like when the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space & Technology had the audacity to tweet a link to Delingpole the Denier’s Breitbart article. Cue rants from the Keepers of the True Science of Climate Change and numerous other lesser warmist offendotron minions.

The main objection to Rose’s article is that he ‘cherry-picked’ land only data from the RSS lower troposphere dataset and ignored the oceans (he did not) and that (bizarrely) he cherry-picked two data points and ignored the longer record. The whole point of Rose’s article is that this is exactly what the media and scientactivists were doing when they hyped the El Nino to promote the anthropogenic global warming message! And they did. There is no doubt about that (as we shall see).

Firstly, let’s examine whether Rose’s ‘cherrypick’ of the RSS land only data was indeed a cherrypick. As you can see, UAH shows a very similar drop:



The GISS land only dataset shows a similar large decline:



So obviously, it was not simply Rose cherry-picking the data because the evidence is there : over land, temperatures dropped precipitously from Feb to Oct 2016. As Rose points out, the ocean data has been slower to respond, but it’s reasonable to speculate that, in 2017, the oceans might continue to cool (as they are now, and especially if a strong La Nina kicks in), whereupon the Pause in global warming might re-establish itself in which case the El Nino of 2015/16 will come to be seen as a short term weather event only, contrary to the hype we saw from scientists and the media at its peak. Of course, there is the possibility global temperatures might remain at a new higher level in which case we can say that El Nino has contributed to the long term global warming trend (as in 1998). The fact remains, however, most of the short term increase in temperature that we saw over 2014/15/16 can be attributed to the building super El Nino, not GHG global warming. This was not what scientists and the media were saying when El Nino peaked:

Adam Scaife (Met Office): "The vast majority of the warming is global warming, but the icing on the cake is the big El Niño event” ... We think El Niño made only a small contribution (a few hundredths of a degree) to the record global temperatures in 2015.... The forecast for next year is about 0.8C above the 1961-1990 baseline. About 0.2 of that is likely to come from El Niño, hence the 25%"

Peter Stott (Met Office): "El Nino will have contributed a “small amount on top” to the global warming of 2015/16.

When the peak did happen, Gavin was like, ‘Wow’ and this was ‘special’:

The Guardian, supported by comments from a number of scientists, concluded that the global warming occurring at the time was “shocking” and that it constituted a “climate emergency”.

SOURCE



Drain the Swamp: Sunset the Renewable Fuel Standard

Just before the Thanksgiving weekend I spoke to a trade association about the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS)—why the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) wants to abolish it, and how reform-minded groups might constructively engage the incoming Trump administration given the President-elect’s well-known support for the RFS. Below is an edited version of my remarks.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute, as our name suggests, believes that refereed competition—competition under rules of fair play—advances the public interest. Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek called competition a “discovery procedure.” Competition reveals “which goods are scarce,” “how scarce or valuable they are,” and even “which things are goods.” When government grants special privileges to some industries or firms at the expense of others, consumers pay more for inferior products and services, policymakers become captive to special interests, and the favored industry becomes dependent on corporate welfare. Not good!

CEI therefore opposes any government policy that aims to pick winners and losers in the marketplace. So naturally, we oppose the RFS and advocate its repeal.

Competition

How does the RFS limit competition? At a House Energy & Commerce Committee hearing in June, Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois asked Janet McCabe, the Environmental Protection Agency official who administers the RFS, why EPA proposed 2 billion gallons as the biodiesel target for 2017 when the biodiesel industry says it can produce much more.

McCabe explained (hearing transcript, p. 71) that biodiesel is one of several fuels that qualify as an “advanced biofuel” in the RFS program. So a question EPA wrestles with is “how much of that advanced category should biodiesel basically get a guarantee on?” She continued: “. . . we believe that it is important to have competition and choice and opportunity for a variety of fuels to compete.” She noted the target is not a cap on how much biodiesel producers can offer for sale. Rather, it is a cap on how much refiners are obligated to buy and blend. Capping that obligation, she said, “leaves room” for other fuels to compete.

Think about what her explanation implies. If the quota for biodiesel leaves less room for other fuels to compete within the advanced biofuel category, then the RFS as a whole leaves less room for choice and competition in the total motor fuel market. Every gallon of renewable fuel which the RFS guarantees for sale restricts overall market competition and choice by the same amount.

Consider the statutory goal of the RFS—squeeze 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel into the marketplace by 2022, with up to 35 billion gallons blended with gasoline for passenger vehicles. That target won’t be met and becomes increasingly unrealistic each year. But imagine it could and will be done. Thirty-five billion gallons is more than one-quarter of the projected size of the total gasoline market in 2022 (see Figure 1 of this testimony). The ultimate aim of the RFS is to deny fossil fuels the opportunity to compete for one out every four gallons of motor fuel households buy.

Ask yourself: Would your company thrive or even survive if Congress required you to cede one quarter of the market to your competitors? What would you think of a World Series in which one team automatically wins one of the first four games? Or a Super Bowl in which only one team is allowed to go on offense in the first quarter?

This year, EPA proposes to lower the statutory RFS goals in light of the blend wall, a set of market constraints that effectively limits the quantity of ethanol sold to less than 10 percent of the gasoline market. EPA does want to force the market beyond the blend wall, but not as much as the corn ethanol lobby demands. A group of senators led by Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) claim the EPA may not consider the blend wall when determining refiners’ annual requirements, known as Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs). Specifically, they contend that “lack of distribution infrastructure was explicitly rejected by Congress as a reason to grant a waiver [from statutory goals] in 2005.”

The Senators don’t provide a source for their statutory interpretation. Yet even if correct, their claim is irrelevant. The blend wall had no bearing on the RFS as created in 2005. The original RFS annual blending targets maxed out at 7.5 billion gallons in 2012. That is only about half the quantity of ethanol U.S. markets can absorb as E10—gasoline blended with 10 percent ethanol. Under the 2005 RFS, there was simply no prospect of biofuel production running up against the E10 blend wall.

Biofuel lobbyists often claim refiners have “obligations” to finance the blender pumps and storage tanks that supposedly would enable them to meet the RFS program’s statutory targets. But where in either the 2005 Energy Policy Act, which the created the RFS, or the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, which expanded the program, is such an obligation discussed or mentioned?

Biofuel interests have never cited any such provision because it does not exist. Apparently, they want us to believe that if Congress willed the end, it must have willed the means. But sausage-making—writing and passing laws—is not an exercise in abstract logic. Laws embody tradeoffs and compromises and rarely give the affected interests everything they want. Congress considered several bills with provisions requiring refiners to install E85 infrastructure at their affiliated stations. None of those provisions actually made it into the law.

The proximate cause of the blend wall is the incompatibility of high ethanol blends with most retail fuel infrastructure and vehicles on the road. The vast majority of service stations are small businesses with thin profit margins. Installing an E15 or E85 dispenser with a dedicated storage tank can cost up to $200,000. Although EPA approved the use of E15 for 2001 and newer models, most owners’ manuals and warranties for vehicles manufactured before 2015 caution against using E15. Biofuel lobbyists yack a lot about those barriers and demand refiners “invest” in biofuel infrastructure to overcome them. However, they ignore the root cause of the blend wall: crummy fuel economy.

Although ethanol is cheaper by the gallon than gasoline, it has one third less energy. At today’s relative prices, the typical motorist, depending on the size of the vehicle, would have to spend $50-$300 more each year to fill up with E85 instead of regulatory gasoline. In recent years the annual price penalty has been as big as $1,450. If high-ethanol blends actually saved consumers money, they would demand it, and the ethanol industry itself would invest in the blender pumps and storage tanks required to serve that market. Why don’t they?

RFS defenders claim it’s because Big Oil uses its “market power” to prevent retail outlets from offering high-ethanol blends. Rubbish. More than 95 percent of gas stations are independent businesses, and more than 50 percent are unbranded single station operators. A franchise agreement may require the service station to offer premium, regular, and mid-grade gasoline, so if the station has only three pumps, none will be available to provide E15 or E85. But that is not an abuse of market power. It simply means that infrastructure is not free.

Think about it this way. When you take the kids to McDonald’s, you expect the local franchise to carry all the standard items on the McDonald’s menu. That’s the same kind of reliable, predictable service oil companies require their franchisees to offer customers. With this critical difference. McDonald’s does not allow franchisees to sell Burger King Whoppers even if they do so at their own expense. In contrast, branded service stations are free to offer products in addition to the standard fare if they want to and can raise the requisite capital. So far, however, the biofuel lobby has shown little interest in putting its own skin in the game.

How come? Maybe because they know that if ethanol were really the great bargain they claim it is, we would not need a law to make us buy it.

Legal Plunder

I jokingly call the RFS a Soviet-style production quota system. Jokingly, because Lenin and Stalin had the intellectual modesty to establish only five-year plans whereas the RFS, as expanded by Congress in 2007, is a 15-year plan. It sets annual biofuel targets for 2008 through 2022.

Like other central planning schemes, the RFS is fraught with unintended consequences. It incentivizes land conversions eradicating millions of acres of wildlife habitat. Compared to the gasoline it replaces, the RFS increases certain types of air and water pollution, raises food prices, and may actually increase net greenhouse gas emissions.

But even if the RFS worked exactly as advertised, Congress should still repeal it. The RFS literally compels one set of companies to purchase, process, and create a market for other companies’ products. It makes one business the involuntary servant of another. That is not the American way.

To see the anomaly, imagine the shoe were on the other foot. Suppose Congress proposed to enact WVOs (wheat volume obligations) requiring corn farmers to buy and sell annually increasing quantities of wheat. Or IVOs (input volume obligations) requiring corn farmers to purchase annually increasing quantities of specific seeds, fertilizers, and farm machinery—those deemed “sustainable” by the EPA. The howls from RFS supporters would be loud and furious. And justifiably so.

The implication is obvious. The RFS is a system of special privilege. It conflicts with the basic constitutional principle of equality under law.

Prospects for Reform

In the Texas GOP primary debate, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) opined that Congress doesn’t have to repeal the RFS because “it is phasing out” and by 2022 “it will go away.” Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

Although the statutory targets don’t increase after 2022, the RFS does not expire. Rather, Section 211(o)(2)(B)(ii) of the Clean Air Act directs EPA, in coordination with the Departments of Energy and Agriculture, to establish RVOs for the motor fuel industry in “other calendar years”—in principle, until the end of time. The provision also limits EPA’s authority to reduce post-2022 RVOs for biodiesel, cellulosic ethanol, and biomass-based diesel.

Terminating the RFS after 2022 will require congressional action and executive leadership.

Our various groups must keep making our separate yet complementary cases for repealing the RFS so there’s a fighting chance the program will sunset after 2022.

How should we engage the Trump administration on RFS reform? In 2007, Congress and President Bush touted the RFS as a policy to mitigate climate change, enhance U.S. energy security, and strengthen rural economies. I suspect only one of those three rationales resonates strongly with the President elect.

Trump doesn’t seem to worry much about climate change. Besides, many environmentalists now attack corn ethanol as more carbon-intensive than gasoline.

Trump cares about energy security but also likely understands that fracking, not the RFS, has made America great again as an energy producer.

So what Trump probably likes most about the RFS is the jobs and wealth it creates in rural America. We need to familiarize him with other side of the story—the costs and risks the RFS imposes on the livestock farmers and chain restaurants.

In general, we should connect the RFS to core Trump campaign themes. Explain why the RFS is a posterchild for bipartisan collusion to “rig” the marketplace on behalf of special interests. “Draining the swamp” includes abolishing the RFS.

Trump wants to downsize or even dismantle the EPA. Well, if the new administration and Congress don’t amend the Clean Air Act, EPA’s power to meddle in motor fuel markets and dispense corporate welfare will increase after 2022. RFS reform is critical to shrinking the EPA.

SOURCE

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

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