Monday, October 24, 2016

Memo to Florida Voters: Your AC Bill Just Went Up

I have just been talking to a refrigeration expert who for his own reasons supports the ban on HFCs as refrigerants.  I put it to him that all the possible replacement gases have problems with toxicity, flammability etc.  We agreed that flammability is going to be the most likely problem to arise but he said that the probability of the gases igniting is very low.  He made the point that we often do things that have a much higher likelihood of harming us  -- driving a car, for instance.

While that is an intelligible argument, it ignores the reality that what we are moving away from is a zero-risk situation.  Say that there will in future be only three occasions worldwide where an AC unit explodes and kills someone.  ALL THREE of those occasions were fully avoidable by retaining HFCs. We may ordinarily take risks but how often do we deliberately heighten our risks?  Sensation-seekers aside, I think we do not.  So the latest Greenie mandate will kill some people -- entirely as a result of that mandate

We’ve warned for some time that Big Government is coming for your air conditioner in the name of saving the planet. Well, on Saturday, nearly 200 countries, including China, agreed to take action in the next eight years on reducing the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are used in AC units and refrigerators. The legally binding deal was spearheaded by John Kerry, who thinks HFCs pose as great a threat to national security as jihadis do. But EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy was equally involved. “In a nutshell, these HFCs cool our homes and chill our food, but they are turning up the temperature of our planet,” lectured McCarthy. “World leaders took a giant leap forward by agreeing to a global phase-down of these harmful gases.”

What do we get in exchange for this regulatory bonanza? The Washington Examiner reports, “Secretary of State John Kerry said the deal … would put the planet on track to stop the Earth’s temperature from rising a half of a degree Celsius over the next two decades.” That goal is unprovable. No matter how much the temperature changes, these folks will say it would be half a degree Celsius worse had it not been for their intrepid work.

Furthermore, air conditioners were more efficient with the already-banned CFCs than they are with HFCs, and these regulations threaten to make that even worse. Stephen Yurek, the head of the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute, says, “After two phases of research, the most promising alternatives are currently classified as mildly flammable or flammable.” That sounds fun. So when our AC doesn’t work as well without HFCs, we’ll all be hotter, which has the advantage of “proving” the alarmists right about global warming.

McCarthy also crowed, “While we have seen many significant successes under President Obama’s leadership in fighting climate change, this day will unquestionably be remembered as one of the most important in our effort to save the one planet we have.” And you can bet that “important effort” — just like every other Obama regulation to that end — is going to cost you dearly


Solar panels ineffective in UK’s climate, says report from Adam Smith Institute

SOLAR panels are “highly ineffective” in the UK climate and although solar power produced more energy than coal between April and September, a free market think-tank claims we should not expect that to last.

In a paper published today called Solar Power in Britain, the Adam Smith Institute and the Scientific Alliance use 10 years’ worth of weather data to analyse the technology’s capabilities – and find it wanting.

It says solar panels are highly ineffective in UK climates and generate less than a tenth of their possible output annually – producing nothing for more than 30 weeks of the year, and only managing 50 per cent of their generation capability for eight days.

On claims that a combination of wind and solar power could smooth out this seasonal intermittency, the report says that even combined they would only exceed 60 per cent of their capability for a day-and-a-half each year, and would be below 20 per cent for more than half of the year – meaning they would have to be supplemented by more reliable sources.

The solar fleet produces less than 2.5 per cent of UK electricity generation says the report, the problem being that there is insufficient storage for energy generated in the summer to provide in winter. It adds the lifetime output of a 5MW solar park could be matched in 36 hours by a nuclear power plant taking up 50 times less ground space.

Two effective storage options that could make solar power feasible are addressed – pumped storage and battery storage, but it says these “highly expensive and environmentally damaging solutions are unworkable”. Instead, solar energy should focus on providing for local customers’ domestic water and heating until a more realistic storage system can be manufactured.

Ben Southwood, head of research at the Adam Smith Institute, said: “We know that UK solar panels only generate electricity at nine per cent of capacity, but our paper shows that even this average level is a mirage. Power comes in stops and spurts and not when we want it.

“If we had ways to store large amounts of energy cheaply then it wouldn’t matter when the sun shines, we could just save up what we’ve generated in batteries.

“In the future, cheaper and more efficient generation and storage will solve the problem, but for now there is no way of squaring the circle. Relying on solar and wind will force us to back up the supply with dirty fossil fuels, or the lights will go out.”


Court rules against EPA in case over coal job losses

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not properly estimated the potential job losses in the coal and other industries affected by its regulations, a federal judge ruled Monday.

Judge John Preston Bailey of the District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia ruled in favor of coal mining company Murray Energy Corp. saying the Clean Air Act gives the EPA administrator a “non-discretionary duty” to track the potential job losses and shifts in employment from regulations written under the act.

The decision is a largely symbolic win for energy sectors hurt by EPA regulations, however, because there is no guarantee that job loss analyses would change the policies at issue.
Bailey, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, used his ruling to repeatedly admonish the EPA for arguing that its duty to track job losses is “discretionary" and that its current reviews are sufficient.

“With specific statutory provisions like Section 321(a), Congress unmistakably intended to track and monitor the effects of the Clean Air Act and its implementing regulations on employment in order to improve the legislative and regulatory processes,” Bailey wrote.

“The most EPA does is ‘conduct proactive analysis of the employment effects of our rulemaking actions,’ which is simply not what S 321(a) is about,” he said, quoting the agency’s argument.

“EPA cannot redefine statutes to avoid complying with them. Nor can EPA render them superfluous or contrary to their original purpose by simply defining them to be,” Bailey concluded.

Murray and the coal industry cheered the ruling.

“This is a great day for coal miners in the United States, and for all citizens who rely on low-cost electricity in America,” Bob Murray, the company’s president and an outspoken opponent of President Obama, said in a statement.

“We will continue to vigorously pursue this lawsuit, and all of our litigation initiatives, in order to protect the lives and livelihoods of coal miners and their families, to defend the rule of law, and to preserve reliable and low cost electricity in our country.”

The National Mining Association called it a major rebuke of the EPA.

“America’s coal miners scored an important victory today when a federal court told EPA that it could no longer ignore its ongoing responsibility under the Clean Air Act to evaluate the job losses arising from its stream of regulatory actions,” Hal Quinn, the group’s president, said in a statement.

The legal provision at issue states that the EPA “shall conduct continuing evaluations of potential loss or shifts of employment which may result from the administration or enforcement of the provision of this chapter.”

It was enacted out of concern for industries like coal that could be hurt by environmental rules, with the expectation that lawmakers or regulators might use the data to inform their decisions. The court found that for at least 10 years after the 1977 law was passed, the EPA did conduct specific research to comply.

Job losses are usually part of the EPA’s normal rulemaking process. But Bailey found that to be insufficient.

Bailey ordered the EPA to prepare a timetable for the court in which it could write the job-loss predictions it should have completed under the law.

The litigation proceedings took about two and a half years.

Last year, Bailey granted Murray’s request to sit EPA head Gina McCarthy down for a sworn deposition as part of the lawsuit. But the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit overturned the decision.

The EPA can appeal Bailey’s ruling to the federal 4th Circuit.


The chemicals anxiety machine

Candidates, Civil Rights Commission and greens use phony health threats to scare voters

Paul Driessen

Rank politics and baseless health scares are driving anxiety, North Carolina election campaigns, civil rights claims and plans for class action lawsuits, all of which could bring electricity rate hikes that will cause real job, health and civil rights problems for families – for no health or environmental benefits.

As I noted in an earlier article, North Carolina state toxicologist Ken Rudo has publicly disagreed with the US Environmental Protection Agency and other NC “tox” experts, who say levels of chromium-6 detected in some NC waters are safe. The contaminant comes from coal ash deposits and other sources.

Not surprisingly, Erin Brockovich has sided with Dr. Rudo. She became rich and famous by promoting “toxic chromium” scares, co-authored a recent letter with the radical Environmental Working Group raising Cr-6 alarms, and will speak on election eve at Catawba College in NC to stir things up still further.

The issue is also playing prominently in the NC gubernatorial campaign. Democrat candidate Roy Cooper says well water is unsafe and is hammering the Duke Energy power company for creating the deposits and sitting Governor Pat McCrory (who once worked for Duke) for rescinding a “do not drink” order.

Not to be outdone, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) claims chromium-6 is seeping out of ash deposits, contaminating drinking water supplies and “disproportionately affecting” minority families. Communities near “waste disposal” and “industrial” facilities have “extremely high” rates of cancer, heart and other health issues, a Commission report asserts, lumping those facilities in with coal ash sites.

The contaminants get into well water, drinking water, and even “recreational waters” that are “heavily used for fishing, boating and swimming,” the Commission report states. The problem “extends for miles” around communities near coal ash deposits, which are “disproportionately located in low-income and minority communities,” making this a civil rights issue that government must address.

The USCCR wants the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and NC Department of Environmental Quality to examine the civil rights implications, classify coal ash as a “hazardous waste,” force utility companies to relocate deposits, and compensate people for healthcare expenses and land devaluations.

A persuasive and well-documented dissent by Commissioner Gail Heriot (pages 113-142 of the report) demolishes the USCCR assertions. Her analysis deserves widespread attention both on environmental and civil rights matters, and on how some people deliberately use these issues to generate racial animosity.

No one on the Commission, she notes, has any expertise in waste disposal, toxicology, epidemiology or medicine, and thus had no business issuing pronouncements on coal ash toxicity. There is “strong” evidence that coal ash facilities “are not disproportionately located” near racial minorities. Lumping coal ash together with other facilities that involve dangerous chemicals, and then blaming coal ash, is invalid.

Ms. Heriot is also perturbed that USCCR Chairman Martin Castro suggested that NC communities are bring “victimized by environmental racism.” These kinds of “incendiary allegations” are inappropriate, she says; they “fan the flames of racial resentment” based on insufficient or false information.

Interestingly, tests in 2014 consistently found Cr-6 in city water supplies above 0.07 parts per billion, unnecessarily triggering “do not drink” advisories to some well water users, the Greensboro News & Record reported. However, May 2016 tests could not even detect the chemical, the paper noted.

The 0.07 ppb standard is equivalent to 7 seconds in 3,300 years. The EPA and NCDEQ safety standard for Cr-6 in drinking water is 100 ppb, and a 2012 scientific paper in the Journal of Applied Toxicology concluded that regularly drinking water with 210 ppb poses no health or cancer risks. That safe, non-carcinogenic 210 ppb level is 3,000 times higher than the 0.07 ppb “trigger warning” level.

There is no evidence that Cr-6 levels found in U.S. drinking water cause any of the laundry list of health problems presented by the USCCR. For the EWG to say barely detectable 0.02 ppb levels are dangerous and carcinogenic in water that 218 million Americans drink every day is disingenuous and incendiary. Moreover, coal ash is mostly inert, with most metallic components in tiny amounts and/or bonded tightly in crystalline (glassy) sand particles. Very little leaches out. Moreover, chromium-6 occurs naturally in rocks and soils throughout the USA. It is not solely a byproduct of coal burning or industrial processes.

Saying grave health concerns arise from such minimal Cr-6 levels as 0.02 or 0.07 ppb in drinking water is groundless; saying health impacts arise from its its presence in recreational waters is absurd. Indeed, Ohio’s EPA director dismisses the EWG claims as “scare tactics” to raise money.

All this suggests that the USCCR and EWG claims are just part of the campaign to eliminate coal-fired power plants and the reliable, affordable electricity they generate. The claims could also be setting the stage for more collusive sue-and-settle lawsuits between the USEPA and environmentalist groups – with those who will be most affected having no opportunity to testify and no voice in the outcome.

Forcing utility companies to spend billions relocating huge ash deposits to “lined, watertight landfills” (in someone else’s backyard) will bring no health or environmental benefits. But it will bankrupt companies, send electricity prices soaring, reverberate through our economy, and raise true civil rights issues. As Ms. Heriot notes, “driving up the cost of power has its own disparate impact” on minority families.

Black and Hispanic families spend a 10-50% greater share of their income than white families on heating, air conditioning, lights and other electrical costs, National Black Chamber of Commerce president Harry Alford points out. They are also more likely to suffer still lower living standards and even lose their jobs, as employers respond to higher electricity prices by laying more people off.

If rates nearly double from current costs in coal-reliant states like North Carolina and Virginia (9 cents per kilowatt-hour) to those in anti-coal New York (16 cents) or Connecticut (17 cents), poor families will have to pay $500-1,000 more annually for electricity. Hospitals, school districts, factories and businesses will have to spend additional thousands, tens of thousands or millions. Where will that cash come from?

Will businesses have to lay off dozens or hundreds of employees, or close their doors? If they pass costs on to customers, where will families find that extra cash? If hospitals cut services or raise fees, how will that affect patient costs and care? Might the EWG and USCCR provide financial assistance? Fat chance.

By necessity, hospitals are energy intensive. The average U.S. hospital uses 31 kilowatt-hours of electricity per square foot per year. For facilities like the 665,000-square-foot Inova Fairfax Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Northern Virginia, that translates into $1,855,000 per year at 9 cents/kWh, but $3,505,000 at 17 cents. That’s a $1.6-million difference.

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Comprehensive Cancer Center in Winston-Salem, NC is 530,600 square feet. That’s $1,480,000/year at 9 cents/kWh or $2,796,000/year at 17 cents: a $1.5-million gap.

Ohio State University’s James Cancer Center and Solove Research Institute in Columbus is1.1 million square feet. That’s $3,069,000/year at 9¢/kWh versus $5,797,000 at 17 cents: a $2.7 million shortfall!

Those cost increases would result in lost jobs and reduced patient care. Now try to imagine the impacts on schools, factories, churches, grocery stores, malls and thousands of other major electricity users – to address health problems that exist only in the fertile minds of a few activists and regulators.

The war on coal, petroleum, nuclear and hydroelectric power is an eco-imperialist war on reliable, affordable electricity – and on poor and minority families. Policies that drive energy prices up drive people out of jobs, drive companies out of business, drive families into green energy poverty.

An yet these fundamental “civil rights” and “environmental justice” issues are rarely mentioned by the USCCR, EWG, EPA, NAACP, Democratic Party or self-appointed “civil rights leaders.” Too many of them also oppose charter schools for minority kids who are getting shortchanged by public schools, and regulatory reforms to spur job creation in minority communities. Will common sense ever prevail?

Via email

"Green" power company to get a NY State bailout

Exelon was just on the wrong end of a U.S. tax court decision – and has been ordered to pay the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) $1.45 billion in back taxes, penalties, and interest.

What is Exelon? A New York state power company. A very successful New York state power company. Net profits in 2015? $2.2 billion. And they’ve been solidly profitable for years. $1.72 billion in 2013, $1.16 billion in 2012. And $2.7 billion each year all the way back in 2008 and 2009.

So they should have no problem paying their (back) taxes. We should all have a problem with New York’s state government writing them a check – for possibly up to $7 billion.

As with all things government, the big corporation gets a check – and we little people pick up the tab. The bailout will add $2.3 billion to the energy bills of New York residents – many of whom are Exelon customers.

Get that? Exelon gets government money – Exelon customers get higher energy bills.

Exelon has spent nearly $300,000 on lobbying and lobbying-esque activities in Albany since 2014. It has obviously paid quick, exponentially inflated dividends. Hillary Clinton’s cattle futures are jealous.

This Exelon nonsense is a small part of Governor Cuomo’s huge “green energy” nonsense. Without benefit of the state legislature, Governor Cuomo’s Public Service Commission (PSC) in late July issued a fiat mandating that by 2030 half of New York’s energy needs must be met by renewable methods.

Small problem: “As of 2015, New York only generated 11% of its energy via renewables. A tally it has taken them decades – and tens of billions of subsidy dollars – to attain. And now they have mandated a nearly 500% increase – in only fifteen years. Predicated, again, upon energy sources that require massive, ongoing government cash infusions – and in most instances take more energy to produce than they provide. The New York State mandate is a VERY expensive proposition.…”

For which New Yorkers will be paying. And paying. And….

It can not be said enough: most “green energy” is neither green nor energy. Wind, solar and biofuels are actually awful for the environment – not at all green. And they are so prohibitively expensive – they make zero sense as energy.

New York’s government can’t pay for its huge new mandate – without first taking it from New Yorkers. Who will be paying, and paying, and….

Nuclear is actually a clean, viable energy source. As demonstrated by Exelon’s very tidy profits each and every year for at least a decade.

So why on Earth are they too set to get a multi-billion-dollar government check?

It makes zero sense – in a Governor Cuomo plan filled to the brim with things that make zero sense.



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


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Another take on the September temperature figures

I don't have great issues with Seth Borenstein below.  He arrives at much the same conclusion I did, albeit via a different route

Earth's 16-month sizzling streak of record high temperatures is finally over, according to one group of federal meteorologists.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said last month's 60.6 degrees (15.9 Celsius) was merely the second hottest September on record for the globe. That's ever so slightly cooler — a few hundredths of a degree — than the record set in 2015. But it was quite a bit warmer — 1.6 degrees (0.9 Celsius) — than the 20th century average.

Global average temperatures include both land and sea surface readings. And while oceans were cooling off a tad, global land temperatures in September still set a record high, NOAA climate scientist Jessica Blunden said. It was an unusually hot month in much of Europe, Asia, Africa and North America.

NASA, which averages global temperature differently, considers last month as record hot . But the space agency didn't have a big consecutive hot streak because it didn't consider last June as record hot.

"It's kind of nice to see it cool down a little bit even though it will go back up again," Blunden said. "It may not be a record now because we have natural variations in weather and climate. There's always going to be ups and downs but that doesn't mean global warming isn't happening."


 More crooked ad hominem attacks from the Green Left

The message rattles them so they shoot the messenger

ThinkProgress Editor in Chief Judd Legum sent an email to a billionaire donor bragging how the liberal blog’s environmental writer targeted a climate researcher who challenged a major Democratic talking point on global warming, according to leaked emails.

The blog’s environmental arm, ClimateProgress, took issue with pollster Nate Silver’s 538 website, hiring Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr. to write about global warming issues. Pielke is no skeptic of man-made warming, but he challenged a Democratic talking point that global warming was making extreme weather more severe.

ClimateProgress immediately embarked on a crusade to discredit him “[p]rior to Pielke writing anything” for 538 — based solely on the fact they didn’t like his research on extreme weather.

“Pielke basically has made a career of ‘accepting’ climate change but disputing that we can really do anything about it or that it has much of an impact,” Legum wrote in a July 2014 email to hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer thanking him for his “support.”

Steyer is a major supporter of environmentalists and Democratic politicians. Steyer is a donor and bundler for the Clinton campaign, raising more than $100,000 for her campaign since 2015. He spent $73 million during the 2014 midterm elections.

ClimateProgress is part of the Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAPAF), which was created by Clinton’s presidential campaign chair John Podesta. Podesta also created the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, which gave CAPAF at least $1 million in 2015.

Legum’s email to Steyer was release by WikiLeaks from Podesta’s hacked Gmail account. It’s one of several emails involving the ThinkProgress blog.

ClimateProgress put out two articles attacking Pielke the same day he published a post on 538 headlined “Disasters Cost More Than Ever — But Not Because of Climate Change.” Pielke’s point was that extreme weather only does more damage today because there’s more wealth to destroy when hitting shore.

When economic growth is taken into account, “the overall trend in disaster costs proportional to GDP since 1990 has stayed fairly level,” Pielke wrote.

“Within hours, ClimateProgress published a comprehensive debunk, with quotes from many prominent climate scientists,” Legum wrote, chronicling Pielke’s eventual being forced to leave 538.

“Pielke was so upset with our piece, he called the scientists we quoted and threatened to sue them. Silver was forced to apologize,” Legum wrote. “Embarrassed, Silver was forced to publish a rebuttal to Pielke piece by an actual climate scientist, which was also devastating.”

Silver asked climate scientist Kerry Emanuel to rebut Pielke’s article. Emanuel wrote that he’s “not comfortable with Pielke’s assertion that climate change has played no role in the observed increase in damages from natural hazards.”

Silver never let Pielke publish any piece on global warming on 538 again — a fact Legum bragged to Steyer about in his email.

“I think it’s fair say that, without Climate Progress, Pielke would still be writing on climate change for 538,” Legum wrote.

“He would be providing important cover for climate deniers backed by Silver’s very respected brand,” he wrote. “But because of our work, he is not. I don’t think there is another site on the internet having this kind of impact on the climate debate.”

“Thanks for your support of this work. Looking forward to doing even more in the coming months,” Legum wrote to Steyer.

Update: Pielke told The Daily Caller News Foundation claims he threatened to sue his detractors was “a lie.” Reports that Pielke threatened legal action against two climate scientists came from The Huffington Post. Pielke says that’s false.

In fact, it was Legum who contacted 538 claiming Pielke had made legal threats against two scientists, according to HuffPo.


A skeptic fires back

Matt Ridley

RESPONSE TO BOB WARD'S LETTER, An attack that confirms the accuracy of my lecture

I have sent the following letter to the president of the Royal Society and the Chairman and director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation in response to a highly misleading letter to me that was copied to them.

To Sir Venki Ramakrishnan FRS, Lord Lawson and Dr Benny Peiser

You have been sent a letter by Bob Ward of the Grantham Institute at the London School of Economics complaining about what I said about Dr Ranga Myneni in my lecture at the Royal Sociey.

Dr Ranga Myneni has already responded to my lecture and does not make the same complaints about misrepresentation made by Mr Ward.

Dr Myneni does, however, in his response, make two entirely false accusations against me, saying that I go “on to ignore 30+ years of IPCC assessments!”, when in fact I discussed several such assessments and quoted verbatim from two, one in 1990 and one in 2014; and that I “argue that thousands and thousands of scientists are somehow in cahoots to push the global warming hoax on innocent people of the world …”, when I made no such argument and specifically detailed how my position was different from those who think global warming is a hoax.

Turning to Mr Ward’s own complaints, he correctly notes that I explained that I became aware of Dr Myneni’s work from a 2012 talk, but that I quote from one delivered in 2013. I may not have made this fact very clear in my spoken remarks, but everything I said was properly sourced (including on my slides) and correctly quoted, and in any case the use of the later talk is entirely appropriate since, as Mr Ward also notes, Dr Myneni’s estimates of the amount and attribution of greening changed between late 2012 and mid 2013. This is something I was well aware of, but the change in no way contradicts anything I said. Indeed, it reinforces it. The 2012 version of the talk was based on data suggesting a greening of 20.5% of the land, which Mr Ward quotes; while the equivalent slides in the 2013 version, one of which I reproduced, supports a greening of 30.87% of the land area, which was the estimate to which I referred.

Mr Ward’s letter specifically confirms the accuracy of my claim that at various times Dr Myneni said 31% of the land area has greened, the planet had greened by 14%, and that 70% of the greening can be attributed to carbon dioxide fertilization. Dr Myneni has not claimed he was misquoted on these points.

As I stated in my lecture, Dr Myneni stated in 2015 that “[Ridley] falsely claims that CO2 fertilisation is responsible for the greening of the earth”. Yet a few months later he himself published evidence that “CO2 fertilisation explains 70% of the greening trend”.

I used the word “might” in my suggestion that the publication of these results might have been delayed lest they give sceptics a field day, so there was no accusation, as Mr Ward claims. Dr Myneni says the delay was mainly due to the senior author on the paper returning to China. I remain doubtful that these data would have taken so long to publish if they had shown bad news.

As for Mr Ward’s complaint that I misrepresented Dr Richard Betts, he destroys his own case by quoting another part of the IPCC assessment report where greening is very briefly mentioned, and which I confess I missed because it was so brief and dismissive:

“Warming (and possibly the CO2 fertilisation effect) has also been correlated with global trends in satellite greenness observations, which resulted in an estimated 6% increase of global NPP, or the accumulation of 3.4 PgC on land over the period 1982–1999 (Nemani et al., 2003).”

Since published data (Donohue et al 2013) already pointed to a larger greening over a longer period, and my point was that the mentions of global greening were brief, doubtful and downplayed the effect, this extra quote beautifully illustrates my point. As I put it,

“If that’s a clear and prominent statement that carbon dioxide emissions have increased green vegetation on the planet by 14% and are significantly reducing the water requirements of agriculture, then I’m the Queen of Sheba.”

I will happily add this extra quotation to the written version of my lecture on line since it illustrates my point even better.

I stand by my lecture. Mr Ward is confirming the accuracy of my work while continuing to try to smear my name.

In my lecture I stated that “These days there is a legion of well paid climate spin doctors. Their job is to keep the debate binary: either you believe climate change is real and dangerous or you’re a denier who thinks it’s a hoax. But there’s a third possibility they refuse to acknowledge: that it’s real but not dangerous.”


The real reason a UN censor blacklisted Rebel reporters — and why we’re STILL going to Marrakech


As we reported earlier this week, a censor at the UN named Nick Nuttall has refused The Rebel's request for official media accreditation, so we can cover the climate summit in Marrakech, Morocco.

Three thousand other journalists have been approved, but we've been blacklisted.

WATCH as Nick Nuttall explains why -- not to us and our lawyers or Canada's professional journalist associations, all of whom have written him formal letters in protest.

No, Nuttall went on the CBC to make his case that The Rebel is a "one person" enterprise, and furthermore, we're "extremist."

Even the CBC host wasn't buying it!

I'll play you clips from his trainwreck interview, then talk to my guests Lorne Hunter and Sheila Gunn Reid about the UN's refusal to allow any dissent from its "global warming" talking points.


Journalists were assaulted, threatened and imprisoned in their  car by the "tolerant" and "peace loving" protesters at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp.

JOURNALISTS Phelim McAleer and Magdalena Segieda were subjected to a terrifying 30 minute ordeal after being attacked by Dakota Access Pipeline Protestors whilst conducting interviews at the Sacred Stone Camp.

It started with one protestor grabbing McAleer's microphone mid-question and physically assaulting him.

Others joined the attack forcing McAleer and his colleagues to flee to their car intending to leave the protest camp.

However the car quickly became surrounded by a mob with a pack of dogs and sticks who also used three vehicles to block in the journalists preventing them from leaving the camp.

The mob became increasingly violent ordering the journalists out of their car warning of the consequences of refusing to get out.

At one point protestors started to shake the car and punched the windows. They also stated they were going to destroy the film equipment and any footage gathered.

"It was a terrifying 30 minutes." McAleer.

"There is a lot of talk about love and peace at the camp but yesterday we got a look at the reality behind the talk and it was an ugly violent reality," he added.

Not being able to escape, the journalists feared for their lives and called the police.

The police deployed several police cars as well as air support and a SWAT team and only after their arrival did the protesters allow the journalist to drive out of the camp.

McAleer said the situation turned violent after he started asking difficult questions about how the protestors were against oil and pipelines but used oil based products (cars & plastic) in their campaign.

"This sends a chilling message to journalists covering the Dakota Access Pipeline story. The message is you can only ask softball questions if you ask difficult questions you will be met with violence and intimidation."

"My fellow journalists need to report this and call them out on this intimidation of journalists just trying to do their job."

Segieda said "We were just doing our job and met with incredible aggression. It was the scariest 30 minutes of my life. If the police didn't arrive I'm not sure if we would have make it out of there and certainly not with our footage".

McAleer, a veteran journalist who covered The Troubles in Northern Ireland said this was one of the most terrifying situations he's ever been in during his long career.

McAleer and Segieda will release footage shortly.

Via email


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


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Health update

It looks like I am recovering steadily with the use of clindamycin.  Some skin areas that were red have now faded to pale pink.   The main remaining problem is that I am still spending lots of time asleep.  I am guessing that my body makes me drowsy to help fight off any sepsis.  I have always had naps during daylight hours but my naps at the moment are up to four hours long. I can't do much blogging in such circumstances but you can't keep a good blogger down completely so I have just put up one thing new:  A recipe for an unusual salad!  See here

Hopefully I will have more to say tomorrow.

Friday, October 21, 2016

NOTE:  Once again my normal posting time has come, only to find me still under the influence of both health and cable problems.  The cable problems seem by now to have been banished but too late for me to read much. There is a fair chance that I might be back in normal action by this time tomorrow.

My health problem is a post operative infection in the wound site -- most probably golden staph.  I am on 300 mg of clindamycin 6 hourly so that should help. I can control the pain with di-gesic pretty well but I have to be cautious about sepsis so my next recourse may have to be a vancomycin drip.

Either the infection or the remedies seem to be making me very drowsy so I sleep for long periods, which is probably a good thing on the whole.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Your monthly scare story below

As always, you have to look at what the Greenies and Leftists do NOT say. So here it comes. The news is that the global temperature for last month has just been promulgated by GISS.  So that has to be scary, right?  Problem: The temperature actually DECLINED last month.  September was COOLER than August.  The anomaly went down from .98 of a degree to .91 of a degree.  But nowhere below will you see any mention of that.  

No-one in his right mind would take any notice of  such tiny fluctuations but the Warmists do. Their whole story consists of taking hundredths of one degree seriously.  So all they tell us this time is that September 2015 was warmer than September 2016.  The anomaly was .81 last year.

Note that seasonal influences should normally cancel out in the global figures because while it is summer in the Northern hemisphere, it is winter in the Southern hemisphere.

So the real story this year is one of temperature stasis:  changes too small to mean anything. But if we wanted to play the Warmist game we could see a coming-down off an El Nino high. The anomalies from January to April were all a touch above one degree whereas the May to September anomalies were all below one degree.

So what to do with such frustrating figures?  You see the result below.  They have picked out all the weather events that suit them and presented them as if they proved something global.  As proof of the cherry-picking, note that no "coldest" events anywhere are mentioned.  They are such crooks!

As the Philippines braces for its second major typhoon in just five days, a Canadian glacier spawns a giant iceberg and eastern Australia mops up from a record wet spell, climate scientists can pick from a world of weird weather to highlight evidence of global warming under way.

Just days after nations agreed to curb production of greenhouse gases 10,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide and a fortnight before the Paris climate agreement comes into force on November 4, many regions are experiencing bizarre conditions.

September continued the run of exceptional global warmth, with last month narrowly edging last year as the hottest September on record, NASA, the US space agency, said overnight.

Typhoon Haima is expected to reach category 5 strength by Wednesday. After data adjustments, NASA said 11 of the past 12 months had set monthly high-temperature records. This year is on course to smash previous records for annual heat set in 2015 and in the year before that.

Climate scientists, such as NASA's Gavin Schmidt, emphasise that while individual weather events and even monthly rankings may be newsworthy, "they are not nearly as important as long-term trends".

Here, though, there are many worrying pointers.

The Philippines is facing the potential for a category 5-strength typhoon Haima just days after typhoon Sarika blew through, leaving a trial of death and destruction that has now extended to neighbours Vietnam and China.

Recent research indicates the western Pacific is experiencing stronger cyclones with the frequency increasing as much as four-fold.

In Canada, the Porcupine Glacier in British Columbia retreated more than two kilometres "in one leap", when a major iceberg broke off during the summer, The Globe and Mail reported recently.

Mauri Pelto, professor of environmental science at Nichols College in Massachusetts, said he couldn't identify a bigger iceberg carved from a Canadian glacier in a quarter century of work.

"It's just a highlight example of what's happening [from climate change]," Dr. Pelto was quoted as saying. "I have worked on over 200 glaciers just in that area, and all but one have been retreating."

The behaviour of ice of a different kind caught the attention of  Andy Pitman, director of the ARC Excellence for Climate System Science at the University of NSW.

After rivalling previously lows in 2007 and 2012, this year's recovery of Arctic sea ice as winter approaches has slowed sharply, placing it again at record low levels.

With less sea ice, more of the sun's energy is absorbed by the Arctic seas rather than reflected back to space, accelerating the pace of warming in an area that's warming faster than almost anywhere else.

"It's moving outside it's normal operating range," Professor Pitman said of the sea ice trend. "Climate extremes are emerging much faster than climate scientists thought."
Rain extremes

While major weather events can't all be attributed to climate change rather than natural variability, a warming world makes them more likely.

Scientists, for instance, estimate that the atmosphere can hold 7 per cent more moisture for each degree of warming - and we've had at least that since the Industrial Revolution triggered a rapid increase in greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels and land-clearing for agriculture.

Hurricane Matthew, which scraped along the east coast of the US earlier this month, is estimated to have dumped as much 52 trillion litres on the US, triggering widespread flooding, according to Ryan Maue, a US-based meteorologist.

Typhoon Sarika, which left at least 25 dead in the Philippines last week, is now expected to bring flooding rains to south-east China.

Behind Sarika, though, looms a more powerful storm, super typhoon Haima, which is likely to generate peak gusts of more than 300 km/h by Wednesday as it nears the northern Philippine island of Luzon.

"[A]long with the dangers of storm surge flooding and damaging winds, rainfall flooding and landslides would also be major threats in Luzon, given saturated ground from Sarika," the website said in a report. "More than a foot of rain could fall over northern portions of Luzon as Haima moves through."

Much of eastern Australia has copped its drenching in recent weeks, although the rains have fortunately been more spread out.

As the Bureau of Meteorology said in a special climate statement last week, the Murray Darling Basin had its wettest September on record, continuing a string of wet months.

"The May to September period was Australia's wettest on record, with each of the five individual months ranking in the 10 wettest in the last 117 years," the report said.
'Off the charts'

"You're seeing more extreme events and in most of the parts of climate that affect people," Professor Pitman said.

Heatwaves, for instance, that used to last typically three days, might be stretching in some places out to 10 days.

"It's like Usain Bolt doing a 4-second,100-metre run," he said. "It's completely off the charts."

Professor Pitman's centre will shift more of its focus to the study of climate extremes after securing funds from the Australian Research Council last month.

"There is some emerging evidence that the system is redefining itself," Professor Pitman said.



APOLOGY: I have undergone surgery and experienced a prolonged cable service outage within the last 24 hours so I am putting up less than I usually would -- JR


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Greenland Temperature Trends 1873 – 2015

You would be forgiven for thinking that Greenland is burning up. But you would be wrong!

DMI have published their Historical Climate Data Collection 1768-2015 for Greenland, and figures for last year continue to show temperatures in the 1930s and 40s were as warm as in recent years.

The only exception to this trend was the anomalously warm year of 2010, which created a lot of excitement in alarmist circles. Numbers since then, however, show that this was no more than an outlier, a weather event. Since then, temperatures have returned to previous levels. Indeed, last year was a particularly cold one, especially in the west.

In Nuuk, for instance, last year was the coldest since 1993. Incredible though it may sound, it was actually colder there than any year between 1922 and 1971.

You will none of this from our supposedly objective media, who would much rather feed you with myths about the Greenland ice sheet melting away.

More HERE  (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

How my factual statement on Fox News about global warming became a Media Matters outrage


Media Matters is a left-wing propaganda machine created by Clinton sycophant David Brock. Positioned as a non-profit organization designed to target “dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.” So, imagine my surprise when my appearance on Fox News Tuesday became one of their multitudes of “outrages” posted and distributed to their legion of followers in the mainstream media.

Media Matters took my factual statement that we have just experienced the longest drought of hurricanes in the past decade in American history and my belief that it was unseemly for Clinton to campaign in Florida by linking hurricanes with global warming considering that state is still cleaning up from Hurricane Matthew from 3 days ago, and turned it into this sub-headline:’s Larry O’Connor Calls It “Politically Gross” That Clinton Is Making The Case For Climate Action In Florida

Beyond spelling my name correctly (which I really appreciate, I hate “O’Conner“) they completely misrepresent what I explicitly said and repeated in the interview:

I just find it a little distasteful, just a couple of days after Hurricane Matthew hit Florida, and I think the death toll in that state was five, that we’ve got Al Gore making the case, the false claim that global warming is the cause of hurricanes considering we just had the longest drought of hurricanes. Isn’t that a little politically gross to be going down there and making that case right after the hurricane hit the state? I don’t like it, I don’t think Floridians will like it.
After host Melissa Francis re-directed my statement on air and re-phrased it, I interrupted (something I rarely do on television) and made it clear that I was specifically talking about the false predictions that global warming would make hurricanes like Katrina “the new normal.”

FRANCIS: There are people out there who believe in that theory, right, Simon? There are people in southern Florida who feel like the reason why a lot of their beaches are disappearing and things are happening and you’re seeing this sort of dramatic weather —

O’CONNOR: I’m talking specifically about hurricanes. We had the longest drought in American history.

But, that was all ignored to serve Media Matters and their intimidation techniques. Pundits beware! If you deviate from the prescribed talking points on issues like global warming you will be outed as a denier.

By the way, this exchange on Fox News took place about an hour before Mrs. Clinton appeared with Gore in Miami. I was merely speculating that she would falsely link Hurricane Matthew with global warming. However, she didn’t let any of us down. With Gore, the man who has made hundreds of millions of dollars on the global warming industry sitting behind her, she directly linked the five people killed by Matthew in the panhandle state and the 21 people killed elsewhere in the Southeast, to “climate change.”

MIT meteorology professor Kerry Emanuel, an expert on hurricanes and climate, called Clinton’s assessment “a simplification of the truth.”

Brian McNoldy, a hurricane researcher at the University of Miami, said the signs of climate change are only seen in “the long-term average.” Clinton’s statement, he said, was “a little bit strongly worded for a single event.”


Why Santa Barbara Verdict Could Make All Californians the Winners

The Goleta Water District has taken a rancher to Santa Barbara Superior Court over his water sales to nearby Montecito. If the rancher prevails, all Californians could emerge the winners. The case has already showcased a key reality: in the Golden State, water is not evenly distributed.

The 725-acre Slippery Rock Ranch near Santa Barbara sits above 200,000 acre-feet of water, a lake-size supply well beyond the needs of the ranch’s avocado trees. Owner Dick Wolf, who produced “Miami Vice” before creating the popular “Law & Order” television franchise, sought to sell some of the excess water to Montecito, which lacks groundwater resources and relies on surface supplies.

The GWD sued to stop the sales even though in late 2015 it had itself purchased 2,500 acre-feet of California Aqueduct water from the Antelope Valley and East Kern Water Agency for $1.2 million. Water districts in Santa Clara were also in the running, but Goleta needed the water more. The districts that lost out, however, did not respond with a lawsuit to block further sales.

The GWD claims that the lake-size reservoir under the ranch is connected to Goleta’s underground basin, a contention the ranch denies. The ranch’s Cory Black told reporters that the assertion that water on private property belongs to the GWD is “not grounded in fact or law.”

The GWD had purchased water from the ranch in the past and, Black said, “only initiated litigation after negotiations for purchasing more water broke down. How did water that they had been negotiating to buy suddenly become theirs?”

Black also charged that the GWD is squandering ratepayers’ money on frivolous litigation. The court will decide whether the action is frivolous, but Black seems to have a case regarding the wasteful spending.

GWD water supply and conservation manager Ryan Drake told the Santa Barbara News-Press that the cost of the action against the ranch has increased the district’s legal budget by more than $300,000, or 32 percent. According to the report, “Ratepayers are picking up the tab.” The GWD’s budgeted legal costs for the year are $1.3 million, considerably higher than the other three South Coast water agencies.

Drought conditions prompted the GWD to impose restrictions but also to slap farmers with a surcharge that doubled their water bills. Some accused district bosses of poor planning and overstating the water supply.

Meanwhile the ranch seeks a judgment establishing its private water rights.

This is more than a local issue between two parties.

Private tradable water rights empowered arid Australia to make the best use of its existing resources. As the country’s National Water Commission explains: “Water markets and trading were the primary means to achieve this.”

Today, according to the commission, Australia’s water markets are internationally recognized as a success story, “allowing water to be put to its most productive uses, for a price determined by water users” and generating “economic benefits valued in hundreds of millions of dollars annually.”

In arid, drought-ridden California the biggest obstacle for water-starved areas is not private landowners such as the ranch, who are willing to sell the supplies they own. The obstacle proceeds from top-heavy, litigious bureaucracies that seek to prevent such sales.

A verdict in favor of private tradable water rights would make all Californians the winners.


Global Warming would produce a "lush oasis".  Is that bad?

The United Kingdom was once a lush oasis. That can be read from sediments within the Kimmeridge Clay Formation, which were deposited around 160 to 145 million years ago on Dorset’s “Jurassic Coast.” A favorite stomping ground for fossil hunters and the source rock for North Sea oil, the formation is rich in organic matter, which suggests that it likely formed when global greenhouse conditions were at least 4 times higher than present levels.

Normally, organic matter disappears rapidly after an organism dies, as the nutrients are consumed by other life forms and the carbon decays. However, when the seas are starved of oxygen, which occurs when plankton numbers swell owing to increasing levels of carbon dioxide, then organic matter is preserved. An abundance of so-called black shales, or organic-rich muds, within the Kimmeridge Clay Formation points to this past.

Here Armstrong et al. used those black shales to build new climate simulations that better approximate the climate toward the end of the Jurassic period. The model simulated 1422 years of time that suggested a radically different Intertropical Convergence Zone—the region where the Northern and Southern Hemisphere trade winds meet—than the one today. The convergence of these trade winds produces a global belt of clouds near the equator and is responsible for most of the precipitation on Earth.

Not only were the researchers able to verify that the United Kingdom was once a tropical oasis, but they were also able to simulate and map the climate 145 million years ago


Australia: Climate change gloom lessons for kids

Students are being led to believe that global warming will destroy sunsets.  The course materials are clearly far-Left  rather than scientific

DOOMSDAY climate change lessons are being taught to children as young as eight who are concluding that human activity threatens to destroy beautiful sunsets and ­waterways.

Six schools in the state’s north are trialling a “world first” curriculum that is expected to be adopted across the state, if successful.

The NSW Education Department-approved trial is being run by Southern Cross University’s Lismore campus and proposes to give students from Year 3 to Year 8 “political agency” and allow them to be “experts in their own lives”.

Running in tandem with the curriculum is a challenge project in which students form their own response to climate change and how they can personally prevent mass extinctions of animals, plants and their habitats.

Some children have concluded that humans have “succeeded in destroying much of the physical world”.

One student researcher in northern NSW said: “It is selfish and horrible how humans are causing animal and plant species to die.”

Another said: “We must band together to reverse the effects of climate change.”

Organiser and Southern Cross University education lecturer David Rousell said schools in Bexhill, Mullumbimby and Alstonville had taken on the interdisciplinary model, which could be taught in English, creative arts, science and history classes.

“This challenge is about bringing schools together to embark on projects that have a public outcome and can create real change,” he said.

“Kids are doing amazing work where they take a photo which represents some aspect of climate change and they write about it. Some students take photos of beautiful things such as sunsets or waterways and then write about how it could be lost or destroyed because of climate change.”

An Education Department spokesman referred Telegraph inquiries on the new curriculum to the Board of Studies Teaching and Educational Standards, which said the program was being trialled but was not formally endorsed.

Last week more than 300 students came together in a Climate Change Challenge at the uni’s Lismore campus. One student said: “We were not placed on this Earth to make an acquisitive and ideal life that supports the human race only.”



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


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Warmists hit airlines

Higher airfares coming

Efforts to fight global warming reached a milestone on Thursday as countries sealed the first international aviation climate deal, the latest in a flurry of moves to cut fossil fuel pollution this week.

Delegates from nearly 200 nations approved the accord at the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization in Montreal in a step the agency’s head, Fang Liu, described as a “historic first”.

The move came a day after the UN said enough countries had ratified the Paris climate agreement to bring it into effect on November 4, only 11 months after its adoption.

One of the countries that helped push the Paris deal over the line was Canada, where the centre-left government of prime minister Justin Trudeau announced a carbon-pricing plan on Monday that could lead to a tax of C$50 a tonne by 2022.

That is more than five times the current price of carbon permits in the EU’s emissions trading system, the world’s largest carbon market. The EU scheme is likely to be dwarfed next year when China is set to launch a national plan to put a price on greenhouse gas pollution.

The rise in national carbon-pricing systems is one reason many international airlines have been pushing for the ICAO to deliver a uniform global climate agreement.

Instead of facing a patchwork of measures worldwide, airlines have backed a plan that will see them offset their emissions growth by funding projects that cut carbon pollution, such as wind farms or solar-power plants.

The scheme will be phased in over several years from the early 2020s and cost the aviation industry as much as $24bn by 2035, according to estimates from the UN agency.

Nations such as India had been worried about its effect on fast-growing emerging economies, but some environmental campaigners in Europe said the proposal did not go far enough.

“Airline claims that flying will now be green are a myth,” said Bill Hemmings of the Transport & Environment lobby group. “This deal won’t reduce demand for jet fuel one drop. Instead, offsetting aims to cut emissions in other industries.”

The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions in the US was more positive, hailing what it said was a practical framework for harnessing market forces to limit growth in airline emissions, which are expected to triple by 2050.

The International Air Transport Association (Iata) also welcomed the deal. It said: “The historic significance of this agreement cannot be overestimated. It is the first global scheme covering an entire industrial sector. The agreement has turned years of preparation into an effective solution for airlines to manage their carbon footprint.”

Boeing said it commended “the International Civil Aviation Organisation for adopting a carbon-offset system for international aviation that will help the industry achieve its goal of reducing emissions”.

Fabrice BrĂ©gier, chief executive of Airbus. said the plan was “another key milestone in supporting the aviation industry’s commitment in reducing CO2 emissions”.


Alarmist Hypocrisy On Linking Hurricanes To Global Warming

When the inevitable blizzard strikes the East Coast, scientists and environmentalists pop up to warn the public against skeptics who argue winter storms disprove global warming.

But when a hurricane rolls around, those same folks come out of the woodwork to claim such storms are harbingers of of things to come as the world warms from human activities.

Hurricane Matthew is no exception.

“Hurricane Matthew is super strong — because of climate change,” Joe Romm, the climate editor at ThinkProgress, recently wrote.

The Huffington Post claimed Matthew “is a reminder of climate change’s potential to turn seasonal weather events into extreme, year-round threats.”

Liberal blogs Slate and Grist have run pieces claiming major hurricanes, like Matthew, shouldn’t be appearing in October. Global warming is the only explanation for it, they claim.

These same publications attacked Republicans who cited winter 2014’s “Polar Vortex” as a major hole in predictions of catastrophic global warming. ThinkProgress, for example, hit Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe for arguing “freezing temperatures across the country to explain climate change science is both ‘laughable’ and rigged.”

The White House even got involved. President Obama’s science czar John Holdren put out a video arguing the “polar vortex” didn’t disprove global warming — in fact, the freezing winter was caused by global warming, he argued.

“If you’ve been hearing that extreme cold spells like the one we’re having in the United States now disprove global warming, don’t believe it,” Holdren said in a 2014 White House video. “The fact is that no single weather episode can either prove or disprove global climate change.”

“On our current path of unrestricted carbon pollution, NOAA researchers have determined that parts of the East Coast would see Sandy-level storm surges every year by mid-century,” Romm wrote.

“[W]e’re fairly certain that, whether we see more or fewer tropical cyclones, we will see more intense hurricanes and super-typhoons, like Katrina, and Sandy and Haiyan and Patricia and now Matthew,” Penn State University climate scientist Michael Mann told HuffPo.

Such claims are especially interesting because they are just that: claims. It will be decades before scientists can verify if global warming has, or will continue to, make storms more powerful.

So what’s the actual evidence on global warming’s impact on extreme weather? Not much.

“Current datasets indicate no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century,” the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found in 2013. “No robust trends in annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes counts have been identified over the past 100 years in the North Atlantic basin”

“In summary, confidence in large scale changes in the intensity of extreme extratropical cyclones since 1900 is low,” the IPCC found.

The Washington Post’s Chris Mooney — no skeptic of global warming — wrote “the science isn’t settled on precisely what is happening with hurricanes in the Atlantic.” He cited a recent scientific review on what we can say about hurricanes and climate.

“While no significant trends have been identified in the Atlantic since the late 19th century, significant observed trends in [tropical cyclone] numbers and intensities have occurred in this basin over the past few decades, and trends in other basins are increasingly being identified,” reads the 2016 science review.

“However, understanding of the causes of these trends is incomplete, and confidence in these trends continues to be hampered by a lack of consistent observations in some basins,” the review reads.


As we've been saying the solution to British housing costs is to blow up the Town and Country Planning Acts

Tim Worstall

Britain does not have any shortage of land upon which houses could be built. Britain does have a shortage of land upon which houses are allowed to be built. The solution to ever rising prices for land upon which houses may be allowed to be built is therefore to allow more land to have houses built upon it.

But this is not just a matter of house prices. The problem is sufficiently severe that it is distorting the capital allocation process, even what income is available and who is getting it. We're all aware of Piketty's point that capital is both becoming a higher multiple of GDP and also that capital income is becoming a larger share of national income.

These are the same problem in fact. For the rise in capital income, the rise in capital compared to GDP, is almost entirely a function of the rise in the price of land which may be built upon. As a new paper points out:

This investigation reveals three things about the rise in the US housing capital income share in recent decades. First, it has occurred due to an increasing share of income accruing to owner-occupiers through imputed rent. Second, it is concentrated in states that are constrained in terms of new housing supply. Finally, it is closely associated with the long-run decline in real interest rates and inflation.

My results suggest that the ‘rise of housing’ is intimately linked to the same factors that underpin ‘secular stagnation’ (Summers 2014) – that is, the gradual decline in real (and nominal) interest rates since the 1980s has contributed to a gradual run-up in housing prices, and led to household wealth and income being increasingly concentrated in the hands of landowners. This in turn may have implications for intergenerational inequality, given that the home is a key mechanism through which wealth and income are transferred across generations.

The paper does indeed note that this is not restricted to the US - it is happening wherever there are those restrictions on land being built upon. It is almost entirely about imputed rent to owner occupiers - the cries about it being the finance capitalists who are getting more of the money are simply not true.

The answer is also obvious. Do away with the constraints upon building land and all of these problems solve themselves.

That is, as we've been saying for some time now, we should blow up the Town and Country Planning Acts.


The world’s favorite disaster story

One of the most repeated facts about Haiti is a lie

When the geologist Peter Wampler first went to Haiti, in 2007, he didn’t expect to see many trees. He had heard that the country had as little as 2 percent tree cover, a problem that exacerbated drought, flooding and erosion. As a specialist in groundwater issues, Wampler knew that deforestation also contributed to poor water quality; trees help to lock in rich topsoil and act as a purifying filter, especially important in a country where about half of rural people do not have access to clean drinking water.

Haiti is frequently cited by the media, foreign governments and NGOs as one of the worst cases of deforestation in the world. Journalists describe the Caribbean nation’s landscape as “a moonscape,” “ravaged,” “naked,” “stripped” and “a man-made ecological disaster.” Deforestation has been relentlessly linked to Haiti’s entrenched poverty and political instability. David Brooks, the conservative New York Times columnist, once cited Haiti’s lack of trees as proof of a “complex web of progress-resistant cultural influences.” More recently, a Weather Channel meteorologist reporting on the advance of Hurricane Matthew made the absurd claim that Haiti’s deforestation was partly due to children eating the trees.

Few places in the world have as dismal a reputation. And as the recent destruction wrought by Hurricane Matthew shows, Haiti is tragically vulnerable to natural disasters. But as Wampler would discover, Haiti’s reputation as a deforested wasteland is based on myth more than fact — an example of how conservation and environmental agendas, often assumed to be rooted in science, can become entangled with narratives about race and culture that the powerful tell about the third world.

Over the next five years, as Wampler crisscrossed the country for his research, he began to undergo a cognitive dissonance. “I heard that 2 percent number quoted everywhere,” he said. “All the news outlets had this narrative that it’s the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and has 2 percent forest cover. But I’d been to these mountainous areas and seen forest cover that was more than 2 percent. I could see it with my own eyes.”

He began searching for the original source of the forest-cover statistic. To his surprise, he couldn’t find one. The few citations he discovered in scientific studies couldn’t be substantiated. Some scientific and development literature used a 4 percent estimate that came from the Food and Agriculture Organization, a United Nations agency. That number also struck him as too low.

Wampler, a professor at Michigan’s Grand Valley State University, uses geographic information systems and satellite imagery frequently in his work, and he decided to employ them to satisfy his curiosity about the trees in Haiti. He enlisted several students and began gathering high-resolution imagery of the island from LandSat, the database operated by the United States Geological Survey. Stitching together images from 2010 and 2011, he formed a mosaic that covered the entire country. He combined the images in three wavelengths to highlight vegetation and then trained a computer to spot trees in the images. To check the accuracy, he manually compared the computer’s automated analysis to random samples chosen from Google Earth.

When the results came back, his first thought was that he had to do the whole process again. “Let’s check this 10 times to make sure it’s right,” he told his colleagues. According to their analysis, Haiti’s forest cover was more than 32 percent.

Wampler wondered whether they had set a sufficient minimum area for tree cover. So they used the FAO’s definition of a “forest,” which includes trees higher than 5 meters (about 16 feet) covering at least half a hectare. He ran the analysis again. The computer estimated Haiti’s forest coverage at nearly 30 percent, a number similar to the coverage in the United States, France, and Germany, and far higher than in Ireland and England. Wampler had discovered a rarity in today’s world: a good-news environmental story in one of the planet’s poorest countries. But then he had a troubling thought: “People won’t like this.”

“It doesn’t fit the narrative” that poverty causes deforestation and deforestation exacerbates poverty, he said. Foreign governments, charities, development banks, and the foreign media tend to present this relationship as an indisputable fact. “Organizations use this statistic as a lever to get funding and help. For them, it’s a lot more convenient to have a narrative that works.”

He had discovered a rarity in today’s world: a good-news environmental story in one of the planet’s poorest countries. But then he had a troubling thought: “People won’t like this.”

Environmentalists and development experts have drawn a connection between overpopulation, ecological devastation and poverty for decades. “The narrative about overpopulation — and deforestation is usually not far behind — is what’s called a blueprint narrative,” said Jade Sasser, a professor of gender and sexuality studies at the University of California, Riverside. “It gets applied in a variety of different development settings regardless of local history and situations.” Blueprint narratives, first described by policy analyst Emery Roe in 1991, proffer ready-made diagnoses of environmental problems — overgrazing by cattle in Africa leads to desertification, for instance — but the solutions are often unsuited to local contexts and conditions.

Such narratives can also dehumanize. One area of Sasser’s research looks at how Western NGOs portray the poor, often communities of color, as environmentally unaware and in need of outside intervention. In reality, she said, local communities often use “nature” in ways that just don’t fit the notions of pristine wilderness at the heart of many conservation policies.

Paul Robbins, a political ecologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, called the environmental movement’s blaming of the poor for deforestation an “obsession” that is both “ironic” and “empirically questionable.” In West Africa, for example, the idea that local communities have caused deforestation is orthodoxy among development and environmental policymakers, but analysis of historical data and first-person accounts rarely support it.

Wampler had debunked the myth of how many trees were in Haiti, but his findings, published in the International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation in 2014, didn’t gain much traction among environmentalists or development agencies. The World Bank, USAID, Oxfam America and multiple United Nations agencies still cite a stat of 1 to 4 percent for forest cover in Haiti. (A USAID spokesperson who was aware of Wampler’s study agreed that the correct figure for tree cover is likely between 32 and 40 percent but defended the 2 percent statistic as referring to “original forest cover,” meaning before European contact.)

“It’s been controversial in some circles,” Wampler said. “Some people don’t want to talk about it. It’s not the story that they want to tell about Haiti.”


No, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is NOT dead. But it is in trouble

The writer makes only a small obeisance to Warmism below.  He says that the ocean is warming overall.  He does not mention that such warming is only in hundredths of a degree

Perhaps you’ve heard that the epic, 1,400-mile-long Great Barrier Reef in Australia has died.

Perhaps you have read its obituary by writer Rowan Jacobsen on the website Outside Online.

But before you start mourning the loss of what Jacobsen calls “one of the most spectacular features on the planet,” the community of scientists that study coral reefs in the Pacific ocean would like you to hold up, slow down, and take a deep breath.

The news isn’t good, but it may not be as dire as the obituary may have you believe.

“For those of us in the business of studying and understanding what coral resilience means, the article very much misses the mark,” said Kim Cobb, a professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. “It’s not too late for the Great Barrier Reef, and people who think that have a really profound misconception about what we know and don’t know about coral resilience.”

Cobb spoke to the LA Times about the state of the world’s largest reef system, and why there is reason for both concern and hope.
It’s not too late for the Great Barrier Reef, and people who think that have a really profound misconception about what we know ... about coral resilience. — Kim Cobb

Is the Great Barrier Reef dead? No. It’s not. We just had a massive bleaching event, but we know from past research that corals are able to recover from the brink of death.

So bleached corals aren’t dead corals? That’s right. There’s lots of confusion about what bleaching means.

Coral is an animal, and the animal exists in symbiosis with photosynthetic algae. The algae provides food for the coral in exchange for a great home. But when the water gets too warm, the algae become chemically destructive to the coral.

When that happens, the coral convulses and spits out puffs of algae to protect itself. That removes all the color from the coral tissue which is transparent, allowing you to see right through to the underlying skeleton. So you are not necessarily seeing dead coral, you’re really just seeing clear coral without its algae.

But bleaching is still bad, right?

Bleaching events are worrisome because if the coral misses this key food source from the algae for too long it will literally starve to death. But, if the water temperature comes back down, it will welcome the algae back. The key is that the water temperature change has to be relatively quick.

When was the massive bleaching event?

It started with the Hawaiian islands bleaching in the early part of 2015 due to a moderate El Nino event in 2014-2015. After that there was the build up to the massive El Nino that culminated in the warmest ocean waters during the November 2015 time frame.

Unfortunately, these warm waters didn’t release their grip on many of the Pacific reefs until the spring of 2016, so that’s nine months of pretty consistently high temperatures. That is a long time for a coral to be in a mode of starvation.

Has the Great Barrier Reef been through anything like this before?

It has had very severe bleaching events associated with large El Ninos like we had last year, but the problem is we are seeing baseline ocean temperatures getting warmer every year. When you pile a strong El Nino on top of this ever warming trend, you get more extreme and more prolonged bleaching episodes.

What was striking about this year was the extent of the damage. It was staggering. By important metrics the ’97-’98 El Nino was bigger,  but the damage from this last one was far more extensive.

So how can you remain hopeful about the fate of Great Barrier Reef and other reefs in the Pacific?

I work on a research site in the Christmas Islands that is literally smack in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and which was much more devastated than the Great Barrier Reef. It was worse off than any reef in the world with up to 85% mortality. But even in the face of that whole-scale destruction, we saw individual corals that were still alive, looking like nothing had happened.

I cling to that. I know from my own site that there is a lot more resilience baked into the system then we can hope to understand right now and that out of the rubble will come a reef that may not look exactly like it looked before, but may be better adapted for future temperature change



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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