Friday, April 18, 2014


Amusing:  Lewandowski revisited

Stephan Lewandowski has written two papers designed to show climate skeptics as nutters.  The first was accepted for publication in a good journal but not actually published and the second was published but then withdrawn.  Both papers have however been readily available on the internet for some time.  The second paper was largely designed to refute the many substantial criticisms of the first.

A major criticism of the first paper is that many of the statements Lewandowski gathered could have been the work of "trolls", impostors or other people not giving sincere responses over the internet.  Now that the second paper has been withdrawn on ethical grounds by the journal which first published it, my curiosity about the whole affair was revived and I read the second paper as located on Lewandowski's  university site.

My chief curiosity was not about ethical issues.  I expect dishonesty from the Green/Left  -- witness the "Climategate" emails, for instance.  Rather I was interested in the central issue of data integrity. How do they answer the challenge that their data was not a true sample of skeptical thinking?

And their answer is pathetic.  They raise the "faking" issue at some length and conclude:  "Finally, without a priori specification of what constitutes faked responses, the scamming hypothesis is in principle unfalsiable: there exists no response pattern that could not be considered "fake""

Precisely, one would think.  There is no way of rejecting the "fakery" hypothesis because there is no way of detecting what is fake.  So the data could indeed be substantially faked.  Therefore there is no guarantee that it is not fake.  The study is simply inconclusive.  It proves nothing because the genuineness of the responses cannot be guaranteed.

Faked responses are a big issue in questionnaire and other psychological research.  I battled with that issue for 20 years in my own psychological research.  There are ways of minimizing the problem -- all of which I used -- but in the end I concluded that there was no solution to the problem and that survey research is largely useless for its intended purpose.  For that reason, I have now spent another 20 years or so devoting my attention to history instead (e.g. here and here).  History has its problems but it is my view that it tells us a lot more about human behaviour than psychology does.  And the history of Warmism is of an unending stream of failed predictions.

But in any case the whole Lewandowski enterprise is a huge  example of one of the informal fallacies of logic:  The "Ad hominem" fallacy.  Even if he could prove his claim that skeptics are unduly suspicious, it would not mean that they were wrong.  But Warmists rarely argue on the science.  Abuse of skeptics and appeals to authority is their "modus operandi"  --  as we skeptics repeatedly observe in our encounters with Warmists.





Climate Vacuum Cleaner

That all the earth's grasslands and forests are already a great CO2 vacuum cleaner the Warmists seem to have forgotten.  Do they intend to duplicate all of our grasslands and forests?

Just when we thought the UN couldn't get any more ridiculous in its climate change warnings and prescriptions, they exceed our expectations. According to UPI, the third report in a series from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) "suggests vacuuming up vast amounts of CO2 from the skies and storing it underground" as a "viable solution for mitigating the greenhouse gas effect in the short term."

That would have to be quite a Dirt Devil. But they're serious, they insist, that something must be done. IPCC chair Rajendra Pachauri says, "The high speed mitigation train needs to leave the station very soon and all of global society would need to get on board."

Uniformity or bust, that's the climate alarmists' way. But if you'll pardon the pun, we think this idea sucks.

SOURCE




Some Answers to Global Warming Propaganda

George Reisman comments on NY Times Article "Political Rifts Slow U.S. Effort on Climate Laws"

On April 15, the National (print) edition of The New York Times published an article titled "Political Rifts Slow U.S. Effort on Climate Laws." The article was inspired by the latest report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and naively and uncritically accepted the findings of that report as true.

It's remarkable that the author of this article, and the authors of the IPCC report that inspired it, can be concerned about the destructive effects on food production and other essentials of human well-being that will allegedly result from global warming, but do not give the slightest thought to the destructive effects on human well-being of forcibly imposing drastic reductions in CO2 emissions. These emissions are a by-product of such things as the use of tractors and harvesters in food production and of refrigerators and freezers in food preservation. They are the result of people driving automobiles, lighting, heating, and air conditioning their homes, and using electricity to power their machinery and appliances. In short, CO2 emissions are a by-product of producing and enjoying the material goods that distinguish a modern standard of living from that of the Third World.

Preventing government imposed reductions in the use of fossil fuels is not something that is merely in the narrow self-interest of the oil and coal industries. Rather it is in the self-interest of the hundreds of millions of average people who vitally depend on the products of these industries.

Perhaps there will someday be economical substitutes for fossil fuels. Until then, substantially reducing the use of fossil fuels means imposing the certainty of a drastic decline in the standard of living of the average person in order to avoid what is at most the possibility of some seriously bad weather.

And if we need such things as massive sea walls to avoid such effects of that bad weather as the flooding of coastal areas, we had better be sure that we have the largest possible modern industrial base available to construct them.

It’s equally remarkable that those who fear global warming have given virtually no consideration to non-destructive ways of dealing with it, assuming that the threat is real in the first place. Why aren’t major prizes being offered for the development of low-cost, effective methods of removing large quantities of CO2 from the atmosphere? For example, is it beyond us to develop plant species that will absorb vast multiples of the CO2 that plants normally absorb? Why is the only possible solution thought to be the destruction of modern economic life?

If global warming is a real threat, why haven’t politicians the world over made the negotiation of treaties for free immigration a top priority? If it’s a serious threat, and people will not willingly deal with it by committing economic suicide in the form of depriving themselves of the massive amounts of energy that would be lost through such measures as imposing a 70 percent reduction in CO2 emissions, then preparations should be starting now to allow for the future migration of hundreds of millions of Indians and Chinese into what will then be an inhabitable Siberia. The United States, Mexico, and the countries of Central America, should likewise be negotiating for free immigration into what will then be an inhabitable central Canada. Greenland should be declared open to all comers. Whatever the problems it may cause, global warming, if it really comes, will also be accompanied by vast new economic opportunities if not blocked by government migration barriers.

Or are we to fear that the “sin” of enjoying a modern standard of living must end in nothing less than a version of hellfire and brimstone—in the form of the recreation on Earth of the climate conditions on the planet Venus?

If so, what is the proof? Is it the direct observation of another planet Earth that turned into a Venus? Or is it strings of assumptions and inferences? And how can the Earth have had ice ages accompanied by more than10 times the CO2 that it is supposedly on track to experience now?

SOURCE




Europe’s New Energy Policy: More Coal, More Gas, More Shale, More wind

 Europe is stitching together a patchwork of measures that could reduce its natural gas imports from Russia by over a quarter by the end of the decade as a result of the Ukraine crisis, halting Moscow's tightening grip over the region's energy.

Russia's seizure of Ukraine's Crimea region has chilled political relations between Russia and the European Union, prompting governments across the bloc to look at ways to cut demand, find alternative supplies and switch to other fuel sources such as coal and renewables.

Reuters calculations suggest these steps could slash imports from Russia by around 45 billion cubic meters (bcm) by 2020, worth $18 billion a year, equivalent to a quarter of what Russia currently supplies.

Past hopes of loosening Moscow's grip have been dashed, not helped by Germany's decision to give up on nuclear power, with Russia's share of EU supplies rising 10 percentage points to over a third since 2010, and before the current crisis Russia's gas share in Europe was expected to remain stable at current levels.

The crisis in Ukraine has shaken policymakers awake across Europe's capitals, and several emergency meetings over energy security have been held in the past weeks.

"We are serious about reducing our energy dependency ... We need a new way to do energy business," said European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, who represents EU governments in Brussels.

At the forefront of these plans are Germany and Italy, Russia's biggest gas clients in the EU, but also Poland.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in late March that "energy policy will have to be newly considered".

Germany is Europe's biggest gas user and Russia's most important customer, using over 80 bcm of gas a year and meeting around a third of its demand through imports from Gazprom, a share that has steadily risen over the past 20 years.

MORE COAL AND WIND

Germany's most immediate plans to reduce Russian gas imports are to ramp up alternative supplies and reduce demand through improved energy efficiency.

Germany already has something of a mountain to climb, having shut down 7 gigawatts (GW) of nuclear power in response to the nuclear meltdown disaster in Japan in 2011, with plans by 2022 to shut down its remaining nine reactors, which generate 12 GW, according to the World Nuclear Association.

There appears to be no prospect of Germany reconsidering its nuclear withdrawal.

The majority of the lost capacity is planned to be filled by coal and renewable facilities.

Between 2014 and 2015, German utilities plan to connect almost 6 GW of new hard coal power capacity to the grid and 2.7 GW of new offshore wind installations.

It only plans to add 0.5 GW of new natural gas, and with several older gas stations being retired, there will be a net decline in gas use.

Similar efforts are being made in Italy, which uses over 70 bcm of gas a year and is the EU's second biggest importer of Russian supplies.

The Ukraine stand-off has already put a question mark over the future of the 2,400 km (1,500 mile) South Stream pipeline project, which will pump Russian gas to Italy later this decade.

"The developments of the Ukraine crisis could put at risk the construction of South Stream," Italy's Industry Minister Federica Guidi told parliament in late March.

The head of Italian oil and gas company Eni had already warned a week earlier that the Gazprom-led project was in jeopardy.

Minister Guidi said the government had plans to reduce energy consumption via efficiency measures by 20 percent this decade, and that it would remove red tape to expand its import capacity of non-Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) as well as complete the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) gas corridor that will bring 10 bcm of Azeri gas to Italy towards the end of this decade.

Guidi also said it wanted to attract investors to look for oil and gas in Italy by simplifying the permitting process.

Many Mediterranean countries are hoping to repeat the success of Israel and Cyprus in finding offshore gas.

Almost 1 trillion cubic meters of recoverable natural gas has already been discovered in the eastern Mediterranean Levant Basin, enough to supply Europe with gas for over two years.

Although most of the Mediterranean gas riches will end up in higher-paying Asia, Turkey and Egypt, some could also go to the EU.

Analysts also said the global LNG market would have more supplies available for Europe towards the end of the decade.

"Europe might be just lucky enough that the global LNG market rebalances towards the end of the decade," said Massimo Di-Odoardo, senior analyst at energy research and consultancy firm Wood Mackenzie.

"There are currently around 150 bcm of LNG projects under construction globally, and we don't believe there is enough additional LNG demand outside Europe. This means that a lot of the LNG from the Atlantic and Middle East now being diverted to Asia will eventually come back to Europe," he added.

POLISH AMBITIONS

The urge to reduce Russia's energy grip is particularly keen in central Europe, where memories of Soviet dominance are still fresh and almost all gas is supplied by Russia.

Poland plans to start a 5 bcm per year capacity LNG terminal by next January to import gas from overseas countries such as Qatar and, later this decade, the United States and Canada, where a shale gas production boom has led to a supply glut.

"Poland will never be subject to any blackmail in this respect," Prime Minister Donald Tusk said last month.

Since 2009, when Russia supplied over 91 percent of Poland's gas, Poland has doubled the capacity of a pipeline link with Germany and built a new link to the Czech Republic.

Despite these steps and efforts to explore for shale gas, Poland still relies on Russian imports for roughly two thirds of its annual gas usage of 15 billion cubic metres.

Tusk said his government had therefore approved a new shale gas bill that would help encourage investors by reducing red tape and regulatory hurdles.

Poland also has plans to use more of its large domestic lignite coal reserves.

Other countries in the Baltic region are also planning to begin LNG imports soon.

Finland and Estonia, who both import all their gas needs from Russia, signed an agreement in late February to build two LNG terminals on either side of the Gulf of Finland and a pipeline connecting the two countries.

Lithuania, another Baltic country that relies entirely on Russian imports, also plans to introduce a floating LNG facility that will allow imports of 2-4 billion cubic metres of natural gas per year from 2015.

Deeper into southeastern Europe, where Russia's grip is also tight, U.S. energy major Exxon Mobil and OMV Petrom plan to produce 6.5 bcm of natural gas from Romania's Domino field by 2020.

SOURCE




The IPCC, the Police & Greenpeace

Greenpeace isn’t anti-establishment anymore. Now it’s just another arm of the authoritarian, UN green machine



Here in Berlin yesterday the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the third and final section of its new climate report. While excluded from witnessing the important, four-day meeting that preceded it, journalists were invited to attend a press conference. So long as they were prepared to behave like trained circus animals, that is.

Let it never be said that UN bodies don’t thrive on bureaucracy. You’d think it might be a straightforward matter for a journalist such as myself who’d completed the appropriate paperwork, submitted the right documents, and been officially accredited for a UN climate event in Warsaw last November to gain access to yesterday’s proceedings. But no.

As page two of this IPCC document explains, even reporters who’d jumped through all the press accreditation hoops two weeks ago in order to attend the Working Group 2 press conference held in Yokohama, Japan had to start at the beginning again in order to get through the door yesterday:

"The IPCC operates its own registration and accreditation system, which is based on the media accreditation guidelines of the United Nations… Media representatives wishing to attend the Berlin press conference must register separately for this event even if they have already registered for the Working Group II press conference in Yokohama that was held on 31 March."

It was the job of the large gentleman in the photograph above to prevent non-UN-approved people – including random members of the public who also happened to be staying at the Berlin Estrel Hotel and Convention Centre – from trespassing on this carefully controlled, stage managed event.

IPCC press conferences are strictly off-limits to the great unwashed. Chairman Pachauri’s claim that:

"The IPCC is a totally transparent organization…Whatever we do is available for scrutiny at every stage"

is so much nonsense.

There’s nothing friendly or cuddly about the United Nations, its organizations, or its events. Had anyone been foolish enough to challenge the large gentleman above, some of the numerous police officers on the premises would no doubt have quickly come to his aid.

In any case, while the press conference was taking place, Greenpeace was starved for attention. For the committed souls in the photograph below, taking turns holding signs at the side of a roadway is perhaps equivalent to religious services on a fine Sunday morning.



It’s important to observe that this was not a protest. There on the street, as automobiles whizzed past, Greenpeace was delivering the exact same ‘clean energy now‘ fantasy message that IPCC officials, supported by security personnel and police (and sponsored by the powerful, affluent, and influential German government) were delivering inside.

Greenpeace isn’t anti-establishment anymore. As Patrick Moore explains in Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout, it sold its soul long ago.  Now it’s just another arm of the authoritarian, UN green machine.

SOURCE

IPCC cries wolf on global warming, again

PierreGuy Veer

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released the summary of its fifth report. Unsurprisingly, it still blames humans as the main driver of global warming — or, climate change, climate disruption, extreme weather; whichever term you prefer. It’s unsurprising that the IPCC, an organization founded to find a way to limit human influence on climate, would sound such an alarm. After all, if it was discovered that nature is the main driver of the changes in climate, the IPCC would be out of a job.

Of course, that won’t happen. After all, the science surrounding global warming is settled and there is a vast consensus. Since we are running out of time, we therefore need to act promptly, right?

Wrong. First of all, science can never be settled for it to be called so. It took 250 years until Einstein found faults in Newton’s theory of gravity. It took more than 150 years to find how humans evolved from apes through a DNA discovery. Even today, scientists can’t decide what caused the Black Death in Europe.

The same goes for the climate hysteria. Scientists can’t decide if it will cause more snow or less snow, record snowfalls or their total absence, if biodiversity will increase or decrease, if there will be fewer tornadoes or more, or even when the world will end if we don’t act.

In addition, human influence on climate is unlikely considering that several peer-reviewed temperature reconstructions from Turkey, Poland, Eastern Australia, Northern Scandinavia, the Central Mediterranean Sea, Tibet, the Pearl River Basin in China, Bolivia, Arctic and Eastern Siberia, Southern England, the Equatorial Pacific Ocean, Peru, Chile, Iceland, Antarctica, the Central Eastern Alps, British Columbia, Quebec, and the Southwestern US all confirm the IPCC findings from 1990 that the Medieval Warm Period between 1000 and 1350 AD was much warmer than today. In other words, Michael Mann’s hockey stick, which supposedly shows a dramatic increase in temperatures since the Industrial Revolution, is probably false.

Also, hurricanes have not increased in strength or number in the past 40 years. A closer look at data shows the same neutral trend since 1851; it may even go back 228 years. Furthermore, no hurricane of category three or above has made landfall in the U.S. since Wilma (October 24, 2005) — the longest stretch since 1900. The same thing goes for tornadoes since the 1950s; F3+ tornadoes are actually decreasing. Similarly, droughts are not on the rise in the U.S., despite exponential increase in CO2. California’s recent drought, for example, is not uncommon.

Polar bears are nowhere near extinction, as assessed by the Nunavut government and Inuit hunters in Northern Canada. Speaking of debunked myths, dozens of papers show that the sun drives climate, not CO2, and that petrochemical influence on climate has been blown out of proportion. Finally, the Arctic, while it may be melting more during summer time, refreezes so quickly that its May 1st extent hasn’t changed much since 1979. Also, the Antarctic ice has been expending since that same year.

Despite overwhelming evidence that the science is not settled, climate change fanatics keep hammering about that supposed 97 percent consensus among scientists. In reality, the supposed consensus is likely overblown. It’s either based on 2008 survey of only 79 climatologists or is actually closer to 0.3 percent when one analyzes a sample of scientific papers.

Climate fanatics’ insistence on a consensus to silence debate has some eerie traits of fascism. Indeed, only in fascist societies can authorities make sure dissenters are silenced by whatever way they see fit. And this is exactly what climate fanatics want; they systematically refuse to debate climate sceptics by snobbishly claiming they are not worthy of recognition. People like David Suzuki, Canada’s green pope, call for Inquisition-like censorship of skeptics. Professors like Lawrence Torcello want skeptics jailed for “criminal negligence.” Finally, Al Gore has no problem resorting to ad hominem attacks by calling skeptics “deniers” and by linking them to homophobes, racists, alcoholics, baby-eaters, etc.

Reasonable citizens should not lose any sleep over the IPCC’s latest report or scaremongering from climate fanatics. Their catastrophic predictions are simply a continuation of doomsday predictions Malthus started in the 19th century. And like Malthus, they have been utterly wrong, be it about agriculture, violence or the rising sea level. Climate hysteria is crumbling little by little, and like any fake science, it will collapse sooner or later.


SOURCE

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Unending false prophecies

With their huge record of failure, no aware person could respect the latest lot of climate disaster prognostications

The Boston Globe noted on April 16, 2014: “The world now has a rough deadline for action on climate change. Nations need to take aggressive action in the next 15 years to cut carbon emissions, in order to forestall the worst effects of global warming, says the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”

Once again, the world is being warned of an ecological or climate “tipping point” by the UN.

In 1982, the UN issued a two decade tipping point. UN official Mostafa Tolba, executive director of the UN Environment Program (UNEP), warned on May 11, 1982, the “world faces an ecological disaster as final as nuclear war within a couple of decades unless governments act now.” According to Tolba in 1982, lack of action would bring “by the turn of the century, an environmental catastrophe which will witness devastation as complete, as irreversible as any nuclear holocaust.”

As early as 1989, the UN was already trying to sell their “tipping point” rhetoric on the public. See: U.N. Warning of 10-Year ‘Climate Tipping Point’ Began in 1989 – Excerpt: According to July 5, 1989, article in the Miami Herald, the then-director of the New York office of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Noel Brown, warned of a “10-year window of opportunity to solve” global warming. According to the 1989 article, “A senior U.N. environmental official says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000. Coastal flooding and crop failures would create an exodus of ‘eco-refugees,’ threatening political chaos.”

HOURS: Flashback March 2009: 'We have hours' to prevent climate disaster -- Declares Elizabeth May of Canadian Green Party

Days: Flashback Oct. 2009: UK's Gordon Brown warns of global warming 'catastrophe'; Only '50 days to save world'

Months: Prince Charles claimed a 96-month tipping point in July 2009

Years: 2009: NASA’s James Hansen Declared Obama Only First Term to Save The Planet! — ‘On Jan. 17, 2009 Hansen declared Obama only ‘has four years to save Earth’ or Flashback Oct .2009: WWF: 'Five years to save world'

Decades: 1982: UN official Mostafa Tolba, executive director of the UN Environment Program (UNEP), warned on May 11, 1982, the 'world faces an ecological disaster as final as nuclear war within a couple of decades unless governments act now.'

Millennium: Flashback June 2010: 1000 years delay: Green Guru James Lovelock: Climate change may not happen as fast as we thought, and we may have 1,000 years to sort it out'

It is becoming obvious that the only authentic climate "tipping point" we can rely is this one:

Flashback 2007: New Zealand Scientist on Global Warming: 'It's All Going to be a Joke in 5 Years'

More HERE



Crooked old Joe Romm defends Showtime’s Series On Climate Change

Note:  Romm served as the series’ Chief Science Advisor. He doesn’t mention that in his article.

Romm also quotes “the country’s top climatologist” Michael Mann to support his temper tantrum. Mann is also a Science Advisor for the  series. Romm didn’t mention that, either.

Romm repeatedly uses the word “they” rather than “we” to describe the film project.

The closest he comes to transparency is near the very end of the article when he writes, “I was not one of the producers of the show, but I have worked with them long enough to know that that sentence sums up their guiding philosophy.”   True, he was not a “producer,” but his statement gives the impression he merely “worked with them” in some sort of minor, outside way. He never mentions just how central his role was as Chief Science Advisor.

Ironic that Romm’s article title accuses people who criticize the series as “dishonest,” yet he fails to be forthcoming about his role in the series and his lack of objectivity writing the article.

As soon as I saw the much discredited Michael Mann described as "one of the country’s top climatologists", I stopped reading.  Sometimes total detachment from the facts makes itself obvious  -- JR

The good news is the video of episode one of Showtime’s climate series, “Years Of Living Dangerously,” has been getting great reviews in the New York Times and elsewhere.

The bad news is the Times has published an error-riddled hit-job op-ed on the series that is filled with myths at odds with both the climate science and social science literature. For instance, the piece repeats the tired and baseless claim that Al Gore’s 2006 movie “An Inconvenient Truth” polarized the climate debate, when the peer-reviewed data says the polarization really jumped in 2009 (see chart above from “The Sociological Quarterly”).

As I said, “Years Of Living Dangerously” — the landmark 9-part Showtime docu-series produced by the legendary James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jerry Weintraub — has been getting great reviews. Andy Revkin, often a critic of climate messaging, wrote in the NY Times Monday:

    "… a compellingly fresh approach to showing the importance of climate hazards to human affairs, the role of greenhouse gases in raising the odds of some costly and dangerous outcomes and — perhaps most important — revealing the roots of the polarizing divisions in society over this issue…."

George Marshall, “an expert on climate and communication,” — who is also often a critic of climate messaging — wrote me:

    "What impressed me about the two episodes I watched was the respect that it showed to conservatives, evangelicals and ordinary working people…. it is still the best documentary I have seen."

The New York Times op-ed is from the founders of the Breakthrough Institute — the same group where political scientist Roger Pielke, Jr. is a Senior Fellow. It pushes the same argument that Pielke made in his fivethirtyeight piece — which was so widely criticized and debunked that Nate Silver himself admitted its myriad flaws and ran a debunking piece by an MIT climate scientist.

Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, two widely debunked eco-critics who run The Breakthrough Institute (TBI), begin by asserting “IF you were looking for ways to increase public skepticism about global warming, you could hardly do better than the forthcoming nine-part series on climate change and natural disasters, starting this Sunday on Showtime.” But they never cite anything other than the trailer in making their case, dismissing the entire enterprise on the basis of 2 minutes of clips!

They base their entire argument on a misrepresentation of climate science and a misrepresentation of social science. They assert:

    “But claims linking the latest blizzard, drought or hurricane to global warming simply can’t be supported by the science.”

I asked one of the country’s top climatologist, Michael Mann, to respond to that....

More HERE





GM crops given green light by British government

Genetically-modified food which boosts health could be on British dining tables by the end of the decade after the Government gave the green light for the first field trial of nutrient enriched crops.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs today granted permission for Rothamsted Research to grow plants enhanced with the same omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil, in a decision branded a 'milestone' by scientists.

The first seeds will be sown within weeks in secure fields in Hertfordshire and will be harvested in August.

The GM crop, where the plant's DNA has been combined with genes that produce fish oil, is among the first of a new generation of so-called ‘nutraceuticals’ – plants whose genetic structure has been altered to boost dietary supplements.

If successful the plant oil will be fed to fish, such as farmed salmon, to boost their uptake, but it could eventually be used in oils and spreads such as margarine.

Professor Johnathan Napier, lead scientist of this project at Rothamsted Research, said: “Omega-3 doesn’t occur in any other plant species but there is a real pressing need for it for health reasons.

“The way that fish currently acquire their omega-3, from algae, is not sustainable. So we are trying to find another source.

“Being able to carry out the field trial with our GM plants, means that we have reached a significant milestone in the delivery of our research programme.

“And just because we are talking about fish doesn’t mean there couldn’t be lots of other applications. This is something that could reduce our dependency on fish or supplements in the long term.”

Omega-3 fatty acids have been widely linked to health benefits, such as lowering the risk of heart disease, cancers and neuro-degenerative diseases.

Although omega-3 is often described as fish oil, it is in fact made by microscopic marine algae that are eaten or absorbed by fish.

Farmed fish grown in cages are unable to absorb sufficient omega-3 in their diets so they have to be fed on smaller fish which critics claim is unsustainable.

The Rothamsted Research scientists have copied and synthesised the genes from the algae and then spliced them into a plant called ‘Camelina sativa’, known as “false flax”, which is widely grown for its seed oil.

Although the main aim of the research is to produce GM crops that could be made into food for farmed fish, the seeds could eventually be used in other foods, such as margarine.

It is the first crop to be given permission since a wide-ranging report, commissioned by the government, gave the green light to GM in March.

Sir Mark Walport, the government’s Chief Scientific Advisor recommended that Britain should begin production after finding GM crops were not only safe, but more nutritious than current crops.

GM crops are already widely used in the US, Canada, Brazil, Argentina and India. Around 85 per cent of all corn crops in the US are now GM.

Sir Mark has warned that Britain risks falling behind if it does not begin GM production soon.

Professor Cathie Martin, the John Innes Centre, which has been producing enhanced tomatoes in green houses said: "Modern diets contain low levels of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids

"Diets with high omega-3 are strongly associated with health and protection from a range of chronic diseases including cardiovascular diseases,

"Cultivation of crops that produce oils high in omega 3 offers a sustainable supply of these health beneficial products for the first time.”

Prof Jackie Hunter, Chief Executive of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences research Council, which is helping fund the research said: "This research is seeking to provide an alternative source of omega-3 oil for the aquaculture industry that is seeking new ways to maintain and increase its sustainability.

“After many years of laboratory research this project has reached the point where only a field trial will show scientists if this could work in real world conditions.”

However anti GM critics claim that omega-3 fish oils have been implicated in raising the risk of prostate cancer, and it is not clear whether GM-derived fish oils will be safe for human or animal consumption.

SOURCE




Wind Farms and Health

Written by Alun Evans Professor Emeritus Belfast University

According to the World Health Organisation’s recent report, ‘Night Noise Guidelines for Europe’ [1], environmental noise is emerging as one of the major public health concerns of the twenty-first century. It observes that, “Many people have to adapt their lives to cope with the noise at night,” and the young and the old are particularly vulnerable.

This is because hearing in young people is more acute and, in older people, a loss of hearing of higher sound frequencies renders them more susceptible to the effects of low frequency noise. It is a particularly troublesome feature of the noise generated by wind turbines due to its impulsive, intrusive and incessant nature.

A recent case-control study conducted around two wind farms in New England has shown [2] that subjects living within 1.4 km of an IWT had worse sleep, were sleepier during the day, and had poorer SF36 Mental Component Scores compared to those living further than 1.4 km away. The study demonstrated a strongly significant association between reported sleep disturbance and ill health in those residing close to industrial wind turbines.

The major adverse health effects caused seem to be due to sleep disturbance and deprivation with the main culprits identified as loud noise in the auditory range, and low frequency noise, particularly infrasound. This is inaudible in the conventional sense, and is propagated over large distances and penetrates the fabric of dwellings, where it may be amplified. It is a particular problem at night, in the quiet rural settings most favoured for wind farms, because infrasound persists long after the higher frequencies have been dissipated.

Sleep is a physiological necessity and the sleep-deprived are vulnerable to a variety of health problems [2,3]. particularly Cardiovascular Disease in which nocturnal noise is an important factor [4]. Sleep deprivation in children is associated with increased bodyweight [3,5], which is known to ‘track’ into later life, and predisposes to adult disease. That is why “Encouraging more sleep” is a sensible target in the Public health Agency’s current campaign to prevent obesity in children. It also causes memory impairment because memories are normally reinforced in the later, Rapid Eye Movement, phase of sleep; again, it is the young and the old who are most affected. Sleep deprivation is associated with an increased likelihood of developing a range of chronic diseases including Type II Diabetes, cancer (eg breast with shift work [6]), Coronary Heart Disease [7,8] and Heart Failure [9].   Although the quality of the data are mixed, those on Heart Failure reported recently from the HUNT Study [9] are quite robust as they are based on 54,279 Norwegians free of disease at baseline (men and women aged 20-89 years). A total of 1412 cases of Heart Failure developed over a mean follow-up of 11.3 years. A dose-dependent relationship was observed between the risk of disease and the number of reported insomnia symptoms: i) Difficulty in initiating sleep; ii) Difficulty in maintaining sleep; and, iii) Lack of restorative sleep. The Hazard Ratios were ‘0’ for none of these; ‘0.96’ for one; ‘1.35’ for two; and, ‘4.53’ for three; this achieved significance at the 2% level. This means that such a result could occur once by chance if the study were to be repeated 50 times, Significance is conventionally accepted at the 5% level.

Another important, recent study is MORGEN which followed nearly 18,000 Dutch men and women, free of Cardiovascular Disease at baseline, over 10-14 years [8]. In this period there were 607 events: fatal CVD, non-fatal Myocardial Infarction and Stroke. Adequate sleep, defined as at least seven hours, was a protective factor which augmented the benefits conferred by the absence of four traditional cardiovascular risk factors. For example, the benefit of adequate sleep equalled the protective contribution of not smoking cigarettes. Given that cigarette smoking is such a potent risk factor for Cardiovascular Disease, this result is striking. The findings built on earlier ones from the MORGEN study [7]. It seems that adequate sleep is important in protecting against a range of Cardiovascular Diseases which result when arteries of different sizes are compromised: large (coronary, cerebral) arteries in heart attacks and stroke, small arteries (arterioles) in heart failure.

All of these studies share the weakness that they are ‘observational’ as opposed to ‘experimental’ and, as such, their results do not constitute ‘proof.’ We now have the evidence of an experimental study carried out in human volunteers which shows that the expression of a large range of genes is affected by sleep deprivation of fairly short duration [10]. This might be the key to understanding why the health effects of sleep deprivation are so diverse. It could also shed light on the ‘Wind Turbine Syndrome,’ a cluster of symptoms which include sleep disturbance, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, nausea, changes in mood and inability to concentrate [11]. In this condition infrasound is a likely causal agent.

This group has now shown in another small intervention study that mistimed sleep desynchronized from the central circadian clock has a much larger effect on the circadian regulation of the human transcriptome (i.e., a reduction in the number of circadian transcripts from 6.4% to 1% and changes in the overall time course of expression of 34% of transcripts) [12]. This may elucidate the reasons for the large excess of cardiovascular events associated with shift work found in a meta-analysis of over 2 million subjects in 34 studies [13]. The results demonstrate that any interference in normal sleeping patterns is inimical to cardiovascular health.

The old admonition that ‘What you can’t hear won’t harm you,’ sadly isn’t true. It is now known that organ of Corti in the cochlea (inner ear) contains two types of sensory cells: one row of inner hair cells which are responsible for hearing; and, three rows of outer hair cells which are more responsive to low frequency sound [14]. The infrasound produced by wind turbines is transduced by the outer hair cells and transmitted to the brain by Type II afferent fibres. The purpose is unclear as it results in sleep disturbance. Perhaps it served some vital function in our evolutionary past which has persisted to our detriment today? In fact, many animals use infrasound for communication and navigation. This could well have a genetic basis as it is only a minority, albeit a sizable one, which is affected. This may well be the group which is also liable to travel sickness. Schomer et al have now advanced the theory that as wind turbines increase in size they increasingly emit infrasound with a frequency below 1Hz (CPS) [15]. Below this frequency the otoliths in the inner ear respond in an exaggerated way in a susceptible minority who will suffer symptoms of the Wind Farm Syndrome. Previously it was thought that the brain was only under the control of electrical and biochemical stimuli but there is new evidence that it is sensitive, in addition, to mechanical stimuli [16].

The problem of infrasound and low frequency noise was well-recognised in a report by Casella Stanger [17], commissioned by DEFRA in 2001, and since ignored: “For people inside buildings with windows closed, this effect is exacerbated by the sound insulation properties of the building envelope. Again mid and high frequencies are attenuated to a much greater extent than low frequencies.” It continued: “As the A-weighting network attenuates low frequencies by a large amount, any measurements made of the noise should be with the instrumentation set to linear.” It drew heavily upon the DOE’s Batho Report of 1990 [18]. In fact, these problems had already been elucidated and the measurement issues addressed in a trio of papers by Kelley (et al) in the 1980s [19-21]. This research again has been ignored or forgotten so the problem continues to be seriously underestimated. When measured using a tool which can detect it, levels of infrasound and low frequency noise are disturbingly high, with ‘sound pressure levels’ greater than previously thought possible [22].

There are a number of other adverse effects associated with sleep deprivation. Tired individuals are more likely to have road traffic accidents and injure themselves while operating machinery. In addition, wind turbines can, and do, cause accidents by collapsing, blade snap, ice throw, and even going on fire. They induce stress and psychological disorder from blade flicker, which also has implications for certain types of epilepsy and autism. Even the current planning process, with its virtual absence of consultation, is stress inducing, as is the confrontation between land owners, who wish to profit from erecting turbines, and their neighbours who dread the effects. Finally, wind turbines considerably reduce the value of dwellings nearby and this has a negative long term effect on their owners’ and their families’ health [23]. On top of this, increasing numbers of families will be driven into fuel poverty by spiralling electricity costs which are subsidising wind energy. It is galling that SSE’s current, seductive advertising campaign is being supported from these sources.

‘Wind Turbine Noise’ was reviewed in an editorial in the British Medical Journal in 2012 [24]. The authors concluded that “A large body of evidence now exists to suggest that wind turbines disturb sleep and impair health at distances and noise levels that are permitted in most jurisdictions.” This remains the case today. The Public Health Agency has dismissed this editorial as falling short of a ‘systematic review,’ which is fair enough, given the constraints of the format, yet ignores at least one, excellent, recent systematic review [23]. Interestingly, that review records the fact that in 1978 the British Government was found guilty in a case taken to Europe by the Irish Government of applying five techniques, including subjection to noise and deprivation of sleep. These were used in Ulster to ‘encourage’ admissions and to elicit information from prisoners and detainees. They amounted to humiliating and degrading treatment, ie torture [23].

More HERE





Thought police on patrol

By Charles Krauthammer

 Two months ago, a petition bearing more than 110,000 signatures was delivered to The Washington Post demanding a ban on any article questioning global warming. The petition arrived the day before publication of my column, which consisted of precisely that heresy.

The column ran as usual. But I was gratified by the show of intolerance because it perfectly illustrated my argument that the left is entering a new phase of ideological agitation -- no longer trying to win the debate but stopping debate altogether, banishing from public discourse any and all opposition.

The proper word for that attitude is totalitarian. It declares certain controversies over and visits serious consequences -- from social ostracism to vocational defenestration -- upon those who refuse to be silenced.

Sometimes the word comes from on high, as when the president of the United States declares the science of global warming to be "settled." Anyone who disagrees is then branded "anti-science." And better still, a "denier" -- a brilliantly chosen calumny meant to impute to the climate skeptic the opprobrium normally reserved for the hatemongers and crackpots who deny the Holocaust.

Then last week, another outbreak. The newest closing of the leftist mind is on gay marriage. Just as the science of global warming is settled, so, it seems, are the moral and philosophical merits of gay marriage.

To oppose it is nothing but bigotry, akin to racism. Opponents are to be similarly marginalized and shunned, destroyed personally and professionally.

Like the CEO of Mozilla who resigned under pressure just 10 days into his job when it was disclosed that six years earlier he had donated to California's Proposition 8, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman.

But why stop with Brendan Eich, the victim of this high-tech lynching? Prop 8 passed by half a million votes. Six million Californians joined Eich in the crime of "privileging" traditional marriage. So did Barack Obama. In that same year, he declared that his Christian beliefs made him oppose gay marriage.

Yet under the new dispensation, this is outright bigotry. By that logic, the man whom the left so ecstatically carried to the White House in 2008 was equally a bigot.

The whole thing is so stupid as to be unworthy of exegesis. There is no logic. What's at play is sheer ideological prejudice -- and the enforcement of the new totalitarian norm that declares, unilaterally, certain issues to be closed.

To this magic circle of forced conformity, the left would like to add certain other policies, resistance to which is deemed a "war on women." It's a colorful synonym for sexism. Leveling the charge is a crude way to cut off debate.

Thus, to oppose late-term abortion is to make war on women's "reproductive health." Similarly, to question Obamacare's mandate of free contraception for all.

Some oppose the regulation because of its impingement on the free exercise of religion. Others on the simpler (non-theological) grounds of a skewed hierarchy of values. Under the new law, everything is covered, but a few choice things are given away free. To what does contraception owe its exalted status? Why should it rank above, say, antibiotics for a sick child, for which that same mother must co-pay?

Say that, however, and you are accused of denying women "access to contraception."

Or try objecting to the new so-called Paycheck Fairness Act for women, which is little more than a full-employment act for trial lawyers. Sex discrimination is already illegal. What these new laws do is relieve the plaintiffs of proving intentional discrimination. To bring suit, they need only to show that women make less in that workplace.

Like the White House, where women make 88 cents to the men's dollar?

That's called "disparate impact." Does anyone really think Obama consciously discriminates against female employees, rather than the disparity being a reflection of experience, work history, etc.? But just to raise such questions is to betray heretical tendencies.

The good news is that the "war on women" charge is mostly cynicism, fodder for campaign-year demagoguery. But the trend is growing. Oppose the current consensus and you're a denier, a bigot, a homophobe, a sexist, an enemy of the people.

Long a staple of academia, the totalitarian impulse is spreading. What to do? Defend the dissenters, even if -- perhaps, especially if -- you disagree with their policy. It is -- it was? -- the American way.

SOURCE





Talking to the deceived

The world is filled with hate and if you cannot be respectful of other peoples views you can help foster more hatred and anger. This is especially true when you talk about our energy future.

There are many people that believe in man-made “Global Warming” and “Climate Change” and believe there is only one way to avert these crises and that is with renewable energy technology. No other technology can be discussed as a solution, because if you do, then you are a pawn for the big money behind that respective technology.

Can we all grow-up and have a rational discussion on energy without calling each other names?

Oberlin, Ohio is home to Oberlin college with some of the best and brightest students in America attending this small school. While it is a small school, it ranks right up there with Harvard, Princeton, and Yale in cost and in quality of education. It is also known as having one of the most green conscious and liberal student bodies in America.

Oberlin college is a perfect example of where, if paranoia and name calling is put aside, that both the ultra-right and ultra-left can come together on an issue like thorium based MSRs (Molten Salt Reactors). I know, I have experienced rationale debate on campus first hand.

A popular restaurant with college students is the Feve, and when in town, I like to go to the upstairs bar and strike up a conversation on energy with some of the students or faculty. This is normally very easy to do and students love to share their views.

I respect the position of the people that believe in man-made Global Warming and the renewables solution, I just ask if they have thought it all the way through (I am a man-made global warming skeptic and I do not believe that wind and solar are a solution to our environmental problems). I am very careful in my discussion, as I know the words that will shut them down and cause them to close their minds to any further debate. Words like “intermittency” and “on-demand” are not things a person with a vastly different viewpoint wants to hear.

I normally start the conversation as such:

Because our current electrical grid has to work with other technologies, natural gas peaker plants have grown by leaps and bounds with the addition of solar and wind. These peaker plants are cleaner than coal but are less clean than baseload natural gas plants. The natural gas peaker plants act as a compliment to wind and solar to stabilize the grid. The question I ask is, “Do the peaker natural gas plants put out more CO2 running in compliment with the wind turbines they support than what a natural gas baseload and/or a nuclear power plant does to create the same amount of energy?”

Many students cannot answer this question with any certainty.

I then start to talk about the benefits of MSRs and LFTR and there is a lot of push back.

At Oberlin college there are a lot of students there that are anti-fracking advocates and so, while natural gas burns cleaner, they do not necessarily like natural gas. Solutions that they like are natural gas made from bio-digesters and natural gas from landfill to support wind and solar. More times than naught, when nuclear is mentioned, you get looked at as if you have a third eye. After much discussion I challenge them to watch three documentaries. The first documentary is “Cool It!” by Bjorn Lomborg, an environmentalist and a big believer in global warming. The unbiased review of all energy technologies by Dr. Scott Tinker in the “Switch Energy Project” and finally “Pandoras Promise” by director Robert Stone. After watching these three films, it has been my experience, that even the most vitriolic anti-nuclear opponents have warmed to nuclear energy.

Getting a college student to watch a documentary in their free time is hard but the  ”Cool It!” documentary draws them in and, dare I say, helps to form a bridge between the left and the right. Many times if you get someone to watch “Cool It!” they will watch the other two documentaries. “Cool It!” is available on iTunes and “Pandora’s Promise” is available on iTunes and on Netflix.

Kirk Sorensen’s “TED talks” and Dr. Robert Hargraves “Aim High” video seals the deal and gets them so enamored with thorium that I get students that will call me telling me they have discovered yet another of Gordon McDowell’s videos.

Now, when I go to the Feve, a lot more people know about thorium energy and MSRs, not from me, but from other student advocates. They still believe in man-made global warming and climate change and that is okay with me. They also believe that wind and solar are part of the solution and that is okay with me. But now, instead of a vitriolic hatred for nuclear energy, they see it as having a dominant and substantial role in our future.

SOURCE




A Jew trivializes the holocaust

In the service of Global Warming, of course

Tom Friedman, a NY Times' columnist, is also Jewish. According to his Wiki-ography, he "attended Hebrew school five days a week until his Bar Mitzvah… He became enamored of Israel after a visit there in December 1968, and he spent all three of his high school summers living on Kibbutz Hahotrim, near Haifa. He has characterized his high school years as 'one big celebration of Israel's victory in the Six-Day War.' "

So it was a little surprising to hear Friedman call global-warming skeptics "climate deniers" in a recent interview with CNN's Fareed, in reference to the latest report by the UN's IPCC. Friedman says,

    "I was thinking, driving over here, what if the nightmare of the climate deniers came true and we really decided in America to take this seriously and act? What would we do? What is the nightmare that would happen?"

This comes on the heels of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) denouncing Dr. Roy Spencer for calling climate-change alarmists "global-warming Nazis", his response to the continued and explicit use of the word "denier" by pundits like Friedman. Spencer wrote:

"I am calling out the ADL for not denouncing the widespread use of Nazi Holocaust imagery in public statements made by journalists, politicians, and even some scientists over the last 7+ years towards us global warming skeptics. … The ADL would appear to have decided (based upon their years of silence) that using Holocaust imagery is OK on one side of the global warming issue, but not the other."

With the ADL remaining silent on the issue since 2007, when the term global-warming denier was first used by Ellen Goodman in the Boston Globe, don't expect too much protestation over Friedman's intentional choice of words. As Charles Krauthammer recently wrote in the Washington Post,

    "Anyone who disagrees is then branded "anti-science" and, better still, a "denier" — a brilliantly chosen calumny meant to impute to the climate skeptic the opprobrium normally reserved for the hatemongers and crackpots who deny the Holocaust."

Shelley Rose wrote the following back in late February:

   "It has become too common to use comparisons to the Holocaust and Nazi imagery to attack people with opposing views, whether the issue is global warming, immigration or stem-cell research. The six million Jewish victims and millions of other victims of Hitler deserve better. Their deaths should not be used for political points or sloganeering. This type of comparison diminishes and trivializes the Holocaust. There is no place for it in civil discussions."

The only thing worse than a Jewish person calling someone a 'climate denier' are the crickets coming from the ADL, which has chosen to remain silent on this despicable means of discourse.

More HERE

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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, April 16, 2014


The Science And Politics Of Climate Change

Lennart Bengtsson says that the science isn’t settled and we still don’t know how best to solve the energy problems of our planet. Article originally published in German in the Neue Z├╝rcher Zeitung, a major Swiss newspaper. Lennart Bengtsson was until 1990 Director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg. After his retirement, he has led, among others, the Department of Earth Sciences at the International Space Science Institute in Bern

Since the end of the 19th century, we have known that the Earth’s climate is sensitive to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. At that time, the Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius showed that an increase in CO2 concentrations would lead to a warmer climate. However, Arrhenius harbored little hope that this would happen. Consequently, the Swedes would have to continue to suffer in a cold and miserable climate. Since then, much has changed. Annual CO2 emissions have now reached a level that is about 20 times higher than that of 1896. This has caused concern worldwide.

More CO2 in the atmosphere leads undoubtedly to a warming of the earth surface. However, the extent and speed of this warming are still uncertain, because we cannot yet separate well enough the greenhouse effect from other climate influences. Although the radiative forcing by greenhouse gases (including methane, nitrogen oxides and fluorocarbons) has increased by 2.5 watts per square meter since the mid-19th century, observations show only a moderate warming of 0.8 degrees Celsius. Thus, the warming is significantly smaller than predicted by most climate models. In addition, the warming in the last century was not uniform. Phases of manifest warming were followed by periods with no warming at all or even cooling.

The complex and only partially understood relationship between greenhouse gases and global warming leads to a political dilemma. We do not know when to expect a warming of 2 degrees Celsius. The IPCC assumes that the earth will warm up by 1.5 to 4.5 degrees Celcius in response to a doubling of CO2 concentration. These high values of climate sensitivity, however, are not supported by observations. In other words: global warming has not been a serious problem so far if we rely on observations. It is only a problem when we refer to climate simulations by computer models.

There is no alternative to such computer simulations if one wants to predict future developments. However, since there is no way to validate them, the forecasts are more a matter of faith than a fact. The IPCC has published its expert opinion a few months ago and presented it in the form of probabilities. As long as the results cannot be supported by validated models they produce a false impression of reliability.

EU member states pursue a strategy of reducing the climate risk by reducing the use of fossil fuels in the shortest time to a minimum. Many citizens are risk averse and therefore support this policy. In addition, many citizens want to phase-out nuclear power, because it is also seen as too risky. To eliminate both nuclear energy as well as fossil fuels is an enormous challenge. Nevertheless, Germany and Switzerland have opted for such an energy transition. To pursue such a radical and perhaps risky energy policy, despite the limited economic, scientific and technical capabilities of the two countries is an enormous undertaking.

There are two things that need to be addressed in this context. Firstly, such energy transitions will, unfortunately, do little to reduce global CO2 emissions, since 90 percent of these emissions come from countries outside Europe. Many of these countries are likely to increase their CO2 emissions in the future, as their population increases and their top priority is to improve the living standards of their citizens. China is a special case. Its CO2 emissions have more than doubled in the last decade and are now about 50 percent higher than those of the United States. For various reasons, there are no alternatives to fossil fuels in the developing countries for the time being. Energy demand there is great. Currently, 1.3 billion people have no access to electricity. To reduce their own emissions easily and quickly, the OECD countries have outsourced some of their energy-intensive production to developing countries. In the national statistics, this looks good. Globally, however, not much changes, since the emissions occur simply somewhere else.

Secondly, the rapid transition to renewable energy has led to a considerable increase in energy prices in many countries, especially in Europe. This weakens the competitiveness and leads to a relocation of energy-intensive industries to countries such as the USA, where the energy price has dropped significantly by the use of shale gas.

It is no surprise that there are other forces that are driving rapid change. Because once government subsidies are involved, huge profits are available. However, before radical and hasty changes to the current energy system are implemented, there must be robust evidence that climate change is significantly detrimental. We are still far away from such evidence. It would be wrong to conclude from the report of the IPCC and similar reports that the science is settled.

We do not yet know how best to solve the energy problems of our planet. But many things can happen in the next 100 years. A moderate climate sensitivity, as suggested by recent observations, could provide the world a breathing space of about half a century (but not much longer) if at the same a switch from coal to natural gas occurs. This gives us the opportunity to avoid unnecessary and panicked investment, and to invest the available resources in well thought-out and long-term oriented research programs instead. These include new types of nuclear energy as well as the use of nuclear waste to generate energy.

SOURCE  





Solar Firms Seek More Cash

Two California companies, Sequoia Pacific Solar and Eiger Lease Co., are suing the Treasury for withholding $14.6 million in cash grants after the parent company, SolarCity, burned through $244 million in tax incentives dating back to 2009. Despite the quarter billion in taxpayer dollars, all they have to show for it is a whopping $166 million in debt. No wonder they're desperate.

According to the lawsuit, Treasury “improperly changed the rules.” Federal officials, however, say that SolarCity inflated sales contracts to retrieve more taxpayer dollars. They're also accused of deceiving its shareholders and releasing erroneous financial reports.

The fact the feds are providing “green” incentives at all is ridiculous enough, especially in the wake of boondoggles like Solyndra. But as Hot Air's Jazz Shaw adds, “is this a private company which is intended to show a profit in the marketplace or a non-profit charity which is only expected to live off the teat of the taxpayer? Well, okay… the 'non-profit' part is probably pretty obvious.”

SOURCE  




Coughing Up Climate Rhetoric

It's spring, and that means allergies. So naturally, alarmists are attempting to identify a link between heavy pollen and global “warming.” For most of the country, a continued cool pattern has delayed the allergy season. “With temperatures finally starting to rise, New Jersey may soon experience a compressed spring, causing an allergy season that's supercharged,” says Christopher Maag of North Jersey.com.

He later adds: “Erratic weather changes and intense pollen seasons are consistent with research on global climate change by Leonard Bielory, an allergist and visiting professor at the Rutgers Center for Environmental Prediction. In a study presented last year … Bielory predicted that annual pollen counts in many parts of the U.S., including New Jersey, will double between the years 2000 and 2040 as higher average temperatures bring longer pollination seasons.”

Perhaps Maag should examine his own contradiction. Bielory cites “longer pollination seasons” thanks to “higher average temperatures,” while Maag's entire premise is on a “compressed” and “supercharged” season shortened by cold weather. Also, earth hasn't warmed in over 17 years. That's nothing to sneeze at.

SOURCE  




 

Was stopping Nevada’s fracking rush behind the Bundy showdown?

The story of rancher Cliven Bundy has captured an abundance of media attention and attracted supporters from across the West, who relate to the struggle against the federal management of lands. Bundy’s sister, Susan, was asked: “Who’s behind the uproar?” She blamed the Sierra Club, then Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), and then President Obama. She concluded her comments with: “It’s all about control” — a sentiment that is frequently expressed regarding actions taken in response to some endangered-species claim.

An Associated Press report describes Bundy’s battle this way: “The current showdown pits rancher Cliven Bundy’s claims of ancestral rights to graze his cows on open range against federal claims that the cattle are trespassing on arid and fragile habitat of the endangered desert tortoise.”

Bundy’s story has been percolating for decades — leaving people to question why now. The pundits are, perhaps, missing the real motive. To discover it, you have to dig deep under the surface of the story, below the surface of the earth. I posit: it is all about oil and gas.

On April 10, the Natural News Network posted this: “BLM fracking racket exposed! Armed siege and cattle theft from Bundy ranch really about fracking leases.” It states: “a Natural News investigation has found that BLM is actually in the business of raking in millions of dollars by leasing Nevada lands to energy companies that engage in fracking operations.”

This set off alarms in my head; it didn’t add up. I know that oil-and-gas development and ranching can happily coexist. Caren Cowan, executive director of the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association, told me: “The ranching and oil-and-gas communities are the backbone of America. They are the folks who allow the rest of the nation to pursue their hearts’ desire secure in the knowledge that they will have food and energy available in abundant supply. These natural resource users have worked arm-in-arm for nearly a century on the same land. They are constantly developing and employing technologies for ever better outcomes.”

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) wouldn’t be enduring the humiliating press it has received, as a result of kicking Bundy off of land his family has ranched for generations and taking away his prior usage rights, just to open up the land for oil-and-gas — the two can both be there.

The Natural News “investigation” includes a map from the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology that shows “significant exploratory drilling being conducted in precisely the same area where the Bundy family has been running cattle since the 1870s.” It continues: “What’s also clear is that oil has been found in nearby areas.”

Nevada is not a top-of-mind state when one thinks about oil and gas. Alan Coyner, administrator for the Nevada Division of Minerals, describes his state: “We are not a major oil-producing state. We’re not the Saudi Arabia of the U.S. like we are for gold and geothermal production.” The Las Vegas Review Journal reports: “When it comes to oil, Nevada is largely undiscovered country…. fewer than 1,000 wells have been drilled in the state, and only about 70 are now in production, churning out modest amounts of low-grade petroleum generally used for tar or asphalt. Since an all-time high of 4 million barrels in 1990, oil production in Nevada has plummeted to fewer than 400,000 barrels a year. More oil is pumped from the ground in one day in North Dakota — where the fracking boom has added more than 2,000 new wells in recent years — than Nevada produced in 2012.”

But, Nevada could soon join the ranks of the states that are experiencing an economic boom and job creation due to oil-and-gas development. And, that has got to have the environmental groups, which are hell-bent on stopping it, in panic mode. Until now, their efforts in Nevada have been focused on blocking big solar development.

A year ago, the BLM held an oil-and-gas lease sale in Reno. At the sale, 29 federal land leases, totaling about 56 square miles, were auctioned off, bringing in $1.27 million. One of the winning bidders is Houston-based Noble Energy, which plans to drill as many as 20 exploratory wells and could start drilling by the end of the year. Commenting on its acreage, Susan Cunningham, Noble senior vice president, said: “We’re thrilled with the possibilities of this under-explored petroleum system.”

The parcels made available in April 2013 will be developed using hydraulic fracturing, about which Coyner quipped: “If the Silver State’s first big shale play pays off, it could touch off a fracking rush in Nevada.” Despite the fact that fracking has been done safely and successfully for more than 65 years in America, the Center for Biological Diversity’s (CBD) Nevada-based senior scientist, Ron Mrowka, told the Las Vegas Review Journal: “Fracking is not a good thing. We don’t feel there is a safe way to do it.”

The BLM made the leases available after someone, or some company, nominated the parcels, and the process to get them ready for auction can easily take a year or longer. One year before the April 2013, sale, CBD filed a “60-day notice of intent to sue” the BLM for its failure to protect the desert tortoise in the Gold Butte area — where Bundy cattle have grazed for more than a century.

Because agencies like the BLM are often staffed by environmental sympathizers, it is possible that CBD was alerted to the pending potential oil-and-gas boom when the April 2013 parcels were nominated—triggering the notice of intent to sue in an attempt to lock up as much land as possible before the “fracking rush” could begin.

A March 25, 2014 CBD press release — which reportedly served as the impetus for the current showdown — states: “Tortoises suffer while BLM allows trespass cattle to eat for free in Nevada desert.” It points out that the Clark County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan purchased and then retired grazing leases to protect the endangered tortoise.

Once Bundy’s cattle are kicked off the land to protect the tortoise, the precedent will be set to use the tortoise to block any oil-and-gas development in the area — after all environmentalists hate cattle only slightly less than they hate oil and gas. Admittedly, the April 13 leases are not in the same area as Bundy’s cattle, however, Gold Butte does have some oil-and-gas exploration that CBD’s actions could nip in the bud. Intellihub reports: “The BLM claims that they are seizing land to preserve it, for environmental protection. However, it is obvious that environmental protection is not their goal if they are selling large areas of land to fracking companies. Although the land that was sold last year is 300 and some miles away from the Bundy ranch, the aggressive tactics that have been used by federal agents in this situation are raising the suspicion that this is another BLM land grab that is destined for a private auction.”

The Natural News Network also sees that the tortoise is being used as a scapegoat: “Anyone who thinks this siege is about reptiles is kidding themselves.” It adds: “‘Endangered tortoises’ is merely the government cover story for confiscating land to turn it over to fracking companies for millions of dollars in energy leases.” The Network sees that it isn’t really about the critters; after all, hundreds of desert tortoises are being euthanized in Nevada.

Though the Intellihub and Natural News Network point to the “current showdown” as being about allowing oil-and-gas development, I believe that removing the cattle is really a Trojan horse. The tortoise protection will be used to block any more leasing.

On April 5, 2014, CBD sent out a triumphant press release announcing that the “long-awaited” roundup of cattle had begun.

What I am presenting is only a theory; I am just connecting some dots. But over-and-over, an endangered or threated species or habitat is used to block all kinds of economic development. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the lesser prairie chicken and the huge effort ($26 million) a variety of industries cooperatively engaged in to keep its habitat from being listed as threatened. The effort failed and the chicken’s habitat was listed. In my column on the topic, I predicted that these listings were likely to trigger another sage brush rebellion that will challenge federal land ownership. The Bundy showdown has brought the controversy front and center.

For now, southern Nevada’s last rancher has won the week-long standoff that has been likened to Tiananmen Square. Reports state that “the BLM said it did so because it feared for the safety of employees and members of the public,” not because it has changed its position.

While this chapter may be closing, it may have opened the next chapter in the sage brush rebellion. The Bundy standoff has pointed out the overreach of federal agencies and the use of threatened or endangered species to block economic activity.

SOURCE  




Earth Daze

John Stossel

"The heavens reek, the waters below are foul ... we are in a crisis of survival." That's how Walter Cronkite and CBS hyped the first Earth Day, back in 1970. Somehow we've survived since then, and most of life got better, although I never hear that from the worrywarts.

Of course, some things got better because of government: We passed environmental rules that got most of the filth out of the air and sewage out of lakes and rivers. Great -- but now we're told that we're in big trouble because greenhouse gases cause global warming. I mean, climate change.

"Crop yields are down, deaths from heat are up," says the Los Angeles Times. The "Worst Is Yet to Come," warns The New York Times. This hype is not new. Alarmists always fool the gullible media. They once fooled me.

A few years back, we were going to be killed by global cooling , overpopulation, pesticide residues, West Nile virus, bird flu, Y2K, cellphone radiation, mad cow disease, etc. Now it's global warming.

Reporters don't make these scares up. The recent hype about global warming comes from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Most of its members are serious scientists. But reporters don't realize that those scientists, like bird flu specialists, have every incentive to hype the risk. If their computer models (which so far have been wrong) predict disaster, they get attention and money. If they say, "I'm not sure," they get nothing.

Also, the IPCC is not just a panel of scientists. It's an intergovernmental panel. It's a bureaucracy controlled by the sort of people who once ran for student council and are "exhilarated by the prospect of putting the thumb of the federal government on the scale."

Actually, that wasn't a quote from a global warming alarmist. It's from anti-marijuana alarmist and former Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare Joe Califano. But it's the same crisis mindset. Scientists who disagree, who are reluctant to put their thumbs on the government scale, don't feel welcome in the IPCC.

It's possible climate change may become a problem. But even if industrialization brings warming, we've got more important problems. On my TV show this week, statistician Bjorn Lomborg points out that "air pollution kills 4.3 million people each year ... We need to get a sense of priority." That deadly air pollution happens because, to keep warm, poor people burn dung in their huts.

Yet, time and again, environmentalists oppose the energy production most likely to make the world cleaner and safer. Instead, they persuade politicians to spend billions of your dollars on symbolism like "renewable" energy.

"The amazing number that most people haven't heard is, if you take all the solar panels and all the wind turbines in the world," says Lomborg, "they have (eliminated) less CO2 than what U.S. fracking (cracking rocks below ground to extract oil and natural gas) managed to do."

That progress occurred despite opposition from environmentalists -- and even bans in places like my stupid state, New York, where activists worry fracking will cause earthquakes or poison the water.

Do environmentalists even care about measuring costs instead of just assuming benefits? We spend $7 billion to subsidize electric cars. Even if America reached the president's absurd 2015 goal of "a million electric cars on the road" (we won't get close), how much would it delay warming of the Earth?

"One hour," says Lomborg. "This is a symbolic act."

Symbolic. Environmentalism is now more religion than science. It even comes with built-in doomsday stories to warn people about what will happen if they disobey -- a bit like the movie "Noah" that's in theaters now.

While environmentalists lament that our time is running out, environmental indicators get better, technological improvements reduce carbon dioxide, water gets cleaner for millions, and human life expectancy goes up.

This Earth Day, instead of attacking those who sell fossil fuels, I will applaud them for overcoming constant environmental hysteria -- while providing affordable energy that will allow us to fight poverty, which is the real threat to the people of the world.

SOURCE




Reality Check: Irish-British Wind Export Plan Collapses Because It’s Too Expensive

The collapse of a controversial wind export plan has been announced by the Government on the same day that the UN’s top scientific body called for a rapid switch to renewable energy to fight climate change.

Minister for Energy Pat Rabbitte said that “given the economic, policy and regulatory complexities involved” the Irish and British governments had failed to agree terms “to facilitate green energy export from the Midlands within the EU’s 2020 timeframe”.

Under the plan, three companies – Element Power, Mainstream and Bord na Mona – planned 1,000 turbines in five Midland counties to export three gigawatts of green energy into the British national grid. Negotiations on the multibillion euro deal were called off because “there was nothing left to discuss”, Irish officials said last night.

The decision to abandon negotiations on the project, which has featured strongly in the local and European Parliament election campaign, comes before a protest march planned in Dublin tomorrow.

Pay negotiations

The scheme needed a regulatory agreement between Dublin and London, which would, among other things, say who would pay for an interconnector to carry energy to Wales.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and British prime minister David Cameron agreed, during St Patrick Day talks in 10 Downing Street, that officials would be told to make another attempt to reach agreement.

The move came as Mr Rabbitte warned a deal was “unlikely” because the British side wanted to pay no more for Irish onshore wind energy than it would pay in Britain – even though it would have to be taken there.

Irish sources said no flexibility had been shown by the British department of energy and climate change after the Downing Street talks.

Mr Rabbitte’s decision has angered developers who plan to export three gigawatts of offshore energy from a necklace of projects in the Irish Sea. They say the move threatens them, even though the projects are entirely separate.

Brian Britton, who heads one of the developers, Oriel Energy, said: “They have taken only four-and-a-half weeks, rather than the three months set down in the Downing Street agreement.” Mr Britton also leads the National Offshore Wind Association.

Ironic

“It is somewhat ironic in a week which has seen the first State visit from an Irish President to the UK, that the Irish Government has pulled back from a policy initiative which would have demonstrated the real benefits of partnership in both economies,” said the association, in a statement.

Mr Rabbitte regretted that a deal with London “has not been possible” but said wind energy exports from Ireland to Britain “are inevitable after 2020”.

“Economic analysis conducted on the Irish side clearly indicates that under agreed policy and regulatory conditions, renewable energy trading can deliver significant economic benefits to Ireland and the UK, as well as being attractive to developers,” he said.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said delaying the development of renewables would “do us nothing but harm”.

In its latest report, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said a large-scale transformation of the energy sector from burning fossil fuels to relying primarily on renewables is needed to contain global warming at 2 degrees.

“Without additional efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions . . . emissions growth is expected to . . . result in global mean surface temperature increases in 2100 from 3.7 to 4.8 degrees,” it warned.

SOURCE  

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