Tuesday, October 21, 2014



Climate change 'prophets, and projectors, and half-instructed meteorologists': the press found them amusing back in 1871‏



THREE consecutive years of drought, while they have stimulated the inventive resources of practical agriculturalists, have had the natural effect of calling forth a plentiful crop of speculation from weather prophets, and projectors, and half-instructed meteorologists, and all the philosophic tribe of Laputa in general, to whom the periodical press now affords such fatal facilities. We have often noticed that in the tabular statements of those compilers of weather records who write to the Times, useful and welcome as their communications are, every season is sure to be “extraordinary”, almost every month one of the driest or wettest, or windiest, coldest or hottest, ever known. Much observation, which ought to correct a tendency to exaggerate, seems in some minds to have rather a tendency to increase it.

The cutting is from the THE BRISBANE COURIER, TUESDAY, JANUARY 10, 1871.

Hat-tip: Steven Goddard.  Steven Goddard's blog Real Science is an excellent resource to find old press cuttings relevant to climate that would enhance many a school project by helping give the perspective which is so easily missed.

The above example would grace any project quoting any of today's 'half-instructed meteorologists' such as James Hansen (an astro-physicist) or Gavin Schmidt (a computer programmer) or Al Gore (no qualifications to speak of) as they take pains to persuade us that we are seeing "extraordinary" weather thanks to their pet obsession, carbon dioxide.  The press today, and now of course the broadcast media, are sure to give them 'fatal facilities' and have done so for decades, without even the sardonic challenge of the above quote.

Note also the calm assurance about the three consecutive years of drought.  Today, this would be amplified as a crisis, a a catastrophe, as a forerunner of doom to come.  Back in 1871, they merely noted that the drought would have 'stimulated the inventive resources of practical agriculturalists'.  Perhaps they were made of sterner stuff in those days.  Perhaps they were less readily panicked.  Perhaps we could learn from them.

SOURCE




CO2 Contributes Less Than 2.5% Of The Greenhouse Effect

Contrary to all the BS being spewed by top climate scientists, their own models shows that CO2 has almost no impact on climate. The graph below shows the greenhouse effect during mid-latitude summer for three scenarios, calculated using RRTM – the model used by NCAR in their climate and weather models

Current atmosphere
No CO2
Double CO2



(Note the mid-troposphere hot spot)

At the surface during mid-latitude summers, the amount of downwelling longwave radiation due to CO2 is less than 3%. Doubling CO2 would only increase the greenhouse effect by one third of one percent. Yet climate scientists blame mid-latitude summer heatwaves on this.

We constantly hear BS from people like Gavin claiming  that the CO2 contributes 20-30% to the greenhouse effect, but their own models show this is complete nonsense.

Call this scam off – there is no science behind it.

The effect is higher during high latitude winters, where there is very little water vapor.

[UPDATED] I added high latitude winters at Tallbloke’s request. The proportional effect is larger there, because of a shortage of water vapor.



In the tropics, the CO2 proportion of the greenhouse effect is less than 1.5% – and  a doubling of CO2 has almost no effect.



SOURCE





The Climate Sensitivity Controversy

The concept of Climate Sensitivity (CS) is a useful way to describe the effects of carbon dioxide on the climate.  CS can be derived either from climate models or empirically – with the hope that the two results are concordant.   Let’s look at models first.

Some 30 years ago, the National Academy of Sciences set up a group under MIT meteorologist Jules Charney to study this problem.  Their report arrived at a CS value of 1.5 to 4.5 degC of global climate warming for a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide.  One immediately notices the huge uncertainty, a factor of 3.  Yet the climate forcing of CO2 is known much more precisely.

The explanation for this wide uncertainty range of CS lies in our imperfect knowledge of (1) feedback from clouds and from water vapor (WV is the most important atmospheric greenhouse gas) and (2) the radiative effects of aerosols in changing the albedo of the Earth atmosphere and thereby the amount of sunlight reaching the surface.

This range of 1.5 – 4.5 degC has become canonical by now.  In fact, the most recent report of the IPCC [2013] gives the same range for CS—even after 25 years and spending billions of dollars on the development of climate models.  As my colleague Kenneth Haapala points out, it’s been a poor return on investment.

Of course, the models have become much more sophisticated and complex. And the number of models has increased exponentially.  Every self-respecting nation nowadays wants to have its own climate model; the United States already has five major ones and is considering financing yet another.  But fundamentally, not much has changed.  The extent of the positive feedback from water vapor, which implicitly amplifies the forcing of CO2 in all of the models, is still uncertain and so are the detailed influences of cloudiness and of various kinds of aerosols.

It is well to point out that we refer here to the so-called “equilibrium climate sensitivity,” which is reached after the climate system has had time to adjust to the higher CO2 levels.  One should also point out that CS refers to a doubling of pre-industrial CO2 -- assuming a value of 280ppm.  Also, CO2 forcing increases only as the logarithm of CO2 concentration, although this fact is seldom explicitly recognized.

Of course, the proper way to determine Climate Sensitivity (CS) is empirically -- by using the climate data.  But at this point many problems arise. First, selection of the proper time interval.  It is generally recognized that there has been little if any warming in the last 18 years; so presumably, the climate sensitivity of the 21st century is effectively zero.  Analysts of CS have therefore concentrated their efforts on the “reported” warming of the Earth’s surface between 1975 and 2000 (which may not even be real).  These analysts have published a dozen or more “best numbers” -- generally near 1.5 degC, the lower end of the CS range of the models.

A dispute among skeptics

All these analyses are based on the warming of the last part of the 20th century -- from about 1978 to 2000 -- the so called “satellite era.”  But there is no reason at all to define climate sensitivity in terms of surface temperature.  Since the best global data we have come from weather satellites, it makes sense to use their atmospheric temperatures as the base for determining CS.

But the satellite data do not seem to show a warming trend -- although there is a dispute on this point even among so-called “climate skeptics.”  One can illustrate this dispute by looking at the graph below.  If one draws a best straight line through all of the satellite data from 1978 to 2013, one can discern a small positive (warming) trend.  But is this really the best way to describe the situation?  Another way is to draw a line of zero slope up to 1997, note a one-year spike in 1998 (caused by a Super El Nino), and then document a sudden increase (“jump”) around 2001 and zero trend thereafter.  Clearly, if the trend is zero between 1978 and 1997, then the climate sensitivity will be close to zero also.


Graph by Don Rapp, based on UAH-MSU data

I happen to disagree with both methods described in the graph.  I note that after the 1998 spike, temperature returns to its pre-1998 lower value -- between 1999 and 2000.  I would therefore put the “jump”, the step-like increase, at around 2001-2002.  We now have zero slopes both before 2000 and after 2002 -- and therefore corresponding values of CS which are close to zero.

The moral of the story is that the best empirical data we have show very little influence on global temperatures from rising CO2 levels.

Now there are still two puzzles:

First, why is there so little post-2002 warming from carbon dioxide -- which after all is a greenhouse gas and is increasing in the atmosphere?  The best answer I can think of is a negative feedback from water vapor -- not a positive feedback -- which counteracts the forcing produced by CO2.  Similarly, one could argue for a negative feedback from increased cloudiness.  However, it is necessary to demonstrate both of these feedback possibilities empirically by examining the appropriate data.

An additional possibility may exist, namely that the forcing increase of CO2 is close to zero at just about the value that exists in the atmosphere today.  Again this needs to be demonstrated by examining the appropriate data.

Finally, another puzzle: If indeed the climate sensitivity is close to zero from 1978-to 2000, and again from 2002 to present, why do surface thermometers indicate a warming trend only in the first interval, but not in the second interval?  What accounts for the reported warming during the period 1978-2000?

All of this requires a good deal of work to investigate various plausible hypotheses, which we’ll leave for another time.  Meanwhile, to quote Nobel laureate MIT professor Robert Solow: “Maybe that’s why God created graduate students.”

I should note that I am somewhat out of step here with my fellow skeptics.  Few of them would agree with me that the climate sensitivity (CS) is indeed close to zero.  I will have to publish the analyses to prove my point and try to convince them.  Of course, nothing, no set of facts, will ever convince the confirmed climate alarmists.

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Oil price fall won't break shale industry's back

Competition from shale has forced traditional oil producers to accept lower prices.  But could prices go too low for shale to be viable?

The downward spiralling oil price has led to growing tensions between the powerful Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) oil cartel and the US shale industry, but analysts reckon prices need to fall even further to  hurt American producers.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil has slumped close to 20 per cent since June this year to $US83.18 per barrel, while Brent crude oil has spiralled more than 23 per cent lower to $US86.46 per barrel.

Many OPEC members, led by Saudi Arabia, refuse to curtail production for fear of losing market share to the growing US shale liquids industry.

"In the face of falling global and US crude oil prices, a key question becomes: how low would WTI prices have to go to meaningfully slow down US shale production growth?" Citi analyst Eric Lee said.

WTI oil prices at $US70 per barrel could begin to reduce new well production in the US, by up to 30 per cent if costs are at the high end of estimates, but by close to zero if costs are at the low end of estimates, Mr Lee said.

"To bring US shale production growth to zero – that is, to reduce new-well production to only just cover legacy well declines – might need prices ranging from $US40-60 per barrel," Mr Lee said.

There is a diverse range of breakeven prices across the US shale industry, even if fringe production output is cut, productivity gains could offset any price support.

"A 40 per cent reduction in rigs or more might be needed to completely flatten production growth but this is based on modelled reductions of average wells, not the least productive wells. Productivity gains can also offset this further. In any case, at $US70 WTI, this is a slowdown, not a halt, in production growth," Mr Lee said.

International Energy Agency executive director Maria van der Hoeven estimated 98 per cent of oil and condensates produced in the US had a breakeven price of less than $US80 a barrel, and 82 per cent has a breakeven price of $US60 or lower.

CLSA head of Asian oil and gas Simon Powell said that the recent correction in oil prices wasn't only related to North American liquid production.

Rather it was driven by a culmination of factors which also included extra production in the Middle East, Libya returning to the market and Iraq producing despite the insurgence threat there, as well as easing Asian demand creating a supply glut.

"The world is in oversupply right now. But, [northern hemisphere] winter is just around the corner. "

The Saudis and the rest of OPEC are likely to signal production cuts prior to their next meeting in late November, Mr Powell said.

"The Saudis saying that they wouldn't cut was just sending a message to the rest of OPEC saying 'why should we be the only ones who have to cut?'."

The market is also wrongly assuming that US shale production can "continue into the stratosphere" Mr Powell said.

"Production costs for shale liquids in America will rise because the nice and easy stuff has been got at. It'll still be good, but I think the rate of liquid production growth in the US will slow."

SOURCE




 
Britain needs political climate change to cut soaring energy bills

Targets for renewables are unattainable, futile – and will cost Britons trillions of pounds

Owen Paterson, the former environment secretary, has described the renewable energy targets as “the single most regressive policy we have seen in this country since the Sheriff of Nottingham”

It is surprisingly common for our main political parties and policy-makers to agree about something. When they do, they are usually wrong; the longer they agree, the wronger they get. Few important people dare challenge them.

Forty years ago, all three parties thought that you could control inflation only by having prices and incomes policies. The government, businesses and trade unions negotiated the levels of both. The guru economist JK Galbraith announced that such policies would “last forever”. Then Mrs Thatcher questioned them. By the turn of the century, no free country in the world had prices and incomes policies.

Some time in this century, we reached a similar state of clever-silly unanimity over green policies, especially carbon emission controls and renewables targets. All parties (except five brave Tories voting against) voted for the second reading of the Climate Change Act in 2008.

I have just re-read the environmental sections of the three main party manifestoes at the last general election. Although they lay in to one another (“Labour have said the right things about climate change, but these have proved little more than warm words”), they are comically interchangeable. They all want the same policy – answering 15 per cent of energy demand from renewables by 2020, and making the British economy “carbon-neutral” by 2050. The latter target is agreed by all EU states, but only Britain, in that Act, actually made it law.

In any subject involving “science”, we voters still respond more deferentially than we do to ordinary political discourse. So, for some years, we humoured the climate-change lobby, and nodded our heads gravely when experts told us we must help save the planet. But most of us behaved like churchgoers listening to boring sermons. We accepted what we were told, on the unspoken assumption that it wouldn’t make much difference to anything and because the vicar (originally the Rev T Blair) seemed quite a nice chap.

This began to change for at least two direct reasons – rising electricity bills and sprouting wind-farms. We started to wonder whether it was true, as environmentalists argue, that conventional energy costs must inevitably rise and so a green levy would miraculously cut our bills in the end. We began to notice that in the United States, thanks to the shale revolution, prices have fallen dramatically and so have carbon emissions. Today, we observe that coal, gas and oil prices are falling too.

As for wind farms, it seemed a bit strange that an innovation designed to save our beautiful world wreaked unique havoc on the best landscape. When we learnt that wind power needed vast amounts of conventional power back-up because of intermittency, we started to see it as the greatest physical folly in our island story.

Yet no mainstream political party engaged with this. You could tell that they were worried about the symptoms of their own policies – hence Ed Miliband’s call for an energy price freeze. But none wanted to discuss the causes. Owen Paterson, then the environment secretary, was the only minister who dared raise doubts. He annoyed what he calls the “green blob”. David Cameron duly sacked him this summer.

In the Global Warming Policy Foundation lecture on Wednesday, Mr Paterson said of wind farms that “this paltry supply of onshore wind, nowhere near enough to hit the 2050 targets, has devastated landscapes, blighted views, divided communities, killed eagles…” When this was quoted on the BBC News, he was saying no more than millions of ordinary people have been saying for years. Yet it was very striking to hear it in public, because no other elected person charged with these responsibilities had said anything like this before.

It would have been better still if the BBC had completed the Paterson sentence. He went on to say that wind turbines had devastated “the very wilderness that the 'green blob’ claims to love, with new access tracks cut deep into peat, boosted production of carbon-intensive cement, and driven up fuel poverty, while richly rewarding landowners”. This, Mr Paterson also said, is “the single most regressive policy we have seen in this country since the Sheriff of Nottingham”. He is right, and because his party, and the Liberal Democrats, and Labour, have all agreed to the sheriff’s extortions, they are letting Nigel Farage play Robin Hood. As the theme song of the TV version used to say, “He cleared up all the trouble on the English country scene, and still found plenty of time to sing”.

Mr Paterson’s argument is that there are much better ways to get cleaner energy. He talks about shale, Combined Heat And Power, “small modular nuclear” and the interesting things that NHS hospitals and others who have their own generators can do to “shave the peaks off demand”. Being no expert, I cannot tell whether he is right here, though these ideas seem to accord with his desire to bring common sense to the subject. He also raises a bigger point, which is that what we have set ourselves is unattainable.

The wind power needed for the EU to hit the 2050 targets would have to rise from the current 42,000 turbines to 500,000. For this you would need, Mr Paterson calculates, an area which would “wall-to-wall carpet Northern Ireland, Wales, Belgium, Holland and Portugal combined”. According to International Energy Agency figures broken down into national components, target fulfilment would cost Britain £1.3 trillion. That is roughly the size of our national debt.

So obviously Mr Paterson is right to say that we should invoke the clause in the Climate Change Act which allows for its suspension. But, despite his notable trenchancy, I would say he is being quite cautious about what is really happening. Even if Britain and the whole of the EU were to stick to our emissions targets (which we surely won’t), and to hit them (which, actually, we can’t), we would still not come anywhere close to what we are told is needed to save the planet. This is for a very simple reason: the rest of the world won’t do it.

Last year, carbon emissions per head in China exceeded those of Britain for the first time, and China has more than 20 times as many heads as we do. The EU is responsible for less than 10 per cent of global emissions, so when we set our targets we knew – and said – that we were in no position to stop global warming. The point was to set a lead which others would follow.

They haven’t. Since the debacle of the Copenhagen Summit of 2009 when the developed world failed to persuade the developing one to join our saintly masochism, this has been obvious. There is a “second commitment period” of the process started by the Kyoto Protocol. New Zealand has withdrawn from it. Canada has repudiated Kyoto altogether. The only two non-European countries still in the second period are Kazakhstan and Australia, and Australia is now reviewing its commitment. Europe’s gesture has proved futile, and is getting ever more expensive, in taxes, bills and jobs. Even the European Commission has spotted this, and is beginning to tiptoe away from the policy.

But not the British parties and policy elites. In August 1914, Sir Edward Grey famously said, “The lamps are going out all over Europe”. He was speaking of the war we had inflicted on ourselves. A century later, we are threatening to put them out again, with different motives, but equal folly. Everywhere else, the lamps are staying on.

Isn’t it rather extraordinary that no mainstream party has dared to point any of this out? Don’t they know there’s an election on? Is it surprising that voters think “They’re all the same”?

SOURCE





GREENIE ROUNDUP FROM AUSTRALKIA

Three current articles below

‘Degrees in activism’ put brake on growth

AUSTRALIA’S largest resources companies have warned green activists campaigning for an end to fossil fuels are ­destroying jobs and fast becoming one of the greatest challenges to growth.

Andrew Smith, the chairman of the Australian arm of Anglo-Dutch company Shell, yesterday led the debate against what he ­labelled university students with “degrees in activism”, arguing that they were spreading misinformation and manipulating communities to slow the pace of development.

“Challenging decisions will face more effective campaigns of public outrage, some of it based on confected outrage whipped up by university graduates armed with degrees in activism,” Mr Smith said. “But we cannot allow these dynamics to halt Australian progress.”

Activism courses are being taught in legal, politics and ­humanities departments at several universities and are often ­focused on political theory and understanding the role of activism in democracy.

Aidan Ricketts, a law lecturer at Southern Cross University in Lismore, runs a course named Public Interest Advocacy. Its blurb says it provides “skills for successfully advocating for public interest concerns”.

Mr Ricketts described it as an “advanced form of citizenship education”. The lecturer, himself an activist against the use of coal-seam gas, said it was “nonsense” to suggest that universities were preparing students to confect outrage and manipulate information.

“That is a cheap swipe at other people’s opinion’s that Shell don’t agree with,” Mr Ricketts said.

Rio Tinto’s energy chief executive, Harry Kenyon-Slaney, knows the impact activists can have on projects, after his company’s expansion of its Warkworth coalmine in NSW was halted by opposition groups, putting 1300 jobs at risk.

“This is a mine that has been part of the Hunter Valley community for 30 years and provides work for 1300 people, but we’ve spent five years so far trying to ­secure its future in the face of ­opposition from activist groups such as The Australia Institute,” Mr Kenyon-Slaney said.

“People at the extreme end of the debate who would like to see all coal exports cease are willing not only to destroy jobs here in Australia, but also the social and economic development that cheap and abundant energy brings around the world.”

Whitehaven Coal has been a constant target of green activists determined to frustrate the development of its Maules Creek coalmine in NSW. Its chairman, Mark Vaile, former head of the Nationals party, said activists had zero accountability for their actions.

“The information the green ­activists put out is never tested,” Mr Vaile said.

The Australian National University has come under attack after its recent decision to divest its holdings in seven companies — including Santos, Newcrest Mining and Iluka Resources — because it said the companies had a poor record on environmental responsibility. “What is the next thing that the so-called ethical investors and university funds withdraw from?” Mr Vaile said. “Are they now, if they stick to their principles, going to withdraw from all investment in the agricultural industries in Australia, as they are also significant emitters of greenhouse gases?”

Mr Vaile, who recently returned from South Korea, said Australia was now viewed with concern as an investment destination because of the uncertainty in terms of the timing of projects.

“Prospective investors are looking at the fact that approved projects are being challenged in court by some organisation who are unaccountable,” he said.

“We have the government promoting Australia as an investment destination, negotiating FTAs, yet at a state level you have regulations that can be used and abused by green activists.”

Ahri Tallon, a former student of Mr Ricketts, said that in ­addition to legal skills the course had taught him how to organise meetings and demonstrations and engage with the media.

“Real Australian progress is an active and participatory democracy where decisions are transparent, accountable and debated,” he said.

SOURCE

ANU decision to sell fossil fuel company holdings not enough: students

An Australian National University (ANU) decision to sell off about $16 million worth of its investments in seven fossil fuel companies does not go far enough, a students' group says.

ANU said it would divesting itself of shares in Newcrest Mining, Iluka Resources, Oil Search and Santos, among other companies.

Vice-chancellor Professor Ian Young said it was important that the university did not invest in companies that are doing some form of social harm.

"Essentially the criteria which we look at looks at their environmental emissions and any social issues associated with them," he said.

"For instance it many look at their position on Indigenous affairs and also the governance."

It is wrong for ANU to continue to profit from these industries that are responsible for the wreckage of the planet.

But Louis Klee from the group ANU Fossil Free said while it was a big achievement for the university, the decision did not go far enough.

He said the ANU still had major holdings in BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Woodside Petroleum.

"It is wrong for ANU to continue to profit from these industries that are responsible for the wreckage of the planet," he said.

However, Professor Young, who us an environmental researcher, said there was nothing wrong with investing these companies.

"These are major Australian companies, they're resources companies," he said.

"Resources are a major part of the Australian economy that underpins our whole society.

"This is not a case of simply saying the university will not invest in resources companies. We do.

"In fact, it would be very difficult to structure a meaningful portfolio in Australia that didn't."

Professor Young said there should be an orderly transition from fossil fuels to alternative energies.

"The reality is that this is a process that is going to take decades to occur," he said.

The University introduced a socially responsible investment policy earlier this year.

SOURCE

Let them divest, but not with taxpayers cake

The response to the Australian National University's decision to divest itself of holdings in certain  [fossil fuel] companies has been way out of proportion to the importance of the decision - and both sides of the debate are long on rhetoric and short on facts.

The argument has focused on whether the industries represented by the companies being divested are important for Australia's economy, especially the contributions from Infrastructure Minister Jamie Briggs and the Treasurer.

This argument is overdone. The ANU holds about $16 million in shares in the seven companies (disclosure: the managing director of one of the seven, Iluka Resources, is on the board of the CIS). That $16 million is about 1% of the university's total investment holdings, and the revenue from the entire portfolio was barely 5% of the university's total revenue.

The ANU's holdings represent less than 0.05% of the combined market capitalisation of those companies which approaches $40 billion.

These investments are not financially significant for the university or the companies, so the impact on the economy as a whole will almost certainly be negligible. Which makes the overreaction from politicians, up to and including the Prime Minister, puzzling. At a time when the government is trying to encourage greater financial independence among universities, it seems very odd to try and micromanage their investment decisions.

Unless the ANU's new strategy mentions an exciting new investment in magic beans, if it's not imposing greater costs on the taxpayers then it really shouldn't be the business of government.

The government's interest here is limited to protecting taxpayers by ensuring the ANU exercises due diligence and care with taxpayers' funds. In the absence of evidence that this investment policy will materially impact ANU's revenue the government should be cautious about interfering.

Divestment can be an expression of free speech. In fact it is one of the more valuable aspects of speech because people are a lot more honest with their money than they are with their slogans (as the failure of 'buy Australian' industry policy continually demonstrates).

The problem is when supposed social responsibility transfers costs to taxpayers. Too many non-government organisations and other rent-seekers want to have their public funded cake and eat their private progressive values too.

By all means, use your free speech to criticise industries you don't like and divest any shares you hold, but don't think this entitles you to extra taxpayer money if it leaves you out of pocket.

SOURCE

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

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

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Monday, October 20, 2014


Eclipse of the solar farms: British Environment Secretary tells farmers 'no more handouts for ugly fields of glass...grow veg!'

Taxpayers’ handouts to massive ‘ugly’ solar farms which scar the countryside are to be axed by Environment Secretary Liz Truss. She will tell farmers tomorrow to stop pocketing public funds by carpeting large parts of the landscape with the black panels – and go back to growing fruit, vegetables and crops instead.

The move, to take effect from January, is the latest part of David Cameron’s attempt to move away from green politics.

Ms Truss said: ‘I want Britain to lead the world in food and farming and to do that we need enough productive agricultural land. ‘I’m very concerned that a lot of our land is being taken up with solar farms. We’ve already got 250 of them and we’ve got 10,000 football pitches worth of new solar farms in the pipeline.

‘They are ugly, a blight on the countryside, and villages are pushing production of meat and other traditional British produce overseas.  ‘Food and farming is our number one manufacturing industry, the whole food chain represents £100 billion in our economy, and it is a real problem if we are using productive agricultural land for solar farms.

‘I’m not against them per se – they’re fine on commercial roofs and school roofs – but it’s a big problem if we are using land that can be used to grow crops, fruit and vegetables. We import two-thirds of our apples, and using more land for solar panels makes it harder to improve that.’

The boom in solar farms in recent years has been fuelled by big grants from Whitehall and Brussels that have seen landowners pocket up to £50,000 a year. It has led to claims that they are becoming ‘the new onshore wind’ after growing criticism of giant wind turbines.

Ms Truss’s initiative comes amid claims by Tory officials that the party is to dump the colour green from its official leaflets. A green doodled oak tree logo replaced the Conservatives’ traditional torch in 2006, a year after Cameron became leader, in an attempt to give them an eco-friendly image.

However, the Prime Minister’s enthusiasm for ‘green power’ has dimmed with growing scepticism about the speed of climate change and a growing backlash against the appearance and energy efficiency of wind turbines and solar farms.

Mr Cameron, who once vowed to lead the ‘greenest government ever’, publicly promised to ‘roll back’ green taxes, which add more than £100 a year to average fuel bills.  And, to the horror of environmental campaigners, his message in private is said to have been more blunt. He reportedly told a colleague: ‘We’ve got to get rid of all this green c**p.’

The Tory mantra of the early days of Cameron’s leadership – ‘Vote blue, go green’ – has rarely been uttered by Ministers in recent months.

The solar power industry costs the taxpayer an estimated £600 million a year. Some of the subsidies are funded by channelling money from household fuel bills, prompting claims that ordinary families are bankrolling wealthy landowners.

Ms Truss is to end grants of £2 million a year available via her department from the European Union’s Common Agriculture Policy. The grants are worth up to £100 an acre.

Ministers at the Department of Energy and Climate Change announced earlier this year that solar- farm grants from their budget will also be slashed. There has been huge growth in large solar projects since 2012. Two years ago there were just 46, but the total has soared to about 200 this year, with another 200 awaiting planning permission.

The Tories have already promised not to subsidise any new onshore wind farms if they win next year’s Election with an outright majority.

SOURCE





Plastic Bag Ban Hurts California's Economy

Research demonstrates enormous direct and indirect costs to consumers

California just became the first state to ban plastic shopping bags at grocery stores, convenience stores and many other businesses when Gov. Jerry Brown signed the law this week. More than 100 cities and counties in the state had already passed their own bag bans.

Even if you don’t use the common, convenient, lightweight plastic grocery bag, you should be concerned about the state ban.

Proponents of the ban claim it will benefit the environment. But a comprehensive analysis recently undertaken by Reason Foundation, which looked at the impact of plastic bag bans on the environment, found these claims don’t stand up to scrutiny. Indeed, the ban is likely to do more harm than good both to the environment and to people’s pocketbooks.

Lightweight plastic bags constitute less than 1 percent of all visible litter, represent only 0.4 percent of all municipal solid waste and are not a major cause of blocked storm drains. Banning them has practically no impact on the amount of litter generated, the amount Californians pay for waste disposal, or the risk of flooding. In fact, when plastic bags were banned in San Francisco, the county’s own studies showed that litter actually increased.

Lightweight plastic bags have not caused a giant “garbage patch” in the North Pacific, nor are they a significant threat to marine animals or birds. Rather, the real culprit of untimely marine animal death is cast-off fishing gear. A bag ban might catch a school of red herrings but it won’t save any real marine life.

For our study, we calculated that an average consumer using only lightweight plastic bags would be responsible for consuming less energy and water and generate fewer greenhouse gas emissions than someone using alternative bags. The main proposed alternative is five times heavier than the current bag and is responsible for the consumption of far more resources, energy and water. Paper bags also consume more resources, including five times more water over their lifecycle than lightweight plastic bags.

Further, the Department of Public Health has warned, “During the warmer months, the increased temperatures can promote the growth of bacteria that may be present on [reusable] bags.”

They encourage users to wash their reusable bags “frequently.” This of course consumes water – and if the advice were followed rigorously, “reusable” bags would consume as much as 40 times more water than lightweight plastic bags.

Some dismiss this advice, bragging that they never wash their bags. In those cases, they are putting themselves and other consumers at risk as bacteria spreads easily in shopping carts and at checkout counters.

Additionally, our research demonstrated enormous direct and indirect costs on California’s consumers. If California’s 12.4 million households spend five minutes each week cleaning their shopping bags to get rid of germs and bacteria, the annual opportunity cost would be more than $1.5 billion.

The bag ban is likely to disproportionately burden the working poor and those households on a tight budget. A dollar spent on 10 paper bags is a dollar not available for other purchases. And while it’s easy to place all the blame on the Legislature, grocery chains sponsored the plastic bag bill and may reap hundreds of millions of dollars charging the consumer more for a paper bag than it cost them to procure them wholesale.

Opponents of the bag ban say they’ll try to gather enough signatures to give voters the chance to repeal the plastic bag law.

In the meantime, it’s clear leaders in Sacramento passed another feel-good measure that hurts working people and the state economy.

SOURCE






Hey, Defense Department: Focus on ISIS, not Climate Change

As world leaders remain locked in on the threat of ISIS, the U.S. Department of Defense laid out its plan to fight a different battle: ice caps.

In a new report, DOD argues that climate change poses “immediate risks to U.S. national security” because of warmer temperatures, rising sea levels, changing precipitation patterns and more frequent and intense storms. There are just two small problems with such an assertion. One, none of these climate challenges are actually occurring in amounts that would present an immediate risk. Two, the administration’s economy-crushing carbon regulations that would choke off affordable energy sources wouldn’t make a difference even if climate change did pose a threat.

Let’s go through them one by one. Accelerated warming? Not so much. October 2014 marks the 18th year that there’s been no trend in global warming during a time when global carbon emissions have increased and climate models predicted accelerated rates of warming. No immediate risk there.

Rising sea levels? That’s happening, but it comes nowhere near posing an immediate risk and in fact, has slowed in recent years. A recent paper published in Nature Climate Change found that “since the early 1990s, sea level rose at a mean rate of 3.1 millimeters per year. Over the last decade, this rate slowed by about 30 percent.

Indeed, the 3.1-millimeter-per-year increase is actually on par with the past century’s level of rising sea levels and it has since slowed down. Furthermore, climatologist Judith Curry says “It is clear that natural variability has dominated sea level rise during the 20th century, with changes in ocean heat content and changes in precipitation patterns.”

DOD warns us that “in places like the Hampton Roads region in Virginia, which houses the largest concentration of U.S. military sites in the world, we see recurrent flooding today, and we are beginning work to address a projected sea-level rise of 1.5 feet over the next 20 to 50 years.”

That’s 457.2 millimeters of sea level rise over the next 20 to 50 years. That’s an increase of either 22.86 millimeters per year for 20 years or 9.1 millimeters per year for 50. Neither projection is anywhere close to climate reality, which tends to be the theme of the DOD report.

How about more frequent and intense storms? DOD argues that with more hurricanes, floods and droughts, the Department of Defense will have to spend money and deploy resources differently. More frequent and intense storms could cause problems such as “increased dust generation during training activities” or “increased inundation, erosion and flooding damage. And there could be threats to food and water supplies and the need for more resources for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

That may sound reasonable if any trends actually existed for increased natural disasters. But even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which the Obama administration hails as the magnum opus, concludes these threats do not exist or are not immediate.

IPCC says, “Current data sets indicate no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century, and it remains uncertain whether any reported long-term increases in tropical cyclone frequency are robust, after accounting for past changes in observing capabilities.”

Droughts aren’t a problem, either, according to the IPCC: “In summary, the current assessment concludes that there is not enough evidence at present to suggest more than low confidence in a global-scale observed trend in drought or dryness (lack of rainfall) since the middle of the 20th century.” IPCC drew similar conclusions on floods: “In summary, there continues to be a lack of evidence and thus low confidence regarding the sign of trend in the magnitude and/or frequency of floods on a global scale.”

The climate is changing, and the extent to how much manmade emissions are contributing is highly debated. But what is clear is that climate change is not imposing the immediate risk that the DOD purports. Even more troubling, the regulations restricting America’s energy use to combat climate change will do nothing but reduce economic growth and resources available for either humanitarian efforts or to grow international economies.

Moreover, the DOD using resources to address non-problems reduces the department’s ability to address real national security threats such as ISIS or ebola. Additionally, the gradual occurrence of climate change will provide DOD plenty of time to adjust any changing conditions and humanitarian efforts.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel remarked that “Climate extremes in Australia are worrying leaders there.” Well, they apparently aren’t too worried because the Australian government, recognizing the economic hardship its carbon tax imposed on its families and businesses, decided to repeal it.

Military preparedness for changing climates and different circumstances that our armed forces must face is one thing. But to pose climate change as an immediate risk when evidence suggests otherwise is nothing short of fear-mongering, woeful ignorance and politicization.

SOURCE






Despite Administration’s Efforts, Voters Give Climate Change Low Priority in New Poll

 Despite the administration’s high-priority focus on climate change, the issue is at the bottom of a list of 13 concerns that are most pressing for registered U.S. voters in next month’s midterm election, according to a new Gallup poll.
Only 40 percent of respondents identified climate change as either “very important” or “extremely important” to their votes.

By contrast the list was topped by the economy (88 percent), followed by the availability of good jobs (86 percent), the way the federal government is working (81 percent), and Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria (78 percent).

Registered voters next viewed as very or extremely important to their vote the issues of equal pay for women (75 percent), the federal budget deficit (73 percent), foreign affairs (69 percent) and taxes (69 percent).

Further down in order of importance were immigration (65 percent), Obamacare (64 percent), income and wealth distribution in the U.S. (64 percent), abortion and access to contraception (50 percent) – and then climate change (40 percent).

Spearheaded by longtime global warming campaigner Secretary of State John Kerry, the administration has given significant attention to climate change, an issue Kerry said recently may be “the most serious challenge we face on the planet.”
President Obama unveiled his Climate Action Plan in June 2013, introducing limits on carbon emissions from new and existing power plants and measures to raise energy efficiency standards.

Kerry says he unfailingly brings up the topic with foreign counterparts in meetings at home and around the world, and on the sidelines of high-level U.N. meetings in New York last month he hosted the first ever meeting on the subject at a foreign minister-level.

High on the administration’s agenda is a U.N. megaconference planned in Paris, France late next year, where leaders are meant to adopt a new global agreement on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The Gallup poll suggests that the administration faces an uphill battle in getting Americans to ascribe the level of urgency to the issue that it does.

The poll also examined which party stands to benefit from the respective levels of importance voters give to the 13 issues, asking respondents whether they think Republicans or Democrats in Congress would do a better job of dealing with each.

On five of the six issues viewed as most important, Gallup found that Republicans hold leads over Democrats ranging in size from significant to small – the federal budget deficit (a 20-point GOP advantage), Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria (19 points), the economy (11 points), how the federal government is working (8 points), and the availability of good jobs (1 point).

Further down the list of issues of importance, Republicans held the advantage over Democrats in foreign affairs (13 points), taxes (10 points) and immigration (5 points).

The area of greatest strength for Democrats in Congress, the pollsters found, was that of equal pay for women (a 38-point advantage). Democrats also scored well on the two issues which respondents indicated were least important to their vote in November – abortion and access to contraception (13 points), and climate change (20 points).

On the remaining two issues, income and wealth distribution and Obamacare, Democrats held advantages of 2 and 10 points respectively.

SOURCE






2 German Scientists Calling For Climate Modelling Moratorium: So Far Only “Failures, Flops And Fumbles”!

Two German scientists describe the history of what many western governments have been basing their energy and environmental policies on. It’s not pretty. What follows is *an excellent review* of climate modeling so far

What’s great about science is that one can think up really neat models and see creativity come alive. And because there are many scientists, and not only just one, there are lots of alternative models. And things only get bad when the day of reckoning arrives, i.e. when the work gets graded. This is when the prognoses are compared to the real, observed measurements. So who was on the right path, and who needs go back to the drawing board?

When models turn out to be completely off, then they are said to have been falsified and thus are considered to have no value. The validation of models is one of the fundamental principles of science, Richard Feynman once said in a legendary lecture

Failed hypotheses have been seen very often in science. A nice collection of the largest scientific flops is presented at WUWT. Unfortunately the climate sciences also belong to this category. Roy Spencer once compared an entire assortment of 73 climate models to the real observed temperature development, and they all ended up overshooting the target by far:

And already yet another model failure has appeared: In August 2009 Judith Lean and David Rind made a daring mid-term climate prognosis in the Geophysical Research Letters. They predicted a warming of 0.15° for the five-year period of 2009 to 2014. In truth it did not warm at all during the period. A bitter setback.

Over the last years it has started to dawn on scientists that perhaps something was missing in their models. The false prognoses stand out like a sore thumb. Not a single one of the once highly praised models saw the current 16-year stop in warming as possible.

In September 2011 in an article in the Journal of Geophysical Research Crook & Forster admitted that the superficial reproduction of the real temperature development in a climate model hardly meant the mechanisms were completely understood. The freely adjustable parameters are just too multifaceted, and as a rule they are selected in a way to fabricate agreement. And just because there is an agreement, it does not mean predictive power can be automatically derived. What follows is an excerpt from the abstract by Crook & Foster (2011):

"In this paper, we breakdown the temperature response of coupled ocean-atmosphere climate models into components due to radiative forcing, climate feedback, and heat storage and transport to understand how well climate models reproduce the observed 20th century temperature record. Despite large differences between models’ feedback strength, they generally reproduce the temperature response well but for different reasons in each model.”

In a member journal of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), Eos, Colin Schultz took a look at the article and did not mince any words:

"Climate model’s historical accuracy no guarantee of future success

To validate and rank the abilities of complex general circulation models (GCMs), emphasis has been placed on ensuring that they accurately reproduce the global climate of the past century. But because multiple paths can be taken to produce a given result, a model may get the right result but for the wrong reasons.”

Sobriety in the meantime has also spread over to IPCC-friendly blogs. On April 15, 2013, in a guest post at Real Climate Geert Jan van Oldenborgh, Francisco Doblas-Reyes, Sybren Drijfhout and Ed Hawkins made it clear that the models used in the 5th IPCC report were completely inadequate for regional climate prognoses:

"To conclude, climate models can and have been verified against observations in a property that is most important for many users: the regional trends. This verification shows that many large-scale features of climate change are being simulated correctly, but smaller-scale observed trends are in the tails of the ensemble more often than predicted by chance fluctuations. The CMIP5 multi-model ensemble can therefore not be used as a probability forecast for future climate. We have to present the useful climate information in climate model ensembles in other ways until these problems have been resolved.”

Also Christensen and Boberg (2012) were critical about the AR5 models in a paper appearing in the Geophysical Research Letters. The scientists presented their main results:

– GCMs suffer from temperature-dependent biases

– This leads to an overestimation of projections of regional temperatures

– We estimate that 10-20% of projected warming is due to model deficiencies”

In January 2013 in the Journal of Climate Matthew Newman reported in an article “An Empirical Benchmark for Decadal Forecasts of Global Surface Temperature Anomalies” on the notable limitations of the models:

"These results suggest that current coupled model decadal forecasts may not yet have much skill beyond that captured by multivariate red noise.”

In the prognosis time-frame of multiple decades, they do not perform better than noise. An embarrassment.

Also Frankignoul et al. 2013 expressed serious concerns in the Journal of Climate because of the unimpressive performance of the climate models. They graded the models plainly as “unrealistic” because they did not implement the role of ocean cycles correctly.

In July 2013 Ault et al. looked at a paper in the Geophysical Research Letters and at the models for the tropical Pacific region. They made an awful discovery: Not one of the current models is able to reproduce the climate history of the region during the past 850 years. Excerpts from the abstract:

"[…] time series of the model and the reconstruction do not agree with each other. […] These findings imply that the response of the tropical Pacific to future forcings may be even more uncertain than portrayed by state-of-the-art models because there are potentially important sources of century-scale variability that these models do not simulate.”

Also Lienert et al. (2011) found problems with the North Pacific. And in July 2014 in an article in Environmetrics, McKitrick & Vogelsang documented a significant overestimation of the warming in the climate models for the tropical region over the past 60 years.

In March 2014 Steinhaeuser & Tsonis reported in Climate Dynamics on a comparison of 23 different climate models and the extent to which they were able to reproduce temperature, air pressure and precipitation over the 19th and 20th centuries. The surprise was great when the scientists found that the model results deviated widely from each other and were unable to give a correct account of reality. A more detailed discussion is available at The Hockey Schtick.

In a press release from September 17, 2012, scientists of the University of Arizona complained that as a rule climate models failed when looking at periods of three decades and less. Also attempts at prognoses for regional levels were unsuccessful:

UA Climate Scientists put predictions to the test

"A new study has found that climate-prediction models are good at predicting long-term climate patterns on a global scale but lose their edge when applied to time frames shorter than three decades and on sub-continental scales.”

In October 2012 Klaus-Eckart Puls at EIKE warned that up to now the temperature prognoses of the climate models have been false for every atmospheric layer:

"For some decades now climate models have been projecting trends (“scenarios”) for temperature for different layers of the atmosphere: near surface layer, troposphere, and stratosphere. From the near surface layer all the way to the upper troposphere it was supposed to get warmer according to the AGW hypothesis, and colder in the stratosphere. However meteorological measurements taken from all atmospheric layers show the exact opposite!”

So what is wrong with the models?

For one they still have not found a way to implement the empricially confirmed systematic impact of the ocean cycles into the models. Another problem of course is that the sun is missing in the models as its important impact on climate development continues to be denied. It’s still going to take some time before the sun finally gets a role in the models. But there are growing calls for the taking the sun into account and recognition that something is awry. In August 2014 in the Journal of Atmospheric Sciences a paper by Timothy Cronin appeared. It criticized the treatment of solar irradiance in the models. See more on this at The Hockey Schtick.

The poor prognosis-capability of climate models is giving more and more political leaders cause for concern. Maybe they should not have relied on the model results and developed far-reaching plans to change society. To some extent they have already began to implement these plans. Suddenly the very credibility of the climate protection measures finds itself at stake.

The best would be a moratorium on models. Something needs to be done. It is becoming increasingly clear that the present wild modeling simply cannot continue. It’s time to re-evaluate. The climate models so far are hardly distinguishable from computer games on climate change where one sits comfortably on the couch and shoots as many CO2 molecules out of the atmosphere as he can and then reaps the reward of a free private jet flight with climate activist Leonardo di Caprio.

SOURCE





Crop devastation update: Ideal weather brings bumper English apple harvest

On the 250-acre Broadwater farm, near West Malling in Kent, dense clusters of red Braeburn apples cling to the trees, like bunches of oversized grapes. Amid the fruit is farm manager Peter Checkley, who has been growing apples for decades and is reflecting on the end of the harvest. “I don’t ever remember having a better growing year,” he says. “We could have the best we ever had. But it’s been the same all over Europe, which is why they are worth next to nothing.”

The weather has been kind to apple growers this last year. A cold winter gave the trees a good rest, then plenty of rain – especially in August – helped plump up the fruit, and then a dry September allowed the picking to get started early. But the resulting apple bonanza has made the financial climate decidedly gloomy, along with the impact of supermarket price wars and the more exotic fruit that tempts British shoppers these days.

“I am prepared for a loss this year. It is inevitable with prices the way they are,” says Checkley. But producing a highest-ever crop only to be faced with rock-bottom prices does not frustrate him, he says: “You learn to live with it. All businesses go up and down and we are no different.”

The apple business has certainly been in flux. As recently as a decade ago, families could picnic between 45ft-tall trees, whilst pickers scaled ladders. “It has changed to almost factory-like production,” says Checkley, whose father was also a life-long apple grower in Kent. Now the trees are staked and wired to just over head-height and run in long straight rows. A crab apple is sited every 10 trees, to ensure good cross-pollination when the bee hives were brought in back in April and May.

But Checkley is not mourning a past age. “I don’t miss the old days – it was bloody hard work,” he says. “The mechanisation now makes it a damn sight easier. I am a great believer of moving with the times.” Moving times also means almost all the pickers are foreign – there are 18 different nationalities on Broadwater farm. Checkley says it is near-impossible to get locals for the minimum-wage job.

Over at nearby Hononton farm, James Simpson, is delighted with this year’s apple yield: “Walking into an orchard like this, I get quite a buzz, seeing a fantastic crop.” Simpson is managing director of Adrian Scripps Ltd, which owns Hononton and other farms and is one of the UK’s largest apple growers. “The Braeburn crop is the largest we’ve ever grown,” he says, as is the Gala crop.

“It’s not like it looks in the television cider ads, is it?” he says, surveying the long rows of staked-and-wired apple trees that are up to a kilometre long at Hononton and look pristine amid the short grass and irrigation hoses. “Orchard hygiene is a big thing for us,” says Simpson. “A lot of growers have had a lot of scab and canker [due to damp weather], but as you can see we have not had a problem.” The orchards are swept out four times a year, he says, so the fungal infections can’t bloom on fallen apples and leaves and then infect the fruit.

Hononton still uses seven to 10 pesticide sprays during the growing season. But is reducing use by deploying other substances, such as the pheromone of the female coddling moth, the pest that puts maggots on apples. “The males all end up trying to mate with other males,” he says.

Despite the bounty of his orchards, Simpson says prices for Gala, now the UK’s top variety, and Bramley cooking apples, are significantly down: “We are getting very close to only covering our costs.”

Simpson says a major pressure on English apple growers is the strength of the pound against the Euro, making imports cheaper. But he also says the UK is slowly losing its appetite for apples, as more exotic fruit crowds supermarket shelves. “Grapes have been phenomenal in the last few years,” says Simpson. “Producing both red and green seedless grapes was a huge step forward for them.”
   
SOURCE

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

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

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Sunday, October 19, 2014


Are eco-friendly bulbs BAD for the environment? LEDs attract 50% more insects and could damage ecosystems

Blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have been receiving positive attention after its inventors were awarded the Nobel Prize in physics last week.

They use around 90 per cent less energy than incandescent bulbs and last for 100,000 hours compared with 1,000 hours for tungsten filament light bulbs.

But while they may be good for the environment, a new study claims that the discovery may a problem for insects, which are more strongly attracted to the LED spectrum of light.

The research, by New Zealand-based institute Scion, found traps placed near LEDs captured 48 per cent more insects than traps near sodium-vapour lights.

Sodium vapour bulbs, which emit yellow light, are commonly used in street lighting as they are more efficient than pre-LED lights.

Insects are attracted to both white and yellow light, but it seems they are even more attracted to blue light which is generated by LED bulbs.

Overall, the researchers caught and labelled more than 20,000 insects, with moths and flies were the most group of bugs.

They claim the attraction can be fatal, causing flies to be thrown off their usual path and into the jaws of predators, disrupting the food chain.

SOURCE




You guessed it!  Ebola caused by climate change

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service posted on its website an article that claims Ebola is a “direct consequence” of manmade climate change.

The article also stated that the virus specifically threatens conservation efforts focused on ape and monkey populations in Africa, including those in Guinea, one of the countries experiencing an Ebola outbreak and where the U.S.-run Chimpanzee Conservation Center is located.

“The larger conservation connection, however, is perhaps less obvious: Ebola appears to be a direct consequence of deforestation and human disturbance,” the article stated.

“Outbreaks are linked to long dry seasons (a consequence of deforestation and climate change), during which there is scarcity of food in the forest and all the animals, including fruit bats, feed on the same remaining fruit trees, usually fig trees,” it added.

“Human development, including logging and mining, road construction and agriculture, is increasingly cutting back on forest habitat and bringing animals and humans in closer contact, which can facilitate disease transfer,” the article stated.

“Some even speculate that the illegal trade in apes may be the actual culprit behind the current Ebola outbreak,” it stated.

The article also referred to apes and monkeys as “some of our oldest living relatives” and said protecting animals being hunted for food is a “major conservation concern.”

The article has a link to a blog written by Estelle Raballand, director of the Chimpanzee Center, that said while the Ebola virus may be protecting some monkeys and apes that were hunted for food before the latest outbreak, the virus is now threatening fish in the Niger River, and some people are killing monkeys and apes, because they are seen as having Ebola.

“While Ebola may protect some animal species from being hunted for bushmeat, illegal fishing is becoming in some areas a larger and more serious conservation issue. In some areas primates are also being targeted because they are perceived as carriers of Ebola,” Raballand wrote.

“As the director of the CCC, I hope that more education regarding Ebola both in Guinea and abroad will help to put an end to some of the false information that is leading to panic and unfounded fear in Europe and the United States, and to the targeting of primates in some regions of Africa.”

SOURCE




NOAA Says Global Warming Not Linked to Extreme Weather

Contrary to claims often repeated by environmental radicals, global warming is not responsible for extreme weather events, according to a new report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Explaining Extremes of 2013 from a Climate Perspective, NOAA’s new report, examined claims global warming was behind various droughts, floods, unusually cold weather and blizzards, cyclones, etc. – and found no identifiable connection between them and rising greenhouse gas emissions.

In California, for example, a prolonged drought has been blamed by climate alarmists on global warming. The liberal Center for American Progress and media outlets including the Washington Post and Associated Press have published stories claiming global warming caused or worsened the California drought. NOAA’s scientists beg to differ, writing, “[F]or the California drought, which was investigated by three teams from the United States, human factors were found not to have influenced the lack of rainfall.”

It would seem President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, who regularly cite the California drought as evidence of man’s fiery influence on climate, need to follow the research more closely, since their own scientists disagree with their take on the matter.

Environmentalists follow their own talking points and not the science again when they claim global warming is responsible for extreme cold, surprising blizzards, or heavy snowfall. NOAA could find no evidence linking such events to global warming. NOAA reported, “Analysis of UK cold spring showed the probability of occurrence may have fallen 30-fold due to global warming.” In other words, global warming decreased the likelihood of extreme winter storm events.

This was true when looking at the tragic Colorado floods of September 2013, as well. The NOAA report found global warming may be making such tragic events less likely.

If anything is truly alarming in the discussion of global warming, it is the widening gap between what the science finds and what the media, backed by alarmists, report.

SOURCE





Must not mention Greenie money in politics

Billionaire Tom Steyer gives millions to Greenie causes

This is hilarious: Scott wrote here about a video contest sponsored by far-left MoveOn and MAYDAY.US. Announcing the contest, MoveOn urged applicants to “make a 30-second ad to wake up America to the crisis of big money in our politics.” The public could vote on the contest entries.

The conservative group American Commitment took MoveOn at its word. They made this terrific video about Tom Steyer, the biggest hypocrite on the current political scene, and entered it in the contest:



Then a funny thing happened: conservatives flocked to to the contest site and voted for American Commitment’s video. Sure enough, American Commitment’s video was winning the contest. So what did the leftists who are running the contest do? They changed the rules! They have, in effect, wiped out all of the votes cast so far, and they are starting the voting over, as of today. Phil Kerpen documents the change on Twitter. The contest originally was supposed to terminate on October 16, now it begins on October 16. Not only that, voting will last for only 24 hours:

Is that pathetic, or what? But it’s not too late. Voting continues, under the new rules, until tomorrow at 5 p.m., Eastern time. You can vote here for the American Commitment video. Of course, no matter how many votes it gets, MoveOn’s far left panel of “judges” will no doubt award the prize to someone else. But still, making the Tom Steyer video the number one vote-getter is worthwhile. We did it once, we can do it again!

UPDATE: A representative of American Commitment wrote us earlier today:

"American Commitment’s Tom Steyer ad about money and politics is absolutely trouncing the competition with 15 times more votes as its nearest competitor with only 4 hours remaining under the original contest rules…

The most amazing thing is how they are willing to go to extraordinary lengths to prevent a video about the country’s largest political donor by far from winning a contest about money in politics. Because he’s a liberal."

SOURCE





A new one! Concrete's life span is shortened by global warming

I live in a warm part of the world and concrete lasts perfectly well here

Climate change may reduce concrete's durability, with long-term consequences for buildings, roads and bridges constructed with the common material, according to a recent study.

Matthew Eckelman and Mithun Saha of Northeastern University focused their research on how infrastructure in Boston will be affected by the most extreme climate change scenarios.

They predict about 60 percent of Boston's buildings will have some structural deterioration by 2050. Eckelman and Saha published their study results in the journal Urban Climate.

"Starting in 2025 is when [we expect] to see the concrete cover on buildings start to fail, assuming they were built to code," Eckelman said.

Concrete is considered one of the most solid structures humans have engineered. Modern concrete structures and roads are further reinforced with steel bars to make the material less brittle. However, over time both carbon dioxide and chloride ions seep into the concrete and corrode the steel bars, called rebar. This corrosion expands the concrete, destabilizing it. Eventually, the damage becomes visible when the facade of a building cracks or chunks of concrete break off.

The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is expected to increase with climate change, and Boston in particular is vulnerable to chloride because of its proximity to salt water.

Under current building codes in the United States, buildings' concrete coverings have to be about an inch and a half thick for the structures to last three-quarters of a century. However, the researchers noted that these building codes don't take into account how climate is likely to change over that amount of time. When climate change is considered, buildings built today will likely last between 50 and 60 years, roughly 25 years less than if temperatures remained the same, the researchers said.

Eckelman and Saha said the biggest effect will likely be higher construction costs to reduce corrosion, like adding 3 to 12 millimeters of thickness to buildings' concrete cover. This could increase building costs by between 2 and 4 percent.

The buildings most at risk in the near term are those built in the 1950s and '60s because they are built with weaker concrete.

The American Concrete Institute, which provides guidelines for setting building codes, is going over its standards while taking into account global warming

SOURCE






The EPA is a major reason why Americans aren’t feeling Obama’s ‘vigorous recovery’

President Obama is trying, according to CNN, to “convince voters of a vigorous recovery that a majority still doubts.” Describing comments the president made on October 2 at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in Chicago, CNN calls his attempt, the “political problem inherent in having to describe an economic recovery that many Americans still aren’t feeling.”

The coverage points to polling data that shows the public still sees that the economy is “poor” — with 56 percent disapproving of how Obama has handled the economy.

Perhaps people are beginning to sense what a new documentary makes clear. We may not officially be in a recession, as some numbers have ticked slightly up, but people, as CNN pointed out, aren’t feeling it.

What are they feeling? Higher electricity rates at home, plant closures, and jobs being sent overseas, while few new jobs are being created at home.

On a recent radio interview, a caller told me that companies shouldn’t be allowed to move their business — and the jobs previously held by Americans—overseas. He wanted laws passed that prevented closing an American plant and reopening in China, hiring the locals. I believe laws can be passed that would slow, what Ross Perot called, the “giant sucking sound”—the sound of jobs and economic growth being sucked from America to Mexico, China, or some other country that makes it easier to do business. Instead of controlling whether or not a company can do what is best for its bottom line, wouldn’t it be better to make America the best business environment?

Current government policy is actually the cause of that “giant sucking sound,” the reason people aren’t feeling a supposed economic recovery. These policies, in the form of regulations — especially those from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), are keeping people from living the American dream and are even lowering the standard of living from that of our parents.

While we may not technically be in a recession, we are in a regcession — an economic decline caused by excessive regulations. The cost of complying with the regulations makes it virtually impossible to meet them and remain competitive or make a profit. The result of these regulations: Americans lose their jobs, as businesses close or move to more hospitable countries.

Released on October 7, a new documentary (on YouTube): “Regcession: The EPA is Destroying America” boldly posits that regulations are actually causing more world-wide pollution, destroying American jobs, and even putting America itself at risk.

Citing President Abraham Lincoln: “If America is to be destroyed, it will be from within,” Regcession makes a strong case illustrating Lincoln’s wisdom.

Regcession proclaims: “Instead of standing up to regulatory insanity, companies have taken the path of least resistance and sent jobs to China.”

Detroit is one such example. President Obama proudly claims the bailout of General Motors (GM) as one of his great successes. We taxpayers had no say in the $49.5 billion we funded to keep GM afloat—supposedly saving jobs and saving Detroit. Yet, as Obama-appointed GM CEO Dan Akerson (2010-2014) said during a 2011 visit to China’s Shanghai Auto Show: “Our commitment to working in China, with China, for China remains strong and focused on the future.” He called the eleven joint ventures with China “eleven keys to success” and bragged that seven out of ten cars GM makes are made outside the U.S. Only one-third of GM’s workers are in America.

We bailed out GM. China’s economy is booming, while Detroit became the largest municipal bankruptcy in history. GM sells more cars in China than in the U.S., while American’s can’t pay their mortgage — let alone buy a new car. Regcession points out that Americans are increasingly driving older cars.

“China’s unregulated industry and underpaid workers, combined with free trade policies make it impractical for American corporations to keep American jobs in America,” states Regcession.

The film features Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE) saying: “This administration has generated nothing short of a mountain of red tape — hundreds of new regulations. Of these, at least 219 have been categorized as significant. What that means is that they will cost more than $100 million a year.” It shows TV host John Stossel, author of Give Me a Break and No they Can’t, surrounded by boxes — the 160 thousand pages of new regulations. Yet, the EPA keeps proposing more regulations.

“Anything that hurts the economy, hurts the American worker,” Roy W. Spencer, Ph.D., Principal Research Scientist, University of Alabama in Huntsville, states. “Environmental regulations in general, while originally well intended to try to protect the environment, end up going overboard and ultimately destroying jobs.”

Since the Clean Air Act was revised in 1990, demand for electricity in the U.S. — along with the American lifestyle — has dropped. Concurrently, China’s demand for electricity — and its lifestyle — has gone up. A growing economy requires more electricity, not less.

America used to manufacture goods that the world wanted. But manufacturing is messy and regulations sent industry away. We now send China, for example, our coal and our lumber. Due to regulations and free-trade laws, it is cheaper and easier for companies to use these American raw materials and manufacture products there and then ship the finished goods to the U.S. America loses the jobs, economic growth, increased property values, and the taxes that would have been generated through the entire process. China puts our cash in its pocket.

Using mitigating human-caused climate change as the excuse, EPA regulations increasingly ratchet down on American industry and electricity generation. Hundreds of billions of dollars have already been spent to remove sulfur, mercury, and particulates from emissions — only to have new regulations force those same factories and power plants to shut down over new carbon dioxide regulations. Jobs go overseas, electricity rates rise for the average American, global pollution goes up.

Don Blankenship, Regcession Executive Producer, explained to me, that with the debt trajectory, the U.S. will be broke — thanks to excessive regulations — long before the planet’s projected warming takes place. Yet, the business community is afraid to fight, as regulators have punitive power.

Industrial chemist Chris Skates, author of Going Green, explains it this way: “If we have an amalgam filling in our mouth for a cavity, there’s enough mercury vapor in the vapor of our breath to contaminate the sample. My question is, if the levels we are testing for are that low, who cares?”

Regcession concludes: “The American dream is being eroded by abusive overregulation, corporate greed, union misrepresentation, environmentalists, and a president whose priority is supposed to be protecting and improving lives of Americans, yet is instead hurting Americans.”

But all is not lost. Americans can end the regcession, by abandoning the doomsday-based regulations and instead have practical, meaningful regulations that give American workers a chance to compete. Dumping bad regulations would be an economic shot-in-the-arm, a true “vigorous recovery.”

President Reagan said we needed to do whatever it took to protect the last bastion of freedom that is America — it is too big, too important to fail. Let’s protect America, not change it.

Stand up for America. Stand up for American jobs. Stand up against over-regulation.

SOURCE

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

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

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Friday, October 17, 2014



Projected sea level shrinks

Al Gore warned of a 20ft  rise in sea level so the latest bit of Warmism is interesting.  The MAXIMUM estimated sea level rise is now down to 6ft.  It's all based on Warmist assumptions and modelling but it's some progress, I suppose.  I reproduce the journal abstract below.  Note the words I have highlighted.  Unusual humility!

Upper limit for sea level projections by 2100

By S Jevrejeva et al.

Abstract

We construct the probability density function of global sea level at 2100, estimating that sea level rises larger than 180 cm are less than 5% probable. An upper limit for global sea level rise of 190 cm is assembled by summing the highest estimates of individual sea level rise components simulated by process based models with the RCP8.5 scenario. The agreement between the methods may suggest more confidence than is warranted since large uncertainties remain due to the lack of scenario-dependent projections from ice sheet dynamical models, particularly for mass loss from marine-based fast flowing outlet glaciers in Antarctica. This leads to an intrinsically hard to quantify fat tail in the probability distribution for global mean sea level rise. Thus our low probability upper limit of sea level projections cannot be considered definitive. Nevertheless, our upper limit of 180 cm for sea level rise by 2100 is based on both expert opinion and process studies and hence indicates that other lines of evidence are needed to justify a larger sea level rise this century.

SOURCE





UK: Ex-minister attacks green obession at heart of Whitehall: Owen Paterson accuses ministers of raising energy prices for the poor

The former Environment Secretary attacked a so-called ‘green blob’ at the heart of Government yesterday – accusing Whitehall officials and ministers of raising energy prices for the poor.  Owen Paterson said their support for flawed wind and solar power cost billions and made electricity and gas needlessly expensive.

He said the ‘green blob’ included civil servants and quangos in thrall to the climate change and environmental lobby. He claimed it had blocked him from prioritising shale gas exploration as a more efficient way to secure energy for the future.

Mr Paterson, who was removed as Environment Secretary in July, said the only way to ‘keep the lights on’ was to scrap the Climate Change Act, which requires the UK to use more renewable energy and is backed by civil servants.

He warned claims of impending environmental disaster were ‘widely exaggerated’, and accused a series of energy secretaries – including the Lib Dem incumbent Ed Davey – of being ‘Sheriffs of Nottingham’ by taking from the poor.

He said: ‘It amazes me that our last three energy secretaries, Ed Miliband, Chris Huhne and Ed Davey, have merrily presided over the single most regressive policy we have seen in this country since the Sheriff of Nottingham: the coerced increase of electricity bills for people on low incomes to pay huge subsidies to wealthy landowners and rich investors.’

The former minister also said he was disgusted by rich film stars who fly to Africa to preach against the burning of fossil fuels there. His reference to the ‘green blob’ follows former Education Secretary Michael Gove’s description of the teaching establishment as the ‘blob’.

Speaking to the Global Warming Policy Foundation think tank, Mr Paterson claimed the effects of climate change had been ‘consistently and widely exaggerated’, and policies to encourage onshore wind farms will cost £1.3trillion by 2050.

He said wind turbines had ‘devastated landscapes, blighted views, divided communities, killed eagles, carpeted the countryside and the very wilderness that the “green blob” claims to love with new access tracks cut deep into peat, boosted production of carbon-intensive cement, and driven up fuel poverty – while richly rewarding landowners’.

Current energy policy, he said, was a ‘slave to flawed climate action’, adding: ‘It neither reduces emissions sufficiently nor provides the energy we need as a country.’

Offshore wind farms were ‘proving a failure’, hydro-electric power was ‘maxed out’ and solar power was an ‘expensive red herring’. He condemned solar farms as a ‘futile eyesore, and a waste of land that could be used for other activities’.

He urged greater investment in shale gas – pointing out that 40 per cent of Britain’s coal was from Russia and adding: ‘It is better to burn Lancashire shale gas than Putin’s coal.

‘We must be prepared to stand up to the bullies in the environmental movement and their subsidy-hungry allies.’

SOURCE






Greenpeace condemned by its original founder as 'evil' and being guilty of 'losing its humanitarian roots'

Greenpeace is mainly a club for men who like messing around in boats.  They've even got their own submarine now!  -- JR

Greenpeace has been branded an 'evil organisation' which has 'lost concern for humans' in an astonishing attack by its own co-founder.

Ecologist Dr Patrick Moore, who quit Greenpeace in 1986, has launched a scathing criticism of the activist group, which he insisted has lost its humanitarian roots.

His attack on the organisation he helped create comes as former Environment Secretary Owen Paterson campaigns against the 'self-serving' and 'highly-paid' network of environmental pressure groups he calls the 'green blob'.

Dr Moore told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme: 'My problem with Greenpeace is they have lost any humanitarian roots they had. 'When we started Greenpeace it was to stop nuclear war and the destruction of human civilisation, that of course is the "peace" in Greenpeace.

'The "green" is the environment and that's good as well, but they lost the concerns for humans... They have turned, basically, into an evil organisation.'

He gave the example of so-called 'golden rice', a crop enriched with vitamin A which supporters say would help millions of the world's poorest people improve their diet.  Dr Moore said the fact that Greenpeace opposed the idea showed that they no longer care about people.

Dr Moore helped found Greenpeace in 1971 while PhD student in ecology, but he later left the group, claiming it had become more interested in politics than science.

He is now a proponent of nuclear energy and is sceptical about sole human responsibility for climate change.

Dr Doug Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace, later shrugged of the criticisms made of his organisation.  He said: 'When we do campaigns, we look at influence, we look at impact and we are very, very mindful to incorporate social and economic issues into what we do, because otherwise campaigns won't work.

'There's not going to be some kind of green dictatorship which imposes these decisions on anybody.'

The row comes after Pascal Husting, Greenpeace International’s Programme Director, was exposed earlier this year as having commuted the 250 miles between Luxembourg and Amsterdam by plane since 2012.  Each trip is believed to have cost Greenpeace £200 and would have generated 142kg of carbon dioxide emissions, it was said.  Dr Parr said Mr Husting's behaviour was 'a mistake' and 'should never have happened'.

On the organisation's position of golden rice, he said: 'The thing about golden rice is it's a least-favourable option and it doesn't actually exist yet, it's been many years in proposal and... it doesn't work.  'The real solution to this is a proper, balanced diet like the home gardening initiatives in Bangladesh have achieved.'

SOURCE





Prominent Canadian geologists wax skeptical

by Nick Eyles and Andrew D. Miall

What is patently obvious from reviewing Canada’s ancient history is that scientists still do not have an adequate understanding of Earth’s complex systems on which to base sound economic and environmental policy. From the upper reaches of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans onwards to the deep interior of the planet our knowledge of complex earth systems is still rather rudimentary. Huge areas of our planet are inaccessible and are little known scientifically. There is still also much to learn from reading the rock record of how our planet functioned in the past.

In so many areas, we simply don’t know enough of how our planet functions.

And yet……

Scarcely a day goes past without some group declaring the next global environmental crisis; we seemingly stagger from one widely proclaimed crisis to another each one (so we are told) with the potential to severely curtail or extinguish civilization as we know it. It’s an all too familiar story often told by scientists who cross over into advocacy and often with the scarcely-hidden sub-text that they are the only ones with the messianic foresight to see the problem and create a solution. Much of our science is what we would call ‘crisis-driven’ where funding, politics and the media are all intertwined and inseparable generating a corrupting and highly corrosive influence on the scientific method and its students. If it doesn’t bleed it doesn’t lead is the new yardstick with which to measure the overall significance of research.

Charles Darwin ushered in a new era of thinking where change was expected and necessary. Our species as are all others, is the product of ongoing environmental change and adaption to varying conditions; the constancy of change. In the last 15 years or so however, we have seemingly reverted to a pre-Darwinian mode of a fixed ‘immutable Earth’ where any change beyond some sort of ‘norm’ is seen in some quarters as unnatural, threatening and due to our activities, usually with the proviso of needing ‘to act now to save the planet.’ Honest scientific discourse and debate is often rendered impossible in the face of the ‘new catastrophism.’

Trained as geologists in the knowledge of Earth’s immensely long and complex history we appreciate that environmental change is normal. For example, rivers and coastlines are not static. Those coasts, in particular, that consist of sandy strand-plains and barrier-lagoon systems are continually evolving as sand is moved by the waves and tides. Cyclonic storms (hurricanes), a normal component of the weather in many parts of the world, are particularly likely to cause severe erosion. When recent events such as Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy cause catastrophic damage, and spring storms cause massive flooding in Calgary or down the Mississippi valley, and droughts and wildfires affect large areas of the American SW these events are blamed on a supposed increase in the severity of extreme weather events brought about by climate change.

In fact, they just reflect the working of statistical probability and long term climate cyclicity. Such events have happened in the past as part of ongoing changes in climate but affected fewer people. That the costs of weather and climate-related damage today are far greater is not because of an increased frequency of severe weather but the result of humans insisting on congregating and living in places that, while attractive, such as floodplains, mountain sides and beautiful coastlines, are especially vulnerable to natural disasters. Promises of a more ‘stable future’ if we can only prevent climate change are hopelessly misguided and raise unnatural expectations by being willfully ignorant of the natural workings of the planet.

Climate change is the major issue for which more geological input dealing with the history of past climates would contribute to a deeper understanding of the nature of change and what we might expect in the future. The past climate record suggests in fact that for much of the Earth’s surface future cooling is the norm. Without natural climate change Canada would be buried under ice 3 km thick; that is it normal state for most of the last 2.5 million years with 100,000 years-long ice ages alternating with brief, short-lived interglacials such as the present which is close to its end.

It is self-evident to us that the public debate concerning environmental change largely lacks an understanding of natural variability. Since the last Ice Age ended, some 12,000 years ago, Earth has been through several periods lasting hundreds of years and possibly longer when it was either warmer or colder than at present. Several earth scientists have suggested that a study of natural variability over recent geologic time should be completed in order to provide a baseline against which anthropogenic change may be evaluated, but this important history has not been introduced fully into the public debate, and is a long way off.

It has to be said that the natural variability of the last few thousand years or hundreds of years or tens of years has formed almost no part in the ongoing discussion of climate change which in some circles assumes that any change since 1940 is largely man-made. This opinion is uninformed by geologic science.

The way forward, it strikes us, is for more scientific honesty and less politics, less grandstanding. ‘We don’t know’ is an honourable credo for scientists. In this regard, we need more science to be directed to the environment, particularly toward better planning of the world’s communities to make them more resilient in the face of change. And it is an increasingly urban face that our planet presents. The many large supercities of the rapidly-approaching future world will be absolutely massive consumers of resources and producers of wastes; they will be the biggest determinants of our global environmental footprint; and it is surely there that much of our effort should be spent.

Today, the rate of change of some parts of the world, especially in regard to urbanization and the ‘rush to the city’ is taxing our abilities simply to map and assess the environmental repercussions of transforming a natural environment to a built landscape. There is no simple technological fix either. Satellite and other monitoring data for example still has to be collected, interpreted, ground truthed, and acted on; steps available only to wealthier countries.

In large areas of the planet the lack of human and financial resources, equality and personal freedoms and political choices trump any global environmental concerns and hobble international co-operation. To these people our obsession with saving the environment must ring hollow. The onus here is on the wealthiest nations with the largest scientific academies to put forward credible notions of how our planet is changing and to discuss the possible origins in an intellectual environment where data gaps are fully acknowledged free of catastrophic overtones.

SOURCE






Ecofascists Hijack EPA Ozone Regulations

The Environmental Protection Agency will release its new standards regulating ozone in December. Even while the old ozone standards have not been fully implemented and studied, environmental groups have hijacked the EPA to enact new regulations on the nation’s energy and manufacturing economy. And in the estimation of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), “This would be the most expensive regulation ever imposed on the American public.”

The Supreme Court recently declined to hear the case of Utility Air Regulatory Group, a conglomerate of coal companies, which argued the 2008 ozone rules were too strict. Even after six years, states like Connecticut, New Jersey, Texas and especially California did not reach the ozone production levels set in 2008.

While the EPA has not released the details of the new regulations – they’re waiting until after the election for that – the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee recommended to the agency in June to push the ozone standard from 75 parts per billion (ppb) down to 70ppb, or even as low as 60ppb. That level “would certainly offer more public health protection than levels of 70ppb or 65ppb and would provide an adequate margin of safety,” committee chair Dr. H. Christopher Frey wrote. Well heck, if we’re talking health protection here, 0ppb would be ideal, but also against the laws of nature.

Ozone, a.k.a. smog, can form naturally, but manufacturing and burning coal can also create ozone. So ecofascist groups like the Environmental Defense Fund label it a “harmful air pollutant” because it allegedly exacerbates respiratory conditions like asthma.

In July, the DC Circuit Court ruled the EPA violated the Clean Air Act when it did not pass tougher ozone standards in 2008 (under the Bush administration, the greenies like to point out).

The EPA stalled on passing stricter ozone regulations until 2011. But then, Barack Obama told then-EPA Director Lisa Jackson to withdraw the proposed rules, saying, “I have continued to underscore the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty, particularly as our economy continues to recover.”

Surely stricter ozone regulations weren’t too tough even for Obama to stomach. Perhaps he wasn’t yet emboldened, as it was only his first term. However, the July regulation made environmentalists happy that they finally forced the Obama administration to act.

“Smog sickens and even kills some plants and trees, even in America’s national parks, which are supposed to have the cleanest air in the country,” said Mark Wenzler, vice president of conservation programs at the National Parks Conservation Association. “The Obama administration now has an opportunity to follow the Science™ and not play politics with protecting our national parks and forests from air pollution damage.”

The administration would never play politics.

Perhaps Wenzler meant a court-ordered opportunity. These new ozone rules go beyond executive fiat. These regulations were pushed forward by ecofascists with deep pockets and sharp lawyers. It’s rule by legal suit, baby.

And while the new regulations may make Sequoias and Redwoods happy, the rules would cut down American industry faster than a bald eagle going through a wind turbine. NAM released a study in July concluding new ozone rules “could cost $270 billion per year and place millions of jobs at risk.” That breaks down to costing households $1,570 per year, according to NAM. Furthermore, a 60ppb standard would make every state noncompliant with ozone regulations, with few exceptions – mostly swaths of Montana and North Dakota.

“Based on the way the EPA interprets the Clean Air Act,” the NAM report concludes, “it is virtually ensured that the agency will recommend a stricter standard every five years. Yet, ozone levels are getting so low that a rapidly growing share of even urban areas' ozone concentration now comes from either naturally occurring ozone or from ozone that has been transported from other states or countries. We have reached the point at which significant further reductions simply cannot be accomplished in any cost-effective manner. Absent recognition of this fact from the EPA, it is time for Congress to modernize the Clean Air Act.”

Right now, an act of Congress may be the only thing that will reform the EPA because the courts have weighed in. The bottom line is the environmentalists have won their court battles; America’s manufacturers and coal industry have lost theirs.

Meanwhile, every American has the right to petition the government, but environmentalist groups seem to have an extra-special right to petition the EPA. According to Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), newly revealed emails between Gina McCarthy, the current EPA administrator, and David Doniger, a policy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, suggest collusion. Vitter said, “These emails clearly demonstrate their beyond-cozy relationship and force the question: Who is working for whom?”

The emails show McCarthy working with Doniger to craft the recently passed greenhouse gas regulations. In the emails, McCarthy tells Doniger in 2011, “I will never say no to a meeting with you.” How many coal companies have such a relationship? And in 2010, McCarthy tells him, “I appreciate your support and patience. … This success is yours as much as mine.”

This was the same woman in July who welcomed public comment on the greenhouse gas regulations and with the same breath described economic arguments against EPA regulation as “tired, false and worn out criticism.”

But that was greenhouse gas regulation. When the EPA deviated from the ecofascist line on ozone, the environmentalists' lawsuit reminded the EPA just who is in charge.

SOURCE





Australia: Coal is 'good for humanity', says Tony Abbott at mine opening

Prime Minister Tony Abbott says Australia's coal industry has a "big future, as well as a big past" and predicted it will be the world's principal energy source for decades to come.

Mr Abbott also heaped praise on Japan in comments that come just days after China slapped harsh new tariffs on coal imports and will be noted in Beijing as negotiations on a China-Australia Free Trade Agreement move towards conclusion.

Industry has estimated the new tariffs could cost Australia's economy hundreds of millions of dollars annually, though it will be some time before exact estimates can be made.

"Let's have no demonisation of coal," Mr Abbott said on Monday. "Coal is good for humanity, coal is good for prosperity, coal is an essential part of our economic future, here in Australia, and right around the world."

The Prime Minister's comments, which angered the environmental movement, came at the opening of the $US3.4 billion ($3.9 billion) Caval Ridge Mine in Central Queensland, a joint venture between BHP and Mitsubishi. The mine will produce 5.5 million tonnes annually of metallurgical coal and employ about 500 people.

"This is a sign of hope and confidence in the future of the coal industry, it's a great industry, we've had a great partnership with Japan in the coal industry," Mr Abbott said. "Coal is essential for the prosperity of the world."  "Energy is what sustains our prosperity, and coal is the world's  principal energy source and it will be for many decades to come."

The Coalition had affirmed its faith in the coal industry by abolishing the carbon tax and mining, Mr Abbott said, but if there was a change of government at the next election both of those taxes could come back.

"If you want to sustain the coal industry, if you want to sustain the jobs, if you want to sustain the towns that depend on the coal industry you have got to support the Coalition, because we support coal, we think that coal has a big future as well as a big past."

Mr Abbott's comments about coal having a bright future are in conflict with the United Nations' top climate official Christiana Figueres, who has warned most of the world's coal must be left in the ground to avoid catastrophic global warming.

Less than two weeks ago, a lead adviser to German Chancellor Angela Merkel lashed the Abbott government's championing of the coal industry as an economic "suicide strategy".

Climate Institute chief executive John Connor said the Prime Minister was "taking a higher and higher stakes gamble by putting all the chips on coal".

Earlier on Monday, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said that Australia risked being seen as the climate sceptic capital of the world ahead of the G20 meeting in November.

"We've got the G20 coming up. Most nations in the world at the G20 are dealing with climate change. Yet we're the climate sceptics capital of the world," he said.

"The rest of the world is moving towards taking real action on climate change, yet we've got a government who's slammed the nation into reverse gear and retreating away from action."

Over the weekend, Mr Shorten told Fairfax Media that Labor would take a carbon price - thought not a tax - as policy to the next election.

And he has previously left open the possibility of some form of resources tax, though he has promised to first consult with business over such an impost.

SOURCE

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

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

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