Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Global warming may have ‘devastating’ effects on rice

This is a lulu of a study.  They didn't actually study warming at all.  They just studied CO2 levels.  They thus ignored that warming would produce more rice per acre.  In warm Indonesia, they get two crops a year. The extra CO2 also produced more rice, of course.  But the average nutrient content of the rice grains decreased -- which is what you would expect from  bigger crops using the same amount of land.

So the only interesting question was the TOTAL amount of nutrients captured from the given acreage by the expanded crops.  It was most unlikely to be less and was probably more.  In summary, this eccentric study tells us nothing about the total amount of nutrients that would be provided by a crop under natural conditions

The change could be particularly dire in southeast Asia where rice is a major part of the daily diet, said the report in the journal Science Advances. “We are showing that global warming, climate change and particularly greenhouse gases — carbon dioxide — can have an impact on the nutrient content of plants we eat,” said co-author Adam Drewnowski, a professor at the University of Washington.

“This can have devastating effects on the rice-consuming countries where about 70% of the calories and most of the nutrients come from rice.” Protein and vitamin deficiencies can lead to growth-stunting, birth defects, diarrhoea, infections and early death.

Countries at most risk include those that consume the most rice and have the lowest gross domestic product (GDP), such as Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, Mr. Drewnowksi said.

The findings were based on field studies in Japan and China, simulating the amount of CO2 expected in the atmosphere by the second half of this century — 568 to 590 parts per million. Current levels are just over 400 ppm.

For the experiments, 18 different strains of rice were planted in open fields, surrounded in certain areas by 56-foot wide octagons of plastic piping that released extra CO2.

Researchers found that iron, zinc, protein, and vitamins B1, B2, B5, and B9 — which help the body convert food to energy — were all reduced in the rice grown under higher CO2 conditions. “Vitamin B1 (thiamine) levels decreased by 17.1%; average Vitamin B2 by 16.6%,” said the report.


British reliance on French nuclear energy increases by more than quarter

The UK’s reliance on importing French power to keep the lights on has increased by almost a quarter this year in further evidence of Britain’s energy cost crunch.

Energy prices in Britain are now around a fifth higher than they were this time last year on the wholesale market.

Meanwhile, across the Channel, nuclear power plants have flooded France with cheap electricity which is being sold at a tidy profit to struggling British suppliers.

“French nuclear plants have been far more reliable this year to date than last year,” said Jamie Stewart, the ICIS Energy analyst, “which has kept a firm lid on French power prices.”

The stark fundamental differences between the UK and its biggest electricity trade partner have nudged British imports, via twin high-voltage sub-sea cables, to a total of 6.4 terawatt hours so far this year. Last year Britain imported less than 5TWh over the same period. Energy brokers at Marex Spectron told The Sunday Telegraph that the “anomalously strong” imports from France are closer in line with Britain’s winter appetite for foreign energy than typical summer trends. The trend has also re-energised industry debate over Britain’s energy trading future once it leaves the EU next year.

Even with the bumper imports of cheap French nuclear power, Britain’s energy prices remain around 20pc higher than last year in a major threat to energy companies braced for the Government’s price cap to descend on the market at the end of the year.

In response, suppliers have drawn the ire of ministers by raising the price of energy tariffs to survive the cost crunch. Many of the cheapest suppliers have shown signs of existential strain.

Iresa Energy, the energy minnow, slipped into default on the wholesale market for a third time last week, according to Elexon, the market administrator. Meanwhile, Bulb and First Utility, the Shell-owned supplier, have been forced to raise prices in the wake of tariff hikes from the “big six” suppliers.

UK power prices hit 10-year highs in March following the freezing temperatures brought by the “Beast from the East” and show no sign of returning to typical summer prices due to the strong price of gas. The Siberian storm drained gas from storage facilities across Europe in the final weeks of winter, making it more difficult for suppliers to replenish the stocks over the summer.

On the ICIS Power Index, a key benchmark for energy trends, the three-week rolling average price of wholesale power stands at £52.70/MWh after spending much of last year fluctuating between £42 and £48 per megawatt hour.


Global Warming has Stopped And A Cooling Is Beginning”

Written by Henrik Svensmark

The star that keeps us alive has, over the last few years, been almost free of sunspots, which are the usual signs of the Sun’s magnetic activity. Last week [4 September 2009] the scientific team behind the satellite SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) reported, “It is likely that the current year’s number of blank days will be the longest in about 100 years.” Everything indicates that the Sun is going into some kind of hibernation, and the obvious question is what significance that has for us on Earth.

If you ask the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which represents the current consensus on climate change, the answer is a reassuring “nothing”. But history and recent research suggest that is probably completely wrong. Why? Let’s take a closer look.

Solar activity has always varied. Around the year 1000, we had a period of very high solar activity, which coincided with the Medieval Warm Period. It was a time when frosts in May were almost unknown – a matter of great importance for a good harvest. Vikings settled in Greenland and explored the coast of North America. On the whole it was a good time. For example, China’s population doubled in this period.

But after about 1300 solar activity declined and the world began to get colder. It was the beginning of the episode we now call the Little Ice Age. In this cold time, all the Viking settlements in Greenland disappeared. Sweden surprised Denmark by marching across the ice, and in London the Thames froze repeatedly. But more serious were the long periods of crop failures, which resulted in poorly nourished populations, reduced in Europe by about 30 per cent because of disease and hunger.

It’s important to realise that the Little Ice Age was a global event. It ended in the late 19th Century and was followed by increasing solar activity. Over the past 50 years solar activity has been at its highest since the medieval warmth of 1000 years ago. But now it appears that the Sun has changed again, and is returning towards what solar scientists call a “grand minimum” such as we saw in the Little Ice Age.

The match between solar activity and climate through the ages is sometimes explained away as coincidence. Yet it turns out that, almost no matter when you look and not just in the last 1000 years, there is a link. Solar activity has repeatedly fluctuated between high and low during the past 10,000 years. In fact the Sun spent about 17 per cent of those 10,000 years in a sleeping mode, with a cooling Earth the result.

You may wonder why the international climate panel IPCC does not believe that the Sun’s changing activity affects the climate. The reason is that it considers only changes in solar radiation. That would be the simplest way for the Sun to change the climate – a bit like turning up and down the brightness of a light bulb.

Satellite measurements have shown that the variations of solar radiation are too small to explain climate change. But the panel has closed its eyes to another, much more powerful way for the Sun to affect Earth’s climate. In 1996 we discovered a surprising influence of the Sun – its impact on Earth’s cloud cover. High-energy accelerated particles coming from exploded stars, the cosmic rays, help to form clouds.

When the Sun is active, its magnetic field is better at shielding us against the cosmic rays coming from outer space, before they reach our planet. By regulating the Earth’s cloud cover, the Sun can turn the temperature up and down. High solar activity means fewer clouds and and a warmer world. Low solar activity and poorer shielding against cosmic rays result in increased cloud cover and hence a cooling. As the Sun’s magnetism doubled in strength during the 20th century, this natural mechanism may be responsible for a large part of global warming seen then.

That also explains why most climate scientists try to ignore this possibility. It does not favour their idea that the 20th century temperature rise was mainly due to human emissions of CO2. If the Sun provoked a significant part of warming in the 20th Century, then the contribution by CO2 must necessarily be smaller.

Ever since we put forward our theory in 1996, it has been subjected to very sharp criticism, which is normal in science.

First it was said that a link between clouds and solar activity could not be correct, because no physical mechanism was known. But in 2006, after many years of work, we completed experiments at DTU Space that demonstrated the existence of a physical mechanism. The cosmic rays help to form aerosols, which are the seeds for cloud formation.

Then came the criticism that the mechanism we found in the laboratory could not work in the real atmosphere, and therefore had no practical significance. We have just rejected that criticism emphatically.

It turns out that the Sun itself performs what might be called natural experiments. Giant solar eruptions can cause the cosmic ray intensity on earth to dive suddenly over a few days. In the days following an eruption, cloud cover can fall by about 4 per cent. And the amount of liquid water in cloud droplets is reduced by almost 7 per cent. Here is a very large effect – indeed so great that in popular terms the Earth’s clouds originate in space.

So we have watched the Sun’s magnetic activity with increasing concern, since it began to wane in the mid-1990s.

That the Sun might now fall asleep in a deep minimum was suggested by solar scientists at a meeting in Kiruna in Sweden two years ago. So when Nigel Calder and I updated our book The Chilling Stars, we wrote a little provocatively that “we are advising our friends to enjoy global warming while it lasts.”

In fact global warming has stopped and a cooling is beginning. Mojib Latif from the University of Kiel argued at the recent UN World Climate Conference in Geneva that the cooling may continue through the next 10 to 20 years. His explanation was a natural change in the North Atlantic circulation, not in solar activity. But no matter how you interpret them, natural variations in climate are making a comeback.

The outcome may be that the Sun itself will demonstrate its importance for climate and so challenge the theories of global warming. No climate model has predicted a cooling of the Earth – quite the contrary. And this means that the projections of future climate are unreliable. A forecast saying it may be either warmer or colder for 50 years is not very useful, and science is not yet able to predict solar activity.

So in many ways we stand at a crossroads. The near future will be extremely interesting. I think it is important to accept that Nature pays no heed to what we humans think about it. Will the greenhouse theory survive a significant cooling of the Earth? Not in its current dominant form. Unfortunately, tomorrow’s climate challenges will be quite different from the greenhouse theory’s predictions. Perhaps it will become fashionable again to investigate the Sun’s impact on our climate.


Stop Trying to Get Workers Out of Their Cars

"Smart growth" is dumb about commuting.

If you hate urban sprawl, you're probably familiar with the complaints of the "smart growth" movement: Roadways blight cities. Traffic congestion is the worst. Suburbanization harms the environment. Fortunately, say these smart growthers, there is an alternative: By piling on regulations and reallocating transportation-related tax money, we can "densify" our urban communities, allowing virtually everyone to live in a downtown area and forego driving in favor of walking or biking.

Smart growth proponents have been gaining influence for decades. They've implemented urban growth boundaries (which greatly restrict the development of land outside a defined area), up-zoning (which tries to increase densities in existing neighborhoods by replacing single-family homes with apartments), and "road diets" (which take away traffic lanes to make room for wider sidewalks and bike lanes).

Alas, there are inherent flaws in the "smart growth" approach—beginning with the idea that it makes sense for everyone to live and work in the same small area. In fact, that idea flies in the face of what economists call urban agglomeration.

Urban agglomeration is why there are more jobs in and around big cities. Job seekers have access to a large number of potential employers, which increases each person's likelihood of finding one that can make the best use of her unique talents and skills. The same is true for business owners, who have a much better chance of finding people in a large populous urban area who match their needs.

Transportation turns out to be a key factor in enabling these wealth-increasing transactions. Imagine drawing a circle around the location of your residence, defined by how far you are willing to commute to get to a satisfying job. The larger the radius of that circle, the more potential work opportunities you have. Likewise, a company's prospective-employee pool is defined by the number of people whose circles contain that company's location.

Most people measure that radius in time rather than distance; studies show they are generally unwilling to spend much more than 30 minutes commuting each way on a long-term basis. That means the size of their opportunity circle is critically dependent on how quickly they can get around.

Despite urban sprawl and ever-increasing congestion levels, economists Peter Gordon and Harry Richardson of the University of Southern California have documented, using census data, that average commute times in various metro areas have hardly changed at all over several decades. More recently, Alex Anas of the University of Buffalo modeled what would happen as a result of a projected 24 percent increase in Chicago's metro area population over three decades. He estimated that auto commute times would increase only 3 percent and transit trip times hardly at all. The reason is that people tend to change where they live or work in order to keep their travel times about the same. But this happy result comes about only if the transportation system expands accordingly.

A recent empirical study from the Marron Institute of Urban Management at New York University likewise found that, on average, the labor market of an urban area (defined as the number of jobs reachable within a one-hour commute) nearly doubles when the workforce of the metro area doubles. The commute time increases by an average of only about 7 percent, however—assuming an efficient region-wide transportation network. To achieve higher economic productivity, they recommend fostering speedier rather than slower commuting; more rather than less commuting; and longer rather than shorter commutes.

These policies would expand the opportunity circles of employers and employees, enabling a more productive urban economy. But these are exactly the opposite of the policy prescriptions of smart growth, which generally seek to confine people's economic activity to a small portion of a larger metro area.

One early manifestation of this was the attempt by urban and transportation planners in the '80s and '90s to promote "jobs-housing balance," where each county of a large metro area has comparable percentages of the region's jobs and of its housing. The rationale was that this would reduce "excessive" commuting by enabling people to find work close to their homes. But urban agglomeration theory makes it clear that that is a recipe for a low-productivity urban economy. Census data show that many suburban areas are now approaching jobs-housing balance on their own, but this does not necessarily reduce commute distances—to get to the jobs they want, many people still travel across boundaries.

A fascinating example is Arlington County, Virginia. Since 2000, the number of jobs and the number of working residents in the county have been approximately equal. But it turns out that only 52 percent of those working residents have jobs in the county. Out of 582,000 resident workers, 280,000 commute to adjacent counties or the District of Columbia. And out of 574,000 jobs in the county, 272,000 are filled by workers from other places.

A less extreme version of smart growth says that we should discourage car travel and shift resources heavily toward transit. People should be encouraged to live in high-density "villages" where they can easily obtain transit service to jobs elsewhere in the metro area. The problem with this vision is the inability of transit to effectively compete with the auto highway system.

Simply put, cars work better for workers. A 2012 Brookings study analyzing data from 371 transit providers in America's largest 100 metro areas found that over three-fourths of all jobs are in neighborhoods with transit service—but only about a quarter of those jobs can be reached by transit within 90 minutes. That's more than three times the national average commute time.

Another study, by Andrew Owen and David Levinson of the University of Minnesota, looked at job access via transit in 46 of the 50 largest metro areas. Their data combined actual in-vehicle time with estimated walking time at either end of the transit trip, to approximate total door-to-door travel time. Only five of the 46 metro areas have even a few percent of their jobs accessible by transit within half an hour. All the others have 1 percent or less. Within 60 minutes door-to-door, the best cities have 15–22 percent of jobs reachable by transit.

Meanwhile, Owen and Levinson found that in 31 of the 51 largest metro areas in 2010, 100 percent of jobs could be reached by car in 30 minutes or less. Within 40 minutes, all the jobs could be reached by car in 39 of the cities. Within an hour, essentially every job in all 51 places could be reached by car. The roadway network is ubiquitous, connecting every possible origin to every destination. The contrast with access via transit—let alone walking or biking—is profound.


The darkness of the Green/Left

The new movie "First Reformed" is being lauded by critics and described as the magnum opus of director and screenwriter Paul Schrader. He found fame with his screenplay for the 1976 classic Taxi Driver, and his movies often feature alienated protagonists who grapple with the evil in society and in themselves. This film is one of Schrader’s most personal, and charts the disillusionment, despair and apostasy of a pastor from the Dutch Reformed tradition — the style of Protestantism in which Schrader was raised, but later abandoned.

The symbolism of First Reformed is complex and open to interpretation. But if comments made by Schrader are any indication, his latest work is a sobering testament to the dark, increasingly dangerous religion of leftist politics.

Reverend Ernst Toller (Ethan Hawke) lives in quiet agony, preaching to the smattering of parishioners who attend his church on Sunday morning. Throughout the week he gives tours of the austere 18th-century sanctuary, which is derided as “the museum” by the pastor (Cedric Kyles) of the local megachurch that funds him. Toller lives like a lonely monk in his unfurnished rectory, scribbling thoughts of hope and despair in his journal between shots of whiskey. At length we learn he had been a military chaplain, whose marriage collapsed when he lost a son in Iraq, and whose faith is likewise threatening to buckle. Often he wanders the church graveyard and repairs its fallen tombstones — the emblems of a dying faith in which he is losing hope.

“If only I could pray,” he laments to himself.

When a pregnant congregant named Mary (Amanda Seyfried) seeks counsel for her troubled husband Michael (Philip Ettinger), Toller finds an alternative to his decrepit traditional Christianity. Michael introduces him to the catechism of climate change — a faith that addresses the contemporary political issues Schrader cares about, and comes complete with its own prophets of doom, its own activist martyrs and its own unquestioned orthodoxy. Like Schrader, who has claimed he does not believe humanity will survive the century, Michael believes the end is nigh. The original sin incurring this looming judgment is corporate capitalism, which has merged with right-wing American evangelicalism to render them indistinguishable. Against these Schrader uses his film to issue a snarling indictment.

When Toller discovers that his own church is underwritten by a major polluter, he obtains an epiphany. Terminally ill from the pollution he has inflicted upon himself, he embraces the dogma of despair. His great dilemma becomes the choice between suicide and the mass killing of those he deems guilty. Having lost faith in the traditional Christian God, Toller dethrones Him and seeks to install himself as the judge and executioner of those heretics that transgress his new environmentalist gospel. “I have found another form of prayer,” he says, overlooking a ravaged landscape while strapped in a suicide vest. The movie’s cryptic, unsatisfying ending will leave many viewers scratching their heads, wondering if Schrader is actually saying what he seems to be saying.

Is Schrader hiding behind his art a radical political message? It may be telling that his protagonist shares his name with Ernst Toller, a Marxist revolutionary and playwright. Three days after the 2016 presidential election, Schrader posted on Facebook that Trump’s victory was a call to arms. “I felt the call to violence in the 60s and I feel it now again,” he wrote. “This attack on liberty and tolerance will not be solved by appeasement. Obama tried that for eight years. We should finance those who support violence [sic] resistance. We should be willing to take arms.” Schrader closed his comments by commending to his readers the example of John Brown, the radical 19th-century abolitionist whose bloody solutions to social ills helped plunge the nation into civil war. (It is likely not a coincidence that Rev. Toller reflects upon his church’s abolitionist past when plotting his murderous vengeance.)

Further reflection led Schrader to delete his post and blame it on “a couple of cabernets and half an Ambien.” But the dark themes of First Reformed call into question his repentance. On the contrary, it is one of the clearest depictions yet that some on the progressive left have replaced Christianity with a new religion. Fueled by raging despair and an apocalyptic fear of climate change, this radical new faith possesses the same self-assured dogmatism exhibited by the severest strains of the one Schrader fled in his youth. But it is untempered by mercy, hope or the humble reluctance to cast the first stone.

At the very least, First Reformed acknowledges that the end of this new religion is madness and blood.




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


Monday, June 18, 2018

Rebellion in Canada: Ontario’s New Premier Announces End Of Cap-and-Trade Carbon Tax

Incoming government will use every power available to challenge federal government’s authority to impose a carbon tax on Ontario families, individuals and small businesses

TORONTO — Premier-designate Doug Ford today announced that his cabinet’s first act following the swearing-in of his government will be to cancel Ontario’s current cap-and-trade scheme, and challenge the federal government’s authority to impose a carbon tax on the people of Ontario.

“I made a promise to the people that we would take immediate action to scrap the cap-and-trade carbon tax and bring their gas prices down,” said Ford. “Today, I want to confirm that as a first step to lowering taxes in Ontario, the carbon tax’s days are numbered.”

Ford also announced that Ontario would be serving notice of its withdrawal from the joint agreement linking Ontario, Quebec and California’s cap-and-trade markets as well as the pro-carbon tax Western Climate Initiative. The Premier-designate confirmed that he has directed officials to immediately take steps to withdraw Ontario from future auctions for cap-and-trade credits. The government will provide clear rules for the orderly wind down of the cap-and-trade program.

Finally, Ford announced that he will be issuing specific directions to his incoming attorney general to use all available resources at the disposal of the government to challenge the federal government’s authority to arbitrarily impose a carbon tax on Ontario families.

“Eliminating the carbon tax and cap-and-trade is the right thing to do and is a key component in our plan to bring your gas prices down by 10 cents per litre,” said Ford. “It also sends a clear message that things are now different. No longer will Ontario’s government answer to insiders, special interests and elites. Instead, we will now have a government for the people. Help is here.”


Zwally doubles down

Zwally appears to be a Warmist but he is standing by his research findings about Antarctica -- which are in stark contrast to the model-driven and assumptions-filled conclusions discussed here yesterday

Antarctica Not Losing Ice, NASA Researcher Finds.  NASA glaciologist Jay Zwally says his new study will show, once again, the eastern Antarctic ice sheet is gaining enough ice to offset losses in the west.

Is Antarctica melting or is it gaining ice? A recent paper claims Antarctica’s net ice loss has dramatically increased in recent years, but forthcoming research will challenge that claim.

NASA glaciologist Jay Zwally first challenged the “consensus” on Antarctica in 2015 when he published a paper showing ice sheet growth in eastern Antarctica outweighed the losses in the western ice sheet.

Zwally will again challenge the prevailing narrative of how global warming is affecting the South Pole. Zwally said his new study will show, once again, the eastern Antarctic ice sheet is gaining enough ice to offset losses in the west.

Much like in 2015, Zwally’s upcoming study will run up against the so-called “consensus,” including a paper published by a team of 80 scientists in the journal Nature on Wednesday. The paper estimates that Antarctic is losing, on net, more than 200 gigatons of ice a year, adding 0.02 inches to annual sea level rise.

“Basically, we agree about West Antarctica,” Zwally told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “East Antarctica is still gaining mass. That’s where we disagree.”

Reported ice melt mostly driven by instability in the western Antarctic ice sheet, which is being eaten away from below by warm ocean water. Scientists tend to agree ice loss has increased in western Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula has increased.

Measurements of the eastern ice sheet, however, are subject to high levels of uncertainty. That’s where disagreements are.

“In our study East Antarctic remains the least certain part of Antarctica for sure,” Andrew Shepherd, the study’s lead author and professor at the University of Leeds, told TheDCNF.

“Although there is relatively large variability over shorter periods, we don’t detect any significant long-term trend over 25 years,” Shepherd said.

However, Zwally’s working on a paper that will show the eastern ice sheet is expanding at a rate that’s enough to at least offset increased losses the west.

The ice sheets are “very close to balance right now,” Zwally said. He added that balance could change to net melting in the future with more warming.

So, why is there such a big difference between Zwally’s research and what 80 scientists recently published in the journal Nature?

There are several reasons for the disagreement, but the biggest is how researchers make what’s called a glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA), which takes into account the movement of the Earth under ice sheets.

Scientists use models to measure the movement of land mass in response to changes the ice sheet sitting on top. For example, Zwally said eastern Antarctica’s land mass has been going down in response to ice sheet mass gains.

That land movement effects ice sheet data, especially in Antarctica where small errors in GIA can yield big changes ice sheet mass balance — whether ice is growing or shrinking. There are also differences in how researchers model firn compaction and snowfall accumulation.

“It needs to be known accurately,” Zwally said. “It’s an error of being able to model. These are models that estimate the motions of the Earth under the ice.”

Zwally’s 2015 study said an isostatic adjustment of 1.6 millimeters was needed to bring satellite “gravimetry and altimetry” measurements into agreement with one another.

Shepherd’s paper cites Zwally’s 2015 study several times, but only estimates eastern Antarctic mass gains to be 5 gigatons a year — yet this estimate comes with a margin of error of 46 gigatons.

Zwally, on the other hand, claims ice sheet growth is anywhere from 50 gigatons to 200 gigatons a year.


British fire disaster caused by Warmist rules

Though the Grenfell Tower fire inquiry has only just begun, a leaked interim report makes clear that one of the principle reasons for the fire was the use of flammable cladding added to the outside of the building by the contractors Rydon.

The cladding was there to shield insulation from weather damage. But, tragically, it carried the initial fire, which started in one flat, between the floors of the tower block.

Former housing secretary, now home secretary, Sajid Javid has claimed that the cladding that the developers used was in breach of fire regulations, because it was flammable. But he was trying to pass the buck. The fire regulations only state that the insulation should be fire resistant, not the cladding that protects it.

In hindsight, it is easy to see that Grenfell’s refurbishment made the building unsafe. But why was the building refurbished in this way in the first place?

The ‘policy context’ for the Grenfell Tower Regeneration Project, according to its ‘sustainability and energy statement’, is the Climate Change Act of 2008. ‘The council recognises the government’s targets to reduce national carbon dioxide emissions’, and ‘to deliver this, the council will’ carry out its plan for ‘conversions and refurbishments of 800m2 or more of residential developments’.

In its 2013-17 housing strategy, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea boasted that it had ‘agreed to clad a high-rise block in the north of the borough’ – Grenfell Tower – as part of the ‘greener housing’ strategy to ‘mitigate the causes of and adapt to the effects likely to occur due to climate change’.

The Climate Change Act was passed as part of the government’s commitment to meet the terms of the Kyoto Protocol, which came into effect in 2005, to reduce greenhouse gases.

The Kyoto targets and those of the Climate Change Act are ambitious. Even before 2008, developers and architects were worried about environmental impact. On his election to the presidency of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Paul Hyett announced ‘a crusade through which British architects and the RIBA address both their obligations to future generations – with respect to the delivery of a truly sustainable environment’.

At first, climate campaigners looked at industry. But the evidence showed that homes were a major source of carbon emissions. ‘They’re responsible for 31 per cent of energy consumed here’, protested environmentalist George Monbiot in his 2006 book Heat, arguing that the answer was government-enforced refurbishment.

In 2010, environment secretary Ed Miliband published a report, Warm Homes, Greener Homes, which identified social-housing projects as key to saving energy and reducing carbon emissions. It identified social housing as having ‘the potential to make a big contribution in… reducing carbon emissions from homes’. Because social housing is generally ‘in large purpose-built blocks, or on large estates, where social tenants remain the majority tenure’, it offers ‘carbon-reduction measures at scale’, it argued.

Note that Miliband identified social tenants as being more likely to support such measures. That is not because they are necessarily more supportive of carbon reduction, but because they have fewer rights than homeowners, and so are more easy to direct. Miliband wanted to ‘kickstart the installation of more ambitious eco-upgrades, with social housing providing particular leadership to stimulate the industry and reduce costs’. Now that social housing was on the frontline of the carbon-reduction campaign, social tenants were targeted for refurbishment measures, including cladding insulation.

Overall, the trend in building was to put much greater stress on reducing carbon emissions. Part L of the Building Regulations covers energy and has been successively expanded to oblige developers to make savings. As a consequence, many more ‘new materials’, often different kinds of plastics, have been fixed to the exterior of buildings. At the same time, Part B of the Building Regulations, which deals with fire safety, has not kept pace – so that the kind of cladding that Rydon put around its insulation was not prohibited. The shift in the Building Regulations betrays official thinking regarding residents: reducing their carbon emissions is a priority, but their safety is not.

The Climate Change Act was taken on board by successive London mayors and integrated into London’s housing plan. The 2014 housing plan said, ‘the mayor is committed to a targeted programme of retrofitting and upgrading the capital’s existing housing stock’. Then mayor Boris Johnson promised to ‘work with partners towards the environmental retrofitting of all London’s affordable housing’, leading to reductions of ‘up to 600,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum’.

In its 2009 Carbon Management Plan, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea set out its commitment to the Climate Change Act: ‘The Act sets the UK’s domestic targets to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by at least 60 per cent by 2050… under the Act local authorities will have a duty to reduce their carbon emissions.’

The planning application for the Grenfell Tower Regeneration Project set out the borough’s goals, principally ‘the complete overcladding of the exterior’. The ‘overcladding works are an integral part of the upgrade of the heating of the building’ and its ‘energy efficiency’, it said.

Why overcladding, you might ask? Energy was at the forefront of the council’s thinking. In its consultations with the tenants, the council saw the cladding as offering ‘a dramatic improvement in heat loss’ that would ‘generate significant energy savings’. As the application explained, ‘this project targets the main environmental deficiency of Grenfell Tower at its root: it is hugely wasteful of energy’. ‘The improved envelope performance and proposed replacement heating system reflect current energy standards for new residential buildings’, it said.

Grenfell Tower was not the only London block that was refurbished to meet the ideals of reducing carbon emissions. In Newham, the 23-storey Ferrier Point was also refurbished by contractors Rydon. According to the council’s sustainability strategy, the refubishment was ‘proposed to adopt a target of 60 per cent carbon reductions… in line with the government’s emission-reduction target’. In Camden, the Chalcots estate was also refurbished by Rydon, ‘a refurbishment designed to improve the estate’s carbon footprint’.

Since the fire, the London mayor’s office has lost its enthusiasm for retrofitting: ‘The tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire has raised urgent and wide-ranging questions that must be answered over the safety of many older high-rise residential buildings, particularly those built in the 1960s and 70s that have been retrofitted’, reads the 2017 Housing Strategy.

The refurbishments at Ferrier Point and the Chalcots estate are under review, and will most likely be reversed, as will the three refurbishments at Mount Wise in Plymouth, and in all likelihood a great many more. Currently, the government has admitted that some 299 buildings have failed to meet fire standards. Refurbishment, it turns out, was a false economy.

Refurbishment, of course, does not have to make buildings dangerous. In the end, the use of flammable panels was the problem – whether or not the fault for that lies at the door of Rydon or with the government for permitting it. But extensive refurbishment was bound to introduce greater complexity and therefore greater risks. On the whole, it would be better to rebuild older estates from scratch. Refurbishment is the conservative option. On this point, we have to agree with mayor Sadiq Khan: ‘If it is not possible to safely retrofit existing buildings, the mayor believes government should ensure resources are made available to demolish them and replace the social housing like for like.’

But there are barriers to such an approach. First, councils’ spending and borrowing is capped, which makes it difficult for them to rebuild without involving private developers. Second, tenants – and leaseholders – do not trust rebuilding programmes, and with good reason. Their experience is that they are priced out of the new developments, either through much higher rents or, if they are leaseholders, because the compulsory purchase price is much less than the cost of a comparable flat on the newly built estate. Partnerships between councils and private developers generally lead to a substantial loss of original tenants, between the ‘decanting’ and the opening of the new block.

The country’s housing has for too long been dominated by excessive caution about building, coupled with indifference to safety.


UK: Scandal of 'killer' wood burning stoves and the question - is the political class’s obsession with global warming rotting their brains?

Amazing backflips show they have no clue about what they are doing

The Government earned plaudits from the green lobby yesterday for its new plan to crack down on the craze for wood-burning stoves.

As the Mail reported on its front page, the stoves chuck out lethal pollution, particularly from wet wood, and contribute to thousands of early deaths from lung and heart disease.

But hang on! One reason Britain burns more wood than it has done for decades — a 2016 survey found 7.5 per cent of households in London burn wood — is that only recently, the Government and the greens told us burning wood to heat our homes was the best thing we could do for the environment.

Wood is ‘sustainable’, we were told. It gives off less CO2 than any other heating. It will help us save the planet and meet CO2 reduction targets under the Climate Change Act.

As a result of these persuasive arguments, about 1.5 million British homes have wood-burning stoves and 200,000 more are sold every year.

Now we learn that wood-burning is the single biggest source of tiny soot particles called PM2.5s — they are also emitted by burning coal and diesel — which go into our lungs and are said to be responsible for an estimated 37,800 premature deaths a year.

Given these horrific facts, why have governments in recent years made wood-burning such a core part of energy policy? For there is no doubt ministers have been desperate to encourage it.

There is just one issue. Health problems apart, the whole thing is an economic disaster.

Only last week we had a withering report from MPs on the Public Accounts Committee about the failings of something called the ‘Renewable Heat Incentive’, a scheme launched in 2011 by Chris Huhne when he was Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.

The idea was to offer lavish subsidies to businesses and homeowners to cut their ‘carbon emissions’, and save on energy bills, by centrally heating their premises by burning wood pellets. Participants could only qualify if they installed specific expensive renewable heating systems — as opposed to wood-burners bought by homeowners simply trying to be eco-friendly.

The MPs found that, although the scheme will cost taxpayers a staggering £23 billion in subsidies in the next 20 years, the high upfront costs meant take-up has been shamefully low.

Just 35,000 households have invested in it since its launch, while 6.2 million have installed very much cheaper gas heating over the same period.

The committee declared that the Government utterly failed to take account of the serious health risks posed by wood burning, while, thanks to the subsidies on offer, too many unscrupulous people had ‘gamed’ the system just to make money.

But last week’s report was far from the first time the Renewable Heat Incentive has given rise to a major scandal.

A version of the scheme — with even more lavish subsidies — ran so totally out of control in Northern Ireland in 2016 that it led to the downfall of the government there, sparking a political crisis that, 17 months later, is not resolved.

The crisis arose from the discovery that its subsidy bill had already hit £500 million and by 2020 was due to top £1 billion.

So generous was the Northern Irish scheme to businesses, offering £160 for every £100 they spent on wood chips, that firms used it to heat disused warehouses and long-empty offices, knowing the more they spent on wood chips the greater their profit would be.

Some users of the scheme kept heating systems running flat out night and day because they made such a profit from the subsidy scheme.

But even this disgracefully wasteful affair is dwarfed by what has become one of the most controversial green energy schemes of all: the conversion of boilers at the giant Drax power station in Yorkshire from coal to wood pellets, costing us all £800 million a year in subsidies.

Millions of tonnes of wood pellets are now needed by Drax every year, and since it is impossible to supply that quantity domestically, vast amounts of pellets are shipped 3,500 miles to Yorkshire from the U.S., where forests are destroyed to supply them.

As with the Government’s endorsement of wood-burning stoves and its Renewable Heat Incentive scheme, the idea behind Drax’s conversion to wood pellets is that burning trees or ‘biomass’ is ‘carbon neutral’ because eventually new, CO2-absorbing trees will grow to replace the ones that have been felled.

Yet a series of studies has confirmed what should have been obvious. It takes decades to grow a mature CO2-absorbing tree to replace a CO2-producing tree that can be cut down in seconds. Far from cutting Drax’s CO2 emissions, the largest power station in Britain gives off even more CO2 than when it just burnt coal.

Even the most ardent green activist groups have protested that chopping down millions of acres of forest in America to fuel a system that ends up chucking out more CO2 is an absurd ecological disaster.

This was even endorsed in a report last year by Duncan Brack, who had been a special adviser to Chris Huhne when this scheme was first being discussed.

The bitter truth is that these fiascos caused by our obsession with wood-burning are just a part of a larger disaster that taints almost every green scheme governments have foisted on Britain in the quest to reduce carbon emissions.

Remember why the Blair government in 2001 encouraged millions of motorists to switch to driving diesel cars through offering tax subsidies. It was because Blair’s chief scientific adviser Sir David King had decided that diesel gives off much less CO2 than petrol.

Eventually, it turned out that the pollution (in the form of those PM2.5 particles and toxic nitrogen oxides) emitted by diesels posed such a serious health risk it could be causing thousands of premature deaths in Britain every year.

And so, with a screeching U-turn, all the tax incentives encouraging us to buy diesel cars were reversed and diesel drivers were penalised. In this week’s latest proposed measures, the Government plans to clamp down not just on wood-burning stoves, but also even further on diesel vehicles.

The real question is why do our gullible politicians constantly deceive themselves and the rest of us with their endless, ever-more costly ‘green’ schemes which turn out to be nothing of the kind and actually increase pollution?

It is all very well MPs coming out with yet another report on yet another green energy fiasco. But why is it always only after the damage has been done? Why can’t they properly evaluate these green initiatives before they happen?

The fact is that not one of these schemes comes into being without having been nodded through Parliament.  In that sense our MPs are as much a party to these disasters as the ministers who propose them.

It’s as if the political class’s obsession with global warming rots their brains — for which the rest of us have to pay a very heavy price.


Prominent Swiss Meteorologist Says Blaming Weather Events On Climate Change “Unscientific Idiocy”

No one understands the causes of weather better than highly experienced meteorologists. And so when it comes to questions about extreme weather events, there is no one better to ask than prominent Swiss meteorologist Jörg Kachelmann (or Joe Bastardi in the US).

Yesterday at Twitter the veteran, high-profile Swiss meteorologist Kachelmann tweeted about an interview he had given with Austrian online magazine profil.at on the topic of extreme weather in Europe, and how the interview was withdrawn before publication.

The main reason behind the withdrawal was Mr. Kachelmann taking issue with what he viewed as low-blow journalism by profil.at, who in the introduction needlessly brought up the phony rape charges lodged against Kachelmann 8 years ago by a scornful ex-girlfriend.

Though the former German flagship ARD television meteorologist was cleared of the charges and got through the legal ordeal, his reputation tragically did not survive the media feeding frenzy and gutter journalism.

To make a long story short, Kachelmann yesterday simply posted a draft of the unpublished profil.at interview at Twitter, before later taking it down.

But I managed to read it and so now report on its content.

In the interview, Profil.at questioned Kachelmann about the warmer European springs, weather extremes, serious scientists, and other issues.

On the subject of the recent warmer springs and more severe thunderstorm activity, Kachelmann responded that it has gotten warmer, but that the alleged higher frequency and intensity of extreme weather events has more to do with hype coming from places like Facebook and click-hungry Internet sites.

Kachelmann added it’s normal for large weather patterns “to act up” and that it “has nothing to do with climate change”.

However he does attribute the warmer temperatures and higher humidity to climate change and that it is “statistically significant”, but then reminds that the statistics for weather extremes have yet to be shown as being significant.

When asked about climate denialism and why people like Donald Trump get votes with climate change denialism, the Swiss meteorologist says: “There’s a lack of scientific knowledge on both sides.”

Next he cited examples from on social media:

"Over the last weeks I’ve seen so many completely senseless tweets from Greenpeace and green politicians, who wish to blame without any doubt the daily weather on climate change, often with fake statistics, and so climate deniers are not alone. Serious scientists are working quietly between the embarrassing megaphones on both sides.”

Blame measurement instruments?

"As an example of just how absurd the media can be, in the interview profil.at unwittingly displayed a remarkable ignorance of climate (which all-too often prevails among the climate-ambulance-chasing-media) in posing the question: “Are there reliable instruments today that would allow us to determine if a weather event can be attributed to climate change, or indeed to the weather pattern at hand?”

Blaming weather on climate change “idiocy”

Kachelman answers by telling profil.at that weather events unfortunately don’t come with a certificate of origin, and any claim that they do needs to be viewed as “unscientific idiocy”.




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


Sunday, June 17, 2018

Antarctica Still Doing Just Great, Shock!

In his article below James Delingpole has provided a good demolition of the latest scare story.  I dismissed the story rather peremptorily a couple of days ago so Delingpole adds some welcome mockery of the claims. I note from the journal abstract that a sea level rise of 3.7 mm (7.6 - 3.9)is within the range of their estimates of sea-level rise over the last 25 years.  That is just a small fraction of one inch, probably unnoticeable

This has been the global warming scare story of the week, heavily promoted by the usual suspects, including Time, CBS, the Washington Post, the Guardian, the New York Timesand, inevitably, the BBC. Here is the BBC version:

"Antarctica is shedding ice at an accelerating rate.

Satellites monitoring the state of the White Continent indicate some 200 billion tonnes a year are now being lost to the ocean as a result of melting.

This is pushing up global sea levels by 0.6mm annually – a three-fold increase since 2012 when the last such assessment was undertaken.

Scientists report the new numbers in the journal Nature.

Governments will need to take account of the information and its accelerating trend as they plan future defences to protect low-lying coastal communities.

The researchers say the losses are occurring predominantly in the West of the continent, where warm waters are getting under and melting the fronts of glaciers that terminate in the ocean.

“We can’t say when it started – we didn’t collect measurements in the sea back then,” explained Prof Andrew Shepherd, who leads the Ice sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise (Imbie).

“But what we can say is that it’s too warm for Antarctica today. It’s about half a degree Celsius warmer than the continent can withstand and it’s melting about five metres of ice from its base each year, and that’s what’s triggering the sea-level contribution that we’re seeing,” he told BBC News."

So it’s over, right? The Warmunists were right, the deniers were wrong and global warming is a super serial crisis we need to deal with NOW not the day after tomorrow…

Actually no.

The first thing to note is that the study is published in Nature, which is alarmist central and therefore to be treated with a degree of skepticism.

If you read the abstract, it’s actually pretty dry and unexciting.

"The Antarctic Ice Sheet is an important indicator of climate change and driver of sea-level rise. Here we combine satellite observations of its changing volume, flow and gravitational attraction with modelling of its surface mass balance to show that it lost 2,720 ± 1,390 billion tonnes of ice between 1992 and 2017, which corresponds to an increase in mean sea level of 7.6 ± 3.9 millimetres (errors are one standard deviation). Over this period, ocean-driven melting has caused rates of ice loss from West Antarctica to increase from 53 ± 29 billion to 159 ± 26 billion tonnes per year; ice-shelf collapse has increased the rate of ice loss from the Antarctic Peninsula from 7 ± 13 billion to 33 ± 16 billion tonnes per year. We find large variations in and among model estimates of surface mass balance and glacial isostatic adjustment for East Antarctica, with its average rate of mass gain over the period 1992–2017 (5 ± 46 billion tonnes per year) being the least certain."

But such is the way of climate alarmism is that the scientists involved have to talk up their findings and make them sound scary. Then the mainstream media adds its spin to make them scarier still.

The reality is more prosaic. Those dramatic sea level rises, for example.

Despite the apocalyptic headline, ice loss has only been contributing about 0.3mm a year to sea level rise, about an inch per century. Given that sea levels have been rising at around 8 inches a century since the 19thC, there is no evidence that this is not a long term phenomenon we are seeing.

Then, again per Homewood, there’s the issue of reliability.

Then there is the question of the accuracy of measurements. A major study by NASA in 2015 discovered that Antarctic ice mass has actually been increasing since 1992, basically because of greater snowfall, and not decreasing as this new study claims.

In reality, measurements of ice mass are not exact and are subject to huge margins of error.

And it’s not as though scientists have records going back long enough (Antarctica is a big, inhospitable place: remember Captain Scott?) to get any proper historical perspective:

Indeed as Shephard himself is forced to admit, we did not start collecting data until 1992. This sort of melting could have been going on for centuries or longer. In fact, another paper published this month by Kingslake et al finds that there has been  extensive retreat and re-advance of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet during the Holocene.

As Shephard also remarks, the melting in West Antarctica is due to the intrusion of warmer water, and therefore nothing at all to do with GHGs or “global warming”. It is highly unlikely that such changes in ocean currents have not happened many times before.

Just to repeat that key point: scientists only been collecting data since the year REM released Automatic for the People. Not really that long ago in the great scheme of things.

Finally, there’s the awkward matter – awkward if you’re a warmist trying to generate climate alarm, that is – of context.

“Antarctica loses three trillion tonnes of ice in 25 years” sounds like a serious problem.

Until you realize how big Antarctica is. As David Middleton has calculated at Watts Up With That? three trillion metric tons is something the Antarctic can lose quite comfortably.

In a story headlined ‘Good News! 99.989% of the Antarctic Ice Sheet Didn’t Melt!’, Middleton reminds us that most of the Antarctic is still there.

One of his readers below has done the math on what three trillion metric tons of ice-melt-caused sea rise looks like.

3 Trillion Metric Tons of mass equates to 7.6mm Sea Level Rise. (2.54mm per inch is 7.62 for 3″)
3T Tons sounds like a lot but reality is, 1 trillion tons equates to 1″ of sea level rise.

Not very much.

Big global warming scare story over. Until they come up with a new one next week.

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

Federal Judge Stumps Trial Lawyers Handling NYC’s Climate Lawsuit With One Question

A federal judge posed a question to lawyers representing New York City in its global warming lawsuit against five major oil companies — does the city invest in fossil fuels?

The answer is an unambiguous yes, but attorneys representing the city told U.S. District Court Judge John Keenan they “don’t know,” further arguing that fact was “beyond the scope of the pleadings” during a court hearing on Tuesday.

Keenan didn’t seem to buy it and pressed attorney Matthew Pawa on whether or not New York City was trying to relitigate failed attempts to get a monetary judgment on damages allegedly caused by man-made warming.

New York City filed its lawsuit against oil companies in January, demanding compensation for damages allegedly caused by global warming, including future damages. The city hired the firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP to handle its suit in exchange for a share of any winnings — potentially billions of dollars.

Keenan heard arguments on Tuesday on whether or not New York City’s lawsuit should be dismissed. Pawa argued carbon dioxide emissions from oil companies products constituted a “nuisance,” but Keenan didn’t seem to buy it.

“I don’t think it’s hard to take judicial notice of the fact the city police department has a lot of cars, that the firehouse has trucks,” Keenan said. “Isn’t the plaintiff using the product that is the subject of this lawsuit?”

Pawa admitted the city used fossil fuels, but said the question wasn’t pertinent to defendants’ — BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell — motion to dismiss the case.

After huddling with co-counsel, Pawa also said: “We don’t know the answer to that your honor” when asked about the city’s fossil fuel investments.

Pawa’s answer was odd given New York City announced earlier this year it would divest from fossil fuel assets within five years. The announcement was made the same time Mayor Bill De Blasio announced their lawsuit against oil companies — the very case Pawa was arguing in court.

“In total, the City’s five pension funds hold roughly $5 billion in the securities of over 190 fossil fuel companies,” reads the city’s January news release on divestment. “The City’s move is among the most significant divestment efforts in the world to date.”

Pawa did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment on why he told Judge Keenan he did not know if the city was invested in fossil fuel companies.

Hagens Berman is handling lawsuits for at least three other local governments — San Francisco, Oakland and King County, Wa. All these suits are against the same five oil companies. The firm handles these cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning they get a percentage of any winnings.

The firm Seeger Weiss LLP is also handling New York City’s lawsuit, and the firm Sher Edling LLP is handling lawsuits for six California cities and counties against fossil fuel companies. These firms are also working for a percentage of any winnings.

The suits allege global warming violate state nuisance and trespassing laws, which have sometimes been applied to pollution. Trial lawyers also accused energy companies of trying to downplay the harms their products allegedly cause.

In March, U.S. District Judge William Alsup said plaintiff’s attempts to show oil companies conspired to cover up global warming science “shows nothing of the sort,” according to a journalist present at the hearing.


GM golden rice gets approval from food regulators in the US

GOLDEN rice, which has been genetically modified to prevent blindness in undernourished children, was judged safe to eat last week by the US Food and Drug Administration.

The rice contains extra genes that make a precursor to vitamin A, which is vital for preventing childhood blindness. A single helping can supply half the recommended daily intake of vitamin A, according to its developers at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines. The genes also give it its distinctive golden hue.

The nod by the FDA makes the US the fourth country to approve the rice this year, behind Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Having the rice cleared in these countries means there would be no regulatory issues if they imported food containing small quantities of the rice.

But its developer says the most important approvals are still awaited in the Philippines and Bangladesh, where the rice could have the greatest impact. Applications were lodged there last year.


Natural gas pipelines key to U.S. energy policy

 Today we need a rational discussion on energy policy that isn’t run by a single group or agenda. There aren’t any perfect solutions, because we don’t live in a perfect world. We need to evaluate and manage the risks and rewards from different energy sources; and we need consumers, business owners, energy companies and environmentalists to let their voices be heard.

What form of energy is abundant, easy to transport and store and burns cleaner than oil or coal? Flummoxed? It’s natural gas. But because it’s not a “green” energy source, environmentalists have waged war against new natural gas pipelines across the country — especially in the Northeast. This opposition is misguided and harmful to individuals, business owners, the environment and our national security.

To maintain a first-world standard of living, a nation needs abundant, affordable and reliable sources of energy, and natural gas checks all boxes. It’s abundant, with U.S. natural gas production more than 28.8 million mcfs (million cubic feet), according to the Energy Information Administration. At less than $3/mcf, it’s affordable; and the United States had marketed production of 73.8 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day in 2017. Production for 2018 and 2019 is forecast to be over 10 percent and 12 percent higher, respectively.

It’s also the cleanest burning fossil fuel. Natural gas produces almost 50 percent less CO2 than anthracite coal, and more than 25 percent less than diesel fuel and heating oil. Some utility companies are forced to use coal or heating oil as substitutes when there’s not enough available natural gas. When environmental activists stop construction of natural gas pipelines, this increases carbon emissions and air pollution — contrary to their stated goals.

While there are inherent risks with pipelines, it’s in a natural gas company’s best interest to make it as safe as possible. Energy companies don’t want to see a pipeline break and have to reimburse a property owner or individual for damages. They just want energy to flow from Point A to Point B with a minimum of expense.

The state of Massachusetts imports liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Yemen, instead of allowing pipelines to be built. Other Northeast states have similar anti-pipeline policies. This is why the cost of electricity is 19-20 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), compared to a national average of 12-13 cents/kWh, versus 9 cents/kWh in Texas. This keeps America more dependent on foreign energy and gives Middle Eastern nations and Russia an advantage in the world energy marketplace. In my opinion, it also compromises our national security.

Environmental activists who oppose natural gas pipelines because they blindly hate all fossil fuels, and/or President Donald Trump, are acting contrary to their stated interests of lower carbon emissions. And the unintended consequences are higher energy prices and a lower standard of living. However, there are some who understand the consequences of this misguided opposition. Patrick Moore, the co-founder and former leader of Greenpeace, said this:

“… I do not accept that the environmental movement should be given a veto over national energy or economic policy. That is for elected governments.

“My strong conviction on who should, and should not, have a veto on environmental issues stems from years of international sustainability work. I’ve had several meetings lately in India on issues around energy and agriculture. About 300 million people, mostly farmers, are without electricity in India. Yet environmental scientists have blocked virtually every hydroelectric project recently proposed to provide electricity, irrigation and flood control.

“As a result of this effective environmental veto, India has embarked on a massive build-out of coal-fired power plants that blacken the skies and provide no irrigation or flood control. This is what results from misguided campaigns led by ill-informed activists who do not think about the consequences of their wrong-headed positions, and demand veto power.

“Let’s avoid this notion of providing a single interest group with a veto over important aspects of energy policy, including pipelines. And while we’re at it, let’s avoid making decisions on crucial energy infrastructure on the basis of sensationalism, misinformation and fear.”

Today we need a rational discussion on energy policy that isn’t run by a single group or agenda. There aren’t any perfect solutions, because we don’t live in a perfect world. We need to evaluate and manage the risks and rewards from different energy sources; and we need consumers, business owners, energy companies and environmentalists to let their voices be heard. We should all work toward the goal to keep the United States economically strong and secure. Regardless of your political views or affiliations, on this we should all agree.


Antarctica’s Ice May Be More Durable Than We Thought

One of the biggest potential dangers of increasing climate change is sea level rise caused by the melting of the polar ice caps. As our planet heats up, large ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica will melt, potentially triggering several feet of increased sea level rise. If the entire Antarctic ice sheet melts into the ocean, it could lead to dozens of feet of sea level rise, likely enough to wipe out entire cities.

Of course, it’s important to remember that ice sheets are complex and predicting how they will react is difficult—there’s a wide range of possibilities. Perhaps the best way for scientists to predict how ice sheets will behave in the future is by learning how they behaved in the past, so one group of scientists traveled to the East Antarctic Ice Sheet to learn its history.

Specifically, the researchers were interested in what happened to the ice sheet during the Pliocene epoch, the geologic period from about 5.4 million years ago to around 2.5 million. During the Pliocene, global temperatures were a few degrees warmer than they are today, which means this era is a good model for what our world might look like in a few decades if climate change remains unchecked.

To determine just what happened to the ice sheet during this period, the researchers drilled deep into the rock beneath it. The scientists were looking for samples of certain isotopes, beryllium-10 and aluminum-26. These particular isotopes are created from the impact of cosmic rays from space. When these cosmic rays hit the atoms in the soil, they trigger atomic reactions that produce these isotopes.

The key fact here is that cosmic rays can’t penetrate the ice. If there was ice over the ground during the Pliocene, the cosmic rays wouldn’t have reached the ground and these isotopes shouldn’t be present in the soil. But if the ice sheet melted significantly, the researchers would find higher levels of these isotopes.

This scientific task is not as easy as it sounds. “Isolating these rare isotopes from grains of ancient sand is like finding a very small needle in a very large haystack,” said study author Paul Bierman. “But measuring them gives us a powerful view of Antarctica’s past that has never been seen before.”

In the end, the researchers found only trace amounts of the isotopes, suggesting that the ice sheet was present throughout the entire Pliocene. This is good news for us because it means the ice sheet will also likely survive the next few decades of climate change as well.

“Based on this evidence from the Pliocene, today’s current carbon dioxide levels are not enough to destabilize the land-based ice on the Antarctic continent,” said study author Jeremy Shakun.



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


Friday, June 15, 2018

Antarctic ice loss has tripled in a decade. If that continues, we are in serious trouble

This is just a compliation of guesses and contrary to many direct measurements

Antarctica’s ice sheet is melting at a rapidly increasing rate, now pouring more than 200 billion tons of ice into the ocean annually and raising sea levels a half-millimeter every year, a team of 80 scientists reported Wednesday.

The melt rate has tripled in the past decade, the study concluded. If the acceleration continues, some of scientists’ worst fears about rising oceans could be realized, leaving low-lying cities and communities with less time to prepare than they had hoped.

The result also reinforces that nations have a short window — perhaps no more than a decade — to cut greenhouse-gas emissions if they hope to avert some of the worst consequences of climate change.

Antarctica, the planet’s largest ice sheet, lost 219 billion tons of ice annually from 2012 through 2017 — approximately triple the 73 billion-ton melt rate of a decade ago, the scientists concluded. From 1992 through 1997, Antarctica lost 49 billion tons of ice annually.

The study is the product of a large group of Antarctic experts who collectively reviewed 24 recent measurements of Antarctic ice loss, reconciling their differences to produce the most definitive figures yet on changes in Antarctica. Their results — known formally as the “Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter-Comparison Exercise” (IMBIE) — were published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

“We took all the estimates across all the different techniques, and we got this consensus,” said Isabella Velicogna, an Antarctic expert at the University of California at Irvine and one of the many authors from institutions in 14 countries. The lead author was Andrew Shepherd of the University of Leeds in England.

“The detailed record shows an acceleration, starting around 2002,” Beata Csatho, one of the study authors and a glaciologist at the University at Buffalo, said in an email.

Csatho noted that comparing the first and last five-year periods in the record reveals an even steeper acceleration. “Actually, if you compare 1997-2002 to 2012-2017, the increase is even larger, a factor of more than 5!!” she wrote.

For the total period from 1992 through the present, the ice sheet has lost nearly 3 trillion tons of ice, equating to just less than 8 millimeters of sea-level rise. Forty percent of that loss has occurred in the past five years.

The rapid, recent changes are almost entirely driven by the West Antarctic ice sheet, which scientists have long viewed as an Achilles’ heel. It is known to be losing ice rapidly because it is being melted from below by warm ocean waters, a process that is rendering its largest glaciers unstable.

West Antarctica lost 159 billion tons of ice a year from 2012 through 2017, compared with 65 billion tons from 2002 through 2007.

The growth is largely attributable to just two huge glaciers: Pine Island and Thwaites. The latter is increasingly being viewed as posing a potential planetary emergency because of its enormous size and its role as a gateway that could allow the ocean to someday access the entirety of West Antarctica, turning the marine-based ice sheet into a new sea.

Pine Island is now losing about 45 billion tons per year, and Thwaites is losing 50 billion. Both numbers are higher than the annual losses for any other glacier in the world.

“The increasing mass loss that they’re finding is really worrying, particularly looking at the West Antarctic, the area that’s changing most rapidly,” said Christine Dow, a glaciologist at the University of Waterloo in Ontario who was not involved in the research. “And it’s the area that we’re most worried about, because it’s below sea level.”

“If you start removing mass from there, you can have a very large-scale evacuation of ice into the ocean and significant sea-level rise,” Dow said.


Swedish Researchers Confirm 20th Century Warming “Does Not Stand Out” Over Past 2500 Years!

A very recent study by Swedish scientists appearing in the journal Climate of the Past examining bottom water temperature (BWT) off the coast of Western Sweden (Gullmar Fjord) going back 2500 years found that “the most recent warming of the 20th century does not stand out.”

Team of researchers led by Irina Polovodova Asteman, University of Gotheberg, produced a record of bottom water temperature off the coast of western Sweden and found 20th century warming “does not stand out.”

The 2500-year winter temperature record was of reconstructed by using a fjord sediment archive from the NE Atlantic and through analysis of oxygen isotopes and other methods. The study was based on an approximately 8-meter long sediment core extracted from the Gullmar Fjord (Sweden).

They found that the Gullmar Fjord d18O record mainly reflects variability of the winter bottom water temperatures with a minor salinity influence.

The researchers also pointed out that a comparison with instrumental winter temperature observations from Central England and Stockholm shows that the fjord record picks up the contemporary warming of the 20th century

According to the scientists, the Gullmar Fjord record shows a substantial and long-term warming during the Roman Warm Period (~350 BCE – 450 CE) which was followed by variable bottom water temperatures during the Dark Ages (~450 – 850 CE).

The Viking Age/Medieval Climate Anomaly (~850 – 1350 CE) is also indicated by positive bottom water temperature anomalies, while the Little Ice Age (~1350 – 1850 CE) is characterized by a long-term cooling with distinct multidecadal variability.

The team of Swedish scientists, led by Irina Polovodova Asteman, Department of Marine Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, noted “the most recent warming of the 20th century does not stand out, but appears to be comparable to both the Roman Warm Period and the MCA (Medieval Climate Anomaly).”


Blue state rejects free electricity to avoid seeing a wind farm

Put out the NIMBY alert for Maryland. This very blue state is, of course, largely onboard with the entire “keep it in the ground” movement to abandon fossil fuels and embrace renewable energy. Unless, of course, you want to generate any of that electricity within sight of the state’s tony coastal communities. In Ocean City, Maryland, an energy company called U.S. Wind has plans in place to develop the second largest wind farm in the country offshore there, taking advantage of the almost constant breezes which blow in off the Atlantic. The amount of renewable electricity it would generate would be impressive indeed.

There’s just one problem. The locals don’t want any wind turbines within thirty miles of the coast for fear that it might obstruct the view and cut into tourism. U.S. Wind tried to tempt them by offering to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into other community development projects as an incentive. The locals said no. The company offered to build in a guarantee that they would cover any unanticipated cost overruns so Ocean City wouldn’t be stuck with the tab. The natives still wouldn’t relent. The final offer was truly incredible. The developers offered to provide Ocean City with free electricity for the life of the wind farm.

Ocean City officials say they don’t want offshore wind turbines to be built within 30 miles of the resort town’s beaches under any circumstances — not even in exchange for free electricity.

That was among the offers energy developer U.S. Wind recently made to appease concerns that its planned wind farm off Maryland’s coast will harm tourism.

The company also dangled other community investments worth hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, and volunteered to alter its plans if Ocean City agreed to cover any new costs.

None of that was adequate to allay fears that tourists will abandon Ocean City and flock to other beaches if Maryland’s horizon is dotted with towering wind turbines, though. Town leaders rejected the offer, Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan said.

The major problem that Ocean City has here is that the final decision really isn’t up to them. The Maryland Public Service Commission already signed off on the project and the final authority for such offshore developments usually lies with the federal government. All they can do is fight it in court and attempt to bog down the process while they look for a sympathetic judge to take their side. In the end, they may wind up losing out and seeing the wind farm built anyway without collecting any of the goodies that the developer was offering.

This is a classic case of NIMBYism taken to its extremes. Maryland’s liberal elites are all in favor of punishing fossil fuel companies and lecturing everyone on the need for cleaner, more “responsible” energy policies. But when the time comes to actually start generating all of the clean electricity, they don’t want those nasty turbines cluttering the few from the coast.

Maryland isn’t the only place this is happening. In Vermont, one of the greenest of the green refuges, there is a state mandate to shift almost entirely to wind energy over the next decade. But at the same time, outraged residents have convinced their state legislators to enact some of the most restrictive laws on wind turbines in the nation. The machines must be “as quiet as a public library” and have to be set back from residences and roads by at least ten times the height of the tower. Since most of the towers in use are at least 500 feet tall, that means they have to find places to install them that are literally a mile away from anything. Wind energy developers have described themselves as being “ready to give up on Vermont.”

And all the while, American continues to expand their lead as the dominant global force in petroleum and natural gas production. It’s a funny old world, isn’t it?


Banning Plastic Straws Harms Real People

SPOTLIGHT: Banning plastic straws is the latest trend.

BIG PICTURE: Here in Canada, the city of Vancouver has outlawed disposable drinking straws as of June 2019.

The European Union is talking about doing the same. Greenpeace thinks they should be curtailed in Australia.

As I’ve previously explained, these measures have no hope of cleaning up the ocean since the vast majority of trash polluting it comes from impoverished countries in Asia and Africa with no waste management systems.

Ten-year-olds may believe they’re saving turtles and seabirds by banning straws, but that’s wishful thinking. Nothing will seriously change until the garbage disposal problems of the third world are addressed.

If the litter is a concern along our coastlines, let’s do a better job of addressing littering. But let us not insult each other’s intelligence by pretending that banning straws will significantly reduce the total trash ending up in landfills.

Straws are small and weigh nothing. As a percentage of the overall refuse we produce each year, they’re trivial. Less than a rounding error.

The problem with these kinds of environmental crusades is that the crusaders believe they’re on the side of the angels. It doesn’t occur to them that their campaign might have unintended consequences – that real people might get hurt.

Vancouver was recently described as “the most ‘Asian’ city outside Asia.” Its ban will adversely affect the numerous small businesses who sell wildly popular Asian bubble tea, as well as thick milkshakes.

“Change like this can be costly,” says the president of a Restaurant and Food Services Association. Why increase costs for no discernible benefit? Why interfere with private businesses (be they successful or marginal) minus a compelling reason?

Then there are the sick and the disabled. Near the end of her long battle with breast cancer, the only way my mother could manage to drink was through a straw.

People with a range of disabilities also need them. One woman who is incapable of holding a cup told a newspaper that no straws were available in three establishments she visited recently, and that the staff was decidedly non-apologetic. From her perspective, her already difficult life is being made more so:

We’re really kind of viliyfing [sic] people who need straws or forgetting about them completely – let’s be honest –  in encouraging shaming people who are asking for them.

Another woman, confined to a wheelchair, suffers from a disease that affects her ability to swallow. The same newspaper article reads:

“Are straws then going to be something you buy at a medical supply store? And as soon as you do that they become more expensive and they become less accessible,” says [Vancouver’s Gabrielle] Peters, on a fixed income of disability benefits she estimates at $1,100 per month. “You’re just adding that cost to me.”

TOP TAKEAWAY: Banning plastic straws in affluent countries has no realistic chance of improving the state of the ocean. But these bans are making life worse for small business people, sick people, and the disabled.


Is Australia’s current drought caused by climate change? It’s complicated

Rubbish!  They are just obfuscating below. It's not complicated at all.  Rainfall in Australia regularly oscillates between the North and South of the continent. If there is drought in Victoria, there will be extra rain in Queensland, and vice versa.

And the present pattern is a confirmation of that.  While there is reduced rainfall down South we in Brisbane are getting a lot of rain.  Autumn and winter here are normally dry but this month  there seems to be rain a couple of times a week.  And in March it rained nearly every day, with some big falls among that. Statewide it was much the same.  Hence the headline in March: "Queensland's wet weather breaks dozens of records as rain still falls" and "Far North Queensland residents urged to be vigilant in floodwaters across the region"

Cairns in March

And the trees and plants are showing the effects of all the rain.  This year, my cumquat tree has really leapt for the sky. It's put on at least a foot of growth recently.  It seems to know more than the meteorologists do.

We do have some of those splendid fine clear days at the moment that Brisbane winters are known for but we have just as many cloudy days.

How come a humble social scientist like me knows all that while there is no hint of that knowledge from the climate mavens below? They know bupkis but as long as they can drag in some mention of climate change they are in clover

Much of southern Australia is experiencing severe drought after a very dry and warm autumn across the southern half of the continent. Australia is no stranger to drought, but this recent dry spell, and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s visit to drought-stricken parts of the country, has prompted discussion of the role of climate change in this event.

Turnbull said that farmers need to “build resilience” as rainfall “appears to be getting more variable”. This prompted former Nationals leader John Anderson to warn against “politicising” the drought by invoking climate change. This in turn was followed by speculation from numerous commentators about the links between climate change and drought.

So are droughts getting worse, and can they be attributed to climate change? Drought is a complex beast and can be measured in a variety of ways. Some aspects of drought are linked with climate change; others are not.

In Australia, the Bureau of Meteorology uses rainfall deficiencies to identify regions that are under drought conditions.

Droughts are also exacerbated by low humidity, higher wind speeds, warmer temperatures, and greater amounts of sunshine. All of these factors increase water loss from soils and plants. This means that other metrics are often used to describe drought which go beyond rainfall deficiencies alone. These include the Palmer Drought Severity Index and the Standardised Precipitation Evaporation Index, for example.

This means that there are hundreds of metrics which together can provide a more detailed representation of a drought. But this also means that droughts are less well understood and described than simpler phenomena such as temperature and rainfall.

So is climate change affecting Australian droughts?

As we have so many ways of looking at droughts, this is a more complex question than it might first sound. Climate change may affect these drought metrics and types of drought differently, so it is hard to make general statements about the links between human-induced climate change and drought.

We know that over southern Australia, and in particular the southwest, there has been a rapid decline in winter rainfall, and that this has been linked to climate change. In the southeast there has also been a decline but the trend is harder to distinguish from the year-to-year variability.

For recent short-term droughts in southern Australia, analyses have found an increased likelihood of rainfall deficits related to human-caused climate change. Also, it has been suggested that the character of droughts is changing as a result of the human-induced warming trend.

There is some evidence to suggest that widespread and prolonged droughts, like the Millennium Drought, are worse than other droughts in recent centuries, and may have been exacerbated by climate change. But the role of climate change in extended drought periods is difficult to discern from background climate variability. This is particularly true in Australia, which has a much more variable climate than many other parts of the world.




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


Thursday, June 14, 2018

Africa's oldest baobab trees are dying at an unprecedented rate, and climate change may be to blame

Of course the oldest trees are dying, that's normal for all species.  And why are they dying now?  Because Africa is in a prolonged and widespread drought.  Remember those reports about Capetown running out of water?

Baobab trees — an icon of the African continent and the heart of many traditional African remedies and folklore — are dying across the continent, and scientists are trying to understand why.

A study published Monday found eight of the 13 oldest trees in Africa have died over the past decade, and the authors suggest climate change may affect the ability of the baobab to survive.

"The deaths of the majority of the oldest and largest African baobabs over the past 12 years is an event of an unprecedented magnitude," the study authors said. "These deaths were not caused by an epidemic, and there has also been a rapid increase in the apparently natural deaths of many other mature baobabs."

Baobabs — also known as "dead-rat" trees after the shape of their fruit — are among the most distinctive plants in the world, featuring stout, massive, branchless trunks that can look like pillars.

The study's lead author, Adrian Patrut, a chemist at Romania's Babeș-Bolyai University, told NPR that "such a disastrous decline is very unexpected. It's a strange feeling, because these are trees which may live for 2,000 years or more, and we see that they're dying one after another during our lifetime. It's statistically very unlikely."

Using radiocarbon dating, the researchers analyzed more than 60 of the largest and potentially oldest baobab trees in Africa from 2005 to 2017. They were surprised that most of the oldest and biggest died within those 12 years.

Overall, five of the six largest baobabs either died or their oldest parts significantly deteriorated.

Man-made climate change is a likely suspect, scientists said. Increased temperature and drought are the primary threats, Patrut told BBC News. Researchers said further research is necessary to support or refute that idea.

Thomas Lovejoy, an environmental scientist at George Mason University, who was not involved in the study, told The Washington Post that "something obviously is going on in almost selectively affecting the largest and oldest. I do think climate is a likely culprit, but they don’t actually present any evidence of how climate is changing where these ancient trees occur.”

Whatever the cause, these mysterious deaths will have a big impact on the southern African landscape. In addition to shade, the tree’s bark, roots, seeds and fruit are food sources for many animals, according to Science magazine.


Australian coal prices hit 6-year high as Asia demand soars

What happened to all those "renewables"

Australian thermal coal prices have risen to their highest level since 2012 as hot weather across North Asia spurs buying ahead of the peak summer demand season.

Spot prices for thermal coal cargoes for export from Australia’s Newcastle terminal last closed at $115.25 per tonne, the highest level since February 2012.

Thermal coal, the world’s most used fuel for electricity generation, has surged by 130 percent since its record lows below $50 per tonne in 2016 following a years-long decline.

Prices have been driven up by economic growth, especially in Asia, along with constraints on supply due to earlier mine closures and high hurdles to developing new mines amid concerns about pollution and global warming.

In recent weeks, a heat-wave in North Asia and restocking ahead of the hottest summer months in July and August have led to soaring demand for both residential and industrial cooling, traders said.


Coal Use To Explode By 43% Worldwide! …German Energy Expert: ‘Paris Accord Has Collapsed’

Yesterday German energy expert and scientist Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt commented at his monthly column at Die kalte Sonne site here on solar activity, CO2 and coal power in Germany.

Sun factor grossly underestimated

Lately, the sun’s activity has been very quiet as the star at the center of our solar system transitions over to a new solar cycle. April sunspot activity was very low in May.

Vahrenholt then cites a recent study by Lewis and Curry showing that climate sensitivity to CO2 is in fact “up to 45% less than what the IPCC and the mainstream of climate science would like to have us believe.” Vahrenholt comments:

So with CO2 not being at the factor, it was made out to be, and because the Paris Accord is based on the spectacle of a rapidly warming planet, Vahrenholt writes that the “foundation of the Paris Accord has collapsed.”

Only Europe and Canada exiting coal

Another reason the Paris Accord is collapsing is that it’s not going to do anything we were promised it would.

When it comes to coal, Vahrenholt notes, so far only Europe and Canada have expressed some sort of a commitment to exit coal, and then he reminds us China, India and all developing countries will still be permitted to continue “massively” expanding their use of coal. He writes:

"In other words, Angela Merkel and her green punch drinkers think the climate is going to be saved if Germany shuts down 1/20 of what China and India are going to add. No wonder Trump dumped the idiotic Accord."

Coal to expand 43% worldwide

And to illustrate what a farce the Paris Accord has become, the German energy expert adds: “In total, coal power plant capacity will expand by 43% worldwide.”

Germany to lay out the blueprint for its own demise

Currently, Germany is gradually growing obsessed with the idea of a coal exit and is setting up a Coal Commission to launch the endeavor. The Commission “however will not be made up of energy, power grid, and technology experts, but rather with Greenpeace, BUND and local citizens initiatives who are against brown coal,” writes Vahrenholt.

“The idea of including critics of alternative energy, which has become the largest destroyer of nature since WWII, never dawned on any politician.”

Green state fundamentalism

The Coal Commission of course should include Prof. Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber, former director of the ultra-alarmist Potsdam Institute and architect of the Great Transformation masterplan, which calls for an immediate end to the economic model that is based on “fossil industrial metabolism”, making climate protection the “fundamental target of the state by which the legislative, executive and judicial branches are to align themselves.”

Paris absurdity

According to Vahrenholt, the phase-out of coal will mean the decarbonization of Germany, which in turn will mean its deindustrialization. This, according to Vahrenholt, all coming to the great delight of the Chinese.

A dismayed Vahrenholt sums up: “Trump was clever enough to exit the Paris absurdity early enough.”


People have the right to defend themselves against bad science

And EPA science under Obama was so bad that they kept it under wraps

The Greens have launched a massive and coordinated attack on EPA’s proposed regulation to end the use of “secret science” in Agency rule making. Secret science here simply means research that is not available for public inspection. The proposal is called the Transparency Rule and it is available for public comment here.

The basic principle is that if EPA proposes to regulate the public, then the public has a right to inspect the research used to justify that regulation. This seems obviously fair and just but the Greens do not see it that way. They think EPA should be able to do whatever it wants, behind a veil of scientific secrecy.

So the Greens are flooding the EPA comment system with mindless negative comments. At the time of this writing the Agency lists over 150,000 comments, the vast majority of which simply attack EPA for daring to propose transparency. Given that the comment period has been extended to mid-August this number is likely to get much bigger.

This attack is being coordinated by several Green Groups, especially the so-called Environmental Defense Fund. The idea behind regulatory notice and comment is to help the agency gets the rules right. It is not a referendum on the proposal, but that is how EDF sees it. They just want to generate 100,000 or more identical Green comments denouncing this proposal. There is nothing useful here, just the usual loud noises from the left.

EPA says on their comment website that they will only post substantive comments. It is then no wonder that less that 2% of the comments have been publicly posted. Even these are mostly worthless negative attacks.

There is also a green press campaign, in parallel with the personal attacks on EPA Administrator Pruitt. Here the ever-green New York Times has the lead. They have run a series of articles and op-eds attacking both Pruitt and the Transparency Rule.

One particularly silly NYT piece is titled: “Scott Pruitt’s Attack on Science Would Paralyze the E.P.A.” It begins by complaining that the Rule allows the EPA Administrator to exempt and use secret science if it is especially important. The Greens should like this provision, since it is just what they want. Instead the op-ed says that Pruitt is a lawyer, not a scientist, so he is not qualified to make such a decision. In reality this is standard exemption language, so the decision would be made by the regulatory office, including their scientists.

They then go on to say that the peer review of the journal article reporting the research should somehow be enough transparency. This is simply ridiculous, since peer review of an article does not include data analysis, attempted replication, etc., which the Transparency Rule is designed make available. Peer review is not quality control.

Thanks to what is called the “reproducibility crisis” we now know that there is a lot of shaky peer reviewed science out there. The US National Academy of Sciences now has a standing Committee on Reproducibility and Replication. This ongoing crisis is not really surprising, given that globally there are millions of scientists burning hundreds of billions of dollars a year in research funding and judged by how many articles they publish. Publishing in a peer reviewed journal does not separate good science from bad science.

The Transparency Rule speaks directly to the reproducibility crisis. I have yet to see an attack piece that even mentions, much less addresses, the fairness principle behind this Transparency Rule. Most of the attacks are nothing more that simple minded anti-Trump diatribes.

The critical few that are thoughtful worry about important research being excluded. This is a genuine concern which the final Rule needs to deal with. But in any case jamming the comment system with hundreds of thousands of worthless attacks is a stupid thing to do.

People have the right to defend themselves against regulations based on bad science.


Climate ‘Science’ Is Anti-Science; How Do You Disprove A Consensus?

Reasserting the scientific method

One of the most difficult concepts for people to understand is that science doesn’t prove theories, science is the process that disproves theories.

In real science, the null hypothesis is the consensus, and conclusion of the peer group. Under normal circumstances, the peer group consensus is based upon the results of reproducible experimentation.

In real science, people aren’t running around trying to convince people what has already been accepted as the scientific truth.

For instance, we no longer have people running around trying to prove that the earth is round…well, almost no one (click here).

Real science states the null and sets out to reject it.

Science rejects what people believe, it doesn’t reinforce it. Real science rejects the null.

Real science disproves what people believe. It never proves that things are what people think they are, that is an impossible task and would require an infinite number of experiments.

Real science is the “belief in the ignorance of the experts.”

Real science takes what is accepted, and proves that it is wrong. The accepted position is the status quo (the consensus) and real science attempts to prove everyone that believes what everyone knows to be true to be gullible fools.

Real science is about claiming “I’m right and the world is wrong, and I have the experiment to back it up.”

That isn’t how Climate Anti-Science is done. There is no scientific method in climate anti-science, there is no scientific process in climate anti-science, there is no experimentation and reproducibility in climate anti-science.

Climate anti-science shuns classical scientific methods and instead turns to science by authority, science by dictate, science by consensus, science by peer review, and science by computer models.

Why is that so wrong? Because you can’t reject a consensus, you can’t reject a peer group study. Just how does this anti-science even work?

You simply can’t ever be wrong if you have enough political power and reach and a likeminded computer programmer.

If I claim that the population of unicorns has been rapidly growing, and I get a few well-placed “experts” to agree with me, and I get published in a few like-minded “Peer Review Journals,” my claim that the unicorn population is growing simply becomes scientific fact.

How do you possibly reject a consensus? How do you reject a peer-reviewed conclusion? Science suddenly becomes more like a political campaign, a popularity contest, a public opinion poll.

I could even back up my claims with a computer model showing that the increase in CO2 has increased crop yields, which should increase the birth rate of unicorns.

This computer model based upon a theory void of any actual physical evidence would be then used a proof that the theory is in fact correct.

Anyone that disagreed with the computer model would be attacked as a “skeptic” or “denier” and have their careers ruined.

That is literally how climate anti-science works.

BTW, the entire foundation of science is skepticism, so the very fact that climate alarmists call people “skeptics” pretty much proves they don’t understand science.

Deniers, as in Holocaust Deniers make claims of disbelief without providing any evidence. That is the exact opposite of CAGW deniers who are eager to debate and provide their scientific arguments that are soundly based on facts.




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