Thursday, April 02, 2015



Re: "The Earth is getting GREENER: Researchers reveal huge expansion in world's trees"

A comment from Hans Schreuder

A quote from the Daily Mail: "The 4-billion-tonne increase is minuscule compared to the 60 billion tonnes of carbon released into the atmosphere by fossil fuel burning and cement production over the same period, said Yi Liu, the study's lead author and a scientist at the University of New South Wales."

Just wanted to point out that the atmosphere holds about 3,000 billion tonnes of CO2 in it, so the 60-odd billion from human activities might sound impressive, but it's only 2% of Nature's efforts.

See Here for  a graph I made years ago

That 2% figure correlates well with the UN IPCC's own estimates.

Human activity puts only a few percentage points of CO2 into the air, yet those few extra billion tonnes are causing global warming ....??!!

As per your PSI quoted article, which in turn quoted a BBC article, there's plenty "fossil fuel" on Titan, so maybe one day the penny will drop that earth will never run out of them as it's produced 24/7/365 and fossils have nothing to do with it.

We live in a crazy world, to be sure!

Via email





Don't be an April 'Earth Month' Fool


By Alan Caruba

The annual calendar is filled with days and months designated for the purpose of calling attention to some event, personality, or cause. The U.S. celebrates the birthdays of Lincoln and Washington that fall close together. There’s Mother’s and Father’s Day, Labor Day and Veteran’s Day, Valentine’s, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Easter and Christmas.

But who decided that April was “Earth Month” or that April 22 is “Earth Day”?

Why are we expected to worship the planet that was here billions of years before we showed up and will likely be here long after we manage to destroy ourselves with cataclysmic wars. And it is worship that is at the heart of these two events. That alone should tell you how essentially pagan they are.

This Earth Month will celebrate its 45th anniversary, having begun in 1970 and, not surprisingly, its theme is “Our planet in peril.” Our planet is not in peril. It’s been around for 4.5 billion years and short of a rogue asteroid or our getting sucked into a black hole, the planet will be around several billions of years more. The galaxy in which we live is relatively predictable and stable, so the notion that the Earth is in peril borders on idiocy.

Well, idiocy, if you think that it is in peril from us, the human species. This is at the core of the environmental mindset. It appears that merely using the Earth as a place to live is reason enough to hold us responsible for everything that naturally occurs to it.

Environmentalists do not like the human race and will not hesitate to tell you there are too many of us. They do what they can to reduce the population through disease by, for example, banning DDT and any other chemicals that protect us from insect and rodent pests that are major vectors for the transmission of disease.

According to the 2015 Earth Month Network, Inc. announcement “There are literally hundreds of problems and issues plaguing our global environment, i.e., climate change, global warming and their effects; and the continuation of polluting our delicate ecosystem just to mention a few.”

Which is it? Climate change or global warming? There hasn’t been any dramatic global warming in the past 19 years during which the planet has been in a natural cooling cycle, along with the Sun which we depend upon to warm us. So anyone claiming the Earth is warming is blowing smoke up your skirt.

As for climate change, that has always been occurring. Short term it’s called the four seasons. Long term it takes the form of ice ages, major glaciations that have occurred every 140 million years, and other eras such as the Great Permian Extinction, the largest in Earth’s history that wiped out an estimated 95% of every kind of life-form on Earth. It was one of four mass extinctions over the course of the 3.5 billion years that life has existed on Earth. Remember the mammoths? They died a mere 11,500 years ago.

Last year, the Earth Month theme was “Returning to Nature.” Do you really want to return to nature? No electricity. No shelter other than a nice cave. No food except for the animals or fish you would have to catch for dinner. No vegetables or fruits except those you could find wherever you lived. That’s right, no supermarkets! And, if you want to go anywhere, you will have to walk.

Yes, nature sounds wonderful and, in its own way, is wonderful, but the human species has devoted a great deal of time to finding ways to survive it.

I was reminded that April was Earth Month when I received an email from the Saybrook Point Inn & Spa which said this Connecticut site was “excited to offer a special package to honor Earth Day.” It is “a Certified Green Hotel” and you will be treated to a “unique Ecotourism Getaway” that provides an “environmentally friendly stay without sacrificing comfort.” Why would you want to pay them for their special package if it didn’t include comfort and lots of it? Mostly what Saybrook Point wants is your money, just like any other perfectly ordinary inn and spa that isn’t “certified.”

One can be confident that we are going to be regaled with all manner of “environmental” messages and events throughout April, all of which have the same theme: the Earth is in danger from YOU!

Do yourself a favor. Ignore them. Get in your car and go where you want. Go to the supermarket and don’t worry about the plastic packaging or the plastic bags. Set the temperature in your home or apartment to a level of comfort that you like. It’s your life and you pay good money to benefit from all the conveniences of modern life.

Let’s appreciate the Earth, not worship it.

Environmentalism is one of the great scams of the modern era. Its emphasis on “renewable energy” has been a huge, expensive failure. Its claims of disappearing forests are bogus and its demands for the reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will only harm all vegetation everywhere. The Earth needs CO2 in the same way you and all other living creatures need oxygen.

Let’s celebrate mankind’s mastery of the Earth in the form of agriculture, ranching, sophisticated shelters from the log cabin to the skyscraper, the channeling of rivers to produce energy and the technology that provides clean water for us. And, yes, manufacturing. You can’t even imagine what the world was like before the discovery of coal, oil, and natural gas.

The Earth is not in peril, only the truth and common sense are.

SOURCE






Earth Hour celebrates ignorance, poverty and backwardness

Its ideas would send the West back 100 years and keep poor nations impoverished and wretched

Ross McKitrick

A few years ago, a journalist asked me for my thoughts on the importance of “Earth Hour” – which was reprised this past weekend. What I told him applies today, perhaps even more so.

I abhor Earth Hour. Abundant, cheap electricity has been the greatest source of human liberation in the 20th century. Every material social advance in the 20th century depended on the proliferation of inexpensive and reliable electricity.

Giving women the freedom to work outside the home depended on the availability of electrical appliances that free up time from domestic chores. Getting children out of menial labour and into schools depended on the same thing, as well as on the ability to provide safe indoor lighting for reading.

Development and provision of modern health care without electricity is absolutely impossible. The expansion of our food supply, and the promotion of hygiene and nutrition, depended on being able to irrigate fields, cook and refrigerate foods, and have a steady indoor supply of safe hot water.

Many of the world’s poor suffer brutal environmental conditions in their own homes because of the necessity of cooking over indoor fires that burn twigs and dung. This causes local deforestation and the proliferation of smoke- and parasite-related lung diseases.

Anyone who wants to see local conditions improve in the Third World should realize the importance of access to cheap electricity from fossil-fuel based power generating stations. After all, that’s how the West developed.

The whole mentality around Earth Hour demonizes electricity. I cannot do that. Instead, I celebrate it and all that it has provided for humanity. Earth Hour celebrates ignorance, poverty and backwardness.

By repudiating the greatest engine of liberation, it becomes an hour devoted to anti-humanism. It encourages the sanctimonious gesture of turning off trivial appliances for a trivial amount of time, in deference to some ill-defined abstraction called “the Earth,” all the while hypocritically retaining and enjoying the real benefits of continuous, reliable electricity.

People who see virtue in doing without electricity should shut off their fridge, stove, microwave, computer, water heater, lights, TV and all other appliances for a month, not an hour. And pop down to the cardiac unit at the hospital and shut the power off there, too.

I don’t want to go back to nature. Travel to a zone hit by earthquakes, floods and hurricanes to see what it’s like to go back to nature. For humans, living in “nature” meant a short life span marked by violence, disease and ignorance. People who work for the end of poverty and relief from disease are fighting against nature. I hope they leave their lights on.

Here in Ontario, through the use of pollution control technology and advanced engineering, our air quality has dramatically improved since the 1960s, despite the expansion of industry and the power supply. If, after all this, we are going to take the view that the remaining air emissions outweigh all the benefits of electricity, and that we ought to be shamed into sitting in darkness for an hour, like naughty children who have been caught doing something bad, then we are setting up unspoiled nature as an absolute, transcendent ideal that obliterates all other ethical and humane obligations. No thanks.

I like visiting nature, but I don’t want to live there, and I refuse to accept the idea that civilization with all its tradeoffs is something to be ashamed of.

Ross McKitrick is Professor of Economics at the University of Guelph, a Senior Fellow at the Fraser Institute and an adjunct scholar of the Cato Institute.

 Via email




Differences between Real Science and Man Made Global Warming Science

There are at least a dozen differences between man-made global warming (AGW) and real science. While science follows a defined scientific method, AGW uses political campaign tools like polls, demonizing opposition, scare tactics, deception, and propaganda.

    Real science says "Question everything".  AGW says "Questioning AGW is reckless because it threatens the planet."

    Real science never ends, but is an ongoing cycle of testing and correction. AGW tries to break that cycle by claiming "the debate is over" and "the science is settled". "SETTLED SCIENCE" IS AN OXYMORON invented by non-scientist Al Gore to avoid debating his profitable beliefs in public.http://physics.ucr.edu/~wudka/...
 
 Real science develops hypotheses that are falsifiable via testable predictions. AGW ISN'T FALSIFIABLE because it makes contradictory, changing predictions. More hurricanes (see Al Gore's movie cover) or fewer hurricanes (reality now attributed to AGW), more snow or less snow, warmer or cooler than average temperatures, etc. are all cited AFTER the fact as proof of AGW. There is no observation that AGW proponents will accept as refuting their belief. Predictive models created by warming proponents are consistently wrong: http://wattsupwiththat.com/201...
   
Real science relies on skeptics to make progress. Many real scientists spend their careers try to disprove accepted wisdom. AGW, on the other hand, intimidates and SMEARS SKEPTICS as "non-believers", equating them to holocaust deniers and treating them more like the Church treated Galileo:http://business.financialpost....
 
 Real science grants awards for disproving accepted truths. AGW researchers, on the other hand, have a VESTED INTEREST in only one outcome. They can access billions of dollars in government money only while MMGW is perceived by the public as a threat to humanity: http://wattsupwiththat.com/201.../
 
 Real science has nothing to do with polls or consensus, but AGW proponents CONSTANTLY USE POLLS to defend their claims. Ironically, even when they use polls they have to spin their outcomes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/la...
 
 Real science doesn't claim validity by citing the credentials of proponents. It respects only data and analysis, regardless of who is publishing it. Einstein was a little known patent office clerk when he overturned the consensus understanding of space and time in 1905 with Special Relativity. “It doesn’t matter how beautiful your guess is or how smart you are or what your name is. If it disagrees with experience, it’s wrong.”-Richard Feynman, Nobel Prize Physicist

   Real science keeps testing to remove bias and discard bad models. Einstein's Relativity is still being tested a century later. AGW ignores or HIDES DATA it doesn't like:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/ear...

   Real science accepts that bad predictions imply bad hypotheses. When AGW predictions are wrong they don't question the hypothesis...they just change the predictions and REBRAND the movement.

   Real science never recommends that skeptics be JAILED: http://gawker.com/arrest-clima...   http://ecowatch.com/2015/03/16...

   Real science doesn't create billionaires who get rich peddling untested theories.

   Real science tries to account for all interfering variables in studies. AGW simply ignores all the variables that have drastically impacted Earth's climate for billions of years unless those factors are needed to excuse faulty predictions.

SOURCE





Obama to Pledge Goals for UN Global Warming Treaty

The United States offered to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by more than quarter in a plan announced Tuesday, a move that is expected to bolster the chances that world leaders will agree on an international climate treaty this year.

The U.S. announced its commitment at the informal deadline for nations to submit their contributions to the United Nations. Although the goal of 26 percent to 28 percent by 2025 isn't new - President Barack Obama first unveiled it last year during a trip to Beijing - the U.S. proposal has drawn intense interest from the vast majority of countries that have yet to announce how deeply they'll pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions as part of the treaty.

"Today's action by the United States further demonstrates real momentum on the road to reaching a successful climate agreement this December in Paris and shows President Obama is committed to leading on the international stage," the White House said in a statement, adding that the cuts "roughly double the pace of carbon pollution reduction in the United States from 1.2 percent per year on average during the 2005-2020 period to 2.3-2.8 percent per year on average between 2020 and 2025."

Obama's pledge constitutes the opening offer by the U.S. as world leaders strive to reach a climate deal powerful and ambitious enough to prevent the worst effects of climate change. In the works for years, the treaty is set to be finalized in Paris in December. If it's successful, it will mark the first time all nations - not just wealthier ones like the U.S. - will have agreed to do something about climate change.

Along with the United States, the European Union, Switzerland, Mexico, Norway and Russia have submitted their proposed cuts. China, the world's top emitter, and India are expected to submit theirs in the coming months.

What metrics the U.S. will use to back up its claims is not yet clear. The European Union, one of the first parties to submit its contribution, pointed to per capita reductions in emissions to show how it is cutting its carbon footprint. But emissions per capita are far higher in the U.S., making it an inconvenient measure for the U.S. to use to show progress.

Instead, the U.S. is expected to focus on the fact that the Obama administration has ramped up the rate of emissions reductions nearly twofold. Early in his presidency, Obama committed to cut U.S. emissions 17 percent by 2020; his subsequent goal for 2025 pushes it to 28 percent.

The U.S. and other developed countries have been aggressively pressing developing nations to step up on climate change - especially those like China and India that are heavily reliant on dirtier sources of energy. Obama has described his strategy as "leading by example" and has sought to use the steps he's already taken to cut emissions to ramp up pressure on other countries to do the same.

But poorer countries have traditionally balked, arguing their more modest means make reductions more of an imposition and pointing out that historically, they're responsible for just a small fraction of the heat-trapping gases that industrialized countries have been pumping into the atmosphere for decades. So when Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping both committed to curbing emissions in a joint announcement in November, environmentalists hailed it as a sign that reluctant nations like China were finally getting on board.

"People know that domestically, we're moving forward," U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy said Monday at a luncheon hosted by Politico. She pointed to the U.S.-China pact as Exhibit A. "If the two biggest polluters and the two biggest greenhouse gas polluters can get together, and two biggest economies, then we're going to be OK moving into Paris, and we should have momentum behind our backs."

Although all nations were asked to submit their climate targets by the end-of-March target date, only a handful of countries are expected to meet it. In addition to the U.S., the EU and Switzerland, Mexico unveiled a pledge last week to cut greenhouse gases and short-lived climate pollutants 25 percent by 2030, drawing praise from the White House and from environmental advocates.

How will the U.S. meet its goal? The Obama administration has avoided putting hard numbers on the size of emissions reductions it expects from specific steps the U.S. is taking. In its submission, the EU listed specific economic sectors - such as transportation, energy and manufacturing - where it expects major reductions, and named the specific greenhouse gases it plans to cut.

In contrast, the U.S. is expected to point broadly to the steps it is taking under the climate action plan Obama announced in 2013, such as new rules requiring sweeping cuts from new and existing power plants, stricter emissions limits for cars and trucks, and initiatives targeting specific greenhouse gases like methane and hydrofluorocarbons.

Many of those steps ordered by Obama face major legal challenges and intense political opposition, raising the risk that they could be undermined or even discarded once Obama leaves office in 2017. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the U.S. couldn't meet Obama's target even if his domestic climate plan were fully implemented.

"Considering that two-thirds of the U.S. federal government hasn't even signed off on the Clean Power Plan and 13 states have already pledged to fight it, our international partners should proceed with caution before entering into a binding, unattainable deal," McConnell said.

Environmentalists welcomed the U.S. move, saying it would send a signal to the rest of the world that the United States is serious about combating climate change.

"This important commitment sends a powerful message to the world: Together we can slash dangerous carbon pollution and combat climate change," Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement. "This announcement builds on America's leadership that already is delivering notable breakthroughs, such as the recent commitments by China and Mexico to join the global effort. And that bodes well for a strong international commitment to fight climate change at the Paris conference in December."

Lou Leonard, the WWF's vice president for the climate change program, said the announcement "is a big deal."

"It signals that U.S. climate policy over the next decade will begin to line up with growing majorities of Republicans, Democrats and Independents, as well as key business leaders, calling for climate action now," he said. "By developing this target based on existing authority, the United States is signaling that countries should have confidence it can deliver. To maintain that confidence, a strong final rule this summer to cut carbon pollution from new and existing power plants will be critical."

Source





Wind farms in trouble in Australia

The article below sees that as a tragedy.  By any rational and fully informed  calculation, however, it is a Godsend for Australian public finances

Banco Santander, a major investor in renewable energy, will sell its only Australian wind farm and exit the local sector because of policy uncertainty that has dragged the industry into crisis.

Santander will seek a buyer for its 90 per cent stake in the 106.8 megawatt Taralga wind farm near Goulburn, which is not being included in the renewable energy fund it set up late last year with two Canadian pension giants because of the perceived poor prospects for the sector in Australia, say sources.

David Smith, executive director of Santander in Sydney, declined to comment.

Australia's renewable energy sector has been left in limbo by the political debate surrounding the country's 2020 renewable energy target. The government and Labor Opposition agree the 41,000GWh target for large-scale renewable energy needs to be reduced to suit the downturn in total power demand from the grid, but have been unable to agree on a compromise.

As of last week, the government was proposing a 2020 target of 32,000GWh, while Labor wants a target in the high 30,000GWh range. A compromise suggested by the Clean Energy Council at 33,500GWh, up from the current level of about 17,000GWh, has failed to find backing.

Investment in large-scale renewable energy collapsed by almost 90 per cent in 2014 as a result of the deadlock, which has been criticised by several large foreign investors in the local renewable energy sector, including GE, Spain's Fotowatio Renewable Venture and Infigen Energy cornerstone shareholder, the Children's Investment Fund. They have all warned of the harm to Australia's sovereign risk, which will deter long-term infrastructure investors.

In December, Santander struck a deal with the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and the Public Sector Pension Investment Board in Canada to transfer its portfolio of renewable energy and water infrastructure assets into a new company owned equally by all three parties. But despite the partners having an appetite for other infrastructure assets in Australia, the wind farm was excluded from the $US2 billion-plus ($2.6 billion) portfolio of assets in the new company because of the uncertainty around the RET and the decision by the Coalition government to ditch the carbon tax, say sources close to the company.

The new company will, however, invest in Brazil and Mexico, which are seen as offering better prospects for renewable energy investors than Australia.

"It is quite clear that the uncertainty around the RET and other changes to policy that have occurred over the past few years has created a lot of uncertainty for investors in the renewable energy space," said Richard Pillinger at BlueNRGY LLC, which owns 10 per cent of the Taralga wind farm.

The Taralga wind farm, which has a 10-year contract to supply power to EnergyAustralia, was financed with about $280 million from Santander, CBD Energy, Danish export credit agency EKF, ANZ and the federal government's Clean Energy Finance Corporation. Production of electricity from the first of the 51 wind turbines began in December.

CBD Energy has since gone into administration and been acquired by US-based BlueNRGY LLC.

Santander is closing the Sydney office for its equity investment arm, which focuses on renewable energy, in mid-2015.

SOURCE

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Wednesday, April 01, 2015


It's not only Warmists who do crap science

Two of the biggest predictors of health are both politically incorrect to mention:  IQ and social class.  But ignoring them leads to all sorts of foolish conclusions.  Causes and effects are regularly mis-identified.  The misidentification can be rather hilarious  -- as below, where eating your greens is said to add 11 years to your life.

The African-American in the woodpile below is social class.  Middle class people are much more likely to follow official dietary advice and are also healthier. They are also healthier if they DON'T follow dietary advice.  So in the study below both the longer lives and the vegetable-rich diet are effects of social class.  There is no reason to believe that the diet had any effect on longevity.

The reasons why middle class people live longer are probably multifarious, with less risky lifestyles and more use of medical services being two such factors.  On the other hand there seems to be a general syndrome of biological fitness, with better health and IQ being connected -- meaning that high IQ is probably an  outcome of generally better brain health.  And smarter people are more likely to get rich and be middle class.  So there are a lot of interwoven effects there -- but diet has got nothing to do with any of it.


A study found that pensioners who regularly ate spinach and other leafy greens stayed sharper for longer.  Men and women who had just one or two helpings a day had the brainpower of people 11 years younger.

The US researchers said that something as simple as eating more greens could help protect against the onset of Alzheimer’s.

The researchers, from Rush University in Chicago, quizzed 950 men and women about their diet.  The volunteers, who had an average age of 81, then did a battery of mental tests every year for up to ten years.

The brains of those who ate leafy green vegetables, such as spinach and kale, aged more slowly, the Experimental Biology conference in Boston heard.  The effect was big, with the slowing of cognitive decline equivalent to 11 years, on average.

It is thought that vitamin K, folate or vitamin B9, and the natural colourings lutein and beta-carotene were behind the effects.

Researcher Dr Martha Morris said: ‘Losing one’s memory or cognitive abilities is one of the biggest fears for people as they get older.... ‘Our study provides evidence that eating green leafy vegetables and other foods rich in vitamin K, lutein and beta-carotene can help to keep the brain healthy to preserve functioning.’

She now wants to find out just how these nutrients nourish the brain. [I'll bet she does]

SOURCE






The Earth is getting GREENER: Researchers reveal huge expansion in world's trees

A BENEFIT of more CO2 in the air

The world's vegetation has expanded, adding nearly 4 billion tonnes of carbon to plants above ground in the decade since 2003, thanks to tree-planting in China, forest regrowth in former Soviet states and more lush savannas due to higher rainfall.

Scientists analysed 20 years of satellite data and found the increase in carbon, despite ongoing large-scale tropical deforestation in Brazil and Indonesia, according to research published on Monday in Nature Climate Change.

Carbon flows between the world's oceans, air and land. It is present in the atmosphere primarily as carbon dioxide (CO2) - the main climate-changing gas - and stored as carbon in trees.

Through photosynthesis, trees convert carbon dioxide into the food they need to grow, locking the carbon in their wood.

The 4-billion-tonne increase is minuscule compared to the 60 billion tonnes of carbon released into the atmosphere by fossil fuel burning and cement production over the same period, said Yi Liu, the study's lead author and a scientist at the University of New South Wales.

'From this research, we can see these plants can help absorb some carbon dioxide, but there's still a lot of carbon dioxide staying in the atmosphere,' Liu said by telephone from Sydney.

'If we want to stabilise the current level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere - and avoid the consequent impacts - it still requires us to reduce fossil fuel emissions.'

SOURCE




What Time Is It? Time to Start Arctic Drilling

While the U.S. is enjoying a boom in oil production, it has been no thanks to Barack Obama's policies -- as federal lands remain closed, the growth is almost entirely on private lands.

Yet no good thing lasts forever, and even the government says we should be prepared. The Associated Press reports, "The U.S. should immediately begin a push to exploit its enormous trove of oil in the Arctic waters off of Alaska, or risk a renewed reliance on imported oil in the future, an Energy Department advisory council says in a study submitted Friday."

It takes years from exploration to first barrel on the market, so best to get started. Thanks to economic growth in China, India and elsewhere, fossil-fuel demand is expected to grow -- in spite of leftist climate alarmism.

So why the Arctic? The AP says geologists estimate it "holds about a quarter of the world's undiscovered conventional oil and gas deposits." More oil drilling has never been a policy goal for the Obama administration, but even a stopped clock is right twice a day. That said, an Energy Department study is hardly going to persuade Obama to open up the spigots.

SOURCE





There are heaps of "fossil fuels" that were not produced as fossils

Evidence from other planets in our solar system continues to prove hydrocarbons (so called 'fossil fuels') are abundant outside earth's biosphere and are not the product of decayed organic matter. The following BBC article shows this. hydrocarbons on Titan

 Dropping a robotic lander on to the surface of a comet was arguably one of the most audacious space achievements of recent times.

But one concept mission being studied by the US space agency could top even that.

Scientists are proposing to send a robot submarine to the oily seas of Saturn's moon Titan. The seas are filled not with water, but with hydrocarbons like methane and ethane.

These compounds exist in their liquid state on the moon, where the temperature averages -180C.

The plan is funded by an initiative called Nasa Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC), where researchers are encouraged to think out of the box.

"That's quite liberating," says the scientist behind the project, Dr Ralph Lorenz, who is outlining the concept here at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) in Texas.

"You can take a step back and really let your imagination run riot."

But Dr Lorenz believes the mission is eminently achievable with the right resources, timing and technology.

Unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) are now widely used for military purposes, by search teams, in oil exploration and scientific investigation. So existing technologies could be adapted for use on another world.

SOURCE







First three months of 2015 show fewest U.S. tornadoes in three decades

Yesterday, the Daily Caller reported that the Weather Channel's chief meteorologist, Greg Forbes, said the number of tornadoes so far this year has been 27, with "only four tornado watches" issued, and zero touching ground in March, the fewest in nearly three decades.

Unlike hurricane season, there is no official start or end date for tornado season. What is remarkable is that "this is the slowest start to the year, tornado-wise, since the 21 tornadoes were recorded through March 12, 2003."

February was also statistically important as there were only two tornadoes reported during the entire month. "According to statistics kept by Dr. Forbes, only three other Februaries since 1950 saw two or fewer tornadoes in the U.S.: 2010 (1), 2002 (2) and 1964 (2)."

Greg Carbin, a warning coordination meteorologist at NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC), said "only four tornado watches were issued by the SPC for January and February combined." The last time there were this few tornadoes was in 1985, nearly 30 years ago, when only two tornado watches were required.

So far this year, the SPC has gone 51 continuous days without issuing "either a tornado or severe thunderstorm watch through February 25. This was the longest such watch-less streak since late 1986," according to Carbin.

The cause of this tornado drought is the "bitter cold, snow and ice" that began in early 2015, mainly affecting the Eastern portion of the United States. Coupled with the lack of moisture moving up from the Gulf Coast, and an altered Jet Stream, you have the perfect ingredients for little to no tornadoes.

"The rise in mainly weak tornadoes detected in recent decades due to meteorological and technical advancements such as Doppler radar and social media, as well as larger spotter networks, the three-year period from 2012-2014 was considered the least active three-year period on record dating to 1953," according to Carbin.

In other words, as technology improves and remote areas become more populated, people are utilizing their phone's cameras and posting videos to social media sites like YouTube and FaceBook, as well as media outlets.

Tornadoes haven't necessarily increased in frequency, but rather denser populations, tornado chasers, and advanced technology are documenting smaller, weaker tornadoes that would have gone unnoticed (and thereby uncounted) in previous years.

As for the rest of the spring and summer, meteorologists "cannot predict how the rest of the year will shape up, tornado-wise. The final tallies depend on how persistent the western ridge-eastern trough pattern described above remains into the spring, as we head toward the April-June U.S. tornado maximum."

Carbin said in a statement that, “We are in uncharted territory with respect to lack of severe weather. This has never happened in the record of [Storm Prediction Center] watches dating back to 1970.”

"Once the jet-stream pattern changes, allowing warmer, more humid air into the central, southern and eastern U.S. in spring, severe thunderstorms will follow suit," The Weather Channel reported.

SOURCE


What Climate Alarmists Don't Want You Knowing About CO2

Man-made global warming is junk science. So say highly-qualified experts from the ‘hard’ sciences. Poorly trained government climate ‘experts’ for too long refused to share their half-baked theories and data about the role of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) with better qualified experts. 

Below are typical well-known and established scientific facts that climate change alarmists would rather keep from you.

  • As part of the “Carbon Cycle”, through photosynthesis, atmospheric carbon dioxide is the sole source of the oxygen that we need to breathe (one molecule of CO2 produces one molecule of O2). 
  • Similarly, through photosynthesis,our entire food supply (animal and vegetable) is dependent upon carbon dioxide.  Needless to say, carbon dioxide is essential to our survival.
  • In Calgary, Alberta, we accommodate “seasonal” temperature changes from, say, +30 C (summer) to -30 C (winter) for a 60 C temperature range, which is due to the Sun.  The +2 C “drift” in “average” global temperatures is attributed, by alarmists, to carbon dioxide (currently 400 ppm, parts-per-million, by volume in the atmosphere). 
  • Carbon dioxide is a much poorer “green house gas” than water vapour (by a factor of ~160, see thermodynamic analysis: http://www.biocab.org/Heat Stored.html).  Water vapour (at 1% or 10,000 ppm, by volume in the atmosphere) is particularly prevalent over the oceans that cover three-quarters of the surface of our planet.
  • A recent publication by NASA suggests that carbon dioxide actually contributes to “Global Cooling”:http://www.naturalnews.com/040448 solar radiation global warming debunked.html
  • There are fossils of palm trees in the high Arctic and evidence of a previous Ice Age that had little to do with the activities of Man.
  • Meaningful, unbiased/objective, “hard” sources of global data regarding sources of carbon dioxide can be difficult to find in a format suitable for comparison purposes. 
  • The site http://www.planetseed.com/relatedarticle/carbon-dioxide-sources provides an excellent list of sources, but ignores the contribution of "natural" forest and grass fires.  A more complete list is as follows:

1. Respiration (plant and animal, unquantified)

2. Decay (plant and animal, unquantified)

3. Volcanic activity (>0.6 Gtonnes, http://www.livescience.com/40451-volcanic-co2-levels-are-staggering.html)

4. Forest & grass fires (unquantified)

5. Increase/decrease of carbon dioxide dissolved in ocean water (see analysis below).

"Man-made" Carbon Dioxide

6. Fossil fuel combustion (natural gas, petroleum, and coal: see IPCC estimates)

7. Cement production (calcination of limestone, may be included in 6.)

8. Wood combustion (deforestation and fuel wood, unquantified)

  • According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-Earth System Research Laboratory (NOAA-ESRL). the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere (Mauna Loa Observatory), showed an average annual increaseof 2.1 ppm (16 Gtonnes) per year for the past decade (2005-2014).  The average for the prior decade (1995-2004)was 1.9 ppm (15 Gtonnes) per year.  These numbers represent the "real" measured "net" result of all annual contributions (sources and sinks), listed or otherwise. 
  • At a total atmospheric concentration of 400 ppm, a 2 ppm increase per year represents 0.5%  net increase per year, from all sources and sinks.
  • In the din of shrill, alarmist "Green" rhetoric, real science gets lost in the background and ignored by the media.
  • Al Gore, David Suzuki, the IPCC, etc., etc. have it exactly backwards, elevated levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are more likely the result of global warming, not the cause. 
  • The release of carbon dioxide (man-made) by combustion of hydrocarbons is negligible compared with the potential (and probably actual) release of carbon dioxide from warming oceans. 
  • Cause and effect have been "converted" for ideological reasons or just plain ignorance.  
  • Any form of "carbon tax", or other related economically damaging policy, is "consequential" damage.
  • Of the three major “sinks” for carbon dioxide (photosynthesis, dissolving in water bodies, and natural sequestration), the oceans are the largest reservoir of dissolved carbon dioxide on the planet (40 to 60 times the quantity of atmospheric carbon dioxide, i.e., Nature's own "carbon capture").  This enormous carbon dioxide absorptive capacity of the oceans, in active exchange with the atmosphere, means that very little (approximately 1/40th to 1/60th) of any additions to atmospheric carbon dioxide (including "man-made") accumulate in the air to contribute to any "Climate Change". 
  • Ocean organisms “sequester” some of the dissolved CO2 into seashells, corals, crustaceans, the White Cliffs of Dover, carbonates of the Western Sedimentary Basin and Rocky Mountains, and so on.  When ocean temperatures rise, CO2 is released into the atmosphere like a carbonated drink going "flat".

The evidence:

1. Background: CO2 in sea water:  http://www.soest.hawaii.edu/oceanography/faculty/zeebe_files/Publications/ZeebeWolfEnclp07.pdf

2.      (a) Atmospheric CO2 “lags” Global Warming: http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.ca/2013/06/climate-scientist-dr-murry-salby.html

        (b) http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.ca/2013/07/swedish-scientist-replicates-dr-murry.html

3. It is well known (within established science) that the solubility of gases in water (including sea water) decreases with increasing water temperature.  The issue then is to determine the release (not rate) of carbon dioxide from sea water with increasing sea water temperatures (average). 

The rates of release would be dependent upon the mixing efficiency of ocean currents, amongst other dynamic factors (atmospheric and otherwise).  The mechanism of point 3 is not to minimize the complexity of the "open system" dynamics, but an exercise of Occam's Razor to simplify the analysis.  Refinements can be made later (if and when desired, for rigour).  All formulae are accessible so that math can be checked.

If Global Warming/Climate Change is not attributable to accumulating "man-made" atmospheric carbon dioxide, then no amount of effort directed to the "control" of man-made carbon dioxide will have any effect whatsoever. 

Variable output from the Sun acting on atmospheric water vapour and clouds (condensed water vapour) has been identified as a much more likely explanation/driver for Climate Change (variations of "average" global temperatures), due to the enormous absorbed heat of vaporization (phase change) of the liquid water in dissipating clouds.  There is no corresponding thermodynamic explanation available to carbon dioxide (no phase change).


SOURCE

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

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


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Tuesday, March 31, 2015



Harmless pesticide still used in Australia -- ozone "hole"  regardless

In their role as sand in the gears of civilization, Greenies constantly find reasons to ban useful chemicals,  making pest and weed control difficult and raising costs.  We need therefore to look at where a ban is really needed.  In this case the reason for the ban is a laugh.  Methyl bromide was banned because it allegedly harmed the ozone layer.

But even though the ozone layer "protections" were put in place long ago, the "hole" in the ozone layer waxes and wanes as it always did.  The "protections" have protected nothing. The ozone "hole" is now properly regarded as just another failed Greenie scare.  Although  official meteorological records of the "hole" are no doubt still available, nobody I know even bothers to track it anymore.

So the ban on Methyl bromide should in fact now be lifted completely -- giving farmers and others a colorless, odorless, nonflammable fumigant to use, where appropriate

About 70 per cent of Australian strawberries are being grown on runners that have been fumigated with an environmentally damaging pesticide that has been banned around the world.

Methyl bromide is an odourless and colourless gas which was banned under the United Nations Montreal Protocol in 1989 because it depletes the ozone layer.

Australia agreed to phase it out by 2005 but a decade later, nine strawberry runner growers at Toolangi, in Victoria's Yarra Valley, are still using nearly 30 tonnes a year.

They produce 100 million strawberry runners annually, which in turn generate about 70 per cent of Australian strawberries.

Each year they apply to the UN for a critical use exemption from the ban, claiming the alternatives are financially crippling.

The co-chair of the UN Methyl Bromide Technical Options committee, Dr Ian Porter, said the situation was frustrating.

"Internationally, we've gotten rid of 85 per cent of methyl bromide, and it's a great win for mankind — in fact it's the best environmental gain that's been made," he said.

"[The strawberry runner growers] want to get rid of it, but there's a responsibility to provide high-health runners for the industry.

"It's frustrating ... but we don't want industries to fall over economically or technically. We don't want more disease or pests in Australia."

Environmental Justice Australia said it was concerned the growers were using a loophole to continue their use of methyl bromide.

"I think if people did know more about this issue, they'd be very concerned that the strawberries they're consuming are contributing to this significant environmental issue," chief executive Brendan Sydes said.

"There was a commitment to phase out this chemical by 2005 and yet, despite that, we're continuing to use it in this industry. It's a real concern.

"I think it's a real failure of the industry to come up with some alternative methods of producing strawberry runners, but also of the government to insist on compliance with this important regulatory regime."

Prices would increase to $10 a punnet: industry

The strawberry growers said if they were forced to stop using methyl bromide, the viability of the $400 million strawberry industry would be "compromised" and 15,000 jobs jeopardised.

The industry estimated their costs could soar by 500 per cent if they were to switch to soilless growing systems, similar to those used in parts of Europe.

The runner industry has invested more than $700,000 on research and development to find alternatives to methyl bromide.

That cost would be passed on to consumers, and a punnet of strawberries could end up costing more than $10.

"You imagine turning 100 hectares immediately into glass houses, and the impact that would have," Dr Porter said.

"It's just not the least bit economical at this stage.

"It's tough to weigh up economics, it's one of our challenges. Will consumers pay $10 a punnet? I don't know."

SOURCE





Feisty Ala. climate change critic claims Washington is trying to intimidate him

An Alabama atmospheric scientist who has gained a global reputation as a repudiator of "mainstream climate science" strongly defended his research record at the University of Alabama, Huntsville (UAH), where he is a distinguished professor and director of the university's Earth System Science Center.

John Christy, who has been at UAH since 1987, said this week that all of his research funds are derived from state and federal agencies and that he has never accepted research money from business or industry groups that have challenged the scientific findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the National Research Council and other expert bodies.

Nor has he accepted research funding from groups actively engaged in lobbying against U.S. climate change policies, he said.

Moreover, Christy suggested a recently launched congressional investigation into sources of his and other climate scientists' research funding is an attempt by Democrats in Washington to squelch dissenting opinions about the degree of climate warming and the role that human-generated greenhouse gas emissions have in a shifting climate.

"I've been involved in this issue for 25 years, and I'm past the point of being intimidated," Christy said in an email responding to the inquiry led by House Natural Resources ranking member Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) exploring outside funding to climate researchers at seven U.S. universities.

"This is simply a way for the Administration to publicly draw attention to us as scientists not aligned with their views, implying there must be a scurrilous reason for daring to think the way we do," he added.

Christy said he did not distinguish between Democrats in Congress, where the investigation is playing out, and members of the Obama administration who have cast Christy and other scientists with dissenting views on climate change as being idealogues or beholden to the fossil fuel industry and other polluters.

"They are one and the same to me," he said.

Not a joiner

Christy's comments follow renewed attention brought to his and six other high-profile academics' research records, public engagements and other activities carried out in their capacities as university employees.

Others targeted by the Grijalva investigation are Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Robert Balling of Arizona State University, Judith Curry of the Georgia Institute of Technology, Steven Hayward of Pepperdine University, David Legates of the University of Delaware and Roger Pielke of the University of Colorado.

All seven of the academics have testified before Congress, and several have participated in events hosted or sponsored by groups seeking to disprove widely accepted climate change theories or characterize the phenomenon as a hoax.

Some of those organizations, such as the Heartland Institute and the Institute for Energy Research, have come under scrutiny from advocacy groups, climate scientists and elected officials for their lobbying activities, public statements and financial support for research that promotes climate change skepticism.

Christy, who is credited with important research using balloons and satellites to measure changes in the Earth's lower atmosphere, is well-known to climate skeptic organizations, and his work has been cited in various documents and reports. He is also a well-known figure in both Washington, D.C., and Alabama, where he has been the state's official climatologist since 2000.

In the past, Christy has said he avoids close association, including attending the meetings of climate skeptic groups, to avoid "guilt by association."

He has testified before Congress numerous times, most recently in 2013, and is one of the lead authors of the IPCC's 2001 report in which the satellite temperatures were included as a high-quality data set for studying global climate change. He has since become one of the IPCC's staunchest critics.

Among other things, Christy has said IPCC models suggesting that climate change is an imminent threat are wrong, and he has argued that efforts to arrest climate change by sharply curtailing the burning of fossil fuels will leave the country without its cheapest and most abundant energy resources.

"Someone has just done a terrific job at marketing an [unproven] idea," Christy said of leading climate theories in a June 2014 interview

Before Congress, Christy has often struck a more combative posture.

"It appears the nation has indeed enacted knee-jerk remedies to 'combat climate change' through regulations on carbon dioxide," he told a House panel in December 2013. "I warned this committee in 1996 that these would be 'unproductive and economically damaging.'"

In the same testimony,Christy submitted comments from fellow climate scientist Curry of Georgia Tech likening the IPCC to an entity that has stifled scientific inquiry and worked to infect the scientific and policy communities with false findings, much the way a disease infects an organism. "We need to put down the IPCC as soon as possible -- not to protect the patient who seems to be thriving in its own little cocoon, but for the sake of the rest of us whom it is trying to infect with its disease," Curry said.

Such comments have brought Christy into the crosshairs of numerous climate advocacy groups, as well as Democrats like Grijalva, who last month began digging into sources of financial support for researchers like Christy and the six others targeted in the investigation.

In a Feb. 24 letter, Grijalva asked UAH administrators to respond to a series of questions and information requests concerning Christy's work. Among other things, the congressman asked for all of Christy's testimony before government agencies, as well as detailed information on any "external funding" that Christy has received from non-UAH sources, including "consulting fees, promotional considerations, speaking fees, honoraria, travel expenses, salary, compensation and other monies."

In an email last week, a spokesman for House Natural Resources Committee Democrats declined to provide any information on the investigation's findings to date.

Christy said that the university will be sending a response "based on all of my funding records." As for the investigators' request for all of Christy's public testimony, he said his remarks before Congress are already part of the public record, including information about research funding sources.

Christy also has the backing of his employer. Ray Garner, chief of staff to UAH President Robert Altenkirch, said in a statement that Christy "has always approached his work with the utmost of integrity, and the quality of his research is nothing short of exemplary."

SOURCE





Is Global Warming a Moral Cause?

On March 1, the New York Times published a silly piece titled “Is the Environment a Moral Cause” by Robb Willer (writing from Palo Alto, CA, of course) saying conservatives don’t embrace global warming alarmism and other popular environmental causes because they are more concerned about “patriotism, respect for authority, sanctity or purity” than “protecting people and ecosystems from harm and destruction.”

With all due respect to Prof. Willer, this isn’t even close to the truth. Rupert Wynham’s wonderful March 26 letter to the BBC makes it abundantly clear that conservatives view global warming as an issue loaded with moral concerns of a different kind: truth-telling, respect for others, healthy skepticism toward authority and propaganda, and willingness to publicly debate those who disagree.

Conservatives – and, opinion polls show, a healthy majority of the American public – don’t “believe in global warming” because its advocates utterly lack credibility. They’ve been caught again and again exaggerating, lying, and even breaking the law to end any civil discussion of the causes and consequences of climate change. Ordinary people aren’t fooled by propaganda. They’ve figured it out.

Willer writes, “To win over more of the public, environmentalists must look beyond the arguments that they themselves have found convincing.” That’s only partly right. They need to start speaking the truth, stop believing government agencies and advocacy groups that have been shown to lie and deceive to achieve power or financial rewards, and start debating their critics. Nothing else will restore environmentalism to the status it properly held before it became an appendage of the left-liberal political movement.

SOURCE





Institute of Physics Accused of Corruption as Climate Change ’97 Percent Consensus’ Claim is Debunked

In the nearly two years since John Cook and his colleagues published their ’97 percent’ paper claiming a scientific consensus on climate change, the term ’97 percent’ has become something of a mantra for global warming advocates. President Obama tweeted “Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: #climate change is real, man-made and dangerous.” The Guardian runs a regular column headed “Climate Consensus – the 97%” (regular contributors include co-authors of the original paper).

The paper, published by the Institute of Physic’s IOPScience has been downloaded over 300,000 times and was voted the best 2013 paper in Environmental Research Letters. But does the 97 percent claim stack up?

Richard Tol, Professor of Economics at the University of Sussex and the Professor of the Economics of Climate Change at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, says no. He has penned a blog, since published in edited form by The Australian, thoroughly debunking Cook’s paper, its methodology, its results, and the way it has been used by climate change advocates.

“Climate research lost its aura of impartiality with the unauthorised release of the email archives of the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia,” Tol says. “Its reputation of competence was shredded by the climate community’s celebration of the flawed works of Michael Mann. Innocence went with the allegations of sexual harassment by Rajendra Pachauri and Peter Gleick’s fake memo.

“Cook’s 97% nonsensus paper shows that the climate community still has a long way to go in weeding out bad research and bad behaviour. If you want to believe that climate researchers are incompetent, biased and secretive, Cook’s paper is an excellent case in point.”

Firstly, Tol points out that science doesn’t depend on consensus. A scientific truth is objective not subjective; that is, it’s true whether one person adheres to it, or everybody adheres to it.

Secondly, Cook’s paper, titled Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature, only claims that 97 percent of the scientific literature that takes a position on climate change (most does not) supports man-made global warming hypotheses. Yet supporters have used it to claim that 97 percent of scientists support global warming theories; they do not.

That aside, Tol highlights problems specific to Cook’s paper, such as the fact that, although Cook and his team sampled over 12,000 papers to reach their conclusion, they “did not check whether their sample is representative for the scientific literature. It isn’t. Their conclusions are about the papers they happened to look at, rather than about the literature. Attempts to replicate their sample failed: A number of papers that should have been analysed were not, for no apparent reason.”

That wasn’t the only sampling issue – further analysis has found that their sample was “padded with irrelevant papers,” such as an article on TV coverage of climate change which has been used as evidence to support climate change. “In fact, about three-quarters of the papers counted as endorsements had nothing to say about the subject matter,” Tol says.

Despite these and other issues, the paper’s editor praised the paper for its “excellent data quality”. Refusal to hand over data for third party analysis breaches the publisher’s policy on validation and reproduction, yet an editorial board member of the journal defended Cook’s obfuscation as “exemplary scientific conduct”.

The conduct of the Institute of Physics as the publishers of the report, and the University of Queensland, Cook’s employer, in protecting him has led the blogger Andrew Montford to accuse them of corruption.

“As an indictment of the corruption of climate science it’s hard to beat. That the Institute of Physics and the University of Queensland would stand behind such a blatant piece of politicking and deceit is almost beyond belief.

“As far as they are concerned when it comes to climate science there is no study too fraudulent, no conduct too reprehensible, no deception too blatant,” he said.

SOURCE





Do Joe Romm and Fellow Climate Scientists Think Sexual Misconduct is OK?

Climate science is a world in which wealthy businessmen who make charitable donations to museums are targeted and ostracized. Yet creeps who write about urinating on women get a free pass


A passage from former IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri’s 2010 book, "Return to Almora"

Yesterday the left-leaning US website, ThinkProgress.org, ran this headline: Museums’ Ties To The Koch Brothers Are Not OK, Scientists Say. The story is written by Joe Romm, a gent who tosses around the phrase ‘anti-science’ so frequently he long ago deprived it of all meaning.

We’re told about an open letter signed by Romm and 53 other “Leading climate scientists and museum experts.” These people say they’re

deeply concerned by the links between museums of science and natural history with those who profit from fossil fuels or fund lobby groups that misrepresent climate science.

The letter singles out a particular person, David Koch. The fact that this wealthy individual chooses to donate his money and time to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and the American Museum of Natural History is a scandal, apparently. According to the letter:

We are concerned that the integrity of these institutions is compromised by association with special interests…

When some of the biggest contributors to climate change and funders of misinformation on climate science sponsor exhibitions in museums of science and natural history, they undermine public confidence in the validity of the institutions responsible for transmitting scientific knowledge.

… the only ethical way forward for our museums is to cut all ties with the fossil fuel industry… [bold added]

Ah, yes. Integrity. Public confidence. Ethics. These are all important ideas. Too bad activist scientists such as Romm are so selective about where and when they think such ideas apply. I’ve recently written about a senior Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) official by the name of Jean-Pascal van Ypersel who has worked for and taken money from Greenpeace.

Where is the open letter from 54 leading climate scientists pointing out that the IPCC’s integrity is irretrievably compromised by such a link? Why aren’t these same scientists declaring loudly that there’s no quicker way to undermine public confidence in a purportedly scientific entity than for its officials to get into bed with agenda-driven, green multinationals?

And if ordinary, everyday ethics are the issue where, oh where, are the open letters making it clear there’s no place in climate science for the sort of egregious sexual harassment of which Rajendra Pachauri, the former chairman of the IPCC, now stands accused?

Why hasn’t anyone at ThinkProgress even bothered to mention Pachauri’s resignation? Hello, it happened more than a month ago – on February 24th. Why isn’t anyone on that website talking about the highly embarrassing fact that Pachauri’s resignation letter tells us he’s on a religious crusade to save the planet? Surely a statement such as that shockingly undermines everyone’s confidence in the IPCC’s scientific neutrality.

When a public figure steps down due to allegations of sexual misconduct that’s big news. Why isn’t ThinkProgress reporting this news? At what moment in history would it be more relevant for the public to know that a top climate official finds himself in this kind of trouble? I mean, there’s only a major climate summit scheduled for later this year.

Search for ‘Pachauri’ at ThinkProgress and you’ll get 163 hits, or 17 pages of results. There’s

an interview with Pachauri from May 2007
a 2009 story about Pachauri endorsing the activist 350.org’s campaign
a 2010 defense of Pachauri after he is criticized by Roger Pielke Jr. in the New York Times
a 2011 article that refers to Pachauri – an economist and industrial engineer – as the “U.N.’s top climate scientist”
But the mentions of this public figure stop dead on November 2, 2014. Apparently not a single newsworthy event involving the U.N.’s [former] top climate scientist has occurred since then.

Let us speak frankly: Climate science is a world in which wealthy businessmen who make charitable donations to museums are targeted and ostracized. Yet creeps who write about urinating on women – and who stand accused of long term, outrageous sexual harassment – get a totally free pass.

SOURCE




The tip of the climate spending iceberg

How your tax and consumer dollars finance Climate Crisis, Inc. and hobble America



Paul Driessen

Lockheed Martin, a recent Washington Post article notes, is getting into renewable energy, nuclear fusion, “sustainability” and even fish farming projects, to augment its reduced defense profits. The company plans to forge new ties with Defense Department and other Obama initiatives, based on a shared belief in manmade climate change as a critical security and planetary threat. It is charging ahead where other defense contractors have failed, confident that its expertise, lobbying skills and “socially responsible” commitment to preventing climate chaos will land it plentiful contracts and subsidies.

As with its polar counterparts, 90% of the titanic climate funding iceberg is invisible to most citizens, businessmen and politicians. The Lockheed action is the mere tip of the icy mountaintop.

The multi-billion-dollar agenda reflects the Obama Administration’s commitment to using climate change to radically transform America. It reflects a determination to make the climate crisis industry so enormous that no one will be able to tear it down, even as computer models and disaster claims become less and less credible – and even if Republicans control Congress and the White House after 2016. Lockheed is merely the latest in a long list of regulators, researchers, universities, businesses, manufacturers, pressure groups, journalists and politicians with such strong monetary, reputational and authority interests in alarmism that they will defend its tenets and largesse tooth and nail.

Above all, it reflects a conviction that alarmists have a right to control our energy use, lives, livelihoods and living standards, with no transparency and no accountability for mistakes they make or damage they inflict on disfavored industries and families. And they are pursuing this agenda despite global warming again being dead last in the latest Gallup poll of 15 issues of greatest concern to Americans: only 25% say they worry about it “a great deal,” despite steady hysteria; 24% are “not at all” worried about the climate. By comparison, 46% percent worry a great deal about the size and power of the federal government.

But Climate Crisis, Inc. is using our tax and consumer dollars to advance six simultaneous strategies.

1) Climate research. The US government spends $2.5 billion per year on research that focuses on carbon dioxide, ignores powerful natural forces that have always driven climate change, and generates numerous reports and press releases warning of record high temperatures, melting icecaps, rising seas, stronger storms, more droughts and other “unprecedented” crises. The claims are erroneous and deceitful.

They are consistently contradicted by actual climate and weather records, and so alarmists increasingly emphasize computer models that reinvent and substitute for reality. Penn State modeler Michael Mann has collected millions for headline-grabbing work like his latest assertion that the Gulf Stream is slowing – contrary to 20 years of actual measurements that show no change. Former NASA astronomer James Hansen received a questionable $250,000 Heinz Award from Secretary of State John Kerry’s wife, for his climate crisis and anti-coal advocacy. Al Gore and 350.org also rake in millions. Alarmist scientists and institutions seek billions more, while virtually no government money goes to research into natural forces.

2) Renewable energy research and implementation grants, loans, subsidies and mandates drive projects to replace hydrocarbons that are still abundant and still 82% of all US energy consumed. Many recipients went bankrupt despite huge taxpayer grants and loan guarantees. Wind turbine installations butcher millions of birds and bats annually, but are exempt from Endangered Species Act fines and penalties.

Tesla Motors received $256 million to produce electric cars for wealthy elites who receive $2,500 to $7,500 in tax credits, plus free charging and express lane access. From 2007 to 2013, corn ethanol interests spent $158 million lobbying for more “green” mandates and subsidies – and $6 million in campaign contributions – for a fuel that reduces mileage, damages engines, requires enormous amounts of land, water and fertilizer, and from stalk to tailpipe emits more carbon dioxide than gasoline. General Electric spends tens of millions lobbying for more taxpayer renewable energy dollars; so do many other companies. The payoffs add up to tens of billions of dollars, from taxpayers and consumers.

3) Regulatory fiats increasingly substitute for laws and carbon taxes that Congress refuses to enact, due to concerns about economic and employment impacts, and because China, India and other countries’ CO2 emissions dwarf America’s. EPA’s war on coal has already claimed thousands of jobs, raised electricity costs for millions of businesses and families, and adversely affected living standards, health and welfare for millions of families. The White House and EPA are also targeting oil and gas drilling and fracking.

Now the Obama Administration is unleashing a host of new mandates and standards, based on arbitrary “social cost of carbon” calculations that assume fossil fuel use imposes numerous climate and other costs, but brings minimal or no economic or societal benefits. The rules will require onerous new energy efficiency and CO2 emission reduction standards that will send consumer costs skyrocketing, while channeling billions of dollars to retailers, installers, banks and mostly overseas manufacturers.

As analyst Roger Bezdek explains, water heaters that now cost $675-1,500 will soon cost $1,200-2,450 – with newfangled exhaust fans, vent pipes and condensate removal systems. Pickup trucks with more fuel efficiency and less power will nearly double in price. Microwaves, cell phones, vacuum cleaners, hair dryers, toasters, coffee pots, lawn mowers, photocopiers, televisions and almost everything else will cost far more. Poor and middle class families will get clobbered, to prevent perhaps 5% of the USA’s 15% of all human CO2 emissions toward 0.04% of atmospheric CO2, and maybe 0.00001 degrees of warming.

4) A new UN climate treaty would limit fossil fuel use by developed countries, place no binding limits or timetables on developing nations, and redistribute hundreds of billions of dollars to poor countries that claim they have been harmed by emissions and warming due to rich country hydrocarbon use. Even IPCC officials now openly brag that climate policy has “almost nothing” to do with protecting the environment – and everything to do with intentionally transforming the global economy and redistributing its wealth.

5) Vicious personal attacks continue on scientists, businessmen, politicians and others who disagree publicly with the catechism of climate cataclysm. Alarmist pressure groups and Democrat members of Congress are out to destroy the studies, funding, reputations and careers of all who dare challenge climate disaster tautologies. At President Obama’s behest, even disaster aid agencies are piling on.

New FEMA rules require that any state seeking disaster preparedness funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency must first assess how climate change threatens their communities. This will mean relying on discredited, worthless alarmist models that routinely spew out predictions unrelated to reality. It likely means no federal funds will go to states that include or focus on natural causes, historical records or models that have better track records than those employed by the IPCC, EPA and President.

6) Thought control. In addition to vilifying climate chaos skeptics, alarmists are determined to control all thinking on the subject. They are terrified that people will find realist analyses and explanations far more persuasive. They refuse to debate skeptics, respond to NIPCC and other studies examining natural climate change and carbon dioxide benefits to wildlife and agriculture, or even admit there is no consensus.

They want the news media to ignore us but cannot put the internet genie back in the bottle. The White House is trying, though. It even sent picketers to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s home, to demand that he knuckle under and apply 1930s’ telephone laws to the internet, as a first step in content control

States must refuse to play the climate crisis game. Through lawsuits, hearings, investigations and other actions, governors, legislators, AGs and other officials can delay EPA diktats, educate citizens about solar and other natural forces, and explain the huge costs and trifling benefits of these draconian regulations.

Congress should hold hearings, demand an accounting of agency expenditures, require solid evidence for every climate claim and regulation, and cross-examine Administration officials on details. It should slash EPA and other agency budgets, so they cannot keep giving billions to pressure groups, propagandists and attack dogs. Honesty, transparency, accountability and a much shorter leash are long overdue.

Via email

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

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

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Monday, March 30, 2015



Australia: Infantile Greenies and the "threatened" future of a pretty Tasmanian parrot



The article below is from the environmental writer at the Australian far-Left "New Matilda" magazine so its truthfulness cannot be assumed  -- but the interesting thing is the approach of the article. It is typical of "stop everything" environmentalism.  It offers no compromise and no middle way.  Instead of assisting informed decision-making it just does its best to build a roadblock to action.

In those circumstances, if there are foolish decisions made about environmental matters the Greens are partly responsible for that.  Most of Tasmmania is locked up under environmental regulations so there has been no balance at all so far.  The voters have clearly grown tired of that and gave Tasmania's conservatives an unprecedented clear victory in the last State election.  The conservatives are now doing what they were elected to do -- unlock some of the locked-off areas.  It would be so much better if they could do it in a consultative way with all parties -- but compromise is unknown to Greenies.  "We want it all" is their juvenile cry.

A more mature Greenie response to what the voters have clearly asked for would be to suggest alternative areas that could be opened up that did not threaten environmental harm.  But in a long article (only partially excerpted below) there was no whisper of that.  They are emotional toddlers

Concerns over the Abbott government’s plans to “deregulate” the environment and give up much of its environmental powers to the states found a compelling voice this week, as revelations emerged that the Tasmanian government approved logging in contravention of expert advice, knowingly pushing an endangered bird much closer to extinction.

It’s the sort of industry-first approach that environmental lawyers and conservationists are concerned could become far more common under the federal government’s so-called ‘One Stop Shop’ reforms.

The policy would drastically diminish the federal environment minister’s portfolio and see state governments - which stand to gain much more from big developments, mining, and forestry - vested with assessment and approval powers over matters of national environmental significance.

The government says the ‘One Stop Shop’ will cut red tape without a drop in environmental standards but documents obtained by Environment Tasmania under freedom of information laws, released earlier week, have raised serious questions over the state’s commitment to conservation.

The Hodgman government has approved the logging of at least three out of five areas of forest which provide key breeding habitat for the endangered Swift Parrot, it was revealed, despite repeated advice from experts that it will hasten the species’ already steep decline to extinction.

“Conservation objectives for the species at the [local] and regional scales will not be met” if the areas are logged, scientists within Tasmania’s environment department warned.

Less than 1,000 breeding pairs of Swift Parrot remain. Each year the bird undertakes the longest known migration of any parrot, to breed on the east coast of Tasmania.

The areas the Tasmanian government has now approved for logging are high-quality nesting habitat that are known to host large numbers of the just 2,000 remaining individuals during breeding season.

Cutting down forests in this breeding habitat, scientists within the department warn in one email, “will result in the continued loss of breeding habitat that has been identified as being of very high importance for the species with the further fragmentation of foraging habitat”.

“This cannot contribute to the long term survival of the species.”

Put simply, “there is no scientific evidence to support the position that continued harvesting of breeding habitat will support conservation objectives for the species”.

Ordinarily, where matters of national environmental significance such as threatened species are involved, the federal Environmental Protection Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act would be triggered and the Commonwealth government would be tasked with ensuring conservation outcomes are met.

For the Swift Parrot, though, there was no federal safeguard.

The Tasmanian government was allowed to issue the approvals, and ignore the expert advice, because of a deal with the federal government, known as the Regional Forestry Agreement (RFA).

It’s a deal that is remarkably similar to the wholesale hand-over of powers the Abbott government is pursuing through its One Stop Shop reform.

SOURCE





New Federal Regulations Threaten Fracking Boom

The Department of Interior missed an opportunity for real reform recently when it released new regulations on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on federal lands.

Since the onset of the Obama administration, the U.S. has undergone both an energy boom that was the bright spot in the great recession and a heated political battle over the Department of Interior’s lack of transparency that significantly slowed oil and gas production on federal lands. It also likely is not the last rule coming from the Obama administration to regulate fracking.

In typical “If it keeps moving, regulate it” fashion, Interior started a rule-making process in November 2010 in response to increased fracking activity and public concerns that were exacerbated by fallacious films such as Gasland and Matt Damon’s Promised Land.

The rule updates and expands regulation and will be revisited again in seven years. It is largely duplicative of what states already do to regulate fracking—adjusting construction standards to protect water resources and requiring disclosure of chemicals and advance public notice of fracking activity. Regulations apply to federal and Indian lands as well as private or state lands where the underground mineral rights belong to the federal government. States otherwise would regulate fracking on state and private lands as they have been. Unsurprisingly, extremist environmental groups did not think the Interior Department went far enough.

The Department of Interior should have taken the fracking boom as an opportunity to pivot away from one-size-fits-all regulation and turn management of fracking activity to the states. Regulation at the state and local level—as opposed to from Washington—has been a chief reason for the impressive economic results and environmental record of the new technology. Even the White House Council of Economic Adviser’s noted in its annual report to Congress that the regulatory structure that met local concerns regarding fracking was at the state and local level.

Instead, it has taken Interior five years to develop these new regulations, and politically driven management of federal lands has played a significant role in the loss of productivity on those lands. Meanwhile, states have effectively and efficiently managed the energy boom on state and private lands even as demand to develop oil and gas resources has increased. In fact, states have been regulating fracking for decades. While federal regulators lose even more time putting these new regulations into practice, states already have policies in place that reflect the unique conditions of the state.

Federal management of energy resources also has had a chilling effect on productivity. According to the Congressional Research Service, roughly 43 percent of all proven crude oil reserves in the U.S. are on federal lands. And yet, since 2009, oil production on federal lands has fallen by 9 percent even as production on state and private lands has increased by 61 percent over the same period. In 2010, 36 percent of all domestic oil production came from federal lands; now only 23 percent does. A similar story can be told of coal and natural gas. This activity translated into more jobs and higher incomes.

States have also been more responsive to the unique interests and concerns of their communities, in contrast to Interior’s approach of stalling on granting permits to drill for oil and gas. Not a single case of water contamination has been caused by the process of fracking, and although there are best practices that must be followed, fracking has withstood the many myths demonizing the technology.

Some communities have elected to ban the use of fracking technology. Unfortunate and misguided as that is, good environmental policy puts the freedom to make decisions in the hands of the people who are affected most by management choices. Nevertheless, Interior’s rule prevents this local decision-making.

Congress and energy producers already have responded in kind. In recent days, 27 senators introduced legislation to block the regulation and the Independent Petroleum Association of America and Western Energy Alliance filed a lawsuit against the Department of Interior, calling the rule “a reaction to unsubstantiated concerns” that “lacks the factual, scientific or engineering evidence necessary to sustain the agency’s action.” Ultimately states, not Washington, should regulate fracking activities on federal lands. They are more knowledgeable and adaptable to the conditions of each region.

SOURCE





Gallup: Concern About Environment Down – Americans Worry Least About Global Warming

Americans’ concern over environmental issues such as water and air pollution and extinction of species is down from last year, and the data show that of all green issues, Americans worry the least about global warming (or climate change), according to Gallup.

As part of its annual Environmental survey, which Gallup has done for more than two decades, the surveyors on March 5-8 asked, “I’m going to read you a list of environmental problems. As I read each one, please tell me if you personally worry about this problem a great deal, a fair amount, only a little, or not at all.”

The results showed that when it came to “pollution of drinking water,”  60% worried about it a “great deal” in 2014 but only 55% worried about it a “great deal” in 2015.

For “global warming or climate change,” some 34% worried about it a “great deal” in 2014 but that went down to 32% in 2015.

Commenting on the results, Gallup said,  “Americans' concern about several major environmental threats has eased after increasing last year. As in the past, Americans express the greatest worry about pollution of drinking water, and the least about global warming or climate change.”

“[T]he nature of the environmental agenda may indirectly be influencing Americans' concern,” said Gallup.  “The primary focus of the environmental movement has shifted toward long-term threats like global warming -- issues about which Americans tend to worry less than about more immediate threats like pollution.”

“Importantly,” said the surveyors, “even as global warming has received greater attention as an environmental problem from politicians and the media in recent years, Americans' worry about it is no higher now than when Gallup first asked about it in 1989.”

When Gallup broke the data down by political party, Republican versus Democrat, it found that only 13% of Republicans worry a “great deal” about global warming in 2015 while 52% of Democrats worry a “great deal” about the issue.

“Democrats worry more than Republicans about all of the issues,” said Gallup.  “Notably, Democrats are more worried about global warming now than they were in 2000, perhaps reflecting the shift in the focus of the environmental agenda toward this issue.”

In its survey, Gallup interviewed by telephone a random sample of 1,025 adults, aged 18 and older, in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The poll had a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points.

SOURCE





Thanks to the EPA, Even If You Like Your Shower, You Can't Keep It

A good shower is one of life's simple pleasures. Until it gets interrupted by government.

If you like your shower, you probably can't keep it once the bureaucrats are done. The War on Women and Men Taking Showers began with a 1992 law that restricts how much water can flow through each nozzle. In 2010, the feds cracked down against multiple-nozzle showerheads. Now the EPA wants to limit how long we can stay in the shower.

The Environmental Protection Agency is subsidizing development by the University of Tulsa of a shower-timing system that allows people to be billed according to their time in the shower. The concept starts by providing hotels with real-time reports on each guest. With normal bureaucratic progression, this could soon become a requirement that everybody is metered in their showers at home.

This is government pushing us around. It is part of the “nudge” philosophy pushed by President Barack Obama's former regulations czar, Cass Sunstein. He co-authored the book, Nudge, which describes how laws and regulations can push us to behave the way that government desires. We pay more for light bulbs, pay more for automobiles, pay more for electricity, and get less in the shower, all because government denies us any other choice. Indeed, the EPA grant on timing shower-taking states that behavior modification is the goal.

What difference does it make when our showering is regulated?

Surveys by soapmakers reveal that two-thirds of us shower (or bathe) daily, with the average being 5 showers per week. For American men, we shower 10 minutes at a time, with 15 minutes for women. Those who sing in the shower usually take longer—and evidently that's a majority of us.

The exact times differ in various studies. According to the EPA, the average shower is eight minutes, which they say is still too long. EPA brochures encourage us to drop down by a minute, to what would be a 7-minute norm. That's barely enough time to sing two songs!

Multiple environmental groups want more; they promote a 5-minute max. Many of these advocate taking an even-briefer “Navy shower”: 1) turn on water to rinse your hair and body; 2) turn off the water while you apply shampoo, use soap, and scrub; 3) turn on the water for a quick rinse-off, then turn it off and dry yourself.

That's hardly enough time to sing a single verse.

It's easy to imagine an EPA-run system that shuts off our water automatically when we reach their time limit. The agency claims it has no such plan; it is only making suggestions for shorter showers. But the bureaucratic practice is that suggestions become guidelines, which become policies, which become legally-binding regulations.

Bit-by-bit and drop-by-drop, the feds are stifling our showering.

The original restrictions were enacted by Congress in 1992, signed by President George H.W. Bush. That Clean Water Act dictated low-flow showerheads (2.5 gallons-per-minute max), along with 1.6 gallons-per-flush toilets. Many people turned to multi-nozzle showers to get as one workaround. Then came President Barack Obama. His bureaucrats in 2010 re-interpreted the law and declared that all nozzles combined cannot exceed 2.5 gpm. They filed lawsuits against fixture manufacturers to enforce this.

EPA keeps pushing the envelope even farther. They seek to lower the norm to 2.0 gpm or less, via a series of “WaterSense” incentive awards. Innkeepers, manufacturers, homebuilders, contractors and others are asked to sign a written agreement with the EPA to voluntarily lower their allowed legal limit of water use. Those groups are then allowed to use the “WaterSense” logo on their products and advertising; they benefit from EPA's marketing campaign that supports the label.

Is all this restriction on water usage really necessary? There is no shortage of water, not even what can be made available for drought-stricken California. The problem is that moving, processing and reclaiming water all require energy. And the constant environmentalist crackdown on energy sources keeps making it too expensive to get the water everyplace where it is needed.

The federal restrictions, however, apply equally to all parts of the country, whether local water problems exist there or not.

The law of supply and demand still works. Those who choose to use more H2O can pay higher water bills for the privilege. But green advocates complain that it's unfair to let people consume more of a product simply because they can afford to do so.

What goes unmentioned is that low-flow showerheads cost more for everyone. Manufacturers must add extra internal features to enhance the water velocity, otherwise the low-flow might dribble out and fail to wash away the suds. For decent quality, the lower the flow, the higher the price.

Meanwhile, Americans are engaged in massive civil disobedience about showering. Many purchasers of new showerheads—the majority, according to reports—soon remove the flow restrictor or drill a larger hole in the shower fitting so they can enjoy more than just 2.5 gallons per minute.

Perhaps someday this will lead to a modern-day Boston Tea Party. But this time it would be the low-flow nozzles and toilets that get dumped in the harbor.

SOURCE





Challenging the EPA Steamroller

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week in Michigan v. EPA, a case that has the potential to either check the Environmental Protection Agency’s runaway abuse of power or give it unchecked authority to bankrupt any industry it sees fit.

At issue is the agency’s duty to adhere to the Clean Air Act’s “appropriate and necessary” standard when issuing and enforcing regulations. The EPA published mercury and air toxin standards in 2012 that, by the agency’s own estimates, would cost the economy close to $10 billion annually. The public health benefits supposedly to be gained from the rules would amount to $6 million annually at the most, meaning that every $20,000 of regulatory fees that the energy industry pays would lead to only $1 in public benefit. What a deal.

The EPA argues economic cost is not a factor when considering whether regulations are appropriate and necessary, claiming environmental benefits alone are what concern the agency.

When the case was before the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s dissent took the EPA to task: “Your only statutory direction is to decide whether it is ‘appropriate’ to go forward with the regulation. Before making that decision, what information would you want to know? You would certainly want to understand the benefits from the regulations. And you would surely ask how much the regulations would cost. You would no doubt take both of those considerations – benefits and costs – into account in making your decision. That’s just common sense and sound government practice.”

The EPA, though, is not concerned with common sense or legality. Its goal with the mercury regulations, among the costliest in history, is to drive coal-fired power plants out of business. And it’s all part of Barack Obama’s strategy to make sure electricity prices “necessarily skyrocket.”

During oral arguments before the Supreme Court, Justice Stephen Breyer, one of the Obama administration’s most loyal water carriers, tried to justify the EPA’s position. He suggested that the agency would consider the appropriateness of costs at some later point when enforcing the mercury rule since, under the Clean Air Act, the EPA has the power to apply rules in an “appropriate and necessary” manner.

It’s hoped that the legal minds of at least five Supreme Court justices will be sharp enough to recognize the contradiction of such an argument. If the EPA wasn’t concerned about whether its measures were appropriate at the regulatory rulemaking phase, then where’s the incentive to revisit the appropriate cost later on? Furthermore, if the EPA has the ability to decide whether the regulatory cost was appropriate at a later date, then it’s engaging in an action that it has stated in this case it need not do.

In Michigan v. EPA, the agency argues Rule of Law is irrelevant. If the Supreme Court rightly disagrees, then it will rule against this rogue EPA.

SOURCE





SUSTAINABILITY:  HIGHER EDUCATION’S NEW FUNDAMENTALISM

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

“Sustainability” is a key idea on college campuses in the United States and the rest of the Western world. To the unsuspecting, sustainability is just a new name for environmentalism. But the word really marks out a new and larger ideological territory in which curtailing economic, political, and intellectual liberty is the price that must be paid now to ensure the welfare of future generations.

This report is the first in-depth critical study of the sustainability movement in higher education. The movement, of course, extends well beyond the college campus. It affects party politics, government bureaucracy, the energy industry, Hollywood, schools, and consumers.

But the college campus is where the movement gets its voice of authority, and where it molds the views and commands the attention of young people.

While we take no position in the climate change debate, we focus in this study on how the sustainability movement has distorted higher education. We examine the harm it has done to college curricula and the limits it has imposed on the freedom of students to inquire and to make their own decisions.

Our report also offers an anatomy of the campus sustainability movement in the United States. We explain how it came to prominence and how it is organized. We also examine the financial costs to colleges and universities in their efforts to achieve some of the movement’s goals.

Often the movement presents its program as saving these institutions money. But we have found that American colleges and universities currently spend more than $3.4 billion per year pursuing their dreams of “sustainability” at a time when college tuitions are soaring and 7.5 percent of recent college graduates are unemployed and another 46 percent underemployed.

In addition to the direct costs of the movement, we examine the growing demands by sustainability advocates that colleges and universities divest their holdings in carbon-based energy companies without regard to forgone income or growth in their endowments.

What makes “sustainability” so important that institutions facing financial distress are willing to prioritize spending on it? In this report, we examine that question. Because the idea of “anthropogenic global warming”—or “climate change”—is so closely interwoven with the sustainability movement, we devote a chapter early in the report to laying out the arguments on both sides of the debate.

The appeal of the sustainability movement depends to a great extent on the belief that the world is experiencing catastrophic warming as a result of human activities that are increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Is this belief warranted?

We are neutral on this proposition, but we stand by the principle that all important ideas ought to be open to reasoned debate and careful examination of the evidence. This puts us and others at odds with many in the sustainability movement whose declared position is that the time for debate is over and that those who persist in raising basic questions are “climate deniers.”

The “debate-isover” position is itself at odds with intellectual freedom and is why the campus sustainability movement should be examined skeptically.

We support good stewardship of natural resources, but we see in the sustainability movement a hardening of irrational demands to suspend free inquiry in favor of unproven theories of imminent catastrophe.

And we see, under the aegis of sustainability, a movement that often takes its bearings from its hostility towards material prosperity, consumerism, free markets, and even democratic self-government.

Full report here (PDF)

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

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

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