Sunday, February 07, 2016


If ifs and ans were pots and pans, there'd be no room for tinkers

My heading above is an old English proverb expressing skepticism about all sorts of theories, prophecies and maybes.  It dates from the time when the Middle English word "an" (meaning "if") was still understood in the Middle English sense.  

Tinkers were itinerant handymen who fixed up damaged pots and pans -- as pots and pans were valuable household goods in those days. Few people reading this will have seen a saucepan with a hole in it -- but I have.  A couple of my mother's saucepans developed holes in them at one time when I was just a lad.  Being a handy kid, however I went to Woolworths and bought a set of "Mendets" -- which I used to fix the saucepans concerned.  So tinkering in its original sense existed within living memory.



I tell that little story because the article below immediately brought that old proverb to my mind.  Putting it in modern English, I might have said:  "More useless speculation".  All it tells us is what would happen IF one of the hot periods of the earth's past were to be repeated.  They assign no probability to that occurring, however.  I wonder why?

They do however pop in a little bit of deceit.  They talk of global warming "continuing".  But it is not ongoing so it cannot continue.



Warming stopped over 18 years ago so all that can continue is stasis. And they claim that Antarctica is losing mass, when it isn't.  It is gaining mass.  Even Warmist scientists such as Zwally admit that. See here and here

Just the usual Warmist claptrap but it will worry some people


If the West Antarctic ice sheet was to melt in response to increasing global temperatures, sea levels could swamp coastal towns and cities around the world.

That's the warning from Scottish researchers who have plotted how the ice sheet is expected to respond to global warming.

In particular, they claim that loss of ice in West Antarctica caused by a warming ocean could raise sea levels by a staggering 10ft (3 metres).

In the first study of its kind, researchers were able to gauge how levels of ice covering the land have changed over hundreds of thousands of years.

They did this by studying peaks protruding through ice in the Ellsworth Mountains, on the Atlantic flank of Antarctica.

The team assessed changes on slopes at various heights on the mountainside, which indicate levels previously reached by the ice sheet.

They also mapped the distribution of boulders on the mountainside, which were deposited by melting glaciers.

Chemical technology - known as exposure dating - showed how long rocks had been exposed to the atmosphere, and their age.

Their results indicate that during previous warm periods, a substantial amount of ice would have been lost from the West Antarctic ice sheet by ocean melting, but it would not have melted entirely.

This suggests ice would have been lost from areas below sea level, but not on upland areas.

The study shows that parts of the West Antarctic ice sheet have existed continuously for at least 1.4 million years.

However, if global temperatures continue to rise, causing the oceans to become warmer, the a substantial amount of ice could be lost from the sheet.

This could see sea levels rise by as much as 10ft (3 metres).

Dr Andrew Hein, of the University of Edinburgh's School of GeoSciences, joint leader of the study, said: 'Our findings narrow the margin of uncertainty around the likely impact of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet on sea level rise.

'This remains a troubling forecast since all signs suggest the ice from West Antarctica could disappear relatively quickly.'

Professor John Woodward of the University of Northumbria, who co-led the study, said: 'It is possible that the ice sheet has passed the point of no return and, if so, the big question is how much will go and how much will sea levels rise.'

The study, published in Nature Communications, was carried out by researchers at the University of Edinburgh with Northumbria University and the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre.

SOURCE





Electric cars: Another failed Obama Campaign promise, and that’s a good thing

While campaigning in August 2008, President Obama called for 1 million plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles (EV) on the road by 2015. According to HybridCars.com, the campaign circulated an “8-page fact sheet” that contained this promise: “Half of all cars purchased by the federal government will be plug-in hybrids or all-electric by 2012.”

Once in office, he backed that up with a March 2009, executive order that offered “$2.4 Billion in Funding to Support Next Generation Electric Vehicles” to “help meet the President’s goal of putting one million plug-in hybrid vehicles on the road by 2015.” He continued the electric-car drumbeat in his January 2011 State of the Union Address: “We can break our dependence on oil…and become the first country to have one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.”

A February 2011 Scientific American analysis titled: “Raising the Volt-Age: Is Obama’s Goal of 1 Million Electric Vehicles on U.S. Highways by 2015 Realistic?” states: “the Obama administration realizes that attaining such a goal will be impossible without help from the federal government.” It then delineates the billions of dollars in federal spending aimed at reaching what it acknowledges “may still be just a pipe dream.” It concludes: “So much federal involvement has helped spur state governments and private industry to make significant investments in the EV sector as well.”

That same month, a Department of Energy (DOE) report called the 1 million electric cars by 2015 “ambitious,” and “achievable.” It states: “For that reason, President Obama has proposed steps to accelerate America’s leadership in electric vehicle deployment, including improvements to existing consumer tax credits, programs to help cities prepare for growing demand for electric vehicles and strong support for research and development.”

In 2013, the DOE “eased off” the “quixotic” objective, as Cleantechnica.com called it. According to Reuters, on January 2013, the DOE said: “Whether we meet that goal in 2015 or 2016, that’s less important than that we’re on the right path to get many millions of these vehicles on the road.” Then, a year ago, with only 11 months left to fulfill Obama’s pledge, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz acknowledged reality: “We’re going to be a few years after the president’s aspirational goal of the end of 2015, but I think that we are within a few years of reaching that goal.”

2015 is now in the record books and, after billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars in EV subsidies for consumers and industry, Reuters reports: “only about 400,000 electric cars have been sold. Last year, sales fell 6 percent over the previous year to about 115,000, despite the industry offering about 30 plug-in models, often at deep discounts.” Though 400,000 EVs may have been sold, the actual number on the road is likely far less. Most of the “sales” are actually leases and when the lease term is over, the EVs get turned back into the dealer, and then the manufacturer. Drivers, even with generous incentives to buy the model they are driving, don’t want them. According to the Wall Street Journal, there is little demand for used electric cars.

Regardless of the slow sales, Reuters says: “the industry continues to roll out new models in response to government mandates and its own desire to create brands known for environmental innovation.” And there is the crux of the EV effort: “environmental innovation”—there is a sense that EVs are the right thing for the environment. Reuters continues: “Many automakers worry that consumers will perceive them as technologically backward if they don’t build electric cars—even if they can’t sell them in large numbers.” Green car advocates say: “EVs are a crucial part of the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

While sales have been disappointing, the industry is ramping up EV production, in response to “an influx of state and federal cash and related mandates” which is cramming EVs into the market “at way below what it costs to make them.” Throwing good money after bad, a year ago, Moniz declared that the DOE “will award $56 million in new grants for research projects that aim to reduce and improve the efficiency of plug-in electric cars.”

All of this, to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and appear environmentally innovative and technologically forward is missing the mark.

In December 2014, a study was released that claimed that electric cars actually produced “3.6 times more soot and smog deaths than those powered by gas.” Study co-author Julian Marshall, and engineering professor at the University of Minnesota, says: “It is kind of hard to beat gasoline. …A lot of technologies that we think of as being clean are not better than gasoline.” In reality, these zero-emissions vehicles are generally fueled by coal.

Reading the comments on the CBS coverage of the study, EV advocates dismiss the conclusion that EVs are not as green as we are made to think they are. One even states: “Do I get a whiff of the not-so faint smell of Big Oil adjusted results studies here???”

According to Popular Mechanics, researchers “set out to study the effects on human health of various alternative ways to power a car.” Surprisingly, “Internal combustion vehicles running on corn ethanol and electric vehicles powered by electricity from coal were the real sinners.”

While EV advocates want to claim, as one did, that EVs are powered by wind and solar energy, the facts don’t support the fantasy.

In November, the Washington Post (WP) ran a major story: “Electric cars and the coal that runs them.” It points out: “Alongside the boom has come a surging demand for power to charge the vehicles, which can consume as much electricity in a single charge as the average refrigerator does in a month and a half.”

The Dutch city of Rotterdam is banning “the oldest exhaust spewing vehicles” from the city center. “Thanks to generous tax incentives, the share of electric vehicles has grown faster in the Netherlands than in nearly any other country in the world.”  How are they meeting the “surging demand for power?” With three new coal-fueled power plants.

The WP concludes: “But for all its efforts locally and nationally, the Netherlands will blow past its 2020 emissions targets, the result of the new coal-fired power plants.” More new coal-fired plants—powered by cheap American coal—are projected due to the increased demand from EVs.

The results are similar in China where EV sales have quadrupled. WP states: “Chinese leaders have embraced electric cars as a way of cleaning up cities that have some of the worst air quality in the world. But the Chinese electricity market is heavily dependent on coal; the pollution is simply being taken from the centers of cities and moved to their outskirts.” Last week Reuters addressed a series of studies by Tsinghua University. The results? “Electric cars charged in China produce two to five times as much particulate matter and chemicals that contribute to smog versus petrol engine cars.”

Since the ‘70s, car manufacturers, thanks to American innovation and initiative, have dramatically cleaned up exhaust. Moving the global transportation fleet to EVs, as tax incentives have tried to do, makes no sense environmentally or economically. Former GM vice chairman Bob Lutz, who headed up development of the original Chevy Volt explains: “If gasoline was $8 a gallon, consumers would amortize the cost of an electric vehicle pretty quickly. But at $1.50 a gallon, who is going to be willing to pay the $8,000 or $10,000 premium?”

It turns out, Obama’s 1 million EVs by 2015 was a “pipe dream” after all. Even the federal government didn’t buy the projected quantities. His ideals are not consistent with either consumer interest or technology.

SOURCE  





US Bound by Climate Change Deal That Skirts Constitution, House Panel Told

President Barack Obama bound the United States to an international agreement on climate change, but the administration’s decision to circumvent Congress to implement the deal has lawyers questioning its constitutionality.

Despite legally binding elements in the Paris Protocol, which require Senate ratification, negotiators worded the deal in a manner that enables Obama to handle it as an executive agreement and avoid congressional input.

“The president’s decision to treat the Paris agreement as an executive agreement instead of a treaty is just his latest use of executive power to achieve an end that he knows full well would not pass congressional muster,” Steven Groves, a lawyer who is an expert on treaties at The Heritage Foundation, testified Tuesday before a congressional committee.

Appearing at a hearing held by the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Groves argued that the Obama administration knew that the Republican-led Congress would reject the climate plan.

Instead of risking failure, he testified, Obama chose to sidestep the constitutional requirement that a president secure approval from two-thirds of the Senate before he may subject the U.S. to a legally binding treaty.

Negotiators representing 195 United Nations member states met in Paris at the end of last year to finalize an international agreement aimed at cutting carbon emissions in hopes of slowing the potentially detrimental effects of climate change. Those effects, and their causes, continue to be hotly debated among scientists.

Under the deal, the U.S. and participating countries will be legally required to meet every five years beginning in 2020 to present new plans intended to make deeper cuts in carbon emissions. Beginning in 2023, countries will be legally compelled to meet every five years to report on emissions levels and reductions.

Although it isn’t legally binding, Obama also has pledged to pour $3 billion into the Green Climate Fund, a pot of international aid funded by developed countries to assist developing, poverty-stricken countries in reducing carbon emissions.

Groves testified that the White House’s decision to avert congressional input “flies in the face” of the climate change treaty brokered during the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention. The goal of that treaty was to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions within a set time frame.

Groves argued that President George H.W. Bush agreed with the Senate, then led by Democrats, that the chamber would ratify the 1992 treaty with the requirement that any future agreement containing targets and timetables be submitted to the Senate.

Proponents of the Paris Protocol, including Andrew Steer, president and CEO of the World Resources Institute, contend that the deal is a “hybrid” agreement. They say it includes both legally binding conditions and voluntary pledges, and so does not require Senate ratification.

“Having looked at this very carefully with our legal scholars, our scientists, and our economists, our view is that the agreement strikes the right balance between legally binding and nonbinding, given where we are as a global civilization,” Steer testified to the committee.

The Obama administration intends to implement the agreement domestically through regulations written by the Environmental Protection Agency, including those created under the agency’s controversial Clean Power Plan.

“It’s a clever thing that the White House did —you go and you make an international commitment in Paris, you bypass Congress completely, and then you go to enforce it domestically through EPA regulations,” Groves said. “There’s a lack of democratic legitimacy on almost every level of the creation of this document and its enforcement.”

Groves, the Lomas senior research fellow in Heritage’s Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, predicted that the EPA regulations will be litigated among cities and corporations.

Meanwhile, congressional Republicans have adopted resolutions disapproving of the administration’s plans.

“If you want a durable climate change agreement, you have to involve Congress. This administration has chosen not to do that,” Stephen Eule, vice president for climate and technology at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, testified during the hearing.

“So, the question is, is this a durable and legal agreement? I would say no.

SOURCE  





Is the Christmas tree to blame for global warming?

Makes a change from CO2 being the culprit, I guess

An expansion of Europe's forests towards dark green conifers has stoked global warming, according to a study on Thursday at odds with a widespread view that planting more trees helps human efforts to slow rising temperatures.

Forest changes have nudged Europe's summer temperatures up by 0.12 degree Celsius (0.2 Fahrenheit) since 1750, largely because many nations have planted conifers such as pines and spruce whose dark colour traps the sun's heat, the scientists said.

Overall, the area of Europe's forests has expanded by 10 percent since 1750.

'Two and a half centuries of forest management in Europe have not cooled the climate,' the team led by France's Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement wrote in the journal Science.

They said the changes in the make-up of Europe's forests outweighed trees' role in curbing global warming. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas from burning fossil fuels, from the air as they grow.

'It's not all about carbon,' lead author Kim Naudts told Reuters, saying government policies to favour forests should be re-thought to take account of factors such as their colour and changes to moisture and soils.

A Paris agreement among 195 nations in December, meant as a turning point from fossil fuels, promotes forests to help limit a rise in temperatrues, blamed for causing more floods, heatwveas and rising sea levels.

Average world temperatures have risen by 0.9C (1.6F) since the Industrial Revolution.

Since 1750, Europe's forests have gained 196,000 sq kms (76,000 sq miles) - an area bigger than Greece - to reach 2.13 million sq kms in 2010, the study said.

In the same period, conifer forests expanded by 633,000 sq kms while broad-leaved forests shrank by 436,000 sq kms. Over the period, Europeans have harvested ever more wood from the forests, reducing their role in storing carbon.

Thursday's study was restricted to Europe but said similar effects were likely in other parts of the world with big forest planting programmes such as China, the United States and Russia.

SOURCE  





$12 Trillion Won't Save the World

Two degrees Celsius. That’s the maximum amount of future global warming environmentalists say the world can tolerate. Anything more, they claim, and our efforts to stave off a climate catastrophe will fall flat. It’s a spurious magic number, but one that was formally adapted into the Paris climate agreement in December. And it won’t come cheap.

"If the world is serious about halting the worst effects of global warming, the renewable energy industry will require $12.1 trillion of investment over the next quarter century," according to a new report published in Bloomberg. For perspective on just how much money we’re talking about here, consider that gross domestic product in the United States was $17.4 trillion in 2014, according to the World Bank. That’s good for number one in the world. But China, which came in at number two, produced $10.4 trillion in GDP. That means an entire year’s worth of Chinese economic output wouldn’t be enough to cover the low-carbon investments the Bloomberg report says is needed over the next quarter century. So it comes as no surprise that current funding projections are well short of the goal:

The findings from Bloomberg New Energy Finance and Ceres, a Boston-based coalition of investors and environmentalists, show that wind parks, solar farms and other alternatives to fossil fuels are already on course to get $6.9 trillion over the next 25 years through private investment spurred on by government support mechanisms. Another $5.2 trillion is needed to reach the United Nations goal of holding warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) set out in the climate agreement."

And no doubt that gap will be filled via wealth redistribution. Even worse, these numbers aren’t as bad as depicted in other studies, such as the International Energy Agency’s $16.5 trillion cost estimate. And that’s just through 2030. Instead of redistributing trillions of dollars, the better option would be for poorer countries to invest in energy sources we already know save lives — and let the free market figure out the future of energy.

SOURCE





Don't shrink Australia's ocean sanctuaries, scientists urge ministers

On "environmental" grounds, the previous Labor party government banned fishing in so much of Australian coastal waters that there are now few areas open to fishermen.  So despite its enormous expanse of coastal waters, Australia has to import a lot of the fish it needs.  There has to be compromise but when did you ever hear a Greenie compromise?

Australia’s leading marine scientists are appealing to the federal government to reject a review expected to recommend a significant reduction in the size of ocean sanctuaries and an expansion of areas permitted for commercial fishing.

Tony Abbott announced the review of the boundaries of Labor’s marine parks, counted by the former government as one of its greatest environmental achievements, during the 2013 election campaign, and said he would scrap the just-finished management plans so that the fishing industry could be given a greater say.

The leading scientists understand the review, now finally completed, recommends a sizeable reduction in some areas previously designated as closed to fishing and trawling, particularly in the Coral Sea, and say it has ignored expert scientific advice.

“If the government winds back what was already just partial environmental protection it would be terrible for the environment and send a terrible message to the world,” said West Australian marine science professor Jessica Meeuwig.

“We have no faith in this process. They haven’t spoken to marine scientists, despite our best efforts. They spent a lot of time talking to the extractive industries. If Malcolm Turnbull is serious about being guided by science and by evidence he will reject recommendations to reduce marine sanctuary zones,” she said.

Meeuwig is one of 10 leading marine researchers who have formed the Ocean Science Council of Australia and have published benchmarks against which the review should be judged, including:

    No further diminishment of marine national park zoning in bioregions and key ecological features should occur as these are already significantly under-represented in the 2012 plans

    The international standard for ocean protection of a minimum of 30% of each marine habitat in highly protected no-take marine national parks should be met;

    Very large marine national parks such as that proposed for the Coral Sea should be preserved

“We have seen little evidence that the review process has focused on scientific evidence, rather it appears to have largely been an exercise in appeasing stakeholders with extractive interests,” the OSCA members state in the analysis report.

“We further note that there has been no formal consultation with OSCA despite our significant capacity to provide input to a scientific review.”

Osca’s members also include Hugh Possingham, the director of the Australian Research Council Centre for environmental decisions at the University of Queensland and Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, director of the Global Change Institute and professor of marine science at the University of Queensland.

After fierce lobbying from recreational and commercial fishers and colleagues, Abbott announced the review during a visit to a fishing trade show on the Gold Coast, saying the Coalition would not “lock up the oceans.”

“We know that the biggest supporter of environmentally responsible fishing practices is the fishing industry – because they do not want to harm the very environment that is providing them with a living,” the Coalition said in its policy statement.

“Australians aren’t just proud fishers, they are smart fishers – and they know that Labor’s marine park lockouts are about managing the Greens, not managing the environment.”

Labor always rejected concerns by the fishing industry that it was “locking up oceans”, saying less than 2% of commercial fisheries’ catches would be affected by the new protected areas and recreational fishers would not be affected at all because the parks were hundreds of kilometres offshore and therefore well out of reach of a fisherman in a tinnie.

After a long period of consultation, Labor announced its decision to protect more than 2.3m sq km of ocean in marine parks in late 2012, offering $100m in compensation to the fishing industry.

Environmental groups declared a historic victory, but fishers and charter operators began a furious campaign against the move, strongly backed by some Liberal and National party MPs.

The then environment minister Tony Burke said the marine parks would protect “some incredible marine environments, including the Perth Canyon in the south-west and the stunning reefs of the Coral Sea, and this announcement cements Australia’s position as a world leader on environmental protection’’.

Restrictions on fishing in the reserves varies from a total ban to a trawling ban, to areas where recreational catch and release are permitted.

Announcing the panels conducting the review in 2014 environment minister Greg Hunt said it would be based on science and aimed to “restore community confidence” in the marine reserve system.

“Unlike the previous government, we are committed to getting the management plans and the balance of zoning right, so we have asked the expert panels to consider what management arrangements will best protect our marine environment and accommodate the many activities that Australians love to enjoy in our oceans,” he said.

SOURCE

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

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

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Friday, February 05, 2016



Still no success in measuring ocean heat

A good laugh today.  Below we have an article from Prof. John Abraham, famous for taking on Lord Monckton and getting a scarifying reply.  He repeats the usual claim that all the greenhouse heat is being gobbled up by the oceans.  And he tells us that it is therefore very important to measure the heat in the oceans.  And he creates the impression that we can measure it and have confirmed the Warmist claim

He finds temperature measurements old hat however.  He wants to measure heat. That is his academic specialty so no surprises there.  What he thinks tells the tale about global warming is the "earth's energy imbalance" (EEI).  And to measure that you have to measure the heat in the oceans.  The oceans are proposed as the place where the EEI is to be found. He then gives a long and thoroughly persuasive account of just how difficult measuring ocean heat is.

But he takes heart from a recent study by Schuckman et al. (2016) which, he says, gives us the answers we need.  So has Schuckman in fact given us an accurate measure of ocean heat content?  From what Abraham says, you would think so.  He uses weasel words but that is the impression.

In my usual pesky way, however, I went back to the original academic journal article and had a good look at it.  And the result is hilarious.  I reproduce below two snippets from towards the end of the article.




They are a complete confession of failure to measure EEI -- and the oceans are the alleged chief repository of EEI.   So the Schuckman article too says we cannot yet  measure ocean heat content. So we now have it from Warmist experts that the  claim about heat-gobbling oceans is just theory, not fact.  LOL.

There is a word for Prof. Abraham in Australian slang.  He is a Galah.  A Galah is a pretty but very foolish Australian parrot that sometimes kills itself by dive-bombing cars etc.  Prof. Abraham is about that silly.


Human emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide are causing the Earth to warm. We know this, and we have known about the heat-trapping nature of these gases for over 100 years. But scientists want to know how fast the Earth is warming and how much extra energy is being added to the climate because of human activities.

If you want to know about global warming and its future effects, you really need to answer these questions. Whether this year was hotter than last year or whether next year breaks a new record are merely one symptom of a warming world. Sure, we expect records to be broken, but they are not the most compelling evidence.

The most compelling evidence we have that global warming is happening is that we can measure how much extra heat comes in to the Earth’s climate system each year. Think of it like a bank account. Money comes in and money goes out each month. At the end of the month, do you have more funds than at the beginning? That is the global warming analogy. Each year, do we have more or less energy in the system compared to the prior year?

The answer to this question is clear, unassailable and unequivocal: the Earth is warming because the energy is increasing. We know this because the heat shows up in our measurements, mainly in the oceans. Indeed the oceans take up more than 92% of the extra heat. The rest goes into melting Arctic sea ice, land ice, and warming the land and atmosphere. Accordingly, to measure global warming, we have to measure ocean warming. Results for 2015 were recently published by Noaa and are available here.

A recent paper by Karina von Schuckmann and her colleagues appeared in Nature Climate Change, and provides an excellent summary of our knowledge of the energy balance of the Earth and recent advances that have been made. The article describes the complexity of the situation. The Earth is continuously gaining energy from greenhouse gases, but there are also natural fluctuations that cause both increases and decreases to the energy flows.

For instance, volcanic eruptions may temporarily reflect some solar energy back to space. Natural variability like the El Niño/La Niña cycle can change heat flows and how deep the heat is buried in the ocean. The energy from the sun isn’t constant either; it varies on an 11-year cycle, but by less than 0.01%. With all of this and more happening, how do we know if an energy imbalance is natural or human caused? How do we separate these effects?

The effort to separate human from natural effects is seen to be possible when one considers how the imbalance is measured in the first place. There are multiple complementary ways to make these measurements. Each technique has advantages and disadvantages and they have to be considered together.

One way is through satellites that orbit the Earth. These satellites can measure the heat entering the atmosphere and the heat leaving the system. The difference between them is the imbalance. Currently, the longest operating satellite measurement for this is from Nasa and is named Ceres (Clouds and Earth’s Radiation Energy System). The difficulty is that the energy imbalance is only about 0.1% of the actual energy flows in and out, and while the changes can be tracked, their exact values are uncertain.

Another way to measure the imbalance is to actually take the ocean’s temperature. Temperature tells us how much heat a system has. If the temperature is increasing, it means the energy within the system is increasing as well – the system is out of balance. Not only do we have to measure the ocean temperatures accurately, but there is a need to measure the temperatures year after year after year exceedingly accurately to much better than a 0.1°C margin. What really matters is how the temperature is changing over long periods of time.

While it may sound easy to measure the oceans, it is actually quite challenging. The oceans are huge (and deep) and difficult to access. The need is for enough measurement locations at enough depths and with enough precision to get an accurate temperature.

In recent years, we have relied upon a system of automated ocean measurement devices called the Argo fleet. These devices are scattered across the globe and they autonomously rise and sink (down to 2,000 meters) and record temperatures and salinity during their travels. Because of the Argo fleet, we know a lot more about our oceans, and this new knowledge helps us ask better questions. But the fleet could be made even better. They do not measure the bottom half of the ocean (below 2,000m depth) and they do not fully cover regions near or under ice or near shores.

Furthermore, a 10-year trend is much too short to make long-term climate conclusions. We have to stitch Argo temperatures to other instruments, which have been measuring the oceans for decades. That stitching process has to be done carefully so that a false cooling or warming trend is not introduced.

Another way is through ocean levels. As the oceans warm, the water expands and sea levels rise. So, just by measuring the changing water levels, it is possible to assess how much heat the oceans are absorbing. The drawback to this method is that oceans are also rising because ice around with world is melting, particularly in Greenland and Antarctica. As this melted ice water flows into the oceans, it too causes sea levels to rise. So, it’s important to separate how much of ocean level rise is from heat-expansion and how much is from ice melting.

And another way is through the use of climate models, which are computer simulations of the environment. Very powerful computers are used to calculate the state of the climate at millions of locations across the globe, in both the oceans and in the atmosphere. The calculations use basic physics and thermodynamics equations to track the thermal energy at each of the locations.

So, there are many ways to measure the Earth’s energy imbalance. While all methods are telling us the Earth has a fever, they differ in details and better synthesis of all the information is essential to improve the knowledge of what Earth’s energy imbalance is. Right now, the Earth is gaining perhaps as much as 1 Watt of heat (a Joule per second) for every square meter of surface area. Considering how large the Earth is, this is an incredible amount of heat being gained day and night year after year. This is over 1 zettaJoules (sextillion Joules) per year.

What I like about this new paper is the recommendations for the future. Perhaps the most important recommendation is that we need to continue to make accurate measurements of the Earth’s temperatures, especially in the oceans. We need to extend those temperate measurements to deeper locations (below 2,000 m) and make measurements near shores, in the Polar Regions, underneath ice, etc. This will require a sustained funding of our measurement systems and a long-term view of the Earth’s changing climate.

Fully understanding where the excess heat is going in the Earth system is a first step to making good predictions as to what its consequences are for the future climate and the oceans.

SOURCE





Alabama scientist proves to Congress global warming projections ‘don’t match facts’

WASHINGTON — Alabama’s state climatologist during Congressional testimony on Wednesday warned members of the U.S. House that global warming projections, many of which have been used to justify the Obama administration’s climate agenda, have been wildly inaccurate when compared to real data.

"I would not trust model projections on which all policy is based here because they just don’t match facts," said Dr. John Christy, a climate scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) who has been Alabama’s State Climatologist since 2000.

To illustrate his point, Christy displayed a simple chart before the committee that shows how wildly inaccurate global warming projections have been once compared to real data.

The red line on the chart below shows the average temperature increase that all of the global warming models projected over the last several decades. The green circles and blue squares at the bottom are the climate variations that actually occurred.



"This particular chart has caused considerable anxiety for the climate establishment who want to believe the climate system is overheating according the theory of how extra greenhouse gases are supposed to affect it," Dr. Christy stated calmly. "The message here is very simple: the theory does not match the observations as measured independently by both satellites and balloons."

"It is a bold strategy on the part of many in the climate establishment to put one’s confidence in theoretical models and to attack the observed data," he continued. "To a scientist, this just doesn’t make sense."

This is the second time Dr. Christy has made climate-related news in recent weeks. In January he found himself at odds with many scientists and media outlets who were claiming 2015 was the hottest year on record.

"2015 Was Hottest Year in Historical Record, Scientists Say," read a headline atop the New York Times.

"The whole system is warming up, relentlessly," warned Gerald A. Meehl, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

"At some point, you would think most climate change deniers would throw in the towel," added Peter Hannam, Environment Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald.

Dr. Christy agrees with his colleagues that the climate is always changing, but believes their alarmist rhetoric — and even some of their research — is misguided at best, and perhaps even deliberately misleading.

The temperature data cited by most global warming alarmists comes from surface-level measurements, which are notoriously inaccurate.

A 2009 study of the surface-level reading stations found many of them "located next to the exhaust fans of air conditioning units, surrounded by asphalt parking lots and roads, on blistering-hot rooftops, and near sidewalks and buildings that absorb and radiate heat." Sixty-eight stations were found to be "located at wastewater treatment plants, where the process of waste digestion causes temperatures to be higher than in surrounding areas."

Dr. Christy notes that there are more accurate ways to measure temperature data, but they are often ignored by climate scientists because they do not affirm their predetermined outcomes.

"The deep atmospheric temperature – a much better metric for monitoring climate – as measured by satellite sensors was the 3rd warmest year since 1979," he said of 2015. "If no mention is made of what the bulk of the atmosphere is doing, then these folks are withholding important information."

Dr. Christy laid out his approach to climate science during testimony before the U.S. Senate last year.

"I build data sets from scratch to answer questions about climate variability and to test assertions people make about climate change," he said. "That’s really what the scientific method is all about."

It is that commitment to starting "from scratch" that has made him a particularly bothersome thorn in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) side in recent years.

While Christy does not deny the Earth’s climate is changing, he vehemently rejects the assumptions at the core of the EPA’s growing list of environmental regulations.

In its Clean Power Plan, the EPA is pushing for a 750 million metric ton reduction in CO2 emissions, which it seeks to achieve in large part through regulations on existing power plants, especially coal-fired plants.

A study released by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce last year predicts the environmental mandates in the plan will ultimately cost the United States more than 220,000 jobs.

According to the study, the proposed regulations will have a disproportionate impact on southern states, where energy costs would jump by $6.6 billion per year over the next decade-and-a-half. The "East-South-Central" region of Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky would see its GDP shrink by an estimated $2.2 billion and would lose 21,400 jobs as a result of the plan.

Dr. Christy on Wednesday testified that such onerous regulations will do little to nothing to actually impact the climate.

"If the United States had disappeared in 2015, no more people, no cars, no industry, the impact on the climate system would be a tiny few hundredths of a degree over 50 years – and that’s if you believe climate models," he concluded.

SOURCE





Climatologist Douglas offers alternative viewpoint on global warming

SPOKANE — Theories about increasing global temperatures fail to take into account the impact of factors other than the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the cyclic nature of climate, a well-known meteorologist told farmers on Feb. 2.

Art Douglas, professor emeritus at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., spoke about global warming during his presentation at the Spokane Ag Expo and Pacific Northwest Farm Forum.

One problem he sees is relying on air temperature records. "I trust sea surface temperatures more than I do air temperature," Douglas said. "Air temperature is screwed up by cities. You have a whole mix of things that can screw up an air temperature record."

Much has been said because the last two years were the warmest on record, with the globe warming by 0.7 degrees centigrade.

However, Douglas said that carbon dioxide and global temperature patterns from the last 50 years seem to match cyclical patterns going back 400,000 years.

He showed two charts — one of the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere and one of the air temperatures — that were produced using Antarctic ice core samples and go back 400,000 years. In those cycles, global temperatures increase as the amount of carbon dioxide increases — and both cycle lower after reaching a peak before building back up.

Douglas said the recent warming trend can be attributed 50-50 to human activity and natural climate variability.

Assigning contributions to global warming solely by each carbon dioxide emissions ignores the impacts of other climate cycles and sun spots, Douglas said.

"Historically speaking, we’re in a very cold period and a low CO2 period in terms of the planet," Douglas said.

SOURCE





The Surprising Way Ships' Wakes Could Help Ease Global Warming

It's all about making the Earth's surface more reflective.

The wakes of large ships could be used to curb global warming, scientists argue.

The shipping industry gets blamed for its share of environmental ills, from air and water pollution to collisions that kill whales and other marine animals.

But in a new paper published last week in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, scientists argue that the wakes of big ocean-going vessels might actually be used to curb global warming.

The scientists say that dramatically extending the lifetimes of the foamy wakes (and making them a bit brighter) would boost the Earth's surface reflectivity (what scientists call albedo) and reduce the extent to which sunlight warms our planet.

Wake bubbles typically pop within a matter of minutes. But "if we could make the bubbles in the wake last for 10 days, then I believe this scheme could potentially reduce global warming to some extent," Dr. Julia A. Crook, a research fellow in the Institute for Climate & Atmospheric Science at the University of Leeds in England, told The Huffington Post in an email.

Crook and her co-authors maintain that their climate model shows the scheme could bring a 0.5-degree Celsius reduction in the Earth's average surface temperature by 2069, helping to offset the 2-degree warming expected by then.

According to Crook, the effect is comparable to those achieved by other so-called geoengineering schemes that have been proposed in recent years.

Of course, those bubbles won't resist popping just because we want them to. The scheme calls for the ocean-going ships to pump out a stream of chemicals known as surfactants as they move along. Surfactants help prevent popping by affecting the surface tension of water -- at the same time making the wakes a bit whiter than they would be ordinarily.

But it's not clear whether the scheme would be safe for marine life. And then there's the matter of its effect on air quality.

"Previous research suggests surfactants reduce the amount of CO2 uptake by the ocean, which would mean by adding surfactant we might cause atmospheric CO2 to go up," Crook said. "But by how much and whether the resulting warming from the extra CO2 would outweigh the increased albedo is unknown. This could be a show-stopper."

Dr. David Keith, a professor of applied physics and public policy at Harvard and a noted expert on geoengineering, said real-world feasibility and cost are other key issues.

"Nobody doubts that if you can make the bubbles last it makes the sea whiter," Keith said. "That’s easy. The hard part is whether you can make the bubbles persist and do it in sea water."

To fully assess the scheme's cost, safety and feasibility, he said, it will take more than a climate model. It will take real-world experiments.

SOURCE





Finally, America May Be Catching On to Ethanol Racket

The results of the Iowa caucus proved that even Iowans—long seen as fervent proponents of ethanol—don’t view Washington’s favoritism to it as necessarily still required.

Much like many campaigns out there, the Renewable Fuel Standard that mandates the use of biofuels in our gasoline has been full of empty promises. When Congress passed the Renewable Fuel Standard in 2005 and expanded the mandate in 2007, policymakers promised reduced dependence on foreign oil, a new source of cleaner energy to lower gas prices, a stronger economy, and an improved environment.

This was certainly wishful thinking, as none of it has come true.

Instead, the policy has resulted in adverse effects to the economy and the environment and demonstrated the folly of the government attempting to centrally plan America’s energy future.

The Daily Signal is the multimedia news organization of The Heritage Foundation.  We’ll respect your inbox and keep you informed.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 first mandated that renewable fuels be mixed into America’s gasoline supply, primarily using corn-based ethanol. The 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act increased the quotas significantly.

By 2022, there must be 15 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol and a total of 36 billion gallons of biofuels blended into the nation’s fuel supply, including soybean-based biodiesel. The program does not end in 2022, however, but grants the Environmental Protection Agency authority to set yearly targets.

The mandate has harmed Americans in a number of ways. Ethanol has only two-thirds the energy content of petroleum-based gasoline, so drivers pay more. In addition, the Renewable Fuel Standard has not delivered on the promise of reducing dependence on oil and protection from high prices.

Because ethanol contributes such a small percentage of the overall transportation fuel market (a mere 5 percent in 2014), it has failed to tamp down prices, which mostly continued to climb from 2002 to 2012 despite increased mandated ethanol use and high oil prices allegedly making ethanol more competitive.

Supply and demand (largely of crude oil) will determine the price at the pump, and the contribution of the Renewable Fuel Standard as a transportation fuel is a mere drop in the bucket against the nation’s entire fuel use.

The Renewable Fuel Standard also artificially diverts food to fuel, driving up prices at the grocery store.

A few years ago, 40 percent of America’s corn crop went to ethanol production. In 2012, the amount of corn used to produce ethanol in the U.S. exceeded the entire corn consumption of the continent of Africa and in any single country with the exception of China.

Now, if market forces drove corn production away from food use and toward transportation fuel because it were more profitable, there would be no problem. But that’s not what is occurring here. Producers are diverting food to fuel because of the government-imposed mandate, and since corn is a staple ingredient for many foods and an important feedstock for animals, families are hit with higher prices from a wide range of food products.

Policymakers hailed biofuels as the green solution to dirty oil. But, in its first of three reports to Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency projected that nitrous oxides, hydrocarbons, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, ground-level ozone, and ethanol vapor emissions, among other air pollutants, increase at different points in the production and use of ethanol.

A study by Iowa State University researchers concluded that incentivizing more biofuel production with government policies leads to more adverse environmental consequences caused by farming, the use of fertilizers, and land-use conversion for agricultural production, resulting in increased soil erosion, sedimentation, and nitrogen and phosphorus runoff into lakes and streams.

Though the mandate benefits a select few in the Midwest, the Renewable Fuel Standard spreads the cost to the rest of Americans, including many in the agricultural community. The biofuels mandate gives preferential treatment to the production of corn and soybeans at the expense of other agricultural products and artificially eliminates the risk and competition necessary to drive innovation and economic growth.

The problem with the Renewable Fuel Standard is not the use of biofuels themselves, but rather that it is a policy that mandates the production and consumption of the fuel.

Having politicians centrally plan energy decisions best left for the private sector distorts markets and demonstrates the high costs and unintended consequences of government control.

Congress should admit that the Renewable Fuel Standard is costly to the economy and the environment, benefiting a select group of special interests. Importantly, Congress should recognize that the federal government has no business determining what type of fuel we should use and how much of it we should consume each year.

The only viable solution to this broken policy is to repeal the biofuels mandate altogether.

SOURCE





Australia: Climate science on chopping block as CSIRO braces for shake-up

Global warming research to be re-oriented towards mitigation

The CSIRO's climate science divisions are expected to be pared back as part of a massive shake-up of the organisation.

The ABC understands cuts are expected to be made within the Oceans and Atmosphere and Land and Water divisions and up to 350 positions in the organisation will change.

The organisation will attempt to redeploy as many staff as possible into emerging areas such as data science, but there are likely to be redundancies in the process.

CSIRO chief executive Larry Marshall said the changes would see the organisation move away from measuring and monitoring climate change, to instead focus on how to adapt to it.

"It's inevitable that people who are gifted at measuring and modelling climate may not be the same people who are gifted at figuring out what to do about it how to mitigate it," he said.

"Some of the climate scientists will be able to make that transition and some won't."

Dr Marshall said the shake-up was about renewal for the organisation and addressing the low turnover rates of staff.

"On the good side that means people love working for CSIRO but on the bad side most companies have much higher turnover than we do," he said.

The good thing about turnover is it creates a career path for junior scientists to aspire to.

In a statement, a spokesman for Science Minister Christopher Pyne said:  "This is an operational decision of the CSIRO.   After an extensive review, the management of the CSIRO have stated the need to re-organise the organisation to better fulfil its mission as outlined in its strategic plan"

In 2014, the Federal Government slashed more than $110 million from the organisation's budget, prompting national protests.

But scientists became far more optimistic when the Prime Minister launched the National Innovation and Science Agenda in December last year.

Malcolm Turnbull committed $90 million to the CSIRO to support increased commercialisation of research.

He also announced $75 million of funding to a CSIRO business unit known as Data61, which will focus research on areas such as cybersecurity and robotics.

At the time, Science Minister Christopher Pyne said organisations like the CSIRO were "among the best in the world".

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

*****************************************



Thursday, February 04, 2016



Wotta lotta bull...

England had a lot of flooding last year, caused mainly by neglect of flood defences during 13 years of Labour party rule.  But Uncle Tom Cobleigh and all below are determined to say it was all caused by global warming.  You immediately begin to wonder why they bother.  Since there has been no global warming for many years it can't have caused ANYTHING!  See the graph below



So the article is solid BS from beginning to end.  But it's just modelling anyway, which proves nothing.  Actual data were obviously too boring for them.

The sad thing is that some people have taken the trash seriously. One of Britain's Left-leaning papers has a big splash on it.  So the myths about the flooding will grow


Human influence on climate in the 2014 southern England winter floods and their impacts

By  Nathalie Schaller and many others

Abstract

A succession of storms reaching southern England in the winter of 2013/2014 caused severe floods and £451 million insured losses. In a large ensemble of climate model simulations, we find that, as well as increasing the amount of moisture the atmosphere can hold, anthropogenic warming caused a small but significant increase in the number of January days with westerly flow, both of which increased extreme precipitation. Hydrological modelling indicates this increased extreme 30-day-average Thames river flows, and slightly increased daily peak flows, consistent with the understanding of the catchment’s sensitivity to longer-duration precipitation and changes in the role of snowmelt. Consequently, flood risk mapping shows a small increase in properties in the Thames catchment potentially at risk of riverine flooding, with a substantial range of uncertainty, demonstrating the importance of explicit modelling of impacts and relatively subtle changes in weather-related risks when quantifying present-day effects of human influence on climate.

Nature Climate Change. (2016).  doi:10.1038/nclimate2927





What global warming? Large parts of Earth expected to COOL over next five years

LARGE areas of the globe are set to cool over the next five years, according to weather forecasters.

In its latest five-year forecast, up to 2020, the Met Office has said the Antarctic ocean is expected to cool over the period.

The North Atlantic ocean is also likely to see a minor cooling - meaning lower temperatures in the USA, Europe and even north Africa.

The forecast, which is said to be its most accurate five-year prediction yet because it uses the same system as its short-term forecasts, also predicts that average global temperature rises will not reach the upper-most predictions accepted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The forecast said a trend of hottest years on record, including 2015, is likely to end next year.

But overall the Met Office said the trend would continue to be a gradual creeping upwards over a longer timespan, so the threat of climate change remains real.

A Met Office spokesman said: "There is some indication of continued cool conditions in the Southern Ocean and of relatively cool conditions in the north Atlantic.

"The latter is potentially important for climate impacts over Europe, America and Africa."

But he warned there would be slight increases in some areas, mainly in the very far northern latitudes.

He said: "Averaged over the five-year period 2016-2020, forecast patterns suggest enhanced warming over land, and at high northern latitudes.

"This forecast also suggests global temperatures over the next five years are likely to be well within, or even in the upper half, of the range of warming expected by the CMIP5 models, as used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change."

The forecast is an average rise of between 0.28C and 0.77C above the long-term average for 1981 to 2010.

Last year is currently the warmest year on record since the Met Office records dating back to 1850 began and 2015 was 0.44C above the 1981 to 2010 long-term average.

Doug Smith, an expert on decadal prediction at the Met Office Hadley Centre, said: "We expect the global average temperatures for 2016 are likely to be at least as warm as 2015 - a record-breaking year.

Considering the influence of the very strong El Niño, currently active in the Pacific, then 2016 could well be another record year.

"However, the run of consecutive record years for globally-averaged temperature may end in 2017, as the influence of the current El Niño ends, nevertheless high levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will continue to influence the climate and drive very warm years."

Warren Meyer is a climate change sceptic who has written a series of articles about how various climate change temperature rise models have been highly exaggerated.

He said he could not comment on the Met Office forecast without seeing the science behind it. But he said: "It would take years to get a model right. What is bad science is when they try to say a bad snow storm or other weather event is caused by climate change."

Mr Meyer says climate sceptics are largely misunderstood.  In an article setting out their general position, he said: "Few sceptics doubt or deny that carbon dioxide (CO2) is a greenhouse gas or that it helps to warm the surface of the Earth. "Few sceptics deny that man is probably contributing to higher CO2 levels through his burning of fossil fuels.

"What skeptics deny is the catastrophe, the notion that man’s incremental contributions to CO2 levels will create catastrophic warming and wildly adverse climate changes."

He said he disputes the science behind the climate change argument that if the average temperature does top 1°C, it will trigger a positive feedback scenario that could see further rises of five to eight degrees within a relatively short time

SOURCE





Global warming too weak to be a theory

The IPCC is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, not the Interscientific Panel on Climate Change. Although the Working Groups are composed and led by scientists, their final product is shaped by government apparatchiks. Considering how many column-inches newspapers devote to this topic, it is clear climate change moved a long time ago from scientific debate in peer-reviewed publications to political debate with strident voices.

But let’s back up a bit. The IPCC’s charter from the outset has been ”to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.” The IPCC (more accurately: the research community) is not looking significantly at natural variability causes, and given the full-court research press on human-induced factors, research monies are wanting in that area. The climate has always changed, and it has been both hotter and cooler in the past before the rise of mankind’s industry. It would be good to know why. Considering we are exiting from the Little Ice Age, it is not surprising things are warming.

The debate is the degree to which anthropogenic forces stack up against natural forces. That debate is far from settled. The significant slowdown over the last 18 years in global average temperature increases, despite over one-fifth of all human CO2 ever emitted going into the atmosphere, is fostering increasing doubt on the General Circulation Models (GCMs) used to underpin the IPCC conclusions.

This was noted in the final draft of the most recent Assessment Report (AR5) Summary for Policy Makers (SPM) of the IPCC:  “Models do not generally reproduce the observed reduction in surface warming trend over the last 10-15 years.” Unfortunately, when government representatives (vs. the scientists) released the final SPM, this language was removed.

Mr. Peterman goes on about the hypothesis of climate change (I would suggest the evidence is too weak to term it a theory) and Arrhenius. While the basic physics of the greenhouse effect are well understood, the modeled effect on the climate requires the introduction of feedback loops and amplification, notably water vapor.  Some of these feedbacks are poorly understood.  Consider the language by Working Group 1 of AR5: ”The assessed literature suggests that the range of climate sensitivities and transient responses covered by CMIP3/5 cannot be narrowed significantly by constraining the models with observations of the mean climate and variability, consistent with the difficulty of constraining the cloud feedbacks from observations. ”

Translation: despite significant expenditure of resources, we cannot further narrow climate sensitivities (that is, the change in temperature in response to various forcing factors) and still don’t understand clouds. In fact, scientists are unsure on whether the feedback from clouds is positive or negative.

The climate models are increasingly diverging from the observed temperature record; they fail the engineering test of usability through a lack of validation and verification. From an engineering perspective, models behaving this way would be in the dustbin. Instead, we have zealots that want to reshape the regulatory state and energy economy on the basis of such shabby models. Unbelievable.

SOURCE





Electric Vehicle Expectations Short Circuit

With the per-barrel cost of crude oil hovering below $35 and showing no signs of spiking, gasoline prices continue to drop. Today, the national average for a gallon of regular unleaded fuel is a remarkably low $1.79. The steady decline throughout 2015 no doubt propelled the auto market on its way to setting a new benchmark. Last month, the Associated Press reported that “U.S. auto sales hit a record high of 17.47 million in 2015, topping the old record of 17.35 million set in 2000.” The report added, “Analysts expect sales could go even higher this year as unemployment continues to decline and more young buyers enter the market.”

However, the outlook for the electric vehicle market is far less sublime. Recall this prediction from Barack Obama’s 2011 State of the Union address: “With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.” But with 2015 in the history books, the report card is rustier than a decades-old junk car. According to statistics provided by hybridcars.com, a total of 411,120 plug-in electrified vehicles (PEV) have been purchased in the United States since 2008. Obama’s prediction would be right if he was talking globally — about 1.2 million PEVs have been sold worldwide — but he wasn’t, which means he only reached about 41% of his goal. In other words, good enough to earn an “F.” But who said anything about graded tests? This is government, after all.

The ironic thing is that both cheap gasoline and the struggling electric vehicle market are the result of failed policies. Instead of depending less on gasoline-powered vehicles, millions of Americans are buying them in droves despite Obama taking undeserved credit. And hybridcars.com notes, “Last year the U.S. purchased 2.8 percent fewer PEVs than it did in 2014.” No wonder Tesla CEO Elon Musk says “the industry as a whole, I think, will definitely suffer from lower oil prices.” The trends are completely opposite what Obama said they would be. But he’ll gladly take credit for them anyway. Only in government is missing your goal by 59% considered a success.

SOURCE





How West Virginia Is Leading the Charge Against Obama’s Environmental ‘Power Grab’

CHARLESTON, W.Va.—The Mountain State has its back against the wall, and time is running out. Leading a coalition of more than two dozen coal states, West Virginia is asking the Supreme Court for an emergency stay of President Obama’s new regulations governing the coal industry.

West Virginia and 26 other states argue that the Environmental Protection Agency overstepped its authority by circumventing Congress to unilaterally implement the package of rules.

The EPA calls it the Clean Power Plan. The states call the move an unconstitutional “power grab” and complain that it will bankrupt their local coal industries.

But while they’re confident the law is on their side, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey says time is not. That’s why the states have asked the Supreme Court for an emergency stay to temporarily freeze the Clean Power Plan as the case moves through the legal system.

At issue is whether the EPA will be allowed to become “a central energy planning authority,” Morrisey said.

The District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals last week agreed to hear the case on an expedited basis but declined to halt the EPA from implementing the new rules. And while oral arguments are set to begin in June, the battle likely will drag on into next year.

That’s the perfect scenario for the EPA to run out the clock, Morrisey says.

“The EPA’s goal is to obtain compliance,” he tells The Daily Signal, “whether or not the regulation is upheld in court.”

In an unusual legal play at this stage of the litigation process, the states asked Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to grant the freeze in the rules. The court has invited the Obama administration to file a rebuttal by Feb. 4 and likely will hand down a decision the following week.

Morrissey says he is cautiously optimistic that the high court will grant a stay.

“The EPA has consistently run roughshod over the rule of law and West Virginia,” Morrisey says.

And he says he is confident a temporary freeze is justified since the Clean Power Plan “is causing irreversible harm.”

States are scrambling to comply with the plan, which is considered a key component of Obama’s broader effort to achieve climate change goals negotiated in Paris last year.

The president calls the Clean Power Plan “a tremendously important step in the fight against global climate change.” Vetoing a bill from Congress that would have derailed the plan last month, Obama wrote that the measure “gives states the time and flexibility they need to develop tailored, cost-effective plans to reduce their emissions.”

The regulations require states to cut carbon emissions by 32 percent before 2030  and give them until Sept. 6 to submit implementation plans to do it.

Opponents in West Virginia fear that costly regulation will price coal out of the energy market. They point to a recent study by the West Virginia College’s Bureau of Business and Economics that forecasts an 18-percent reduction in the state’s coal production by 2035.

Brian Lego, an assistant research professor at the college, tells The Daily Signal that the production decrease could be as much as 25 percent in the long run. And as businesses brace for the new regulation, Lego predicts that West Virginia will witness more layoffs of coal miners and more shutdowns of mines.

So far this year, the state has seen an avalanche of layoffs. The West Virginia Coal Association estimates that as many as 2,000 miners were put out of work in January.

The CEO of one of the nation’s largest coal producers, Murray Energy, tells The Daily Signal that’s part of a growing trend.

Bob Murray says his company “peaked at 8,400 direct employees on May 1, 2015.” Now his company’s payroll has dwindled to about 6,000.

Murray, whose company is one of the litigants requesting that the Supreme Court put a hold on the Clean Power Plan, says that under the new regulations, “people on fixed income aren’t going to be able to pay their electric bills.”

And domestic manufacturers, he says, “won’t be able to compete in the global market because electric rates are soaring.”

In addition to this “economic and personal carnage,” Morrisey told the West Virginia Coal Symposium last week that the Clean Power Plan does “violence to the rule of law.” He also argues that “these rules will transform the EPA from environmental regulators into a central energy planning authority.”

West Virginia’s first Republican attorney general in 73 years, Morrisey has brought the state to the forefront of several legal cases against the Obama administration. But he tells The Daily Signal the current challenge could prove the most significant.

The EPA is trying to “pick winners and losers within the energy marketplace,” he says, warning that if this “unprecedented” action isn’t curbed, the agency’s authority “moves to levels we can’t possibly comprehend.”

SOURCE





A battery for the home comes to Australia

And it ONLY costs $12,000.00 -- so is not for the average Joe.   It would appear to be a modified version of Tesla's car battery so is not new technology.  Lithium-ion batteries are common in consumer electronics.

The Powerwall, a lithium-ion battery system designed to store electricity generated from rooftop solar panels, is widely considered to be a game-changer for the electricity industry. 7.30 has asked consumer group Choice to crunch the numbers. Here's what they found.

While the concept of a home battery storage system is not new to Australians, the Tesla Powerwall unit has been highly anticipated.

The Powerwall is a 7 kilowatt hour (kWh) lithium-ion-battery system that stores electricity generated from rooftop solar panels (or PV panels) during the day so that electricity can be used at night during the peak-usage times.

The system has attracted a cult-like following in recent months after the announcement that Australia would be one of the first countries to have access to it.

The first installations of the Tesla Powerwall are now underway and have a 10-year warranty period.

How does it work?

The battery has a daily cycle, meaning it is designed to charge and discharge each day.

The efficiency of the battery is 92 per cent, so although it has a 7kWh capacity, the Powerwall's working capacity is more like 6.4kWh.

Tesla also has a 10kWh weekly cycle version intended for back-up applications, but it is the 7kWh version you will see in most home installations.

People who already have solar panels will be able to use their own power rather than exporting it to "the grid" — the energy distribution network that carries electricity from power stations to homes and businesses.

One of the Australian providers of the Powerwall, Natural Solar, says that there are only two inverters currently on the market which are compatible with the Powerwall, so most existing solar panel owners will need to obtain a new inverter.

If you do not already have solar panels, the Powerwall can be purchased as part of a complete system that includes solar panels and an inverter.

You will need a solar array large enough to power both your home and charge the Powerwall — for most homes that would mean at least a 4kWh array.

How much does it cost?

If you already have solar panels, the Powerwall and a compatible inverter will cost you between $12,000 and $12,500 depending on which inverter you choose.

Energy companies are selling Powerwall packages for between $13,990 and $16,500 (GST inclusive) and with consideration to rebates for small-scale technology certificates (STCs).

Is the Powerwall big enough to take my house off the grid?

It depends on your energy needs and the number of people in living in your household, but a 7kWh battery is not going to be enough to make most households independent of the electricity grid.

It is possible to install two or more battery units to increase your storage capacity.

SOURCE

***************************************

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

*****************************************

Wednesday, February 03, 2016



Ted Cruz upsets the Greenies

I have a few comments on the article below at the foot of it

A few days after accusing “global warming alarmists” like California Governor Jerry Brown (D) of ridiculing and insulting “anyone who actually looks at the real data” around climate change, newly-declared presidential candidate Ted Cruz (R-TX) upped his rhetoric against those who care about the issue.
Speaking to the Texas Tribune on Tuesday, Cruz said that contemporary “global warming alarmists are the equivalent of the flat-Earthers.”

“You know it used to be it is accepted scientific wisdom the Earth is flat, and this heretic named Galileo was branded a denier,” he said.

In Cruz’s opinion, when it comes to climate change, his denier position places him alongside 17th Century scientist Galileo Galilei, who was also considered to be denying the mainstream knowledge of his day. According to Cruz’s logic, he is taking the minority view that human-caused climate change is not happening, just as Galileo took the minority view that the scientific method should be trusted over the Catholic Church.

Galileo, who helped perpetuate the notion that the Earth rotates around the sun, was eventually excommunicated from the Church for his views. In the centuries since he has come to be known as the “father of modern physics” and “the father of modern science.”
Cruz mentioned in the interview that his parents were mathematicians; however he himself studied public policy before going to law school.

Cruz also said he had read a 1970s Newsweek article that morning about “global cooling.” He explained how all the people who believed in global cooling suddenly switched over to global warming when the evidence on cooling didn’t line up.

The solutions to both warming and cooling, Cruz said, involved “government control of the energy sector and every aspect of our lives.”

Either Cruz is suddenly interested in minor 1970s scientific theories or he is scrambling to find ways to push back against the overwhelming evidence that human-caused climate change is happening.

Cruz is not the first to compare Galileo to those who speak out against the accepted science of climate change. In 2011, former presidential candidate and Texas governor Rick Perry dropped Galileo’s name as justification for his anti-climate position.
As the website Skeptical Science points out, “the comparison is exactly backwards.”

“Modern scientists follow the evidence-based scientific method that Galileo pioneered,” the website reads. “Skeptics who oppose scientific findings that threaten their world view are far closer to Galileo’s belief-based critics in the Catholic Church.”
President Obama seems to have gotten the analogy correct when he said in 2013 that “we don’t have time for a meeting of the flat-Earth society” when it comes to doing something about climate change.

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The feeble claim that Warmists follow "the science" is amusing.  The author has probably never heard of statistical significance, an essential scientific tool in evaluating differences between two things.  It alerts you to differences that are too small to take seriously.  But scientists know of it  and they don't ignore it.  Yet Warmists regularly ignore it when they make their regular pronouncements about "warmest year", "third warmest year" etc.  Those year to year differences are statistically non-significant and when that occurs a scientist "accepts the null hypothesis"  -- i.e. says there is no difference between the things compared.  Warmists however proclaim the differences as real.  They're not a scientist's asshole.  Their own statistics show no warming




LONG-TERM GLOBAL WARMING REQUIRES EXTERNAL DRIVERS

This is a most amusing study, showing that the earth's temperature is largely self regulating and tends toward a stable state.  Since I have often noted that we in fact live in an era of great climatic stability,  I like the finding.

That's a very bad finding for Warmists, however, so they throw in a few comments meant as a a sop to the Warmists.  They throw in a statement that man could upset or maybe has upset the process.  They offer no evidence that man has, however


By examining how Earth cools itself back down after a period of natural warming, a study by scientists at Duke University and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory confirms that global temperature does not rise or fall chaotically in the long run. Unless pushed by outside forces, temperature should remain stable.

The new evidence may finally help put the chill on skeptics’ belief that long-term global warming occurs in an unpredictable manner, independently of external drivers such as human impacts.  [A straw man. Skeptics don't believe that climate changes are uncaused.  They believe they are caused primarily by variations in solar activity -- as articulated by Svensmark]

“This underscores that large, sustained changes in global temperature like those observed over the last century require drivers such as increased greenhouse gas concentrations,” said lead author Patrick Brown, a PhD student at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment. [What rubbish! There have often been "sustained changes in global temperature" long before the modern era]

Natural climate cycles alone are insufficient to explain such changes, he said.

Brown and his colleagues published their peer-reviewed research Feb. 1 in the Journal of Climate.

Using global climate models and NASA satellite observations of Earth’s energy budget from the last 15 years, the study finds that a warming Earth is able to restore its temperature equilibrium through complex and seemingly paradoxical changes in the atmosphere and the way radiative heat is transported.

Scientists have long attributed this stabilization to a phenomenon known as the Planck Response, a large increase in infrared energy that Earth emits as it warms. Acting as a safety valve of sorts, this response creates a negative radiative feedback that allows more of the accumulating heat to be released into space through the top of the atmosphere.

The new Duke-NASA research, however, shows it’s not as simple as that.

“Our analysis confirmed that the Planck Response plays a dominant role in restoring global temperature stability, but to our surprise we found that it tends to be overwhelmed locally by heat-trapping positive energy feedbacks related to changes in clouds, water vapor, and snow and ice,” Brown said. “This initially suggested that the climate system might be able to create large, sustained changes in temperature all by itself.”

A more detailed investigation of the satellite observations and climate models helped the researchers finally reconcile what was happening globally versus locally.

“While global temperature tends to be stable due to the Planck Response, there are other important, previously less appreciated, mechanisms at work too,” said Wenhong Li, assistant professor of climate at Duke. These other mechanisms include a net release of energy over regions that are cooler during a natural, unforced warming event. And there can be a transport of energy from the tropical Pacific to continental and polar regions where the Planck Response overwhelms positive, heat-trapping local effects.

“This emphasizes the importance of large-scale energy transport and atmospheric circulation changes in restoring Earth’s global temperature equilibrium after a natural, unforced warming event,” Li said.

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Climate Change: The Burden of Proof

Fred Singer

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has to provide proof for significant human-caused climate change; yet their climate models have never been validated and are rapidly diverging from actual observations. The real threat to humanity comes not from any (trivial) greenhouse warming but from cooling periods creating food shortages and famines.

Burden of proof

Climate change has been going on for millions of years—long before humans existed on this planet. Obviously, the causes were all of natural origin and not anthropogenic. There is no reason to think that these natural causes have suddenly stopped. For example, volcanic eruptions, various types of solar influences, and atmosphere-ocean oscillations all continue today. We cannot model these natural climate-forcings precisely and therefore cannot anticipate what they will be in the future.

But let’s call this the “Null hypothesis.” Logically therefore, the burden of proof falls upon alarmists to demonstrate that this null hypothesis is not adequate to account for empirical climate data. In other words, alarmists must provide convincing observational evidence for anthropogenic climate change (ACC). They must do this by detailed comparison of the data with climate models. This is of course extremely difficult and virtually impossible since one cannot specify these natural influences precisely.

We’re not aware of such detailed comparisons, only of anecdotal evidence— although we must admit that ACC is plausible; after all, CO2 is a greenhouse gas and its level has been rising mainly because of the burning of fossil fuels.

Yet when we compare greenhouse models to past observations (“hindcasting”), it appears that ACC is much smaller than predicted by the models. There’s even a time interval of no significant warming (“pause” or “hiatus”) during the past 18 years or so—in spite of rapidly rising atmospheric CO2 levels.

There seems to be at present no generally accepted explanation for this discrepancy between models and observations, mainly during the 21st century. The five IPCC reports [1900 to 2014] insist that there is no “gap.” Yet strangely, as this gap grows larger and larger, their claimed certainty that there is no gap becomes ever greater. Successive IPCC reports give 50%, 66%, 90%, 95%, and 99% for this certainty.



Needless to say, there are no sufficient conditions to establish the existence of any significant ACC from existing data. Even necessary conditions based on empirical data, like temperature vs altitude and latitude, cloud cover, precipitation, are difficult to establish.

To summarize, any major disagreement of data with models therefore disproves ACC.

IPCC’s models are not validated—and therefore not policy-relevant

In other words, GH models have not been validated and may never be validated—and therefore are not policy-relevant.

Anyway, any warming observed during the past century appears to be trivially small and most likely economically beneficial overall. Careful studies by leading economists and agricultural experts have established these facts [see for example NIPCC-ClimateChangeReconsidered-II – 2014].



I therefore regard the absence of any significant GH warming as settled; note my emphasis on the word “significant.” Policies to limit CO2 emissions are wasting resources that could better be used for genuine societal problems like public health. They are also counter-productive since CO2 promotes plant growth and crop yields, as shown by dozens of agricultural publications.

Surviving a coming climate cooling

I am much more concerned by a cooling climate—as predicted by many climate scientists—with its adverse effects on ecology and severe consequences for humanity.

Singer and Avery in “Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 years” have described one form of observed cyclical climate change. It was first seen during the past glaciation. Loehle and Singer claim evidence for these cycles to extend into the present.

In particular, historical records identify the recent cycle of a (beneficial) Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and the (destructive) Little Ice Age (LIA) with its failed harvests, starvation, disease, and mass deaths. Many solar experts predict another LIA cooling within decades.



I have therefore explored ways to counter the (imminent) next cooling phase through low-cost and low- ecological-risk geo-engineering, using a specific greenhouse effect—not based on CO2.

At the same time, assuming that our scheme does not work perfectly, we need to prepare for adaptation to a colder climate, with special attention to supply of food and sustainable water and energy.

The outlook for such adaptation appears promising—provided there is adequate preparation. However, the coming cold period will test the survivability of our technological civilization.

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The Truth about Tesla Motors

During a January 19th panel discussion at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Tesla Motors general counsel Todd Maron said: “We make money from one thing: car sales and car sales alone.” In reality, electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer Tesla Motors loses more than $4,000 on every car it sells on a “full-cost” basis (keep in mind that some of Tesla’s costs are heavily subsidized). Tesla’s losses per vehicle are even greater using generally accepted accounting principles. CNBC and Reuters explains:

Tesla reports its finances in a different way from the Detroit automakers. Using the generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, used by GM or Ford, Tesla’s operating losses per vehicle have steadily widened to $14,758 from $3,794 in the second quarter of 2014.

Instead, Tesla survives on government handouts.

In 2015, Tesla delivered 50,580 cars worldwide, with 25,700 going to U.S. customers. This is a trivial percentage of both the worldwide and U.S. auto markets. A record 17.5 million passenger vehicles were bought in the United States in 2015. Yet only 0.67 percent—or 116,548 vehicles—were all-electrics or plug-in hybrids, 6,500 fewer than in 2014. EVs account for 0.16 percent of the 250 million U.S. passenger vehicles on the road. The market for electric cars is trivial, despite massive government support.

Instead of making money from car sales, Tesla survives by participating in many government subsidy programs. One lucrative program is California’s zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) credit program. Phil Kerpen explained how the program works:

ZEV credits are a mandate dreamed up by the bureaucrats at the California Air Resources Board (CARB), which requires [auto] manufacturers to build and dealers to sell an arbitrary number of “zero-emission” vehicles each year. . . . Tesla’s Model S generates four credits per unit sold. This means the company can sell $20,000 in ZEV credits to other [auto] manufacturers for each Model S sold—a cost borne by purchasers of other cars.

ZEV credits, pioneered in California, have spread to nine other states. Tesla has collected more than $517 million from competing automakers by selling ZEV credits to those who fail to sell enough zero-emissions cars to meet arbitrary mandates.

Charles Lane of the Washington Post said: “Tesla owes its survival to subsidies from taxpayers, who are usually less well-heeled than its plutocratic customers.” The average household income of Tesla owners is $320,000, according to Strategic Visions, a consumer research company.

Tesla buyers have also raked in $38 million in California government rebates (they receive a $2,500 rebate for each Tesla bought) and $284 million in federal tax incentives (they receive a $7,500 federal tax credit for each purchased Tesla).

The Los Angeles Times calculated that Elon Musk’s three companies, Tesla Motors, SolarCity, and SpaceX, combined have received a staggering $4.9 billion in government support over the past decade. As Kerpen noted: “Every time a Tesla is sold . . . average Americans are on the hook for at least $30,000 in federal and state subsidies” that go to wealthy Tesla owners. This is crony capitalism at its worst.

Tesla is in the business of capturing government subsidies, not making cars that people actually buy. At the same FTC panel, Tesla’s Maron said: “It’s imperative [that gas powered cars] are replaced entirely by electric vehicles.” What’s the plan for achieving this? Buried in its 2013 annual report Tesla admitted: “Our growth depends in part on the availability and amounts of government subsidies and economic incentives.”

Hold onto your wallets everyone, Tesla wants to grow.

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Clinton: ‘Deploy Half a Billion More Solar Panels by End of My First Term’

Speaking at a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Saturday former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said fighting climate change will “create millions of jobs” and pledged that if she is elected she will put in place “half a billion more solar panels.”

“Let’s create millions of jobs,” Clinton said. “And I’ve set two big goals.

“Let’s deploy a half a billion more solar panels by the end of my first term and enough clean energy to power every home by the end of my second term,” Clinton said. “We can do this.”

Clinton, who was introduced by her husband, former president Bill Clinton, and her daughter, Chelsea, said the Republicans who don’t accept climate change should talk to scientists and science teachers at the high school where the rally was held.

“Come to this high school and talk to science teachers and you will understand what climate change is,” said Clinton, noting that one third of electricity in Iowa in generated by “renewable” energy sources, mostly wind.

According to the Energy Information Administration, renewable energy sources provided about 11 percent of electricity generation in the United States in 2014, with 81 percent of energy production coming from oil, natural gas and coal.

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Poll: 91% Of Americans Aren’t Worried About Global Warming

A new poll has surfaced showing once again the vast majority of Americans don’t rank global warming as the most serious issue facing the country.

A YouGov poll of 18,000 people in 17 countries found only 9.2 percent of Americans rank global warming as their biggest concern. Only Saudi Arabians were less concerned about global warming at 5.7 percent. The biggest concern for Americans was global terrorism — 28 percent of Americans polled listed this as their top issue.

Despite a big PR push by President Barack Obama to tout his administration’s global warming agenda, most Americans have been unconvinced it’s the country’s most pressing issue. A Fox News poll from November found only 3 percent of Americans list global warming as their top concern.

The Fox poll came out just before Obama met other world leaders in Paris to kick off another round of negotiations for an international treaty to cut carbon dioxide emissions. After weeks of haggling, United Nations delegates agreed to non-binding emissions cuts.

Then, government scientists declared 2015 the warmest year on record. This news only emboldened politicians and environmental activists who want to build public support for more regulations on fossil fuels.

“In Paris, the entire world acted as one by agreeing to a universal climate accord that set an expiration date on fossil fuels–but now we must pick up the pace,” Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, fossil fuel corporations are doing everything they can to hang on to their profits as long as possible,” Brune said. “Largely as a result, if one of the leading Republican candidates were to be elected President of the United States, they would be the only head of state on earth to oppose global climate action.”

But Brune’s insistence that Republican lawmakers and corporations are responsible for keeping the American public ignorant of the dangers of global warming doesn’t seem to be backed up by the polling data.

Polls have consistently shown global warming never ranks high on the American public’s radar. A CNN poll from January 2015 found that 57 percent of Americans did not expect global warming to threaten their way of life.

“Meanwhile, only 50 percent of Americans believe global warming is caused by man-made emissions, while 23 percent say it’s caused by natural changes and 26 percent say it isn’t a proven fact,” CNN reported.

A Gallup poll from March 2015 found Americans’ concern about global warming fell to the same level it was in 1989. Global warming ranked at the bottom of a list of Americans’ environmental concerns — only 32 percent said they worried about it a “great deal.”

“Importantly, 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,” Gallup’s Jeffrey Jones wrote.

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