Friday, November 21, 2014


Some comments on the latest Warmist shriek from Norm Kalmanovich

A summary of the latest IPCC emission is here.  It claims that the climate change "fight" is affordable and that we must cut emissions to zero by 2100.  That would mean putting all gasoline and diesel-fueled vehicles off the road and closing around 95% of America's electricity generators so is basically off with the fairies.  Facts don't matter to the insane, of course, but Norm Kalmanovich points us to the the basic facts anyway:

This latest HadCRUT4 global temperature data shows that the increase in CO2 emissions since 1850 has not resulted in detectable increase in global temperature above the natural warming of 0.5°C /century as the world recovered from the Little Ice Age.



A total of 0.79°C in 164 years is just 0.48°C/century and below the accepted natural warming rate of 0.5°C/century.

In 1850 CO2 emissions were under 0.5 gigatonne and today emissions are in excess of 35 gigatonnes, so even if this 0.79°C of net global warming since 1850 was entirely due to human sourced CO2 emissions; at this rate we would only be at  1.58°C in year 2178 (2014 + 164)!




Two graphs showing the slight temperature decline since 2002

Origin of the graphs

Before any further global warming can take place the world first has to stop cooling. TSI data from the World Radiation Centre in Davos Switzerland shows that there has been a decrease in total solar irradiance (solar output) of 0.8W/m2 since 2002 and with all five global temperature datasets showing global cooling since 2002; someone would have to be rather ignorant to claim that we need to reduce emissions to stop global warming when reduced output from the sun is currently causing the Earth to cool (albeit very slightly). Since 2002 there has been a 34% increase in CO2 emissions but with the world cooling as these emissions continue to increase there is no amount of peer reviewed articles, not even the 30,000 which claim support for AGW, that can alter the fact that CO2 emissions are not causing global warming and won’t be able to any time in the future; so why would anyone in their right mind

Cripple the US economy by cutting back its fossil fuel energy supply!

Since we are only 0.79°C above the temperature prior to industrialization and with the world currently cooling; Obama needs to be challenged to first of all state when current global cooling will end and once (and if) it ends how is reducing emissions to zero going to be of any benefit in preventing the global temperature from warming a further 1.21°C when increased emissions over the past 164 years could only (and falsely) be attributed to just 0.79°C of warming!!

Via email





Historic snowfall buries a city that is no stranger to the cold

That global warming sure is pesky stuff!



For the hardy residents of Buffalo in northern New York state, digging out from deep snows dumped by biting winds sweeping across from Lake Erie is nothing new.

But even this industrial city near Niagara Falls was reeling after the largest one-day snowfall ever recorded in the United States more than a month before the official start of winter.

Some six feet of snow buried whole neighbourhoods in less than 24 hours, while drifts churned up by biting winds reached 20 feet high, crushing through doors and roofs and trapping motorists.

Dramatic walls of snow-clouds pummelled the city and “thunder snow” lit up the skies.

Across the US, temperatures plunged below zero in all 50 states, including Hawaii. The unseasonally early cold snap evoked bone-chilling memories of the “polar vortex” deep freeze that engulfed much of the country at the start of this year.

Buffalo bore the brunt as the monster snow-storm claimed at least five lives. A 46-year-old man was discovered dead in a car buried in snow, three victims suffered heart attacks while trying to shovel through the drifts and another was killed in a road crash.

Highway troopers rescued motorists and passengers from hundreds of stranded vehicles, including a women’s college basketball team who chronicled their 26 hours trapped inside a coach via social media after running out of food and water.

And a nurse delivered a baby in a fire station after her pregnant mother failed to make it to hospital, although the parents said they would spurn calls to name their child “Stormy”.

The southern side of Buffalo bore the brunt of the historic snowfall while districts just a few miles away experienced only a coating as the sun shone.

The cold blast across North America is the result of an extreme jet stream pattern funelling Arctic air directly into the US.

But Buffalo took a particular pounding as those cold winds moved across the warmer expanses of Lake Erie, picking up water vapour which froze and turned into walls of snow-clouds.

This phenomenon of “lake-effect snow” created blizzards and white-outs conditions on the southern side of the city while neighbourhoods just a few miles away experienced only inches of show and blue sunny skies.

The city authorities deployed bulldozers owned by private businesses to scoop up snow as many their regular snow-ploughs were trapped inside compounds by the drifts.

Elsewhere, paramedics ditched their ambulances in favor of snowmobiles to reach emergencies.

Another heavy of night of snow was forecast on Wednesday evening.

The good and bad news is that temperatures in Buffalo are predicted to rise to 13C within a few days, delivering a thaw that could produce flooding and water damage.

SOURCE





Weather Channel Co-Founder Predicting Snowier, Bitterly Colder Winter Ahead

The pre-Thanksgiving cold snap and a monster storm forecast to dump five feet of snow on Buffalo, N.Y. Tuesday are just “a preview” of the coming winter, which will be much colder and snowier than normal,  predicts Joseph D’Aleo, co-founder and first director of meteorology at the Weather Channel.

D’Aleo, now chief forecaster at WeatherBell Analytics, was one of the few meteorologists to accurately predict a colder-than-normal November.

He expects several major East Coast snowstorms and “widespread below-zero temperatures” that will plunge much of the nation into a deep freeze for as long as six weeks this winter.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if it snows in Atlanta, Dallas, and Birmingham,” he told CNSNews.com.

“We’ve been talking about this being another one of those historic winters since the spring. The summer before last, we had seen last winter as being one that people near the Great Lakes would remember for a long time, and it turned out to be the coldest December to March on record in Chicago, and the snowiest in Detroit, and top five coldest in many places in the central [part of the U.S.]

“And we saw the same kind of extreme this winter, not exactly in the same place, but another winter that’s going to stress our electric grid and also the energy sources that we have, “D’Aleo told CNSNews.com.

“We were not surprised at the cold coming. We had a cold forecast in November even though all the tools that are used by forecasters to look ahead, even two weeks, right up to the end of October, [were] not seeing the cold. And then suddenly they caught on.

“But we use another approach where we look at all the factors globally: the oceans and the sun and winds in the upper atmosphere over the tropics, and we find years in the past when conditions were most similar. We call it an analog approach. Other people do analogs, too. And it was telling us that it would be a lot like last year in terms of cold. It told us November would be cold, so we were swimming against the strong current.”

D’Aleo noted that the unseasonably cold weather, which is being blamed for 17 deaths since Saturday, is just “a preview” of the coming months and years ahead, when he predicts that temperatures will be up to 20 degrees lower than normal.

“And then we think this winter will be another strong one. It may end early in some parts of the country, like the Northeast, but it will be very hard, especially in mid-winter. We’ll get a break after this [current] assault, it may ease a little bit, but we think there’ll be an extended period in mid-winter that will really be harsh all over the nation.”

The worst of the frigid winter weather will likely hit right around Christmas and last until the first week of February, he told CNSNews.com.

“Everything we look at suggest that January will be the hardest of the winter months. This is sort of a preview of that. Not to say there won’t be snow and cold in December. In February, it’ll be cold, but more from the snow on the ground than a continual feed of Arctic air.

“The snow will just make the cold worse,” he added. “It keeps temperatures in daytime down and makes it colder at night in between storms, so it’s going to be a very rough one for a lot of folks.”

“We might get a break next year,” the forecaster added on a hopeful note. “Often these cold winters come in two-year periods and then you get a break for a year as the oceans readjust. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a milder winter next year.”

CNSNews.com asked D’Aleo, who lives in New Hampshire and says he ran out of heating oil last winter due to the sub-normal temperatures, his reaction to last week’s agreement between President Obama  and Chinese President Xi Jinping to fight global warming by drastically reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

“From the government’s own data, there has been no warming in winter for 25 years,” D’Aleo replied. “In fact, there’s been cooling for 20 years. All nine climate regions have cooled in winter for 20 years.”

”This decade is just four years old, and we’ve already had 12 major impact East Coast snowstorms out of close to 50 since the 1950s, which they call NESIS (Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale) storms,” he continued. “This is the most active [snowiest] decade on record. The last decade, the 2000s, had 10. The 1960s had 10. This decade has 12 and we’re only four years into it…. We could really be creating an historic decade when all is said and done.”

“The major drivers [of the cold weather] are the oceans and the sun. The Pacific has turned cold and the Atlantic is scheduled to go into its cold mode within five years. And the sun is heading into a 200-year minimum. The last time it was this quiet, and it will likely be this quiet for two decades or so, was the early 1800s. That was called the Dalton Minimum,” D’Aleo pointed out, which was a period of low temperatures that corresponded with low solar activity between 1780 and 1840.

“That was the time of [Charles] Dickens. If you remember Dickens’ novels, the children always played in the snow in London. That’s what they’re doing again… And there’ll be more winters like the Dickens years in the years to come [because] we’re headed into a colder period that will likely last decades…

“That doesn’t mean we won’t have a hot summer or that next winter won’t be warmer, but on average we will experience more and more extreme cold winters and cool summers. It’s part of a trend, and like I said, it’s been cooling for 20 years, erratically but down.”

SOURCE




EPA’s next regulatory tsunami

Trillions of dollars in ozone compliance and economic stagnation costs, for fabricated benefits

Paul Driessen

Looming Environmental Protection Agency ozone regulations personify the Obama administration’s secrecy, collusion, fraud, and disdain for concerns about the effects that its tsunami of regulations is having on the livelihoods, living standards, health and welfare of millions of American families.

Virtually every EPA announcement of new regulations asserts that they will improve human health. Draconian carbon dioxide standards, for example, won’t just prevent climate change, even if rapidly developing countries continue emitting vast volumes of this plant-fertilizing gas. The rules will somehow reduce the spread of ticks and Lyme disease, and protect “our most vulnerable citizens.” It’s hogwash.

But Americans naturally worry about pollution harming children and the poor. That makes it easy for EPA to promulgate regulations based on false assumptions and linkages, black-box computer models, secretive collusion with activist groups, outright deception, and supposedly “scientific” reports whose shady data and methodologies the agency refuses to share with industries, citizens or even Congress.

It was only in May 2012 that EPA decided which US counties met new 2008 ozone standards that cut allowable ground-level ozone levels from 80 parts per billion to 75 ppb. Now EPA wants to slash allowable levels even further: to 70 or even 60 ppb, equivalent to 70 or 60 seconds in 32 years.

The lower limits are essential, it claims, to reduce smog, human respiratory problems and damage to vegetation. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy says a 600-page agency staff report strongly recommends this reduction, and her Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee agrees. They all say the lower limits are vital for protecting public health, especially “at-risk populations and life stages.” Her decision will ultimately involve “a scientific judgment” and will “keep people safe,” Ms. McCarthy assures us.

Under terms of a convenient federal court settlement, EPA must issue its proposed new standards by December 1 of this year, and make a final decision by October 2015. The process will be “open and transparent,” with “multiple opportunities” for public hearings and comment throughout, she promised.

EPA has offered little transparency, honesty or opportunity for fair hearings and input by impacted parties thus far, and we should expect none here. But other problems with this proposal are much more serious.

If the 60 ppb standard is adopted, 85% of all US counties would likely become “non-attainment” areas, making it difficult to establish new industrial facilities or expand existing plants. Even in Big Sky, clean-air Wyoming, Teton County could be out of compliance – mostly due to emissions from pine trees!

A Manufacturers’ Alliance/MAPI study calculated that a 60 ppb ozone standard would cost the US economy a whopping $1 trillion per year and kill 7.3 million jobs by 2020. A Louisiana Association of Business and Industry and National Association of Manufacturers study concluded that a 60 ppb rule would penalize the state $189 billion for compliance and $53 billion in lost gross domestic product between 2017 and 2040. That’s $10 billion per year in just one state.

But the standard would save lives, EPA predictably claimed, citing 2009 research directed by University of California-Berkeley School of Public Health Professor Michael Jerrett. The study purportedly tracked 448,000 people and claimed to find a connection between long-term ozone exposure and death.

Other researchers sharply criticized Jerrett’s work. His study made questionable assumptions about ozone concentrations, did not rely on clinical tests, ignored the findings of other studies that found no significant link between ground-level ozone and health effects, and failed to gather critically important information on the subjects’ smoking patterns, they pointed out. When they asked to examine his data, Jerrett refused.

Michael Honeycutt, chief toxicologist for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, says Jerrett and EPA exaggerate health risks from ozone. The Texas Public Policy Foundation told EPA the agency needs to consider “the totality of studies on this issue, rather than giving exclusive weight to a single study,” the foundation emphasized. Unfortunately, EPA almost always focuses on one or two analyses that support its regulatory agenda – and ignores any that might slow or derail its onrushing freight train.

Even worse, those lost jobs and GDP result in major impacts on the lives, livelihoods, liberties, living standards, health, welfare and life spans of millions of Americans. And yet, EPA steadfastly refuses to consider these regulatory impacts: for ozone, carbon dioxide, soot, mercury and other rules.

Then there is the matter of outright deception, collusion and fraud at EPA, via these and other tactics.

One such tactic is sue-and-settle lawsuits. Agitator groups meet with EPA officials behind closed doors and agree on new rules or standards. The agency then conveniently misses a deadline, “forcing” the activists to sue. That leads to a court hearing (from which impacted parties are excluded), and a judgment “forcing” the agency to issue new regulations – and even pay the agitators’ attorney fees! American Lung Association, NRDC, Sierra Club and EPA sue-and-settle collusion resulted in the new ozone proposal.

This clever sue-and-settle tactic was devised by none other than John Beale – the con artist who’s now in prison for bilking taxpayers out of $1 million in salary and travel expenses for his mythical second job as a CIA agent. It defies belief to assume his fraudulent propensities did not extend to his official EPA duties as senior policy advisor with his boss and buddy Robert Brenner, helping Ms. McCarthy and her Office of Air and Radiation develop and implement oppressive regulations. Indeed, his own attorney says he had a “dysfunctional need to engage in excessively reckless, risky behavior” and “manipulate those around him through the fabrication of grandiose narratives.” A US Senate report details the sleazy practice.

As to the “experts” who claim lower ozone limits are vital for protecting public health, there’s this.

The American Lung Association supports the EPA health claims – but neglects to mention that EPA has given the ALA $24.7 million over the past 15 years. Overall, during this period, the ALA received $43 million via 591 federal grants, and Big Green foundations bankrolled it with an additional $76 million. But no one is supposed to question the ALA’s credibility, integrity or support for EPA “science.”

EPA also channels vast sums to its “independent” Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, which likewise rubberstamps the agency’s pollution claims and regulations. Fifteen CASAC members received over $181 million since 2000. CASAC excludes from its ranks industry and other experts who might question EPA findings. Both EPA and CASAC stonewall and slow-walk FOIA requests and deny requests for correction and reconsideration. Even congressional committees get nowhere.

As Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Chairman of the House on Science, Space and Technology Committee, noted in a letter, 16 of the 20 CASAC members who “peer-reviewed” the ozone studies also helped to write the studies. That makes it even less likely that their reviews were “independent.”

That Senate report, The Chains of Environmental Command, also notes that the Obama EPA has been deliberately packed with far-left environmental activists who work with their former Big Green colleagues to shape policy. They give radical groups critical insider access and also funnel millions of taxpayer dollars through grants to their former organizations, often in violation of agency ethics rules.

These arrogant, unelected, unaccountable, deceitful, dictatorial elites think they have a right to impose ozone, carbon dioxide, ObamaCare and other diktats on us, “for our own good.” They are a primary reason American businesses and families are already paying $1.9 trillion per year to comply with mountains of federal regulations – $353 billion of these costs from EPA alone. The damage to jobs, livelihoods, liberties, living standards, health and welfare is incalculable.

The next Congress should review all EPA data, documents and decisions, root out the fraud and collusion, and defund and ultimately reverse all regulations that do not pass muster. The principle is simple: No data, honesty, transparency or integrity – no regulation, and no taxpayer money to impose it.

Via email




Time is up for wind production tax credits

“The private sector can be expected to develop improved solar and wind technologies which will begin to become competitive and self-supporting on a national level by the end of the decade if assisted by tax credits and augmented by federally sponsored R&D,” testimony before the House of Representatives Subcommittees on Energy and Commerce offered by the American Wind Energy Association and others.

A reasonable statement of belief that wind energy just needs a little help to get off the ground and become financially viable.  And it was reasonable, in 1983, when it was made.

Now, thirty one years later, the powerful Big Wind lobbyists are at the trough once again asking for another extension of tax breaks.  Wind Production Tax Credits that distort the electricity market harming the ability of their competitors to invest profitably in alternative, competing electric generation sources.

Yet, those who promote this 21st century upgrade of 15th century technology continue to claim that if Congress just gives them one more fix they will be able to compete.

In the immortal words of Nancy Reagan, the lame duck Congress should just say no.

They should say no, because investment in wind energy production needs to stand on its own feet with the best technology emerging, and those that lag being left behind.  The natural selection of the marketplace needs to hone the industry so the most efficient, productive technologies can thrive and help meet our nation’s energy needs.

The lazy way is to get the government to provide the competitive difference allowing even poor performers to thrive.

Wind, and every other energy source, should compete on the level field of the marketplace without the corrosive effects of government tainting the game.

While others worry about the dangers that expanded wind energy pose to bird life as subsidized projects are being placed in some of nature’s most important flyways, and others express concern about the decimation of the bat population in some agriculture dependent areas, ultimately the question for Congress has to be – Is wind energy sustainable, or is it a permanent government dependent?

After more than 30 years living in Uncle Sam’s basement playing video games and eating Cheetos, its time for this industry to be kicked out of the nest.  It’s time for wind to fly.

Congress will be deciding whether to extend Wind Production Tax Credits in the weeks ahead, and for wind’s own sake, it is time allow them to die.  It is time for this industry to compete, for better or worse.

It’s time for Congress to mercifully end the Wind Production Tax Credit once and for all.

SOURCE





Severe bird population declines in Europe.  Windfarms the probable culprit

In an article published in The Guardian on November 7th, the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) is quoted saying that since 1980, across 25 European countries, house sparrow numbers have declined by 147 million, a 62% drop to 90 million. wind turbine bird kill According to the same report, starlings have fallen by 45 million, down to 40 million. As for Skylarks, their population went down by 37 million, to 43 million today. Says the author of the article, “It’s principally agricultural intensification that is behind the crisis.” (1)

Populations ranging from 40 to 90 million birds, for the most common of passerine species, are surprisingly small, spread as they are over 25 countries. Thus, if the researchers quoted by the RSPB are correct in their estimates, we are entitled to conclude that wind turbines and their power lines will have a significant impact on the number of all passerines flying our skies, eating our insects etc. Indeed, we know for instance that, in Spain alone, wind turbines kill 6 to 18 million birds and bats a year (2). Supposing that Europe has about 5 times as many wind turbines as Spain, the death toll for Europe would be 30 to 90 million birds and bats per annum – i.e. roughly 10 to 30 million birds a year, given that bats are attracted to wind turbines and killed about twice as often as birds. Comparing the numbers, and all things being equal, it is obvious that bird populations will erode further on account of wind farms, much faster than previously thought.

But no mention is made of this in the article. It’s not surprising, as both the RSPB and The Guardian are promoting the installation of ever more wind farms across Europe.

We also learn from The Guardian that the population of some raptors “is on the up in Britain”.  This assertion sounds suspicious to us at Save the Eagles International, for two main reasons:

A) - the article quotes no figures, no studies and no dates, and

B) - we know that raptors are attracted to windfarms (2), and killed in significant numbers (3).

The truth is that raptors have been recuperating in the UK since a very low point reached after two centuries of persecution.  Some species were wiped out. Then, a law was enacted to protect birds of prey, and reintroduction programmes were launched, e.g. for the Red Kite and the White-tailed Eagle.

Protection and reintroduction caused raptors' numbers to go up. But the question is: until when? We suspect that the recuperation of raptors in Britain has stopped with the advent of wind turbines, which attract and kill them. Actually, judging from the high mortality of raptors in other countries' windfarms, their UK population is most likely to be on the decline as well. But Britons are not being kept informed of these things.  To wit: in 2013 came due the decadal census of golden eagles. But nothing happened, and to those who inquired it was replied that the interval between these surveys had been changed from 10 years to 12. This does nothing to allay our fears that Scottish golden eagles are being decimated by wind turbines, many of which are spinning their deadly blades in their habitat.

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.  

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Thursday, November 20, 2014



Another blast on the trans-fat trumpet

For many years, the received wisdom in the medical literature was that eating saturated fat was bad for you and likely to give you heart attacks.  That was always nonsense and, in one of those 180 degree turns so common in the medical literature, has recently been abandoned.  Such fats are good for you these days.

Greenies and food freaks (largely overlapping categories, it would seem) hopped on the bandwagon a decade or so ago and began their usual coercive strategies.  They pressured food manufacturers to stop using such fats.  Vegetable oils were the thing.  And, like a lot of their products, the food manufacturers crumbled.

But vegetable oils were not really very suitable for making cakes and cookies.  But if you added some extra hydrogen atoms to the vegetable oils, you could get a suitable result.  The hydrogenated oils became known as trans fats.

But just as there is no such thing as a happy Greenie so there is no such thing as a happy food freak.  Various claims supported by problematical research appeared which said that trans fats were bad for you too.  They also could damage your heart.

So the food manufacturers again mostly crumbled and now use a lot of palm oil instead of saturated fats and trans fats. The cake you buy has had an adventurous past.

So now palm oils are under attack.  To produce enough palm oil, lots of new trees have to be planted and to plant those trees you have to chop down lots of other trees that were already there --  and that will not do at all!  So the limited supply of palm oil drives up its price and makes it too expensive for some food manufacturers -- who have therefore stuck with their good ol' trans fats.  So the shriekers still have a satisfying campaign to wage.  And below (below the chevrons) is the latest shot in the war.

It features work by the hyperactive and normally skeptical Beatrice Golomb but does her no credit.  The research has not yet been published in the journals so I have not been able to look closely at it but it clearly has one large problem:  It is based on self-reports, which are very susceptible to biases of various sorts.  In particular, self-reporters tend to tell you either what they think you want to hear or what they think will make themselves look good.

And that is a very obvious contaminant in the research below.  Because people are always being told how evil cakes and cookies are, consumption of them is unprestigious so many of those answering a self-report questionnaire will under-report how many of such evil products that they consume -- while people less influenced by popular fads will be little bothered by admitting to their actual diets.  So who are the cake and biscuit gourmands?  Fatties and the poor most likely.  And what do we know about the poor?  As Charles Murray showed long ago, they have lower IQs.  Shocking of me to mention it, I know, but facts are chiels that winna ding, as the Scots say.

And the memory task used by the gorgeous Dr Golomb (pic below) is IQ-related.  So the wicked eaters probably had lower IQs.   So it seems likely that Dr Golomb's finding is entirely artifactual  -- a product of her research methodology rather than information about the world.



I note that she did control for education but education and income are only weakly correlated, as many recent college graduates have found to their dismay.

Other research:  For one summary of the weak science behind the "trans-fat" hysteria, see here. Trans fats have only a temporary effect on blood chemistry and the evidence of lasting harm from them is dubious. By taking extreme groups in trans fats intake, some weak association with coronary heart disease has at times been shown in some sub-populations but extreme group studies are inherently at risk of confounding with other factors and are intrinsically of little interest to the average person.

Food manufacturers should of course revert to using saturated fats, now that medical opinion is in their favour -- JR

UPDATE

I was pleased to receive a prompt and scholarly reply from Dr Golomb about my post.  Some scientists can get very defensive and snarky if their work is criticized but she did not. It says much for her character. I reproduce the reply below:

Dear John Ray,

 It is true that the findings are based on a food frequency questionnaire, and observational data are *always* subject to potential unmeasured confounding. That is why we never use(d) the word "cause" but only describe higher trans fat consumption as "associated" with worse memory. (I can't exactly say higher "reported" trans fat consumption because it wasn't actually trans fat consumption they reported.)

On the plus side, though, the data from which the analysis was done were collected in 1999-2004, a privileged time window vis a vis trans fat assessment --  after trans fat abstraction from foods was added to analysis of the Fred Hutchinson Food Frequency Questionnaire, but before the FDA trans fat labeling requirement that made it easy for people who were health conscious to more readily limit trans fats.

{Of note, this was also before most of the positive press about chocolate, when chocolate consumption was still widely viewed as a vice (hard to imagine that time was so recent). Yet, despite this, more frequent chocolate consumption was linked favorably to memory, and to body mass index. (We presented the former finding a couple years ago -- someone else's findings connecting the two got a lot of attention in the NY Times, I understand, last week; the latter finding has been replicated, e.g.,  in a study of European adolescents, and according to a Principal Investigator who contacted us, was also found in a randomized study, supporting causality; and a study in rodents found that cocoa-derived epicatechin led to reduced fat mass with calorie consumption unchanged). Meanwhile, trans fats emerged as adversely associated with both outcomes. This makes sense given that chocolate is rich in antioxidants and has compounds that support cell energy (e.g. via mitochondrial biogenesis and vascularity), while trans fats are prooxidant (and proinflammatory), and adverse to cell energy.  (The hippocampus, a brain area important in memory, is especially vulnerable to cell death in settings of inadequate energy.)

We are encouraged by the fact that, so far, our findings based on the dietary data have almost to a one been replicated, and/or have experimental support from animal research (adding the element of causality). For instance we previously found that, even adjusted for calories and exercise, trans fat consumption was linked to higher BMI and waist circumference. (By the way, I will mention since we have discovered that some scientists -- i.e. peer reviewers! -- are confused on this point, there is no violation of the second law of thermodynamics in that statement. Calories are disposed of in a range of ways -- heat generation, fat deposition, creating blood vessels and mitochondria -- and just what is done with them is subject to modulation by signaling pathways, in turn influenced by dietary factors.) Consistent with this, primate data show that incorporating trans fats, without changing calories, leads to increased deposition of abdominal/visceral fat.

Anyhow, thanks for sending, and thanks for your interest!

Cheers,

Beatrice

I replied:

Beatrice

Thank you for that interesting reply

I think you should have a closer look at the recent literature on anti-oxidants.  I think we are midway through an 180 degree turn there.  The latest thinking is that antioxidants are actually bad for us.  The body needs plenty of oxidants. So pro-oxidants could be a GOOD thing!

Cheers
JR

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Eating cookies and cakes could damage your memory -  regardless of your age



Fats found in some biscuits, cakes and processed foods could have a harmful effect on memory, researchers have warned.

The fats, known as trans fats, are used both in processed food and in restaurants, often to improve the texture, shelf life or flavour.

They are created when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to make it more solid, which is why they are often called partially hydrogenated oils.

Now, a study of 1,000 healthy men aged under 45 found those who ate the most trans fat had worse scores in a word memory test.

The link remained after taking account of age, education and depression.

Study leader Dr Beatrice Golomb, of the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, said: ‘Trans fats were most strongly linked to worse memory, in young and middle-aged men, during their working and career building years.

‘From a health standpoint, trans fat consumption has been linked to higher body weight, more aggression and heart disease.

‘As I tell my patients, while trans fats increase the shelf life of foods, they reduce the shelf life of people.’

The research team studied adults who had not been diagnosed with heart disease.  They were asked to complete a dietary questionnaire, from which the researchers estimated participants' trans fat consumption.

To assess memory, researchers presented participants with a series of 104 cards showing words.  Each person had to state whether each word was new or a word duplicated from a previously seen card.

Each additional gram a day of trans fats consumed was associated with an estimated 0.76 fewer words correctly recalled.

For those eating the highest amounts of trans fats, this translated to an estimated 11 fewer words – a reduction of 10 per cent in words recalled compared to adults who ate the least trans fat.

The average number of words correctly recalled was 86, according to research presented at the American heart Association’s Scientific sessions 2014 in Chicago.

Trans fat is widely considered the worst kind for your heart, even worse than saturated fat, which can also contribute to heart disease.

The UK food industry in recent years has reduced or eliminated industrially produced trans fat in foods.

Current dietary surveys suggest consumption levels provide less than one per cent of food energy, below the recommended two per cent maximum – about 5g a day.

The Food and Drug Administration is taking further steps to reduce the amount of artificial trans fats in the US food supply.

SOURCE





‘Thunder snow’ freezes all of USA

Which proves global warming, of course

IT is called a ‘lake-effect’ snowstorm — and it has paralysed cities across the US, with temperatures falling to freezing in all 50 states, including Hawaii.

Lake-effect snow is produced during cooler atmospheric conditions when cold winds move across long expanses of warmer lake water, providing energy and picking up water vapour, which freezes and is deposited on the leeward shores.

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers calls it ‘thunder snow’.  “The steam from the lake ... (is) still much warmer than the air,” he said. “The air is in the teens and the water in the 40s. That steam comes up and wants to rise. That rise ... creates a thunder storm but it’s so cold it doesn’t rain. It just snows.”

The phenomenon paralysed the upstate New York city of Buffalo yesterday, forcing state police on snowmobiles to deliver blankets to stranded motorists on the main highway across New York State.

At least four people were killed in the storm, CNN reports.

One of the storm-related deaths was a vehicle accident, said Peter Anderson, a spokesman for the county executive. Three others were cardiac arrests as a result of shovelling.

In a region accustomed to highway-choking snowstorms, this one is being called one of the worst in memory.  “This storm is basically a knife that went right through the heart of Erie County,” said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.  “I can’t remember and I don’t think anyone else can remember this much snow falling in this short a period.”

The equivalent of a year’s worth of snow is going to pound some areas over a three-day period, Poloncarz said.

Meteorologists say temperatures in all 50 states fell to freezing or below on Tuesday.

That included Hawaii, where the temperature at Mauna Kea on the Big Island dropped to -0.5 degrees Celsius (31 Fahrenheit).

They say the low temperatures were more reminiscent of January than November.

The southeast wasn’t spared.  Schools closed in the North Carolina mountains amid blustery winds and ice-coated roads.  In Atlanta, tourists Morten and Annette Larsen from Copenhagen were caught off-guard by the sub-freezing weather as they took photos of a monument to the 1996 summer Olympics at Centennial Olympic Park.

“It’s as cold here as it is in Denmark right now. We didn’t expect that,” Larsen said, waving a hand over his denim jacket, buttoned tightly over a hooded sweatshirt.

The National Weather Service warned that the snow, generated by cold air blowing over the warmer Great Lakes, would continue through Wednesday and could eventually total 1.8 metres in places.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo deployed 150 member of the National Guard state militia to help clear snow-clogged roads and remove abandoned vehicles.

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White House taunts GOP on climate change: ‘I don’t believe they can stop us’

The White House forged ahead Monday with yet another piece of its climate change agenda and bragged that Republicans are powerless to stop it.

A presidential task force unveiled a report on how communities across the country can prepare for the effects of global warming. In all, the recommendations on “climate preparedness and resilience” could cost the federal government more than $100 billion to protect drinking water supplies, shore up coastlines against rising sea levels and take other preventive measures.

The recommendations and subsequent expenses are just two pieces of an ever-expanding slate of global-warming that is sure to come under the microscope when Republicans assume control of the Senate in January.

But legal analysts say the Republicans have little ammunition to fight back, short of shutting down the federal government to stop Environmental Protection Agency funding.

White House officials, keenly aware of the executive power Mr. Obama holds on the issue of climate change, openly mocked incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Republican colleagues.

“I believe the president will complete actions. It is a top priority of his and I don’t believe they can stop us,” White House counselor John Podesta told reporters on a conference call Monday. “Not withstanding Sen. McConnell making this a top priority to leave the status quo, to leave the air dirtier.”

White House officials on Monday also detailed some the expenses associated with the task force recommendations, including $88 billion for North Atlantic states to protect against rising sea levels, $6 billion for Midwestern states to combat rising temperatures and $40 billion to improve California’s drinking water systems.

The report comes on the heels of other recent steps, including Mr. Obama’s greenhouse gas emissions deal with China. Under that agreement, the U.S. pledged to cut its emissions by at least 26 percent by 2025, while China merely said it will cap emissions no later than 2030.

To meet that goal, the administration is relying on its unprecedented restrictions on power plant pollution — regulations that have led to accusations of a “war on coal” — and new auto fuel-efficiency standards, among other steps.

Mr. Obama also is seeking $3 billion in taxpayer money to go toward a global climate fund aimed at helping developing nations boost their infrastructure.

Republicans appear ready to fight the president’s climate change agenda tooth and nail. After the GOP captured the Senate, Mr. McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said reining in the EPA would be a “top priority.”

He reiterated those comments over the weekend. “They’ve been on a rampage all across the country. And I think coal is the most conspicuous example, but it’s happening in a lot of other areas and I think you’re going to see bipartisan support for trying to rein them in,” he told an audience in Frankfort, Kentucky.

The larger climate change debate is intertwined with the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline, the approval of which could come up for a Senate vote as early as Tuesday. The House already has passed legislation deeming the pipeline approved.

The White House, however, has hinted the president will veto the bill.

SOURCE





The Moral Case Against Fossil Fuels Matters. But It’s Absurd

Alex Epstein

Imagine you are talking to a tobacco advocate who claims that he has a new strategy for winning the hearts and minds of the public:

“We will explain to the public that we contribute to economic growth.”

“We will explain to the public that we create a lot of jobs.”

“We will link our industry to our national identity.”

“We will stress to the public that we are addressing our
attackers’ concerns—by lowering the emissions of our product.”

Would you be convinced? I doubt it, because none of these strategies does anything to address the industry’s fundamental problem—that the industry’s core product, tobacco, is viewed as a self-destructive addiction. So long as that is true, the industry will be viewed as an inherently immoral industry. And so long as that is true, no matter what the industry does, its critics will always have the moral high ground.

Sound familiar? Substitute “fossil fuels” for “tobacco” and you have the fundamental communications problem the fossil fuel industry–and anyone who supports fossil fuels–faces.

Opponents of coal, oil and natural gas have successfully portrayed fossil fuel energy as a self-destructive addiction that is destroying our planet and the energy industry as fundamentally immoral.

Why is the industry viewed as immoral? Because for decades, environmentalist leaders have made a false but unanswered moral case against the fossil fuel industry—by arguing that it inherently destroys our planet and should be replaced with environmentally beneficial solar, wind and biofuels.

According to this argument, it destroys our planet in two basic ways: by increasing environmental dangers (most notably through catastrophic global warming) and depleting environmental resources (through using fossil fuels and other resources at a rapid, “unsustainable” pace).

There is only one way to defeat the environmentalists’ moral case against fossil fuels—refute its central idea that fossil fuels destroy the planet. Because if we don’t refute that idea, we accept it, and if we accept that fossil fuels are destroying the planet, the only logical conclusion is to cease new development and slow down existing development as much as possible. That’s what gives moral standing to something like U.S.-China carbon emissions agreement, which deserves to be seen as an immoral cap on human progress.

I have come to believe that the moral case against fossil fuels is not only false, but is the exact opposite of the truth. Fossil fuels don’t take a clean environment and make it dirty, they take a dirty environment and make it clean. They don’t take a safe climate and make it dangerous, they take a dangerous climate and make it safe. The industry doesn’t deplete resources, it creates resources out of once-useless raw materials.

This is the moral case for fossil fuels. It will give us the moral high ground in the debate over fossil fuels. It is the subject of my new book.

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Obama Says Keystone Won’t Benefit Americans, Contrary to Assessments by Dep’ts of State, Energy

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline to carry crude oil from Canada will only benefit our northern ally, and will neither lower gas prices in the U.S. nor entail a “massive jobs bill for the United States,” President Obama said while traveling in Asia last week.

During a press conference Friday in Yangon, Burma, Obama was asked about the project, which has been under review by the State Department for six years and faces a Senate vote on Tuesday.

“Understand what this project is,” he replied. “It is providing the ability of Canada to pump their oil, send it through our land, down to the Gulf, where it will be sold everywhere else.”  “It doesn’t have an impact on U.S. gas prices,” he added.

Obama’s remarks contradict other assessments – including those of the Departments of State and Energy – that the 1,179-mile pipeline could not only create thousands of American jobs and pump billions of dollars into the U.S. economy but also increase the nation’s energy security.

The American Petroleum Institute, the trade association that advocates on behalf of the U.S. oil and gas industry, on Monday issued a plea to Obama about the pipeline and its benefits.

“Mr. President, do not outsource the 42,000 American jobs this pipeline represents, to move Canadian and U.S. energy resources from North Dakota and Montana, to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast,” API President and CEO Jack Gerard said in a statement.

“Americans are embracing our domestic energy renaissance but they can’t fully benefit from it unless there is a robust infrastructure system to transport the fuels they demand,” he added.

In a commentary on Friday the Wall Street Journal questioned Obama's understanding of global economics and the oil trade.  “Someone should tell the President that oil markets are global and adding to global supply might well reduce U.S. gas prices, other things being equal,” it said. “A tutor could add that Keystone XL will also carry U.S. light oil from North Dakota’s Bakken Shale.  “So even if he thinks that bilateral trade only helps Canada, he’s still wrong about Keystone.”

TransCanada, the company in charge of the Keystone XL pipeline construction, calls it “the definition of shovel-ready infrastructure project,” and cites the State Department’s own findings. (The department is in control of the project’s destiny because of its “international” element.)

“Almost overnight, Keystone XL could put 9,000 hard-working American men and women directly to work,” TransCanada says on its website. “The U.S. State Department’s Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement found that the project would support more than 42,000 direct and indirect jobs nationwide.”

“In addition to construction jobs, an estimated 7,000 U.S. jobs are being supported in manufacturing the steel pipe and the thousands of fittings, valves, pumps and control devices required for a major oil pipeline,” it states.

“TransCanada has contracts with more than 50 suppliers across the U.S., including companies in Texas, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Indiana, Georgia, Maryland, New York, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Ohio, Arkansas, Kansas, California and Pennsylvania.”

TransCanada also cites a Canadian Energy Research Institute prediction that Keystone XL will add $172 billion to America’s gross domestic product by 2035 and will create an additional 1.8 million person-years of employment in the United States over the next 22 years.

The pipeline will also make the U.S. less dependent on foreign oil, thus increasing energy security, it says, citing a Department of Energy study.

“Keystone XL Pipeline will have the capacity to transport 830,000 barrels per day of crude oil from Canada and the continental United States to refineries on the Gulf Coast, where it can displace much of the higher-priced oil those refineries currently import from overseas,” TransCanada says.

“This view is backed up by a December, 2010 U.S. Department of Energy study which states: ‘Increased Canadian oil imports will help reduce U.S. imports of foreign oil from sources outside of North America.’”

In a move seemingly unheard of just weeks ago, the U.S. Senate is set to vote on Tuesday on legislation that would approve the Keystone project, a bill passed by the House of Representatives last week.

Obama has said he has not changed his position on the pipeline but has not specifically said he would veto the bill if it reaches his desk.

Asked again about the project at the end of a G20 summit in Brisbane, Australia on Sunday, Obama raised another potential objection – climate change.

“We’re going to let the process play itself out,” he told reporters. “And the determination will be made in the first instance by the Secretary of State. But I won’t hide my opinion about this, which is that one major determinant of whether we should approve a pipeline shipping Canadian oil to world markets, not to the United States, is: does it contribute to the greenhouse gases that are causing climate change?”

SOURCE  





Australian PM will soon look like a genius for refusing to drag Australia to yet another climate fiasco

Even as he continues to win plaudits from visiting Chinese and Indian leaders, the high priests and priestesses of the fourth estate are in full-throated rebellion against Tony Abbott. Defensive, embarrassing, timid, insular, clumsy, flawed, weird, cringeworthy – this is just a sampler of media comment on Abbott’s performance at the G20 in Brisbane.

But it is perhaps better to see Abbott as someone who refuses to agree at all times with outspoken, self-appointed pressure groups that breed around controversial questions. He makes an inviting rhetorical target precisely because he embodies that down-to-earth quality in our national spirit that has been all but obliterated by the modern obsession with courting fashionable opinion. His bluntness – such as his defence of Big Coal or his threat to “shirtfront” Putin – takes him where mealy-mouthed politicians fear to tread.

I say this as someone who disagrees with his stance on Ukraine. It is one thing to try to subject the Russian-backed rebels to some scrutiny for 17 July; it is another thing for the leader of a middle power to issue dire threats and warnings to a nuclear power with vital strategic interests at stake in a region that has been in its sphere of influence for centuries.

All things considered, however, Abbott’s diplomatic conduct in recent days has been defensible.

Start with the China trade deal, a major victory for our exporters that will add tens of billions of dollars to the economy. The prime minister promised to clinch unprecedented and lucrative agreements with Japan, South Korea and China by the end of the year. His foreign affairs and trade team have achieved this goal with aplomb. The three nations account for about half of all our exports.

The critics were having a field day feasting on Abbott for daring to talk about his government’s domestic policy challenges; never mind that the leaders were invited to the G20 opening session to discuss how domestic politics impede a pro-growth reform agenda.

Then there is the G20 growth agreement itself, which will dramatically improve the lives of people all around the world, so long as nations deliver on their promises. Even Michael Gordon, one of Fairfax Media’s many Abbott critics, has conceded that for the first time the world’s richest economies have committed themselves to a specific (and ambitious) growth target and they have been prepared to allow independent bodies to scrutinise their approaches.

We are told that on climate change, the G20 leaders spectacularly wrong-footed Abbott. Yet he has merely defended the national interest and kept faith with the Australian people who gave him an electoral mandate to abolish Julia Gillard’s widely unpopular carbon tax. We are also told that Paris is the moment when the world will come together to save us from an excess of greenhouse gas emissions. It’s a fair bet Abbott’s position will be vindicated at the United Nations climate talks next year.

Shortly before Brisbane, Beijing concluded a bilateral accord with Washington in which they agreed (on a non-binding basis) to begin reducing their annual emissions by 2030. The understanding is clearly that, since Obama signed up to this deal (and indeed presented it as a triumph), he will not push the Chinese any further at next year’s meeting in Paris.

Meanwhile, Obama needs to ask the US Congress to appropriate $3bn for the global climate fund. Republicans will oppose it, and many Democrats repudiated Obama’s energy agenda in the recent midterm elections. No member of the visiting Washington press corps, judging from the press conference on Sunday, evidently thinks the issue is an American priority. Congress won’t legislate a carbon tax or a national emissions trading scheme.

As for China, their leaders’ priority is to grow their economy at 7-8% annually and to reduce poverty; and the cheapest way of doing so is via carbon energy (president Xi did not even mention climate change in his address to parliament yesterday.) True, Beijing is investing in renewable energy projects and piloting cap and trade schemes in some provinces. But China is also building a coal-fired power plant every 8-10 days and its net emissions continue to escalate steadily (on 1990 levels, Australia is set to cut its greenhouse gas emission by 4% by 2020.)

Any “deal” at Paris will merely give China and India a free rein until the 2030s without any binding obligation to be monitored and scrutinised by the west on their actual behaviour. That is why Abbott is wise to make any Australian climate policies conditional on a legally binding, verifiable, enforceable and genuinely global agreement to replace the Kyoto protocol. Even the Germans have essentially done that.

What is shaping up now, as Benny Peiser of the London-based Global Warming Policy Forum predicts, is a huge blame game over the likely failure to agree to a post-Kyoto treaty. China and India will blame the west for its failure to deliver $100 bn per annum – yes, $100bn – that was promised at Copenhagen. Obama and the left will blame the Republicans. The EU will blame the Americans. Climate enthusiasts and developing nations will blame all and sundry.

And Abbott will look like a genius for keeping Australia on the margins of yet another climate summit fiasco.

SOURCE

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Is global warming pushing up the price of sushi?

Since there has been NO global warming for 18 years, attributing recent events to it is just careless journalism.  There may indeed have been warmer seas off Chile but fluctuating  ocean currents are the likely cause of that. If I remember  rightly, the El Nino/La Nina oscillation was first observed off Chile

Sushi prices in restaurants and supermarkets are tipped to soar after a sharp increase in one of the key costs of creating the Japanese dish.

A large proportion of sushi, which combines raw fish or vegetables with cooked vinegared rice, contains farmed shrimp, prawns or salmon.

The cost of the main feed for farmed fish has jumped by almost 50 per cent in two weeks to reach a record high, according to reports.  The feed, called fishmeal, is a brown powder made from dried fish bones and the trimmings of small marine species such as anchovies.

Rising sea temperatures led to a drop in anchovy catches in Peru, the world's largest exporter, pushing up prices. A tonne of fishmeal now costs $2,500, according to the Financial Times, up from $1,689 at the end of October.

Fishmeal prices have risen fourfold in a decade due to climate change and increased demand, with around four per cent more farmed fish being eaten every year.

The increased costs are expected to be passed on to diners as restaurants and cafés serving sushi put up prices to maintain their margins.

The most popular sushi consist of raw, prawns, salmon and shrimp and rice. Most of the raw fish is farmed.

The growth of sushi, which has become fashionable in Britain and other western nations over the past few years, and the general popularity of fish this year led to global farmed fish consumption surpassing that of "captured" fish for the first time

SOURCE






Obama: ‘We Are Going to Contribute $3 Billion to the Green Climate Fund'

But where is he going to get the money from?

Speaking at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia on Saturday, President Barack Obama vowed to contribute $3 billion from the U.S. Treasury to the United Nation’s Green Climate Fund.
"We are going to contribute $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund so we can help developing nations deal with climate change,” said Obama.

The Green Climate Fund says that it aims to promote a “paradigm shift” in the use of energy and in development.

“The Fund will contribute to the achievement of the ultimate objective of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC),” the fund says on its website. “In the context of sustainable development, the Fund will promote the paradigm shift towards low-emission and climate-resilient development pathways by providing support to developing countries to limit or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the impacts of climate change, taking into account the needs of those developing countries particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. The Fund will be guided by the principles and provisions of the Convention.”

This fund to which Obama intends to funnel $3 billion in U.S. taxpayer money lists among its board members Ziqian Liang, the deputy director general of the International Department of the Ministry of Finance of the People’s Republic of China. It also lists as board members Ayman Shasly, and international policies consultant with the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources of Saudi Arabia; and Jorge Ferrer Rodriquez, a minister counsellor with the Multilateral Affairs and International Law General Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba.

“We cannot forget the need to lead on the global fight against climate change,” Obama said in his speech at the University of Queensland.

“Here in the Asia Pacific, nobody has more at stake when it comes to thinking about and then acting on climate change,” Obama said. “Here, a climate that increases in temperature will mean more extreme and frequent storms, more flooding, rising seas that submerge Pacific islands.  Here in Australia, it means longer droughts, more wildfires.  The incredible natural glory of the Great Barrier Reef is threated.  Worldwide, this past summer was the hottest on record.  No nation is immune, and every nation has a responsibility to do its part.”

Obama called on younger people to become climate change activists.

“But let me say, particularly again to the young people here:  Combating climate change cannot be the work of governments alone,” Obama said. “Citizens, especially the next generation, you have to keep raising your voices, because you deserve to live your lives in a world that is cleaner and that is healthier and that is sustainable.  But that is not going to happen unless you are heard.”

The Associated Press cited former U.S. Sen. Tim Wirth who said that he did not believe Obama could get the $3 billion to give to this U.N. fund without the approval of Congress.

The AP reported: “It wasn't immediately clear where Obama planned to find the money. Sen. Timothy Wirth, vice chairman of the United Nations Foundation and a politician who has been on both House and Senate budget committees, said he doesn't see how the Obama administration can get the money without approval from a Republican Congress, which he said is unlikely to happen.”

Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, who is the senior member on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, issued a statement criticizing Obama’s pledge.

"President Obama’s pledge to give unelected bureaucrats at the U.N. $3 billion for climate change initiatives is an unfortunate decision to not listen to voters in this most recent election cycle,” Inhofe said. “His climate change spending priorities, estimated to be $120 billion since the beginning of his administration, were on the ballot, and Americans spoke.

“The President’s climate change agenda has only siphoned precious taxpayer dollars away from the real problems facing the American people,” said Inhofe. “In a new Congress, I will be working with my colleagues to reset the misguided priorities of Washington in the past six years. This includes getting our nation’s debt under control, securing proper equipment and training to protect our men and women in uniform, and repairing our nation’s crumbling roads and bridges. These are the realistic priorities of today.”

SOURCE





Luxemburg crook 'sacks' EU scientific adviser over her pro-GM views

Jean-Claude is widely believed to have facilitated dodgy tax avoidance deals while he was Prime Minister of Luxemburg.  He is under investigation over it



Jean-Claude Juncker fired Professor Anne Glover on Thursday as part of his plans to allow countries to ban GM crops even if scientific advice says the technology is safe.

“It’s a sad day for science, policy, politics and the public in Europe,” said Professor Colin Blakemore and the University of London.

Dr Roberto Bertollini, Chief Scientist and World Health Organization representative to the EU, attacked a decision that shows Mr Juncker’s “unwillingness to accept independent scientific opinion”.

“Ideology and vested interests continue to dominate the public debate in Europe and elsewhere irrespective of the attempts to bring knowledge and science based advice in the picture,” he said.

Mr Juncker’s final decision to sack Prof Glover came after France made it clear to him that her opinions on GM technology were unacceptable and that the post should be scrapped.

“She’s controversial because of her views on GM. Juncker doesn’t like the idea of GM crops being approved by the EU on scientific grounds. Even worse, she had upset the French,’ said an EU source.

As the former prime minister of Luxembourg, a country that along with France, Austria, Greece and Hungary, that has banned, and is opposed, to the use of GM crops on political grounds, Mr Juncker's personal views are well known.

On taking the post as commission president, despite opposition from David Cameron, the Prime Minister, Mr Juncker has announced plans to review EU rules on authorising biotechnology in order to allow countries to ban their use.

Mr Juncker has also come under intense pressure from France, MEPs, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and lobby groups to abolish Professor Glover’s post because of her views.

“The current chief scientific adviser presented one-sided, partial opinions on the use of genetically modified organisms in agriculture, repeatedly claiming that there was a scientific consensus about their safety,” said a letter in July signed by Greenpeace and other green groups.

“We hope that you as the incoming commission president will decide not to nominate a chief scientific adviser.”

Last September, Mrs Glover incensed anti-GM countries, such as Mr Juncker’s Luxembourg, by telling a Scottish scientific conference that there was “not a single piece of scientific evidence” to support bans of biotechnology on safety grounds.

“No other foodstuff has been so thoroughly investigated as GM,” she said. “Opposition to GM, and the benefits it can bring, is a form of madness I don’t understand.”

Julie Girling, a Conservative MEP, accused Mr Juncker on going back on a commitment that Prof Glover’s job was safe that he had given to a meeting in the European Parliament in July.

“I fear Mr Juncker has caved in to the green lobby. They have been very vociferous,” she said. “He has reneged on promises he gave to us.”

Britain’s farmers have condemned Mr Juncker decision as “deeply troubling”.

“At a time when we need to address serious concerns around food security, energy security and the collective EU response to the threat of climate change; it is deeply concerning that the voice of science should be stifled,” said Meurig Raymond, the president of the National Farmers Union.

A spokesman for Mr Juncker denied that Mrs Glover had been sacked on political grounds.

“The post automatically ended with the old commission,” she said. “He is keen on having good quality scientific advice but he has yet to make up his mind how to organise it.”

Greenpeace have welcomed Mr Juncker’s decision to axe the post and claimed that Prof Glover had “ended up hindering” the provision of “wide-ranging and transparent scientific advice”.

“This is not about being for or against issues like GM food, contentious chemicals, nanotechnology or climate change,” said Marco Contiero, Greenpeace’s EU agriculture policy director.

SOURCE





Is Julie Borlaug a disgrace to her grandfather?

During her presentation at the Bayer CropScience Corn and Soybean Future Forum Julie Borlaug told the audience they are not doing a good job of communicating what they are doing to the broad general consuming audience. That raised a few eyebrows.

What she suggests is making message more personal and not so polarizing as we sometimes see with the GMO debate as a good example. Activists are using emotion to make their points and I think we need to get emotion in our messaging too. That doesn’t exclude including scientific information.

Mischa Popoff comments:

What??? Where does Julie Borlaug get off telling people they’re not doing a good job of communicating?

She’s the one who fails to speak out against tax-subsidized organic activists who want GMOs to be banned.

She’s the one who thinks the organic industry shouldn’t be criticized even though her grandfather openly criticized anyone who rejected science in agriculture!

And worst of all, Julie Borlaug let President Obama off the hook when he wrote a lukewarm letter of support for the science of genetic engineering without clearing up where he stands on GMO banning and labeling campaigns. Julie just let him off the hook! She didn’t ask him to clarify his comments, and in fact supported him in his calculated indecision.

Thomas Edison never “engaged” with the public over how great the light bulb was. The only reason people like Borlaug want to blame farmers is because she’s done such a horrible job of defending this new science from attacks launched by tax-funded organic activists. And why? Because she’s reluctant to offend organic activists. But sometimes being right requires offending those who are wrong.

Who seems to be winning the debate long term?

It’s impossible to say. Sure, we won Colorado and Oregon… but Oregon is already home to the 6th county in America to ban GMOs. Meanwhile, we lost Maui last Tuesday, and Vermont was a huge loss earlier in the year.

And however things go at the ballot box, remember that things were going great for DDT back in the 1960s. Rachel Carson never called for DDT to be banned. And yet in 1972 it was banned, resulting in over 1 million deaths a year – mostly children under the age of 5 – from preventable diseases like malaria and dengue fever in the Third World.

This is one debate where you simply don’t know if you’re going to win or lose until you’re at the finish line.

SOURCE





GREENIE ROUNDUP FROM AUSTRALIA

Five current articles below

Despite opposition from Greens and farmers, NSW is pushing to get coal seam gas extraction up and running  -- as it already is in Qld

THE NSW Aboriginal Land Council will miss out on a ­series of valuable mining licences as part of the Baird government’s coal seam gas revamp.

Resources Minister ­Anthony Roberts announced plans last week to reopen the CSG industry, which has been beset by safety fears and ­community protests, in order to boost gas supplies and lower household bills.

As a first step, the government is cancelling 16 pending gas exploration applications put on ice during chief scientist Mary O’Kane’s study of the CSG industry and its extraction methods.

Six of those applications ­belong to the NSW Aboriginal Land Council and cover exploration for conventional petroleum gas deposits and possible CSG extraction sites in the state’s far west.

Land Council chairman Craig Cromelin said losing the applications was a blow to indigenous communities, who had hoped to secure a jobs and cash windfall through mining.

“We certainly think we’re being unfairly treated,” Mr Cromelin said.

“If Aboriginal people are going to break out of the ­dependency system that exists we’re going to have to be given an opportunity to prove that we can make a fist of businesses like gas extraction.”

The Land Council, which had appointed a gas industry partner to help develop its proposed mining projects, wants the government to reconsider its plan to scrap its six applications. It is prepared to accept a ban on CSG mining if it can proceed on the basis that it would mine gas using other methods.

A spokesman for Mr Roberts said the Land Council would be able to reapply, should the land where it wants to explore become available again under the state government’s new CSG regime, which is expected to be formalised next year.

“New areas of exploration will only be released after an assessment of economic environmental and social factors,” the spokesman said.

SOURCE

Australian uranium shipments planned for 2015 as India ramps up nuclear power

Greenies LOATHE uranium and try to stop Australia exporting it

The uranium industry is hoping to make trial shipments to India next year as the nation makes plans to move to 25 per cent nuclear power by 2050.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Indian leader Narendra Modi have discussed the supply of Australian uranium for India's nuclear power plants.

It follows their signing of a safeguards agreement in New Delhi in September, overturning a long-standing ban on uranium exports to the subcontinent.

In his address to federal parliament on Tuesday, Prime Minister Modi said he saw Australia as a major partner in his country's quest to boost electricity production and address climate change.

"(We seek) energy that does not cause our glaciers to melt," he said.  "Clean coal and gas, renewable energy and fuel for nuclear power."

The pair discussed energy security and what Mr Abbott called Australia's "readiness and willingness" to supply uranium to India for peaceful purposes.

"If all goes to plan, Australia will export uranium to India - under suitable safeguards ofcourse - because cleaner energy is one of the most important contributions that Australia can make to the wider world," Mr Abbott said.

The agreement is now being examined by the parliamentary treaties committee, which will close submissions on November 28.  There are also talks between officials on administrative arrangements.

Both the treaties process and the administrative arrangements must be finalised before Australian uranium producers can start exports to India.

Minerals Council uranium spokesman Daniel Zavattiero said the industry expected to start shipments next year.  "The industry position is things are moving okay," he said.  "We expect some point next year it will come into force and become operational, then we can start on shipments and sales."

Initial sales are expected to start on a small scale, but the outlook is strong.

The International Energy Agency estimates that while nuclear provides three per cent of India's power today, it will grow to 12 per cent by 2030 and 25 per cent in 2050.  India plans to invest $96 billion in nuclear plants to 2040, with 21 operating now, six under construction and 57 planned or proposed.  "It's very positive for us," Mr Zavattiero said.

The agreement stipulates India must only use the uranium for peaceful purposes that adhere to recognised international safety standards.  It is controversial because India has refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty despite possessing an arsenal of atomic weapons.

Australia has the largest share of uranium resources in the world but currently exports only 8400 tonnes a year, valued at over $820 million.

SOURCE

Western Australia's EPA gives green light for new iron mine

The Green/Left loathe ALL mines, for some obscure reason

Western Australia's environmental watchdog has given Rio Tinto the green light for a new 70 million tonne a year iron ore mine in the Pilbara, amidst growing concern about a global supply glut.

The state's Environmental Protection Authority has awarded conditional approval to the greenfields Koodaideri mine and infrastructure proposal, which was submitted by Rio Tinto subsidiary Mount Bruce Mining.

If approved by the state's Minister for Environment Albert Jacob, the mine is expected to produce as much as 70 million tonnes per annum of iron ore for a mine life of 30 years, Rio's Pilbara division is on track to export around 270 million tonnes in the 2014 calendar year, so the new mine would contribute a meaningful amount to the company's production volumes as well as sustaining pressure on the region's smaller miners.

A sharp fall in the iron ore price this year to around $US78 a tonne has put serious pressure on junior Pilbara iron ore miners, many of which are struggling to break even and are blaming Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton for flooding the market and causing prices to crash.

The project is part of Rio's long-term plans to grow its Pilbara exports to 360 million tonnes per year, with seeds for the growth sewn in November 2013 when Rio revealed its "breakthrough pathway for iron ore expansion in Australia".

That pathway proposed to build cheaper brownfields expansions at mines such as Yandicoogina and West Angelas, and delay an investment decision on new, more expensive greenfields mines such as Koodaideri and Silvergrass.

The company said that an investment decision on Silvergrass has been deferred to the third quarter of 2014 and the earliest decision on the Koodaideri deposit has been postponed to 2016.

Rio has been approached for comment about whether the EPA verdict will alter its plans to hold off on a decision to develop the mine.

EPA chairman Dr Paul Vogel has set 14 conditions for the development of the mine and surrounding infrastructure including strict rehabilitation and offset requirements and the creation of an exclusion zone to protect local species. The proposal was first brought to the EPA in 2012 and was assessed under the authority's highest level of scrutiny.

Dr Vogel said Rio had actively sought to avoid, minimise and rehabilitate environmental impacts through the proposal's design and had conducted numerous studies to address issues raised in the public submissions. Five public and eleven agency submissions were received during the comment period. The proposal is now open to a two week public appeals period before going to the Minister for a final decision.

SOURCE

Chinese Premier came bearing gifts, Barack Obama just attacked Australia over global warming

WHO would have thought it?  A US president comes to Australia with the specific intention of damaging the Australian government politically on climate change, while a Chinese president comes here with nothing but gifts.

Xi Jinping’s accomplished, well-considered speech to parliament yesterday contained no references to climate change and no implicit criticism of Australia. After all, there are other forums for that issue, China is not committed to any carbon emissions targets and why would you go out of your way to embarrass your host?

The contrast with Barack Obama was staggering. More than that, Xi was charming, respectful and helpful to all Australians he mentioned. He completed the free-trade agreement, which is a big win for both countries. But more generally his speech was one of reassurance and reasonable ambition.

Xi touched on some of the ­issues important to him and his government: China would remain a nation of socialism with Chinese characteristics. But he presented these values in a way designed to soothe and reassure. More than that, the substance of his message was one of reassurance more generally to the whole Asia-Pacific ­region. China was a peaceful country, he said, and repeated. China had suffered bullying and ­oppression. It would not visit these indignities on other nations.

Given how robustly the Abbott government has backed Japan’s strategic re-emergence, and protested against Beijing’s declaration of an air defence identification zone around the disputed Senkaku/­Diaoyu islands, as well as declining recently to join, at least for now, China’s new infrastructure bank, many analysts in Washington and Australia had expected some overt display of Chinese displeasure.

But the Chinese seem to value their relationship with the Abbott government, certainly to the extent that they would not embarrass their host by emphasising disagreements. Of course, the Chinese are being nice to everyone at the moment, including the Americans and even the ­Japanese. The question remains whether this will be the character of Chinese attitudes into the future.

But when China is being nice, everyone breathes easy.

SOURCE

China, US deal on global warming a load of hot air

ALMOST everything you’re told about Barack Obama’s “breakthrough” deal with China on global warming is a con.  But, God, listen to the spin.

President Obama told ecstatic students in Brisbane on Saturday that last week’s deal to limit carbon dioxide emissions would help save our Great Barrier Reef and “I want that there 50 years from now”.

Greens leader Christine Milne insisted it showed the Prime Minister Tony Abbott “is completely out of step with the rest of the world”.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said it recognised “human activity is already changing the world’s climate system”, and “we most certainly need to address climate change as the presidents of China and the United States have done”.

Red China was going green, agreed the warmist ABC, since “the most concrete target is to have 20 per cent of China’s energy produced from renewable sources by 2030”.

Hear all that?  Every claim is actually false, fake or overblown, as so often with the global warming scare.  Here are the five biggest falsehoods told about this “breakthrough”.

First, Labor is wrong: this deal proves nothing about global warming. In fact, there has still been no warming of the atmosphere for 16 years, contrary to almost every prediction.

Forget the excuse that the missing heat is hiding in the deep ocean. NASA researchers last month said a new study had found the “waters of Earth’s deep ocean have not warmed measurably since 2005”.

Nor, incidentally, have we seen the biennial bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef predicted in 1999 by Australian alarmist Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Second, this is not a real deal.  China, already the world’s biggest emitter, is actually promising little more than what it always planned — to let emissions keep soaring until 2030 as it makes its people richer.  China will cap its emissions only in 2030 — the never-never — when its electricity supply is deployed and its population is set to plummet.

In exchange, Obama promises to cut US emissions by 26 per cent of 2005 levels by 2025.  But Obama’s term ends in two years and the Republicans who now control Congress say they’ll try to block his deal.  Republican Mitch McConnell, the new majority leader in the Senate, said he was “particularly distressed by the deal”, which “requires the Chinese to do nothing at all for 16 years”.

And, to add to the phoniness, the deal is neither binding nor enforceable.

Third falsehood? No, this deal doesn’t show the Abbott Government is out of step.  The Government’s own planned cuts to emissions — 5 per cent of 2000 levels by 2020 — are not wildly behind the US ones over a similar time span.

If anyone is out of step it’s Labor, since China and the US plan to cut their emissions not with a Labor-style carbon tax but with Liberal-style direct action policies.

Fourth falsehood: China did not promise to get 20 per cent of its energy from renewable sources, as many journalists report.

The deal instead says that 20 per cent will come from “non-fossil fuels”, which in China’s case includes nuclear power.  Indeed, China plans to have at least five times more nuclear power by 2030, with Sun Qin, chairman of the China National Nuclear Corp, confirming earlier this year that “nuclear plants will play an important role in … raising the proportion of energy produced by non-fossil fuel”.

And the fifth falsehood?  The Greens and Labor don’t actually want us to follow the lead of the US and China at all.  Not when it comes to how those promises are meant to be delivered.

That’s because most of America’s cuts to emissions come from fracking, a technique that has given the US huge new supplies of natural gas, cheaper than coal and more greenhouse-friendly. But the Greens vehemently oppose fracking, and Labor wants it restricted.

As for China, it plans to have much of its non-fossil power supplied by nuclear plants and controversial dams like the massive Three Gorges project.  But, again, Labor and the Greens oppose nuclear power and fight new dams.

So without fracking, new dams or nuclear power, how could Australia possibly match the US and China?  How, given wind power is too unreliable and solar hideously expensive?

So what a con you’re being sold.  No, this isn’t a real deal.

To recap: China won’t cut emissions for another 16 years, and Congress will oppose Obama.  And reality check: Labor and the Greens actually oppose the technologies the US and China most rely upon to cut emissions.

Oh, and still the planet refuses to warm, for all Obama’s happy yammer.

SOURCE

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

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

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014


The Democrats’ climate change agenda is a loser

President Obama’s climate change policy played a key role in the midterm elections and helped Republicans take control of the Senate.

Obama emphasized the elections were about his policies saying, “Make no mistake, these policies are on the ballot, every single one of them.” Judging by the results his climate change agenda got trounced.

Obama’s refusal to approve the Keystone XL pipeline hurt the re-election prospects for three term Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA). After failing to fight off two Republican challengers on November 4, Landrieu must face Representative Bill Cassidy in a runoff on December 6.

Most damaging to the Democrats, however, was voter push back against Obama’s war on coal.

Obama’s anti-coal policies have devastated the coal mining industry resulting in bankrupting two companies and thousands of job losses in the coal dependent states of Kentucky and West Virginia.

Riding the pro-coal wave propelled Kentucky Republican Senator Mitch McConnell over competitor Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes and Republican Representative Shelly Moore Capito over Democrat Natalie Tennant in West Virginia. Both Republicans tied Obama’s anti-coal policies to their opponents.

McConnell got significant support in the coal mining region of Kentucky. According to the Associated Press, McConnell received an eight-fold increase in votes from the eastern part of the state this election compared to 2008 — 64,000 vs 8,000, respectively.

While McConnell’s pro-coal vote was impressive, nothing compares to West Virginia where Obama’s war on coal is responsible for the fundamental transformation of the political makeup of West Virginia.

The transformation in West Virginia did not end with the historic election of Capito. Obama’s anti-coal policies also resulted in a GOP pick up of two seats in the House of Representatives and a change in the state government.

Not only did Capito trounce Tennant in the open seat vacated by retiring Democrat Jay Rockefeller, she became the first female Senator from the state and the first Republican Senator in half a century.

In the House of Representatives, Republican Alex Mooney beat Democrat Nick Casey in Capito’s former Congressional district and even more significant Evan Jenkins beat Democrat Nick Joe Rahall who held the seat for almost 40 years.

As a result, for the first time since 1922 the entire West Virginia delegation is Republican.

The gains in the state government were equally impressive. The state’s House of Delegates Democrats lost 19 seats and now it’s controlled by Republicans - 1933 was the last time that happened.

The West Virginia Senate is also now controlled by Republicans. After the loss of seven Democrat seats the Senate was tied at 17 each but after Daniel Hall switched parties the Republicans had a one seat advantage.

The Republican wave was so strong in West Virginia it was rumored that Democrat Joe Manchin was considering switching to the GOP but his spokesman denied that claim stating Manchin will remain a Democrat.

SOURCE





Climate change and the left

The left has fallen head over heels in love with global warming ideology

by Lord Donoughue (Donoughue was often prominent in the Labour Party in his earlier years)

The issue of why the political left is overwhelmingly supportive of the climate change alarmist ideology/faith, and hence there are relatively few left wing sceptics, is quite complex and would take more space and time than I intend to impose on you here. But may I, as a lifelong Labour supporter, offer a couple of broad observations. They are by no means comprehensive and omit many nuances. But they are major general factors which I have observed in the party for 61 years, and in Parliament for almost 30 years.

First is that most leftish British people get politically involved because they genuinely believe they wish to contribute to the common good in our society. (They tend to believe , rightly or wrongly, that the right wing wishes to contribute to their own individual or class good). At first this drew many to sympathise with Marxist ideology, until the Soviets discredited that. More sympathised and many still do with the social democratic ideals of equality and civil liberty, though that position lacks the ideological certainties and claimed scientific basis of old Marxism.

With the collapse of Marxism, there was created a vacuum on the left. Those seeking an ideological faith to cling on to for moral certainty, felt bereft. They also wanted a faith which again gave them a feeling of still pursuing the common good of society, especially the new global society, and even more a feeling of moral superiority, which is a characteristic of many middle and professional types on the left. Climate change and the moral common good of saving the planet, with its claimed scientific certainties, offered to fill the vacuum. It may or may not be a coincidence that the climate change faith gained momentum in the 1990s immediately after Marxism collapsed with the Berlin Wall.

I notice that my Labour colleagues who are troubled by the cost of the war on climate change, and especially when I point out that its costs fall heavily on the poorer classes, while its financial benefits go to rich landowners and individuals on the Climate Change Committee, still won't face those facts because they want to cling on to the new climate faith because they want to believe it is in the common good. They are not bad or stupid people. Many are better and cleverer than me. But they have a need for a faith which they believe is for the global good. They don't want a moral vacuum. And the current leaders of the social democratic parties in Britain and Europe are not offering them much else. For Ed Miliband, who is not a bad or stupid man, but coming from a Marxist heritage, when asked for more vision, he grasps climate change like a drowning man clasping a lifebelt.

While this need persists and there persists the misconception that the Green faith is somehow leftish and in pursuit of the common good, then most on the political left will stay with it. To shake them it will be necessary to show them that the costs of implementing climate alarmism will actually destroy the economic hopes of the poor and is often a cynical device to enrich the wealthy. That it enables self righteous middle class posturers to parade their assumed moral superiority at the expense of the poor. And that it's so-called scientific certainties are very uncertain indeed. It is also necessary for the sceptical and realistic side to show more publicly that they accept the proven aspects of climate change (which every sceptic I know does) and care about the genuine concerns of the environment (which the Greens ignore by littering our landscapes with inefficient and costly windmills.)

My second point concerns the Stalinist tactics of the Green activists in trying to suppress any questioning of their dogmatic faith and to damage the lives and careers of any professional person who attempts to examine this subject in an honest way which might undermine their dogmatic claims. Their use of Holocaust language such as 'Denier', implying their target is akin to a neo Nazi, is but one example of the Stalinist mentality. In that political context, where any questioner is so derided, it is no surprise that most Labour supporters choose not to take the risk - especially when it immediately throws them into confrontation with their embattled leader.

Sorry to go on so long. But they are my observational conclusions on why it is not easy for the sceptical side to make progress on the political left. Interestingly, polls suggest it is among Labour working classes, always more practical than our Hampstead/Guardian types, that there is the biggest dissent from the Green religion - and some of them are already slipping off to UKIP, which shows more concern for their suffering under the Green taxes.

This battle to bring understanding to Labour that its climate policies punish its core supporters, will take a while to win, partly for the two reasons I offer above.

SOURCE





Climate “Deniers” Must Be Jailed or Killed (!)


Fascist Robert Kennedy, full of anger and hate

We have frequently noted in these pages that the environmental movement has a number of extremist elements that are anti-civilization in their outlook and have a very mean authoritarian streak. Among other things we have frequently cited the fact that many from the authoritarian Left have drifted into this (and other) movements after their sugar daddy in Moscow expired with the fall of the Soviet Union. However, this extremism is now increasingly going mainstream. After the earth’s climate has stopped warming for 18 years running (plus one month) in spite of atmospheric CO2 rising by one third over the same period, many apparently think the best course would be to shut up critics by force.

Let us first define the people who are on the receiving end of the derogatory “denier” term (it is derogatory because it reminds of the term “holocaust denier” and it is clear that this is the reason it was picked). None of them “deny” that the climate is changing. It would be a foolish thing to assert, given that the climate has always changed and always will. The scientists who try to debunk climate alarmism are simply not alarmist.

The vast bulk of them concedes that human activity likely has some influence on the planet’s climate, but they believe that there is no certainty about the size of this influence, and whether CO2 (which the alarmists have declared to be the main “climate forcing” agent) really has all that much to do with it. The paleoclimate record clearly suggests that this is not the case, as CO2 increases in the atmosphere have always followed warming periods with a considerable lag and not led them in a single instance. Moreover, the historical climate record – almost regardless of how far back one looks – shows that the earth’s climate has frequently been far warmer than today, long before anyone thought of burning fossil fuels.

In short, the skeptical argument boils down to: we do not know enough to indict human activity. Much of what we observe could simply be natural variation. Therefore, we should think twice before we take actions that threaten to destroy economic growth and ultimately industrial civilization. By now a powerful record of evidence is backing the skeptics up. Alarmists have invented 52 different excuses over just the past half year or so as to why their “predictive computer models” have failed to predict the “pause” – or why, indeed, they have failed to predict anything at all (the latest, and probably funniest excuse yet, is that they “could have predicted it if they had a time machine and could go back into the past”).

Again, it is important to remember here: not a single alarmist prediction made since the late 1970s has come true – not one. However, alarmism sells: it sells newspapers, it is loved by the political class, as it justifies ever greater government interference in the economy, and it is therefore the source of a huge gravy train of scientific grants. Many scientists try to be as alarmist as possible for this very reason: it keeps the grant money flowing. When they think no-one’s looking, they admit to each other what a “travesty” it all is (their words, from the “Climategate” e-mails).



Indeed, there is travesty galore. For instance, supposedly scientifically neutral government-owned agencies have repeatedly been caught falsifying past temperature records (here is a recent example, but there are many more as a quick Google search reveals) – and always with the same outcome: to make the most recent warming period look much worse than it really was.

Last time we wrote on this topic we mentioned efforts to “remove the Holocene from the climate record” (i.e., the fairly recent past since the end of the last ice age) – it is clear why: the modern warming period looks like an unimpressive dimple at the lower end of the temperature range on the chart.


Meet the soon-to-be-excised Holocene. Allegedly human-induced “catastrophic warming” is in the tiny green box to the right so as to help you spot it

It should be pointed out that not even the alarmists deny any of the data we mention above (otherwise there wouldn’t be a scramble to explain and if possible downplay the significance of the “pause”). We would also like to stress that just because someone is a member of what could be broadly termed the “alarmist camp”, it certainly doesn’t mean they are not doing serious scientific work. Skeptics spend a great deal of time studying everything that is published by the mainstream and there are many areas of agreement.

The problem as we see it is only that the worst of the alarmists have developed a “gatekeeper” function at scientific journals, trying to suppress all research that contradicts their claims and that they enjoy a monopoly on the media echo chamber, which is incessantly used to propagate the most ludicrous claims. Even worse, the government-mandated switch to “green energy” already has serious negative economic ramifications in several European countries, most notably Germany (a “disaster”) and Great Britain (a “fiasco”).

However, in light of the fact that the “global warming” meme appears to be collapsing on the hard rocks of reality, authoritarians apparently feel the time to hold back is over and are frequently coming out of the closet of late.

Skeptics Must be Silenced by All Means – Killing Them is OK Too

We all know that skeptics have been smeared for many years as being in the employ of industrial polluters. This was always a lie, but it is clear that skeptics are largely excluded from government funding (i.e., they do not receive money that is forcibly extracted from tax payers), so much of the little funding they get presumably does come from the private sector – but the claim that they are funded by ‘polluters’ is a lie. What we didn’t know is that the smear campaign is a coordinated project that was started in 1991 by Al Gore’s senate office; a recent paper reviews the damning evidence.

Smears about funding are one thing though – demands to jail or kill skeptics are a significant step up in rhetoric. First we came across something that we thought reflects the authoritarian mindset of the Left quite nicely. Australia’s government bureaucracy in the capital territory (ACT) has just approved government funding for a theater project with the rather unsubtle title “Kill Climate Deniers”. Here is an excerpt from the list of successful Arts Fund applicants:

2015 ACT Arts Fund successful applicants – Project Funding

The Project Funding round is offered once a year and presents the ACT community with the opportunity to propose one-off arts activities.

Successful 2015 Project Funding applicants were announced in September 2014. Below is a list of successful applicants by name in alphabetical order.

A Chorus of Women: $24,990 to assist with costs of performances of a community oratorio ‘A Passion for Peace’.

Art Song Canberra Inc: $6,713 to assist with costs of presenting art song concerts, classes and events.

Art Space: $15,600 to assist with costs of a creative development project with artists living with disability.

Aspen Island Theatre Company: $18,793 to assist with costs of the creative development of a new theatre work, ‘Kill Climate Deniers’.

As conservative columnist Andrew Bolt remarked:

“The Left is the natural home of the modern totalitarian – and of all those who feel entitled by their superior morality to act as savages. How does the ACT Government justify spending taxpayers’ money on a theater work entitled ”Kill Climate Deniers”?  What sane Government donates to a project urging others to kill fellow citizens, even as a “joke”? Are these people mad? The theater company says it’s not into actual killing, just “exploring” ways to get political change:

“We are not advocating the murder of carbon lobbyists! We are instead seeking to explore the question: What does it take to achieve political change in this society?” the company said.

You know, like killing. If I were thug enough to write a play with the title “Kill Climate Scientists” would I get a grant? Would the ABC rush to present my defense?”

This comes on the heels of the similarly unsubtle “no pressure” advertising campaign in Britain that was ultimately retracted.

However, the Left’s search for a “final solution” to the problem of skeptics is continuing. In March an article by Adam Weinstein was posted at “Gawker”, entitled “Arrest Climate Change Deniers”, in support of a previous jeremiad along similar lines by a professor of philosophy at the Rochester Institute of Technology, one Lawrence Toricello. So if you say that 18 years of zero warming and 36 years of failing predictions by alarmists should give us pause and represent a good reason to rethink the entire alarmist argument, you are “criminally negligent” and should be jailed for daring to air your dissent. Interestingly, already the first two sentences of the article are baseless assertions/lies:

“Man-made climate change happens . Man-made climate change kills a lot of people. It’s going to kill a lot more. We have laws on the books to punish anyone whose lies contribute to people’s deaths. It’s time to punish the climate-change liars.”

Even though, for rather obvious reasons, they don’t call it “global warming” anymore, that is what they mean by “man-made climate change”. The fact of the matter is however that regardless of what caused the most recent warming period, it has stopped. So it would be correct to write: “if there actually is man-made climate change, it isn’t happening anymore”.

The claim that it “kills a lot of people” is so ludicrous it seems hardly deserving of comment, but allow us just to point out here the obvious basic fact that something that is not happening cannot “kill” anyone. Even if the warming period had continued, this claim would be nonsense.

It seems very difficult to assert that the Roman and medieval warm periods (both were much warmer than today) “killed a lot of people”, as they were actually periods when human civilization flourished nicely. By contrast, it is an apodictic certainty that the “little ice age” after the medieval warming period did kill a lot of people, as there were serious harvest failures all over the world.

Anyway, who cares about such pesky facts? We must arrest and jail the “deniers”! But you are graciously allowed to remain a “simple skeptic”. Adam Weinstein will presumably draw up a plan of how to distinguish between “simple skeptics” and “harmless men in the street” and those he thinks are “dangerous deniers” that need to be jailed. Note his condescension toward the common man who is evidently too stupid to understand the Weinstein-approved truth. Such condescension is a typical attribute of leftist authoritarians:

“Those denialists should face jail. They should face fines. They should face lawsuits from the classes of people whose lives and livelihoods are most threatened by denialist tactics.

Let’s make a clear distinction here: I’m not talking about the man on the street who thinks Rush Limbaugh is right, and climate change is a socialist United Nations conspiracy foisted by a Muslim U.S. president on an unwitting public to erode its civil liberties.

You all know that man. That man is an idiot. He is too stupid to do anything other than choke the earth’s atmosphere a little more with his Mr. Pibb burps and his F-150’s gassy exhaust. Few of us believers in climate change can do much more—or less—than he can.

Nor am I talking about simple skeptics, particularly the scientists who must constantly hypo-test our existing assumptions about the world in order to check their accuracy. That is part and parcel of the important public policy discussion about what we do next.

But there is scientific skepticism… and there is a malicious, profiteering quietist agenda posturing as skepticism. There is uncertainty about whether man-made climate change can be stopped or reversed… and there is the body of purulent pundits, paid sponsors, and corporate grifters who exploit the smallest uncertainty at the edges of a settled science.

I’m talking about Rush and his multi-million-dollar ilk in the disinformation business. I’m talking about Americans for Prosperity and the businesses and billionaires who back its obfuscatory propaganda. I’m talking about public persons and organizations and corporations for whom denying a fundamental scientific fact is profitable, who encourage the acceleration of an anti-environment course of unregulated consumption and production that, frankly, will screw my son and your children and whatever progeny they manage to have. Those malcontents must be punished and stopped.”


So is it OK if we call Adam Weinstein and his ilk Climate Nazis? We actually think it is. As an aside, Weinstein also dredges up the “97% consensus” claim, which has been debunked so completely one should really be embarrassed to even mention it. Needless to say, science has never advanced by “consensus” anyway. Nearly all scientific discoveries in the history of mankind that have revolutionized our understanding of the world have faced massive resistance from the establishment status quo (from Galileo to the discoverer of plate tectonics, Alfred Wegener, who was disbelieved and denounced by the scientific community for a full 50 years).

Mr. Weinstein is by far not the only authoritarian Leftist who wants to jail climate skeptics. We have previously reported on humanity-hating eco-fascists like Finnish radical “activist” Pennti Linkola or UK scientist James Lovelock. The former simply wants to depopulate the planet and put all his surviving enemies into concentration camps and “re-education” gulags, while the latter thinks it is “time to put democracy on hold”, so that governments can cram his vision of what should be done down our throats by force. It is actually proper to call the leftist radicals advocating such tactics “eco-fascists” as well, because that is precisely what they are. After all, the socialist and fascist ideologies are really only two sides of the same authoritarian coin.

In late September, prominent environmental attorney Robert Kennedy jr. (a member of the Kennedy clan that is one of the “political dynasties” in the Land of the Free) also let his mask slip. As Charles W. Cooke reports on this “aspiring tyrant”:

“Blissfully unaware of how hot the irony burned, Robert Kennedy Jr. yesterday took to a public protest to rail avidly in favor of censorship. The United States government, Kennedy lamented in an interview with Climate Depot, is not permitted by law to “punish” or to imprison those who disagree with him — and this, he proposed, is a problem of existential proportions.

Were he to have his way, Kennedy admitted, he would cheer the prosecution of a host of “treasonous” figures — among them a number of unspecified “politicians”; those bêtes noires of the global Left, Kansas’s own Koch Brothers; “the oil industry and the Republican echo chamber”; and, for good measure, anybody else whose estimation of the threat posed by fossil fuels has provoked them into “selling out the public trust.” Those who contend that global warming “does not exist,” Kennedy claimed, are guilty of “a criminal offense — and they ought to be serving time for it.”

Cooke’s entire article is well worth reading. Here is one more excerpt in which he reminds Mr. Kennedy that once one decides to prohibit free speech in one area, there will soon no longer be any area that will be off-limits in justifying more such prohibitions.

“When Robert Kennedy contends that there ought to be “a law” with which the state “could punish” nonconformists, he is in effect inviting Washington, D.C., to establish itself as an oracle, to ensconce in aspic a set of approved facts, and to cast those who refuse to accede as heretics who must be hunted down and burned in the interest of the greater good.

As the blood-spattered history of the human race shows us in appalling and graphic detail, the wise response to the man who insists that the Holocaust did not happen, or that 2 + 2 = 5, or that the United States is geographically smaller than Sweden is to gently correct him — and, if one must, to mock or ignore or berate him, too. It is never — under any circumstances — to push him through the criminal-justice system. The cry “but this is different” remains in the case of climate change precisely what it has always been: the cry of the ambitious and the despotic. Once the principle of free speech is subordinated to expedience, circumstances can always be found to justify its suppression.”

We would note to this that not a single skeptic has as of yet called for the jailing or extermination of members of the Church of Global Warming – so even if we knew nothing about the underlying issues, we would find it easy to decide which group we’d rather support. Since we do know a little about the issues, it is an even easier decision.

More HERE





Extreme Leftism among German Greens

The Green Party on Wednesday apologized to victims of sexual abuse for its support of paedophilic groups in the 1980s.

"We deeply regret these events that are included in our early party history," Green co-president Simone Peter said at the presentation of a report on the party's past.

An election platform from the Alternative Green Initiative List (AGIL), the Green party's predecessor, took on the interests of paedophiles by suggesting that sex with minors should be decriminalised, providing the sex was free from violence or the threat of violence.

The document was brought to light during the election of 2013, as it was one of the party's key candidates, Jürgen Tritten, then a student running for city hall, who had cosigned it.

Peter said her party should have owned up and apologized for their support before.

"We again apologize to all victims of sexual abuse who, through Green party debates in the 1980s were hurt and felt ridiculed," she said.

In their early days, the Greens sought out support by catering to minority interest groups as part of a "leftist liberalism" policy with roots in the 1960s.

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Slavery Was The Norm In The Pre-hydrocarbon Era The Democrats Want Us To Go Back To Living In

During the pre fossil fuel era life was short and brutal and the main sources of energy were human and animal labor. Human slavery was the norm. In the post fossil fuel era life expectancy soared. Factories powered by fossil fuel produce our food, clothing and everything else we need, use, and want to make our lives better. Trucks, trains and large cargo ships powered by fossil fuel transport these products to our friendly neighborhood store or now (via FedEx or UPS) our very door step. Fossil fuel guzzling jets take a fraction of the time it did in the past to whisk us to far off lands or visit our families living hundreds of miles away. All of these wonders made possible by fossil fuel could come to an end however. Civilization could revert back to a pre fossil fuel era if the anti fossil fuel movement led by the Democrats prevail.

The Democrats tell you that modern civilization can run on wind, solar and other alternative sources of energy that will “save the earth” from evil polluting fossil fuel carbon (aka CO2) emissions. What they don’t tell you is that alternative sources of energy like wind and solar are fossil fuel guzzling sources of energy thus will not reduce carbon “polluting” emissions.

The Democrats also fail to disclose the fact Wind and Solar produce less power during their life time than it takes to produce, use and dispose of them. http://bit.ly/1vtGMBj

“Prieto is not alone in reaching such sobering conclusions. A 2013 Stanford University report, for example, calculated that global photovoltaic industry now requires more electricity to make silicon wafers and solar troughs than it actually produces in return. Since 2000 the industry consumed 75 per cent more energy than it put onto the grid and all during its manufacturing and installation process.” What is ironic is that if the Democrats were really interested in a fossil free world Nuclear power and Hydro power would provide the answer which, of-course, they are against.

The other elephant in the room is the inconsistency inherent in the Democrat’s anti-fossil fuel  ideology.  The Democrats claim to be the saviors of the poor when without cheap energy from fossil fuel civilization will revert back to human and animal labor as the main sources of energy when slavery was the norm. The bottom line is the Democrats preferred alternative to fossil fuel cannot support modern civilization.

What is even more nutty is the Democrats like Nancy Pelosi seem to believe they can get rid of fossil fuel while at the same time providing people free health care that will allow them the opportunity to not work for a living. Pelosi regarding the benefits of Obamacare  “Think of the economy where people could be an artist or a photographer or, eh, a writer without worrying about keeping their day job in order to have health insurance”  Earth to the Democrats if you really believe people don’t have to work for a living, can get free health care and all other sorts of free stuff from the government why are you at the same time for driving up the cost of energy to the point it is unaffordable?  Why are you supporting wind and solar that are fossil fuel dependent BIG CARBON FOOTPRINT sources of energy that use more energy than they make? Are you insane?

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Australia: Queensland government determined to get big coal mining project off the ground

Greenie pressure on banks means that finance for such projects is hard to get so the State government is going to come to the party

Come hell, high-water or - worse - lack of private investment, the Queensland government is going to make sure the Galilee Basin is "open for business".

In his excitement at Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit on Sunday, Premier Campbell Newman pre-empted Monday's big announcement that the state government would be prepared to fund the infrastructure needed to get the Galilee Basin projects happening.

"We'll be saying, if necessary, we'll be prepared to invest in infrastructure, core infrastructure, common-use infrastructure, we'll be making the case that we are prepared to do that to get this going," he said on Sunday morning.

"The role of the government, given the financial situation we face these days, the role would be to make targeted investments to help get something going and then within a few years time exit those investments so the private sector can then get on with it, but I stress, open to all comers - we just want a new coal resource basin to be opened up."

Climate change and the need to take carbon emission reduction more seriously may have hijacked the G20 agenda, but privately, Tony Abbott reportedly repeated Australia's commitment to coal, an attitude Mr Newman echoes.

The government sees the Galilee Basin as key to turning around the state's economy.  Gas projects initiated under the previous Labor governments are transitioning from the construction to production phase and shedding jobs at a rapid rate.

Mr Newman has said previously he wanted to see preliminary works on the Galilee Basin projects, the most significant of which is the Indian company Adani's Carmichael mine, set to be the largest coal mine in Australia, begin early next year.

So far the private sector has had issues securing the funding needed to begin work.  Mr Newman has not said how the government would fund the infrastructure or whether it would be part of its asset sales agenda.

But the announcement has already created ripples.  Director of Energy Resource Studies Australasia at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), Tim Buckley, said it was a financially irresponsible decision, and labelled the Galilee Basin projects "unviable".  "Many would consider this a Government simply pissing taxpayers' money up against the wall," he said in a statement.

"The people of Queensland and Australia should be outraged at this idea of questionable politicians spending many billions of tax payer dollars to make an unviable, unwanted and dangerous mega coal project a reality.

"The Galilee coal projects are totally commercially unviable. Any project undertaken is highly likely to end up as a stranded fossil fuel asset as the rest of the world rapidly transitions to lower carbon solutions. Coal has entered structural decline – there is no two ways about that fact."

Queensland Greens Senator Larissa Waters labelled it a bad decision, for both the environment and economy.  "Not only is this environmentally disastrous, it's economically insane, especially when you're spending the state's public wealth," she said.

SOURCE

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