Reality finally recognized 10 years after the warming stopped. Certainty replaced by unsubstantiated theorizing
Over at Real Climate they are busy giving climate skeptics reason to cheer:
“We hypothesize that the established pre-1998 trend is the true forced warming signal, and that the climate system effectively overshot this signal in response to the 1997/98 El Niño. This overshoot is in the process of radiatively dissipating, and the climate will return to its earlier defined, greenhouse gas-forced warming signal. If this hypothesis is correct, the era of consistent record-breaking global mean temperatures will not resume until roughly 2020.”
Imagine, twenty-two or more years (1998 to ~2020) of no new global temperature record. What would that do to the debate? Real Climate does say something very smart in the piece (emphasis added):
“Nature (with hopefully some constructive input from humans) will decide the global warming question based upon climate sensitivity, net radiative forcing, and oceanic storage of heat, not on the type of multi-decadal time scale variability we are discussing here. However, this apparent impulsive behavior explicitly highlights the fact that humanity is poking a complex, nonlinear system with GHG forcing – and that there are no guarantees to how the climate may respond.”
As I've argued many times, uncertainty is a far better reason for justifying action than overhyped claims to certainty, or worse, claims that any possible behavior of the climate system is somehow "consistent with" expectations. Policy makers and the public can handle uncertainty, its the nonsense they have trouble with.
Environmentalism seeks to return us to the age of kings
By Mark Steyn
According to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, we only have 96 months left to save the planet. I’m impressed. 96 months. Not 95. Not 97. July 2017. Put it in your diary. Usually the warm-mongers stick to the same old drone that we only have ten years left to save the planet. Nice round number. Al Gore said we only have ten years left three-and-a-half years ago, which makes him technically more of a pessimist than the Prince of Wales. Al’s betting that Armageddon kicks in sometime in January 2016 — unless he’s just peddling glib generalities. And, alas, even a prophet of the ecopalypse as precise as His Royal Highness is sometimes prone to this airy-fairy ten-year shtick: In April, Prince Charles predicted that the red squirrel would be extinct “within ten years,” which suggests that, while it may be curtains for man and all his wretched works come summer of 2017, the poor doomed red squirrel will have the best part of two years to frolic and gambol on a ruined landscape.
So, unless you’re a squirrel, don’t start any long books in 95 months’ time, because time is running out! “Time is running out to deal with climate change,” said Steven Guilbeault of Greenpeace in 2006. “Ten years ago, we thought we had a lot of time.”
Really? Ten years ago, we had a lot of time? Funny, that’s not the way I remember it. (“Time is running out for the climate,” said Chris Rose of Greenpeace in 1997.) So what’s to blame for this eternally looming rendezvous with the iceberg of apocalypse? As the British newspaper the Independent reported: Capitalism and consumerism have brought the world to the brink of economic and environmental collapse, the Prince of Wales has warned. . . . And in a searing indictment on capitalist society, Charles said we can no longer afford consumerism and that the ‘age of convenience’ was over.
He then got in his limo and was driven to his other palace.
It takes a prince, heir to the thrones of Britain and Canada and Australia, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea, and a bunch of other places, to tell it like it is: You pampered consumerists are ruining the joint. In the old days, we didn’t have these kinds of problems. But then Mr. and Mrs. Peasant start remodeling the hovel, adding a rec room and indoor plumbing, replacing the emaciated old nag with a Honda Civic and driving to the mall in it, and next thing you know, instead of just having an extra yard of mead every Boxing Day at the local tavern and adding a couple more pustules to the escutcheon with the local trollop, they begin taking vacations in Florida. When it was just medieval dukes swanking about like that, the planet worked fine: That was “sustainable” consumerism. But now the masses want in. And, once you do that, there goes the global neighborhood.
By contrast, as an example of an exemplary environmentalist, the prince hailed his forebear, King Henry VIII. True, he had a lot of wives, but he did dramatically reduce Anne Boleyn’s carbon footprint.
I always enjoy it when the masks slip and the warm-mongers explicitly demand we adopt a massive Poverty Expansion Program to save the planet. “I don’t think a lot of electricity is a good thing,” said Gar Smith of San Francisco’s Earth Island Institute a few years back. “I have seen villages in Africa that had vibrant culture and great communities that were disrupted and destroyed by the introduction of electricity,” he continued, regretting that African peasants “who used to spend their days and evenings in the streets playing music on their own instruments and sewing clothing for their neighbors on foot-pedal powered sewing machines” are now slumped in front of Desperate Housewives reruns all day long.
One assumes Gar Smith is sincere in his fetishization of bucolic African poverty, with its vibrantly rampant disease and charmingly unspoilt life expectancy in the mid-forties. But when a hereditary prince starts attacking capitalism and pining for the days when a benign sovereign knew what was best for the masses, he gives the real game away. Capitalism is liberating: You’re born a peasant but you don’t have to die one. You can work hard and get a nice place in the suburbs. If you were a 19th-century Russian peasant and you got to Ellis Island, you’d be living in a tenement on the Lower East Side, but your kids would get an education and move uptown, and your grandkids would be doctors and accountants in Westchester County. And your great-grandchild would be a Harvard-educated environmental activist demanding an end to all this electricity and indoor toilets.
Environmentalism opposes that kind of mobility. It seeks to return us to the age of kings, when the masses are restrained by a privileged elite. Sometimes they will be hereditary monarchs, such as the Prince of Wales. Sometimes they will be merely the gilded princelings of the government apparatus — Barack Obama, Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi. In the old days, they were endowed with absolute authority by God. Today, they’re endowed by Mother Nature, empowered by Gaia to act on her behalf. But the object remains control — to constrain you in a million ways, most of which would never have occurred to Henry VIII, who, unlike the new cap-and-trade bill, was entirely indifferent as to whether your hovel was “energy efficient.” The old rationale for absolute monarchy — Divine Right — is a tough sell in a democratic age. But the new rationale — Gaia’s Right — has proved surprisingly plausible.
Beginning with FDR, wily statists justified the massive expansion of federal power under ever more elastic definitions of the commerce clause. For Obama-era control freaks, the environment and health care are the commerce clause supersized. They establish the pretext for the regulation of everything: If the government is obligated to cure you of illness, it has an interest in preventing you from getting ill in the first place — by regulating what you eat, how you live, the choices you make from the moment you get up in the morning. Likewise, if everything you do impacts “the environment,” then the environment is an all-purpose umbrella for regulating everything you do. It’s the most convenient and romantic justification for what the title of Paul Rahe’s new book rightly identifies as “soft despotism.”
The good news is that, at this week’s G8 summit, America’s allies would commit only to the fuzziest and most meaningless of environmental goals. Europe has been hit far harder by the economic downturn. When your unemployment rate is 17 percent (as in Spain), “unsustainable growth” is no longer your most pressing problem. The environmental cult is itself a product of what the prince calls the “Age of Convenience”: It’s what you worry about it when you don’t have to worry about jobs or falling house prices or collapsed retirement accounts. Today, as European prime ministers are beginning to figure out, a strategic goal of making things worse when they’re already worse is a much tougher sell.
Cap and Tax: Government vs. America
There is still time to stop the legislative monstrosity known as the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill before the Senate approves it. But for that to happen, Americans must learn how bad it is. Let's briefly review the basics: The bill is ostensibly designed to curb man-caused carbon emissions (presumably without outlawing breathing) to retard global warming.
Even if we accept, for purposes of argument, the assumptions of radical, hysterical leftist environmentalists that man-caused global warming will destroy the planet if evil, rich capitalists don't radically curtail their own contributions to the catastrophe, Waxman-Markey would not prevent this Armageddon.
Climate scientist Chip Knappenberger, of New Hope Environmental Services, calculates that the bill would only reduce Earth's temperature by 0.1 to 0.2 degree Celsius by 2100. The Heritage Foundation's Ben Lieberman says he's found no "decent refutation of the assertion that the temperature impact would be inconsequential."
Unfortunately, the bill's negative impact on the economy would not be inconsequential. Lieberman says the bill would cause estimated job losses averaging about 1.15 million from 2012-2030, and the cumulative projected loss in gross domestic product would be almost $10 trillion by 2035. The national debt from this bill alone, disregarding the multiple bailouts, stimulus packages and health care "reform," would increase by 2035 for a family of four by 26 percent, or $115,000.
Heritage is not alone in making these claims. The far more liberal Brookings Institution estimates the bill would cost 1.8 percent of GDP in 2035 and 2.5 percent by 2050. Heritage's "Foundry" blog concludes, "Economists from liberal think tanks, conservative think tanks, and industry associations agree that Waxman-Markey will reduce income by hundreds of billions of dollars per year." These facts are enough to make you question why people aren't threatening a sit-in in the Senate until this recklessness stops. But there are other things about the bill you should know -- just in case you have an unusually high outrage tolerance:
--As noted, the bill contains a hidden provision establishing unemployment benefits for up to three full years for workers displaced as a result of this "job creations" bill, as well as health insurance premium subsidies and $1,500 each for job search and relocation expenses -- all at taxpayers' expense.
--The American Issues Project has exposed Section 204 of the bill, called the "Building Energy Performance Labeling Program," which gives the federal government unprecedented authority over your home. AIP says the section mandates that new homes be 30 percent more energy-efficient than the current building code on the very day the law is signed. The requirement increases to 50 percent by 2014 and continues to increase until 2030.
--The program would also affect existing properties you already own. It requires states to label residential and nonresidential buildings based on their efficiency ratings and to publicize this information. This will lead to "a number of circumstances under which the states could inspect a building," such as if you want to renovate your house in a way that requires a building permit, sell your house, or change the name of the person responsible for paying its utilities. The federal commissars, in their infinite compassion with other people's money, have also set aside a fund to help homeowners retrofit their properties. Of course, there's a formula, to be administered by the bureaucratocracy. The more radically you purify your property the more "awards" you receive
-- up to $12,200. Be aware, though, that further fine print requires the property owner to pay at least half of these retrofitting costs, no matter how much their "awards" from the government. I suppose this is the Marxists' nod to self-reliance and fiscal responsibility.
--The bill is so egregiously obscene that even the strong Democratic majority in the House couldn't have passed it without bribing some recalcitrant representatives -- also with our money. To buy, er, secure Ohio Rep. Marcy Kaptur's vote, they offered a new federal power authority, which, according to The Washington Times, is "stocked with up to $3.5 billion in taxpayer money available for lending to renewable energy and economic development projects in Ohio and other Midwestern states." Just swell.
--In addition to all the economic destruction the bill would cause, in the end, it is not so much about global warming as Obaman wealth redistribution. "The Foundry" says Obama's own budget "promises to raise $650 billion in revenues by selling carbon permits (which are the exact same thing as an energy tax)," only $150 billion of which will go to alternative energy production. The rest will be redistributed to people who "don't pay income taxes."
The Founding Fathers and our fathers are rolling over in their graves as this great country voluntarily abandons its dreams of equal opportunity, achievement and prosperity and sows the seeds of its own destruction. This just cannot stand.
Green good intentions cause chaos in two German towns
Residents near Dortmund were evacuated this week after the ground collapsed around a geothermal heat pump, while in another German town, almost 190 buildings have now been damaged by a geothermal project gone awry. Residents of the small town of Kamen, near Dortmund, had a shock this week when ground around a construction site collapsed as a result of drilling for a geothermal heat pump. Many locals had to be evacuated amid fears that houses could collapse, and many nearby buildings now have long cracks in the walls.
For residents of the southern German village of Staufen, the news came as little surprise: their town began sinking - and then rising - as a result of geothermal drilling almost two years ago. Until then, Staufen had just been a quaint day-trip destination, visited by German pensioners looking for a slice of Black Forest cake and history buffs drawn to the town's links to Johann Georg Faust, the legendary alchemist and magician, who - so the story goes - made a pact with the devil here.
But in 2007, Staufen became known in Germany for another reason. The town council decided to do its bit for the environment and use geothermal power to heat the newly refurbished historic and new town halls. In September that year, the council hired a company to drill deep into the earth's surface to harness the geothermal power there. A few weeks later, fine cracks began appearing in the walls and floors of the town halls and surrounding buildings, including the historic guest house where Faust is believed to have stayed. At least 187 buildings now have cracks, some up to 15 centimeters wide.
Initially, parts of the town began sinking, but now the earth is rising. During the digging, water came into contact with anhydrite: a mineral, which – when exposed to water – expands and turns into gypsum. That has been causing the earth to swell, pushing the buildings up with it, and causing the cracks. Authorities are now drilling to find out if the swelling process can be stopped.
Staufen Mayor Michael Benitz told Deutsche Welle that there are thousands of similar drilling projects in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg alone, and he cannot understand why Staufen has had such problems. "These drillings were all over the place and this swelling phenomenon didn't appear anywhere else," he said.
Staufen authorities say the ground under the city has been rising by up to one centimeter a month - a very significant amount in geological terms - and while they say that no buildings are in danger of collapsing, they have had to use wooden beams to reinforce windows in the new town hall.
Marianne Pfadt, a local tour guide, says the damage runs right through the center of Staufen. "If this continues, we'll have to use hiking boots to get into town," she said, laughing.
Pfadt may be able to joke about the situation in her home of 20 years, but in truth, she and other locals are angry. One resident watching helplessly is Claudia Woelfle, manager of a café which backs onto the drilling site. The facade of her business along with the stone floor inside are covered with cracks. "You can see that they are getting bigger and bigger," Woelfle said. "And more and more are appearing, too."
Even though the cracks appeared shortly after the geothermal project began, there is still no hard evidence to prove that drilling is behind the problem. Regular tectonic activity underneath the city could also be responsible - but that is unlikely. However, the lack of proof means that legally, locals have no one to blame and no one to foot the bill, which is expected to run into the millions. Pfadt says locals do not how they are going to pay for the damage. "They're desperate," Pfadt says. "(These houses are) their old age pension," she says. "Everybody plans, 'oh, in old age, I'll sell the house and move', but you can't sell these houses."
Pfadt says locals have been sending angry letters to local newspapers, and some have threatened to go to court to get repair bills paid. In the meantime, the town council has set up a fund for donations to help pay for the damage, and local businesses may even get a slight boost from day-trippers who are curious about Staufen's cracking problem.
A new influx of tourists would be at least a bit of welcome news for Staufen's residents, since authorities have been unable to say when, or if, the swelling - and cracking - will stop.
GREENIE ROUNDUP FROM AUSTRALIA
Three current articles below
Christian party Senator queries Warmist science
FAMILY First senator Steve Fielding has urged senators to look closely at the science on climate change before committing the nation to an emissions trading scheme. In a letter to senators yesterday, Senator Fielding -- who has recently emerged as parliament's most vocal climate change sceptic -- said carbon emissions had "skyrocketed" over the past 15 years, but temperatures had remained steady.
Senator Fielding said Climate Change Minister Penny Wong and Australia's chief scientist had failed to explain why this was the case. He said it ran counter to assumptions underpinning the carbon pollution reduction scheme that carbon emissions were the leading cause of global warming. "Therefore, I ask you to think carefully before voting on the CPRS legislation, a multi-billion-dollar tax that could cripple our economy with little benefit to environment," he wrote.
The letter comes after Kevin Rudd was overhead voicing doubts to Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen about the ability of world leaders to reach an agreement at global climate change talks in Copenhagen at the end of the year.
Senator Fielding said he could not understand how any member of parliament could vote for the scheme, especially ahead of other countries. "Kevin Rudd and Penny Wong are hanging the Australian economy out to dry if the rest of the world doesn't follow suit," he said. "It's economically irresponsible for the parliament to pass the CPRS legislation before Copenhagen, when we'll have more of an idea what the US, China, India and Brazil are going to do on this front."
Senator Fielding has requested a meeting with climate campaigner Al Gore, who challenged the Rudd government at the weekend to show leadership by rolling out the CPRS before the Copenhagen summit. Senator Fielding wants to present a graph to Mr Gore, which was included in his letter to senators, which compares average temperatures over the past 15 years to carbon emissions.
A spokesman for Senator Fielding last night said he was still waiting to hear whether Mr Gore had agreed to the meeting.
Long-range weather forecasts too unreliable to be of use to farmers
But forecasts for 40 years ahead are reliable???
FARMERS have lost faith in long-term weather forecasts because they're unreliable, the South Australian Farmers Federation said. "The lack of accuracy of the current modelling methods and long-term predictions makes them a less than useful tool in agricultural farming systems in South Australia,'' the federation said in a submission to a federal inquiry into long-term meteorological forecasting.
"Agriculture has long called for the accurate long-range climate forecasting to improve decision making and risk management on-farm, but now question if we are pursuing the 'holy grail'.
"The scale of current models make them unreliable measures.
The federation said farmers preferred to use their own historical data as well as predictive modelling to determine the future weather, as they did not rely fully on one method.
"This is primarily due to farmers losing faith in previous long-range forecasting, which is crucial in this current drought,'' it said.
The House of Representatives' Industry, Science and Innovation Committee today held a public hearing in Adelaide for its inquiry into long-term meteorological forecasting in Australia.
Power cuts already looming because of proposed climate laws
ELECTRICITY generators are cutting back major maintenance work, raising the risk of California-style power brown-outs, because of uncertainty caused by the federal government's carbon pollution reduction scheme. Victorian generator Truenergy's managing director Richard McIndoe said yesterday that with $950 million of debt to be refinanced this year and banks wary of the impact of the CPRS on the industry, the company had decided it could not justify the cost of major maintenance.
Mr McIndoe said the company had cancelled work at its Yallourn coal-fired power station in Victoria's Latrobe Valley this year, saving $100m, and other generators were also cutting back. "We won't be doing any major overhaul this year," he told The Australian.
Truenergy supplies gas and electricity to 1.1million homes in Victoria, South Australia and NSW.
Mr McIndoe warned the cutting back of maintenance budgets meant there was an increased risk of under-investment in electricity generation, which led to the California power crisis of 2000-01. "You had unsound policy there that led to underinvestment. These are long lead-time events and the longer you continue in this situation, the higher the likelihood of serious supply interruption."
He said uncertainty over the final form of the CPRS -- the bill is delayed in the Senate and the start date has been postponed until 2011 -- was also increasing market volatility, which made it harder to sell long-term electricity supply contracts. One of the big four domestic banks was already refusing to lend to coal-fired generators, and international players looked on Australia as a sovereign risk.
Energy Supply Association of Australia chief executive Brad Page said there was always an increased risk of "less reliable supply" when generators cut back on routine maintenance. "It doesn't take a lot for one of these plants to have an unanticipated failure," he said. He added that because of the national electricity grid, supply interruptions in Victoria could cascade and cause outages in other states. He noted that a power failure at a NSW Hunter Valley substation last week cut power across five states.
The ESAA warns that the government is not giving the industry enough help to adapt to the CPRS and remain viable. It wants a similar deal to the 15 to 20-year commitment to support that electricity suppliers in the US and Europe have been given. The government had offered what amounted to $3.5 billion in support when the industry needed $20bn to survive the CPRS in its current form. "The whole thing is a recipe for financial stress in the coal-fired generation sector," Mr Page said. Victoria is most affected by the CPRS because 90 per cent of its supply is generated from highly polluting brown coal.
A spokesman for the Business Council of Australia said the treatment of the coal and electricity industries under the CPRS remained one of the areas where it had outstanding issues with the government. "Getting the detail right means ensuring the scheme doesn't reduce the competitiveness of Australian industry." The council wants the CPRS bills passed by the end of the year so businesses can begin planning for the scheme's introduction.
Climate Change Minister Penny Wong said yesterday the government should continue to move forward with action on reducing carbon emissions, despite Kevin Rudd's admission last Friday he held little hope that the UN's climate change conference in Copenhagen in December would lead to a global agreement on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
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