Monday, August 31, 2009

New skeptical paper from Germany

A big new scientific paper from Germany is just out. It's title is "Die aktuelle globale Wärmeperiode endet" (The current global warm period has ended). It is by physicist Horst Borchert. He attributes temperature fluctuations to the sun. I provide a rough translation of the intro below:

The simplest description of the climate is the study of the time course of the terestrial and sea-surface temperature. As modern climate change is generally understood, many areas of the earth in the past approx. 100 years showed a mean mean increase in temperature of an average of up to 0.9 ° C. These findings are based on measurements of meteorological stations on land and at sea as recorded and announced on the internet by such authorities as the NOAA.

The rise in temperatures in the twentieth century is not linear and is, as presented, often misleading, but shows two temporary temperature jumps: one from 1920 to 1940 (Climatejump 1) and then from about 1980 (Climatejump 2) to 2006. Between them is from about 1940 to 1980 a so-called "Little Ice Age" with a slight decline in temperature.

The signs of a cessation of the increase are there since about 2006. Only after the "Little Ice Age" of the eighties, has the general subsequent global temperature rise in the twentieth century become an alleged problem for humanity and the word "climate change" as a humanity threatening environmental phenomenon was introduced by the UN.

At this time, the IPCC was established (Intergovermental Panel on Climate Change) as a well-financed Research Institute of the United Nations to investigate the cause and effect of the modern increase in temperature and to ensure by government-backed measures to deal with the potential damage caused by this development. It was dogmatically determined that since 19th century, observed man-caused global temperature rise through the emission of so-called greenhouse gases is causing this increase and would adversely affect the quality of life on Earth by environmental catastrophes. This had been caused by man and therefore man had to compensate by appropriate life limitations.

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

A thousand words

That’s what a picture is worth. The photo below is from a Willie Soon PowerPoint lecture. What you see is the same plant species cultivated under different CO2 conditions. It drives home the point that the current rising CO2 trend is beneficial. The plant is Devil's Ivy, the Idsos conducted this extensive experiment. Link here

Carbon Dioxide: a Cure for Male Impotence

I am not sure if the statements below are right but they are at least amusing

Two of the most profitable pharmaceutical drugs sold today are Sildenafil Citrate (Viagra) and Tadalafil (Cialis). Both drugs belong to a class of medications known as PDE-5 inhibitors, which are used to treat cases of male impotence (also known as erectile dysfunction). These drugs, which block the regulatory enzyme PDE-5, are both expensive and dangerous with many scary side effects and interactions with other drugs. There are better alternatives.

There are two factors that contribute to the inability to maintain an erection: the first is a reduced ability, due to poor nutrition and/or digestive problems, to produce the nitric oxide needed, for among other things, to dilate blood vessels supplying blood to the penis. This is accomplished in a fast, but risky, way by blocking the PDE-5 regulatory enzyme. However, a much cheaper and safer way to enhance nitric oxide production is to improve your diet and/or supplement with L-Arginine, a safe and inexpensive amino acid sold in health food stores and used by athletes for its many benefits. Note: this is a food supplement and, as such, should be used daily for best results and not just before performing, as directed for drugs. (Also, a note of interest: until the mid 90’s, nitric oxide was simply considered one of the pollutants in automobile exhaust fumes; since then it has been labeled marvel of the decade with many uses. Discovery of its functions and applications won the Nobel Prize for 3 scientists in 1998 for Advances in Physiology or Medicine. Maybe we should be more careful what we label as a pollutant.)

The second factor contributing to male impotence is a low arterial blood carbon dioxide level (another “pollutant”). Carbon dioxide is needed in the formation of nitric oxide from L-Arginine and, with a half life of only a few seconds, the nitric oxide level will quickly respond to changes in the carbon dioxide level. Carbon dioxide has long been credited with the ability to relax muscles but it is only recently understood that it does this through facilitating the formation of nitric oxide. Age and stress can be contributing factors to a low level of carbon dioxide. Both cause us to breathe faster than we should (hyperventilate) thus lowering our carbon dioxide level, which then results in a lower nitric oxide level.

Various methods have been used to restore proper carbon dioxide levels and, hopefully, reset unconscious breathing habits: a conscious slowing of our breathing as taught by various breathing methods (e.g. Buteyko method) as well as supplementing with medical gas for a few minutes can help. Other methods include breathing into a paper bag for a few minutes or using a breathing device such as the Samozdrav, a Russian prize winning device used to increase arterial blood carbon dioxide levels and to train people to breathe properly. People who use this device and learn to breathe properly, as a result, often report the improvement of many and varied symptoms.

Increasing nitric oxide levels with L-Arginine (5 grams daily) and, at the same time, raising arterial carbon dioxide levels, theoretically, should produce superior results to Viagra or Cialis alone. However, no drug company is ever going to do a double blind study based on this idea so don’t wait for one. Go ahead, give it a try. You have nothing to lose and the only side effects are beneficial ones. Who knows, you might improve your health AND your sex life, not to mention save a LOT of money if you presently use Viagra or Cialis.

For a better understanding, listen to this 20 minute lecture by a medical professional on the many benefits of maintaining proper carbon dioxide levels through proper breathing. While listening, just keep in mind that this lecturer hasn’t yet caught on to the indirect role of carbon dioxide in muscle relaxation rather than the implied direct role.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Sun spot frequency has an unexpectedly strong influence on cloud formation and precipitation

By S. Fred Singer

Climate modelers seem puzzled that small fluctuations in total solar irradiance (TSI) appear to have large influence on the climate. They feel it necessary to take recourse to complicated mechanisms.

For example, Gerald Meehl of the US-National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and his team [1] have been able to calculate how the extremely small variations in TSI bring about a comparatively significant change in the system “Atmosphere-Ocean” They try to explain how ‘sunspot frequency’ has an unexpectedly strong influence on cloud formation and precipitation, according to a press release from the GFZ (German Research Centre for Geosciences), the home of Katja Matthes, a co-author of the study. One suggested mechanism is a solar-UV enhancement of stratospheric ozone, leading to circulation changes in the troposphere, a possibility explored earlier by British researcher Joanna Haigh. Another complicated mechanism suggested is increased heating and evaporation from cloud-free regions of the ocean, with the additional moisture transported into the equatorial zone, followed by some kind of positive feedback.

But the answer may really be very simple: the tiny (~0.1%) variation of TSI during the solar cycle is only the ‘tip of the iceberg.’ The much stronger variability is that of solar activity (solar wind and magnetic fields), which explains the observed modulation of Galactic Cosmic Radiation (GCR); in turn, the GCR affect cloudiness in the lower troposphere (the ‘Svensmark mechanism’). And what makes me so sure about the GCR hypothesis? It is the observational evidence from isotopic data in stalagmites (shown in the NIPCC summary report [2] and used there to challenge the IPCC conclusions).

But the GCR explanation is not congenial to AGW alarmists, who have been brainwashed by the IPCC. The latest (2007) IPCC report ignores the cosmic-ray effects, and by focusing only on TSI, disingenuously considers solar influences on climate to be insignificant when compared to the forcing by GH gases.

In this sense then, the paper by Meehl et al constitutes some kind of conceptual breakthrough –even if it is not correct in all its conclusions. Professor Reinhard Huettl, Chairman of the Scientific Executive Board of the GFZ agrees: “The study is important for comprehending the natural climatic variability, which - on different time scales - is significantly influenced by the sun. In order to better understand the anthropogenically induced climate change and to make more reliable future climate scenarios, it is very important to understand the underlying natural climatic variability.”


International Greenland ice coring effort driven by ideology

See the last sentence below. That sentence casts a pall of doubt over any "findings" that appear to support Warmism. The sentence reveals a non-scientific mindset

A new international research effort on the Greenland ice sheet with the University of Colorado at Boulder as the lead U.S. institution set a record for single-season deep ice-core drilling this summer, recovering more than a mile of ice core that is expected to help scientists better assess the risks of abrupt climate change in the future.

The project, known as the North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling, or NEEM, is being undertaken by 14 nations and is led by the University of Copenhagen. The goal is to retrieve ice from the last interglacial episode known as the Eemian Period that ended about 120,000 years ago. The period was warmer than today, with less ice in Greenland and 15-foot higher sea levels than present -- conditions similar to those Earth faces as it warms in the coming century and beyond, said CU-Boulder Professor Jim White, who is leading the U.S. research contingent.

While three previous Greenland ice cores drilled in the past 20 years covered the last ice age and the period of warming to the present, the deeper ice layers representing the warm Eemian and the period of transition to the ice age were compressed and folded, making them difficult to interpret, said White. Radar measurements taken through the ice sheet from above the NEEM site indicate the Eemian ice layers below are thicker, more intact and likely contain more accurate, specific information, he said.

"Every time we drill a new ice core, we learn a lot more about how Earth's climate functions," said White, "The Eemian period is the best analog we have for future warming on Earth."

Annual ice layers formed over millennia in Greenland by compressed snow reveal information on past temperatures and precipitation levels and the contents of ancient atmospheres, said White, who directs CU-Boulder's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. Ice cores exhumed during previous drilling efforts revealed abrupt temperature spikes of more than 20 degrees Fahrenheit in just 50 years in the Northern Hemisphere.

The NEEM team reached a depth of 5,767 feet in early August, where ice layers date to 38,500 years ago during a cold glacial period preceding the present interglacial, or warm period. The team hopes to hit bedrock at 8,350 feet at the end of next summer, reaching ice deposited during the warm Eemian period that lasted from roughly 130,000 to 120,000 years ago before the planet began to cool and ice up once again.

The NEEM project began in 2008 with the construction of a state-of-the-art facility, including a large dome, the drilling rig for extracting 3-inch-diameter ice cores, drilling trenches, laboratories and living quarters. The official drilling started in June of this year. The United States is leading the laboratory analysis of atmospheric gases trapped in bubbles within the NEEM ice cores, including greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane, said White.

The NEEM project is led by the University of Copenhagen's Centre of Ice and Climate directed by Professor Dorthe Dahl-Jensen. The United States and Denmark are the two leading partners in the project. The U.S. effort is funded by the National Science Foundation's Office of Polar Programs.

"Evidence from ancient ice cores tell us that when greenhouse gases increase in the atmosphere, the climate warms," said White. "And when the climate warms, ice sheets melt and sea levels rise. If we see comparable rises in sea level in the future like we have seen in the ice-core record, we can pretty much say good-bye to American coastal cities like Miami, Houston, Norfolk, New Orleans and Oakland."

Increased warming on Earth also has a host of other potentially deleterious effects, including changes in ecosystems, wildlife extinctions, the growing spread of disease, potentially catastrophic heat waves and increases in severe weather events, according to scientists.

While ice cores pinpoint abrupt climate change events as Earth has passed in and out of glacial periods, the warming trend during the present interglacial period is caused primarily by human activities like fossil fuel burning, White said. "What makes this warming trend fundamentally different from past warming events is that this one is driven by human activity and involves human responsibility, morals and ethics."


EU Chemical regulators have overreached

The costs — both in animal lives and euros — of the European REACH legislation on chemical testing are escalating. Thomas Hartung and Costanza Rovida argue for a suspension of certain toxicity tests.

More than 100,000 synthetic chemicals are used in consumer products. In 1981, both the United States and the European Union (EU) introduced comprehensive safety evaluations for novel chemicals coming on to the market. However, existing chemicals represent about 97% of those in use today and 99% of the production volume. Safety testing data are needed for most of these 'old' chemicals. Over the next decade, the EU's 2006 Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation aims to assess the toxicity of all chemicals sold in Europe in quantities of more than one tonne per year.

As toxicologists, we support the aims of REACH — it is the biggest investment into consumer safety ever. However, we feel that legislators have underestimated the scale of the challenge. Our report1, released today by the Trans-Atlantic Think Tank for Toxicology at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, is the first analysis of REACH costs to be published in 5 years. It is based, among other things, on the pre-registration of chemicals, which ended in 2008. It was expected that 27,000 companies would submit 180,000 pre-registrations on 29,000 substances. Instead, some 65,000 companies made more than 2.7 million pre-registrations for in excess of 140,000 substances. REACH aims to complete data collection on these substances by 2018. In recent decades Europe has tested some 200–300 new chemicals each year, making REACH an unprecedented challenge. Toxicologists do not have the appropriate tools — whether high-throughput methods or acceptable alternatives to animal testing — to meet these expectations.

Official estimates

When REACH was negotiated, between 2001 and 2005, several attempts were made to estimate the costs of the regulation, both financially and in terms of the number of animals used for toxicity testing. Officially, the EU is relying on estimates suggesting probable costs2 of euro dollar1.6 billion (US$2.3 billion) — range of estimate euro dollar1.2 billion–euro dollar2.4 billion — and 2.6 million animals3 (range of estimate 2.1 million–3.9 million). These estimates are based on data on chemical production from 1991 to 1994.

Our report relies on several new public sources of information that allow these estimates to be reassessed. Among the factors that have increased costs and animal numbers are changes to the final legislation, such as the inclusion of reaction intermediates, and changes to the guidance for industry on how to test. The EU also now contains 27 members (plus three non-EU countries that adhere to REACH), compared with the 12 members on which the 1994 data were based. Factors that could, in principle, reduce the costs of REACH include progress in the availability of alternative methods to animal testing and availability of safety data from other sources, such as voluntary industry databases.

The latest published list of REACH chemicals contains 143,835 substances that are supposed to be fully registered, each requiring a chemical-safety report. However, this figure is likely to be an overestimate because of redundancies or mistakes made in deposition. The final number will be somewhere between 143,835 and the official estimate of 29,342 substances2. We have re-evaluated the estimates for the number of in vivo tests required by REACH. The plausibility of our assumptions and calculations was checked by eight experts from industry, academia and regulatory authorities1.

We focused on the expansion of the EU and how that affects chemical production. Since 1994, the chemical industry in Europe has grown by about 5% per year, almost doubling its production and sales size by 2008, and the expansion of the EU further increases chemical production volume by 18%. This growth leads to an estimate of 68,000 chemicals falling under REACH, and this is the lower (optimistic) estimate in our study (see Fig. 1).

Estimates for the numbers of chemicals (a) and of animals (b) expected to be needed for compliance with REACH legislation. Our best-case estimates1 of 68,000 substances and 54 million animals are far above the official EU estimates.

Optimistic assumptions

These 68,000 chemicals were then modelled under REACH testing requirements. Total chemical production or marketing volume in Europe determines the testing requirements, which are then modified by the specific toxicity and usage profiles of the substances. In all cases, our modelling used the most optimistic assumptions (minimal animal numbers per test and neglecting the triggering of additional tests). We ignored the need for confirmatory retesting as well as tests that have not yet been defined for endocrine disruption, respiratory irritation, respiratory sensitization and developmental neurotoxicity. We also considered alternative approaches (including computational toxicology) far enough along in the validation and acceptance process to have an impact on the execution of REACH.

Our results suggest that generating data to comply with REACH will require 54 million vertebrate animals and cost euro dollar9.5 billion over the next 10 years. This is 20 times more animals and 6 times the costs of the official estimates. By comparison, some 90,000 animals are currently used every year for testing new chemicals in Europe, costing the industry some euro dollar60 million per year. Without a major investment into high-throughput methodologies, the feasibility of the programme is under threat — especially given that our calculations represent a best-case scenario. In 15 months' time, industry has to submit existing toxicity data and animal-testing plans for the first of three groups of old chemicals.

Disaster prevention

Our modelling shows that the studies contributing most to animal use and costs are from reproductive-toxicity testing — the effects of the chemicals on reproductive functions — representing about 90% of projected animal use and 70% of projected costs (see Fig. 2).

Reproductive-toxicity testing makes a huge contribution to the estimated costs (a) and the number of animals used (b) for compliance with REACH legislation.

In the short term, we recommend that testing requirements for reproductive toxicity are urgently reviewed with the goal of prioritizing the most suspicious chemicals, reviewing test strategies and allowing more time to carry out the programme.

Much of the projected increase in animal use is the result of the two-generation study for reproductive toxicity, in which toxic effects are studied in the offspring of exposed rats and then in a second generation. The EU animal estimate3 did not include offspring (despite their inclusion in EU animal-use statistics). This method consumes an average of 3,200 rats per chemical compared with 784 animals for a one-generation study with costs increasing five-fold. Moreover, changes to REACH introduced the unusual requirement of repeating the two-generation study in a second species, further increasing animal use and costs.

There are many limitations associated with the two-generation study in a second species (not least an increase in false positives) despite marginal gains in safety information4. A high number of false positives (perhaps as much as 40–60%) after REACH testing might lead to the expensive withdrawal of widely used chemicals, and cause unnecessary fears in consumers5. Over the past 25 years, only 2–3 industrial chemicals a year have been tested in two-generation studies — with REACH the challenge will be to test several hundred chemicals per year. We urgently need alternatives.

Despite concerted efforts, no acceptable alternatives to reproductive-toxicity testing have emerged, or are likely to be validated by 2018. Computational approaches are also limited by the complexity of reproductive toxicity and because half of the REACH chemicals are mixtures, inorganic, salts or contain metal atoms, rendering toxicity less predictable.

The only real alternative is an extended one-generation study, guidelines for which are under development by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). This approach extends the observation period for the first-generation offspring with additional testing on developmental neuro- and immunotoxicity if triggered by test results.

We favour replacing the two-generation study with the OECD test, which would, in our estimation, reduce animal use for this test by 40–60% and overall animal use by REACH by 15%. We recommend a moratorium on reproductive-toxicity testing, or at least limiting testing to the most suspicious substances, until the OECD guidelines are completed and alternative strategies for screening lots of chemicals are available. There are political as well as technical barriers to overcome, however — two EU member states are against the extended one-generation study unless the additional testing is mandatory, which would eliminate any cost or animal saving.

In the medium term, a different approach is needed. An initiative similar to the euro dollar50-million partnership between the European Commission and the cosmetic industry (Colipa), for research into alternatives for systemic toxicity, is needed for reproductive toxicity. Colipa includes trans-Atlantic partners and the strong integration of computational and high-throughput approaches. The only serious EU investment into reproductive toxicity is the ReProTect project, which ends this year and should be continued.

In the longer term, regulatory toxicology needs to move into the twenty-first century5 — many core methods have remained largely unchanged for 40 years. The US Environmental Protection Agency understands this need. It introduced a new toxicity-testing strategy in March. The aim is to move to high-throughput methods based on identified pathways of toxicity with human cells, fish eggs, invertebrate species and computational methods. Instead of exposing animals to high doses and observing a multitude of possible effects, precise questions can be asked about whether sensitive physiological processes are disturbed.

REACH is not the only chemical testing programme coming online — others are planned in the United States, Japan and Canada — but it is the biggest and the first to come into effect. Lessons learned from REACH should be heeded by the others. Our report might be bad news for REACH as currently imagined, but it is also an opportunity. Given the EU's expansion, the growth in financial costs and animal use was inevitable — and would have been revealed in time as indicated by the pre-registration data. We are showing the challenges that lie ahead. Armed with this knowledge of the shortcomings of the current approach, regulators and industry can work together to protect consumer safety without using an excessive number of animals for toxicity testing

SOURCE (See the original for graphics)

Australia: Public transport outrage

Little girl abandoned on the side of the road over $1.20 bus fare. And governments want to get parents out of their cars??

A 10-YEAR-old girl was left by the side of a busy road in Mt Gravatt last month after she didn't have enough money for the bus, it has been revealed. The girl's mother told The Courier-Mail her daughter was directed to get off the 174 bus on Newnham Rd in late July after her Go Card had insufficient credit and she did not have enough change.

But Brisbane City Council yesterday denied the girl was told to leave, saying she was only told she had insufficient credit on her Go Card. The case breached the strict "no child left behind" policy employed by TransLink and Brisbane City Council, which states that a child cannot be left behind by a bus regardless of whether they have sufficient money for the trip.

The child's mother, who asked not to be named, said she was "horrified" and "disgusted" that her daughter, who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, was left behind by the bus. "She told me she was still at school and 'the driver told me to get off the bus'," the mother said. "She said: 'My bus card wouldn't work, and I looked in my bag and I didn't have enough change, and then the bus driver just said, 'Get off the bus'."

The girl's mother said she called a TransLink operator, who said the decision to leave her child behind was "up to the driver's discretion". "When I rang the first time the man said to me: 'Well, it is up to the driver's discretion'. "I said you cannot leave a child behind for the sake of $1.20 - along that road, it is a busy road, anyone could have stopped and grabbed her."

The mother later contacted TransLink again and was given an apology for the incident. The case is among four across the southeast that were investigated by TransLink this year, including one at Caboolture and one near Ipswich. A TransLink spokesman said the driver and the call centre operator had been disciplined.

"TransLink's [previously unknown, apparently] policy is that no child will be left at a bus stop under any circumstances and takes matters where a child is left at a bus stop very seriously," the spokesman said.



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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Rediscovering the obvious

Big shock! Climate warming does NOT necessarily melt glaciers. As most glaciers are well below zero Celsius, the principal determinant of glacial mass is the amount of precipitation (snowfall) received -- and warmer oceans should evaporate more and hence increase precipitation

Ice, when heated, is supposed to melt. That’s why a collection of glaciers in the Southeast Himalayas stymies those who know what they did 9,000 years ago. While most other Central Asian glaciers retreated under hotter summer temperatures, this group of glaciers advanced from one to six kilometers.

A new study by BYU geologist Summer Rupper pieces together the chain of events surrounding the unexpected glacial growth. “Stronger monsoons were thought to be responsible,” said Rupper, who reports her findings in the September issue of the journal Quaternary Research. “Our research indicates the extra snowfall from monsoonal effects can only take credit for up to 30 percent of the glacial advance.”

As Central Asia’s summer climate warmed as much as 6 degrees Celsius, shifting weather patterns brought more clouds to the Southeast Himalayas. The additional shade created a pocket of cooler temperatures. Temperatures also dropped when higher winds spurred more evaporation in this typically humid area, the same process behind household swamp coolers.

The story of these seemingly anomalous glaciers underscores the important distinction between the terms “climate change” and “global warming.” “Even when average temperatures are clearly rising regionally or globally, what happens in any given location depends on the exact dynamics of that place,” Rupper said.

The findings come from a framework Rupper developed as an alternative to the [absurdly simplistic] notion that glaciers form and melt in direct proportion to temperature. Her method is based on the balance of energy between a glacier and a wide range of climate factors, including wind, humidity, precipitation, evaporation and cloudiness. [Sounds like she is a bit too good a scientist to be a Warmist]

Gerard Roe and Alan Gillespie of the University of Washington are co-authors of the new study.

Knowing how glaciers responded in past periods of climate change will help Rupper forecast the region’s water supply in the coming decades. She and collaborators are in the process of determining how much of the Indus River comes from the vast network of glaciers far upstream from the agricultural valleys of India and Pakistan.

“Their study can be used to help assess future glaciological and hydrological changes in the most populated part of our planet, which is a region that is now beginning to experience the profound effects of human-induced climate change,” said Lewis Owen, a geologist at the University of Cincinnati who was not affiliated with this study.


What is causing the Increase in Atmospheric Water Vapor?

This is delusional. Warming from ANY cause (man-made or natural) will increase atmospheric water content. And constructing models that assume human input proves nothing

Researchers from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and and a group of international researchers have found that model quality does not affect the ability to identify human effects on atmospheric water vapor.

The atmosphere's water vapor content has increased by about 0.4 kilograms per square meter per decade since 1988, and natural variability alone can't explain this moisture change, according to lead author Benjamin Santer of the LLNL .

More water vapor, which is itself a greenhouse gas, amplifies the warming effect of increased atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide, according to the LLNL press release.

The group of scientists ran a "fingerprint" analysis of 22 different climate models and tested each model individually. Regardless of model quality, each model came to the same conclusion.....Humans are warming the planet, and this warming is increasing the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere. In every case, a water vapor fingerprint arising from human influences could be clearly identified in the satellite data

"One criticism of our first study was that we were only able to find a human fingerprint because we included inferior models in our analysis," said Karl Taylor, another LLNL co-author. "We've now shown that whether we use the best or the worst models, they don't have much impact on our ability to identify a human effect on water vapor."



Oil refiners, including regional giant Sunoco Inc., say that proposed federal legislation aimed at curbing global warming could impair fuel production nationally and in the region, where it is a mainstay of the economy.

A study released this week by the American Petroleum Institute (API), the industry's trade group, projects that the cap-and-trade bill in its current form could cause a 17 percent reduction in U.S. refinery output by 2030. The reduction would be made up by doubling fuel imports from foreign refiners, who may not face climate restrictions.

API said the analysis by EnSys Energy shows the "devastating" effect the American Clean Energy and Security Act would have on U.S. jobs and energy security. While the proposed bill would dramatically reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from U.S. refineries, there would be only a slight worldwide reduction as fuel production shifted overseas, the study said...

The study was released as the Senate prepares to consider the climate-change bill, sponsored by Reps. Henry A. Waxman (D., Calif.) and Ed Markey (D., Mass.). The bill narrowly passed the House in June, and it is likely to be substantially amended by the Senate.

Cap-and-trade is a method to control greenhouse gases by creating a market for emissions permits. The government would set a cap on emissions, but emitters that don't use their full quota could trade their excess permits to companies needing them. The caps would become gradually more restrictive.

Refiners complain because the proposed legislation would force them to become big buyers of the permits. Though refiners emit about 4 percent of the nation's greenhouse gases, they are held responsible for 44 percent of all emissions, including the exhaust from automobiles, planes, trains, and heating oil. But the bill would allocate only 2.25 percent of the permits to refiners. "In its current form, the legislation will likely increase the cost of domestic refining so much - through the need to purchase credits, higher electricity costs, and the financial carrying costs to actually buy the allowances - that it will be cheaper to import gasoline, diesel, and other products from overseas," said Thomas P. Golembeski, spokesman for Sunoco, which is based in Philadelphia.

"Eventually, we would expect that higher domestic refining costs would force some U.S. refining capacity to close, which would mean the loss of jobs, tighter fuel supply, and higher fuel costs for consumers," Golembeski said.

Supporters of the cap-and-trade legislation say it would force a transition to clean energy by imposing market conditions that would penalize imported fossil fuels and reward development of renewable energy.

The API study said that in its worst-case scenario, the proposed law could reduce annual U.S. refining investments by up to $89.7 billion, reduce refinery utilization rates from 83.3 percent to as low as 63.4 percent, and would cut refinery production by up to 4.4 million barrels a day. Refineries on the Gulf Coast and in California would be hit hardest.

Sunoco, which has three refineries in the Philadelphia area, is not a member of API, but Golembeski said the company was aware of the study. He said Sunoco prefers a carbon tax levied directly upon sources of greenhouse gases, rather than the more complex cap-and-trade system. "A transparent and direct carbon tax would be, in our view, a much more workable solution," Golembeski said.


Climate change supercomputer makes Met building one of Britain's most polluted

And they still struggle to predict Britain's weather even a few days ahead

The Met Office's new supercomputer has scored it's second own goal since it was unveiled with much fanfare in May. After tempting the nation into holidaying in Britain by wrongly forecasting a "barbecue Summer", it has now earned the Met Office's Exeter headquarters the shame of being named as one of the most polluting buildings in Britain.

By the time it reaches peak performance in 2011 the £30 million machine's massive processing power - it can perform 125 trillion calculations per second - will require 1.2 megawatts of power to run, enough energy to power a small town.

As a result it will contribute 12,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide to the problem of global warming every year. That places the Met Office HQ close to the top of the list of carbon emitters - 103rd out of 28,259 UK public buildings assessed for their carbon footprint by the Department of Communities and Local Government.

Barry Gromett, a Met Office spokesman, came to the defence of the machine, claiming that its severe weather warnings could help to save lives and its predictions for the airline industry helped to save 20 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year. He also defended the Met Office building. “Our supercomputer is vital for predictions of weather and climate change," said Mr Gromett. “By failing to discriminate between office and supercomputing facilities the process reflects badly on the entire Met Office site. In fact, the general office space is rated excellent and has consistently done so since the Met Office building in Exeter was completed in 2003.”

The supercomputer analyses data from satellite images and sea temperature gauges. Its supporters say it will be able to predict previously unforeseeable weather events, such as the 1987 hurricane that unexpectedly devastated Britain. By 2011 it will offer processing power approaching 1 PetaFlop - equivalent to more than 100,000 PCs and over 30 times more powerful than what is currently in place.

Maurice Spurway, a Friends of the Earth spokesman, said it was wryly amusing that the Met Office had been fingered for damaging the climate. “Life is full of ironies and I think this is one of those situations,” he said.

Manchester University's Oxford Road campus was named the most polluting building in Britain in the government survey, followed by the Royal London Hospital and Scarborough Sports Centre.


Greenies are 'emotionalizing' the cap-and-trade debate

Environmental activists who favor anti-global warming regulations like the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill now before the U.S. Senate have long claimed that government intervention is essential to save the planet from an imminent man-made catastrophe. In fact, only Waxman-Markey threatens to be a man-made catastrophe. The bill would create billions of dollars' worth of government credits to businesses that reduce carbon emissions. Businesses that exceed the required reductions could sell the credits to firms that fail to do so. The approach won't work because it would use a government mandate to create a market for which there is no consumer demand.

Since the American economy is mainly powered by energy produced from carbon fuels and will be for the foreseeable future, reducing carbon emissions requires slowing or eliminating economic growth, with the result that 2 million more Americans will become unemployed by 2012, according to an analysis by the conservative Heritage Foundation. Similarly, the Brookings Institution -- certainly no sentinel of rightward analysis -- also predicts dire economic results from Waxman-Markey.

To overcome such objections, environmental advocates project a dire future in the hope Congress will adopt measures like Waxman-Markey to assuage public fears. At least one major environmentalist leader has confessed to "emotionalizing" the anti-global warming case as a way of capturing public attention and generating support. Gerd Leipold, retiring director of Greenpeace, in an Aug. 7 interview with the BBC, conceded that Arctic ice would not all melt by 2030, contrary to his organization's prediction earlier this year.

But when pressed by the BBC reporter to defend such predictions in Greenpeace news releases and briefing materials, Leipold admitted errors but defended them as a necessary means to an end: "What we have said by and large over the last 20 years I think was wise and was rational and reasonable. ... We are confronted with a world that has unfortunately only recently woken up to it. We as a pressure group have to emotionalize issues, and we are not ashamed of emotionalizing issues." In other words, Greenpeace is engaging in propaganda.

Waxman-Markey has already passed the House, but in September, the Senate will have an opportunity to de-emotionalize the debate over the bill. And Senate members do, they should take a hard look at the pronouncements of Greenpeace and other environmentalist groups, and separate the propaganda from the facts.


Australia: Solar power a dud

Lack of savings in S.E. Queensland said to be a "mystery" but: 1). We have had a lot of rainy and overcast weather this year in the Brisbane area and: 2). Panels vary a lot in efficiency. No doubt people were given estimates based on maximum efficiency -- not the efficiency obtainable from the actual cheaper panels used

HOMEOWNERS are fuming after spending tens of thousands of dollars on solar panels only to find their power bills have stayed the same or only marginally dropped. Each of the cases involved installations by Modern Solar, which has blamed Energex meters for the problems.

One customer said he had estimated it would take 190 years to recoup the cost of the installation, when he was promised it would take 13 years in a worst-case scenario.

Energex said it was aware of the problem but, despite repeated testing of various installations, could not pinpoint the cause. Energy Ombudsman Barry Adams said there had been a rise in complaints from people unhappy with their savings. He said it appeared some companies had "over-exaggerated" the savings. Mr Adams had raised the issue with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and Queensland's Office of Fair Trading.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Error in NOAA’s sea surface temperature calculations means that the July 2009 SST was likely not any kind of a record

After crunching data this week from two of our satellite-based microwave sensors, and from NOAA’s official sea surface temperature (SST) product ERSST v3b, I think the evidence is pretty clear: The ERSST v3b product has a spurious warming since 1998 of about 0.2 deg. C, most of which occurred as a jump in 2001.

The following three panels tell the story. In the first panel I’ve plotted the TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI) SST anomalies (blue) for the latitude band 40N to 40S. I’ve also plotted SST anomalies from the more recently launched AMSR-E instrument (red), computed over the same latitude band, to show that they are nearly identical. (These SST retrievals do not have any time-dependent adjustments based upon buoy data). The orange curve is anomalies for the entire global (ice-free) oceans, which shows there is little difference with the more restricted latitude band.

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


From Geophysical Research Letters, August 2009

How will Earth's surface temperature change in future decades?

By Judith L. Lean & David H. Rind


Reliable forecasts of climate change in the immediate future are difficult, especially on regional scales, where natural climate variations may amplify or mitigate anthropogenic warming in ways that numerical models capture poorly. By decomposing recent observed surface temperatures into components associated with ENSO, volcanic and solar activity, and anthropogenic influences, we anticipate global and regional changes in the next two decades. From 2009 to 2014, projected rises in anthropogenic influences and solar irradiance will increase global surface temperature 0.15 ± 0.03°C, at a rate 50% greater than predicted by IPCC. But as a result of declining solar activity in the subsequent five years, average temperature in 2019 is only 0.03 ± 0.01°C warmer than in 2014. This lack of overall warming is analogous to the period from 2002 to 2008 when decreasing solar irradiance also countered much of the anthropogenic warming. We further illustrate how a major volcanic eruption and a super ENSO would modify our global and regional temperature projections.


4. Summary

[15] By representing monthly mean surface temperatures in terms of their combined linear responses to ENSO, volcanic and solar activity and anthropogenic influences, we account for 76% of the variance observed since 1980 (and since 1889 [Lean and Rind, 2008]) and forecast global and regional temperatures in the next two decades. According to our prediction, which is anchored in the reality of observed changes in the recent past, warming from 2009 to 2014 will exceed that due to anthropogenic influences alone but global temperatures will increase only slightly from 2014 to 2019, and some regions may even cool.

[16] Northern mid latitudes, especially western Europe, will experience the largest warming (of as much as 1 C), since this region responds positively to both solar and anthropogenic influences. Minimal warming is likely in the eastern Pacific ocean and adjacent west coast of South America, and parts of the mid latitude Atlantic ocean, which may cool slightly at southern latitudes in future decades.

[17] The major assumption associated with our forecasts is that 'past is prologue'; climate will continue to respond in the future to the same factors that have influenced it in the recent past and the response will continue to be linear over the next several decades. The demonstrated ability of our empirical model to reproduce the historical record of monthly surface temperature changes on a range of time scales from annual to multidecadal suggests that the same atmosphere-ocean interchange (both internal and forced) that governs annual surface temperature changes may also control climate change in the immediate future.

[18] While the ability of the climate system to depart from its historical response should not be underestimated (e.g., ocean circulation changes), the demonstrated ability of our empirical model to reproduce with some fidelity the historical surface temperature record, and in particular the geographic variations of the last decade, provides cautious confidence that a similar capability may be available for the next two decades in association with the expected climate forcings. Over this time scale, anthropogenic radiative forcing is forecast to continue growing at close to current trends with all of the different trace gas emission scenarios currently being employed, while the solar cycle changes can be anticipated within a range of uncertainty. If strong ENSO cycle events and/or volcanoes arise, they can be factored into the forecasts with the method described here. In future work we plan to characterize and forecast the seasonal responses to the natural and anthropogenic effects.



A new study in the journal "Science" by a team of international of researchers led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research have found that the sunspot cycle has a big effect on the earth's weather. The puzzle has been how fluctuations in the sun's energy of about 0.1 percent over the course of the 11-year sunspot cycle could affect the weather? The press release describing the new study explains:

The team first confirmed a theory that the slight increase in solar energy during the peak production of sunspots is absorbed by stratospheric ozone. The energy warms the air in the stratosphere over the tropics, where sunlight is most intense, while also stimulating the production of additional ozone there that absorbs even more solar energy. Since the stratosphere warms unevenly, with the most pronounced warming occurring at lower latitudes, stratospheric winds are altered and, through a chain of interconnected processes, end up strengthening tropical precipitation.

At the same time, the increased sunlight at solar maximum causes a slight warming of ocean surface waters across the subtropical Pacific, where Sun-blocking clouds are normally scarce. That small amount of extra heat leads to more evaporation, producing additional water vapor. In turn, the moisture is carried by trade winds to the normally rainy areas of the western tropical Pacific, fueling heavier rains and reinforcing the effects of the stratospheric mechanism.

The top-down influence of the stratosphere and the bottom-up influence of the ocean work together to intensify this loop and strengthen the trade winds. As more sunshine hits drier areas, these changes reinforce each other, leading to less clouds in the subtropics, allowing even more sunlight to reach the surface, and producing a positive feedback loop that further magnifies the climate response.

These stratospheric and ocean responses during solar maximum keep the equatorial eastern Pacific even cooler and drier than usual, producing conditions similar to a La Nina event. However, the cooling of about 1-2 degrees Fahrenheit is focused farther east than in a typical La Nina, is only about half as strong, and is associated with different wind patterns in the stratosphere.

Are these new findings relevant to scientific analyses of man-made global warming? The Christian Science Monitor reports:

For those wondering how the study bears on global warming, Gerald Meehl, lead author on the study, says that it doesn't - at least not directly....

Global warming is a long-term trend, Dr. Meehl says in a phone conversation. By contrast, this study attempts to explain the processes behind a periodic occurrence. But, he says, a model finally able to reproduce a complex phenomenon observed in the real world does suggest that our climate models - the same ones we use to predict what will happen to global climate as we ratchet up co2 concentrations - are improving. And that will, inevitably, have an effect on the climate discussion.

A recent paper in Eos considers the evidence that we could be in for an extended period with few sunspots:

"Why is a lack of sunspot activity interesting? During the period from 1645 to 1715, the Sun entered a period of low activity now known as the Maunder Minimum, when through several 11- year periods the Sun displayed few if any sunspots. Models of the Sun's irradiance suggest that the solar energy input to the Earth decreased during that time and that this change in solar activity could explain the low temperatures recorded in Europe during the Little Ice Age."

Doesn't the Eos paper suggest that sunspot activity may not just affect weather but climate too?


Another Warmist attempt to silence dissent


The EPA whistleblower saga took a new turn this week with a report that EPA was considering shutting down the agency unit in which Dr. Alan Carlin works. Dr. Carlin is the senior EPA analyst who authored a 100-page study last March, which severely criticized the scientific basis for the agency's position on global warming. CEI broke the story in late June, when it unveiled a series of emails to Dr. Carlin from his boss, stating that his study would not be disclosed, and that Dr. Carlin was to stop working on global warming issues, because criticizing EPA's position would only cause trouble.

Dr. Carlin works in EPA's National Center for Environmental Economics (NCEE), whose function is, in its words, "analyzing the economic and health impacts of environmental regulations and policies, and ... informing important policy decisions with sound economics and other sciences." EPA has long been criticized for the tunnel-vision, cost-be-damned nature of many of its policies. (See, for example, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer's 1995 book, Breaking the Vicious Circle: Toward Effective Risk Regulation, written before he joined the court.) Economists are the most likely professionals within EPA to examine the real-world effects of its policies. For that reason, the NCEE is potentially a major restraining force on the agency's out-of-this-world regulatory ambitions. Wouldn't it be great for EPA to get this office out of the way?

Hopefully, the publicity and scrutiny that Dr. Carlin's report has received since it became public will carry over to EPA's plans for NCEE, and this agency, with its hollow commitment to scientific integrity and transparency, won't get its wish.


GE's green lobbying is killing U.S. factory jobs

"Government did us in,” says Dwayne Madigan, whose job will terminate when General Electric closes its factory next July. Madigan makes a product that will soon be illegal to sell in the U.S. - a regular incandescent bulb. Two years ago, his employer, GE, lobbied in favor of the law that will outlaw the bulbs. Madigan’s colleagues, waiting for their evening shift to begin, all know that GE is replacing the incandescents for now with compact fluorescents bulbs, which GE manufactures in China.

Last month, GE announced it will close the Winchester Bulb Plant 80 miles west of D.C. As a result, 200 men and women will lose their jobs. GE is also shuttering incandescent factories in Ohio and Kentucky, axing another 200 jobs. GE blamed environmental regulations for the closing. The first paragraph of the company’s July 23 press release explained: “A variety of energy regulations that establish lighting efficiency standards are being implemented in the U.S. and other countries, in some cases this year, and will soon make the familiar lighting products produced at the Winchester Plant obsolete.”

The U.S. legislation in question was a provision in the 2007 energy bill that required all bulbs sold in the U.S.—beginning in 2012 for some wattages—to meet high efficiency standards.

Given the steady death of U.S. manufacturing, this factory was going to close sooner or later, anyway. Workers tell me they were happy when they heard in June that the factory was staying open at least through mid-2011—a plan GE abandoned the next month. But the light bulb law is clearly the main driver in closing this factory. After all, the product they make here will be contraband by 2014. "That was the nail in the coffin,” Madigan says.

These men, waiting in the shade in front of the employees’ entrance to the plant on a hot afternoon, all know another pertinent fact about the light-bulb law that is killing their jobs: GE lobbied in favor of it.

Why did GE, founded by Thomas Edison, lobby to kill the incandescent light bulb? The company said in 2007 it wanted to make sure it was working under a single federal efficiency standard, rather than a patchwork of state regulations. GE also touts its compact fluorescents as one of the green products in its “eco-magination” initiative.

The workers don’t buy the green arguments, pointing to the mercury gas that’s in the fluorescents. “It’s illegal to dump mercury in the river, but not in the landfill,” two of them say in unison—it’s become a dark joke at the factory.

Robert Pifer, who will also be laid off in July if he doesn’t find a new job by then, has an explanation for GE’s support of the light-bulb law and its shift to the more expensive fluorescents. “Are they not just trying to force-feed people stuff they don’t want to buy?”

So, GE gets environmentalist brownie points for selling “clean” light bulbs, and they also get to charge more for their bulbs. But there’s another advantage—they save on labor with fluorescents, because they make the fluorescents in China. Not only are wages lower there, but so are the regulatory burdens, both environmental and labor. The Times of London recently reported, “Large numbers of Chinese workers have been poisoned by mercury, which forms part of the compact fluorescent lightbulbs.”

CFLs, however, are probably not the light bulb of the future. Right before it started lobbying for a federal light bulb law, GE announced that it would start making high-efficiency incandescent by 2010. GE doesn’t say where it will manufacturer its high-efficiency incandescent bulb, but all signs suggest it won’t be here in Winchester.

GE spokesman Peter O’Toole responded by pointing out GE has relocated its manufacturing of Hybrid Electric Heat Pump Water Heaters to Kentucky, from China. They promise 400 new “green-collar” jobs, offsetting the loss of the light-bulb jobs—but not in Winchester.

I ask the men what they plan to do when the factory closes down. Some say they’ll retire. Others can only shrug their shoulders. Pifer says he’ll just have to take a job at less than half of what he currently makes. “I live paycheck to paycheck,” Pifer tells me. He has a son, and he owns a house nearby, he says. “So what am I going to do when I’m earning $11 an hour?” These men are the victims of the green revolution —a revolution their employer is leading.



Report from Australia

Trading of emission permits around the world will become a financial rort [racket] that fails to reduce carbon emissions - and will ultimately be scrapped in favour of a simple carbon tax, a former senior official in the Clinton administration has forecast. Robert Shapiro, former US undersecretary of commerce and author of Futurecast, predicted that the US Senate would reject the emissions trading scheme proposed by President Obama, which is now before it.

Speaking by video to the Trade 2020 conference convened by Austrade and the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, Dr Shapiro said 'cap and trade' systems as proposed by the US and the Australian governments to limit carbon dioxide emissions and allow trade in permits do not work as intended. "Cap and trade has proved very vulnerable to vested interests, and therefore too weak to deliver the necessary emission reductions'', he said. ''Cap and trade creates trillions of dollars of new financial instruments to be traded, and subjected to the next financial fads. China and India will never accept a cap and trade regime.''

A better solution is to impose a carbon tax on emissions and return the revenue from it to households so people are not made worse off, Dr Shapiro said. A similar approach in Sweden has cut emissions there by 8 per cent since 1990 while GDP rose about 40 per cent.

CEDA research director Michael Porter strongly supported Dr Shapiro. CEDA today will release a report urging the Rudd Government to scrap its emissions trading scheme in favour of a carbon tax. Dr Porter warned that a carbon market would not be trading carbon, ''it'll be trading derivatives''. International trade in permits will mean the integrity of a permit is only as good as the weakest supervisory regime.

Economists are divided over which is the better way to fight climate change. Emissions trading has won widespread support because it is a market-based solution that, in theory, will deliver certain emission reductions at the lowest cost, as companies that can't reduce emissions cheaply instead buy permits from companies that can.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Friday, August 28, 2009


An email from Norm Kalmanovitch []

The Earth started to cool around 1942. By 1970, scientists were concerned that the world was returning to another Little Ice Age and advised governments of this prediction. The response of the governments was to put resources into initiatives that would help lessen the blow from the cooling temperatures. The most important of these initiatives was to develop crops that could withstand shorter growing seasons.

Global cooling came to an end in 1975, as the Earth returned to its previous (natural) warming trend, and within two years scientists, optimistic that the cooling had ended, started to advise the public as such.

All of the initiatives to protect against global cooling ended up being beneficial to the world's population. Most importantly the crops developed to withstand global cooling could also withstand other severe climate problems resulting in a greater food supply for the world.

The global warming trend unfortunately has not continued, and after global warming ended in 1998, global cooling took over in 2002 and the world has been cooling ever since with no end in sight.

Unlike the global cooling period, it was environmentalists, with an underlying ideological agenda, and not climate scientists that made predictions about continued catastrophic global warming, and instead of proposing intelligent measures to help society cope with the effects of this predicted global warming, they proposed measures that were supposed to stop this global warming. In reality these measures were only to serve the environmentalists' ideological agenda, and when global warming ended and cooling started, continuing these measures became far more important than honestly admitting that these measures were no longer necessary.

The world has already been cooling for over seven years, and the EPA which has a duty to the country to inform the public that global cooling is now the problem, continues to fail in its mandate and promotes measures that are not only meaningless but have crippled the economy, increased the cost of food, and increased the cost of power, all for the purpose of maintaining a self serving environmentalist agenda.

There has never been any science involved in the promotion of catastrophic global warming. When the Earth cooled from 1942 to 1975 CO2 emissions were increasing five times more rapidly than any time in history completely contrary to the AGW hypothesis proposed just 13 years after this cooling ended. None of the other greenhouse gases mentioned in the Kyoto Protocol are of sufficient quantity or affect a portion of the Earth's radiative spectrum that will result in any detectable effect on global temperature. These radiative bands are so narrow and in such low energy portions of the Earth's radiative spectrum, that even a ten-fold increase in all of the mentioned "greenhouse gases" will still not have a detectable effect on global temperature.

We breathe in CO2 at 400ppmv and breathe out CO2 at 40,000ppmv, which makes humans polluters for just breathing according to the EPA.

We already have pollution controls on our vehicles that remove all of the other pollutants mentioned as greenhouse gases, so this is a non issue.

Science is always putting hypotheses on trial and according to science protocol AGW lost its case in the opening arguments.

It is the EPA that needs to be put on trial to defend its continued promotion of economically crippling initiatives designed to combat something that ended well over a decade ago. The EPA must demonstrate current global warming; but all physical data refutes this. The EPA must demonstrate benefit of its initiatives; but there have been no benefits because the air is just as clean as it has been since actual pollution controls were mandated. The EPA must justify the cost to the economy of its measures; but the measures have only hurt the economy.

Any court case against the EPA will pit environmental ideology and consensus opinion against hard physical data, and when the global thermometers testify the trial will be over.


An email from James Rust [], Professor of Nuclear Engineering (ret.)

The BBC Earth News article on trees advancing in a warming world did not mention if the researchers had considered increased atmospheric carbon dioxide being the primary factor for trees advancing in high elevations. Carbon dioxide is the major nutrient for plants and trees and I would think the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide the past century would have been a major factor on any increase in tree growth.

The positive aspects of increased carbon dioxide needs to be explained to the general public to help dispense this foolish notion carbon dioxide is a poison gas.


An email from Will Alexander [] in South Africa

I trust that your readers have noticed the mounting resistance of African countries to what they perceive to be measures to use climate change to maintain the colonialist master-servant relationship. They perceive that climate change is intended to suppress the rise to economic competitiveness of the African nations.

Africa is fragmented as a result of historical colonialism. The African countries may find it difficult to speak with one voice but the underlying feeling is very clear. No African country will dare to impose restrictions which they perceive to be limitations on their development imposed by the Western nations. These are two examples that occurred during the past week.

The Libyan who was jailed because of his role in the Lockerbie disaster was released on health grounds. He received a hero's welcome when he returned to Libya. A South African woman athlete won the 800 m event in record time at the international athletics function in Berlin. She was immediately humiliated when the organisers publicly announced that she would undergo femininity tests. South Africans were outraged by the publicity and claimed that this was a racist reaction. She will receive a hero's welcome when she returns to South Africa.


There are two important facts that are deliberately suppressed by climate alarmists. The first is that nearly all African countries are net absorbers of carbon dioxide. This far outweighs their emissions. They should be entitled to financial benefits, not penalties.

The second is within my personal sphere of knowledge. It is the Secretary General's erroneous statement that if we fail to act, climate change will intensify droughts and floods, and that water shortages will affect hundreds of millions of people. This statement is demonstrably false. Since the establishment of the IPCC in 1988, there has not been a single loss of life in subcontinental Africa due to floods that can be provably attributed to climate change. The same applies to droughts and threats to water supplies.

The Secretary General's claim is based solely on theory that completely ignores the natural extremes that have been known since biblical times. The extreme events that were experienced in subcontinental Africa prior to 1988 have not been exceeded since then.

There is an opposing view propagated by the alarmists. The public have been informed that virtually every serious event is a consequence of climate change. This has already started to backfire. If this is the case, African countries have a right to claim compensation from the developed countries for each event.


Following on my last comment the WMO has just issued a warning that an El Niño event is developing in the Pacific. The South African Weather Service has issued a public warning that this could have serious effects in South Africa. When the drought occurs, African countries will have a strong case if they refer to the Secretary General's warning, blame it on emissions produced by the Western nations and demand compensation.

It will be a very serious mistake if the affluent nations of the West believe that they can bully the African nations into submission on this climate change issue. I have seen no evidence that the affluent nations fully appreciate the minefields that await them at Copenhagen.


Comment from Britain

Giant fly-swat shaped "synthetic trees" line the road into the office, where blooms of algae grow in tubes up the walls and the roof reflects heat back into the sky - all reducing the effects of global warming. All this could be a familiar sight within the next two decades, under proposals devised by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers to alter the world's climate with new technology.

A day after John Prescott, the former Deputy Prime Minister and Environment Secretary, warned that negotiations for a global deal to cut carbon emissions were in danger of collapsing, the institution is recommending a series of technical fixes to "buy time" to avert dangerous levels of climate change.

It says that the most promising solution is offered by artificial trees, devices that collect CO2 through their "leaves" and convert it to a form that can easily be collected and stored.Tim Fox, head of environment and climate change at the institution, said that the devices were thousands of times more effective at removing carbon from the atmosphere than real trees.

In the first report on such geo-engineering by practising engineers, the institution calculates that 100,000 artificial trees - which could fit into 600ha (1,500 acres) - would be enough to capture all emissions from Britain's homes, transport and light industry. It says that five million would do the same for the whole world.

Dr Fox said that prototypes had been shown to work using a technology, developed by Klaus Lackner of Columbia University in New York, that isolated CO2 using low levels of energy. "The technology is no more complex than what is used in cars or air-conditioning units," he said.

Professor Lackner estimates that in production the units would cost $20,000 (£12,000) each, while the emissions associated with building and running each unit would be less than 5 per cent of the CO2 it captures over its lifetime.



The Climate Camp, which has been the focus of much overblown angst amongst the police this week, has finally revealed its secret location: Blackheath. The site has apparently been chosen for its historical connections, as the place where Wat Tyler rallied his army during the Peasants' Revolt in 1381. But is Wat an appropriate figurehead for what the Climate Campers want, or is he being hijacked wrongly?

Ironically, the two issues over which the Peasants revolted in 1381 were:

* Excessive taxation of the poor.

* Centralised state control of prices - in the aftermath of the Black Death, the number of farm labourers was reduced, so the price for their labour rose. The state sought to set prices artificially through legislation, and the peasants opposed this.

What is it that the climate campers want? Well, let's see:

* Higher taxes on: petrol, air travel, production of goods, electricity and gas.

* Centralised state control of prices.

Hmm. I get the impression that if Wat and the Campers were on Blackheath together rather than 628 years apart, they wouldn't all be signing Kumbayah together and making each other friendship bracelets, there would be an almighty scrap probably involving pitchforks.

The Climate Camp movement is part of the really extremist end of the environmentalist movement, who would happily impose vast increases in the cost of living for some of the poorest in our society. Already, as a result of green policies the average domestic energy bill is 14% higher than it would otherwise be. Millions of people who need to drive to work pay huge bills, far in excess of the social cost of their carbon emissions, of which the vast majority is taxation. (If you want to find out your own green tax bill, our Green Tax Calculator is here.)

Is this a new Peasants' Revolt? No, it is a small movement of political extremes and wealthy individuals who given half a chance would do the real poor immense harm. If they were in charge, then the real Peasants would be on the march.

PS: It's also been pointed out to me that the first action of the campers when they arrived on the Heath, which has been common land for a thousand years, was to ... erm ... fence it off.


The "Green jobs" go to China

Comment from Australia

JUST before the passage of the Rudd government's renewable energy target legislation, which was designed to ensure 20 per cent of our electricity came from solar, wind and geothermal sources by 2020 and to foster Australia's renewable energy industry, Australian Greens leader Bob Brown reassured the public about the viability of the renewable energy industry.

In Canberra on August 19 Brown responded to a statement by the ABC's Lyndal Curtis that "you can't export the sun or the wind, you can't export those renewables" with the confident declaration that indeed you could export renewables. "Oh yes, you can, and the Germans have made a feast of it and of course they've got a multi-billion-dollar export industry in renewable energy with 250,000 jobs created," Brown said.

Brown, like Climate Change Minister Penny Wong and other government ministers, was reassuring the Australian public that creation of a target for renewable energy made economic sense and would be the source of jobs, jobs, jobs.

After a compromise was reached with the Coalition in the Senate on reassurances for compensation for existing industries to protect existing jobs in Australia, the RET legislation passed, to the great relief of the Rudd government and the opposition.

Despite serious misgivings within the Coalition about supporting an RET, a political compromise was reached. Malcolm Turnbull was given credit for holding together his troops and Kevin Rudd was given credit for being prepared to negotiate and not hold national policy to ransom over the calling of an early election.

As the mid-November deadline nears for the second debate on an emissions trading scheme, it is worth considering the political processes of passing the RET and some of the policy implications in the real world of market economy and government subsidy distortions. These will end up limiting competition, pushing up prices in the long term and not cutting global greenhouse gas emissions. Which brings us back to Brown's glowing reports of renewable energy industry jobs in Germany.

Brown was right, Germany has made a feast of renewable energy. Its largest producer of solar cells, Q-Cells, indeed the world's largest producer, had been exporting huge amounts of cells, employing thousands and making millions of euros. In the first half of last year Q-Cells made a business operating profit of E119.1 million ($204m). But, six days before Brown spoke, Q-Cells announced a first-half operating loss of E47.6m, laid off 500 workers, closed a plant, put a further 2000 workers on short shifts and stepped up plans to establish a solar cell plant in Malaysia employing 2000 workers. Q-Cells production had remained almost constant, according to its business statement.

In Spain, one of the leaders in the installation of solar panels, the industry came to a halt and the main panel maker cut the shifts of 400 workers to a few hours a week. Other manufacturers simply shut down. The Wall Street Journal has reported that the collapse in Spain's photovoltaic sector "has been so drastic that jobs plunged from a peak of 41,700 early last year to 13,900 in the spring of 2009".

So what happened? In one word: China.

In its efforts to supplement its energy needs from renewable sources and fulfil its highly ambitious targets to feed in energy to supplement its growing coal-fired and nuclear-powered electricity sources, China has provided lavish subsidies to solar industries. Under these subsidies and ultra-cheap loans from Chinese banks a plethora of Chinese manufacturers has sprung up and flooded the world market with solar cells and panels, which vary remarkably in quality. (It must be said that some of the best use Australian technology.)

The biggest Chinese company, which is about to become the world's biggest solar company, Suntech, has cut the price of its panels and cells across the world. That's why Q-Cells in Germany has lost so much while maintaining the same production: cut-price Chinese products are driving down returns and making production in Europe unviable without continuing heavy government subsidies. The price of solar panels in some markets in the US has halved in the past year and in the past six months the cost of some solar panels has dropped by one-third in Australia.

This week Shi Zhengrong, chief executive and founder of Suntech Power Holdings, told The New York Times Suntech was selling solar panels on the US market for less than the cost of materials to build market share. This sounds suspiciously like dumping into a market, but there is no doubt Californian producers are pointing the finger at Suntech's prices as a reason for the global collapse in solar cell production. Another reason is that some European governments are beginning to wean the renewable energy industry off subsidies and sweetheart deals with inflated returns on rooftop electricity fed back into the national electricity grid.

All of this occurred in a two-week period when Australia's politicians were breaking their necks to do their own political deals over renewable energy, and to encourage homegrown solar industries and create instant jobs as part of the economic stimulus. The combination of a Chinese-induced price slump in Australia and the Rudd government's green stimulus, which includes roofing insulation subsidies, is that consumers have rushed to buy solar panels that may be of lesser quality and haphazardly installed because they are effectively free.

But the jobs created are for people bolting on the panels; the longer-term incentive for establishing solar cell production in Australia is diminished. Even some solar panel outlets are struggling because they have been caught with higher-priced European panels.

The supporters of the RET legislation argue that without a target and government support such industries will not get under way without a high price being set for carbon in the emissions trading scheme. This is true. The problem is that the promises of new green jobs to replace all the old brown jobs lost will be difficult to fulfil while China, for strategic reasons - not environmental sympathy - is prepared to open its bottomless pockets and distort a world market.

You'd think the global financial crisis would teach people a lesson about markets, government subsidies and intervention.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Thursday, August 27, 2009


Excerpt from Australian Institute of Geoscientists, August 2009, pp. 20-24. Scroll down to p. 20

By Cliff Ollier and Colin Pain

Global warming alarmists have suggested that the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica may collapse, causing disastrous sea level rise. This idea is based on the concept of an ice sheet sliding down an inclined plane on a base lubricated by meltwater, which is itself increasing because of global warming. In reality the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets occupy deep basins, and cannot slide down a plane. Furthermore glacial flow depends on stress (including the important yield stress) as well as temperature, and much of the ice sheets are well below melting point. The accumulation of kilometres of undisturbed ice in cores in Greenland and Antarctica (the same ones that are sometimes used to fuel ideas of global warming) show hundreds of thousands of years of accumulation with no melting or flow. Except around the edges, ice sheets flow at the base, and depend on geothermal heat, not the climate at the surface. It is impossible for the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to 'collapse'.



The global warming doomsday writers claim the ice sheets are melting catastrophically, and will cause a sudden rise in sea level of many metres. This ignores the mechanism of glacier flow which is by creep: glaciers are not melting from the surface down, nor are they sliding down an inclined plane lubricated by meltwater. The existence of ice over 3 km thick preserving details of past snowfall and atmospheres, used to decipher past temperature and CO2 levels, shows that the ice sheets have accumulated for hundreds of thousands of years without melting. Variations in melting around the edges of ice sheets are no indication that they are collapsing. Indeed 'collapse' is impossible.



Discussing: McKay, J.L., de Vernal, A., Hillaire-Marcel, C., Not, C., Polyak, L. and Darby, D. 2008. Holocene fluctuations in Arctic sea-ice cover: dinocyst-based reconstructions for the eastern Chuckchi Sea. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 45: 1377-1397.


Writing about the Arctic Ocean, the authors say that over the past thirty years "there has been a rapid decline in the extent and thickness of sea-ice in summer and more recently in winter as well," but they state there is "debate on the relative influence of natural versus anthropogenic forcing on these recent changes." Hence, they decided "to investigate the natural variability of sea-ice cover in the western Arctic during the Holocene and thus provide a baseline to which recent changes can be compared," in order to help resolve the issue.

What was done

McKay et al. analyzed sediment cores obtained from a site on the Alaskan margin in the eastern Chukchi Sea for their "geochemical (organic carbon, δ13Corg, Corg/N, and CaCO3) and palynological (dinocyst, pollen, and spores) content to document oceanographic changes during the Holocene," while "the chronology of the cores was established from 210Pb dating of near-surface sediments and 14C dating of bivalve shells."

What was learned

Since the early Holocene, according to the findings of the six scientists, sea-ice cover in the eastern Chuckchi Sea appears to have exhibited a general decreasing trend, in contrast to the eastern Arctic, where sea-ice cover was substantially reduced during the early to mid-Holocene and has increased over the last 3000 years. Superimposed on both of these long-term changes, however, are what they describe as "millennial-scale variations that appear to be quasi-cyclic." And they write that "it is important to note that the amplitude of these millennial-scale changes in sea-surface conditions far exceed [our italics] those observed at the end of the 20th century."

What it means

Since the change in sea-ice cover observed at the end of the 20th century (which climate alarmists claim to be unnatural) was far exceeded by changes observed multiple times over the past several thousand years of relatively stable atmospheric CO2 concentrations (when values never strayed much below 250 ppm or much above 275 ppm), there is no compelling reason to believe that the increase in the air's CO2 content that has occurred since the start of the Industrial Revolution has had anything at all to do with the declining sea-ice cover of the recent past; for at a current concentration of 385 ppm, the recent rise in the air's CO2 content should have led to a decrease in sea-ice cover that far exceeds what has occurred multiple times in the past without any significant change in CO2.

CO2 Science Magazine, 12 August 2009

NOTE: the full paper discussed above is available online here (PDF)

'Cap and Trade' just another Leftist attempt to put us all under the heel of government

As "cap and trade" legislation (H.R. 2454) moves through Congress, policy analysts are sounding the alarm about the impact such legislation would have on the already troubled U.S. economy. Marlo Lewis, a global warming and energy policy analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, believes the bill is just one of many legislative and regulatory attempts by left-wing politicos to seize the U.S. and world financial system. "Basically, what they're trying to do is engineer a takeover of the U.S and global economies through regulation," Lewis told Newsmax.TV correspondent Kathleen Walter. "There are huge stakes here. Trillions of dollars are at stake."

Lewis said cap and trade would have a chilling effect on the U.S. economy by creating a cloud of uncertainty over all business investments relating to energy-intensive products. It would require a sharp reduction of energy use in the U.S. economy, which would drive up energy prices. The days of $4 gallons of gasoline would return, Lewis said. "The main thing to consider is that once you get a cap and trade system in place, you have an energy-rationing scheme locked into law, regulation, public policy," said Lewis. "From then on, the debate will only be over how much faster to tighten the cap, how much more stringent the restriction on fossil energy use will be."

Many government agencies and some on Wall Street stand to benefit from such legislation at the expense of the American people. The Environmental Protection Agency would see a huge increase in resources, funding and staff under a cap and trade program. Many big businesses also would stand to profit from energy-rationing schemes. "If you have cap and trade, what you have is an artificial government-created market for trading carbon futures, carbon derivatives, a multitrillion-dollar market," said Lewis. "Wall Street will get rich off this, because brokers make money whenever any commodity is bought or sold."

Still, Lewis isn't worried. Though H.R. 2454 has already passed the House, he doesn't believe it will pass the Senate. His biggest concern? A process the EPA is undertaking right now. "If the EPA makes what's called an 'endangerment finding' about carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from new motor vehicles which they will likely do that will start a regulatory chain reaction under the Clean Air Act, and we could get all kinds of draconian regulations that go way beyond anything congress would ever vote for." The EPA, Lewis noted, is not held responsible by the electorate.

The global warming debate, in recent weeks, has taken a particularly nasty turn. A far-left agenda-setting Web site suggested that global warming deniers should be executed. Lewis also was the target of a widely circulated e-mail in which he was called a liar by the president of the American Council on Renewable Energy.

"The global warming agenda is part of the hard edge of left-wing politics in the U.S. and the world," Lewis said. "They know if they don't win in the political arena [on this issue], they lose. So, they have to become more and more shrill. They have to marginalize and delegitimize their opponants. This is the aging of the new left."



This post is part of the BBC's Perfect Storm 2030 coverage, where correspondents explore the forecast by UK chief scientist John Beddington, of a "perfect storm" of food, water and energy shortages in 2030.

Ed Miliband says he is in "the persuasion business". So how do you persuade people when research suggests that many of them don't trust your message? The secretary of state for energy and climate change told the BBC recently that his job is to convince people "to make big changes" in their lives. Unless that happens, he warns, the planet and our way of life will be damaged for generations to come. But Whitehall research reveals that:

"[M]istrust is a critical issue which is potentially a major barrier to people becoming more pro-environmental".

Government is suspected of "using" the environment to increase taxes. What's more, people don't like politicians telling them how to lead their lives.

There is still deep scepticism. Despite virtually unanimous academic opinion, half of us still believe science is divided on whether mankind's activities contribute to climate change. And more than a quarter of us don't think our individual behaviour makes any difference to the environmental crisis.

So Mr Miliband needs a much more subtle approach. He hopes to "nudge" us into going green, to change the way we behave without ever realising that we are being coaxed and cajoled by central government. The starting point for the strategy is a document published at the beginning of last year entitled: A Framework for Pro-Environmental Behaviours (PDF). It advises ministers to:

"[U]se 'opinion leaders' and trusted intermediaries to reach your audience". If people won't listen to elected politicians, get someone more plausible to deliver the message.

The most convincing messengers are not boffins or journalists, local councillors or civil servants - we are most likely to believe our next door neighbour. So projects like Low Carbon West Oxford (LCWO) are held up as models of how to change behaviour. The scheme, inspired in part by the extraordinary summer floods which hit their neighbourhood in 2007, sees residents challenge each other to change their ways:

* homes are undergoing eco-makeovers
* solar panels are being fixed to roofs
* five families have given up their car and use a pool vehicle when they cannot walk ,cycle or use public transport
* some have agreed to give up foreign holidays
* others have pledged only to eat local, seasonal food

You can meet some of LCWO's recruits in this short film I made for the television news.

It all fits neatly with the government's aims for behaviour change.

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


At the turn of the 20th century, a period famous for its Robber Barons, John D. Rockefeller was making his fortune in oil, Andrew Carnegie in steel, Cornelius Vanderbilt in railroads and J.P Morgan in finance. Many predict that the history books of the future, when listing the legendary fortunes made at the turn of the 21st century, will place Al Gore at the top of the list, as the first great Carbon Baron.

In 2000, when Al Gore lost his bid to become president of the United States, he had less than US$2-million in assets. Neither was Gore known for his financial acumen - annual White House disclosures of his and Tipper Gore's joint tax filings showed little income beyond the $175,000 he earned as vice-president.

To the contrary, Gore was a laughing stock in investment circles for his lack of financial sophistication, which, the press said, explained why Gore's net worth had been declining during the booming 1990s. Gore had failed to understand the significance of the new Internet economy that had so transformed the world. Instead "most of his money was in checking and passbook accounts or tied up in property," The New York Times reported, in an article entitled "Gore Has Not Bought Stocks for Decades." In an article entitled "Gore flunks investor test," Dow Jones' SmartMoney.Com mocked Gore for being irrationally risk averse, saying, "Al Gore's assets look more like 1899 than 1999. As things stand, the vice-president is without anything with a P/E, let alone an IPO: no stocks, no funds, not even a bond. What does he have? Land - as far as the eye can see. Oh, and a zinc mine he's leasing out to an Australian mining company." Fortune magazine went so far as to headline a 1998 story, "The Vice President's Financial Acumen 'Ain't Worth a Bucket of Warm Spit'" Its verdict: "This is a family in dire need of a money manager."

Nobody doubts Gore's financial acumen now. Within eight years of leaving politics, Gore had reportedly become worth well in excess of US$100-million. Many expect him to become a billionaire through his stakes in a global warming hedge fund, a carbon-offset business, a renewable energy investment business and other global warming related ventures. He is now money manager to institutional investors and the super rich through Generation Investment Management, a firm that he co-founded in 2004.

Neither does anyone anywhere any longer regard Gore as a timid investor, bereft of ambition. His goal for Generation Investment Management, as he described in 2008 to Fortune magazine, is to help drive a societal transformation that will be "bigger than the Industrial Revolution and significantly faster."

The Fortune interview explained his firm's intention to help orchestrate "a makeover of the US$6-trillion global energy business," from coal plants and the internal-combustion engine to petrochemicals and even bottled water. "What we are going to have to put in place is a combination of the Manhattan Project, the Apollo project and the Marshall Plan, and scale it globally," Gore continued. "It'd be promising too much to say we can do it on our own, but we intend to do our part."

Gore's societal plan and his investment plan are indistinguishable and straightforward: He wants to make fossil fuels uncompetitive and renewable energy competitive by convincing governments to punishingly tax fossil-fuel technologies through mechanisms such as cap and trade. In the process, Gore intends to make money at every stage of this transformation - through his stake in the carbon trading markets being created, through his portfolio of renewable energy and other so-called clean-tech investments and by acting as a broker.

In amassing his fortune, Gore has not been operating in an unfamiliar business environment, as the early detractors of his investment acumen might imagine. Rather, he has been operating entirely in his element. He has always been a lobbyist for climate change legislation, whether as a senator or as vice-president, and he remains so in his new capacities. And in his capacity as a politician, he always needed to raise funds. This is the essential skill he brings to Generation Investment Management, where he today approaches old political allies for support: Gore asks well-heeled charitable foundations, endowments, corporations and pension funds to place their assets under the management of his firm. To do their bit for the environment, and for him, they oblige.

To date, Gore has done well for himself. As for the others, they know not to expect quick profits: Gore is clear in explaining that his focus is on long-term sustainable investments.

And as for Gore's prospects of becoming a billionaire, they rest entirely on one big bet: That government legislation will create the mandates that his businesses need to boom. Without those mandates, his businesses - few of which are viable in a traditional free market economy - will go bust. As will the funds entrusted to him by the charities, endowments and pension funds seeking sustainable investments.

There is nothing unusual in furthering business interests through government mandates: Many of the Robber Barons of a century ago also relied on their ability to lobby for favourable government legislation. Where Gore departs from the Robber Barons of yesteryear is in the nature of the product being produced. Whatever else might be said of the Robber Barons, there was no disputing the value of the railroads, steel, oil and other commodities that they were producing. In the case of carbon dioxide, the basis of Gore's economy, rather than there being no dispute, there is no consensus that he isn't selling vapourware.



Non-Native Species as Allies of Diversity. This is an old article now but the points in it are still generally neglected so need restating in my view. Greenies as Canute-like enemies of evolution really is hilarious if you think about it -- JR

There is an idea, popular in some circles, that 'non-native' species are somehow harmful, that 'aggressive exotics' can invade ecosystems and destroy 'native species'. It surprises me to see the public and biologists alike uncritically accept this absurd notion.

"But the Emperor has no clothes!"—Folktale.

In this spirit I would like to point out that there is absolutely no biological validity to the concepts of 'native' and 'exotic' species, nor is there evidence that man's introduction of species into new habitats has any negative impact on global biological diversity. On the contrary, the aid we have given species in their movement around the world has served to increase both global and local diversity. It is one of the few human activities which is beneficial to the non-human creation. It cannot be distinguished from the movement of species by wind or ocean currents, or the aid other species give to their fellows, such as the distribution of seeds by migrating birds.

"All living beings have the right to engage in the struggle for existence."—L. H. Bailey.

There are no adequate definitions of 'native' and 'exotic', since there has been constant movement of species since the beginning of life. Witness the migration of species across the Bering Straits and the Isthmus of Panama. Great exchange of species has occurred between both oceanic and continental biota in these areas as they have been repeatedly submerged and exposed, alternately being corridors for aquatic and terrestrial life. In response to the Ice Ages, great movement of species has occurred. Even now, I understand that the armadillo is extending his range north from his native México. Is he an exotic invader? If we naturalize elephants in the tropical Americas, will they be exotics, or will this simply be the return of the Proboscidea to their pre-glacial range?

Apparent cases of destructive invasion by 'exotics' are usually examples of the beginning of an outbreak-crash population sequence occurring as a species moves into the niche provided by a heavily man-disturbed habitat, to be followed by the inevitable crash and subsequent adaptation and integration of the 'exotic' into the local ecosystem.

Intact ecosystems are highly resistant to invasion, and there are also many cases of 'exotics' acting as nurse-plants and revegetators, helping the native ecosystem to reclaim its man-destroyed habitat. I have seen a grassy meadow and a field of star thistles side by side, with only barbed wire separating them. The fence can't stop the thistle seed, yet it does not invade the intact meadow, showing the thistle to be an antibody-like response of the prairie ecosystem to overgrazing by cattle.

New species create niches for more species, further increasing potential diversity. Many species are extinct in their original habitat, existing only where they have been introduced to new areas by man. We are changing the world through our destruction, pollution, and now possible climate change. Local ecosystems need the infusion of new species to help their adaptation to a changed environment.

"You stay, I go."—Ishi, last of the Yana.

It is ironic to me to hear people of European ancestry accuse other organisms of being 'invasive exotics, displacing native species'.

Even the wildest unfounded claims of invasion by 'exotics' pale in comparison to the land area occupied by technological man's monoculture crops. These crop-deserts and modern man's extractive land-domination economy are the threat to biodiversity, not 'escaped exotics'.

There are documented cases in which attempts to exterminate 'exotics' have in fact pushed native species to the brink of extinction!

Attempts to eradicate so-called non-native species are impossible, absurd, and destructive to the very habitats they hope to preserve. As an alternative, I propose: The protection of all intact ecosystems from human destruction, and the deliberate introduction of species into the areas we have already damaged. Introduction priorities should be based on phylogenetic relationships - non-represented groups and taxa of restricted distribution should be given priority. Threatened and endangered species should be given full protection and introduced into new habitats whenever possible.

"Migrants of ape in gasoline crack of history."—William Burroughs.

We have only a brief moment in history when fossil fuels will continue to allow us rapid worldwide travel. Let us use this time wisely, to the benefit of all species.—J.L.H. & S.L.C., 11/89.

Natives vs. Exotics Update, November 1994.

The 'anti-exotics' movement is a growing threat to biodiversity conservation efforts. In the past 10 years, the mythology of 'invasive non-native species' has spread from a minor pseudoscience indulged in by the gullible fringe, to a growing extremist movement uncritically embraced by otherwise responsible environmental groups.

Our natural areas, from bio-preserves to National Parks are daily attacked by these extremists, using herbicide, chainsaws and bulldozers. Dozens of native plants have been falsely labeled invaders and are being exterminated. The process is driven in part by hysteria, and in part by greed- tremendous sums of money are being made on these extermination projects. For example, Monsanto, a major herbicide manufacturer was a sponsor of the 1994 California Exotic Pest Plant Council meeting, has an employee on the Council's board of directors, and was hawking their herbicides at a prominent booth. During breaks there was open discussion of ways to circumvent environmental laws restricting herbicide use in sensitive natural areas.

'Exotic Pest Plant Councils' are cropping up around the country, promoting heavy use of herbicides in our parks, and lobbying for extremist legislation, including a federal law which will prohibit any movement of any species unless the government determines it will 'cause no harm'. Only species on so called 'clean lists' will be allowed to be distributed or imported. Any species not on the 'clean list' will require expensive testing and approval before distribution. This is the final thrust towards the total corporate control of biodiversity- only they will be able to afford testing.

This will eliminate our single most effective biodiversity preservation strategy. The only effective long-term method of preserving biodiversity is the naturalization of species in new regions, where they may thrive and spread without human protection. While bio-preserves, parks, botanic gardens and zoos are important and needed, these are only temporary measures- what park will be able to withstand the future's starving billions?

Two forces are causing rapid destructive change- the rapid increase in human population, and the rapid spread of technological/industrial society. These forces are working together to cause a worldwide biological holocaust similar to past extinction events. The techno/industrial society expands, destroying indigenous, biologically-derived human cultures, replacing them with a homogenous, machine-derived pseudoculture of production and consumption. A vicious circle is created when the survival drives of an ever-expanding population force humanity to adopt the short-term resource extractive methods and values of the techno/industrial pseudoculture. Although theoretically, simple methods exist for opening this circle and exiting with minimal human and biological suffering, this is likely precluded by our biological imperatives, as well as the overpowering machine-imperatives of industrial consumption. Whether this vicious circle will reach critical mass and crash in a single, precipitous de-populating, de-industrializing event, or will unravel in a series of stepwise crashes over the next thousand years or so is anyone's guess. However, it seems likely that high rates of extinction will prevail over the next 1000 to 10,000 years or so.

It has been demonstrated that the human transport of organisms may establish new populations of species in safe refuges, preventing extinction & increasing local biodiversity. In the short term, this directly protects the naturalized species from extinction in its homeland, and the enriched diversity provides a buffer against the effects of human-induced extinctions on the local ecosystem, increasing its resiliency, helping its adaptation to change and promoting the healing of damaged areas. In the long term, this promotes evolutionary processes, since the interaction among unlike organisms is a powerful driving force of evolution. The diversifying evolutionary cascades which will result offer the chance that our species will leave the world with the potential for increased diversity, somewhat offsetting our current shameful irresponsibility.

Knowingly or unknowingly, gardeners participate in this process. Through their lifeways, all organisms modify their environment and participate in the creation of the landscapes in which they live. Corals build reefs, plants create soil, and animals transport seeds & nutrients long distances. Part of the lifeways of bluejays & squirrels is to plant acorns far from the oak, helping the forest migrate or heal burned or cleared areas. Our own lifeways of traveling about and admiring beauty cause us to gather useful and beautiful plants to grow around our homes, initiating the process of diversification. Many primates are key seed dispersal vectors in tropical ecosystems, and this is part of our evolutionary heritage.

The reintroduction of diminished or exterminated species is diversity restoration, restoration gardening or restoration ecology. We call the introduction of endangered species 'rescue gardening' or 'rescue ecology'. The study of the diversity-enhancing introduction of new species we call 'enrichment ecology'; the practice, 'ecological enrichment'.—J.L.H., 11/94.

Natives vs. Exotics Update, November 1995.

The extremist anti-exotic movement continues to grow. At the 1995 meeting of the California Exotic Pest Plant Council, an agreement was reached among existing state Councils to create a national umbrella Council to push their herbicide agenda nationwide. These Pest Plant Councils are merely front-groups for the multi-billion dollar herbicide industry; they are funded by, and have internal connections with Monsanto and other herbicide manufacturers. Like other pseudo-environmental front groups, they push destructive corporate interests in the guise of ecological concern.

The USDA is undergoing a major, cost-cutting downsizing, with the closure of many offices and loss of many jobs. Perhaps in a effort to head off future budget-cuts, they are joining forces with the anti-exotics movement, calling for sweeping new powers and regulations. Randy Westbrooks, USDA, APHIS, addressed the meeting, calling for passage of the 'clean list' law, which will prevent all new importations, and even interstate movement of plants and animals without expensive testing. Under the guise of a 'Plant Protection Act' Westbrooks said the new testing would be similar to the 30 to 40 million dollar safety testing needed to market a new toxic chemical. The New York City-based Natural Resources Defense Council supports this; their attorney, Faith Campbell has been propagandizing for such a law for several years. This clearly mis-named organization has also been accused of working with Conoco to open up indigenous Amazonian Huaorani territory to oil development.

This agenda turns environmentalism on its head; it is the direct opposite of everything we environmentalists stand for. Imagine a nation in which this industry-backed program is successful- the wholesale poisoning of our natural areas by ecosystem-destroying chemicals will be mandatory government policy profiting corporate giants, yet wild plants and animals, the very components of the natural world and basis of all biological diversity will require multi-million dollar testing for "safety"!

Also ominous is the fact that during Adolf Hitler's 'Third Reich', the National Socialists (Nazi Party) had an identical program to rid the landscape of 'foreign' plants. An interesting paper, "Some Notes on the Mania for Native Plants in Germany", by Gert Groening and Joachim Wolschke-Bulmahn (Landscape Journal, Vol. II, No. 2, 1992) details this history. The extension of the Nazi pseudoscience of racial purity to the natural world is chillingly identical to the modern anti-exotics agenda, down to the details of 'genetic contamination'. With the current rise of racism, immigrant-scapegoating, & other noxious, un-American ideologies, we must be prepared to hold all those who are promoting the anti-exotics frenzy personally responsible for their part in legitimizing a pseudoscience which leads directly to the horrors we saw in the 1940's. Clearly, 'eco-fascist' is not too strong a term to describe these people.

As I have stated before, the tenets of the anti-exotics movement are entirely without scientific merit. All unbiased studies prove that man-aided migration of organisms increases biological diversity, and these newcomers are frequently highly beneficial to local ecosystems. The anti-exotics extremists disregard the mountains of research which refute their claims, and the most fundamental questions that would be addressed by basic ecological research are discarded in favor of a propagandistic presentation of anecdotal evidence....

As constructed, alien-invader theory is founded on non-operational constructs, is immune to testing, cannot be falsified, and has no predictive capacity. Its structure & conceptual elements are identical in all particulars with those of racism, fascistic nationalism, and other conspiracy theories. Instantly recognizable is the "ultimate attribution error" of Pettigrew's cognitive analysis of prejudice. Circular reasoning, low standards of evidence, self-sealing arguments, unsupported causal attribution and resistance to contradictory evidence are frequent.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.