Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What rubbish! Urban CO2 domes claimed to increase deaths

The "researcher" below found that CO2 concentrations in city air were higher than in the country. No surprise. So how to draw some attention to himself with the finding? He couldn't say that CO2 is bad for you as our bodies make it all the time. So he turned to the old standby: CO2 makes the place hotter -- and that is OBVIOUSLY bad. But is it? If so there must be a lot of very ill people in the tropics. I grew up in tropical Australia and I can assure one and all that the tropics are perfectly healthy as long as you have Western public health measures. His claim that heat increases pollution may even be true but so do lots of things that we would not want to be without. And no mention that heat can be beneficial too. Lots more people die in winter than in summer, for instance

Everyone knows that carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas driving climate change, is a global problem. Now a Stanford study has shown it is also a local problem, hurting city dwellers' health much more than rural residents', because of the carbon dioxide "domes" that develop over urban areas. That finding, said researcher Mark Z. Jacobson, exposes a serious oversight in current cap-and-trade proposals for reducing emissions of heat-trapping gases, which make no distinction based on a pollutant's point of origin. The finding also provides the first scientific basis for controlling local carbon dioxide emissions based on their local health impacts.

"Not all carbon dioxide emissions are equal," said Jacobson, professor of civil and environmental engineering. "As in real estate, location matters."

His results also support the case that California presented to the Environmental Protection Agency in March, 2009, asking that the state be allowed to establish its own CO2 emission standards for vehicles.

Jacobson, director of the Atmosphere/Energy Program at Stanford, testified on behalf of California's waiver application in March, 2009. The waiver had previously been denied, but was reconsidered and granted subsequently. The waiver is currently being challenged in court by industry interests seeking to overturn it.

Jacobson found that domes of increased carbon dioxide concentrations - discovered to form above cities more than a decade ago - cause local temperature increases that in turn increase the amounts of local air pollutants, raising concentrations of health-damaging ground-level ozone, as well as particles in urban air.

In modeling the health impacts for the contiguous 48 states, for California and for the Los Angeles area, he determined an increase in the death rate from air pollution for all three regions compared to what the rate would be if no local carbon dioxide were being emitted. The results of Jacobson's study are presented in a paper published online by Environmental Science and Technology.

The cap-and-trade proposal passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in June 2009 puts a limit on the amount of greenhouse gases that each type of utility, manufacturer or other emitter is allowed to produce. It also puts a price tag on each ton of emissions, which emitters will have to pay to the federal government.

If the bill passes the Senate intact, it will allow emitters to freely trade or sell their allowances among themselves, regardless of where the pollution is emitted. With that logic, the proposal prices a ton of CO2 emitted in the middle of the sparsely populated Great Plains, for example, the same as a ton emitted in Los Angeles, where the population is dense and the air quality already poor.

"The cap-and-trade proposal assumes there is no difference in the impact of carbon dioxide, regardless of where it originates," Jacobson said. "This study contradicts that assumption." "It doesn't mean you can never do something like cap and trade," he added. "It just means that you need to consider where the CO2 emissions are occurring."

Jacobson's study is the first to look at the health impacts of carbon dioxide domes over cities and his results are relevant to future air pollution regulations. Current regulations do not address the local impacts of local carbon dioxide emissions. For example, no regulation considers the local air pollution effects of CO2 that would be emitted by a new natural gas power plant. But those effects should be considered, he said.

"There has been no control of carbon dioxide because it has always been thought that CO2 is a global problem, that it is only its global impacts that might feed back to air pollution," Jacobson said.

In addition to the changes he observed in local air pollutants, Jacobson found that there was increased stability of the air column over a city, which slowed the dispersal of pollutants, further adding to the increased pollutant concentrations.

Jacobson estimated an increase in premature mortality of 50 to 100 deaths per year in California and 300 to 1,000 for the contiguous 48 states. "This study establishes a basis for controlling CO2 based on local health impacts," he said. Current estimates of the annual air pollution-related death toll in the U.S. is 50-100,000.


NWF tries to send overpopulation efforts down memory hole and replace with global warming fears

An interesting email from Michael Potts:

I was looking at the website and articles of the National Wildlife Federation and noticed they seem to have made a concerted effort to wipe out all mention of their previous focus on overpopulation and replace it with a new focus on global warming using some Orwellian memory hole tactics.

Not sure there's a news article in it, but it's very interesting to see how the entire section of their website that was devoted to overpopulation is now all global warming. Rather than re-hash the details here, i've posted a question on Yahoo Answers which has all the relevant links that show their efforts to send the Ehrlichean "population bomb" meme down the memory hole. See here

How did that cooling get massaged away?

By Andrew Bolt

Danish engineer Frank Lansner is curious. Before global warming was fashionable, it was agreed the world has cooled dramatically in the 1940s and 1950s. Here’s how National Geographic in 1976 presented northern hemisphere. temperatures (or go here):


Now that warming is fashionable, that cooling has been “adjusted” into something much less significant, making the warming over the century seem more dramatic:


The original 1976 temperatures from National geographic for 1935-75 shows almost 0,5 degrees Celsius decline. This is why scientists world wide became worried about a coming ice age.

In 2008 according to CRU (and thus to some extend GHCN) the temperature decline 1935-75 has been reduced to approximately 0,15 degrees Celsius. The decline appears reduced approximately 0,34K

So approximately 70% of the decline in temperatures after 1935-40 has been removed, it seems....

In other words, the need to examine the correctness of the massive corrections to temperature data simply cannot be exaggerated. But most of the global warming movement documentation is built on huge corrections in temperature that are not peer reviewed. Not even made public. So the claim that global warming movement documentation is peer reviewed is to some degree nonsense as long as the crucial underlying basic data are not for the world to see.

JoNova has more:
If temperature sets across the northern hemisphere were really showing that 1940 was as hot as 2000, that makes it hard to argue that the global warming that occurred from 1975 to 2000 was almost solely due to carbon, since it wasn’t unusual (at least not for half the globe), and didn’t correlate at all with our carbon emissions, the vast majority of which occurred after 1945.

The US records show that the 1930’s were as hot as the 1990’s. And the divergence problem in tree rings is well known. Many tree rings showed a decline after 1960 that didn’t “concur” with the surface records. Perhaps these tree rings agree with the surface records as recorded at the time, rather than as adjusted post hoc?  Perhaps the decline in the tree rings that Phil Jones worked to hide was not so much a divergence from reality, but instead was slightly more real than the surface-UHI-cherry-picked-and-poorly-sited records?

MEANWHILE, Dr Roy Spencer uses a new technique to compare the warming measured by rural stations in the US to that measured by urbanising ones, and says adjustments for the urban heat island effect don’t seem to be enough:
This is a very significant result. It suggests the possibility that there has been essentially no warming in the U.S. since the 1970s.


Grandaddy of green, James Lovelock, warms to eco-sceptics

Just occasionally you find yourself at an event where there is a sense of history in the air. So it was the other night at the Royal Society, when a small gathering of luminaries turned up to hear that extraordinary nonagenarian, the scientist James Lovelock.

They had all come: David MacKay, chief scientist at the Department of Energy and Climate Change; Michael Green, Lucasian professor of mathematics at Cambridge; Michael Wilson, producer of the James Bond movies; Chris Rapley, director of the Science Museum; and more. You knew why they had answered the Isaac Newton Institute’s invitation. They wanted to learn where one of the most interesting minds in science stood in the climate debate.

Lovelock has been intimately involved in three of the defining environmental controversies of the past 60 years. He invented an instrument that made it possible to detect the presence of toxic pollutants in the fat of Antarctic penguins — at roughly the same time as Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring, her hugely influential book about pollution. In the 1970s the same instrument, his electron capture detector, was used to detect the presence of chlorofluorocarbons — CFCs — in the atmosphere. Although Lovelock mistakenly pronounced these chemicals as no conceivable toxic hazard, the scientists F Sherwood Rowland and Mario Molina later won the Nobel prize in chemistry for proving they were destroying the ozone layer.

Then, in 1979, Lovelock published the book-length version of his Gaia theory, which postulates that the Earth functions as a kind of super-organism, with millions of species regulating its temperature. Despite initial scepticism from the Darwinists, who refused to believe that individual organisms could act in harmony, the Gaia theory has been widely accepted and now underlies most atmospheric science.

What, I wondered, would be the great man’s view on the latest twists in the atmospheric story — the Climategate emails and the sloppy science revealed in the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)? To my surprise, he immediately professed his admiration for the climate-change sceptics.

“I think you have to accept that the sceptics have kept us sane — some of them, anyway,” he said. “They have been a breath of fresh air. They have kept us from regarding the science of climate change as a religion. It had gone too far that way. There is a role for sceptics in science. They shouldn’t be brushed aside. It is clear that the angel side wasn’t without sin.”

As we were ushered in to dinner, I couldn’t help wrestling with the irony that the so-called “prophet of climate change”, whose Gaia theory is regarded in some quarters as a faith in itself, was actively cheering on those who would knock science from its pedestal.

Lovelock places great emphasis on proof. The climate change projections by the Meteorological Office’s Hadley Centre — a key contributor to the IPCC consensus — should be taken seriously, he said. But he is concerned that the projections are relying on computer models based primarily on atmospheric physics, because models of that kind have let us down before. Similar models, for example, failed to detect the hole in the ozone layer;

it was eventually found by Joe Farman using a spectrometer.

How, asks Lovelock, can we predict the climate 40 years ahead when there is so much that we don’t know? Surely we should base any assumptions on things we can measure, such as a rise in sea levels. After all, surface temperatures go up and down, but the rise in sea levels reflects both melting ice and thermal expansion. The IPCC, he feels, underestimates the extent to which sea levels are rising.

Do mankind’s emissions matter? Yes, they undoubtedly do.

No one should be complacent about the fact that within the next 20 years we’ll have added nearly a trillion tons of carbon to the atmosphere since the industrial revolution. When a geological accident produced a similar carbon rise 55m years ago, it turned up the heat more than 5C. And now? Well, the effect of man-made carbon is unpredictable. Temperatures might go down at first, rather than up, he warns.

How should we be spending our money to prevent possible disaster? In Britain, says Lovelock, we need sea walls and more nuclear power. Heretical stuff, when you consider the vast amount that Europe plans to spend on wind turbines.

“What would you bet will happen this century?” a mathematician asked him. Lovelock predicted a temperature rise in the middle range of current projections — about 1C-2C — which we could live with. Ah, but hadn’t he also said there was a chance that temperature rises could threaten human civilisation within the lifetime of our grandchildren?

He had. In the end, his message was that we should have more respect for uncertainties and learn to live with possibilities rather than striving for the 95% probabilities that climate scientists have been trying to provide. We don’t know what’s going to happen and we don’t know if we can avert disaster — although we should try. His sage advice: enjoy life while you can.


Tomorrow's Forecast: Weather, With a 50% Chance of Climate

By James Taranto

Saturday night found us braving rough weather in New York's Meatpacking District. First the wind ripped our umbrella into pieces, then we got drenched in rain. While waiting to check our coat at the trendy night spot that was our destination, we looked out the door and saw a downpour so intense that it would have been described as biblical had it continued for another 40 days, 39 nights and change.

No wonder the weather was so bad! According to Al Gore, it wasn't just weather, it was climate. As the Business and Media Institute reports:
Gore, the self-anointed climate change alarmist-in-chief, told supporters on a March 15 conference call that severe weather in certain regions of the country could be attributed to carbon in the atmosphere--including the recent rash of rainy weather.

"The odds have shifted toward much larger downpours," Gore said. "And we have seen that happen in the Northeast, we've seen it happen in the Northwest--in both of those regions are among those that scientists have predicted for a long time would begin to experience much larger downpours."

But wait. That seems inconsistent with this month-old report from the Hill:
A top Obama administration scientist on Monday struck back at climate skeptics who claim that record snowstorms this winter have undercut evidence of global warming. "It is important that people recognize that weather is not the same thing as climate," said Jane Lubchenco, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

So weather isn't the same thing as climate, except when it is. You can "prove" anything with such heads-I-win-tails-you-lose logic. A decade ago, Gore almost managed to use it to become president.

On a related note, consider this report from London's Guardian:
When Al Gore was caught running up huge energy bills at home at the same time as lecturing on the need to save electricity, it turns out that he was only reverting to "green" type.

According to a study, when people feel they have been morally virtuous by saving the planet through their purchases of organic baby food, for example, it leads to the "licensing [of] selfish and morally questionable behaviour", otherwise known as "moral balancing" or "compensatory ethics".

Do Green Products Make Us Better People is published in the latest edition of the journal Psychological Science. Its authors, Canadian psychologists Nina Mazar and Chen-Bo Zhong, argue that people who wear what they call the "halo of green consumerism" are less likely to be kind to others, and more likely to cheat and steal. "Virtuous acts can license subsequent asocial and unethical behaviours," they write.

The Guardian's headline is "How Going Green May Make You Mean." We're inclined to think the chain of causation runs the other way--that people who are jerks to begin with gravitate toward verdant sanctimony.


Britain's yellow and not so pleasant land: Freezing winter leaves countryside looking ragged around the edges

England's green and pleasant land is looking a little faded around the edges right now. And the countryside of Wales and Scotland isn't faring much better. After the coldest winter in three decades, huge areas of Britain's pastures, meadows and downs have emerged bedraggled, tired and brown.

The problem is most noticeable in the South West, where normally glorious verdant fields look like they have struggled through a harsh summer drought. In Dorset's Hardy Country, the mighty Maiden Castle, an enormous fort built by ancient Britons, is perched on a murky brown mound. And the centuries old Cerne Abbas Giant - famously carved on a chalk hillside - is barely visible against the yellowing grass.

The phenomenon means dairy farmers will have to feed forage to their cattle until spring arrives and sheep will be eating last year's grass during the lambing season. Farmers believe the seasons are about three weeks later than usual, but they say that when the sun comes out, the colour will return to the fields in days.

Traditional British grasslands usually fade and turn yellow over winter. Unlike the grass varieties used in gardens, they are not hardy enough to survive persistent sub-zero temperatures. But after the mild winters of the last few years, the scale of the brown fields has come as something of a shock. Chris Barber, 45, who farms 35 acres in Martinstown, Dorset, said: 'It happens every year to a degree, but nothing like this. 'It's because we've had such a long spell of cold and the grass wants to grow, but there's no warmth or sun to do so. 'When there is a bit of warmth it will come back quickly with the photosynthesis. 'It's more common this year in the permanent pastures which is unusual. It does mean that during the lambing season the ewes are eating last year's grass. 'We had a good summer last year so there is plenty of food about. I would say we're three weeks later than usual.'

Mike Pullin who farms nearby said: 'The grass is actually a purple-red colour. What happened was the roots became wet and that froze, making the grass dormant. We've had frost and snow for long periods and that means we will be later turning the cattle out.'

Over the last 30 years, spring has arrived earlier and earlier and now typically arrives three weeks sooner than it did in the 1960s. However, this year's cold winter has delayed the first signs of spring, restoring the seasons to their pre-1970s pattern.


Now it's coconut trees that are bad

COCONUT palms may be ­symbols of the tropics to many, but a scientist says they are damaging the natural environment and may help spread dengue fever. Cape Tribulation Tropical Research Station director Dr Hugh Spencer has spent the past six years studying the impact the palms have had on native beach vegetation.

He has found the thin 50-100m line of forest that lies between the reef and rainforest - called the littoral zone - is constantly under siege from coconut palms, which edge out native trees, pounding them into submission by constantly dumping fronds and fruit on them. Coconuts that are left to rot on the ground collect water, providing perfect breeding grounds for the dengue-carrying mosquito.

To prevent the palms from conquering the beachfront at Cape Tribulation, Dr Spencer and a small group of volunteers have been regularly removing juvenile palms the only way they know - by hand. Where there used to be entire groves, native plants such as pandanus and she-oaks are slowly reclaiming the beach. "We're getting very, very good recruitment of natural vegetation," Dr Spencer said. "We've literally removed thousands of coconuts. We're all volunteers. Nobody gets paid in this place. "It basically means that we are protecting and recovering the most endangered of our forest types."

Cairns Regional Council general manager infrastructure services Ross McKim said the council did not have a policy either. But it did have a duty of care denutting palms to reduce the risk of liability. "Council is aware that the removal of coconut palms can be an emotive issue and actively manage the trees that are featured along the foreshores and parks of the region," Mr McKim said. "Council undertakes denutting and palm frond removal and manage those trees already in place, rather than remove what trees are currently there. "While we are aware that these plants may not be native to Australia, council appreciates these palms play an important part in creating the tropical feel of the region."

Dr Spencer previously took more direct action to eliminate palms from the beachfront by boring holes in a number of palms and poisoning them. The actions angered other locals, who referred to him as a "coconut killer". Dr Spencer said his relationship with his critics appeared to have simmered. "I kind of get the feeling that there is more of a mood of acceptance that they really are a problem," he said. "I get the feeling that is starting to filter though, but I don't have any proof. "I'm not having many people getting their knickers in a twist about coconuts being removed any more."



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 are mirrors of this site here and here


No comments: