Wednesday, July 28, 2010

An environmental "disaster" -- not so much

For 86 days, oil spewed into the Gulf of Mexico from BP's damaged well, dumping some 200 million gallons of crude into sensitive ecosystems. BP and the federal government have amassed an army to clean the oil up, but there's one problem -- they're having trouble finding it. At its peak last month, the oil slick was the size of Kansas, but it has been rapidly shrinking, now down to the size of New Hampshire.

Today, ABC News surveyed a marsh area and found none, and even on a flight out to the rig site Sunday with the Coast Guard, there was no oil to be seen. "That oil is somewhere. It didn't just disappear," said Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser.

Salvador Cepriano is one of the men searching for crude. Cepriano, a shrimper, has been laying out boom with his boat, but he's found that there's no oil to catch. "I think it is underneath the water. It's in between the bottom and the top of the water," Cepriano said.

Even the federal government admits that locating the oil has become a problem. "It is becoming a very elusive bunch of oil for us to find," said National Incident Cmdr. Thad Allen. The numbers don't lie: two weeks ago, skimmers picked up about 25,000 barrels of oily water. Last Thursday, they gathered just 200 barrels.

Still, it doesn't mean that all the oil that gushed for weeks is gone. Thousands of small oil patches remain below the surface, but experts say an astonishing amount has disappeared, reabsorbed into the environment.

"[It's] mother nature doing her job," said Ed Overton, a professor of environmental studies at Louisiana State University.

The light crude began to deteriorate the moment it escaped at high pressure, and then it was zapped with dispersants to speed the process along. The oil that did make it to the ocean's surface was broken up by 88-degree water, baked by 100-degree sun, eaten by microbes, and whipped apart by wind and waves.

Experts stress that even though there's less and less oil as time goes on, there's still plenty around the spill site. And in the long term, no one knows what the impact of those hundreds of millions of gallons will be, deep in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.


Another Warmist trying to abandon ship?


It looks like it is finally time to announce Judith Curry's departure for the dark side, prompted by her comments at RC [Real Climate]. I still think she has good intentions, at heart, but has been "captured by the septic narrative" or somesuch. In some respects this intervention is fairly typical of her previous stuff - which is to say, she mouths off without having done her homework, then tries to back off. But the direction she mouths off in is very revealing.

So, where to start. Curry commented at RC in defence of Montford and Gavin answered her. Presumably she thought at the time she was being sane. But then Romm (ht: H) made a post out of the comment / reply which really reads very badly for her, and Curry threw her toys out of the pram: OK, I officially give up over here. Here is something I just posted over at climateaudit...

She then appears to go on to argue that all the stuff she said before wasn't her, it was merely her parroting Montford: "These were not my personal arguments." I don't believe that, nor do I think that you can read that from her orignal RC comment. Nor, indeed, can I see why she would want to show up at RC merely to parrot Montford - he can do that himself if he wants to.

The bit of Curry's comments that I would pick out of RC are
The high level of confidence ascribed to the hockey stick inferences in the IPCC TAR, based upon two very recent papers (MBH) that, while provocative and innovative, used new methods and found results that were counter to the prevailing views. Plus the iconic status that the hockey stick achieved in the TAR and Al Gore's movie.

I've bolded the bit that is especially significant. This is so much a part of the septic worldview: that IPCC '90 fig 7.1.c was God's Glorious Revealed Truth in the Age of Gold and everything since then has been downhill as the evil climate so-called scientists manipulated their data to erase the MWP and LIA etc etc. Gavin points out why her view is wrong.

There is quite enough noise in the "climate debate" already. We don't need any more. Nor do we need people making hasty ill-thought out comments that they will later pretend not to have meant. Curry needs to back off and find time to write down a coherent position that she actually believes in.

Oops, and I missed Curry's other embarassing comment at CP. Speaking of Craig Loehle I ought to link to Eli before he does.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

The attention-seeking John Kerry is still making false claims

(Kerry suggests that because of CO2, plants no longer grow in a 100-mile swath of the US?! The man clearly knows nothing of science. CO2 FACILITATES plant growth! Plants lap it up)

Speaking at a town hall-style meeting promoting climate change legislation on Thursday, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) predicted there will be “an ice-free Arctic” in "five or 10 years."

“The arctic ice is disappearing faster than was predicted,” Kerry said. “And instead of waiting until 2030 or whenever it was to have an ice-free Arctic, we’re going to have one in five or 10 years.” ...

“Every single area of the science, where predictions have been made, is coming back faster – worse than was predicted,” Kerry said. “The levels of carbon dioxide that are going into the ocean is higher. The acidity is higher. It’s damaging the ecosystem of the oceans.”

“You know, all of our marine crustaceans that depend on the formation of their shells -- that acidity undoes that,” he said. “Coral reefs – the spawning grounds for fish. Run that one down and you’ll see the dangers.

Kerry further said: “Predictions of sea level rise are now 3 to 6 feet. They’re higher than were originally going to be predicted over the course of this century because nothing’s happening. But the causes and effects are cumulative.”

“The Audubon Society [not exactly, you know, an ideological entity on the right or the left or wherever in America] has reported that its members are reporting a hundred-mile swath in the United States of America where plants, shrubs, trees, flowers – things that used to grow -- don’t grow any more,” Kerry said.


Pesky! Where have all the hurricanes gone?

Will a hotter world lead to more intense storms [As Warmists regularly predict]?

2010 might be on track to be the warmest ever (according to GISS), but right now, we may be about to set a new record of tropical storms — in inactivity. Ryan Maue tracks the global accumulated activity and reports that by the end of July we might break the record low we set last year.

Ryan N. Maue’s 2010 Global Tropical Cyclone Activity Update: "July 15: If no additional ACE occurred in July, the 24-month global ACE total would be 1095 compared to last month at 1173. The previous 30-year low was 1091 set recently in September 2009. No lower values exist during the past 30-years.

Global and Northern Hemsiphere Tropical Cyclone Activity is near a record low

Looking at the National Hurricane Centre, it doesn’t seem like there is much activity on the way between now and the end of July.

Advisories issued for the North Atlantic, The East Pacific, The West Pacific, and the Indian Ocean are all the same: There is no tropical storm activity for this region.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

Observed Climate Change and the Negligible Global Effect of Greenhouse-gas Emission Limits in the State of Texas

Summary for Policy Makers

Variations in climate from year to year and decade to decade play a greater role in the Texan climate than any long-term trends. Short-term variability will continue to dominate the climate in future. The Texas climate shows no statically significant long-term trend in mean annual temperature, rainfall, floods, droughts, heatwaves, tornadoes, or hurricanes – still less any trend that could reasonably be attributed to “global warming”.

Agricultural yields in Texas will continue to increase. Record crop yields will continue to be set every couple of years. The climate is not the driving reason for the improvement: but it has not prevented it in the past and will not prevent it in the future.

The climate has little impact on the health of Texas’ population. Public health measures aimed at combating the health impacts of heat waves and vector-borne diseases are more cost-effective than the many expensive and largely untested proposals for mitigating “global warming”

Overwhelmingly, observational scientific evidence demonstrates that “global warming” does not have and will not have any appreciable impact on the climate of Texas. A cessation of all of Texas’s CO2 emissions would result in a climatically-irrelevant global temperature reduction by the year 2100 of less than two hundredths of a degree Celsius. A complete cessation of all anthropogenic emissions from Texas will result in a global sea-level rise savings by the year 2100 of an estimated 0.32 cm, or just over one-tenth of an inch.

Again, this value is climatically irrelevant Even if the entire Western world were to close down its economies completely and revert to the Stone Age, without even the ability to light fires, the growth in emissions from China and India would replace our entire emissions in little more than a decade. In this context, any cuts in emissions from Texas would be extravagantly pointless.


The "Times" of London going green?

Their new "pay to view" regime could be making them desperate to get new classes of readers. But it might lose them readers too. I just read the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail these days and feel no loss at all

To the colourful Daily Telegraph blogger James Delingpole, it was winner of the coveted award for the "Biggest front page non-story in history of journalism". What he was referring to was a tale published a week ago under the by-line of The Times's enviromment correspondent Ben Webster which led the paper, covering virtually the entire front-page and with a whole further page inside, beneath the huge headline "Oil giant gives £1 million to fund climate sceptics."

Everything about this story was bizarre. Its essence, based on information which as Webster told us was had been supplied by Bob Ward, policy director of the Grantham Institute on Climate Change, was that Exxon Mobil, the world's largest oil company, last year gave "almost £1 million" to four US think-tanks.

These hired lackeys had then shamefully gone on to describe the various official inquiries into the Climategate emails scandal as "whitewashes", apparently citing them as evidence that the dangers of global warming had been "grossly exaggerated".

The story concluded by suggesting that Exxon Mobil had clearly corrupted these four venal think tanks into giving "the oil company at least another year of freedom to reap the profits of its high-carbon strategy".

The most obvious puzzle was why this remarkably tenuous tale should have been put by The Times on its front page, presumably rating it as the most important news of the day. The evidence assembled by Mr Ward, who had apparently "been monitoring Exxon's links to sceptic groups," hardly seemed to stack up even in its own terms.

One think-tank had apparently received $50,000 last year, another had also received $50,000 - but how all this added up to "almost £1 million" in the past 12 months was far from clear. Furthermore, none of these think-tanks had really been anything but bit-players in the great ongoing row over Climategate.

Not one of the knowledgable sceptics who have torn those reports apart in detail, led by Steve McIntyre on Climate Audit, has ever received a cent of funding from "Big Oil". And what makes all this particularly laughable is that the penny-packets given to think-tanks which were almost wholly irrelevant to the debate are utterly dwarfed by the colossal sums poured into all the groups and organisations on the other side of the argument.

Even the big oil companies have long since been putting their real money into projects dedicated to showing how they are in favour of a "low carbon economy". In 2002 Exxon gave $100 million to Stanford University to fund research into energy sources needed to fight global warming. BP, which famously rebranded itself in 2004 as "Beyond Petroleum", gave $500 million to fund similar research.

In fact two things made The Times's grotesque overblowing of this story rather much more interesting than many Times readers might have guessed. The first was the fact that the origin of the story was Bob Ward, who has in recent years become familiar to followers of the climate debate as a tireless advocate in the media for warmist alarmism.

Looking raather like a night-club bouncer, though not so polite, Mr Ward seems to have set himself up as a professional attack dog for the cause, harrying anyone who dares publicly to promote scepticism by any means he can find.

He used to work in this capacity for the fanatically warmist Royal Society, in which role, in 2007, he organised a voluminous series of complaints to the regulatory body Ofcom, signed by "37 professors", against Channel 4's documentary The Global Warming Swindle. A year later, after wasting huge quantities of everyone's time, Ofcom failed to uphold any of Ward's complaints.

Since then Mr Ward has been employed in a similar capacity by the Grantham Institute on Climate Change at the LSE, where he acts as policy director alongside its chairman Lord Stern. Formerly Sir Nicholas Stern, this ex-Treasury official has, since his famous but much derided 700-page report in 2006, become one of the real high-priests of the warmist religion. And he has made a fortune from touring the world to advise mankind on how to reduce its "carbon footprint".

Since he joined the Grantham Institute, Mr Ward has not only written countless letters to the press and appeared frequently on TV, he has also launched a number of similarly time-wasting complaints to the Press Complaints Commission against articles by climate sceptics such as myself.

Mr Ward's employer, the Grantham Institute, is backed by significantly big money. It was set up in two parts, one under Lord Stern at the LSE, the other run by another committed warmist Sir Brian Hoskins at Imperial College, funded with £24 million from Jeremy Grantham, an investment fund billionaire. Its chief purpose is to advise governments, firms and investment funds on how to promote and invest in ways to "fight climate change" - which is now of course one of the fastest-growing and most lucrative industries in the world....

How The Times's front-page headline might rather more relevantly have been re-worded was "Governments, foundations, multi-national corporations including the owners of this newspaper and Big Oil give hundreds of billions of pounds to promote worldwide climate bonanza." But doubtless The Times's editors would have ruled that this was too long for their front page.



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