Saturday, July 24, 2010

Victory! Democrats drop signature climate bill

The beginning of the end

Senators John F. Kerry and Harry Reid conceded yesterday that they have no chance of passing a comprehensive climate and energy bill any time soon, saying they would instead push for a limited bill to address problems with offshore oil drilling and to boost energy conservation.

“We know where we are. We know we don’t have the votes,’’ said Reid, of Nevada, blaming Republicans for stonewalling efforts to tackle the comprehensive bill. The Senate majority leader, calling the lack of Republican votes “deeply disappointing,’’ spoke at a news conference with Kerry and Carol Browner, White House energy adviser.

The stripped-down bill would include provisions that increase the liability costs for oil companies involved in spills such as the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, expand the use of natural gas in long-haul trucks, increase spending on land and water conservation, and provide rebates to people who buy products that reduce energy usage in their homes.

Senate Democrats said they expected to find enough Republican support to pass the legislation before the August recess.

For Kerry, the decision to at least shelve his signature climate legislation is a stinging setback. With Senators Joe Lieberman, independent of Connecticut, and, initially, Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, the Massachusetts Democrat spent 18 months and thousands of hours in meetings with colleagues, environmentalists, and business leaders to craft and promote the bill.

Focusing his efforts on forging a partnership with energy producers instead of punishing them for polluting, Kerry created a bill that would put a price on the carbon emissions, provide clean energy incentives for the coal and oil industries, and offer tax credits to the nuclear industry. The bill’s goal was to cut carbon pollution 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050.

Graham pulled out of the effort in April, saying Democratic leaders were not offering enough support for their bill. “We’ve always known from day one that to pass comprehensive energy reform you’ve got to have 60 votes,’’ Kerry said yesterday. “As we stand here today we don’t have one Republican vote.’’

The House passed an energy and climate bill a year ago.

David Hawkins, director of climate programs at the Natural Resources Defense Council, called climate change a “real and present danger’’ that needs to be addressed.

The decision to abandon the proposal in the Senate was another concession to the difficult political environment Democratic leaders face, as many rank-and-file are wary of casting any vote that could be used in political attacks by Republicans.

Even Democrats from energy-producing states were deeply divided on the legislation. Jay Rockefeller, Democrat of West Virginia, thought the bill could lead to increased energy costs, while others worried about pushing such a controversial political issue after Democrats had already passed the stimulus and health care bills.

But after the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, President Obama sought to push the public and Congress to back the comprehensive approach, saying the accident illustrated the importance of reducing the nation’s dependence on oil. In a speech last month in Pittsburgh, he said, “The votes may not be there right now, but I intend to find them in the coming months.’’

But the president and Kerry never found the votes, even for a pared measure that would only limit greenhouse gas emissions by electric utilities, not other energy producers.


Sunset for Subsidies

By Viv Forbes, writing from Australia

While Australia is increasing expenditure of consumer and taxpayer money to the renewables industry, governments around the world have decided that “enough is enough”.

Other countries are realising that renewable energy is a massive waste of tax payer funds and has zero or negligible effect on CO2 emissions. They are thus cutting or eliminating subsidies to the grossly inefficient green power generators. Here are some recently reported examples:

Spain cuts subsidies to wind and solar:

Italy cuts subsidies to wind and solar:

Germany cuts subsidies to solar:

Denmark to cut subsidies to wind:

France to slash solar subsidies:

Ontario cuts incentives for solar:

Wind power does not reduce CO2 emissions:

Here are a few examples of the ways in which Australian state and federal Governments subsidise or give unfair advantage to renewables:

* Bans on nuclear power

* Renewable Energy Targets

* Renewable Energy Certificates

* Feed in Tariffs

* Direct government subsidies for renewable energy

* Tax and other incentives

* Cost of the electricity grid enhancements that are needed to accommodate the disruptive, erratic renewable energy generators is shared by everyone instead of being attributed to the renewable energy generators.

* Super Profits Tax on coal mining.

* Threats to shut down or in other ways disadvantage coal fired power plants without fair compensation for the investors.


The Union of Concerned Propagandists

By Alan Caruba

On July 11, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) announced that it had launched “a national advertising campaign as part of a broader effort to showcase the dedication and personal histories of scientists studying climate change.”

I know quite a few climatologists and meteorologists and the ones I know have been courageously refuting the global warming fraud for years, even decades. Beyond them, thousands of comparable scientists have signed petitions and statements to the effect that global warming was and is a hoax.

The UCS campaign, however, is “an effort to educate the public about the work scientists undertaken in their efforts to document and understand human-caused global warming.” Excuse me, but there isn’t any human-caused global warming. There isn’t any global warming insofar as the Earth has been cooling for the past decade.

The UCA is part of a broad pushback against the November 2009 revelations that have since become known as “Climategate.” Thousands of leaked emails among a tiny band of rogue scientists, primarily from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) and Penn State University ripped away their curtain of respectability.

Writing about it in the July 12 edition of The Wall Street Journal, Patrick J. Michaels, a professor of environmental sciences of the University of Virginia from 1980-2007, characterized the emails as “suggesting some of the world’s leading climate scientists engaged in professional misconduct, data manipulation and jiggering of both the scientific literature and climatic data to paint what scientist Ken Briffa called ‘a nice, tidy story’ of climate history.”

Michaels, now a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, was being polite when he used the word “suggesting.” The emails between the scientists involved in Climategate were damning evidence that they were engaged in a huge fraud.

That fraud is now been whitewashed by supposedly independent panels reviewing the emails and activities between Penn State’s Prof. Michael Mann, the CRU’s Phil Jones, and Ken Briffa, and others. On May 29, 2008, Jones emailed Prof. Mann under the subject line, “IPCC & FOI” asking him to delete any emails he had had with Briffa regarding the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in order to thwart any Freedom of Information inquiries.

The so-called independent panels, mindful of the millions of dollars in climate change research grant funding that both Jones and Mann had brought in for their respective universities, saw no evil, heard no evil, and read no evil.

As a full-fledged partner in the global warming hoax, back in November 2009 when the emails were leaked, Francesca Grifo, a senior scientist and director of the UCS Scientific Integrity Program, was asked by Science Insider what she thought. She declined to be interviewed, but later issued a statement through a spokesperson.

“We expect a high degree of scientific integrity by scientists, whether they be in university labs or federal offices. But what may or may no have happened does not change the science—ice sheets are melting, sea level is rising and the top ten hottest years since 1880 include 2001 through 2008.”

Not so. As reported on July 16 by The Heartland Institute’s James Taylor, “In the Northern Hemisphere, Arctic sea ice is currently 19 percent below the 30-year average. In the South Hemisphere, however, Antarctic sea ice has grown to a record extent, continuing a parent of growth that has been ongoing since NASA launched the NOAA satellite instruments in 1979. The growth in Antarctica is so extensive that the poles as a whole have more total ice than the 30-year average.”

Just what is the Union of Concerned Scientists? According to, the UCS “is a nonprofit environmental advocacy organization with more than 100,000 members. Seeing its mission as building a ‘cleaner, healthier environment and a safer world”, the UCA takes public stands, purportedly based on scientific research, regarding a variety of political and health-related issues.”

The UCS was founded in 1969 by students and faculty members at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to oppose U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. By 1998, it was assuring the public that American analysts had exaggerated North Korea’s ability to produce nuclear weapons.”

So the UCS is essentially a leftist propagandist organization that is anti-war, anti-nuclear and missile defense, and totally political in its opposition to any Republican administration. Of the signers of a document, “Restoring Scientific Integrity in Policy Making”, decrying the Bush administration, “more than half were financial contributors to the Democratic Party, Democratic candidates, or a variety of leftist causes.”

The UCS continues to cling to the view that “Global warming is one of the most serious challenges facing us today. To protect the health and economic well-being of current and future generations, we must reduce our emissions of heat-trapping gases by using the technology, know-how, and practical solutions already at our disposal.”

There is no global warming. The so-called greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide and methane, extremely minor factors, play no role in climate change within an atmosphere composed primarily of water vapor.

I suggest a name change. The UCS should call itself the Union of Concerned Propagandists.


The Unscientific American amps up the panic

The fact that the warming stopped late last century goes strangely unmentioned. So even if all the dire effects of warming were true, none of those effects can in fact be happening. And that warming will resume is complete speculation. Geologically, we are in fact at the end of a warm interglacial -- so powerful natural effects could be unleashed any day which will lead to a new ice age. And if that happens we will need all the warming we can get

The average temperature of the planet for the next several thousand years will be determined this century—by those of us living today, according to a new National Research Council report which lays out the impact of every degree of warming on outcomes ranging from sea-level rise to reduced crop yields.

"Because carbon dioxide is so long-lived in the atmosphere, it could effectively lock Earth and future generations into warming not just for decades and centuries, but literally for thousands of years," atmospheric scientist Susan Solomon of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who chaired the report, said at a July 16 press briefing held to release it. She compared CO2 to cheesecake: "If I knew that every pound of cheesecake that I ate would give me a pound that could never be lost, I think I would eat a lot less cheesecake."

According to the report, for every degree Celsius of warming, impacts include:

* A 5 to 15 percent lower yield for some crops, including corn in Africa and the U.S., and wheat in India

* A 3 to 10 percent increase in heavy rainfall globally

* A 5 to 10 percent drop in rainfall in southwestern North America, southern Africa and the Mediterranean, among other precipitation changes

* A 5 to 10 percent change (increases in some regions, decreases in others) in stream flow in many river basins globally

* A 15 to 25 percent decrease in the extent of Arctic Ocean sea ice

The report's authors were charged with evaluating a range of "greenhouse gas–stabilization targets and describe the types and scale of impacts likely associated" without any judgment on whether such targets are "technically feasible" or which is "most appropriate." In essence, the scientists evaluated the impacts associated with a given final level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but did so through the lens of temperature change.

This represents a shift in the usual analysis of climate change, particularly in international negotiations, which tend to focus on how much concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will rise by a particular date. "Many impacts respond directly to changes in global temperature, regardless of the sensitivity of the planet to human emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases," says geoscientist Katharine Hayhoe of Texas Tech University in Lubbock, a co-author of the report, excluding effects such as ocean acidification and CO2 as a fertilizer for plants. "Those impacts don't 'care' about what the CO2 concentration is."

It also eliminates much of the uncertainty surrounding potentially ill effects; whereas various mathematical models may disagree about when and at what concentrations Arctic Ocean sea ice disappears, they all agree that at roughly 3 degrees C of warming, the far north will be ice-free. "It's amazing how consistent they become," Solomon says. "At what point do you get to three to four degrees of warming, which is roughly the time when Arctic sea ice is mostly gone."

Adds economist Gary Yohe of Wesleyan University, another co-author: "We will commit to an ice-free Arctic sometime this century. We won't know definitively until 2090, but essentially there's nothing we can do about it at that point in time and it changes the climate system dramatically."

Already, the planet's average temperature has warmed by 0.7 degree C, which is "very likely" (greater than 90 percent certain) to be a result of the rising concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, according to the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. That's about half what can ultimately be expected from the roughly 390 parts per million of CO2 already in the atmosphere—the highest level the planet has experienced in at least 800,000 years.

More of the same HERE

Global warming as science fiction

Unprecedented claims require unprecedented proof, and we're simply not seeing it. Mann famously would not release his computer code and data, but was ultimately shown by Steve McIntyre to have fudged his statistics (specifically the R2 number that showed whether their results were relevant or not). The story of this, and the incredible contortions that the "Hockey Team" went through to get subsequent, equally flawed papers into the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) is described at length at Bishop Hill in Caspar and the Jesus Paper. Once again, data was withheld when requested:
To have key arguments in the SI [published article's Supplemental information] was most unusual and it quickly became apparent why it had been done: the SI was nowhere to be seen. Even the peer reviewers appear not to have had access, and once again, Amman refused McIntyre's request for the data and code. His reply to this request was startling (and remember that Amman is a public servant):
Under such circumstances, why would I even bother answering your questions, isn’t that just lost time?
As with Mann's original hockey stick, the statistics for this supporting paper were also entirely bollixed up. Statistically, the results were meaningless. That's some impressive "unprecedented proof", right there.

The problem that is emerging for the people claiming catastrophic warming is that the scientific work they are relying on seems very sloppy indeed. When the CRU was asked for their raw data so that their results could be verified, they first refused, then refused a Freedom of Information Act request, and then - when people still wouldn't stop asking - claimed that they'd lost the data. The IPCC AR4 report, supposedly based solely on peer-reviewed science, was found to be one-third based on Press Releases from environmental advocacy groups. The scientist heading up the Working Group 2 portion of upcoming IPCC AR5 is still falsely claiming that the science shows that hurricanes are getting worse due to Climate Change. It's not - or at least, there are no peer-reviewed articles that show this:
I see that four climate scientists, including the incoming head of IPCC WGII, Chris Field, have written up an op-ed for Politico calling for political action on climate change. That they are calling for political action is not problematic, but the following statement in the op-ed is a problem:
Climate change caused by humans is already affecting our lives and livelihoods — with extreme storms, unusual floods and droughts, intense heat waves, rising seas and many changes in biological systems — as climate scientists have projected.
I have sent Chris Field an email as follows:
I read your op-ed in Politico with interest. In it you state:

"Climate change caused by humans is already affecting our lives and livelihoods — with extreme storms, unusual floods and droughts, intense heat waves, rising seas and many changes in biological systems — as climate scientists have projected."

I am unaware of research that shows either detection or attribution of human-caused changes in extreme storms or floods, much less detection or attribution of such changes "affecting lives and livelihoods". Can you point me to the scientific basis for such claims?
This is Roger Pielke, Jr., no Climate Change Denier like me, but an honest scientist and one of the world's experts on hurricane damage. He didn't hear back from Dr. Field.

Sloppy. Add to this the ClimateGate email exchanges where the principals (Mann, Jones, et al) discuss deleting email messages, refusing to release data, and how to prevent publication of opposing scientific opinions by taking over the peer-review process, and you get the flavor of something very different from the typical view of scientists in white lab coats. A comment to Pielke's post is a must-read for this flavor:
The drugmaker Glaxo, we now learn, has been lying for years about its blockbuster diabetes drug. Turns out this multi-billion dollar drug doesn't perform as well as an older drug (in a test paid for by Glaxo), and it also gives people heart attacks. Glaxo withheld and hid this information for years.

I very much hate to say this, but Glaxo's behavior reminds me not just of Michael Mann and Phil Jones -- all their erasure of emails, hiding of data, marginalizing and blackballing articles not to their liking -- but of much of the climate change establishment.
He has specifics. RTWT.

Dean didn't die rich, and neither Mann nor Jones have gotten rich either (although Al Gore certainly has). Dean didn't get a Nobel, and neither Mann nor Jones have either (although Al Gore did). But Mann and Jones have done something that Dean did.

They've put their credibility in a very shaky position. The fact that there are multiple inquiries into their conduct is all you need to know to realize that even the "consensus view" establishment knows this. The fact that none of the inquiries have issued an indictment is cold comfort to Mann and Jones. They'll have to get to Mars on their own, figuratively speaking. What they're burning to generate political thrust is their credibility. As with Interplanetary travel, it'll all be gone long before they arrive at their destination.

Much more HERE

Sun not CO2 the culprit

David Ivory argues from New Zealand that the variation in energy received from the sun has a much greater effect on global temperature balance than the effect of greenhouse gases

by Dr David Ivory (University teacher, Scientist and senior United Nations staff member)

The scientific and public debate on what causes global warming has been very one-sided.

The claim the so-called greenhouse gases (chiefly the natural biological products, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) are the cause of global warming is only a theory. It is not fact or an unequivocal truth, even though the proponents of the theory would want to claim the science behind their theory is beyond debate and supported by an overwhelming majority of scientists.

The reality is the scientists associated with climate change groupings represent only a small proportion of the total physical and biological scientists around the world, but collectively they have had an inordinately large influence on governments and policy makers.

In addition, they have adopted a condescending tactic to rebut criticism by disparaging or questioning the integrity or knowledge of those who oppose their point of view by labelling them deniers and sceptics and to claim the majority of scientists accept the so-called science of greenhouse gas-induced global warming.

The fact is there has been no poll among scientists concerning their beliefs and a large body of physical and biological scientists do not accept this theory (a recent scientific publication rejecting this theory had 10,000 signatories), as they believe the historic scientific record shows clearly the sun has always controlled and continues to control global temperature, not greenhouse gases.

Put simply, although very complex in reality, the earth's temperature balance is dictated by the net effects of energy into (solar irradiance), and energy out of (back radiation and heat loss), the earth's atmosphere and surface.

If energy in exceeds energy out the earth warms and if energy in is less than out the earth cools.

The greenhouse gas theory claims that increasing greenhouse gases restricts thermal energy out to the point that the energy balance is positively affected and therefore the earth warms.

The greenhouse gas theory of global warming, however, is only a very recent proposition in earth time, relating to the period of time since the industrial revolution. It does not explain the reasons for the earth warming and cooling during the millennia of its existence.

The alternative point of view held by a very large number of scientists is that the variation in energy received from the sun has a much greater effect on global temperature balance than the effect of greenhouse gases on energy loss and therefore it is the sun's activity that has always dominantly controlled global warming and cooling.

The scientific record shows clearly that over the past 3000 years there has been a more than 3degC change in global temperature, with both significant warming (in mediaeval times) and cooling (little ice age in 1700s) trends above and below present global temperatures.

What is important is these global temperature changes closely follow radiation level changes and indeed have the highest correlation with temperature change.

More importantly, since the end of the 1700s the earth has been in a general warming trend in response to increasing solar radiation.

And with this warming trend the scientific record shows that glaciers have been steadily retreating and sea levels rising for the past 200-250 years.

Thus it is important to realise these trends are not recent and started long before there was any significant burning of fossil fuels or increase in atmospheric CO2 levels.

However, the most damning evidence against greenhouse gas-induced global warming is the fact that there was a significant global cooling period between about 1940 and 1975 (associated with decreasing radiation levels) even though there was a three-fold increase in burning of fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions during this period.

This clearly demonstrates that global temperature was responding to changes in radiation levels and that rising levels of greenhouse gases were not causing global warming.

The recent continuation of the general warming trend in the past 30 years, which is the period upon which the greenhouse gas theorists exclusively concentrate, is associated with further increases in solar radiation level.

Of course, the greenhouse gas theorists claim this warming has been exclusively because of rising greenhouse gases during this period, but as the rates of glacier melting and sea rise continue as they have for the past 200 years, it can only be concluded that rising greenhouse gases are merely coincidental with the long-term warming trend, not the cause.

Niwa announced that the average temperature of New Zealand in 2009 was cooler than the long-term average (i.e. cooler than more than 50% of the 100-plus years since temperature measurement started), with some places between 0.5degC and 1degC lower than average; that there was record cold weather in the last northern hemisphere winter; and that the area of winter Arctic ice increased for a third consecutive year.

These are not coincidences.

While it is too early to be certain of a trend change to lower solar radiation and therefore lower global temperature, the fact that the approximately 11-year solar cycle reached its lowest level in more than 50 years in 2009 may represent the beginning of a new global cooling period despite higher levels of greenhouse gases.

If a second global cooling period occurs during a further period of increasing greenhouse gases, this will surely completely and finally discredit the theory of greenhouse gas-induced global warming.

The bottom line is that there is no unequivocal scientific evidence that global warming is caused by greenhouse gases.

And therefore, this means that the introduction of an emissions trading scheme (ETS) is useless in reducing global temperatures and represents only an expensive venture in futility.

The New Zealand Government would have been better off delaying the introduction of an ETS, as has the Australian Government, until the complexities of climate change are better understood.


People-hate now reaches back a long way

Apparently, humans have been changing the climate for eons. Literally.
Ancient hunters who stalked the world’s last woolly mammoths likely helped warm the Earth’s far northern latitudes thousands of years before humans began burning fossil fuels, according to a study of prehistoric climate change.

The demise of the leaf-chomping woolly mammoths contributed to a proliferation of dwarf birch trees in and around the Arctic, darkening a largely barren, reflective landscape and accelerating a rise in temperatures across the polar north, researchers at the Carnegie Institution for Science concluded....

The research attributes about a fourth of the Arctic’s vegetation-driven warming to the decline of the woolly mammoth. If human hunters helped kill off the large mammals, they bear some responsibility for warming the climate, the scientists concluded.

“We’re not saying this was a big effect,” Field said. “The point of the paper isn’t that this is a big effect. But it’s a human effect.”

So everyone’s a loser now: the climate change deniers, the climate change crazies, and the woolly mammoths. The deniers, for saying humans don’t impact climate change (answer: yes, we always have), the crazies, for saying this impact must be stopped (unless you want to stop civilization, good luck with that), and the mammoths, for being in the wrong place at the right time.

The real issue is not “are we changing the climate?”, but how do we adapt to the effects of change and/or mitigate them, without jeopardizing the standard of living we have managed to achieve? Between the socialists who would have us cap every oil well and eat twigs for breakfast, and the conservatives who refuse to see any correlation between human activity and climate change, lies a middle ground: those who accept a measure of change as the price of progress, and search for ways to cope with that change through technological advancement, not luddite retreat.

Human activity is not, and will never be, neutral. Indeed, if we wanted to stop impacting the climate, humanity would have to stop existing, or return to a pre-prehistoric lifestyle, when we didn’t even have the technology to clobber a sufficient number of mammoths.

Sorry, but I don’t want to turn back the clock. I like my fossil-fuel-heated house, my air conditioned car, and my morning coffee, which probably logged more air miles in a day than I have in a year.



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1 comment:

Christopher.2010 said...

It's really up to the people. They can make as many laws they can but until it is properly implemented with people following it then it will never successful.