Just another false prophecy of course: Excerpt:
As Ranks of “Environmental Refugees” Swell Worldwide, Calls Grow for Better Definition, Recognition, Support Amid predictions that by 2010 the world will need to cope with as many as 50 million people escaping the effects of creeping environmental deterioration, United Nations University experts say the international community urgently needs to define, recognize and extend support to this new category of ‘refugee’.
In a statement to mark the UN Day for Disaster Reduction (October 12), UNU’s Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) in Bonn says such problems as sea level rise, expanding deserts and catastrophic weather-induced flooding have already contributed to large permanent migrations and could eventually displace hundreds of millions.
Unlike victims of political upheaval or violence, however, who have access through governments and international organizations to such assistance as financial grants, food, tools, shelter, schools and clinics, “environmental refugees” are not yet recognized in world conventions.
Where did those 50 million refugees go?
Glacier boffins rubbish IPCC apocalypse claims
Glacier and climate boffins have issued a stinging poohpooh to recent alarmist pronouncements on climate-change-driven glacier melt - in particular from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
“In the last few years numbers have been named that do not pass a closer examination,“ says glaciologist and climatologist Georg Kaser of Innsbruck uni. “It is an exaggeration when it is claimed that the melting of glaciers endangers the water supply of two billion people.”
Famously the IPCC, the world body coordinating the human race's response to climate change, chose in 2007 to state that major glaciers in the Himalayas would disappear by the year 2035. This would lead to mighty river systems such as the Ganges, Indus, Changjiang etc becoming "seasonal" - so spelling doom for many inhabitants of the densely populated North Indian plains and other areas.
This was, however, completely without basis. It had originated as an off-the-cuff remark by an Indian scientist who later disowned the estimate, reported by well-known warmo journo Fred Pearce of New Scientist and then retailed to the IPCC in a pamphlet from hard-green campaigning organisation WWF, which wields an almost unbelievable amount of influence over the IPCC.
Kaser and his colleagues have now done a proper academic study on just how glacier melt contributes to the water supplies of different populations around the world, and what the impacts might actually be in the coming decades. They suggest that the IPCC might like to consider using their research as a basis for the next international report, rather than bogus WWF propaganda.
“With regard to the next report issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), our data can be seen as the basis for regionally more precise estimations and they show that the impact of the expected climate change may be higher in some regions than in others,” says Kaser, chief of Innsbruck's Tropical Glaciology Group.
In essence, the Innsbruck boffins' study says that the only people who need worry about glacier effects on their water supply are small populations who live high up in the mountains. The teeming billions of the Asian river basins will not be affected.
The scientists' article Contribution potential of glaciers to water availability in different climate regimes is published (free as of press time) in the Proceedings of the [US] National Academy of Sciences. They write:
We find that the seasonally delayed glacier contribution is largest where rivers enter seasonally arid regions and negligible in the lowlands of river basins governed by monsoon climates. By comparing monthly glacier melt contributions with population densities in different altitude bands within each river basin, we demonstrate that strong human dependence on glacier melt is not collocated with highest population densities in most basins.
“By all means, the expected climatic development may have detrimental effects for smaller high-mountain communities," comments Kaser.
But the spectre of imminent thirst and/or starvation for billions by 2035 from melting glaciers would appear to have been confirmed as the worst kind of alarmist scaremongering. ®
No Cause For Alarm Over Sea Level Or Ice Sheets
By Professor Cliff Ollier, School of Earth and Environment, University of Western Australia
John Le Mesurier’s recent article in On Line Opinion, “The Creeping Menace”, re-hashes the alarmism about rising sea levels. Much has happened, however, since Al Gore scared the world with visions of metre high seas flooding New York.
First, there is still no proof the Earth is experiencing “dangerous” warming. Temperatures have levelled off since 1998. Many measuring locations are also located in unsuitable areas. Furthermore, the methodologies of averaging temperature are inconsistent and full of problems. This is why “Global Warming” was replaced as a slogan by “Climate Change” (nobody denies that climate changes), and more recently by “Climate Disruption” (which is impossible define or prove).
Second, the increased temperature is supposed to increase sea level mainly by melting the ice-caps, which is impossible. Thermal expansion of the oceans seems to be of little consequence at present because the satellite measurements show the oceans are cooling. Le Mesurier gilds his picture with a few asides on “extreme climatic events” in general and hurricanes in particular. Recent studies, however, show no increase in hurricane activity in the last 40 years.
With regard to sea level, I have come to the view the IPCC and Australian Bureau of Meteorology, run by CSIRO, are unreliable sources of data after critically assessing their statements on this subject for some time. Direct studies of sea level are showing only small rises. You can see the sea level data for yourself for the United States and a few other countries here. Most stations show a rise of sea level of about 2mm per year, but note the considerable variation even within a single state.
Models depend on what is put into them. For example, a 2009 report by the CSIRO for the Victorian Government’s Future Coasts Program on The Effect of Climate Change on Extreme Sea Levels in Port Phillip Bay based its model on temperature projections to 2100 of up to 6.4 degrees. That is the most extreme, fuel intensive, scenario of the IPCC and implies unbelievable CO2 concentration levels in 2100 of approximately 1550 parts per million (expressed in CO2 equivalent). Usage of all known fossil fuel reserves would only achieve half of this and continuation of the current rate of increase in concentration levels would result in only 550ppm by 2100.
In terms of sea levels, the result is a CSIRO predicted rise for Port Phillip Bay by 2100 of 82cm and, with the help of the Bureau of Meteorology, an increase due to wind to 98cm. That is not only well above even the top level projected by the latest IPCC report but is also well above any projections from the last 20 to 100 years.
Two favourites of sea level alarmists are Tuvalu and the Maldives. Sea level measurements for Tuvalu (and 10 other stations) between 1992 and 2006 are available on Fig. 13 on the Australian Bureau of Meteorology website (PDF 1.97MB). For about the past eight years the sea level seems to be virtually constant.
Vincent Gray has reviewed the evidence and finds virtually stable sea levels in the South West Pacific, and he also discusses how the data have been manipulated to suggest rising sea level.
Sea level in the Maldives was studied in enormous detail by the doyen of sea level scientists, Niklas Axel-Mörner. His team determined the sea level curve over the past 5,000 years based on evidence of morphology, stratigraphy, biology and archaeology supported by extensive C14 dating, and found that “All over the Maldives there is evidence of a sub-recent sea level some 20cm higher than the present one. In the 1970s, sea level fell to its present position.” (My italics.)
Incidentally a recent study of coral islands in the Pacific by Webb and Kench showed the islands are actually growing larger despite any possible sea level rise.
Holland is very low and would be particularly vulnerable to any large rise of sea level. It is also a world leader in coastal study and engineering, and the Dutch are not alarmed. In the December 11, 2008, issue of NRC/Handelsblad (Rotterdam’s counterpart to The Australian or The Age) Wilco Hazeleger, a senior scientist in the global climate research group at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute wrote:
In the past century the sea level has risen twenty centimetres. There is no evidence for accelerated sea-level rise. It is my opinion that there is no need for drastic measures. Fortunately, the time rate of climate change is slow compared to the life span of the defense structures along our coast. There is enough time for adaptation.
What about the alleged cause of most of the scary sea level rise – the melting of ice-caps? This idea of rapid loss of ice 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 kilometre-deep basins. If sliding were operative they could only slide into the basin. Virtually all the studies on which alarmist conclusions are based are on the outflowing glaciers around the edges of Greenland where glaciers can flow downhill, and where there is some melting. There is no melting in the interior of ice sheets - it is far too cold.
Glaciers have a budget, with accumulation of snow, conversion to ice, flow of ice, and eventual destruction by melting, ablation or collapse. The centres of the ice sheets, occupying basins, flow only at the base, warmed by geothermal heat and driven by the weight of the overlying ice. There is no direct flow of the near-surface ice in the centre of an ice sheet to the outflow glaciers.
The accumulation of kilometres of undisturbed ice in cores in Greenland and Antarctica show hundreds of thousands of years of accumulation with no gaps in the record caused by melting. The existence of such layers, youngest at the top and oldest at the bottom, enables the glacial ice to be studied through time, a basic source of data on temperature and carbon dioxide in the past.
In the Greenland ice sheet several cores have more than 3km of undisturbed ice which go back in time for over 105,000 years (much less than the Antarctic equivalent). The Vostok cores in Antarctica provide data for the past 414,000 years before the ice starts to be deformed by flow (induced by the weight of the overlying ice and geothermal heat). The Epica core in Antarctica goes back to 760,000 years. The cores show there have been many times when the climate was much warmer than today (e.g. Mediaeval Warm Period). It is fanciful to conclude kilometres of ice can suddenly melt when the records show no melting whatsoever in the ice sheet accumulation areas.
After considering the evidence of three quarters of a million years of documented continuous accumulation, how can we rationally accept that right now the world's ice sheets are collapsing?
The idea of a glacier sliding downhill on a base lubricated by meltwater seemed a good idea when first presented by de Saussure in 1779, but a lot has been learned since then. Not even alpine valley glaciers or the outflow glaciers of Greenland move this way, but by a process called creep, best known from metallurgy. This process explains why the crystals of ice in the snout of a glacier are about a thousand times bigger than the first crystals in the snowfall. Sliding cannot account for this.
Collapse of ice sheets is commonly shown to stir fears of rising sea levels. Yet wherever ice sheets or glaciers reach the sea, the ice floats and eventually breaks off to form icebergs. It is part of the glacial budget: the glaciers never did flow on to the equator. Icebergs have always been with us. Captain Cook saw them on his search for the Great South Land.
Observers frequently seem surprised by the size and suddenness of what they see. In 2007, when a piece of the Greenland ice shelf broke away, the scientists who were interviewed said they were surprised at how suddenly it happened. How else but suddenly would a piece of ice shelf break off? The actual break is inevitably a sudden event - but one that can easily be built into a global warming horror scenario. The point to remember is that the release of icebergs at the edge of an ice cap does not in any way reflect present-day temperature. It takes thousands of years for the ice to move from accumulation area to ice front.
The Hubbard Glacier in Alaska has long been a favourite place for tourists to witness the collapse of an ice front, 10km long and 27m high, sometimes producing icebergs the size of ten-storey buildings. One tourist wrote “Hubbard Glacier is very active and we didn’t have long to wait for it to calve”. Yet the Hubbard Glacier is advancing at 25 metres per year, and has been doing so at least since its discovery in 1895.
Variations in melting or calving around the edges of ice sheets are no indication that they are collapsing, but reflect past rates of snow and ice accumulation in their interior.
Despite alarmist propaganda there is much evidence to suggest that the ice sheets are in good health. For example, one recent paper is entitled “A doubling in snow accumulation in the western Antarctic Peninsula since 1850” (Thomas et al. 2008).
Another reports that “The East Antarctic ice-sheet north of 81.60S increased in mass by 45 ± 7 billion metric tons per year from 1992 to 2003 … enough to slow sea-level rise by 0.12 ±0.002 millimetres per year” (Davis et al. 2005).
Wingham et al. (2006) wrote: “We show that 72 per cent of the Antarctic ice sheet is gaining 27 ± 29 Gt yr-1, a sink of ocean mass sufficient to lower global sea levels by 0.08 mm yr-1.”
Johannessen and colleagues analysed satellite data on the Greenland Ice Sheet from 1992 to 2003. They found an increase of 6.4 ± 0.2 centimetres per year in the vast interior areas above 1500 metres, in contrast to previous reports of high-elevation balance. Below 1500 metres, the elevation-change rate is -2.0 ± 0.9 cm/year.
Of course even if we believe global sea level is rising, it takes another leap of faith to accept that it is caused by minuscule increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide caused by human activity.
How the EPA cripples the American economy
President Barack Obama seems more concerned with appeasing environmental extremists in his administration than he is with the lost jobs of poor Americans. He’s letting the environmentalists run wild with long pent-up schemes to force a change in the American way of life that includes small cars, small apartments and, for many, a return to an idealized 19th century lifestyle. It’s not China that’s responsible for American job losses; it’s Washington’s fault for shutting down whole industries and preventing new jobs from being created.
What’s happened is that Obama has given the environmental extremists the power to make some of their wish list come true. Modern measurement techniques allow scientists to measure tiny parts per million; much of the technology did not exist when the Clean Air Act was first legislated in 1990. Using these new techniques environmentalists are able to impose their fantasies upon American business and labor. For industry, removing the last parts per million is prohibitively costly. For instance, technology which could have removed the Gulf of Mexico oil spill was prohibited by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) because the discharged ocean water would still contain more than 15 parts per million of oil.
When the American economy was growing fast these EPA job killers were not so damaging. Now, in slower times, they are proving deadly.
Below are eight areas where the environmental extremists hope to wreak havoc on the American economy.
Carbon Dioxide. Human activity accounts for less than 4 percent of global CO2 emissions and CO2 itself accounts for only 10 or 20 percent of the greenhouse effect. Water vapor accounts for most of the other 80 percent. The actual quantity of C02 in the Earth's atmosphere is about 0.0387 percent, or 387 parts per million. The Christian Science Monitor recently published an excellent analysis of how the EPA’s plans for reducing carbon dioxide could cause the loss of over a million jobs and raise every family’s energy costs by over $1,200.
Factory boilers. The EPA wants new, more stringent limits on soot emissions from industrial and factory boilers. This would cost $9.5 billion according to the EPA, or over $20 billion according to the American Chemistry Council. A study released by the Council of Industrial Boiler Owners says the new rules would put 300,000 to 800,000 jobs at risk as industries opted to close plants rather than pay the expensive new costs. The ruling includes boilers used in manufacturing, processing, mining, and refining, as well as shopping malls, laundromats, apartments, restaurants, and hotels.
Home Remodeling. Some contractors are refusing to work on houses built before 1979 (when lead paint use was discontinued) because of stringent new EPA permitting required for lead paint removal. Lead paint in powdered or edible form can hurt growing children. It was once used in the hard gloss paint for wood surfaces, but has been painted over with non-lead-based paint during the past 30 years. The new fines of $37,000 per day are ruinous for smaller contractors and individual workers. Many jobs will therefore not be created as smaller contractors stop replacing window frames or turn down other work where lead paint may be present.
Ground Level Ozone. AutoBlog reports that the EPA has asked the U.S. government to enact draconian new smog regulations for ground-level ozone. The request to cut levels to .006 to .007 parts per million comes less than two years after standards were set at .0075 particles of pollutants per one million. As AutoBlog notes, “That doesn't sound like a very big change, but the New York Times reports that the agency quotes the price tag of such a change at between $19 billion and $100 billion per year by 2020. Oil manufacturers, manufacturing and utility companies are the main source of air pollution and they will have to spend heavily to meet the proposed regulation.”
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The Fish and Wildlife Service is drawing up plans that define more parts of ANWR as “wilderness” thereby permanently removing any possibility for oil drilling in the vast field. The full Alaskan nature reserve is the size of South Carolina while the proposed drilling area would be the size of Dulles Airport.
Alaska Oil. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has prohibited all off-shore drilling until further notice, although Shell Oil and others’ proposed sites are in less than 150 feet of water and use fixed drilling platforms, not the floating kind used for deep water in the Gulf of Mexico. Potentially vast oil fields and the accompanying jobs are therefore on hold.
Cement Kiln Regulations. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who led the fight to expose so called man-made global warming, warns of a new EPA job-killing plan. “EPA’s new cement kiln regulation could shut down 18 plants, threatening 1,800 direct jobs and 9,000 indirect jobs,” he writes. “According to an analysis of EPA’s rule by King’s College (London) Professor Ragnar Lofstedt, EPA could send 28 million tons of U.S. cement production offshore, mainly to China.”
The above are all large-scale restrictions. There are also many smaller, mostly unreported new regulations. A Heritage Foundation study describes 43 such restrictions imposed during 2010 and totaled up their cost as well over $26 billion. As Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) complained before her defeat, farmers, ranchers, and foresters “are increasingly frustrated and bewildered by vague, overreaching, and unnecessarily burdensome EPA regulations, each of which will add to their costs, making it harder for them to compete.”
Gulf of Mexico Oil. While Salazar ostensibly lifted his illegal and unnecessary suspension of all oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, we don’t yet know if he has put up interminable, cost-wrecking regulations in the ban’s place. Just one of his changes, allowing government bureaucrats 90 days instead of the prior 30 days to issue every decision, may be enough to ruin future oil drilling. The big floating rigs rent for over half a million dollars a day to operate. Just the threat of non-decisions along the chain of government command may be fatal and do to oil drilling what the environmentalists did to nuclear energy—namely, shutting down all new plants by making the costs and risks prohibitive. Michael Bromwich, Salazar’s director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, said that there were only 10 new well permits pending, but according to The Washington Post there were 69 unapproved exploration and development plans sitting in his office. Even simple, continued drilling in already producing oil sands, where the geological conditions are measured and known, has been suspended.
Salazar also suspended shallow well drilling in less than 500 feet depth from fixed platforms. Washington only issued 13 such shallow well permits in the seven months since the Macondo blowout in April. Before that it was issuing about 13 shallow well permits per month. As is often the case with Washington’s heavy-handed regulators, it is the smaller companies, doing less costly drilling closer to shore, that are bankrupted or driven out of business by these costly and burdensome rules. All this comes after 40 years of successful drilling without a major blowout or spill.
Government restrictions and environmentalist lawsuits also affect other mining activity. For example, there is currently a shortage in Chinese rare earth elements, which are essential to a number of technologies, including hard drives and environmentalist-friendly hybrid-car batteries. Yet despite an abundance of rare earth reserves in the U.S., domestic production has been essentially shut down by the president’s allies.
It’s time for Congress to investigate what the EPA and its reckless agenda is costing American workers, businesses, and taxpayers.
Throw Carol Browner Under the Bus
Energy czar Carol Browner needs to go the way of disgraced green jobs czar Van Jones: under the bus and stripped of her unbridled power to destroy jobs and lives in the name of saving the planet. ASAP.
One of the Beltway's most influential, entrenched and unaccountable left-wing radicals, Browner has now been called out twice by President Obama's own federal BP oil spill commission and Interior Department inspector general. How many strikes should a woman who circumvented the Senate confirmation process and boasts a sordid history of abusing public office get?
Pushing the question -- and shining a bright, hot spotlight on Browner's behind-the-scenes maneuvering -- should be a top priority of the new House GOP majority. Not least of all because Washington insiders are still buzzing about possible White House plans to increase her policy role and elevate her status with Team Obama.
First, the BP oil spill panel dinged her for disseminating misleading information to the public about the scope of the disaster. In the aftermath of the spill, she falsely claimed that 75 percent of the spill was "now completely gone from the system" and falsely claimed that the administration's August report on the disaster was "peer-reviewed." The false claim "contributed to public perception" of Browner's calculation as "more exact and complete" than it was ever designed to be, the oil spill commission concluded in October.
This week, the Interior Department inspector general singled out Browner's office for butchering peer-reviewed scientists' conclusions in a key report about the administration's preordained deepwater drilling moratorium. The scientists first blew the whistle on the administration's monkey business this summer. A federal judge sided with the misrepresented scientists and blasted the Interior Department's big green lie that its moratorium was "peer-reviewed" and endorsed by "seven experts identified by the National Academy of Engineering."
As the court concluded: "Although the experts agreed with the safety recommendations contained in the body of the main Report, five of the National Academy experts and three of the other experts have publicly stated that they 'do not agree with the six month blanket moratorium' on floating drilling."
It was Browner's office behind the hatchet job. After cutting, pasting and tweaking the drilling moratorium report, one of Browner's staff members sent a 2 a.m. e-mail back to the Interior Department on May 27 with edited versions that implied that the outside scientists endorsed the moratorium. The Interior Department inspector general tip-toed around Browner's responsibility for fudging the truth, using passive language to describe how the edited versions "caused the distinction" between what the administration wanted and what the scientists believed "to become effectively lost."
Nonsense. The distinction didn't "become" lost. Browner's office disappeared it, doctored it and obliterated it. Browner's wordsmiths played Mad Libs with the report until it fit their agenda. There was "no intent to mislead the public," Browner's office claims. But this eco-data doctoring fits a long pattern of politicized science over which Browner has presided.
While head of the Clinton administration's EPA, she ordered a staffer to purge and delete her computer files to evade a public disclosure lawsuit. Lambasted by the judge for "contumacious" behavior and contempt of court, Browner claimed it was all an innocent mistake -- and blamed her young son for downloading games on her work computer that she was trying to erase.
During her tenure as EPA chief, she was also caught by a congressional subcommittee using taxpayer funds to create and send out illegal lobbying material to more than 100 grassroots environmental lobbying organizations. Browner exploited her office to orchestrate a political campaign by left-wing groups, who turned around and attacked Republican lawmakers for supporting regulatory reform.
According to the left-leaning Atlantic, Obama has increasingly relied on Browner's counsel on issues beyond her environmental portfolio. Which means he's listening to her advice and strategizing on how to apply her truth-fudging, transparency-evading tactics to the rest of the economy and domestic policy.
Browner, a darling of left-wing billionaire George Soros' environmental justice circles and the wife of a top energy lobbyist, is a dangerous woman whose ideological zeal has helped power the Democrats' war on prosperity. Sunlight, as always, is the best disinfectant -- and a much-needed monkey wrench in the Obama job-killing machine.
George Soros U.N. Panel Organizes $100 Billion Climate Change Shakedown Aimed Against U.S.
George Soros, the radical, far-left billionaire, with a long history of antipathy toward American interests, now sits on a United Nations (UN) panel charged with organizing a $100 billion wealth transfer from the developed world to the underdeveloped world in the name of environmentalism. News of his involvement here is buried away in a New York Times report but it should be the lead sentence.
Developing countries must help combat the many challenges associated with global warming, according to a UN panel. That is assuming all concerned parties accept the premise of catastrophic human induced climate change and the New York Times certainly does. The price tag has been fixed at $100 billion and the villain here is of course the United States, which refuses to comply with anti-emissions regulations.
It’s a familiar script that is wearing thin. The alarmist rationale has been dealt serious setbacks in recent months thanks to updated research and the growing “climategate” scandal. But international bureaucrats and transnationalists opposed to America’s free market system remain undeterred in their course of action.
Last December, “international leaders” agreed that it would be necessary for the developed world to fork over $100 billion by 2020 during the Copenhagen climate summit. But the methodology and details of this transfer remain a point of consternation and contention. The U.N. panel has just released a report that offers up some suggestions.
“The attitude of the developing nations was that the industrialized world caused the pollution, so the richer states should cut a check for reparations and another check to help pursue clean development,” the Times report notes. “The richer nations balked at the prospect. Some of those differences remain in the report: the developing world thinks the financing should come in the form of public aid, whereas the developed world wants to rely heavily on private investment, for example. The differences were indeed on display during the release of the report.”
The nexus between environmentalism and anti-Americanism is not difficult to unravel. Van Jones, an avowed communist, who previously served as a czar for the Obama Administration, was forced to step down when far left history came to light. Buried deep in the NYT piece is a revealing nugget that should have been in the lead.
“The 21-member United Nations panel included Lawrence H. Summers, the White House’s departing national economics adviser; the billionaire financier George Soros; Ernesto Cordero Arroyo, the finance minister of Mexico; and Christine Lagarde, the French economic minister,” the Times reports.
That’s right, the same George Soros who has railed against American independence and sovereignty is now organization a massive wealth transfer to third world countries in the name of environmentalism.
The headline should read: George Soros Led United Nations Panel Organizes $100 Billion Anti-U.S. Shakedown Effort. But that it does not should surprise none.
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