Thursday, September 30, 2010

Royal Society Bows (somewhat) To Climate Change Sceptics

Britain’s leading scientific institution has been forced to rewrite its guide to climate change and admit that there is greater uncertainty about future temperature increases than it had previously suggested.

The Royal Society is publishing a new document today after a rebellion by more than 40 of its fellows who questioned mankind’s contribution to rising temperatures.

"Climate change: a summary of the science" states that “some uncertainties are unlikely ever to be significantly reduced”. Unlike Climate change controversies, a simple guide — the document it replaces — it avoids making predictions about the impact of climate change and refrains from advising governments about how they should respond.

The new guide says: “The size of future temperature increases and other aspects of climate change, especially at the regional scale, are still subject to uncertainty.”

The Royal Society even appears to criticise scientists who have made predictions about heatwaves and rising sea levels. It now says: “There is little confidence in specific projections of future regional climate change, except at continental scales.”

It adds: “It is not possible to determine exactly how much the Earth will warm or exactly how the climate will change in the future. “There remains the possibility that hitherto unknown aspects of the climate and climate change could emerge and lead to significant modifications in our understanding.”

The working group that produced the new guide took advice from two Royal Society fellows who have links to the climate-sceptic think-tank founded by Lord Lawson of Blaby.

Professor Anthony Kelly and Sir Alan Rudge are members of the academic advisory council of the Global Warming Policy Foundation. They were among 43 fellows who signed a petition sent to Lord Rees, the society’s president, asking for its statement on climate change to be rewritten to take more account of questions raised by sceptics.

Professor John Pethica, the society’s vice-president and chairman of the working group that wrote the document, said the guide stated clearly that there was “strong evidence” that the warming of the Earth over the past half-century had been caused largely by human activity.

Meanwhile, the Government is planning an exercise to test how England and Wales would cope with severe flooding caused by climate change. Exercise Watermark will take place in March and test emergency services and communities on a range of scenarios that could occur.


New Royal society document critiqued by astrophysicist

Piers Corbyn calls new Royal Society Climate Change document a "Continuing coverup & dereliction of duty" below

Curiously it has been suggested that the Royal Society is now somehow bowing to Climate Change Sceptics. Firstly the use of the word sceptics is inappropriate because no-one is sceptical of the fact that climate has been changing for millions of years. We who stand for the application of evidence-based science to the matter of climate change are better termed Climate Realists.

The Royal Society however do not appear to be bowing to anything. They may indeed be admitting the existence of Climate Realists a bit more but the new statement is a continuing cover for the failed science and fraudulent data of the ClimateChange lobby and a dereliction of the Royal Society's duty to uphold evidence-based science.

Professor John Pethica, the Royal Society’s vice-president and chairman of the working group that wrote the new document, said the guide stated clearly that there was “strong evidence” that the warming of the Earth over the past half-century had been caused largely by human activity. "The fact is", said Piers, "there is no such evidence. This is a false claim and if The Royal Society believe this they must show evidence. This is the founding principle of the scientific method.

"Rather than trying again to continue the cover-up of failed science and data fraud the Royal Society should support our call - from 'Climate-Sense' scientists -for an OPEN, HONEST EVIDENCE-BASED PUBLIC DEBATE ON CO2-Climate Change involving scientists and economists from all sides.".


Amping up the original eco-scare

The article below is rather amusing in the light of the article immediately following it

One-fifth of the world's plants - the foundation of life on Earth - are at risk of extinction, a study concludes. Researchers have sampled almost 4,000 species, and conclude that 22% should be classified as "threatened" - the same alarming rate as for mammals. A further 33% of species were too poorly understood to be assessed.

The analysis comes from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, the Natural History Museum and International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

There are an estimated 380,000 plant species in all, and many are victims of habitat loss - typically the clearing of forests for agriculture. Species in tropical rainforests are found to be at greatest risk.

The study, known as the Sampled Red List Index for Plants, is an attempt to provide the most accurate assessment so far.

Previous studies have focused on the most threatened plants or particular regions. This one instead sampled species from each of the five main groups of plants, and its authors argue that as a result, their conclusions are more credible.

The report comes ahead of the UN Biodiversity Conference in Nagoya in Japan next month where ministers are due to discuss why conservation targets keep being missed.

Launching the findings, Kew's director, Professor Stephen Hopper, said the study would provide a baseline from which to judge future losses. "We cannot sit back and watch plant species disappear - plants are the basis of all life on Earth, providing clean air, water, food and fuel. "Every breath we take involves interacting with plants. They're what we all depend on."

The study investigated the key types of plants, including mosses, ferns, orchids and legumes like peas and beans.

The fear among botanists is that species are being wiped out before they can be researched, potentially losing valuable medicinal properties. Plant-based remedies are the only source of healthcare in the world's poorest countries, and have proved essential in combating conditions including malaria and leukaemia.

Another concern is that we have become dependent on a narrow range of plants with a limited genetic base. The report estimates that 80% of the calories consumed worldwide are derived from just 12 different species.

The findings add urgency to the work of Kew's Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst in Sussex, which has now gathered some 1.8 billion seeds from around the world. The samples are catalogued and stored in underground cold rooms as a safeguard against future losses. The collection includes seeds from plants that have already been judged extinct, including a species of tree from Pakistan and an orchid from Ecuador.

Another victim is a species of olive tree from the South Atlantic island of St Helena. The only traces of its existence are a few dried pressings of its leaves, and a tiny sample of DNA kept in a plastic test-tube in a freezer.


Back from the dead: One third of 'extinct' animals turn up again

And plants too, no doubt, perhaps even more so

Conservationists are overestimating the number of species that have been driven to extinction, scientists have said. A study has found that a third of all mammal species declared extinct in the past few centuries have turned up alive and well.

Some of the more reclusive creatures managed to hide from sight for 80 years only to reappear within four years of being officially named extinct in the wild.

The shy okapi – which resembles a cross between a zebra and a giraffe – was first discovered in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1901. After increasingly rarer sightings, it vanished from the wildlife radar for decades from 1959, prompting fears that it had died out. But five years ago researchers working for the WWF found okapi tracks in the wild.

Other mammals ‘back from the dead’ include the rat-like Cuban solenodon, the Christmas Island shrew, the Vanikoro Flying Fox of the Solomon Islands, the Australian central rock rat and the Talaud Flying Fox of Indonesia.

The revelations come as the world’s leading conservationists prepare for a major United Nations summit on biodiversity in Nagoya, Japan, next month.

Many scientists believe the world is going through a new ‘mass extinction’ fuelled by mankind – and that more species are disappearing now than at any time since the dinosaurs vanished 65million years ago.

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, 22 per cent of the world’s mammals are at risk of extinction. In Britain, more than two plant and animal species are being wiped out each year.

But while the report does not play down the threat from deforestation, overfishing or habitat destruction, it raises questions about the way species are classified as extinct.

Dr Diana Fisher, of the University of Queensland, Australia, compiled a list of all mammals declared extinct since the 16th century or which were flagged up as missing in scientific papers. ‘We identified 187 mammal species that have been missing since 1500,’ she wrote in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. ‘In the complete data-set, 67 species that were once missing have been rediscovered. More than a third of mammal species that have been classified as extinct or possibly extinct, or flagged as missing, have been rediscovered.’

Mammals that suffered from loss of habitat were the most likely to have been declared extinct and then rediscovered, she said. Species spread out over larger areas were also more likely to be wrongly classified as extinct.

The mistakes cannot be blamed on primitive technology or old fashioned scientific methods. ‘Mammals missing in the 20th century were nearly three times as likely to be rediscovered as those that disappeared in the 19th century,’ Dr Fisher added.


News from the Southern hemisphere: Global cooling hits Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide

After their coldest winter in 13 years Sydney residents have just experienced their coldest September in five years, says.

However, the heat is on its way. "September was an unusual month in terms of the lack of warm days across much of south-eastern Australia," weatherzone meteorologist Brett Dutschke said.

"A high pressure system over the Great Australian Bight acted as a blocking mechanism, keeping noticeably cool southerly winds blowing over South Australia, Victoria and NSW. "Significant warming will occur in the coming weeks as heat builds over the interior. All we will need is a day or two of westerly winds and we could exceed 30 degrees," Mr Dutschke said.

When both daytime and overnight temperatures were combined, Sydney's average temperature this month came in at just under 17 degrees. This made it the coldest September in five years, despite being one degree above the long-term norm. It was also the coldest September in terms of daytime temperatures in three years.

During the month, the city had an average maximum temperature of 21 degrees, which is still warmer than the long-term norm of 20. It took until the 27th to warm up to 27 degrees, the longest in 17 years. There was a 23-day period that stayed colder than 25 degrees, the longest in September in 10 years.

The nights were not particularly cold overall, averaging a minimum of 12.3 degrees, one above the long-term average. This made it the coldest in terms of overnight minimums in two years. There were only six nights that cooled below 10 degrees; typically there are 11.

The cold was pronounced across southern and central NSW with several centres including Hay and Forbes having their coldest September in at least 15 years in terms of daytime temperatures.

Melbourne, Adelaide also cold

Residents of Melbourne have just experienced their coldest September days in 16 years, Mr Dutschke said. The city had an average maximum temperature of 16.6 degrees, about a half a degree below the long-term normal of 17.2. This made it the coldest September in terms of daytime temperatures since 1994.

When both daytime and overnight temperatures were combined, Melbourne's average temperature came in at just under 13 degrees. This made it the coldest September in at least seven years, despite being about a half a degree above the the long term norm.

Warmer days ahead will provide Adelaide residents with a good thawing out after enduring their coldest September in 18 years, Mr Dutschke said. The city had an average maximum of just 17 degrees, two degrees colder than the long-term norm, making it the coldest September since 1992 in terms of daytime temperatures. In fact, there was only one day that warmed to 20 degrees, on Monday 13th, the fewest 20-degree days in September in 18 years.


Why I don’t recycle

The environmental benefits are outweighed by the costs

In several cities, Stimulus funds are being used to put RFID chips on trash cans and recycle bins to better monitor who is throwing stuff away "properly" and to impose heavy fines on violators.

Thankfully, I don't live in one of those towns. I am in fact completely liberated from recycling. I just moved to a remote village. For a flat monthly fee, a waste disposal service gives each customer one large bin, and there is weekly trash pickup.

There is no recycling that I know of. What I mean is the company may sort recyclables and sell any reusable material such as aluminum cans. I don't know if it does. But I do know I don't have to sort it myself.

Aluminum cans and glass bottles go into the same bin with all my regular garbage. My assumption is that if the garbage company believes it's worth it to sort the recyclables, it will.

I suppose I could sort recyclables myself and drive once a month to some recycling facility - if there is one nearby. But the closest town that even might possibly have such a facility is forty minutes away. Is making a special trip worth it? Wouldn't my conservation efforts be at least partially offset by the gasoline consumed on the drive?

Also, if the garbage company finds value in having its customers recycle in exchange for lower pickup fees, it will do that. I'm glad that it doesn't.

Recycling can be tedious, particularly if one has to wash recyclables before putting them in the proper bin. With water becoming a more scarce resource, it seems to me the benefits of recycling are partly offset by the water consumption. Recycling also takes up house space. Not only must one have two or more outside bins, but inside one must keep special bags or boxes: one for paper, one for aluminum and glass, one for regular garbage, etc.

I believe cities and towns across America are making a big mistake. If recycled aluminum, glass, paper, plastics, etc. was of any value, individuals would be able to sell their recyclables on their own.

Moreover, if it was cheaper to recycle than to, for instance, mine new aluminum and produce new glass, companies would, on their own, start their own deposit programs. They would charge $1.10 for a $1.0 bottle of pop, and then give back ten cents when the empty bottle is returned.

As Floy Lilley points out, "recycling itself uses three times more resources than does depositing waste in landfills" and we are NOT running out of landfill space. In fact, landfills are a source of natural gas and many sites are converting to become energy facilities. Lilley goes on to say, "The US Office of Technology Assessment says that it is 'usually not clear whether secondary manufacturing such as recycling produces less pollution per ton of material processed than primary manufacturing processes.'"

Indeed, "Manufacturing paper, glass, and plastic from recycled materials uses appreciably more energy and water, and produces as much or more air pollution, as manufacturing from raw materials does. Resources are not saved and the environment is not protected."

Not only am I guilt-free about not recycling, I'd probably feel guilty if I started recycling again. And I would resent living in any town that forced me to.



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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Teflon Doomsayers

In The Rational Optimist, Matt Ridley offers example after spectacular example of a phenomenon that has baffled me ever since I began covering environmental issues in my first job in journalism thirty years ago: to wit, that while the entire presumable goal, purpose, and raison d'ˆtre of applied environmental science is to solve environmental problems, any environmental scientist who dares to suggest that problems are being solved is asking for trouble. As Ridley observes, we have arrived at a state where even the most wildly irrational pessimism is treated with reverence, while the most cautiously sober optimism is ridiculed.

Some of this is human nature and was ever thus; intellectuals, as The Rational Optimistreminds us, have been decrying modernism ever since modernism began. Actually, I wouldn't stop there: the belief in a lost golden age is as old as civilization, as is the intellectual vanity of casting oneself as the lone uncorrupted voice in the wilderness. A few thousand years before Dostoevsky, Malthus, George Orwell, and Paul Ehrlich, the Hebrew prophets were pouring out gloom and dismay with the best of them, dismissing the superficial comforts of the civilized world and its material rewards as a fool's paradise. Pessimism is what people with deep minds and deep souls have; optimism is what idiots with vacant grins on their faces have.

Pessimism is of course a proven fund-raising tool; "save the whales!" is always going to bring in more cash than "the whales are being saved!" But much more than that, we have today the amusingly ironic spectacle of tenured professors with salaries, health insurance, lifetime job security, and excellent retirement plans courtesy of TIAA-CREF being showered with worldly rewards (bestselling books, "genius" awards) for telling us that progress is an illusion and the end is near . . . while still preening themselves as daring outsiders courageously taking on the mighty and powerful. The fact that it takes no daring at all to adopt such an intellectual posture these days does not stop any of the practitioners of this business model from invariably announcing themselves to be the bearers of "dangerous" or "heretical" ideas and congratulating themselves for "speaking truth to power."

So there are understandable reasons why it pays to say that things have gone to hell and will continue to go to hell.

What I find almost inexplicable in all of this, however, is how the scientific doomsayers get away over and over again with making predictions that are fabulously, ridiculously - and demonstrably - incorrect, without the slightest repercussions upon their credibility or careers. Predictions of impending doom are published based on absurd methodologies and threadbare evidence of a kind that in the normal course of scientific affairs would be sufficient to ruin careers ten times over, and the authors walk away from them without a scratch.


Evidence of Solar Scientists Raise Fears of Imminent Ice Age

By John O'Sullivan

New study by American solar experts identifies a sharp fall in sunspot activity since 2007 that fits the hallmarks of a soon arriving ice age.

Solar scientists, not to be confused with climate scientists, study the most important heat engine driving our planet's temperatures-the sun.

Matthew Penn and William Livingston, solar astronomers with the National Solar Observatory (NSO) in Tucson, Arizona, have been following a marked decrease in sunspot activity recently. Reputable studies link a prolonged drop in sunspot activity to a cooling epoch or even a potential new ice age as more sunspots correlate with more global warming, while fewer sunspots are proven to match episodes of long-term cooling.

Since the formation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988 the talk has been about global warming. But 22 years on the evidence has grown to raise fears of a catastrophic climate switch in the opposite direction. We look at the evidence that is raising some very serious questions in the scientific community.

Zeeman Splitting Technique Raises Solar Alarm

Penn and Livingston used a measuring technique known as Zeeman splitting to study the magnetic strength of sunspots. The technique measures the distance between a pair of infrared spectral lines in a spectrograph from the light emitted by iron atoms in the atmosphere of the sun.

After examining 1500 sunspots they found that the average strength of the magnetic field of the sunspots has dropped by almost 40 percent in recent years. The reasons for the decline are unknown, but Penn and Livingston predict only half of the normal sunspots may appear on the surface of the Sun by 2021. Below that strength the formation of sunspots becomes almost impossible.

Other Experts Confirm Fears

Backing up the claims is Australian Geophysicist, Phil Chapman, a former NASA astronaut. Chapman confirms the historic correlation of sunspots to global temperatures and points to the dearth of sunspots since 2007 as the reason why the world has since cooled by about 0.7C.

Writer, Alan Caruba (September 21, 2010) probes the story further after a June 14 article published in the New Scientist by Stuart Clark.

Caruba reports that Clark, "raised the question of why and where the sunspots have gone. Noting that they ebb and flow in cycles lasting about eleven years, Stuart said, "But for the last two years, the sunspots have mostly been missing. Their absence, the most prolonged in nearly 100 years, has taken even seasoned sun watchers by surprise."

Return to another Little Ice Age or Worse?

The last time sunspots disappeared altogether, during the Maunder Minimum (about 1645 to 1715), our planet descended into a lengthy period of cooling known as the Little Ice Age.

The last major ice age, known as the Younger Dryas happened 12,000 years ago. That sudden event plunged temperatures in the North Atlantic region to about 5øC colder with a 1000-year duration.

Global Cooling Impacts Being Felt Now

Today Californians just had the coldest summer in decades. Last year in the northern hemisphere, Britain suffered one of the worst winters in 100 years. While in the U.S. the National Weather Service (NWS) reported that the bitterly cold winter broke numerous temperature and snow extent records with the 4th coldest February on record. New York and much of the U.S. Northeast was pumelled by record snow falls that deposited about 60cm (2 feet) of snow in NYC alone. While in New Zealand tens of thousands of lambs have perished in bitter winter snows.

Worst Snow Falls Since 1970's

Rutgers University Global Snow Lab also confirms that the 2010 Northern Hemisphere winter snow extent was the second highest on record, at 52,166,840 km2 and second only to February, 1978 which was slightly higher at 53,647,305 km2.

Are we now seeing the specter of a return to the fears of the 1970s, when climatologists warned of `The Cooling World' (Newsweek, April 28, 1975)? Anna Petherick reporting for ( August 27, 2010) recently reported on the brutal northern winter that was quickly followed in the southern hemisphere by a viciously cold winter and Antarctic chills killing millions of aquatic animals in the Amazon.

So will these latest changes in the sun's behavior be a harbinger of more cold to come?

SOURCE (See the original for links and references)

Blog Warfare - Warmists attacks their own

Richard Black of the BBC finds out how ugly it can be when you make the mistake (the travesty!) of missing a chance to tell everyone that the Earth's falling apart due to Man-made Global Warming.

It's the first time Richard Black has been on the receiving end. He's a bit put out.
It seems that something new, and not altogether welcome, may be happening in the politicking over climate change.

I have written before of the orchestrated villification that comes the way of climate scientists from some people and organisations who are unconvinced of the case for human-induced climate change - "sceptics", "deniers", as you wish.

This week, for the first time, I am seeing the same pattern from their opponents.

Joe Romm, the physicist-cum-government-advisor-cum-polemicist, posted a blog entry highly critical of the Arctic ice article I wrote last week.

Joe Romm took him to task for doing a story on the hottest year without "mentioning the primary cause of global warming" (according to climate models which are known to be wrong). Romm set lots of emailers onto Black. The original "dreadful" story is just reporting how arctic ice melted fast, but didn't shrink as much as 2007.

Then you can see the cogs turning in Black's mind with the implications:
What about scientists? If researchers publish papers on climate change that do not include cataclysmic warnings of where the world is heading, will they receive the same treatment?

Hello, Richard, yes, exactly, and you are catching up fast on the world in 1990. Around then, an intolerant culture was established that scorned anyone who so much as asked difficult questions. Some eminent scientists were sacked. Al Gores staffers attacked Fred Singer so viperously, that he took them to court and won. But what message did that send to the world's scientists? You can speak your doubts on the hypothesis of man-made-catastrophe, but be prepared to spend thousands on lawyers, risk your job, and lose your friends. Singer won the battle, but Al won that war.

If Richard Black would like the debate to be less polarized and more scientific he could start by getting over his own noxious use of the derogatory term "denier".

This is good news for skeptics. Why, because when bullies do what bullies do, they bite back at their own. For people like Judith Curry and Richard Black, suddenly the depth of the vicious campaign becomes clear, and unless they have a religious belief in man-made global warming, this is the point when they start to wonder just how strong the scientific case is. I've written before about how the bullying creates only brittle support, working only until the tactic is exposed for all to see, and how it helps convert passive borderline skeptics into active trumpeting dissenters.

There is a serious slogging going on in the comments, and it's interesting to watch.

The once cohesive block of the believers in the Big Scare Campaign fragments a bit further. Piece by piece proponents will distance themselves from the unscientific advocacy until all that are left are the religious believers who won't be swayed by any amount of reason.

Bishop Hill points out that there's a BBC science review running at the moment, and wonders if that has had any effect on Richard Black's reporting. The BBC review is starting from a point 10-steps-to-the-left of impartial: Both quacks and climate deniers rarely have anything to say that is real science. That's right, even if you have a Nobel Physics Prize, a BBC editor can group you with "quacks" and ignore everything you say.


British councillors shelve planned housing estate... in case cats eat the local dormice

A site for a new housing estate was rejected after planning chiefs said residents' cats might eat dormice in a nearby wood. Councillors in Paddock Wood, near Tunbridge Wells in Kent, voted down a proposed site for 600 homes after deciding it was `too dangerous' for the tiny creatures.

The native Hazel dormouse, which can hibernate for up to six months, is an endangered species in the UK and councillors were worried that the estate would mean scores of hungry cats arriving in the area. They said the cats would hunt in the 40-acre Foal Hurst Wood and devastate the dormouse population.

Labour councillor Ray Moon said the council had a `responsibility to maintain the wood for future generations' and that `having domestic cats living nearby would be disastrous for small mammals'. He said: `The Foal Hurst Wood is an ancient woodland, it has dormice, it offers so many different things to that area.

`I'm willing to stand up and defend the dormice of Foal Hurst Wood on the basis that our schoolchildren want to see our wildlife thriving. `I don't want my grandchildren to grow up and say: "I've never seen a dormouse, what's a dormouse?"'

But independent councillor Ron Goodman was angered by the ruling. He said: `You're trying to make a decision based on what's good for dormice. It's all nonsense. It's crazy.' Mr Goodman begged fellow councillors: `Don't make your mind up just because of some dormice.'

The site was rejected after seven councillors voted it the `least favoured option' of three proposed sites, with one vote against and two abstentions.

Resident Amy Little, 32, said: `How they can get in such a tizzy about dormice is ridiculous.'

Earlier this year, a council in South Wales spent œ190,000 on three 20ft-high road bridges for dormice to stop them being flattened by cars.


Attack on America's motor vehicles being stepped up

Environmental groups have launched a new effort, the Safe Climate Campaign, to radically transform the American automobile and fight climate change. Nathan Wilcox, global warming director at Environment America, states: “Americans want cars that go farther on a gallon of gas. They want our country to use less oil. They want our politicians doing more to address the problem of global warming, not less.” But the proposals are so extreme that the mini-van so loved by Soccer Moms may become an endangered species.

To kick off the campaign, nineteen environmental organizations, including Greenpeace, the National Wildlife Federation, the Sierra Club, and the Union of Concerned Scientists, sent a letter on September 9 to President Obama calling for a Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard of 60 miles-per-gallon (mpg). The memo also advocates a global warming tailpipe pollution standard of 143 grams-per-mile, both to be implemented by model year 2025. The memo states: “Setting strong global warming pollution and fuel efficiency standards for new cars and trucks is a key opportunity to put America on the right path.”

If adopted, these proposals will require that the average vehicle sold meet the standards or manufacturers pay a per-vehicle fine. Consumers will be forced to buy small high-mileage cars, primarily electric and hybrid, and forgo large vehicles based on the internal combustion engine, such as today’s mini-vans. Such emissions standards could significantly raise the price of our cars. Europe recently enacted similar emissions standards that are projected to boost prices by more than $8,000 per vehicle.

Congress is now an advocate of electric cars. The Promoting Electric Vehicles Act of 2010 (S. 3495), was introduced in the Senate in June. If passed, the act will direct state regulatory agencies and electric utilities to plan for electric vehicles and to deploy electric vehicle charging stations. The bill includes a “Targeted Plug-in Electric Drive Vehicle Deployment Communities Program,” authorizing the Secretary of Energy to grant $500 million in taxpayer money to each of up to 15 cities to “fund projects in the deployment community.” The goal is to achieve deployment of 700,000 plug-in vehicles at an estimated cost of $4 billion. A large share of these funds will be funneled to General Motors, majority-owned by the U.S. government. These subsidies will add to the $2.7 billion in electric car grants already provided by the 2009 Recovery Act.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is aggressively moving to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. On April 1, the EPA established a new 35.5 mpg CAFE standard and a vehicle emissions standard of 250 grams per mile, effective for automobile model year 2016. The EPA has also proposed new “window stickers” with an “A+” through “D” grade based on fuel economy and emissions. Consumers may soon be told that plug-in electric vehicles rate an “A,” while SUVs get a “B” or lower. In the eyes of the EPA and climate alarmists, safety, roominess, driving range, acceleration, carrying capacity, and price/performance rate a lower grade than solving the climate crisis.

The danger is not that the government provides incentives to develop an electric vehicle industry, but that these policies become a coercive effort to force consumer purchases. Hybrid vehicles now account for only about 3% of U.S. annual vehicle sales and plug-in electric car sales are negligible. According to a 2010 National Academy of Sciences report, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) with a 40-mile battery range will cost $14,000-18,000 more than a conventional car. Even with battery improvements, the PHEV will still cost $10,000 more by 2030. As an example, the recently announced sub-compact Chevrolet Volt has a 40-mile battery range and is priced at an expensive $41,000. Charging times are eight hours from a 120-volt electrical outlet, or a still-inconvenient three hours if a buyer purchases a 240-volt charging station for $2,000-$5,000. Coercive standards proposed by the Safe Climate Campaign will impose life-style changes and high costs on American citizens.

During the June Senate hearings on S.3495, “energy independence” or “reducing our dependence on foreign oil” were the often-stated reasons why we must adopt electric cars. Vehicles account for more than 70% of the seven billion barrels of annual U.S. oil consumption, 57% of which was imported in 2008. Advocates urge adoption of electric cars to reduce imports from nations such as Saudi Arabia, Libya, and Venezuela.

But we have a more practical solution available than forcing electric cars on Americans. By expanding imports from friendly nations, such as Canada (currently our largest oil partner), Mexico, and Brazil, and boosting domestic oil production, we can reduce our dependency on rogue nations. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates 10.4 billion barrels of oil are available from our Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), enough to replace imports from Saudi Arabia for 20 years. The continental U.S. also has 163 billion barrels of unproven reserves, but 85% of this total is currently in areas where exploration and drilling are banned. Yes, the recent BP oil blowout in the Gulf of Mexico was a tragedy. But the BP oil blowout in 2010, the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989, and the Santa Barbara blow-out in 1969 add up to only three major spills in the last 50 years. Improved safeguards should be able to lower the chance of such spills.

The letter to President Obama closes with the phrase: “With these standards you can ensure we take this opportunity on the path to ending our dependence on oil.” Note that it says “dependence on oil,” not “foreign oil.” A visit to the websites of environmental groups finds opposition to any efforts to grow U.S. oil production. They favor a ban on offshore drilling, and oppose drilling in ANWR, expansion of drilling in the continental United States, imports from Canadian oil sands, and construction of new oil pipelines and refineries. Indeed, these organizations also oppose the use of coal- and gas-fired electrical power plants. Energy independence is the often-stated reason for the electric car push, but the real reason is that our gasoline-burning cars are blamed for global warming.

Climatism, the belief that man-made greenhouse gases are destroying Earth’s climate, is the ideology behind the attack on our cars. Earth’s surface temperature has warmed only about one degree in the last 100 years, but climate alarmists tell us that this warming is “unprecedented.” They demand that we switch to fluorescent lights, wind- and solar-generated electricity, vegetarian diets, and now electric cars.

Yet, geologists tell us that Chicago and New York City were covered by an ice sheet only 15,000 years ago. The Earth’s surface temperature warmed 10 to 20 degrees as the ice melted, providing the warm interglacial period we now enjoy. None of the post-ice age warm-up was due to emissions from SUVs, but alarmists are certain that the much smaller warming of the last 30 years is man-made. As a result, the American automobile is the target of Climatism.


Green/Left government committee ignores third way in tackling climate change, say Australia's conservatives

"Belief test" shows that it is religion, not science that is involved

THE Coalition has sharpened its attack on Labor's climate change committee, saying it's too secretive and based on accepting a pre-ordained outcome.

Squabbling over the committee intensified this morning before the official opening of the 43rd Australian parliament, the swearing-in of members and the election of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker. The government says members of the multi-party committee should be committed to establishing a price on carbon, and its deliberations will be in secret until an agreement is reached. The Coalition has refused the government's offer to sit on the committee.

Opposition spokesman for climate action Greg Hunt claimed today that a "belief test" had been imposed on the committee, saying the two options up for consideration were a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme. "Our view is that there is a third way in terms of market mechanisms," he told ABC radio.

"And that's the water buyback equivalent - what we would call direct action for a carbon buyback. "That's off the table. And you are not even allowed to participate in the committee unless you accept that the third way is not on the table," he said.

"And I'm not aware respectfully of a belief test ever having been imposed. It's almost Orwellian to say we have a new openness but now in fact we have a) almost the most secret committee ever and b) certainly the only belief test committee in parliamentary history."

Liberal MP Dennis Jensen said the government was effectively ruling him out of the committee, adding: "I'm probably the most highly qualified scientist in this place." He said he was being ruled out because he didn't "believe in a carbon price". "It's as simple as that. I'm being ruled out on that basis," he said.

"It would make no difference if I thought that there were other mechanisms to tackle things. "And I think that there are things that you can do responsibly without needing to go to a carbon price regardless of what's your philosophical viewpoint on whether human beings are causing climate change or not."

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet dismissed the criticisms as "hyperbole". He said on Sky News it was "complete rubbish" that the committee required its members to have a pre-ordained position.

Mr Combet said membership of the committee membership was based on whether a political party respected the climate science, saying it would provide common ground to "move forward". However, he confirmed the purpose of the committee was to "discuss the options for introducing a carbon price".

Mr Combet also defended the confidentiality arrangements, arguing there would be some "very commercially sensitive" information being considered. However, he added that some of the information being considered could also be useful in stimulating debate, citing an updated version of Professor Ross Garnaut's climate change review.



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


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Thermometer Magic

Prior to the year 2000, the GISS US temperature graph appeared as below. Note that 1998 was more than half a degree C (almost 1§F) cooler than 1934.

In the year 2000, they switched places. 1998 became warmer than 1934. How did this magic occur?

You can see the trick behind the magic in the USHCN graph below. Most temperatures readings made prior to 1950 have been lowered ex post facto, and most years after 1950 have been raised successively higher.

In fact, all temperature readings taken after 1990 have more than 0.5 degrees F added on to what was actually measured by the thermometers!

Now, here comes the kicker. I overlaid the USHCN adjustments (thin blue line) on the current GISS US temperature graph below, lining up with the 1930s peak. The scale adjusted for Fahrenheit vs Centigrade of course.

As you can see, essentially all of the "warming" which is shown in the graph since the 1930s, is due to adjustments made to the thermometer readings.


Global Cooling and the New World Order

Bilderberg. Whether you believe it’s part of a sinister conspiracy which will lead inexorably to one world government or whether you think it’s just an innocent high-level talking shop, there’s one thing that can’t be denied: it knows which way the wind is blowing.

At its June meeting in Sitges, Spain (unreported and held in camera, as is Bilderberg’s way), some of the world’s most powerful CEOs rubbed shoulders with notable academics and leading politicians. They included: the chairman of Fiat, the Irish Attorney General Paul Gallagher, the US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke, Henry Kissinger, Bill Gates, Dick Perle, the Queen of the Netherlands, the editor of the Economist…. Definitely not Z-list, in other words.

Which is what makes one particular item on the group’s discussion agenda so tremendously significant. See if you can spot the one I mean:
The 58th Bilderberg Meeting will be held in Sitges, Spain 3 – 6 June 2010. The Conference will deal mainly with Financial Reform, Security, Cyber Technology, Energy, Pakistan, Afghanistan, World Food Problem, Global Cooling, Social Networking, Medical Science, EU-US relations.

Yep, that’s right. Global Cooling.

Which means one of two things. Either it was a printing error. Or the global elite is perfectly well aware that global cooling represents a far more serious and imminent threat to the world than global warming, but is so far unwilling to admit it except behind closed doors.

Let me explain briefly why this is a bombshell waiting to explode.

Almost every government in the Western world from the USA to Britain to all the other EU states to Australia and New Zealand is currently committed to a policy of “decarbonisation.” This in turn is justified to (increasingly sceptical) electorates on the grounds that man-made CO2 is a prime driver of dangerous global warming and must therefore be reduced drastically, at no matter what social, economic and environmental cost. In the Eighties and Nineties, the global elite had a nice run of hot weather to support their (scientifically dubious) claims. But now they don’t. Winters are getting colder. Fuel bills are rising (in the name of combating climate change, natch). The wheels are starting to come off the AGW bandwagon. Ordinary people, resisting two decades of concerted brainwashing, are starting to notice.

All this, of course, spells big trouble for the global power elite. As well as leading to food shortages (as, for example, it becomes harder to grow wheat in northerly latitudes; adding, of course, to such already-present disasters as biofuels and the rejection of GM), global cooling is going to find electorates increasingly angry that they have been sold a pup.

Our fuel bills have risen inexorably; our countryside, our views and our property values have been ravaged by hideous wind farms; our holidays have been made more expensive; our cost of living has been driven up by green taxes; our freedoms have been curtailed in any number of pettily irritating ways from what kind of light bulbs we are permitted to use to how we dispose of our rubbish. And to what end? If man-made global warming was really happening and really a problem we might possibly have carried on putting up with all these constraints on our liberty and assaults on our income. But if it turns out to have been a myth……

Well then, all bets are off.

The next few years are going to be very interesting. Watch the global power elite squirming to reposition itself as it slowly distances itself from Anthropogenic Global Warming (”Who? Us? No. We never thought of it as more than a quaint theory…”), and tries to find new ways of justifying green taxation and control. (Ocean acidification; biodiversity; et al). You’ll notice sly shifts in policy spin. In Britain, for example, Chris “Chicken Little” Huhne’s suicidal “dash for wind” will be re-invented as a vital step towards “energy security.” There will be less talk of “combatting climate change” and more talk of “mitigation”. You’ll hear enviro-Nazis like Obama’s Science Czar John Holdren avoid reference to “global warming” like the plague, preferring the more reliably vague phrase “global climate disruption.”

And you know what the worst thing is? If we allow them to, they’re going to get away with it.

Our duty as free citizens over the next few years is to make sure that they don’t.

Al Gore, George Soros, Bill Gates, Carol Browner, John Holdren, Barack Obama, David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Tim Yeo, Michael Mann, Ted Turner, Robert Redford, Phil Jones, Chris Huhne, John Howard (yes really, he was supposed to be a conservative, but he was the man who kicked off Australia’s ETS), Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd, Yvo de Boer, Rajendra Pachauri….The list of the guilty goes on and on. Each in his own way – and whether through ignorance, naivety idealism or cynicism, it really doesn’t matter for the result has been the same – has done his bit to push the greatest con-trick in the history of science, forcing on global consumers the biggest bill in the history taxation, using “global warming” as an excuse to extend the reach of government further than it has ever gone before.

It is time we put a stop to this. In the US, the Tea Party movement is showing us the way. We need to punish these dodgy politicians at the ballot box. We need to ensure that those scientists guilty of malfeasance are, at the very least thrown out of the jobs which we taxpayers have been funding these last decades. We need to ensure that corporatist profiteers are no longer able to benefit from the distortion and corruption of the markets which result from green regulation.

We need a “Global Warming” Nuremberg.


Shale gas transforming energy outlook

Cheap, low-emission shale gas, with double the global reserves of conventional sources, will discourage investment in nuclear reactors and carbon storage that would fight climate change, a British study shows.

“In a world where there is the serious possibility of cheap, relatively clean gas, who will commit large sums of money to expensive pieces of equipment to lower carbon emissions?” Paul Stevens, senior research fellow at Chatham House, a London- based institute for the study of international affairs, wrote in the report published today.

Global shale gas reserves are estimated to be 456 trillion cubic meters (16,110 trillion cubic feet) compared with 187 trillion cubic meters for conventional gas, the London-based World Energy Council said in a 2010 report. More than 60 percent of shale gas deposits, or plays, are in North America and Russia.

Shale gas is considered unconventional because it is found in sedimentary rock, not in reservoirs. Tapping it requires more wells, advanced horizontal drilling and chemicals that can pollute ground water.

A confluence of drilling history, tax credits, emission goals, technology, and incentives for landowners to allow wells has reduced U.S. shale gas production costs to less than half of conventional gas in some places, Stevens wrote. That is shaking investor confidence in conventional gas.

Cheaper Than Conventional

The cost of producing shale gas is $3 or less per million British thermal units in the Texas plays of Barnett and Haynesville, Stevens wrote. Conventional gas drilling is about $10 per million Btu, said Chris Rowland, executive director of a research unit of Ecofin Ltd., a London-based investment management company.

“If gas is available at $5 per million Btu, the all-in price for gas-fired plants would fall to around 50 euros ($67) per megawatt-hour without carbon capture and storage, or 70 euros with it,” Rowland said. That compares with 160 euros for a coal plant with CCS, perhaps falling to 130 euros in 10 years, and 85 euros for a nuclear plant, Rowland said.

Natural gas has averaged $4.63 over the past year. Gas for October delivery settled at $4.019 yesterday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.


The Farm That Will Milk Britons Of Billions

In all the publicity given to the opening of "the world's largest wind farm" off the Kent coast last week, by far the most important and shocking aspect of this vast project was completely overlooked. Over the coming years we will be giving the wind farm's Swedish owners a total of £1.2 billion in subsidies. That same sum, invested now in a single nuclear power station, could yield a staggering 13 times more electricity, with much greater reliability.

The first all-too-common mistake in the glowing coverage accorded to the inauguration of this Thanet wind farm by the Climate Change Secretary, Chris Huhne, was to accept unquestioningly the claims of the developer, Vattenfall, about its output. The array of 100 three-megawatt (MW) turbines, each the height of Blackpool Tower, will have, it was said, the "capacity" to produce 300MW of electricity, enough to "power" 200,000 (or even 240,000) homes.

This may be true at those rare moments when the wind is blowing at the right speeds. But the wind, of course, is intermittent, and the average output of these turbines will be barely a quarter of that figure. The latest official figures on the website of Mr Huhne's own department show that last year the average output (or "load factor") of Britain's offshore turbines was only 26 per cent of their capacity.

Due to its position, the wind farm's owners will be lucky to get, on average, 75MW from their windmills, a fraction of the output of a proper power station. The total amount of electricity the turbines actually produce will equate to the average electricity usage not of 240,000 homes, but of barely half that number.

A far more significant omission from the media reports, however, was any mention of the colossal subsidies this wind farm will earn. Wind energy is subsidised through the system of Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs), unwittingly paid for by all of us through our electricity bills. Our electricity supply companies are obliged to buy offfshore wind energy at three times its normal price, so that each kilowatt hour of electricity receives a 200 per cent subsidy of £100.

This means that the 75MW produced on average by Thanet will receive subsidies of £60 million a year, on top of the £30-40 million cost of the electricity itself. This is guaranteed for the turbines' estimated working life of 20 years, which means that the total subsidy over the next two decades will be some £1.2 billion. Based on the costings of the current French nuclear programme, that would buy 1 gigawatt (1,000MW) of carbon-free nuclear generating capacity, reliably available 24 hours a day – more than 13 times the average output of the wind farm.

The 100 turbines opened last week cost £780 million to build, which means that the £100 million a year its owners hope to earn represents a 13 per cent return on capital, enough to excite the interest of any investor. And these turbines are only the first stage of a project eventually designed to include 341 of them, generating subsidies of £1 billion every five years.

A final claim for the Thanet wind farm (which Mr Huhne boasts is "only the beginning") is that it will create "green jobs" – although the developers say that only 21 of these will be permanent. These are thus costing, in "green subsidies" alone, £3 million per job per year, or £57 million for each job over the next 20 years. The Government gaily prattles about how it wants to create "400,000 green jobs", which on this basis would eventually cost us £22.8 trillion, or 17 times the entire annual output of the UK economy.

If all this sounds dizzyingly surreal, the fact remains that we must begin to grasp just what the green fantasies of Mr Huhne, the EU and the rest are costing us. Even the Queen, we learn, tried to claim a "fuel poverty" allowance for her soaring electricity bills, which have risen 50 per cent in the past year. But a crucial first step towards getting some grip on reality must be for those who report on these wind farms to stop hiding away the colossal price we are all now having to pay for one of the greatest scams of our age.



Comment from Britain's "Daily Express" newspaper (Circulation over 600,000)

THIS newspaper has long been in the sceptical camp when it comes to the great man-made global warming scare.

It is not the warnings of some scientists about the possible impact of climate change that are most objectionable but rather their elevation into an orthodoxy that it is not permissible to challenge.

Yet there has always been the whiff of hyperbole surrounding claims made by the high priests of the climate change

One of the most alarming predictions was the forecast of Dr Rajendra Pachauri that the Himalayan glaciers could disappear by 2035, causing an environmental disaster. As chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the official United Nations body in this area, Dr Pachauri's warning commanded massive attention. But now even he admits it was not justified.

So no wonder he is under pressure to step down. In Britain even adherents of the climate change panic wish him to depart. As Tim Yeo, chairman of the all-party Commons committee on the subject, observes: "Climate science needs a guarantee of utmost reliability and Dr Pachauri can no longer guarantee that."

It is obvious that Dr Pachauri should resign and take the rest of his discredited panel with him. But there is a very good reason why those who first challenged his views need not bother to press the issue: while Dr Pachauri and his allies remain in place few people will believe future IPCC scare stories about the world drastically overheating.


An annoying regulation for every room in the house

The Obama administration isn’t satisfied giving the American people several big things we don’t want — the stimulus package, expanded bailouts, Obamacare — but it is also hitting us with a multitude of bothersome regulations. Perhaps most annoying of all is Washington’s attempt to redesign home appliances. Just weeks after taking office, the president announced an accelerated process to create stringent new energy efficiency standards for nearly everything around the house that uses energy. The Department of Energy is well on its way towards accomplishing this goal, boasting of more than 20 such regulations since President Obama came to office.

If past experience is any guide, these regulations will raise the purchase price of appliances — in some cases more than is ever likely to be earned back in the form of energy savings. Worse, several may adversely impact product performance and reliability. There are potentially problematic regulations on the way for virtually every room in the house.

The Basement — new standards are in the works for water heaters and furnaces. In the case of water heaters, the Department of Energy estimates price increases ranging from $67 to $974 depending on size and type.

The Bathroom — the same 1992 law that gave us those awful low-flush toilets also restricted the amount of water showerheads could use to 2.5 gallons per minute. Some consumers thought the flow from these showers too weak, and opted for models with two or more showerheads, each of which contributed 2.5 gallons per minute. But the Department of Energy recently eliminated this option by reinterpreting the law to require that the total flow must comply with the limit. It is good to know that regulators are hard at work ensuring that Americans can’t get what they want.

The Kitchen — there are pending regulations for refrigerators, dishwashers, conventional ovens, and microwaves. With refrigerators, it’s a clear case of regulatory overkill. They have already been subject to multiple rounds of increasingly tighter standards, with each new rule saving less energy than the last while adding to performance and reliability issues. One more regulation may well go beyond the point of diminishing marginal returns and be downright harmful.

The Laundry Room — New standards are on the way for both clothes washers and dryers. The last clothes washer regulation managed to both raise the cost of many models by hundreds of dollars while compromising cleaning ability. Yet another round could make things worse.

The Bedroom, Living Room (or any air-conditioned room) — both central air-conditioners and window units are scheduled for new regulations. Even the Department of Energy conceded when rolling out its last round of central air-conditioner standards in January 2001 (one of those last-minute Clinton administration regulatory surprises) that many homeowners would never recoup the additional up-front cost of compliant models. The new standards could be an even lousier deal.

These new Obama administration regulations come on top of all the previous ones, including the worst of them all — the Bush-era requirement that will effectively ban incandescent light bulbs beginning in 2012.

In nearly every case, consumers who want more efficient appliances (or those compact fluorescent light bulbs) are free to buy them. Energy use labels provide all the information needed for consumers to make comparisons. The only thing federal regulations accomplish is to force the government’s preferred choice on everyone.

There are a lot of things coming from Washington that need to be revisited. These awful appliance efficiency standards should be high on that list.



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


Monday, September 27, 2010

What do we see when we use THREE centuries of temperature data?

German geologist Dr. Friedrich-Karl Ewert has asked that question and answered it. He notes that the German weather bureau has temperature records going back as far as 1701 so decided to use them all to calculate temperature changes over time. He found nearly as many cooling trends as warming trends -- giving an overall temperature change that is so small as to be best described as temperature stability.

Below is the introduction to an almost completely ignored press conference that he gave at the recent Bonn pow-wow. I also have the graphs accompanying the presentation and reproduce the first of them below.

The captions are in German but what he shows is the average temperature change over the period available for various centres. In brown are centres where there was warming and in blue are centres where there was no change or cooling. You can see that in all but a few cases the changes were in fractions of one degree Celsius, with the total changes in blue almost cancelling out the total of changes in brown and red.

No doubt various criticisms could be made of Dr Ewert's methods -- averaging time periods of different lengths etc. -- but Warmists are in much the same boat. As is well-known, James Hansen refuses outright to reveal the details and rationale of the methods he uses to account for various difficulties -- which surely speaks for itself

I have tidied up the German English somewhat below

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 13th Session of AWG-KP and 11th Session of AWG-LCA, 2 to 7 August 2010 in Bonn/Germany. Contribution by EIKE (Europaisches Institut fuer Klima und Energie). Press Conference:

Long-term temperature readings disprove man-made global warming

by Dipl.-Geol. Dr. Friedrich-Karl Ewert, Bad Driburg/Germany, Mail:


Temperature readings permit us to portray temperatures in the past and to correlate their development with influencing factors in order to check whether scenarios figured out for the future might be realistic - or not. For instance: the IPCC's postulation that anthropogenic CO2 will cause within the forthcoming decades a tremendous global warming cannot be true if already now worldwide cooling is taking place in spite of ongoing emissions.

It is surprising that temperature readings carried out during the 18th and 19th century have not yet been considered although they are available from 1701 onwards as monthly and annual averages in [The German Weather Bureau].

The author evaluated data from 46 stations worldwide and generated temperature curves with their trend-lines. They were used to ascertain the annual change rates of the temperature variations. These changes do not confirm the wide-spread conviction of a global climate change but identify merely rather small temperature variations. They yielded a slight warming in approx. two thirds of several regions but likewise a slight cooling in the others.

The positive experience gained with this first evaluation motivated one to determine the trends of NASA-temperature curves from 776 stations located all over the world. Stations established already in 1880 were preferably analysed. It became evident that warming within the pre-industrial age also occurred faster than nowadays. Invariable trends or even cooling were diagnosed for 74% of all stations, although with differences from continent to continent. These trends superimpose periodical temperature variations of second order and regional differences. Only 18.8% of the stations recorded warming, of which a substantial portion belongs still to the category of urban development since only very few and very clear cases were assigned to the Urban Heat Island Effect. Contrary to computer based scenarios - and hence contrary to what is generally believed -- anthropogenic CO2 is meaningless because its influence is not recognizable. Of course this result complies with the basic laws of physics and is not really surprising.

Received via email

The Week That Was (To September 25, 2010)

Excerpt from Ken Haapala, Executive Vice President Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

Apparently re-invigorated by its August holiday, this week Congress renewed its anti-energy proposals. Several senators introduced a bill requiring a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) that 3% of US electricity be generated by renewable by 2012 and 15% by 2021. Fred Singer discussed RES in his August 7 Science Editorial in TWTW. Government favored industries, such as solar and wind industries, require such a bill. The subsidies found in the stimulus bill run out at the end of this year and these the favored industries could not stand up to price competition from coal or natural gas. Nuclear and hydro are also out of favor.

As discussed previously in TWTW, American prosperity was built on reliable affordable energy, especially electricity. With reliable electricity, came great efficiency. Manufacturing can be conducted with precision, office workers could depend that the lights would turn on, elevators would work, and high tech industries could rely on dependable computer power. Solar, and particularly wind, give none of this. And the required generation from back-up sources uses these sources inefficiently. Also, there are serious questions weather wind generation actually reduces carbon dioxide emissions.

In effect, many of our political leaders would have us believe that the 21st Century prosperity can be obtained by replacing the dependable family car with an expensive to purchase and operate exotic car that often does not start and frequently dies in heavy traffic when it is needed the most. It may be a burden on others, but it makes the politicians "feel good" they have "done something" to address a non-existent problem.

We can fully expect that such legislation will be supported by the chorus claiming that climate extremes demonstrate the need for action. Another claim will be to reduce oil imports for foreign countries; but, as mentioned in a previous TWTW only 1.1% of electricity generation comes from oil. And, of course, we will be bombarded with green jobs - which economic studies show are extremely expensive, temporary, and, generally, foreign-based. (Please see articles under "Subsidies and Mandates Forever."


Renewable Electricity Standard is in full force in California. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) decreed that in 10 years California must obtain 33% of its electricity from alternative sources such as wind, solar, and geothermal. California has 12% unemployment. Those pointing out that California can ill afford further job losses, that cost and benefits reports issued from CARB are hopelessly opportunistic, and that citizens will suffer from increases electricity rates are branded as being on the payroll of the oil industry and opposed to clean air.



Guest Editorial by Dr. Harrison "Jack" Schmitt (Harrison H. Schmitt is a former United States Senator from New Mexico as well as a geologist and former Apollo Astronaut)

The scientific rationale behind the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed massive intrusion into American life in the name of fighting climate change has no scientific or constitutional justification. This hard left excursion into socialism, fully supported by the Congressional Leadership and the President, has no basis in observational science, as has been discussed previously relative to climate history, temperature, and carbon dioxide.

In addition, oceans of the Earth play the dominant role in the perpetuation and mediation of naturally induced change of global climate.[1] Density variations linking the Northern and Southern Hemisphere portions of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans through the Southern Ocean drive the primary circulation system that controls hemispheric and global climate. Differences in temperature and salt concentration produce these density variations that circulate heat around the planet. For the last several years in this circulating environment, the sea surface temperature of the oceans appears to be leveling off or decreasing[2] with no net heat increase for the last 58 years[3] and particularly since 2003[4] and possibly since 1990[5]. The long-term climatic implications of this recent broad scale cooling are not known.

Density increase due to evaporation in the North Atlantic creates a salt-rich, cold, deepwater current that flows south to join the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. Upwelling from that Circumpolar Current brings nutrient and carbon dioxide-rich deep seawater into the upper Southern Ocean. This Southern Ocean water then moves north toward the equator where it joins a warm water current flowing from the North Pacific, through the tropics and the Indian Ocean, and then northward through the Atlantic to become the Gulf Stream. The Gulf Stream flows into the North Atlantic where, as part of a continuous process, wind-driven evaporation increases salt concentration and density and feeds the deepwater flow back to the south. Natural interference in the normal functioning of the ocean conveyor can occur. For example, melting of Northern Hemisphere ice sheets, accumulation of melt-water behind ice dams, and abrupt fresh water inputs into the North Atlantic cause major disruptions in global ocean circulation. [6]

The oceans both moderate and intensify weather and decadal climate trends due to their great capacity to store solar heat as well as their global current structure, slow mixing, salinity variations, wind interactions, and oscillatory changes in heat distribution over large volumes. [7] The Northern Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), [8] the El Nino-La Nina Southern Pacific Oscillation (ENSO), [9] the long period anchovy-sardine Southern Pacific Oscillation, [10] the Gulf Stream Northern Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), [11] the Indonesian Through-Flow (ITF), [12v the Agulhas Current[13], and other related ocean currents and cycles have demonstrably large, decadal scale effects on regional as well as global climate. [14]

Possibly the greatest oceanic influence on global climate results from the full hemispheric reach and scale of the Southern Ocean's Circumpolar Current as it circulates around Antarctica and between the continents of the Southern Hemisphere. [15] In particular, the northward migration of the cold to warm water front off South Africa during ice ages may restrict warm, salty water of the western Indian Ocean's Agulhas Current from entering the South Atlantic and eventually amplify ice age cooling in North America and Europe. [16]

In several major portions of the global ocean heat conveyor, natural variations in heating, evaporation, freshwater input, [17] atmospheric convection, surface winds, and cloud cover can influence the position and strengths of related, but local ocean currents near the continents. This variation in current positioning, therefore, modifies carbon dioxide uptake and release, storm patterns, tropical cyclone frequency, [18] phytoplankton abundance, [19] drought conditions, and sea level rise that drive the reality of, as well as our perceptions of climate change.

For example, since about 7000 years ago, sea level rise has averaged about eight inches (20cm) per century for a total of about 55 feet (16m). [20] This same approximate rate appears to have held from 1842 to the mid-1980s. [21] The trend in sea level rise between the early 1900s and 1940 showed no observable acceleration attributable to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide. [22] Satellite data show an apparent 50% increase of this rate after 1992, but this presumably will slow again soon due to the effects of the current period of global cooling. If the current slow rate of long-term global warming should continue for 100 years, the total sea level rise attributable to worldwide glacier melting and ocean thermal expansion would be no more that about four inches (10cm). [23]

Greenland's ice sheet also plays a cyclic role in sea level changes. In the 1950s, Greenland's glaciers retreated significantly only to advance again between 1970 and 1995, [24] a pattern of retreat and then advance repeated again between 1995 and 2006[25]. Predicting future sea level rise from short-term observation of Greenland's glaciers would seem to have little validity, particularly as there appears to be a half a decade lag in observable melting and accretion responses relative to global temperature variations[26]. The same conclusion now can be made relative to Himalayan glaciers. [27]

There also seems to be little danger of a catastrophic melting of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet that would cause a major rise in sea level. [28] Great uncertainty also exists relative to the natural dynamics and history of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet with Ross Sea sedimentary cores suggesting that major cycles of ice cover changes have occurred over the last five million years. [29] Overall, short-term sea level changes relate more to local geological dynamics that to glacial variations. [30]

Compilations of temperature changes in the oceans and seas, as preserved by oxygen isotope variations in shells from cores of bottom sediments, provide a record of natural oceanic reactions to cycles of major climate change back for 1.8 million years. [31] For example, geological analysis of sea level changes over the last 500,000 years show a remarkable correlation with major natural climate change. [32] These data further indicate that the Earth probably is approaching the peak of the warming portion of a normal climate cycle that began with the end of the last Ice Age, about 10, 000 years ago. [33]

The oceans play the major role in removing carbon from the atmosphere. Seawater calcium and various inorganic and organic processes in the oceans fix carbon from dissolved carbon dioxide as calcium carbonate, [34] planktonic and benthic organisms, and inedible forms of suspended carbon[35]. In so doing, these processes constitute major factors in global cycles of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. Calcium availability in the oceans, in turn, relates to major geological dynamics, including mountain building, volcanism, river flows, and the growth, alteration, and destruction of crustal plates beneath the oceans.

Over the last 28 million years, marked variations in precipitated seawater calcium isotopes, particularly beginning about 13 million years ago, indicate major changes in sources of calcium rather than major variations in the quantity of atmospheric carbon dioxide. [36] This change in seawater calcium isotopic makeup may relate to events that included the partial deglaciation of Antarctica[37]. As most plant activity requires carbon dioxide, low atmospheric carbon dioxide values would reduce the rate of biologically assisted rock weathering. A limit on such weathering may buffer minimum atmospheric carbon dioxide to between 150 and 250ppm by limiting levels of seawater calcium. [38]

Significant introductions of calcium into the oceans from any source would be expected to result in a drawdown of atmospheric carbon dioxide to maintain chemical balances in local as well as global seawater. Ultimately, the history of seawater calcium concentrations may explain many of the long-term variations in carbon dioxide levels shown in various studies; however, correlations between calcium dynamics and carbon dioxide levels are not at sufficient geological resolution to make firm, dated correlations.

Slightly increased acidification of the local environments of sea dwelling organisms in the oceans may occur related to the absorption of new emissions of carbon dioxide. On the other hand, in spite of extreme alarmist hand wringing to the contrary[39], loss of ocean carbon dioxide due to naturally rising temperature works to mitigate this trend as will the broad chemical buffering of ocean acidity by both organic and inorganic processes[40].

Iron ion and iron complex concentrations in seawater, mediated by oxidation potential (Eh) and hydrogen ion concentration (pH or acidity), play an additional role in organic carbon fixation. Relatively simple laboratory experiments suggest that increases in ocean acidity might reduce availability of chelated iron in the life cycle of phytoplankton. [41] The complexity of this process in nature, however, and the many other variables that potentially would play a role in iron metabolism, indicate a need for a much more comprehensive experimental analysis before conclusions can be drawn.

Exactly what may happen in specific ecosystems remains uncertain relative to small increases or decreases in the acidity of ocean habitats or the change in the ratios of dissolved oxygen and carbon dioxide. Coral reefs, for example, have been very adaptable over geologic time and extensive research strongly suggests that they adapt well, on a global scale, to climatic changes and the small associated chemical changes in the oceans. [42] So far, research indicates that some organisms benefit and some do not, as might be expected. [43] Indeed, this interplay between losses and gains has occurred many times in the geologic past as nature has continuously adjusted to climatic changes much greater than the slow warming occurring at present. The Earth's vast layers of carbonate rocks derived from carbon fixing organisms, including ancient, now dead coral reefs, as well as deeply submerged coral reefs on existing sea mounts, [44] show that the production and evolution of such organisms remains a continuous, if possibly, locally or regionally punctuated process.

In the face of the overwhelming dominance of the oceans on climate variability, it would appear foolish in the extreme to give up liberties and incomes to politicians in Washington and at the United Nations in the name of "doing something" about slow climate change.

The President, regulators, and Congress have chosen to try to push Americans along an extraordinarily dangerous path. That path includes unconstitutional usurpation of the rights of the people and the constitutionally reserved powers of the States as well as the ruin of economic stagnation. The Congress that takes office in 2011 absolutely must get this right!

SEPP SCIENCE EDITORIAL #28-2010 (Sep 25, 2010)

Radical Environmental Groups Extorting Federal Money with Lawsuit Threats

A federal project comes up, radical groups threaten to entangle it in litigation, the government pays them to go away. Fundraising!

To avoid lawsuits, American tax dollars are being used to pay off radical environmental groups. The groups are using the money to threaten more lawsuits.

Research provided to the Western Legacy Alliance has documented payments of at least $4,697,978 in taxpayer dollars to 14 environmental groups in 19 states and the District of Columbia. These payments are not being made because the radical groups won a legal battle or proved that the federal government was destroying the environment. Instead, they are being made to get environmental groups to go away - supposedly, a better option than forcing these groups to prove their case in court.

And now these same radical groups are extorting millions from major corporations and local governments using the same tactics.

On July 15, 2010, it was announced that the Western Watersheds Project (WWP) and the Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) extorted $22 million from El Paso Corporation to drop their legal protests of the Ruby Pipeline project. Ruby Pipeline is a 680-mile pipeline being constructed across four Western states to bring natural gas from Wyoming to Oregon. As part of the deal, El Paso did not change the route or any other aspect of the pipeline - it just paid ONDA and WWP to go away.

In another case, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) extorted almost $1 million from Alameda County in California in exchange for dropping its protests to a city's residential and commercial development project.

The general theme: money changes hands, development moves forward, and the taxpayers and consumers get stuck with the both the litigation bill and higher fuel, home, and other prices as corporations pass on the extortion payments to the consumer.

Under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA), attorneys are only supposed to be paid if they represent the prevailing parties in a lawsuit against the federal government. According to EAJA, a prevailing party must achieve a court-sanctioned change in the position of the federal agency through litigation.

Under other federal statutes with EAJA-like fee-shifting provisions whose funds come out of the Treasury Department's Judgment Fund, attorneys' fees are only to be paid if the attorney achieved some success in the litigation for the plaintiff. Thus, the plaintiffs had to achieve some benefit from the litigation through the courts.

All too often, however, radical environmental groups sue the federal government based on claims that the government engaged in a procedural violation of some federal statute or regulation. In just the last nine years, nine of the hundreds of radical environmental groups filed over 3500 lawsuits against the federal government. Most often, the statutes that the government is claimed to have violated are statutes that require a particular time frame, procedure, or process be followed. These statutes do not force the government to make a certain decision related to an environmental issue.

In many of these cases, these environmental groups do not show any concern about the environment.

The vast majority of groups that claim a concern for the environment do not engage in any on-the-ground environmental work. Rather, if you examine the goals of most of these groups, they intend to stop American industry, hurt security, and restrain independence under all circumstances in all locations. For example: there are groups who claim that cattle contribute to global warming by "belching carbon" as if the internal gas emissions of livestock are any different from the internal working of cats, dogs, or other wildlife. These cases aren't about the environment, but rather about eliminating land use and ownership.

In 21 percent of the cases where the federal government has been presented with a potential legal challenge, the government pays the radical group to withdraw its case. There is no court decision and no determination that the environmental group "prevailed." Just a request to withdraw the litigation, accompanied by taxpayer money.

These extortion payments are occurring when roads are widened, bridges are built, water supplies are updated, timber is cut, and fishermen are out to sea. In a time when Americans are looking for work and tax relief, our money should be spent to support American business, not restrain it.


Enviro and Media Agenda on Extreme Weather - State Climatologist Invited, then Uninvited to Rally

David R. Legates, Ph.D., C.C.M


On Wednesday, August 25, I was invited by Environment America to speak at its September 8 press conference on "Extreme Weather in Delaware", to promote the release of their new report on the subject at Legislative Hall. Ms. Hannah Leone was pleased to have me speak because my "knowledge on climate change and weather would be a great asset to the event."

On Friday, August 27, I was uninvited from the event by Ms. Leone, who noted that "I believe it is in the best interest of the success of our report that you do not participation [sic] in this event" but "as lead climatologist in the state, your opinion would be beneficial to us." She had earlier indicated to me in a telephone call that she wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page at the event.

I believe that it is in the best interest of the citizens of Delaware that my "knowledge on climate change and weather" is made public, in light of the biases that are potentially inherent in the Environment America report. I say `potentially inherent' because, although I was promised a copy of the report, even after I was uninvited, I have yet to receive it. However, Ms. Leone was kind enough to indicate the premise of the report in her first e-mail to me:

On September 8th we will be holding a press conference around our new Environment America Extreme Weather Report that examines the science linking global warming with hurricanes and tropical storms; coastal storms and sea level rise; flooding and extreme rainfall; snowstorms; and drought, wildfire and heat waves. The report includes snapshot case studies of these extreme weather events that have occurred in the U.S. since 2005, and the damage that they caused, including a case study in Delaware. We do not suggest that these extreme weather events were caused by global warming. Rather, the point of examining the recent extreme weather events - and the economic losses and other negative impacts they caused - is to document why we need to take action to protect against them, including by reducing emissions of pollutants that are changing our climate.

The contradictions and biases evidenced by my communications with Environment America are fascinating. Although they willingly admit that "we do not suggest that these extreme weather events were caused by global warming," they are willing to assert that: (1) average planetary temperatures continue to increase; (2) the frequency and/or intensity of these events are increasing; and (3) reducing `climate changing' CO2 emissions will protect against these events. I will argue that none of these assertions is true.


As a Delaware Native who has lived in this State for almost forty years, I care very much about the Diamond State and its ecology. I too am concerned that we act as good stewards of our environment. As a scientist, I have spent my entire professional career studying weather and climate and trying to understand climate change processes. I am therefore outraged when I see outright misstatements of fact being used for political gain. My concern is that there has been no significant increase in extreme weather - just an increase in its coverage with a more global media and an increase in its hype due to the political ramifications that climate change can have.

Environment America's claim that the alleged increase in extreme weather events can be alleviated by taking action to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide is unfounded. These events have not been increasing in either frequency or intensity and they are clearly not linked to increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide. Limiting carbon dioxide emissions will have no effect at all on the frequency or intensity of these events. Unfortunately the negative ramifications of attempting to limit such emissions will be far too real. Our best solution is to make the public more aware of these dangers, provide more timely detection and dissemination of potential extreme weather hazards (in which the National Weather Service and several State agencies have been actively engaged), and encourage people to stop building in hazardous locations, thereby putting the existing population more at risk.

See detailed analysis of all the weather threats claimed by Environment America and other environmental groups, psuedoscientists and mainstream media alarmists here.

It is clear these groups and their media messengers are uninterested in facts or the truth just in communicating the scare message that they think will bring their movement to success. This is just another example of the blatant hypocracy that the public must be made aware of.


Environmentalism - What Has It Become?

BY MICHAEL R. FOX (Michael R. Fox, Ph.D., is a nuclear scientist and a science and energy resource for Hawaii Reporter)

On May 18, 2010 Vice president Al Gore gave an incredibly depressing commencement speech at the University of Tennessee ( According to Gore, doom was imminent, even if he had to fudge the climate data to make it sound frightening. Glaciers are melting (some are growing, some are receding, as they have for centuries-Antarctica, for example, is growing, sea levels are rising-but very little. Just check with world expert Nils Axel Morner, ( It is difficult to measure Gore's impact on those who were there at Commencement or had read his speech, but it could not have been good.

Then on September 1, an environmental extremist named James Jay Lee took hostages at the Discovery Channel's office in Silver Springs, Maryland. He was armed and claimed also to have explosives with him ( Lee made some very extreme demands which he posted on the web. (

In the world most of us live in we are accountable for our own actions and beliefs. While some have unfairly suggested that gloomy, depressing, hateful speeches by Al Gore may have influenced Lee's actions, however that would be as easy as it would be wrong. Nobody made Lee kidnap those 3 people in the Discovery Channel's building, nobody made him threaten their lives, and nobody forced him to write his extreme manifesto. Unquestionably, however, there are many in the environmental movement who hold the same extreme views as quoted directly from his manifesto:

1. How people can live without producing more filthy children
2. All programs on Discovery Health-TLC must stop encouraging the birth of any more parasitic human infants
3. talk about ways to disassemble civilization
4. Civilization must be exposed for the filth it is. That, and all its disgusting religious-cultural roots and greed.
5. Broadcast this message until the pollution of the planet is reversed and the human population goes down! This is your obligation. If you think it isn't, then get hell off the planet!

There is much more but we can see the nature of his extreme, contemptible anti-human views. Hopefully we can all agree that these are very extreme views to be held by a fellow American. We should dismiss him as an extremist, a loner gone off the rails, with little or no political impact on the world, our nation, or those around him. He would have few, if any friends who would share these extremist views.

Consider another person with many similar extremist views. This fellow believed that

1. Women could be forced to abort their pregnancies, whether they wanted to or not;
2. The population at large could be sterilized by infertility drugs intentionally put into the nation's drinking water or in food;
3. Single mothers and teen mothers should have their babies seized from them against their will and given away to other couples to raise;
4. People who "contribute to social deterioration" (i.e. undesirables) "can be required by law to exercise reproductive responsibility" - in other words, be compelled to have abortions or be sterilized.
5. A transnational "Planetary Regime" should assume control of the global economy and also dictate the most intimate details of Americans' lives - using an armed international police force.

You might want to dismiss these extreme statements also, as the words of some angry, anti-human crank. But they aren't. These are the words of Obama's science advisor, a man whom Obama seeks out for such scientific advice. These are the words of Dr. John Holdren. He co-authored the book, "Ecoscience" in 1977, where he wrote those words above. He and co-authors, Dr. Paul Ehrlich and Anne Ehrlich, wrote this book and put many of their horrendous thoughts in writing. He is now the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, and Co-Chair of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology - informally known as the United States' Science Czar.

An extraordinary analysis of Holdren's writings appears at ( This is an incredibly detail analyses of Holdren's exact words, and goes right to the exact written source and the exact pages in Ecoscience where Holdren's horrendous quotes, values, and contempt for human life appeared. With the exact words and the exact pages presented, the doubters have no wiggle room.

What on Earth is it about Holdren which Obama approves, and would motivate him to appoint him to high office? Do they share the same values? What is it about the National Academy of Sciences which nominated him for membership in the National Academy of Sciences( NAS)? The NAS is just not that prestigious anymore, and is losing ground. What is it about the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) which elected him their president? Should we conclude that Holdren's belief system of population control, sterilization of women, and the killing of infants is something deserving of the name "Science", and were so compelling that they elected him president by the AAAS?

Should we still presume that the AAAS can be serious about science and the horrendous people it elects to their high offices? Should we ever take seriously any document or policy statement from the National Academy of Sciences, so long as they have demonstrably bad judgment in nominating Holdren and Ehrlich to the NAS membership?

It seems strange that as a society we dismiss the rantings and extreme views of the gunman who held employees of the Discovery Channel hostage, and called for the cessation of producing "filthy children". On the other hand we highly honor a well-connected Ph.D., with similar extreme views, and even appoint him to be the president's science advisor. It makes no sense.

Strangely as a society we dismiss the rantings and extreme views of a gunman who held hostage employees of the Discovery channel, who called for the cessation of producing "filthy children". On the other hand we highly honor a well-connected Ph.D. with similar extreme views, by appointing him to be the president's science advisor. It makes no sense.

However, as Eric Hoffer observed "One of the surprising privileges of intellectuals is that they are free to be scandalously asinine without harming their reputation." -as quoted by Thomas Sowell in his book, "Intellectuals and Society". Obama should know better. And Americans deserve better.



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