An Australian victim of the Greenie pressure on electricity prices below. Maureen Mullins, a 79-year-old pensioner, can't afford her power bills and fears she will no longer be able to pay for oxygen machine that keeps her alive. I wonder if she is glad about all the useless windmills she helps subsidize
Radiation pollution from Fukushima disaster only minor
The brave men and women working to prevent a nuclear catastrophe at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi power plant last night appeared to be winning the critical battle.
As Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano confirmed the multi-billion-dollar Fukushima nuclear plant would not be reactivated, 320 "samurai", as they are now called by the Japanese media, are working at Fukushima hosing down reactor buildings, reconnecting electricity cable to cooling systems and monitoring activity in and around the six reactors.
Radiation levels at the crippled plant 250km northeast of Tokyo had been falling since Saturday, the operators, Tokyo Electric Power Co, said, as efforts redoubled to connect power to all six reactors' cooling systems.
TEPCO hoped all the reactors would have continuously powered cooling capability by late today, the biggest step forward since the coastal power plant was immobilised by the earthquake then swept by a 7m tsunami wave.
The national government yesterday confirmed traces of radioactive iodine had been detected in tapwater in Greater Tokyo. The city centre is 250km from the nuclear emergency. Radioactive iodine was also found in Tochigi and Gunma prefectures north of the capital.
In all cases, however, the contamination was too insignificant to affect human health, the Ministry of Science and Technology said.
Traces of radioactive elements have been found in farm products, including spinach, 30km to 70km from Fukushima. The Associated Press reported that radioactivity had been detected in a shipment of peas to Taiwan, though again not at a risky level.
The official death toll had by yesterday reached 8133, with 12,272 people unaccounted for and presumed dead. However, police in Miyagi said the number of deaths in that prefecture alone would reach 15,000.
The Nikkei news website reported yesterday that at least seven emergency workers had suffered radioactivity exposure of more than 100 millisieverts, about seven times the dosage from a stomach X-ray. The maximum annual exposure allowable for TEPCO nuclear plant workers is 250 millisieverts.
Cables were connected to the No 1 and No 2 reactors on Saturday and technicians were testing yesterday before activating them. Temperatures in the spent fuel rod pools at No 5 and No 6 reactor buildings had been brought back to normal levels and firemen doused the No 4 reactor -- the condition of which caused a panic in Washington on Thursday.
"Green" Media Opportunists Will Never Waste a Good Catastrophe
Note: I ran a substantial excerpt from the Chesser and Baker study here on 7th., BEFORE the "lucky island" (Fukushima) disaster -- JR
By John O'Sullivan
As Christopher Booker cogently reports in The Daily Telegraph (March 19, 2011) eco-propagandists have been hard at work drumming up fears of a nuclear disaster for Japan “worse than Chernobyl.” But if we look at the science and not the media frenzy then there truly is no prospect of any such catastrophe to match the unprecedented meltdown at Chernobyl’s Reactor IV on April 26, 1986.
Nonetheless, that green urban legend about Chernobyl killing “millions” still survives. However, two undaunted professors, academic researchers skilled in radiation contamination, have collected all the facts to squash that fallacy after spending 12 long years painstakingly probing the aftermath of Chernobyl.
As with their fellow scientists battling to overcome the hysteria over global warming, Chesser and Baker have had to contend with an endless tide of green propaganda and censorship. In their quest for real science the pair admit they learned “tough lessons about politics, bias and the challenges of doing good science” on this similarly polemicized issue.
Contrary to their initial expectations, Baker and Chesser were astounded to find that although the local wildlife around Chernobyl had undergone unprecedented levels of radiation “all the animals seemed physically normal….This was true for pretty much every creature we examined.”
After the initial decline of the animal populations, which were decimated by radioactive fallout, local wildlife is now thriving. The two were completely taken aback by the lack of evidence for any genetic mutations, as had been the expectation of most theorists.
The esteemed experts asserted: “We also compared the genetic variations of populations inside the [contaminated] Zone with those from relatively uncontaminated areas, and we found no evidence of increased mutation rates from exposure to radioactivity.”
They found the most likely reason why Chernobyl has made such a remarkable recovery, “Radiation doses have declined precipitously since the accident—less than 3 percent of the initial radioactivity remains.” Thus it seems, radiation is more quickly dispersed in nature than previous estimates had thought.
In fact, confounding all expectations the Chernobyl region has become a refuge for released populations of Przewalski’s horse and European bison; while the population densities of Russian wild boar are 10 to 15 times greater in the ‘Danger Zone’ than in adjacent areas inhabited by people. In addition, endangered black storks and white-tailed eagles are also more common in the “ Zone.”
Despite these incredible findings being published in the prominent American Scientist Journal (Volume 94) this was not the kind of science that broadcasters wanted to show us. Instead of being hailed as champions of science both researchers were met with hostility and mocked for going against the established ideas.
Recent Weather Extremes: Global Warming Fingerprint NOT
by Chip Knappenberger
On occasion, I have the opportunity to assist Dr. Patrick J. Michaels (Senior Fellow in Environmental Studies at the Cato Institute) in reviewing the latest scientific research on climate change. When we happen upon findings in the peer-reviewed scientific literature that may not have received the media attention that they deserved, or have been misinterpreted in the popular press, Pat sometimes covers them over at the "Current Wisdom" section of the Cato@Liberty blog site.
His latest posting there highlights research findings that show that extreme weather events during last summer and the previous two winters can be fully explained by natural climate variability-and that "global warming" need not (and should not) be invoked.
This topic-whether or not weather extremes (or at least some portion of them) can be attributed to anthropogenic global warming (or, as Dr. Pielke Sr., prefers, anthropogenic climate change)-has been garnering a lot of attention as of late. It was a major reason for holding the House Subcommittee hearing last week, is a hot topic of discussion in the press, and is the subject of an in-progress major report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
As such, I wanted to highlight some of the findings that Pat reported on. I encourage a visit to the full article "Overplaying the Human Contribution to Recent Weather Extremes" over at Cato@Liberty.
The Great Russian Heat Wave of 2010
A new paper by Randall Dole and colleagues from the Physical Sciences Division (PSD) of the Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) examined the events leading up to and causing the big heat wave in Russia last summer (which was also part of an atmospheric pattern that was connected to the floods in Pakistan). Here is what they found:
"Our analysis points to a primarily natural cause for the Russian heat wave. This event appears to be mainly due to internal atmospheric dynamical processes that produced and maintained an intense and long-lived blocking event. Results from prior studies suggest that it is likely that the intensity of the heat wave was further increased by regional land surface feedbacks. The absence of long-term trends in regional mean temperatures and variability together with the [climate] model results indicate that it is very unlikely that warming attributable to increasing greenhouse gas concentrations contributed substantially to the magnitude of this heat wave."
As Pat commented, "Can't be much clearer than that."
Recent Winter Severity
From Pat's article:
Another soon-to-be released paper to appear in Geophysical Research Letters describes the results of using the seasonal weather prediction model from the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) to help untangle the causes of the unusual atmospheric circulation patterns that gave rise to the harsh winter of 2009-2010 on both sides of the Atlantic. A team of ECMWF scientists led by Thomas Jung went back and did experiments changing initial conditions that were fed into the ECMWF model and then assessed how well the model simulated the known weather patterns of the winter of 2009-2010. The different set of initial conditions was selected so as to test all the pet theories behind the origins of the harsh winter. Jung et al. describe their investigations this way: "Here, the origin and predictability of the unusual winter of 2009/10 are explored through numerical experimentation with the ECMWF Monthly forecasting system. More specifically, the role of anomalies in sea surface temperature (SST) and sea ice, the tropical atmospheric circulation, the stratospheric polar vortex, solar insolation and near surface temperature (proxy for snow cover) are examined."
In a nutshell, here is what Jung et al. found:
"The results of this study, therefore, increase the likelihood that both the development and persistence of negative NAO phase [an atmospheric circulation pattern that was largely behind the harsh winter conditions] resulted from internal atmospheric dynamical processes."
Or, as Pat put it “Translation: Random variability.”
Pat also examined a third study by Roseanne D'Arrigo and colleagues who found an historical analog of the conditions responsible for the harsh winter of 2009-2010 way back in 1783-1784. The winter of 1783-1784 was a historically extreme one on both sides of the Atlantic and has long been associated with a large volcanic eruption that occurred in Iceland during the summer of 1783. Even Benjamin Franklin connected the winter conditions to the volcano. But D'Arrigo and colleagues now suggest a different mechanism. According to Pat:
But in their new study, Roseanne D'Arrigo and colleagues conclude that the harshness of that winter primarily was the result of anomalous atmospheric circulation patterns that closely resembled those observed during the winter of 2009-10, and that the previous summer's volcanic eruption played a far less prominent role:
“Our results suggest that Franklin and others may have been mistaken in attributing winter conditions in 1783-4 mainly to Laki or another eruption, rather than unforced variability.
“Similarly, conditions during the 2009-10 winter likely resulted from natural [atmospheric] variability, not tied to greenhouse gas forcing. Evidence thus suggests that these winters were linked to the rare but natural occurrence of negative NAO and El Nino events.”
The take home message of Pat's post is worth repeating:
The point is that natural variability can and does produce extreme events on every time scale, from days (e.g., individual storms), weeks (e.g., the Russian heat wave), months (e.g., the winter of 2009-10), decades (e.g., the lack of global warming since 1998), centuries (e.g., the Little Ice Age), millennia (e.g., the cycle of major Ice Ages), and eons (e.g., snowball earth).
Folks would do well to keep this in mind next time global warming is being posited for the weather disaster du jour. Almost assuredly, it is all hype and little might.
Be sure to check out Pat's full article which includes much more in depth coverage of these three soon-to-be-released scientific studies.
Dozens of ships trapped in ice in Gulf of Finland
Icebreakers have been called in to free dozens of ships that became trapped in ice in the Gulf of Finland near St. Petersburg last week. The administration of St. Petersburg's port said at least 97 ships were still waiting for help on Tuesday, down from 160 ships two days ago.
The eastern Gulf of Finland has not seen such thick ice since 1992, according to the Federal Agency of Sea and River Transport. In some places the ice is more than a meter (three feet) thick.
Most of the trapped ships are cargo vessels, but some are passenger ferries. Many have been trapped for at least several days. Among the ships freed over the weekend was a ferry that had been stuck for six days with 12 people on board, including a pregnant woman. The ferry runs between a port near St. Petersburg and the Kaliningrad region.
The Princess Maria ferry running between St. Petersburg and the Finnish capital, Helsinki, has been suspended since March 9, but was due to resume its operation on Wednesday, ferry operator St. Peter Line said.
The federal agency said 10 icebreakers, including the nuclear-powered Vaigach based in Murmansk, were leading the ships to open water in caravans.
Andrei Kovalyov of Rosmorport, a state company overseeing sea ports, said passenger ferries and ships with hazardous cargo were being given priority. He said the situation could improve within three weeks if weather conditions were favorable.
Why Australians should be afraid -- very afraid -- of Prime Minister Gillard's carbon fantasies
WE were given two highly instructive insights during the week into Julia Gillard's thinking on her carbon dioxide tax. It proved an extremely disturbing revelation.
The first came on the ABC's Q&A program on Monday. The second was her speech to the Don Dunstan Foundation in Adelaide. The combination was particularly valuable. For while she might have "mispoke" on Q&A, the spontaneity better captured what she felt on the emotional level, genuinely or otherwise.
While the prepared speech gave us the considered, for want of a better word, substance on which the greatest change in the entire economic structure of Australia, bar none other in our 223 years of European settlement, was based, we were left with two alternatives.
If she actually believes the nonsense she spouted, spontaneously first and then with consideration aforethought, we have a leader with all the save-the-world enthusiasm and profound ignorance of a junior high school student.
And what would that say about the battalions of advisers on which she presumably relied? Or indeed, as in the joke about Maggie Thatcher, the sheep otherwise known as her cabinet colleagues?
If she doesn't believe the nonsense, we have a leader who is setting out to impose real pain on every Australian and cause serious damage to the national economy, for utterly no positive purpose.
I would suggest it is an inchoate mix of the two. That she actually believes we have to cut our emissions of carbon dioxide to save the planet. She knows it can make absolutely no difference. And she has a sort of vague expectation that we will emerge into some, literally, sunlit prosperous carbon-free future. All this was captured in her comments on China.
On Q&A she asserted that it was simply not true that we were the only ones moving to attack carbon pollution (sic). China was closing down a dirty coal-fired power-generation facility at the rate of every one to two weeks, she asserted. And it was putting up a wind turbine at the rate of one every hour, she added.
The picture she set out to paint was of China replacing dirty coal with clean wind. The truth is, as we've noted through the week, that China is not simply replacing coal with coal but dramatically increasing coal-fired generation.
Yes, it is closing really dirty coal-fired stations: the ones that pump out those little bits of grit that used to blanket our cities and which Gillard & Co are deliberately seeking to inject into the community's consciousness with their references to carbon pollution.
Real pollution has long since been banished from our coal-fired power stations and our cities. Smog no longer kills thousands of Londoners every year. But it is still killing thousands in Chinese cities. And not just in China. A World Health Organisation report in 2005 noted that more than half the world's population relied on dung, wood, crop waste or coal to meet their most basic energy needs. Cooking and heating with such solid fuels on open fires or stoves without chimneys led to indoor air pollution, including small soot or dust particles that were able to penetrate deep into the lungs.
Every year, this sort of real carbon pollution was responsible for the death of 1.6 million people, WHO wrote in 2005. If anything it would be worse today.
That is the real carbon pollution. Not the carbon dioxide that is the target (the only target) of her tax; the real pollution that is precisely avoided by our centralised existing clean, yes clean, coal-fired power stations. The building of similar power stations in the developing world would be the quickest, cheapest and most effective way of reducing and eliminating those deaths.
So does Gillard actually believe her carbon pollution nonsense?
Depressingly, you would have to conclude that at some level she does. Like so many who say or at least think, even if they understand, that this is all and only about reducing emissions of carbon dioxide; that yes, it's good to get rid of the bits of grit as well.
Witness our down under prophet Ross Garnaut, taking time off from dispensing his weekly profundities ex cathedra, to echo on the ABC's Lateline this same confused but deliberately dishonest mish-mash about China closing "environmentally very unfriendly" power stations and replacing them with new coal ones that had "very low emissions".
The facts on China are simple and irrefutable. It has a coal-fired system equal to more than 13 times our entire electricity generation. Between now and 2020, it is going to add between 400GW and 500GW to its existing 670GW of coal-fired power generation.
That's its projections. And that's net. So if they close, say, 200GW of really dirty old stations, they will be building 600GW to 700GW of new ones, all pumping out carbon dioxide, if hopefully not also grit. Total power generation in Australia is about 50GW.
Yes, China might be aiming for 150GW of wind and 20GW of solar by 2020. But that's installed capacity. When the wind don't . . . and the sun don't . . . Real capacity of the two combined will be closer to 50GW by 2020, as against an extra 400GW at least of additional coal-fired generation.
Despite those clean coal-fired stations that exist only in the deeper and increasingly darker recesses of Garnaut's mind, by 2020 China will be emitting something like 25 times the entire emissions of Australia today. Rendering utterly ineffective the 5 per cent cut we will purport to achieve at such huge and permanent cost.
The Prime Minister launched into pure fantasy in her speech in Adelaide about all the jobs that would flow in her brave new (sunlit) world. We'll become the world's supplier of electric and hybrid cars. Welders and steel workers will build and maintain large-scale solar plants. On and on she went, climaxing with this re-assuring statement of certainty. "And there will be new jobs too."
In both forums she claimed we had an abundance of solar, wind and geothermal. Interestingly in Adelaide she added natural gas, which emits what I wonder?
If we have these "in abundance", why don't we embark now on an accelerated program of closing our coal-fired stations and just plugging in the community power cord to all that sun and wind? As I started: does she really believe the nonsense she spouts? Should we be afraid? Or really afraid?
For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, 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 blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here