Saturday, April 09, 2011

EPA regulations not dead yet

As votes continue in Congress this week on the Environmental Protection Agency's regulations, the Senate was unable to reach the 60 votes that were needed to break through and put a stop to the regulations. This means that for now the EPA's energy taxes and regulations will continue to cripple business in the United States.

Most of the backlash against the EPA in the early stages of 2011 has involved the Clean Air Act and their use of the act as a way to levy taxes against businesses and factories. The mandates from the EPA would be potentially harmful to the US economy, putting a hold on many of these businesses and not allowing them the proper job growth as well.

Throughout recent times, the EPA has continued to use the Clean Air Act as a vehicle to push through with a number of political stances and repeated levies of complex and expensive regulations. The EPA's desire to regulate greenhouse gas emissions is a major problem for many members of the GOP and business leaders. They see the regulation of emissions as completely unnecessary and even worse as a major strain on business and job growth.

With the high number of taxes and regulations, it's hard to find the end result in the actions of the EPA. They would do better to focus their efforts on real environmentally related problems like soil erosion and land degradation.

Luckily, the GOP have been adamant in introducing budget proposals and bills in the early months of 2011 that are aimed at cutting down the EPA's unneeded reign of power over businesses. A budget cut of around a third to the 2010 slate for the EPA was proposed and would do wonders to cut down on some of the power they have been wielding through taxes and regulations.

James Inhofe, a senator from Oklahoma, has helped introduce the Energy Tax Prevention Act. This would serve to put an end to the EPA's cap and trade agenda, in turn taking away the regulations on greenhouse gas emissions. Inhofe was clear on his goal to take power away from the EPA by saying "The Energy Tax Prevention Act also imposes accountability.ΓΏ It takes power away from unelected bureaucrats and puts it where it belongs: in Congress, where the people can and should decide the nation's climate change policy."

The GOP will most likely turn to Congress for help with the process of de-funding some of the EPA's regulations. This seems to be one of the last lines of defense against the EPA.

Hopefully with the introduction of the Energy Tax Prevention Act and the current budget proposals, combined with the fight of senators like Inhofe, the reign of the EPA over business will lessen in the coming months.

Received by email from Scott Portman []

Sea Level Rise: Still Slowing Down

Back in the summer of 2009, we ran a piece titled "Sea Level Rise: An Update Shows a Slowdown" in which we showed that the much ballyhooed "faster rate of sea level rise during the satellite era" was actually slowing down. We suggested that this observation would help the IPCC to adjudicate an issue that it raised in its 2007 Fourth Assessment Report:
"Whether the faster rate [of sea level rise] for 1993 to 2003 reflects decadal variability or an increase in the longer term trend is unclear."

In Figure 1 (below) reproduced from our 2009 WCR article, we superimposed the moving 10-yr rate of sea level rise as measured by satellites since 1993 upon the 10-yr rate of sea level rise measured from a collection of tide gauges from around the world since the early 20th century (as compiled by Simon Holgate, 2007).

Clearly, the behavior as measured by satellites since 1993 fit right in with the long-term behavior as measured by tide gauges. Such a result suggested that "decadal variability" had a strong hand in explaining why the (short-term) satellite measured rate of sea level rise was greater than the (long-term) tide gauge measured average.

Figure 1. Decadal rate of sea level rise from satellites (red curve) appended to the decadal rate of global sea level rise as determined from a 9-station tide gauge network for the period 1904-2003 (blue curve) and from a 177-station tide gauge network for the period 1948-2002 (magenta) (modified from Holgate, 2007).

At the time of our article, the available satellite data ran through early 2009. Since then, more data has become available. And an update to our Figure 1 recently found its way into the scientific literature in a paper by James Houston (Director Emeritus of the Engineer Research and Development Center of the Army Corps of Engineers) and Robert Dean (Professor Emeritus in the Department of Civil and Coastal Engineering at the University of Florida) and published in the Journal of Coastal Research. In their paper, "Sea-level acceleration based on U.S. tide gauges and extension of previous global-gauge analyses," Houston and Dean incorporated satellite data through April 2010, and produced the rather familiar-looking (although not as colorful) figure below (Figure 2).

Figure 2. The 10-year moving averages of trends as measured by the altimeters (represented by black dots) plotted vs. Holgate's data. The trend from 1993 to 2003 is represented by a dot at 1998, the trend from 1994 to 2004 by another dot at 1999, and so on with the final dot at 2005, representing the trend from 2000 to 2010 (from Houston and Dean, 2011).

Notice that the satellite-derived 10-yr average rate of sea level rise continues to fall. This is how Houston and Dean describe their take on the situation:
When viewed in this historical perspective, the [satellite] altimeter measurements appear similar to several decadal oscillations over the past 100 years, and it is not possible to determine if the increased trend measured by the altimeters is the leading edge of acceleration or merely a typical decadal oscillation; however, the decreasing average suggests an oscillation. [emphasis added]

And since one good deed deserves another, we thought we'd take the opportunity to bring the Houston and Dean figure even more up to date by adding in the satellite altimeter data through September 2010-the most recent data available (see here for data source) (Figure 3)–and even more data should be available soon.

Figure 3. Update: Decadal rate of sea level rise from satellites (light red curve) appended to the decadal rate of global sea level rise as determined from a 9-station tide gauge network for the period 1904-2003 (blue curve) and from a 177-station tide gauge network for the period 1948-2002 (magenta). The satellite data runs through September 2010. The update to our previous update is shown (dark red) at the end of the satellite record. (modified from Holgate, 2007)

By now, this should come as no surprise-the rate of sea level rise continues to slow. The rate during the most recent 10-yr period is 2.32 mm/yr (or about 9 inches per century). This is not much above the 20th century average rate of 1.8mm/yr (7 inches per century), and FAR below the average rate of 10 mm/yr required to raise global average sea level by 1 meter (3.25 feet) by 2100-the new in vogue value for what the IPCC should have projected (rather then the ~15 inches that they did project) (see, for example, Grinsted et al, 2009; Vermeer and Rahmstorf, 2009).

So, in the time since the publication of the IPCC report in 2007, the observed rate of sea level rise has declined and all the while there has been a general clamor (from the more "concerned" among us) that the IPCC projections for sea level rise should be increased.
Go figure.

SOURCE (See the original for references)

Pachauri’s Pal – the Worldwatch Institute

If scaremongering were an Olympic sport, Lester Brown would be a multi-gold-medalist. As founder of the Worldwatch Institute, he has released annual State of the World reports since 1983. Translated into dozens of languages, they have been used as textbooks in hundreds of college courses and have influenced generations of eco-activists.

Here, for example, is a snapshot from the index of David Suzuki’s 1990 It’s A Matter of Survival:

In his own 1993 book, Eco-Scam: The False Prophets of Ecological Apocalypse, Ronald Bailey handily demolishes Brown in a manner that is worth quoting at length (from pages 45-49):
The career of Lester Brown closely parallels [Paul] Ehrlich’s. In the 1960s, Brown hit upon an arresting public relations formula when he joined claims of environmental degradation to fears of imminent global famine…He is now the president of the notoriously gloomy Worldwatch Institute…

Predictably the “state of the world” [according to Brown] is always just terrible and rapidly getting much worse.

…Brown’s divinatory powers have proven to be no better than Ehrlich’s, however. In each of the last three decades he proclaimed that world food production had peaked and food per capita would henceforth decline, leading to inevitable widespread famines…His record remains unbroken; he has been wrong every time – world food supplies continue to grow while prices steadily decline.

…Brown jumped on the resource depletion bandwagon in the early 1970s, praising The Limits to Growth as a “remarkable achievement.” In the late 1970s, Brown coauthored a book, Running on Empty, which predicted that oil supplies would soon diminish sharply “with production peaking around 1990.”

…He prominently featured global warming and ozone-layer thinning in State of the World 1989

Please note: State of the World 1989 would have been written and published in 1988. That’s the same year the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was founded – and two decades prior to its less-than-clear-cut declaration in 2007 that human actions are very likely responsible for most of the warming during the past 50 years.

Yet Brown’s Worldwatch Institute saw no need to wait for the IPCC to conduct its assessments. Back in 1988 it was already telling the world that most scientists agreed that global warming was caused by fossil fuels, that policies were required to stabilize the climate, and that carbon taxes were the answer.

Here are some quotes from State of the World 1989 (the entire report is available as a 271-page PDF here; bolding added by me):
The warming of the earth’s climate is an environmental catastrophe on a new scale… (p. 23)
Most scientists agree that a global warming is under way, caused by the accumulation of “greenhouse gases” due primarily to fossil fuel use in industrial countries. The uncertainties lie in just how much higher the earth’s average temperature will go, and how quickly the increase will take place.

Industrial nations, heavily reliant on the burning of fossil fuels over the past century, must assume the primary responsibility for global warming and its consequences. (p. 90)

Avoiding destructive climate change will require a fundamental reordering of national energy priorities within the next decade. (p. 190)

If policymakers do not grasp the link between energy efficiency, renewable energy, and global warming, climate stabilization will not be possible. (p. 193)

The United States, for example, could raise $100 billion annually by hiking its gasoline taxes by $1 per gallon to the European average tax of about $1.50 per gallon. In addition, governments could levy a “carbon tax” on fossil fuels, with the tax corresponding to the amount of carbon in each fuel. This would hit coal appropriately hard… (p. 193)

To slow global warming significantly, hundreds of billions of dollars of investments in improved energy efficiency will ultimately be required. (p. 194)

If the climate is to be stabilized, [global warming] must become the cornerstone of national energy policies. (p. 195)

Bailey points out that, in November 1989 (20+ years ago), Lester Brown told Rolling Stone that the environmental situation was desperate:
We don’t have time for the traditional approach to education – training new generations of teachers to train new generations of students – because we don’t have generations, we have years. [bold added, page 169]

(The full citation for the Rolling Stone article may be found at the bottom of page 93 of this 108-page PDF.)

If the IPCC’s first assessment report, which appeared in 1990 – or even its second, which appeared in 1995 – had definitively declared that humans are responsible for global warming that would be one thing. But it’s surely a bit awkward for the chairman of what is supposed to be the final scientific word on global warming to be fraternizing with an institute that, back in 1988, regarded the IPCC process as superfluous. The fact that Worldwatch uttered stronger statements about global warming in the 1980s than those the IPCC itself issued in 2007 surely indicates that Worldwatch bases its reports on something other than sound science.

Yet IPCC Rajendra Pachauri is concerned about none of this. Indeed, he authored the foreword to State of the World 2009, identifying himself as IPCC chair in the process. He begins his remarks this way:
The Worldwatch Institute's State of the World reports have evolved into a remarkable source of intellectual wealth…

Referring to the 2009 report by name no less than seven times, Pachauri is fulsome in his praise:
State of the World 2009 has been structured logically into chapters that clearly explain the sequence that must guide our understanding of the problem and help set directions for taking action. Particularly relevant is the explanation of what would constitute a safe level of concentration of [greenhouse gases].

What Pachauri neglects to mention is that this particularly relevant explanation was written by Bill Hare, a Greenpeace “legend” and IPCC insider (see this press release and this one where he is identified as W.L. Hare). Moreover, apparently unaware that Worldwatch has been singing this tune for more than two decades, Pachauri says:
The strongest message from State of the World 2009 is this: if the world does not take action early and in adequate measure, the impacts of climate change could prove extremely harmful and overwhelm our capacity to adapt.

If Pachauri’s sense of propriety saw nothing wrong with authoring this foreword, perhaps it isn’t surprising that he went further still by delivering the keynote address at a symposium celebrating the release of State of the World 2009.

Among those who also participated in that event were Bill Hare and a Worldwatch staffer named Janet Sawin. If you click on this link and go to the final box on the final page, you’ll discover that Sawin served as a coordinating lead author (the most senior rank of IPCC author) for a 2009 IPCC special report on renewable energy (see here, as well).

Evidently this is a cozy little world, where there are few standards of decorum, no conflict-of-interest protocols, and absolutely no consequences when poor judgment is exhibited. Thus Pachauri – who heads an organization that claims to be “policy-neutral, never policy-prescriptive” – used the opportunity of his speech to advocate a particular policy response on the part of US president Barack Obama. This is how the press release issued by Worldwatch began:
The head of the world’s preeminent organization of climate scientists said yesterday that incoming U.S. President Barack Obama’s stated emissions targets need to be strengthened to deal with the climate threat.

Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said, “President-elect Obama’s goal of reducing emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 falls short of the response needed by world leaders to meet the challenge of reducing emissions to levels that will actually spare us the worst effects of climate change.”

Where, oh where, has the world’s media been on this file? I mean, this is high school grade behaviour. The head of an influential scientific body has been conducting himself in a manner that is so far from being circumspect, professional, and confidence-inspiring it takes my breath away.


Global warming disaster just ahead, well, maybe a little later than that

Global warming is a lot like everything else. There are pretty easy ways to tell when you're being conned or at least whether the ones making claims know what they are talking about. For example, one way to know whether a prophet is a real prophet is that his prophecies come true.

One way to detect a fraud is that when his prophecies don't come true he says, "I meant to say." The BBC has a delightful story of the global warming alarmists saying, "I meant to say."

"Scientists who predicted a few years ago that Arctic summers could be ice-free by 2013 now say summer sea ice will probably be gone in this decade."

At least they didn't wait until 2013 to be proven wrong.

"The original prediction, made in 2007, gained Wieslaw Maslowski's team a deal of criticism from some of their peers," reports the BBC. "Now they are working with a new computer model - compiled partly in response to those criticisms - that produces a `best guess' date of 2016."

We also like the idea that now they admit to guessing. But we also think James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal may have predicted something that will come true.

Says Taranto: ".our best guess is that in 2015 they'll have a new best guess of 2020; in 2019 it'll be 2024, etc."

Yeah, we believe in this particular, Taranto will be proven to be a true prophet. Unlike the warming alarmists.


Global cooling hits California

Maybe they overdid all the anti-warming legislation?

Overnight low temperature hovers close to Sacramento record

Sacramento flirted with a record low temperature this morning as winter returned on the heels of a cold low pressure system.

The low pressure center that brought snow to the Sierra and hailstorms to some locations has moved south. But the coldest temperatures of the week remain in the Central Valley.
The morning low hovered around 35 degrees in Sacramento suburbs and dipped to 38 degrees downtown. At Sacramento's Executive Airport the temperature dropped to 34 degrees.

The record low for downtown Sacramento is 34 degrees, a mark set in 1953.

Other low temperatures this morning: Blue Canyon, 21 degrees, Colfax 26, Grass Valley, 28, Pollock Pines, 24, Woodland 31, Auburn Municipal Airport, 32.


Australia: The usual Green/Left double standard

They actually have no standards. In a typically psychopathic fashion, they just say what seems convenient at the time

GREENS leader Bob Brown has been accused of double standards after declaring it "undemocratic" to judge politicians on the company they keep at rallies and other public forums.

Opposition frontbencher Andrew Robb yesterday accused Senator Brown of "hypocrisy writ large" over his attack on Tony Abbott's appearance at an anti-carbon tax rally last month, where placards portrayed Julia Gillard as a "witch", a "bitch" and a "frump".

Senator Brown on Thursday defended the actions of Greens senators Sarah Hanson-Young and Scott Ludlam for appearing at rallies in 2009 and last year, respectively, where protesters called on Australia to sever ties with Israel. "If you're saying there that members of parliament should not take the stage or be on a rostrum or be at a rally or go on (television program) Q&A if you are going to be judged by the people you are there with, then we're getting to a very undemocratic path, aren't we," Senator Brown told ABC radio.

Mr Robb yesterday contrasted the comments with Senator Brown's demands last month that Mr Abbott apologise for appearing alongside offensive placards at the March 23 carbon tax rally.

Mr Robb, who is in Jerusalem on a trade mission with the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce, said the Greens disliked being exposed to the same level of scrutiny as the major political parties. "We all remember Bob Brown giving sanctimonious lectures and demanding apologies from Tony Abbott just a week or so ago because he addressed a very legitimate demonstration against the carbon tax," Mr Robb said.

"When the boot is on the other foot he gets all defensive about his own senators Hanson-Young and Ludlam addressing protests. "Bob Brown doesn't like being exposed to the same level of scrutiny as the major parties. They do have extreme views on many things and they are pure political opportunists."

The opposition's attack came as environmental lobby groups defended the Greens from criticisms by two of the party's founding fathers, who said it had lost the plot by moving away from its core business of environment.

Cam Walker, from Friends of the Earth, said while the minor party had broadened its focus and strongly pursued other social issues, he did not believe this was being done at the expense of their environmental agenda. "I just don't see that there is any issue there, they work in their core issues and their strong social agenda -- and that is probably what you'd expect from a Greens party," he said.



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 is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


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