Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner is the past chair of the Paleogeophysics and Geodynamics department at Stockholm University in Sweden. Dr. Mörner has just published a peer-reviewed paper showing that the Sun will be in a new major Solar Minimum by the middle of this century, resulting in a new Little Ice Age over the Arctic and NW Europe. Dr. Morner bases his analysis upon solar influences on the Earth's length of day and the cosmic ray theory of Svensmark et al., and finds the analysis provides conclusions "completely opposite to the scenarios presented by the IPCC."
ABSTRACT: At around 2040-2050 we will be in a new major Solar Minimum. It is to be expected that we will then have a new “Little Ice Age” over the Arctic and NW Europe. The past Solar Minima were linked to a general speeding-up of the Earth’s rate of rotation. This affected the surface currents and southward penetration of Arctic water in the North Atlantic causing “Little Ice Ages” over northwestern Europe and the Arctic.
EXCERPTS: At around 2040-2050 the extrapolated cyclic behaviour of the observed Solar variability predicts a new Solar Minimum with return to Little Ice Age climatic conditions.
The date of the New Solar Minimum has been assigned at around 2040 by Mörner et al. (2003), at 2030-2040 by Harrara (2010), at 2042 ±11 by Abdassamatov (2010) and at 2030-2040 by Scafetta (2010), implying a fairly congruent picture despite somewhat different ways of transferring past signals into future predictions.
The onset of the associated cooling has been given at 2010 by Easterbrook (2010) and Herrara (2010), and at “approximately 2014” by Abdassamatov (2010). Easterbrook (2010) backs up his claim that the cooling has already commenced by geological observations facts.
At any rate, from a Solar-Terrestrial point of view, we will, by the middle of this century, be in a New Solar Minimum and in a New Little Ice Age (Figure 7). This conclusion is completely opposite to the scenarios presented by IPCC (2001, 2007) as illustrated in Figure 3. With “the Sun in the centre”, no other conclusion can be drawn, however.
SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)
Thick Ice Area Has Nearly Doubled Since 2008
NSIDC also shows that the area of multi-year ice has substantially increased since 2008.
Retreat on "biomass" in Massachusetts
Rules that would make constructing large wood-burning power plants in the state much more difficult were proposed yesterday by the Patrick administration.
If the regulations are made final, it could mean that three proposed large wood-burning, or biomass, plants in Russell, Springfield, and Greenfield would not be built because they would no longer be eligible for renewable energy credits that made them more competitive with traditional power sources. However, smaller plants that generate electricity and also use the heat are eligible and could be built.
“I suspect the [large-scale] power-generating-only facilities are not going to like these new regulations, because they will not be efficient enough to qualify for any’’ renewable credits, said Richard K. Sullivan Jr., secretary of energy and environmental affairs. But he said the rules were the product of “rigorous scientific study and a robust public process.’’
The proposed regulations will be reviewed by the Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy for 30 days, before being reviewed for another 30 days by the Department of Energy Resources. That agency will then file the final rules with the secretary of state, to take effect early this summer.
While expected, the proposed rules are a stunning reversal for a power source the state once celebrated as so environmentally friendly it was considered a critical tool to battle man-made climate change. Wood burning has been promoted as a green energy source because growing forests can absorb the same amount of heat-trapping gases emitted by burning wood, essentially canceling out the pollutants.
But a 2010 study the state commissioned from the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences revealed a far different story, one that concluded the plants released more heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere per unit of energy than oil, coal, or natural gas. The study also showed the greenhouse gases can take a far longer time for forests to absorb than previously thought.
Yesterday, biomass industry officials decried the proposed rules, saying the state’s decision could have far-reaching consequences for other renewable energy sources.
“We as an industry are deeply troubled where the Commonwealth induces investors to make large capital investment in renewable facilities only to change the rules in midstream,’’ said Bob Cleaves, president and chief executive officer of the Biomass Power Association. He still needs to review the rules in depth, Cleaves said. “If I was any renewable energy developer in the state I’d be worried I was next.’’
The attack on the washing machine
ou can chart the course of human progress in terms of how clean our clothing is. In early times people used animal skins, had no change of clothing, and had no soap. By Adam Smith's day soap had improved in quality, was produced industrially, and was becoming available to the common man.
In fact, the Industrial Revolution, which is usually discussed in terms of iron, steam, and factories, was actually all about bringing products like soap and underwear — previously only available to the rich — to the common peasants.
Only after WWII did electric automatic clothes washers displace hand-cranked machines. Then detergent replaced soap in the washing process, and competition resulted in much more effective products.
In 1956 the product Wisk was launched as the first liquid laundry detergent. And in 1968 its famous "Ring around the Collar" ads came along.
Other companies followed with products that were even better. Between the 1920s and the 1970s, washing clothes went from a grueling full-time job to a weekly activity that could be accomplished by young children.
Demographic researcher Hans Rosling has called the washing machine the greatest invention in the history of the Industrial Revolution. It liberated homemakers from boiling water and washing clothes. For women around the world, it makes the difference between poverty and prosperity.
Only two generations ago, nearly every mother in the world slaved at washing clothes. Today, no one in the developed world does this. Instead, they can read, do professional work, teach children, hold parties, and generally apply their time to building civilization. As Rosling says, "even the hard core of the green movement use the washing machine."
But government is working on systematically reversing these advances — attacking the washing machine's workings at the most fundamental level.
In 1996, Consumer Reports tested 18 models of washing machines. It rated 13 models as excellent and 5 models as very good. They found that with enough hot water and any decent laundry detergent, any machine would get your clothes clean.
The invisible fist of government is the source of social problems.
In 2007, Consumer Reports tested 21 models and rated none of them as excellent and 7 models as poor; the rest of the models were rated mediocre. The old top-loading machines were mediocre or worse.
Consumer Reports found that in most cases your clothes were nearly as dirty as they were before washing. The newer front-loading machines worked better, but they were much more expensive and had mold problems, and you cannot add a dropped sock once the machine is started. None of the top-loading machines performed as well as a mediocre model from 1996.
This would seem to be a case of a broken invisible hand. The truth is that government's meddlesome hand is at fault. Between 1996 and 2007 the government's energy-efficiency standards were dramatically increased. In order to meet those standards, manufacturers had to switch to the inferior front-loading washers, which are more "energy efficient," and to design models that used less water. Less water in the machine means the machine uses less energy to rotate the clothes with the water and detergent. It also means less rinsing, which is a vital component to getting clothes clean.
The result is that clothes come out of the washer still dirty. The easy stuff like sweat is mostly removed, but all the tough stuff like grease and body oils largely remains. Most people are unaware of this problem either because they have an older model, they don't do their own laundry, or they are just oblivious to this type of thing.
Among those who face this problem, the answers are few. Some do multiple smaller loads with larger water levels, but of course this results in higher — not lower — energy and water usage. Others have tried to solve the problem by using more detergent, but this usually does not help — it can make the situation worse — and it reduces the durability of the machine — yet another inefficiency.
So there you have it. Politicians, environmentalists, and meddlesome bureaucrats have teamed up to dream up another attempt to serve the public interest. Left to its own the invisible hand of entrepreneurial competition would have naturally made doing laundry easier, better, cheaper, and more efficient. Instead we have more expensive, more inefficient, and truly ineffective clothes-washing machines.
Then there have been changes to laundry detergent, which have in combination with the "energy efficient machines" led to a return of "Ring around the Collar."
The invisible hand of the marketplace is the foundation of a free society and the source of prosperity. The invisible fist of government is the foundation of plunder and the source of social problems.
If we chart social progress by clean clothing, it is clear that we are headed backward in time. But the trend is easily reversed with a small change toward laissez-faire.
Rising gas prices shift energy debate
Just one year after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon killed 11 and triggered a massive oil spill, there’s little appetite among legislators for new safety regulations. Instead, a single concern is prompting a drive for more drilling: $4-a-gallon gas.
Increased drilling won’t bring down the immediate cost U.S. consumers pay at the pump, but soaring fuel prices have transformed the U.S. energy debate, motivating the House this week to take up at least one of three bills that would ease the way for more energy exploration off both coasts and in the Gulf of Mexico. The first bill likely to hit the floor would revive canceled lease sales off Virginia and in the gulf.
The administration’s point man for oil and gas drilling regulations, Michael Bromwich, sharply questioned the House bills and defended the cautious approach taken since the end of last year’s five-month moratorium.
“There is a real risk that . . . we’re going to end up unraveling and undoing many of the reforms we’ve worked so hard to do over the last 10 months,” he said in an interview. “And that would be a tragedy.”
House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), who has shepherded three bills through his committee aimed at boosting oil and gas production in the gulf as well as off both coasts and the Arctic, said he is confident public pressure will provide the political momentum his legislation needs to make it into law. On Thursday at a roundtable with constituents in Yakima, Wash., farmers expressed concern about how the cost of fuel would affect their operations.
“What will get the Senate to act is the rising price of gas at the pump,” Hastings said in a phone interview. “If my colleagues are hearing what I’m hearing in my district, clearly there has been a mood change.”
The bills would overhaul the permitting process to make it faster, which in some cases means jettisoning the more exacting reviews put in place after the BP spill. One measure would require the interior secretary to act on a permit to drill within 30 days; if no decision is made after a maximum of 60 days, the permit would be granted. It also would restart within 30 days gulf permits that were approved last year before the spill. Eleven exploration wells that were suspended in the gulf have been given permission to drill again, according to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement.
While the measure would require the interior secretary to conduct a safety review of permit applications, it would use the environmental analyses from before the explosion — which have since come under criticism as inadequate.
Another bill would expand drilling by establishing the first national production goal as part of Interior’s five-year offshore leasing plan; it would include lease sales in the areas containing the greatest-known oil and gas reserves.
American Petroleum Institute president Jack Gerard, whose group represents major U.S. oil companies, said the bills are “a direct outcome and consequence of the political and economic reality we face.”
“What you’re hearing from the public is overwhelming support for the production of American energy by Americans and for Americans,” Gerard said.
But Democrats and environmentalists say that in a global marketplace, such moves have far less impact on prices than unrest in Libya and other geopolitical factors.
“We have limited capacity to affect the price of gas, despite what you might hear people bloviating on the Hill or elsewhere,” said Deron Lovaas, transportation policy director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an advocacy group. “We’re shackled to a global oil market.”
Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) said Democrats will question why companies have yet to produce oil and gas on the majority of the 75 million acres where they hold federal leases.
“I don’t think a bill would pass the Senate and be signed by the president that puts a clock on reviewing the safety and environmental issues for permitting operations in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Markey, who held a news conference on the issue last week at a gas station in his district.
The permitting process had already begun to ease, however. Production in the gulf dropped significantly after BP and other companies suspended their operations there: In December, the region was producing 1.58 million barrels a day, according to the Energy Information Administration, compared with 1.7 million barrels in December 2009. But BOEMRE has now issued 51 shallow-water permits and deepwater permits for a dozen unique wells in the gulf.
The administration plans to hold lease sales in the central and western gulf by the middle of next year. It has extended nine different leases affected by the moratorium and is considering others on a case-by-case basis. While those in the industry such as Jim Noe, executive director of the Shallow Water Energy Security Coalition, want faster permit approvals, he said he’s been encouraged by “the tone of late between industry and the regulators.”
“Particularly with the run-up in gas prices, there is a lot of pent-up demand for drilling,” he said, adding, “The industry feels better today about the future of drilling in the Gulf of Mexico than any other time than in the last year.”
Something else that is not in the "models"
Study Shows Mangroves are a Major Player in Climate Change
Mangroves have declined by nearly half in the last 50 years. This is disconcerting to scientists because the hardy brackish tidal tree in an important bulkhead against climate change, according to findings is a recent study published in the journal Nature Geoscience.
Tropical mangrove trees are better at storing climate-warming carbon than most other forests, so cutting them down unleashes far more greenhouse gas than deforestation elsewhere, scientists reported in the study. In fact they store two to four times the carbon that tropical rainforests do according to Daniel Donato, U.S. Forest Service scientist and lead author of the study.
Destruction of these tropical coastal woodlands accounts for about 10 percent of carbon dioxide emissions from deforestation, the second largest source of CO2 after fossil fuel combustion, the study found.
Mangroves — whose twisted, exposed roots grace coastlines in more than 100 countries — provide many benefits. The trees act as a natural nursery for dozens of species of fish and shrimp essential to commercial fisheries around the world. They also serve as a natural bulwark against hurricanes and storm surges.
Donato, based in Hilo, Hawaii, and an international team of researchers examined the carbon content in 25 mangroves scattered across the Indo-Pacific region. The trees stored atmospheric carbon just as well as land-based tropical forests, they found. Below the water line, mangroves were even more efficient, hoarding five times more carbon over the same surface area.
“Mangroves are among the most carbon-rich forests in the tropics,” Donato said. “Our data show that discussion of the key role of tropical wetland forests in climate change could be broadened significantly to include mangroves.”
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