Monday, June 27, 2011

More proof that Fraudster Al Gore doesn't know how to use the Internet

Al's Journal: Ice and Snow Disappearing from Mt. Rainier. The effects of the climate crisis are hitting closer and closer to home

The reality: Deep Snow Delaying Opening of Sunrise Area at Mount Rainier National Park -- National Parks Traveler

[June 21, 2011] Too much snow will keep the Sunrise area in Mount Rainier National Park closed through the Fourth of July weekend and until at least July 8, according to park officials. Also, the White River Campground won't open until July 1.

As the accompanying photos show, there really is a lot of snow still waiting to melt away at Sunrise (Note dates)


Quo Vadis Seas – Tropical Pacific Sea Level DROPPED From 1958 – 2007, New Study Shows

Tuvalu is saved! What follows is a press release from the Leibniz Institute for Marine Science (IFM-GEOMAR) on a new paper appearing in the GRL, which shows sea level changes are far more complex than first thought. It’s back to the drawing board for climate and sea level modellers.

Quo Vadis Sea Levels? New Study Shows Ocean Currents Lead To Strong Regional Fluctuations

Dr. Andreas Villwock

Scientists of the Leibniz Institute for Marine Science (IFM-GEOMAR) have now shown that there are large regional variations when it comes to sea level change. The causes are due to changes in ocean currents, which lead to varying sea levels, especially in the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Chart above: Sea level fluctuations caused by wind and ocean currents (relative to mean global sea level rise) for the period 1958-2007 (in cm). The model simulation shows regions with sunken sea level (blue) in the tropical Pacific and Indian Ocean. Graphic from IFM-GEOMAR.

Why has the sea level in some regions of the tropical Indian Ocean and Pacific risen strongly over the last 15 years, while in the decades before the sea levels at these locations dropped? The ocean scientists from Kiel are uncovering why by using computer simulations. A paper now appearing in the Geophysical Research Letters shows that fluctuations in ocean currents, caused by trade winds in the tropical Pacific, play an important role.

The impact of wind and ocean currents are prevalent in the tropical Pacific especially in the wake of the El Niño phenomena. “The associated swashing back and forth of the warm surface water leads to a continuous rise and drop in sea level of up to 20 cm within just a few years“, explains oceanographer Franziska Schwarzkopf of the Leibniz Institute for Marine Science (IFM-GEOMAR) and author of the study.

While these short term fluctuations are well documented by modern satellite measurements, little was known about the long-term pattern of changes. “Our computer simulations which use current models show that regional water levels also over time periods of several decades are affected by wind changes and ocean currents“, says Professor Claus Böning, director of Kiel Ocean-Modelling and co-author of the study. A surprising finding from the scientists in Kiel:

"In the middle of the last 50 years, some areas in the tropical Pacific and Indian Ocean experienced a drop in sea levels, contrary to the global trend.”

These new results on sea level rise of the last decades mean an additional challenge for climate modeling. “Whether a group of islands has to reckon with a greater increase in sea level with respect to the average, or can reckon with a temporary drop over the next decades depends decisively on the development of the wind systems and ocean currents“, says Böning. “Future research programs will put increasing focus on the regional fluctuations in the oceans.“

The paper: Schwarzkopf, F.U. and C.W. Böning, 2011: Contribution of Pacific wind stress to multi-decadal variations in upper-ocean heat content and sea level in the tropical south Indian Ocean. Geophysical Research Letters, 38, L12602, doi: 10.1029/2011GL047651.


California Enviro Plan Channels Pol Pot

Remember Pol Pot, the Cambodian dictator and head of the Khmer Rouge? According to Wikipedia, “During his time in power, Pol Pot imposed a version of agrarian socialism, forcing urban dwellers to relocate to the countryside to work in collective farms and forced labor projects, toward a goal of ‘restarting civilization’ in a ‘Year Zero.’ The combined effects of forced labour, malnutrition, poor medical care and executions resulted in the deaths of approximately 21 percent of the Cambodian population” — 2.5 million people.

Something similar must have been on the minds of the California Council on Science and Technology when it issued its new report, “California’s Energy Future — the View to 2050.” It provides “portraits” of what, under a regime that could be called the Khmer Green, they hope the next state energy system will look like in California’s Year Zero — 2050

About 60 percent of California’s future energy system would be based on shifting the entire state population into electric vehicles. It would eliminate natural gas heating and cooking in all homes, replacing it with electric-powered stoves, water heaters and space heaters with power supplied from green power sources. All buildings in the state would have to be retrofitted or replaced.

Another 20 percent would be based on costly low-tech energy storage in salt domes and air compressor batteries or in speculative technological breakthroughs that do not exist today and that would impose huge costs on electricity consumers.

And a final 20 percent would be based on behavioral changes, such as changing diets to eat less red meat and controlling home thermostats and electric meters to make people wear warm clothing instead.

While most of the nation is rapidly catching on to the emerging revolution in the natural gas fracking (hydraulic fracturing of rock formations) and expanding hydropower, California’s energy future is to be based on a post-modern ideology that seems to want California to trash its entire modern energy system. In its place would be a modernized version of medieval windmills, sophisticated solar-powered magnifying glasses, water wheels, and heat from subterranean geysers, all transmitted to energy conserving consumers via a Rube Goldberg contraption-like energy grid that would be prone to brown outs, black outs, and rapid physical deterioration.

Reading this, you probably say to yourself that this is yet another utopian scheme by a couple of academics that will get a lot of media attention but go nowhere. Nope. This Khmer Green report was funded by the California Energy Commission, the California Air Resources Board, and the S.D. Bechtel Corporation. And it was endorsed by the California Council on Science and Technology. This is apparently the template for California’s future energy system in our Year Zero. And as important as the report is, it hasn’t received much scrutiny in the uncritical newspaper or broadcast media, or even on the Internet. It is apparently being taken for granted that this utopian energy scheme is a fait accompli.

Deconstructing California’s Energy System

The justification for a Pol Pot-style rapid deconstruction of the modern energy system is population growth and the much ballyhooed increase in “greenhouse gases.” According to the Council’s report, state population is expected to double by 2050. To combat the effects of population growth and air pollution, the state must intervene to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

Reducing today’s California pollution by 80 percent would mean the air pollution must drop to about that of 1935, when the population of California was about 6 million. Given an assumed 40-year technological lag time to implement a whole new de-modernized energy system, California must start right now with a massive program to re-engineer everything in society. And as it is presumed only the government — not private markets — can do this, it implies totalitarian control of everything including life styles of Californians. Veganism would replace fracking; draconian regulation would suppress freedom of choice. Pol Pot, call your office.

Criticism of this new energy plan is not another conspiracy theory about Big Government. This is the undeniable template for California’s energy future crafted by California’s ruling cognitive elites.

Khmer Green Ideology

What is driving this mad rush to dismantle the present-day modernized energy system is not science but a countermodern ideology. The California Council on Science and Technology is only being used to put a patina of science on what is ideological.

In California there are ideologies that endorse energy modernization such as shifting to nuclear power, as recently proposed by in the City of Fresno.

And there are ideologies that seek to control, contain, or mitigate air pollution from modern energy plants, such as catalytic converters on cars, natural gas fracking and the expansion of hydropower.

But what the new template of the state’s energy future reflects is a full-blown countermodern ideology that proposes to dismantle many of the state’s power plants and make the electric grid into a precarious system of dubious reliability.

A forerunner of this radical ideology is the State Water Resources Control Board’s order to forbid all coastal power plants, especially nuke plants, from using ocean water for cooling systems. This entails shuttering all the nuke plants in the state, or running costly new water pipelines to the plants or using expensive air-cooling systems. Even if costly fresh water or air cooling systems are installed, this would raise the price of nuclear power so high that costly green power could finally compete with it. The rationale for making nuke plants uncompetitive is not to eliminate pollution, because nuclear technology is clean. The rationale reflects a countermodern ideology.

Instead of a repeat California Gold Rush, the Great California Green Energy Race is about to be kick-started in 2012 to find the highest priced clean technologies for new forms of energy. To do this, markets must be highly regulated to control prices. Markets must be short-circuited because they are mechanisms for producing the lowest-priced goods and services. This is why California is on the cusp of shifting from market Capitalism to state capitalism. California’s political elites want to pick winners and losers in the economy, and want political exactions in return. The apparent cover for doing this is environmentalism.

Unfortunately, many in academia and the media believe that state capitalism is the morally superior system, when there is no effective reduction in air pollution from Green Power. Green Power and Cap and Trade Emission Regulations will not result in replacing dirty imported coal power with clean green power, because wind and solar farms are located in remote areas far away from California’s urban air traps.

Ironically, as postmodern cognitive elites fear the complexity of modern energy technologies, as seen in the recent nuclear plant disaster in Japan, they nonetheless believe the energy grid can be fine tuned to accommodate unpredictable surges of power from wind and solar plants without sacrificing reliability, breakdown, or the rapid deterioration of electric lines that would require their frequent replacement. Alternatively, they believe costly and unproven new battery systems can be integrated along the electric transmission grid to balance out the surges.

Damning Modernization

At the core of this Khmer Green counter-modern ideology we find the quasi-religious idea that modernization is tantamount to damnation. Everything that is wrong with modern society is reflexively tracked back to monopolistic oppression by big energy corporations. In California, this ideology goes back to the influence of the Southern Pacific Railroad and the rise of Progressive politics to counter not merely economic monopolies but modernization itself.

California’s insular turn away from the Tea Party trend of the rest of the nation is not merely political, but a revulsion against capitalism, open markets, and modernity itself.


Clearing the Air

Trying to correct all the disinformation about "mercury and air toxics" is a full-time job.

Ever since public, congressional and union anger and anxiety forced the Environmental Protection Agency to postpone action on its economy-strangling carbon dioxide rules, EPA has been on a take-no-prisoners crusade to impose other job-killing rules for electricity generating plants.

As President Obama said when America rejected cap-tax-and-trade, "there's more than one way to skin the cat." If Congress won't cooperate, his EPA will lead the charge. Energy prices will “skyrocket.” Companies that want to build coal-fired power plants will “go bankrupt.” His administration will “fundamentally transform” our nation’s energy, economic, industrial and social structure.

EPA’s proposed “mercury and air toxics” rules for power plants are built on the false premise that we are still breathing the smog, soot and poisons that shrouded London, England and Gary, Indiana sixty years ago. In reality, US air quality improved steadily after the 1970 Clean Air Act was enacted.

Moreover, since 1990, even as US coal use more than doubled, coal-fired power plant emissions declined even further: 58% for mercury, 67% for nitrogen oxides, 70% for particulates, 85% for sulfur dioxide – and just as significantly for most of the other 80 pollutants that EPA intends to cover with its 946-pages of draconian proposed regulations.

It’s time to clear the political air – and scrub out some of the toxic disinformation that EPA and its allies have been emitting for months, under a multi-million-dollar “public education” campaign that EPA has orchestrated and funded, to frighten people into supporting its new rules. PR firms, religious and civil rights groups, environmental activists and college students are eagerly propagating the myths.

EPA’s “most wanted” outlaw is mercury. But for Americans this villain is as real as Freddy or Norman Bates. To turn power plant mercury emissions into a mass killer, EPA cherry-picked studies and data, and ignored any that didn’t fit its “slasher” film script. As my colleague Dr. Willie Soon and I pointed out in our Wall Street Journal and Investor's Business Daily articles, US power plants account for just 0.5% of mercury emitted into North American’s air; the other 99.5% comes from natural and foreign sources.

Critics assailed our analysis, but the studies support us, not EPA – as is abundantly clear in Dr. Soon's 85-page report, available at The report and studies it cites fully support our conclusion that America’s fish are safe to eat (in part because they contain selenium and are thus low in biologically available methylmercury, mercury’s more toxic cousin), and blood mercury levels for American women and children are already below FDA’s and other agencies’ safe levels.

Not only are EPA’s mercury claims fraudulent. They are scaring people away from eating fish, which are rich in essential fatty acids. In other words, EPA is actively harming people’s nutrition and health.

One of the more bizarre criticisms of our analysis contends that mercury released in forest fires “originates from coal-burning power plants,” which supposedly shower the toxin onto trees, which release it back into the atmosphere during arboreal conflagrations. In fact, mercury is as abundant in the earth’s crust as silver and selenium. It is absorbed by trees through their roots – and their leaves, which absorb those 0.5% (power plant) and 99.5% (other) atmospheric mercury components through their stomata.

Another bizarre criticism is that mercury isn’t the issue. The real problem is ultra-fine (2.5 micron) soot particles. So now the “power plant mercury is poisoning babies and children” campaign was just a sideshow! Talk about changing the subject. Now, suddenly, the alleged health benefits and lives saved would come from controlling soot particles. That claim is as bogus as the anti-mercury scare stories.

Even EPA and NOAA data demonstrate that America’s air already meets EPA’s national standard, which is equivalent to disseminating an ounce of soot (about one and a quarter super-pulverized charcoal briquettes) across a volume of air one-half mile long, one-half mile wide and one story high. That’s less than you’re likely to get from sitting in front of a campfire, fireplace or wood-burning stove, inhaling airborne particulates, hydrocarbon gases and heavy metals. (Search the internet for Danish, EPA and Forest Service studies and advisories on these popular “organic” heating and cooking methods.)

Simply put, EPA’s proposed rules will impose huge costs – for few health or environmental benefits, beyond what we are already realizing through steadily declining emissions under existing regulations.

Besides bringing mythical health benefits, EPA claims its lower national emission standards will simply put all states and utility companies “on the same level playing field.” This pious rhetoric may be fine for states that get little electricity from coal. However, for states (especially manufacturing states) that burn coal to generate 48-98% of their electricity, the new rules will be job, economy and revenue killers.

Energy analyst Roger Bezdek estimates that utilities will have to spend over $130 billion to retrofit older plants, under the measly three year (2014) deadline that EPA is giving them, under a sweetheart court deal the agency worked out with radical environmental groups. On top of that, utilities will have to spend another $30 billion a year for operations, maintenance and extra fuel for the energy-intensive scrubbers and other equipment they will be forced to install.

Many companies simply cannot justify those huge costs for older power plants. Thus Dominion Power, American Electric Power and other utilities have announced that they will simply close dozens of generating units, representing tens of thousands of megawatts – enough to electrify tens of millions of homes and businesses. Illinois alone will lose nearly 3,500 MW of reliable, affordable, baseload electricity – with little but promises of intermittent pixie-dust wind turbine electricity to replace it.

Electricity costs are set to skyrocket, just as the President promised. Consumers can expect to pay at least 20% more in many states by 2014 or shortly thereafter. According to the Chicago Tribune, Illinois families and businesses will shell out 40-60% more! How’s that for an incentive to ramp up production and hire more workers? How’s that “hope and change” working out for families that had planned to fix the car, save for college and retirement, take a nice vacation, get that long-postponed surgery?

For a mid-sized hospital or factory that currently pays $500,000 annually for electricity (including peak-demand charges), those rate hikes could add $300,000 a year to its electricity bill. That’s equivalent to ten full-time entry-level employees … that now won't get hired, or will get laid off.

And it’s not just private businesses that will get hammered. As the Chi Trib notes, if the Chicago public school system wants to keep the lights on and computers running for two semesters, by 2014 it will get hit for an extra $2.7 million it doesn’t have, to pay for skyrocketing electricity costs.

Carry those costs through much of the US economy – especially the 26 states that get 48-98% of their electricity from coal-fired power plants – and we are talking about truly “fundamental transformations.” Millions will be laid off, millions more won't be hired, millions of jobs will be shipped overseas – and millions will endure brownouts, blackouts and social unrest.

EPA generally refuses to consider the economic effects of its regulations, except to insist that even its most oppressive rules will generate benefits “far in excess” of any expected costs. Perhaps it will at least consider the obvious, unavoidable and monumental adverse physical and mental health impacts of its rate hikes and layoffs – on nutrition, healthcare, depression, family violence and civil rights progress.

The Environmental Protection Agency has always had a horse-blinder attitude about environmental policy. Under Administrator Lisa Jackson, it has become a truly rogue agency.

It’s time for Congress, state legislatures, attorneys-general and courts to bring some balance and common sense back into the picture. Otherwise 9.1% unemployment – with Black and Hispanic unemployment even higher – will look like boom times.


Let There be Light

Things just got a lot brighter in the state of Texas when the federal government received the message: Don’t mess with Texas.

Last Friday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed into law a repeal of the federal government incandescent light bulb ban. Any incandescent light bulbs manufactured and sold in Texas now steer clear of the authority of the federal government and the 2007 energy act, which started phasing out the bulbs next year.

As Texas State Representative George Lavender put it, “Let there be light.” Rep. Lavender, R-Texarkana, was quoted by Fox News from his Facebook page after the bill passed saying, “It will allow the continued manufacture and sale of incandescent light bulbs in Texas, even after the federal ban goes into effect. … It’s a good day for Texas.”

Texas might be the first successful state to overturn the light bulb ban, but South Carolina has advanced similar legislation as well as Arizona, though it was vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer.

“The government is attempting to micromanage our decisions as consumers,” says Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government (ALG), about the legislation passed to ban the incandescent light bulbs. “The federal government has no power to tell any citizen what types of lighting they are allowed to use.”

If states like Texas, South Carolina and Arizona are willing to repeal the incandescent light bulb ban — a symbolic move proving that American’s do not want that level of government involvement in their lives — why haven’t Republicans in the House of Representatives followed suit?

“In 2010, American voters made it clear they wanted a fiscally responsible Congress with limited government ideals, but did the Republicans in Congress get the message?” asks ALG’s Wilson. “One has to wonder since they are flinching on passing this simple yet significant bill. If the Republicans in Congress cannot even repeal this piece of legislation, which will only reflect favorably on them, then how are they going to tackle ObamaCare, entitlement programs, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) or balancing our nation’s budget?”

Hopefully House Republicans will follow the lead of Texas Gov. Perry. If not, this would be a missed opportunity to act on the limited government platform from which they preach.

Let there be light once again in all of America.


Poll finds only 41 per cent of Australians think climate change is a serious problem

A LEADING climate change advocate maintains public sentiment for climate change action is improving despite a poll showing support has dropped to a record low.

According to the Lowy Institute poll, 75 per cent of Australians believe the federal government has done a poor job addressing climate change. Just 41 per cent think the issue is a serious and pressing problem, down five points from last year and 27 points since 2006. Australians are also much less willing to pay a price to tackle climate change, with 39 per cent not prepared to pay anything extra.

John Connor, chief executive of The Climate Institute, a non-partisan and independent research organisation, said the polling was undertaken in April. "It's a worrying trend but not a surprising trend," Mr Connor said. "We've picked up at least a change in the momentum since we launched the Say Yes campaign."

Analysis of talkback radio by the institute showed an improvement in support for climate change action since February, Mr Connor said. "I'm not at all relaxed but I think we are seeing a turning point."

The polling had tracked the decline of the debate over the years into one that is now extremely partisan. "There was bipartisan support for action and the emissions trading scheme and an international legal agreement (in 2007)," Mr Connor 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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