Saturday, August 20, 2011

The latest scare: Walruses to become "endangered"

There's tens of thousands of them in just one location and plenty of food for them but some of them might stampede! The Horror!

Maybe parts of the Arctic have melted but if so it COULD NOT be the result of global warming. Why? Because even the Warmists now concede that there has been NO global warming for the last 10 years or so. So any changes in Arctic ice MUST be due to natural local factors such as changing winds and ocean currents

Tens of thousands of walruses have come ashore in north-west Alaska because the sea ice they normally rest on has melted. US government scientists say this massive move to shore by walruses is unusual in the United States. But it has happened at least twice before, in 2007 and 2009. In those years Arctic sea ice also was at or near record low levels.

The walruses "stretch out for one mile [1.6 kilometres] or more. This is just packed shoulder-to-shoulder," US Geological Survey biologist Anthony Fischbach said in a telephone interview from Alaska. He estimated their number at tens of thousands. Scientists with two federal agencies are most concerned about the 900-kilogram female walruses stampeding and crushing each other and their smaller calves near Point Lay, Alaska, on the Chukchi Sea.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is trying to change airplane flight patterns to avoid spooking the animals. Officials have also asked locals to be judicious about hunting, said agency spokesman Bruce Woods.

The federal government is in a year-long process to determine if walruses should be put on the endangered species list.

Fischbach said scientists don't know how long the walrus camp-out will last, but there should be enough food for all of them.

During normal summers, the males go off to play in the Bering Sea, while the females raise their young in the Chukchi. The females rest on sea ice and dive from it to the sea floor for clams and worms. "When they no longer have a place to rest, they need to go some place and it's a long commute," Fischbach said. "This is directly related to the lack of sea ice."

Loss of sea ice in the Chukchi this summer in the northern hemisphere has surprised scientists because last winter lots of old established sea ice floated into the region, said Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Centre. But that has disappeared. Although last year was a slight improvement over previous years, Serreze says there has been a long-term decline that he blames on global warming. "We'll likely see more summers like this," he said. "There is no sign of Arctic recovery."


A short history of climate science hysteria

Tim Blair recently posted this list of things that the media have trumpeted as being the “first casualties of climate change”.

I thought it would be an interesting exercise to check the veracity of each story – but what I was not expecting is that every story up until 2010 (after which some of the claims are too recent to verify one way or another) has either been completely debunked, or has since had some serious doubts placed on it.

So the following examples have not been cherry picked – it’s a quick analysis of every claim made about “the first casualty of global warming” up until 2010.

Here are the stories that Tim gathered together, followed by the latest information about them:

The claim:

The golden toad was the first casualty of global warming

The reality:

“There is no evidence of a trend associated with global warming. Rather, the extinction of the Monteverde golden toad (Bufo periglenes) appears to have coincided with an exceptionally dry interval caused by the 1986–1987 El NiƱo event.”

The claim:

Tuvalu: Global Warming’s first casualty. Ten thousand people, Tuvalu’s entire population, are packing their bags as their homes among nine low level atolls are being swallowed by the rising sea.

The reality:

The last census shows that Tuvalu’s population continues to grow.

The claim:

Polar bears are set to become the first casualty of global warming.

The reality:

The total number of the world’s polar bear population is still thought to be between 20,000 and 25,000.

The claim:

The first casualty of global warming is India’s mangrove island on the Bay of Bengal, Lochachara ~ it is now gone.

The reality:

The loss of the island was almost certainly caused as part of the natural erosion of an island in a delta.

The claim:

The Maldives are the likely first casualty in any serious increase in global warming.

The reality:

The Maldives population continues to increase.

The claim:

Water could be the first casualty of global warming.

The reality:

Not in Australia it ain’t. Also, the argument that smaller glaciers means less water is pure illogical claptrap as explained eloquently by Jennifer Marohasy.

The claim:

Australia Could Become First Major Casualty Due To Global Warming.

The reality:

People in Sydney and Melbourne have wasted millions on desalination plants because of false predictions about water shortages.

The claim:

Losing winter: as climate change takes hold, North America’s coldest season is the first casualty.

The reality:

North America has experienced some of its biggest snow seasons on record.

The claim:

First Casualty of Global Warming? Rare breed of possum may be extinct.

The reality:

Live possums were discovered four months later.

The claim:

The Alaskan village of Newtok is the first casualty of climate change.

The reality:

The town of Newtok is still exactly where it always has been.

The claim:

UNEP had also recently declared that coral reefs, which support the majority of marine life, will be the first casualty of climate change.

The reality:

The reefs are doing fine.

The claim:

Brunt of climate change perceived in India; small Himalayan glaciers first casualty.

The reality:

UN climate chief admits mistake on Himalayan glaciers warning

The claim:

In India … agriculture is the first casualty of climate change.

The reality:

India produces record wheat and pulses crop.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Professor William Happer on climate alarmism

Professor Happer is the quaintly named Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics at Princeton University – a serious academic, not easily dismissed as an extremist or crank. He has written a cogent summary of climate alarmism which is an essential read. It is overflowing with simple common sense:

"A major problem has been the co-option of climate science by politics, ambition, greed, and what seems to be a hereditary human need for a righteous cause. What better cause than saving the planet, especially if one can get ample, secure funding at the same time? Huge amounts of money are available from governments and wealthy foundations for climate institutes and for climate-related research. Funding for climate studies is second only to funding for biological sciences. Large academic empires, prizes, elections to honorary societies, fellowships, consulting fees and other perquisites go to those researchers whose results may help “save the planet.” Every day we read about some real or contrived environmental or ecological effect “proved” to arise from global warming. The total of such claimed effects now runs in the hundreds, all the alleged result of an unexceptional century-long warming of less than one degree Celsius. Government subsidies, loan guarantees, and captive customers go to green companies. Carbon-tax revenues flow to governments. As the great Russian poet Pushkin said in his novella Dubrovsky, “If there happens to be a trough, there will be pigs.” Any doubt about apocalyptic climate scenarios could remove many troughs."

SOURCE (See the original for links)

New shale study refutes Cornell: Marcellus gas better than coal

Marcellus gas has less impact on global warming than coal, according to a recent study by scientists at Carnegie Mellon University.

The peer-reviewed study published Aug. 5 in “Environmental Research Letters” appears to be a direct refutation of an April study from researchers Robert Howarth and Anthony Ingraffea at Cornell University that indicated that shale gas was worse for global warming than coal.

The Cornell study had a number of faults — acknowledged by its authors — including sketchy data that did not directly apply to Marcellus drilling operations.

The Carnegie Mellon study looks specifically at Marcellus and the “life cycle greenhouse gas emmissions” associated with its production and consumption.

Marcellus gas is essentially no different than conventional natural gas, the study found, and 20-50 percent cleaner than coal for producing electricity.

“Marcellus shale gas emits 50 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than any U.S. coal-fired plant,” said study co-author Chris Hendrickson. “We favor extraction of Marcellus shale natural gas as long as the extraction is managed to minimize adverse economic, environmental and social impacts.”

Former DEP Secretary John Hanger lauded the new study on his blog, saying it “debunks and decimates professor Howarth’s hit piece study that the NYT gas reporter and other media gave so much attention.”

“By contrast,” Hanger said, “the CMU study has received very little press attention so the result remains that many people think Howarth is the final word on this important matter.”

The new study does support “green completions” — in which gas is captured during the earliest stages of production rather than being vented or flared into the atmosphere. Proposed shale gas rules from the EPA would require green completions.

“Green completion... would significantly reduce the largest source of emissions specific to Marcellus gas preproduction,” the study says, but it adds that such emissions are a small portion of the life cycle estimates.

The study’s authors said greenhouse gas emissions are not the only challenge when it comes to extracting shale gas.

“We still need to study other environmental issues, including use of water and disruption of natural habitats,” said co-author Paulina Jaramillo.


Warmists have contributed to the nihilism behind the British riots

Got kids? Watched as they've been indoctrinated - sorry, I mean educated - about global warming over the last decade? Then you'll know what I mean. They come home from school moodily depressed about the future of our planet and, of course, what that means for their own lives. What's the point? We're all doomed! Why study? Why bother getting an education? It's futile. Sea levels are rising. Temperatures are soaring. Soon we'll all be living in a polluted hell-hole constantly battling the equivalent of the Queensland floods or the Victorian bushfires year upon year. And you want me to waste what precious time I have left studying accountancy?

It's called nihilism, and it's even more terrifying to witness in your teenage children than hickeys, drunkenness, truancy, insolence, idleness, bad marks or bullying. Nihilism, or the conviction that life on Earth is totally pointless, saps the young of their energy, their ambition, and their will to strive, struggle and triumph.

Any amateur psychologist (or even better, parent) will tell you how easy it is to demotivate a child. So as parents we go out of our way to imbue our children with a sense of self-worth and optimism. We try and tell them what a great life lies ahead of them.

Yet at the same time, our teachers and our politicians are determined to do the complete opposite. To convince an entire generation that life on Earth as we know it is, well... stuffed. There is no worthwhile future.

The Sex Pistols are famous for coining two phrases, other than "God Save The Queen", which wasn't strictly theirs. "Anarchy in the UK" and "No Future". Unsurprisingly, the two go hand in hand. As in Australia, the UK education authorities have spent the last dozen years or so doing their utmost to persuade our kids that they have no future. No future for the planet, which equates to a very bleak future for themselves. Combined with an unrelenting culture of consumption and acquisition, the average child grows up believing a) life is shit and b) grab whatever you can whenever you get the chance. Combine that philosophy with a stimulative diet of violent computer games and a "bling" culture that prides overt materialism above all else and you get, um... Give me a moment while I figure it out.

Oh yeah! Got it! Anarchy. No respect for authority, an instant "thrill" addiction, no interest in long-term consequences, and a very real understanding that "the system" will never dare blame you for anything that you have done. Awesome, dude!

"We're just getting our taxes back!" yelled one over-excited young woman as she happily looted a corner store the other night in full view of the TV cameras. "This was the best day ever!" yelled talented athlete and (now disqualified) Olympic ambassador Chelsea Ives after allegedly rampaging through Enfield smashing and stealing.

"Children now have the power over their parents, not the other way around," said the father of another middle-class teenage looter. Every time he tries to criticise or correct his daughters behaviour, she has been taught to loudly accuse him or either verbal or physical abuse.

Clearly, today's "rioters" aren't actually interested in changing the world with catchy slogans and idealistic sentiments. They're far too busy helping themselves to shoes, clothes, electronic goods, alcohol, chips and cash.

Only a few weeks ago, Pink Floyd offspring Charlie Gilmour was sentenced to 16 months for his role in the "student riots" of last year. "We're very, very angry!" he proclaimed, smashing his way into Oxford Street's Top Shop, presumably grabbing the opportunity to get some new clothes. "You broke the moral law, we are going to break all the laws," he carried on, as he then set about attacking Prince Charles's convoy and desecrating the Cenotaph.

All because of cuts to student fees? Um, his step-dad made one of the biggest selling albums of all time. I don't think so. Nihilism is a pernicious, debilitating and self-fulfilling doctrine. In the UK, as here, the "authorities" have been preaching it relentlessly for the last decade. It comes at a price. Al Gore, I hope you watched the riots in a London as avidly as our kids were all forced to watch your breathless prophesies of global gloom, doom and destruction.

It's not rising sea levels we have to worry about. It's a rising tide of nihilism, thrill seeking and moral ambiguity.


Note to GOP: Wind power can be more expensive and dirty than we think

As most of the Republican presidential hopefuls stake their positions to win the hearts of the party’s base, the Tea Party has made it safe for honest conservatives to stand up and demand more than spin.

If we can demand fiscal responsibility, however, we also should demand fiscal honesty. And, if there is a subject where Republicans should be willing to be honest, it is on environmental and energy policy - in particular, climate change. After all, environmental policy does not sway voters, as it always ranks last on surveys that ask about domestic priorities. Republicans don’t get any of the hard “green” voters and never will, so they should be honest about today’s hallmark environment and energy issue.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is just the latest to state that he doesn’t believe the science on climate change is settled - a nice start. Unfortunately, all the candidates say they support an “all of the above” energy policy, which is problematic. Are they talking about options available within the free market or about an outcome determined by bureaucrats to be forced on the public?

If the candidates understand what “all of the above” has meant traditionally, they would know that it is often “greenwashing” code for reduction in fossil fuel use and support for mandates and subsidies for renewables such as wind as a replacement. That means they oppose the increase in use of cheap, affordable energy in favor of continued heavy intervention by government. We’ve seen how well that turns out.

Texas provides a good example of why “all of the above” mandates as an outcome is a failed energy policy. As Science reported in April 2009, “In the afternoon of Feb. 26, 2008, the winds died down in a stretch of west Texas that is home to thousands of tall wind turbines. Over a span of three hours, the turbines’ combined contribution to the state’s electricity grid fell by 75 percent. That 1500-megawatt (MW) drop - equivalent to the output of three midsized coal-burning power plants - coincided with a spike in demand.” In response, the grid operators shut down several large industrial customers.

As Science put it, “Texans were blissfully unaware that the state’s grid had just dodged a bullet. But the episode was an unsettling reminder that not all electricity is created equal.”

Wind isn’t just unequal in terms of reliability; windmills actually cause more air pollution than coal plants operating as designed. Texas is a nasty reminder of this. Along with other facilities, state utilities often depend on two coal-fired plants to “balance” the wind power, which means they fill in when the wind stops and must continue to “spin” when the wind blows. They still must burn coal to prevent the windmills from crashing the electrical grid when the wind drops, so they can instantly fill in electricity when needed.

This goes on all across the nation. As a result, Texas and other states subsidize and mandate more pollution at higher costs in taxes and electricity rates, all because political rulers have placed a climate-change belief system ahead of good science, with disregard for electricity customers and taxpayers who are least able to pay for more expensive renewables. A 2008 report by the Texas Public Policy Foundation estimated that the Lone State State’s wind industry would benefit from more than $28 billion in federal and state subsidies by the year 2025.

Because dirty, costly wind energy is masquerading as an essential element in “all of the above” as outcomes, the Republican candidates who cite it stray from conservative limited-government principles and instead adopt a coercive policy when it comes to energy. In effect, the “all of the abovers” tacitly support the climate-change “solution” agenda without acknowledging that there’s a problem in the first place.

The presidential candidates who want the support of fiscally conservative, sensible environmentalists should put sound science and free-market principles ahead of compulsion and subvention, and therefore should promote the options for the most economical energy available, without subsidies and mandates.

Otherwise, as we’ve seen from the similar regulatory policies of California’s last Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, that leads to disastrous economic consequences with high unemployment and businesses fleeing the state.



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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