Wednesday, March 28, 2012

2351 Days vs. 2 Weeks

So much for "more extreme weather"

It has been 2,351 days since a major hurricane hit the US, the longest such period on record.

By contrast, in 1893 the US was hit by two major hurricanes within two weeks. Kerry Emanuel says that hurricanes are getting more intense and doing more damage.
The 10th storm of the season, known as the Cheniere Caminada Hurricane began on September 27 in the western Caribbean Sea. After hitting the northeastern coast of the Yucatán Peninsula as a Category 2 hurricane, it moved through the Gulf of Mexico. As it approached the southeast coast of Louisiana, it rapidly strengthened to a Category 4 hurricane, and hit land on October 2. It moved through Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas before dissipating at sea. This storm was one of the first hurricanes to officially receive a Category 4 designation on the modern Saffir-Simpson scale. It killed 2000 people and caused around $5 million (1893 dollars) in damage.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Gen-Y Rejects the Green Life: ‘Let’s all live like the Kardashians’

It increasingly looks like we’re entering the 4th quarter of the great Contest of Truth on global warming. The climate alarmists know they are way behind, and the Fakegate scandal shows they are willing to heave one Hail Mary after another — even in the most underhanded fashion — in a desperate attempt to get back in the game.

Yet those Hail Mary passes expose a rag arm throwing fluttering ducks into a headwind. Fact is: Generation Y — a generation exposed to relentless alarmist global warming propaganda since elementary school — is not very motivated to take the field, catch the pass, and win one for the Green Gipper.

Power Line’s Steve Hayward — who recently wrote one of the best pieces yet about Fakegate in the Weekly Standard — mirthfully notes that “one of Time’s hippest young columnists, the egregious Joel Stein, [has written] a column saying essentially that environmentalists are basically a bunch of losers.”

Hayward quotes the hipster Stein, who wrote of the Gen-Y generation (and quoted the author of a study on Gen-Y’s attitudes on environmentalism):
Compared with boomers and Generation X-ers, Gen Y-ers are the least willing to cut down on driving and electricity use. “There was a lot more questioning of materialism in the 1970s. Now it’s just like, Let’s all live like the Kardashians,” she said. . .

We do stuff not to save the planet as much as to look as if we’re saving the planet. That means I need to spend a lot more on my food, clothing and appliances and let everyone know about it.

Ouch. At least Gen-Y is sufficiently self-aware to recognize the contradiction. The power for all those Macbooks, iPods, iPads, live-streaming, Facebook updates, and Tweeting has to come from somewhere — and Gen-Y demands to be plugged in at all times. Gen-Y will not “power down” for the planet. Stage Two: Giving up paying the poseur premium for reliable, fossil-fueled energy that keeps all them all plugged in — and bursting the media-fed fantasy that wind farms and solar panels will keep an uninterrupted digital world at their fingertips. Gen-Y is at least halfway there. Critical mass comes after the first brown-out in California.

More proof that the game clock is ticking down on the alarmist team and they are out of time-outs? Hayward cites a study from that finds alarmist media coverage of the climate had declined 20 percent since 2010. The metrics are worse for editorial boards, which have cut in half their “we gotta save the planet NOW” work since 2009. Tick … tick … tick …

Read all of Hayward’s excellent Power Line post for its own sake, and to also see an amazing chart of the decline in alarmist media coverage that is impossible to hide. Quip’s Hayward: “Move over hockey stick.”

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Global Warming Models Are Wrong Again

The observed response of the climate to more CO2 is not in good agreement with predictions

By Prof. WILLIAM HAPPER (Princeton)

During a fundraiser in Atlanta earlier this month, President Obama is reported to have said: "It gets you a little nervous about what is happening to global temperatures. When it is 75 degrees in Chicago in the beginning of March, you start thinking. On the other hand, I really have enjoyed nice weather."

What is happening to global temperatures in reality? The answer is: almost nothing for more than 10 years. Monthly values of the global temperature anomaly of the lower atmosphere, compiled at the University of Alabama from NASA satellite data, can be found at the website here. The latest (February 2012) monthly global temperature anomaly for the lower atmosphere was minus 0.12 degrees Celsius, slightly less than the average since the satellite record of temperatures began in 1979.

The lack of any statistically significant warming for over a decade has made it more difficult for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its supporters to demonize the atmospheric gas CO2 which is released when fossil fuels are burned. The burning of fossil fuels has been one reason for an increase of CO2 levels in the atmosphere to around 395 ppm (or parts per million), up from preindustrial levels of about 280 ppm.

CO2 is not a pollutant. Life on earth flourished for hundreds of millions of years at much higher CO2 levels than we see today. Increasing CO2 levels will be a net benefit because cultivated plants grow better and are more resistant to drought at higher CO2 levels, and because warming and other supposedly harmful effects of CO2 have been greatly exaggerated. Nations with affordable energy from fossil fuels are more prosperous and healthy than those without.

The direct warming due to doubling CO2 levels in the atmosphere can be calculated to cause a warming of about one degree Celsius. The IPCC computer models predict a much larger warming, three degrees Celsius or even more, because they assume changes in water vapor or clouds that supposedly amplify the direct warming from CO2. Many lines of observational evidence suggest that this "positive feedback" also has been greatly exaggerated.

There has indeed been some warming, perhaps about 0.8 degrees Celsius, since the end of the so-called Little Ice Age in the early 1800s. Some of that warming has probably come from increased amounts of CO2, but the timing of the warming—much of it before CO2 levels had increased appreciably—suggests that a substantial fraction of the warming is from natural causes that have nothing to do with mankind.

Frustrated by the lack of computer-predicted warming over the past decade, some IPCC supporters have been claiming that "extreme weather" has become more common because of more CO2. But there is no hard evidence this is true. After an unusually cold winter in 2011 (December 2010-February 2011) the winter of 2012 was unusually warm in the continental United States. But the winter of 2012 was bitter in Europe, Asia and Alaska.

Weather conditions similar to 2012 occurred in the winter of 1942, when the U.S. Midwest was unusually warm, and when the Wehrmacht encountered the formidable forces of "General Frost" in a Russian winter not unlike the one Russians just had.

Large fluctuations from warm to cold winters have been the rule for the U.S., as one can see from records kept by the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA. For example, the winters of 1932 and 1934 were as warm as or warmer than the 2011-2012 one and the winter of 1936 was much colder.

Nightly television pictures of the tragic destruction from tornadoes over the past months might make one wonder if the frequency of tornadoes is increasing, perhaps due to the increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. But as one can read at Andrew Revkin's New York Times blog, dotearth, "There is no evidence of any trend in the number of potent tornadoes (category F2 and up) over the past 50 years in the United States, even as global temperatures have risen markedly."

Like winter temperatures, the numbers, severity and geographical locations of tornadoes fluctuate from year-to-year in ways that are correlated with the complicated fluid flow patterns of the oceans and atmosphere, the location of the jet stream, El Niño or La Niña conditions of the tropical Pacific Oceans, etc.

As long as the laws of nature exist, we will have tornadoes. But we can save many more lives by addressing the threat of tornadoes directly—for example, with improved and more widely dispersed weather radars, and with better means for warning the people of endangered areas—than by credulous support of schemes to reduce "carbon footprints," or by funding even more computer centers to predict global warming.

It is easy to be confused about climate, because we are constantly being warned about the horrible things that will happen or are already happening as a result of mankind's use of fossil fuels. But these ominous predictions are based on computer models. It is important to distinguish between what the climate is actually doing and what computer models predict. The observed response of the climate to more CO2 is not in good agreement with model predictions.

We need high-quality climate science because of the importance of climate to mankind. But we should also remember the description of how science works by the late, great physicist, Richard Feynman:

"In general we look for a new law by the following process. First we guess it. Then we compute the consequences of the guess to see what would be implied if this law that we guessed is right. Then we compare the result of the computation to nature, with experiment or experience; compare it directly with observation, to see if it works. If it disagrees with experiment it is wrong."

The most important component of climate science is careful, long-term observations of climate-related phenomena, from space, from land, and in the oceans. If observations do not support code predictions—like more extreme weather, or rapidly rising global temperatures—Feynman has told us what conclusions to draw about the theory.


British Musical Legend Fumes Over Government's Wind 'Scam'

Famed lyricist SIR TIM RICE has taken aim at the government for backing wind turbine schemes, branding the environmental initiative "a scam".

Prime Minister David Cameron's coalition government wants renewable sources to provide 15 per cent of the energy supply by 2015, but the investment into wind farming has divided the country.

Rice admits he is not a fan of the scheme, and has even turned down big money offers to house wind turbines on his sprawling estate in Scotland.

He tells the Sunday Telegraph, "I recently declined to support a Conservative function because I'm so incensed about these wind turbines. Like all so-called climate-change doubters, I am very pro the environment, but I strongly believe that it is something that can only be cured locally. Some insane overall scheme isn't going to cure all the problems. And the money that is wasted!

"As a landowner in Scotland, I've been offered vast amounts of money to stick up wind turbines, which not only will make me richer, it will make less well-off people poorer, and will damage the environment. These schemes aren't doing any good - just making rich people richer, and it's depressing to see great areas of these useless objects up there.

"It's a scam - a con - and until the government has the brains to actually say, hang on, we've got it wrong, this is a total economic and environmental error, then I find it hard to give total support to them."


Rational Environmenalism

I’ve had quite a bit of time to consider what I call rational environmentalism. There is a lifestyle that we live that I don’t believe we need to give back even one bit of comfort on. For instance, not showering when you want in order to save energy, cannot save enough energy to be worthwhile unless you are personally flat broke.

Today in America, we have crossed that threshold of reasonable environmentalism into the realm of self-inflicted industrial harm, an area which the politicians of climate science are miserably bad at quantifying. Gas prices are a perfect example. With hundreds of different mixtures, all producing the same CO2 and similar emissions, certain blends have reached shortfall. Prices are therefore skyrocketing, as intended by the president along with supportive members of congress, and the result is a repression of personal lifestyles – for the low income earners. It also results in less jobs for the middle and high income earners but of course they go second.

Most of these effects are unnoticed by the public, as the circular fingerpointing can go on forever. The point should be to get back to what worked but that is not the subject of this post. I do believe in AGW although I’m unconvinced it is dangerous. At this point, I believe warming has been greatly beneficial – not just a little. Still, new energy sources will be found, new high-efficiency devices will be created, new paradigms of better living will occur. Notice I wrote will, rather than must. Even over-controlling government cannot stop it.

These sources will happen out of the general drive for people to make money and better lives for their families, whether we governmentally encourage them or not. This is one more aspect of the IPCC which is completely missing from the discussion. Do nothing IPCC scenarios don’t properly recognize the incentive that drives new energy exists without government. Sure, biofuel might not win, nor would solar implementation, but development and study is more than healthy. The failure of the self-appointed elite to notice the intellect of the masses has gone on since the beginning of human culture. Certainly, there is a lot of dumb in the world.

Many people you meet can’t even grasp the simple concepts of a post like this yet there are enough in the world, degreed or not, who are not part of the elite, yet have the wherewithal, and more importantly, the intent to change the world.

This mass of self-improving public intellect set free to improve themselves, is what set America apart in the past. The result was NOT bad for the environment, although SWAG and others would beg to differ. Cleaner power, friendlier farming, better air, have all resulted from the excess profits of capitalistic society, yet we Americans live in an all encompassing media-sponsored message of guilt. Guilted to turn over rights, such that the completely fabricated possibility of global warming doom, doesn’t happen.

The worst part about extremist AGW, is that there is no solution to the problem. Infinite money can be spent, and we still cannot stop the emissions. If everyone on earth were made an instant millionaire for conserving their usage, none of our millions would be worth a sandwich because the economic flow would stop. Redistribution, does NOT work to create wealth.

The goal for the Super Warming Advocates Guild, in my opinion, should be much different than it is. Instead of trying to repress the lifestyles of those who they openly consider ‘overconsuming’, they should be focused on solutions with emphasis on minimal impact to the economy, and general funding of research into new energy. Research for energy, is entirely different than implementation of new energy, and is FAR different from blatantly false “all of the above” rhetoric. Implementation of fake solutions in the form of all of the above, is simply a swag at the true goal of repression of lifestyles. Either a solution works, or it doesn’t, there is not much middle ground.

Despite what the AGW alarmists sell, we can change energy production, without giving anything up. Not one penny. In fact, I fully believe the change will happen, with or without our intent.

Economically, nothing could be more important than providing endless cheap energy to society. The ability to ship, travel, heat and cool are paramount in the improved living standards of humanity. Any brief review of the history of energy reveals this.

The inventions of smelting, steam engines, liquid fuel IC engines, turbines, home electricity, pumped water, centrally retailed goods, all have worked to achieve a better lifestyle for the globe. Free to pursue new interests aside from feeding themselves, scientists study climate, medicine, physics, math, philosopy, etc. at their leisure. This was not possible at our present scale even 100 years ago. A true sign of the excesses of productivity.

From all of this, I truly believe a philosophy of limitation of energy, from any source, is very much counterproductive for the environment, for long-term limitation of CO2 emission, and for the quality of life of our children. I have seen no evidence which contradicts this thought process, and more telling, no evidence which makes a real attempt at it. The IPCC takes a very generalized swing though.

So what is rational environmentalism? It is the minimization of damage to our surroundings while prioritizing the collective health of our economic productivity. Maximizing our economy, naturally leads to maximization of technological growth.

Do you avoid eating meat? – Oh hell no. That’s crazy. Eat what you like and live your life. Cow farts do nothing ‘damaging’ to the environment and the very concept is ludicrous to the point of stupidity.

Do you avoid using paper? – No way! It is a farming industry like corn.

Do you build a solar powered home? No again. The cells take a lot of energy to make and are often dirty. They also cost more than the energy they make. Why? Well if you want to do it, sure, but there is little reason. Wait 20 years and we will all change our minds.

Do you build a more efficient home? Sure, if you have the option, this is cheap and saves cash. Insulation, smart design, can all lead to improved lifestyle and save money. Smart stuff.

Do you buy energy efficient lighting? Sometimes it makes sense, others, it does not. If you heat your house around the clock, the old light emitting incandescent heatball, is hard to beat for efficiency.

What about a green clothes dryer? No way. Water requires a certain amount of energy to evaporate. Use the power.

The whole environmentally friendly decision process I personally recommend boils down to whether you can maintain, or improve your lifestyle, while changing how you live. Our company sells energy efficient products. We sell them on longevity and quality, the efficiency is just another bonus. We are all amused that our company has saved more CO2 than Michael Mann or Jim Hansen ever will. Sure they may have influenced the public, but we have designed, produced, sold and distributed actual product in large quantity. Our customers usually don’t even think about the CO2 they are saving, but they are happy about the secondary savings from lower energy usage.

When you are choosing to conserve, I hope you consider that the saving of CO2 emissions may have NO positive impact on the environment. Despite the known warming signal, the percentage of natural vs CO2 warming is unknown, and not one single instance of environmental damage has ever been directly attributed to the fraction of a degree C we have experienced. Nothing.

Also, when you choose to recycle, consider that Waste Management makes billions sorting garbage for the good stuff already. When you choose to buy recycled paper, you are driving down the cost of pulp from fresh trees, sustainably farmed everyday, by capitalist necessity, across the world. Sure a few areas are treating their forests poorly, but when they lose their production, the process stops and the trees grow back.

Conservation is a complicated sport which most people get wrong in my opinion. Instead of conserving usage, we should be focused on conserving low cost production and directing some of that profit toward more efficient technologies, expansion of a better way of life across the globe, while insuring that obvious damage to the environment is minimized. By obvious, I mean things like chemical spills, river pollution, particulate emission, etc. If you are a believer in destructive warming, you and I have a big difference of opinion and one of us is wrong, but my point is that by stopping limitation policy and allowing the global economy to continue, technology will develop far faster and we all will realize a new paradigm in energy production far more rapidly than if we pursue the government forced policies of limitation. Less NET CO2 will be emitted and we can all go back to fighting about the important stuff like whether we evolved from monkeys or whether we should be able to defend ourselves in our homes.


Come on baby light my fire, but watch the cat

Tim Blair has some amusing comments about Earth hour. A few excerpts:

EARTH Hour is with us again this Saturday night, so you'll want to start planning.

For your normal Earth Hour types, this is a simple procedure. Just turn all your lights off at 8.30pm and sit there thinking you're Jesus. But for those of us in the Hour of Power movement, a proper celebration requires substantial commitment.

Just follow my essential power party guide and you'll be set.

First, it's symbolically vital that you turn on every single light for the appointed hour. Sounds easy enough, but there is always a sneaky bulb out on the back porch or in the garage. Be vigilant. Don't let even the smallest or least visible globe escape illumination.

If you know anybody in the local council or the film industry, lean on them for a one-night use of something huge. These people have got lights that you wouldn't believe. Point them at your pool and it'll evaporate like a state Labor party.

Food is important. Put some thought into what you serve. According to a recent study, the basic prawn cocktail has an absolutely massive carbon footprint. Biologist J. Boone Kauffman found that, with transport and refrigeration factored in, just 100g of prawns shipped from a typical Asian farm represents a total carbon output of 198kg.

So you'll be eating prawns, then. Plus pizza. The delivery kid won't have any problems finding your house for once, what with it being lit up like a supernova.

My favourite Earth Hour moment came in 2010, when a Canadian environment minister hosted a candlelit eco-dinner. The smugness was interrupted when their cat caught fire. Holding true to the Earth Hour message, they refused to air the place with an electric fan. Open windows were the only means of dispersing stench of singed cat.

When you're scoping out foreign Earth Hour reports, don't forget to click on the reader comments at the end of every hand-wringing article begging readers to kill the lights. These comments invariably provide delightful counterpoint to the overall Earth Hour message.



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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