Thursday, March 29, 2012

Emergency! IPCC tells the truth on something

Unusual climate extremes NOT happening!

The full IPCC Special Report on Extremes is out today, and I have just gone through the sections in Chapter 4 that deal with disasters and climate change.

Kudos to the IPCC -- they have gotten the issue just about right, where "right" means that the report accurately reflects the academic literature on this topic. Over time good science will win out over the rest -- sometimes it just takes a little while.

A few quotable quotes from the report (from Chapter 4):

* "There is medium evidence and high agreement that long-term trends in normalized losses have not been attributed to natural or anthropogenic climate change"

* "The statement about the absence of trends in impacts attributable to natural or anthropogenic climate change holds for tropical and extratropical storms and tornados"

* "The absence of an attributable climate change signal in losses also holds for flood losses"

The report even takes care of tying up a loose end that has allowed some commentators to avoid the scientific literature:

* "Some authors suggest that a (natural or anthropogenic) climate change signal can be found in the records of disaster losses (e.g., Mills, 2005; Höppe and Grimm, 2009), but their work is in the nature of reviews and commentary rather than empirical research."

Anytime that you read claims that invoke disasters loss trends as an indication of human-caused climate change, including the currently popular "billion dollar disasters" meme, you can simply call "bullshit" and point to the IPCC SREX report.


Is global warming cancelled?

A view from Russia

Continuous global warming, which has lately been the talk of the day, will not happen after all. In the 21st century, warming and cooling will be alternately replacing each other approximately every 40 years, with each subsequent cooling more severe than the previous one. This is proved by changes in the ice situation in the Arctic, Nikolay Dobretsov, Doctor of Geology and Mineralogy, the Chairman of the Earth Science United Academic Council, has told The Voice of Russia. He is convinced that the hypothesis of continuous climate warming on our planet has considerably exhausted itself.

“There were views that anthropogenic interference, like emissions of greenhouse gases by all heat electric power stations and all industrial influence in general, has resulted in irreversible changes in the Earth’s climate. Those views were based on excessively rapid warming in the 20th century which was thought to continue indefinitely. However, the events of the last three years, when Venetian canals froze and Spanish vineyards were destroyed by frost, and the fact that now Moscow and a considerable part of Europe are having a particularly long winter, prove that temporary cooling has begun. The same is happening to the Antarctic ice. The smallest ice volume and area in the Antarctic were observed in 2007 and 2008. In 2009, 2010, 2011 and early 2012, the volume of ice grew.”

Thus, the academician says, the theory of continuous warming is not getting practical proof. In this century, the volume of the Arctic ice will grow and contract by turns. On the other hand, no one can say when the planet is to expect a new Glacier Period, similar to the one contemporary Europe saw 20,000 years ago, Nikolay Dobretsov continues.

“The Arctic determines the weather on the planet, so we should build a network of stations there for a detailed study of this issue. After that we’ll be able to make a theoretically substantiated forecast.”

The scientist stresses that meteorological and other scientific stations in the Arctic should be equipped with super-modern equipment to raise the reliability of the forecasts. The construction of one of the first stations on Samoilovsky Island in the estuary of the Lena River in Siberia is already in full swing and will be completed in August this year.

Scientific discussions of global warming are many years old, even though geological research testifies that cooling always followed warming on Earth. Contemporary theories explaining the reasons for and consequences of global warming have once again been challenged by the latest American investigation which has proved that Earth warmed and cooled off in the Middle Ages as well. A team of scientists from Syracuse University in New York State has discovered that in the Middle Ages warming happened not only in Europe but also in the Antarctic. This means that Earth has already experienced global warming, even without human influence and emissions of carbon dioxide. The results of the investigation will be published by The Earth and Planetary Science Letters on the 1st of April.


Obama Headed For Defeat in Pipeline Fight

Byron York

To hear the White House tell it, Barack Obama might be the most pipeline-friendly president ever to occupy the Oval Office.

In advance of Obama's March 22 visit to Cushing, Okla, the White House released a fact sheet detailing the president's support for oil pipeline projects. "The need for pipeline infrastructure is urgent, because rising American oil production is outpacing the capacity of pipelines to deliver oil to refineries," the White House wrote. "It is critical that we make pipeline infrastructure a top priority."

When the president appeared in Cushing, White House image-makers positioned him in front of huge stockpiles of pipe -- tons and tons of pipe. Message: Obama loves pipelines. "Under my administration," the president said, "we've added enough new oil and gas pipeline to encircle the Earth and then some."

But Obama wasn't in Cushing because he has approved so much new pipeline. He was there because he is facing bipartisan opposition, in Congress and across the country, for blocking the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would bring about 700,000 barrels of oil from Canada to refineries in Texas every day, creating thousands of new jobs in the process. The opposition appears to be growing, and there's good reason to believe Obama will be forced to reverse himself in the next few months.

A new Gallup poll shows that 57 percent of Americans say the government should approve building Keystone. That number includes 81 percent of Republicans, 51 percent of independents and 44 percent (a plurality) of Democrats. The only good news for the White House is that most Americans aren't following the issue very closely, at least not yet.

In Cushing, the president announced he will expedite approval of the relatively short southern portion of the Keystone project, known as the Cushing pipeline, which will take oil that is already in Oklahoma down to the Texas refineries. "I'm directing my administration to cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles and make this project a priority," Obama said.

But Republicans quickly pointed out that a) presidential approval wasn't necessary for that portion of the pipeline, since it is all domestic, and b) it was Obama's agencies that were responsible for the red tape and bureaucratic hurdles in the first place. "He's out in Oklahoma trying to take credit for a part of the pipeline that doesn't even require his approval," said House Speaker John Boehner.

The GOP has also pointed out that there are many, many pipelines already crisscrossing the United States, including some that cross the Canadian border. In fact, Republicans say, Obama is the first president to deny a permit for a cross-border pipeline.

In addition, GOP lawmakers cite maps showing there are already pipelines over the Ogallala Aquifer, the giant underground water table that stretches below Nebraska and several other heartland states and is the reason environmentalists cite for opposing the Keystone project. "America either should install Keystone XL, with all of its benefits, or -- if such pipelines really are as dangerous as Democrats argue -- yank out all these pipelines that could destroy Ogallala," writes conservative commentator Deroy Murdock, who has argued strongly in favor of the pipeline.

Recently, Senate Republicans forced a vote on a proposal to approve Keystone. The final vote was 56 - 42, with 11 Democrats breaking with the president to vote in favor of the pipeline. The only reason it didn't pass was that the Democratic leadership filibustered the measure, requiring 60 votes for passage. (Liberal critics of the filibuster, so angry when Republicans used it to block Democratic measures, were uncharacteristically silent after the vote.)

If Obama has already lost 11 Democratic votes, with the election still several months away, it's likely he is going to lose more in the future. "Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said after the last vote that the issue would not be going away," says a Senate GOP source. "There is strong bipartisan support, and we'll have more shots at this."

In coming months, Republicans can likely count on the support of more and more Americans who are more and more angry about rising gas prices. As the general election campaign begins, Obama will face determined arguments from Republicans that in his desire to promote green energy -- Obama will hear the word "Solyndra" many, many times this fall -- he is standing in the way of making America more self-sufficient in oil and gas. It won't matter how many photo-ops he stages in front of piles of pipes. In the end, he'll have to say yes to Keystone.


Richard Muller: Climate Profiteer

Remember Richard Muller, the Berkeley scientist who last October declared climate skepticism to be over? Like other alarmists, he is also a climate profiteer.

In the Wall Street Journal commentary that rocketed Muller into the media spotlight, he wrote: "But now let me explain why you should not be a [global warming] skeptic, at least not any longer."

Muller’s tagline disclosed: "Mr. Muller is a professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of “Physics for Future Presidents” (W.W. Norton & Co., 2008)."

But Dr. Muller is no mere Berkeley professor. He is in fact president and chief scientist of Muller & Associates, which is:

"Helping businesses make profitable investments in alternative energy"


"Helping governments build energy strategies that are right for them."

We don’t begrudge Muller’s outside consulting, we do however take issue with his phoniness. Check out our Muller chronology:

Muller: Only scientists can see climate change
Muller flip-flops again?
Have the skeptics been debunked?
Richard Muller no skeptic
Eugene Robinson debunks himself
Muller not a skeptic in 2003, either
Fizzle: Alarmist academics doubt impact from Muller
Muller accused by colleague of hiding data
Run away! Muller backs off attack on skeptics
Muller: ‘I never said you shouldn’t be a skeptic’
Muller trashes WashPost’s Eugene Robinson
Muller: Climategate a ‘scandal’, ‘terrible’, ‘shameful’
Muller admits: Never a skeptic

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Methane cuts could delay climate change by 15 years

His methane claim is complete BS of course but notice that in the course of his presentation, he is forced to note the BENEFITS of higher CO2 Levels: Most unusual from a Warmist.

His methane claims are complete idiocy because NCAR's radiative transfer models show that even a 100X increase in methane would have an almost imperceptible effect on downwelling longwave radiation. Methane is only 1.7ppb and completely overlaps with H2O absorption bands.

THE world could buy itself 15 years of breathing space for fighting climate change, one of the world's top climate modellers argued on Monday.

Peter Cox at the University of Exeter, UK, was speaking at the Planet Under Pressure meeting in London, where more than 2800 scientists gathered to discuss fears that Earth's life-support systems are under intense stress from human activity.

The trick, he says, is to widen our attack on greenhouse gases from carbon dioxide to include the second most significant greenhouse gas - methane. "Methane is a more important control on global temperature than previously realised. The gas's influence is much greater than its direct effect on the atmosphere," says Cox. Curbing methane, he adds, may now be the only way to prevent dangerous warming.

We release methane in many ways - leaks from gas pipelines and coal mines, from landfills, the guts of livestock and rice paddies. Curbing these emissions would bring a manifold benefit for climate, says Cox.

He has studied the way CO2 and methane influence plant growth, and says that these feedback mechanisms mean action on methane could have twice the expected punch.

An atmosphere containing less methane but more CO2 would encourage forests and other vegetation on land to absorb more carbon. This would happen in two ways. First, the extra CO2 would itself act as a fertiliser for vegetation, so it would grow faster and absorb more CO2. Second, less methane would minimise the formation of tropospheric ozone, which damages plant growth.

These mechanisms are well known, but Cox is the first person to calculate their collective impact on the amount of CO2 that can be released while keeping global warming below 2 °C - the widely accepted threshold for dangerous climate change.

He told the conference that a 40 per cent reduction in human-caused methane emissions would permit the release of an extra 500 gigatonnes of CO2 - a third more than previously thought - before we exceeded 2 °C warming. "That is a 15-year breathing space at current CO2 emission rates," says Cox, who admits there are uncertainties in his calculations.

"It looks extremely unlikely that we can stop global warming at 2 °C just by reducing CO2 emissions," he told New Scientist. "That probably requires peaking emissions by 2020. But drastic action on methane would make the task much more feasible."

Cox says most governments have become fixated on combating CO2 emissions, and while that remains essential, the benefits of action on other greenhouses gases have been ignored. He stresses that this is not an excuse to burn more coal. "Nothing in the study contradicts the view that stabilising climate will require large reductions in CO2 emissions, but it does show the unexpectedly large importance of other gases."

Cutting methane emissions is cheaper than cutting CO2 emissions, and brings other benefits. Besides boosting vegetation, reduced tropospheric ozone will increase growth rates for many crops and cut health risks, such as asthma, from air pollution.

John Reilly, an expert on non-CO2 greenhouse gases at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, agrees that a 40 per cent cut in methane emissions is feasible at relatively low costs. It could be done primarily by curbing leaks from gas fields and pipelines, and emissions from coal mines and landfills. But he warned that to limit warming to 2 °C, "we need to accelerate our efforts on everything". Even allowing for a 15-year breathing space, Reilly says, "it's not either CO2 or methane, it has to be both".

If the good news is that reducing methane emissions can have a better-than-expected effect on curtailing global warming, then the bad news from Cox's calculations is that a continued rise in methane emissions would have a more damaging effect than previously supposed. If you let methane go up a lot, then less carbon can be stored in land sinks, Cox warns. Methane is, in effect, the unseen control on how much CO2 can be safely put into the atmosphere.

Besides climate change, the conference has flagged up the over-pumping of underground water reserves, soil erosion, acidifying oceans, forest loss and the accumulation of human-made nitrogen in rivers and oceans.

The meeting is expected to call on the United Nations Earth Summit 2012, being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June, to back the creation of an equivalent of the UN Security Council to put environmental security at the heart of world diplomacy.


Sackett vs. the EPA

A Supreme Court victory but ...

The Sacketts still face months or years in court, paying through the nose for the privilege of defending their tiny piece of land. Meanwhile, millions of other landowners and businesses continue to endure an increasingly harsh and irrational tyranny, and this SCOTUS decision decision does little or nothing to relieve that condition.

It is very important to realize that the EPA still very much has the upper hand in this action as in others. And the EPA is far from alone on their side of the fight. We can include, AT A MINIMUM the Army Corps of Engineers' regulatory bureaucracy, the US Forest Service, the US Bureau of Reclamation, the US Bureau of Land Management, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and dozens of state agencies. The innocent and often-blindsided landowner (or business owner) is outgunned, outmanned, and often, out-of-luck. There are hundreds of similar environmental cases with the regulatory agencies, including air quality, water quality, land quality, solid waste, and related issues. Many of these have been “resolved” by the abject surrender of the landowners and businesses to the demands of the agencies. Many more will be decided similarly in coming months and the SCOTUS decision will not figure in 99 our of 100.

I am, among other things, an environmental engineer and work in WY, SD, CO, and other states, and I know many of my own clients, and many fellow engineers and THEIR clients who have and are facing the same sort of abusive, immoral, unconstitutional, and often illegal treatment by one or more agencies, on a daily or weekly basis. I have known dozens of projects and several dozen firms or enterprises which have been crushed beneath the heels of regulators and the attorneys and political appointees AND elected officials which back and empower and encourage them.

Take, for example, the “administrative process” the EPA used to bulldoze the Sacketts. Most state and federal agencies have a similar type of "administrative" injustice system. They have their own administrative "judges" and "compliance advisories" and threats of ever-increasing fines, enforcement actions, and denial of future permit applications.

All too often, this process is triggered merely because of a failure by the owner to kowtow sufficiently to the inspector on-site and nameless "environmental protection specialists." These bureaucrats are often untrained, inexperienced, and often generally opposed philosophically to the very activities they are regulating.

A typical “environmental protection specialist” for a federal or state agency, showing up in their government SUV with their LLBean shirts and jackets and boots to inspect your property, is often someone with a B.S. Degree (if not just a B.A.) in “public administration” or perhaps “ecological management” or even “general science,” a work history including long stints at McDonalds or Arbys, and membership in the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, and their local recycling group or club; together with a two- or three-month course in “conducting environmental inspections” after they were hired on as a GS-5 or GS-7 (or state equivalent).

Their experience in the field consists of hiking trips and long slide shows about “mining kills wildlife.” Even though they may claim to understand that milk comes from a cow and not a carton, they do not act like they know that. These people, like the USDA and AAA and WPA agents of yore, will tell men and women in their 50s and 60s, with calloused hands and weathered faces from years of construction, farming, ranching, mining, timbering, and other PRODUCTIVE careers, that THEY (the inspectors) will show THEM (the owners) how to do things right.

And if you do not immediately and completely agree with them, their pens are quick to write up reports which turn into compliance advisories and notices of noncompliance and notices of violations. Which translate into consent decrees and fines (or “contributions”) in lieu of legal actions – charges with the local state's attorney or federal attorney.

Even if the EPA can no longer force someone like the Sacketts into stipulating that the agency's claims are valid before they can even file an administrative appeal, much less a legal appeal, the rest of the system remains intact. Month by month, although the statutes and regulations frequently do NOT change, the agencies' and attorneys' “interpretations” change and more and more landowners and businesses are left with less and less.

It is getting worse, literally by the month.

For every EPA 404 action, there are a dozen or two dozen EPA, Wyoming DEQ, South Dakota DENR, Colorado DPHE or DNR, USFS, BLM, and USACE actions, each one claiming a violation based on some interpretation and demanding costly actions and fines – even if projects and lands and businesses are abandoned. I personally have been involved with more than a dozen actions where a company or private landowner was forced to accept a "compliance advisory" for something that made no sense and could have been fought in court - accept, "admit" (under duress) to some crime, and pay fines (in some cases tens of thousands of dollars) and/or do "mitigation" that was very costly. Why? Because the alternative of paying tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, together with months or years of project delays, and the risk of being blacklisted by the various agencies was impossible or unacceptable - leading to bankruptcy, seizure of land or entire businesses, and more.

This SCOTUS decision changes NONE of that – and it will take battle after battle to even HOPE to change that. Even the Sacketts are more likely than not to lose their battle against the EPA and any state agencies which are the EPA's waldos in their case: for most citizens and businesses, there is little chance of even so small a victory as this one.



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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