Thursday, April 05, 2012

It's out! And it's hilarious

The counterblast to skeptics that "Nature" magazine was so proud of has appeared. And it relies on either magic or circular reasoning. There's lots one could say about it -- and I am sure other skeptics will say it in due course -- but I want to point out just one thing: They say that a rise in CO2 caused Arctic ice to melt but they don't say where that extra CO2 came from! Did it just magically appear? Was it delivered from outer space?

They do have an answer but it contradicts their whole point. They say: "That warming trend may also have shifted the winds and melted sea ice, drawing carbon dioxide out of the deep ocean, where quantities of it are stored, Shakun said"

So it was the warming that came first. The warming produced the CO2 and not vice versa -- which is exactly the opposite of what they were trying to prove! ROFL!

More laughs HERE

Sir Bernard Ingham attacks 'mad' wind farms and ‘steady descent into hysteria over global warming’

Some good Yorkshire common sense

The Government’s energy policy will cripple the economy, a leading industry veteran warned last night. Sir Bernard Ingham, former press secretary to Margaret Thatcher, lambasted ‘mad’ wind farms, ‘delusional’ energy ministers and ‘totalitarian’ climate change zealots.

And he warned plans to build wind farms large enough to power half of the country would cost £45billion more than providing the same power through a combination of gas and nuclear.

In a speech, Sir Bernard – who worked in the Department of Energy in the Seventies and is a passionate advocate of nuclear power – said: ‘Our politicians are besotted with every form of power generation that does not work in a modern economy.’

His comment came on the day Britain’s energy needs became so dire the Government was forced to launch a competition to develop technology that will help the UK meet emissions targets set by Brussels.

It is offering £1billion to anyone who can work out how to burn fossil fuels such as coal without emitting CO2 into the atmosphere.

Sir Bernard said the Government’s energy policy was ‘failing on all counts’, adding: ‘We are going backwards, not forwards. The Government needs to change its tune on nuclear power.’

Speculation has already mounted that the Government, which previously pledged not to offer subsidies for the construction of new nuclear plants, may be forced to back down in order to secure new projects.

Sir Bernard also derided the state-backed Carbon Capture competition. He said: ‘They are trying to give away £1billion to prove that up to 200 million tonnes a year of CO2 can be buried under the North Sea, even though we can be pretty sure it will double the price of electricity generated by fossil fuels.’

Sir Bernard dismissed the move as the latest in a long line of examples where the Government has backed the wrong type of energy generation.

He added: ‘None of this suggests that our coalition has a firm grasp of essentials in an economy in need of growth. ‘Producing energy by the most expensive routes is a sure way, at best, to handicap growth and at worst to bring economic and industrial decline.’

His virulent attack drew on research from Edinburgh University that showed that the Government’s wind programme would cost £120billion - almost ten times as much as the same power from gas stations. The same amount of gas power would cost only £13billion and would only see a ‘marginal reduction in CO2 emissions’, Ingham said.

‘In the last 14 years we have witnessed a progressive loss of reason among politicians, in Whitehall and among scientists and engineers,’ he added.

He also used the speech to deride the ‘steady descent into hysteria over global warming’.

The change had led to ‘the manifest delusions of successive energy secretaries - Ed Miliband, Chris Huhne and now Ed Davey,’ he said.

‘I would like some proof that the world is going to fry and that my native Yorkshire will acquire the climate of Provence,’ he added.


Shady solar dealings

The president’s green energy policies don’t add up

By Donald J. Boudreaux, professor of economics at George Mason University

Speaking recently at America’s largest solar energy plant — in Boulder City, Nev. — President Obama insisted that green energy is so important, “You’d think that everybody would be supportive of solar power. And yet, if some politicians have their way, there won’t be any more public investment in solar energy.”

Indeed. And judging from the recent actions of Obama’s Commerce Department, the president himself is among those politicians.

The Commerce Department has decided to impose tariffs ranging from 2.9 percent to 4.73 percent on subsidized Chinese solar panels that are imported into the U.S.

It takes remarkable cheek for Obama to insist that, while American “public investment” in green energy is virtuous, Chinese “public investment” in green energy is vile.

Not that opposition to subsidies for solar and other “green” energies is to be lamented. Quite the opposite. Politicians have no expertise at forecasting consumers’ energy needs or identifying how best to meet those needs. And the fact that the money politicians spend to promote green-energy firms comes from taxpayers further reduces the likelihood that such subsidies will yield positive payoffs for the general public.

In a sane world, Obama would celebrate Beijing’s subsidies to Chinese solar panel exporters. Those subsidies supply Americans with the alleged benefits of artificially low-priced solar panels, but on China’s nickel!

In fact, of course, the Commerce Department’s action against Americans who buy Chinese solar panels reveals that political reality often differs by a full 180 degrees from political rhetoric. The rhetoric is always wonderful; the reality is too often woeful.

Such is the case here. The real purpose of Uncle Sam’s favors for green energy producers is not to “save” the environment. It is to shovel lucre to politically influential producers.

The bankruptcy of Solyndra, a California-based manufacturer of solar panels (!), represents only the most recent notable incident. That company received a half-billion-dollar loan guarantee from the federal government, and, later, an unusual loan modification that bought the company and its private investors extra time before it finally had to shut down. Infamously, before Solyndra’s troubles became public, Obama, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Vice President Joe Biden (by satellite) each staged triumphant appearances at the firm’s headquarters to celebrate the alleged wonders of clean-energy subsidies.

None of these public figures bothered to mention that an Obama donor was also a huge investor in Solyndra — and made several visits to the White House in the run-up to the approval of Solyndra’s loan deal.

The administration’s attempt now to prevent Americans from buying low-priced Chinese solar panels smacks of the same sort of cronyism that characterized the Solyndra debacle.

Chinese panels obviously compete against panels produced in America. This, like all competition, forces prices downward. But the administration isn’t interested in making green energy affordable; it’s interested in protecting politically influential American producers from foreign competition.

In this instance, those producers are led by SolarWorld, a German company with operations in the U.S. and with the too-friendly ear of the Department of Commerce.

Forget all the soaring campaign speeches about stamping out corporate greed in order to usher in a cleaner environment. They were never meant to actually stop politicians from doling out special privileges to greedy crony capitalists, even if those privileges make cleaner energy more costly.

But shouldn’t Uncle Sam take action against subsidized solar-panel imports in order to protect American jobs?


If the goal is greater access to clean-energy alternatives, the fewer American workers required to provide this access, the better. American workers are much more costly to employ than are Chinese workers. So any policy that artificially increases the number of Americans required to supply solar panels is a policy that artificially raises Americans’ costs of acquiring and using these clean-energy devices.

If instead the goal is to create jobs in America, propping up American-made green energy actually will do the opposite.

Forcing Americans to pay higher prices for solar panels means Americans will have less money to spend on other goods and services — thus destroying jobs elsewhere in the economy.

In addition, 95 percent of the jobs in today’s U.S. solar energy industry are either upstream or downstream from the producers who would be protected by the Commerce Department’s action. Many of these American workers supply inputs to the very Chinese solar-panel producers that the administration is targeting with tariffs. Others of these workers sell, install and maintain solar panels for American households and businesses. In other words, the duties sought by the Commerce Department would shrink the demand for the vast majority of Americans who work in the solar industry.

But the workers, firms and consumers that are harmed by the administration’s solar protectionism don’t constitute a political interest group. So they don’t figure in the president’s election-year calculations.

And that’s too bad.


Another one

In keeping with the recent trend of so-called green companies going into the red, another solar energy company supported by President Obama's top administration officials declared bankruptcy today.

Solar Trust for America received $2.1 billion in conditional loan guarantees from the Department of Energy -- "the largest amount ever offered to a solar project," according to Energy Secretary Steven Chu -- for a project near Blythe, Calif., but declared bankruptcy within a year. It is unclear how much of the guarantee, if any, was actually awarded.

Senior officials in Obama's administration had very high hopes for the Blythe project. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar attended the groundbreaking ceremony, which he described as "a historic moment in America’s new energy frontier" and "another important step in making America’s clean energy future a reality." Chu trumpeted at the time that Solar Trust would prove that "when we rev up the great American innovation machine, we can out-compete any other nation."

The embarrassment should be bipartisan. "This is a huge milestone for our community," Rep. Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif., said when the company received its loan guarantee. "I look forward to continuing my work supporting projects . . . that will harness our local energy resources and help reduce our nation’s dangerous dependence on unstable foreign oil.”

Uwe Schmidt, chairman and CEO of the company, also argued that Solar Trust was good for the nation. He wrote last year that "the DOE loan guarantee is a 'win-win' for government and the companies involved and will not only advance the cause of energy independence but will create hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country."

The bankruptcy makes Schmidt's attempt to rebuke DOE critics in the wake of the Solyndra bankruptcy particuarly ironic.

"Despite the posturing and finger pointing, the American solar energy industry is alive and well," Schmidt wrote in an op-ed for the Huffington Post, before discussing his company's business plans. Referring to Solyndra, he lamented that "one company's bankruptcy has cast doubt on the credibility of a government program that is otherwise being administered with incredible efficiency."

The list of bankrupt solar companies has grown since Schmidt scolded Solyndra investigators. How many more might go bankrupt? Secretary Chu won't say.


Global Weirding: the New Big Lie

James Delingpole

They're calling it Global Weirding now, as I suppose, inevitably they were bound to do in the end. Well "global warming" stopped working in 1989 when the globe stopped warming. “Climate change” was always a bit of a non-starter because climate does change regardless of whether or not we all drive 4 x 4s, or buy carbon offsets or listen to Stephen Fry and Ron Weasley's injunction to take our holidays in England this year. And “Global Climate Disruption”, as some pillock tried to christen it, was never going to catch on because, well, it's just too blatantly contrived and desperate isn't it?

So Global Weirding it is. The concept was popularised last week in a characteristically dire and parti pris BBC Horizon documentary which purported to have lots of new evidence (or “hearsay” as it would more likely have been termed in a court of law) showing that our weather is getting more extreme – weirder. It seems to have been broadcast to coincide with a new IPCC report which has been excitedly written up in newspapers like the Guardian and the Detroit Free Press as evidence that we are heading towards climate disaster.
Global warming is leading to such severe storms, droughts and heat waves that nations should prepare for an unprecedented onslaught of deadly and costly weather disasters, an international panel of scientists has said.

The greatest danger is in highly populated, poorer regions, but no corner of the globe is immune. The document, by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, forecasts stronger tropical cyclones and more frequent heat waves, deluges and droughts, and blames man-made climate change, population shifts and poverty.

But this is pretty much the exact opposite of what the IPCC report actually says. As Roger Pielke Jr has noted, the report is a far cry from the IPCC's usual slipshod, scaremongering standards:
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."

So what this IPCC report is saying is that WE DO NOT KNOW if there's an anthropogenic signal in extreme weather patterns, and that there does not seem to be a trend towards increased extreme weather events such as tornados and tropical storms. Yet the liberal MSM is reporting the opposite. How come?

Well here's the weird part. The misinformation comes from the IPCC's summary of its own report (available here) which has been regurgitated, in classic churnalism style, by all the usual lazy MSM suspects. It begins:
"Evidence suggests that climate change has led to changes in climate extremes such as heat waves, record high temperatures and, in many regions, heavy precipitation in the past half century, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said today."

The IPCC, of course, has form in this regard. With its four Assessment Reports, its Summaries for Policymakers have been notably more extreme and confident in CAGW than the reports themselves warrant. So yet again what we have here is the work of serious-minded, neutral scientists (yes, they do still exist) being twisted for political purposes by activists.

As we know, the great global warming alarmism Ponzi scheme is looking extremely vulnerable at the moment. Global warming has stopped. There's a growing public backlash against eco-taxes, ugly flickery lightbulbs, higher energy bills, bat chomping eco-crucifixes and all the other paraphernalia of the environmental religion. And unfortunately, as we saw in '44 and '45, what these kind of people do when they get backed into a corner is not surrender but get nastier and more devious.

We've seen this recently in the Fakegate affair. And in Leo Hickman of the Guardian's contemptible "expose" of one of the hitherto anonymous donors of the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

And in the Planet Under Pressure comedy conference staged last week by comedy organisations including the Royal Society, mainly in order to try to breathe new life into the stagnant, green-tinged corpse of climate alarmism.

One of the speakers at Planet Under Pressure claimed – in apparent seriousness – that climate scepticism was an illness that needed to be treated.
Scepticism regarding the need for immediate and massive action against carbon emissions is a sickness of societies and individuals which needs to be "treated", according to an Oregon-based professor of "sociology and environmental studies". Professor Kari Norgaard compares the struggle against climate scepticism to that against racism and slavery in the US South.

Prof Norgaard holds a B.S. in biology and a master's and PhD in sociology.
"Over the past ten years I have published and taught in the areas of environmental sociology, gender and environment, race and environment, climate change, sociology of culture, social movements and sociology of emotions," she says.

As Paul Joseph Watson notes at Prison Planet:
"The effort to re-brand legitimate scientific dissent as a mental disorder that requires pharmacological or psychological treatment is a frightening glimpse into the Brave New World society climate change alarmists see themselves as ruling over.

Due to the fact that skepticism towards man-made global warming is running at an all time high, and with good reason, rather than admit they have lost the debate, climate change alarmists are instead advocating that their ideological opponents simply be drugged or brainwashed into compliance.

Lysenko, anyone?


Carbon Emissions Are Good

It is erroneous to think that humans cannot change the environment for good

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its intention to enforce regulations that would effectively ban new coal-fired power plants in the United States. As coal is by far America’s cheapest and most plentiful fossil fuel, and coal-fired power stations account for 45 percent of all electricity generated in the U.S., the destructive economic effects of this edict can hardly be overstated. It is therefore imperative to subject the EPA’s logic to a searching examination.

According to the EPA, despite their disastrous economic effects, regulations to prevent the U.S. from making use of its coal resources are necessary, because coal combustion produces carbon dioxide, which allegedly will cause global warming, which would allegedly be harmful to the Earth’s biosphere and human society. Others, wishing to avoid an environmentalist-created economic catastrophe, have challenged this argument’s first premise, to wit, that global warming is really occurring. Since there is no actual global temperature, but only an average of many different constantly changing local temperatures, this approach has led to convoluted debates revolving around data sets that can easily be based upon an unrepresentative mix of measurements.

This has left the EPA’s second premise — that global warming would be a harmful development — largely unchallenged. This is unfortunate, because while it is entirely possible that the earth may be warming — as it has done so many times in the past — there is no rational basis whatsoever to support the contention that carbon-dioxide-driven global warming would be on the whole harmful to life and civilization. Quite the contrary: All available evidence supports the contention that human CO2 emissions offer great benefits to the earth’s community of life.

Putting aside for the moment the question of whether human industrial CO2 emissions are having an effect on climate, it is quite clear that they are raising atmospheric CO2 levels. As a result, they are having a strong and markedly positive effect on plant growth worldwide. There is no doubt about this. NASA satellite observations taken from orbit since 1958 show that, concurrent with the 19 percent increase in atmospheric CO2 over the past half century, the rate of plant growth in the continental United States has increased by 14 percent. Studies done at Oak Ridge National Lab on forest trees have shown that increasing the carbon dioxide level 50 percent, to the 550 parts per million level projected to prevail at the end of the 21 century, will likely increase photosynthetic productivity by a further 24 percent. This is readily reproducible laboratory science. If CO2 levels are increased, the rate of plant growth will accelerate.

Now let us consider the question of warming: If it is occurring — and I believe it is, based not on disputable temperature measurements but on sea levels, which have risen two inches in two decades — is it a good thing or a bad thing? Answer: It is a very good thing. Global warming would increase the rate of evaporation from the oceans. This would increase rainfall worldwide. In addition, global warming would lengthen the growing season, thereby increasing still further the bounty of both agriculture and nature.



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