Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Spinning like a top

Reported below is that CO2 emissions FOLLOWED a temperature rise, whereas Warmists claim that CO2 CAUSES temperature rise and is hence prior to it.

Does a small detail like that bother them? Not a bit! By adding a lot of assumptions they pretend that it should alarm us. They just assume what they have to prove: That CO2 is a significant influence on temperature and that a positive feedback loop will take place to produce more warming

The researcher even resorts to lies, as in "the rapid increase now in CO2 is also driving up temperatures". Awkward fact: Temperatures have in fact been stable for about the last 15 years. CO2 certainly is increasing but it's not driving anything

AN Australian Antarctic scientist has made a climate studies breakthrough by examining how the earth warmed up after the last Ice Age.

Glaciologist Joel Pedro, from the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, is part of an international team that has worked out how quickly carbon entered the atmosphere as a result of temperature rises beginning around 19,000 years ago.

The team discovered that CO2 increased naturally in the atmosphere much more quickly than previously thought during an 8000-year period of global warming.

"The new thing here is to pin down the time scales of how that worked in the past," Dr Pedro told AAP. "If there was a lag at all then it was likely no more than 400 years. "We can't rule out that the two just happen at the same time, whereas previously the figures were more like a thousand (years)."

The finding suggests "feedback" in the climate system - where temperature increases CO2, which in turn increases temperature - happens faster than expected.

It also lends support to theories that the oceans warmed more quickly than the 1000 years it was thought was needed for a significant change to occur.

Dr Pedro spent a month drilling ice cores at Law Dome near Casey Station in Eastern Antarctica in 2008-09. His findings have just been published in the journal Climate of the Past.

The study has been hailed as a major step forward in understanding more recent problems, with US ice core specialist Eric Steig saying it has major implications for understanding the carbon cycle and climate change.

Dr Pedro says the study of natural warming only underlines the speed at which human-created climate change has occurred. He says 8000 years' worth of natural CO2 increases have been created in the 200 years since the industrial revolution.

"Just as the steady increase in CO2 helped to melt the ice caps and warm the earth out of the ice age, the rapid increase now in CO2 is also driving up temperatures, only at a much faster rate," he said. "What we're doing now is over a hundred times faster."


Illiteracy at NASA

Apparently NASA should start distributing dictionaries to the authors of its press releases.

Here is the title of the July 24, 2012 NASA press release reporting on recent ice melt across the surface of Greenland:

“Satellites See Unprecedented Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Melt”

And here is a quote from within the release:

“Ice cores from Summit show that melting events of this type occur about once every 150 years on average. With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time,” says Lora Koenig, a Goddard glaciologist and a member of the research team analyzing the satellite data.

Now, according to our version of Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, “unprecedented” is defined as:

“having no precedent: NOVEL, UNEXAMPLED” concurs:

“without previous instance; never before known or experienced; unexampled or unparalleled: an unprecedented event.”

So, while it may be meteorologically interesting that a series of high pressure ridges had passed over Greenland this summer with largest and warmest of these parking over the island for a few days in mid-July and raising the temperature to near the melting point of ice all the way up to the summit of Greenland’s ice cap—it is not a type of event which is unique. Rare perhaps, but not unprecedented.

But, apparently, when it comes to hyping anthropogenic global warming (or at least the inference thereto), redefining English words in order to garner more attention is a perfectly acceptable practice.

Which brings to mind this oldy but goody from the late Stephen Schneider:

On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but — which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broadbased support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.

At NASA, apparently being honest is not considered as being the most effective.


Climate change’s costs hit the plate

In the mid-1980s, when I was a doctoral student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and beginning to study climate change, I attended a lecture by a specialist in plant physiology at nearby Harvard University. He spoke about global warming’s impact on crop productivity. He was quite optimistic. More carbon dioxide in the air, he explained, causes certain kinds of plants to grow faster. So, on balance, food output should rise in a warmer and CO2-rich world.

I chased him down after the lecture and pressed him on things that could make plant response more complex. If plants absorb more CO2, I asked, won’t that change the nitrogen-carbon balance in their tissues and make them less nutritious? And what about other factors that might change in a warmer world, such as soil moisture and the distribution of weeds and pests – shouldn’t we take them into account, too?

He agreed that the issue was more complex than he’d suggested. “But we don’t have good data on these other factors yet,” he said, “so I didn’t talk about them.”

Almost three decades later, we have vastly more data, and the picture is far less rosy. We’ve learned that in the real world, unlike in experimental plots that control everything except ambient CO2 concentration, factors like drier soil and worse pest infestations can swamp carbon dioxide’s positive effect. And one thing that didn’t figure much in experts’ analysis in those days, and which I didn’t ask the Harvard speaker about, turns out to be a really big deal: heat shock.

In the past few years, agricultural scientists have shown that crops critical to humankind’s caloric supply – including corn and soybeans – are extremely sensitive to even short periods of high temperature. Output of these crops increases as the temperature rises to about 30 Celsius, but then it falls sharply as the temperature keeps rising. For instance, just one day of 40-degree weather will produce a 7-per-cent drop in the annual yield of corn compared with its yield if the temperature stays at 29 through the growing season.

In the past, 40 degrees might have seemed unusual, but nowadays it isn’t. In recent weeks, temperatures have topped this level repeatedly in key corn-growing states such as Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois and Indiana. The U.S. grain-growing regions are being hit, in fact, by a particularly brutal combination of drought and high heat.

Climate-change skeptics will dismiss this summer’s North American weather as just that – weather. They’ll argue it says nothing about longer-term climate trends. It’s true that the U.S. droughts of the 1950s and 1930s were worse than the current one, at least so far. But even without getting into the causes of this unusually hot and dry summer, data clearly show that the frequency of extreme weather is soaring around the world. For example, in the 1950s, summertime heat events that scientists classify as abnormally severe – technically, those that are at least three standard deviations from the average temperature and that experts call “three-sigma events” – affected less than 1 per cent of Earth’s land area. Now, in any given summer, three-sigma events affect about 10 per cent of our land area.

What’s happening in the United States is a window on the future. If humankind continues on its current emissions path, and if countries don’t invest far more in research to develop crops resistant to drought and high heat, climate change will depress global food production in the coming decades, just when our population is climbing toward 10 billion.

It sounds harsh, but in light of these realities, this year’s U.S. drought is good news. The sooner we get serious about climate change, the better our chances of keeping temperatures from rising too high. The drought and heat wave have already led to record corn prices. The world’s integrated grain markets will transmit these higher prices around the world, in time affecting just about everyone.

People may not care much about climate change, but most do care about the price of food because it affects their everyday lives. Fears about imperiled food security may be our best hope for breaking through widespread climate-change denial and generating the political pressure to do something, finally, about the problem.


Can Government Protect the Environment...or Anything?

In light of recent comments by NASA climatologist Dr. James Hansen – stating that climate change is a moral imperative on par with slavery – climate change is, once again, front and center. Immediately, environmental alarmists and reactionary extremists on both sides of the political spectrum started pointing fingers and raising voices.

While the climate debate certainly has merit and must be studied (scientifically, not politically, of course), climate change is not the crux of this overarching environmental issue. The real issue is can government actually provide the solution?

Answering this question requires only a brief look at government’s track record of fixing problems and protecting things.

A Broken History of Environmental Protection

It is astonishing how convinced people are that environmental salvation can only be reached through government intervention. As if government – equipped with the power of Sauran’s Eye – must be the environment’s final arbiter.

Bear in mind, this great planetary savior is the same force that destroyed hundreds of cities and towns while waging total war across half the globe during a decade of environmental destruction that culminated in the drop of not one, but two, nuclear devices on Japan. Further, only government was responsible for the devastation of millions of acres of present day Belarus, Russia, and the Ukraine when the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Prypiat, Ukraine failed. Subsequently, this same protector tried, in vain, to cover up the entire disaster.

Further, government has a history of introducing invasive plant and animal species to non-native environments, all in a calculated scientific effort to "fix" the environment. A great example is the U.S. federal government’s introduction of the Paper Bark into South Florida over 100 years ago in an attempt to drain the Everglades. Similarly, in the 1930s, the Australian government introduced the Cane Toad into Queensland because it would, in theory, protect the sugarcane fields from destructive insects. Today, authorities in both the U.S. and Australia spend millions of federal tax dollars to eradicate these new pests.

While government may have learned from past mistakes, a concentrated focus on the eradication of all non-native species would be extremely near-sighted. Keep in mind, horses, camels, cows, pigs, goats, sheep, cats, and dogs (just to name a few) are only native to small parts of the world. Complete eradication would devastate the global economy.

Protecting infinity and Beyond

Not to be outdone by a stellar environmental record, government wants to protect money, too. In 1913, the U.S. government established a monetary authority chartered with two main goals: 1) to maintain the purchasing power of the USD, and 2) to moderate the peaks and valleys of the business cycle. After 100 years, the Federal Reserve has done neither. In a few years, 1USD will be worth fractions of a cent when compared to its century old ancestor and the worst business cycles in U.S. history have all occurred under the Fed’s watch. Those financial panics of the pre-Depression era were nothing more than harmless day dreams when compared to the mess caused by the Federal Reserve.

Not content, Congressional meddlers, over the past century, have created a labyrinth of federal laws to further regulate financial institutions. Each law, more convoluted than the last, is promulgated to promote "safety" and "consumer fairness." While these motivations are well and good, the law of unintended consequences has been forgotten. To date, the costs associated with all financial activities – from simply borrowing money to complex corporate regulatory compliance – are increasing exponentially.

These interventionist measures neither protect the consumer nor strengthen the U.S. financial system, but do create systemic problems with rent seeking and moral hazard. It should come as no surprise that every sovereign state around the world has established authority to protect money. In reality, the only thing protected is government entrenchment.

Still not done, government has manufactured a war on poverty, a war on drugs, and a war on terror all under the guise of protecting the individual and the environment. All this, and yet, government fails to keep the streets safe and property secure. The state even fails to protect litigants in a court room or prisoners from each other.

Why place faith in an entity that is one part Mr. Magoo and two parts Officer Barbrady? Yet time and time again activists and voters turn to these omnipotent benefactors as the path to salvation.

Do Viable Market Alternatives Exist?

Privatization, when coupled with a system of governance that promotes and protects property rights, is the most effective way to protect the environment. Only respected property rights can minimize economic problems such as the tragedy of the commons and moral hazard.

One great example, the American Bison, once on the verge of extinction under government regulation, received a new lease on life due to privatization. Media magnate Ted Turner, instrumental in the Bison’s resurgence, owns the largest privately held Bison heard and uses these resources to support his restaurant chain Ted’s Montana Grill. Similarly, in some African countries the African Elephant is facing extinction, while in others, such as Zimbabwe, where privatization was legalized, minor overpopulation concerns exist. Further, while there is no shortage of cows, pigs, or chickens and there are always trees at Christmas, environmentally conscience individuals and private firms, even absent direct financial incentive, are more likely to protect the environment (including undesirable species) for pure altruistic gain than government is.

Finally, privatization supports governance instead of government. Private entities such as Brinks, Underwriters Laboratories, Consumer Reports, Goodwill, and World Land Trust are certainly capable of protecting people, property, and the environment. While private firms are far from perfect, these entities must respond to market demand by providing quality service at reasonable prices. Government, unresponsive to these forces, answers only to political pressure, which leads to the problems identified above.

Free market environmentalists or enviropreneurs are the environment’s best bet, not government

Markets Always Win

The perpetually growing state is synonymous with endlessly eroding freedom and, every year, government shovels more and more responsibility into its bloated craw. At the same time, it fails the most basic obligations. Fortunately, politicians and bureaucrats, convinced they know all the answers, are consistently proven wrong by the laws of economics. As F.A. Hayek eloquently states in The Fatal Conceit, "The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design." Or protect.


Power in the people's hands to block wind farms: British government pledges to give communities more control

George Osborne is planning new powers to allow communities to block wind turbines as the Coalition row over green energy targets escalates.

Whitehall sources said the Chancellor was pushing for changes to the planning regime as part of a deal with the Liberal Democrats over the future of climate change policy.

There are 3,800 wind turbines across the UK, but at least 10,000 had been expected to be built to help meet Britain’s pledge to cut carbon emissions to 50 per cent of 1990 levels by 2025.

But more than 100 Conservative MPs have called for cuts in state subsidies for new turbines, and changes to planning rules to limit their construction.

One source said: ‘The Treasury is looking at how to change the planning process around turbines to try to give local communities more say, and potentially how they can share some of the financial benefits.’

Mr Osborne is offering to limit his demands for reductions in subsidies for onshore wind farms if the Lib Dems agree to compromise on inflexible climate goals.

He insists householders should not be faced with bigger energy bills and firms put at a disadvantage by Britain attempting to cut emissions faster than other countries.

The Chancellor points out that the UK accounts for less than 2 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, compared with 40 per cent from the US and China.

He argues that many renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, are too expensive and wants a massive expansion of gas-fired power stations instead.

Applications for new wind farms have to be made to local authorities, and around half are refused. But under the existing system, energy companies often win on appeal to the Government’s planning inspectorate.

Campaigners took heart from a court ruling in May, in which villagers in Hemsby, on the edge of the Norfolk Broads, succeeded in blocking four 350ft turbines after a High Court judge agreed their right to preserve their landscape was more important than renewable energy targets.

In return for changes to allow communities more opportunities to prevent onshore wind farms, as well as financial incentives for those that do accept them, Mr Osborne is prepared to accept Lib Dem Energy Secretary Ed Davey’s proposed cut in onshore wind subsidies of 10 per cent, followed by a review next year.
From the Mail, May 30

The Treasury had been pressing for tougher cuts in the subsidies, though suggestions that they could be cut by as much as 25 per cent were dismissed.

‘We never tried for, nor were going to achieve an immediate 25 per cent reduction in onshore renewable subsidies,’ said one source. ‘This would be likely to be struck down in court.’

Sources said the Chancellor wanted to ‘rule out anything that might make gas investment unviable’ such as another renewables target.

He is pushing for a looser regulatory regime for ‘fracking’ – the fracturing of dense shale rock under pressure of jets of water, sand and chemicals – to extract gas. In the US, gas prices have fallen significantly as shale gas extraction has taken off.

‘Gas should continue to play a massive role in our energy needs for the future, alongside nuclear and some renewables, so we want to do all we can to secure investment in both gas and renewables generation, but also to bring down bills for businesses and consumers,’ the source said.

In a leaked letter to Mr Davey, the Chancellor has urged him to make a ‘clear, strong signal’ of support for ‘unabated gas’ up to 2030 and beyond, including a promise that consumers would benefit from falling gas prices.
‘Setting inflexible targets on the energy sector is inefficient,’ he writes.

Craig Bennett, director of policy and campaigns at Friends of the Earth, said: ‘The Chancellor’s pre-election pledge that the Treasury will become a “green ally, not a foe” has been completely trashed.’


Another "Green" company run by Obama donor goes broke

Another green company backed by an Obama bundler just bit the dust. After announcing earlier this year that the company would lay off 200 of its 300 employees, solar manufacturer Amonix Inc. closed its operation in North Las Vegas leaving taxpayers in the red by $20 million.

“Just seven months after California-based solar power company Amonix Inc. opened its largest manufacturing plant, in North Las Vegas,” reports the Las Vegas Sun, a liberal paper, last January, “the company’s contractor has laid off nearly two-thirds of its workforce. Flextronics Industrial, the Singapore solar panel manufacturer that partnered with Amonix to staff the new $18 million, 214,000-square-foot plant, laid off about 200 of its 300-plus employees Tuesday.”

Now only 14 months after opening the facility, and seven months after massive layoffs, it has closed due to manufacturing over-capacity in the solar industry, along with quality control issues.

"I don't think they had a lot of training," said Rene Kenerly, a former material and supply manager at Amonix, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal. "There were a lot of quality issues. A lot of stuff was coming back because it had some functionality issues."

Sounds like a picture perfect Obama program: Very expensive with "functionality issues."

The man behind the company, Steve Westly, has received over $500 million in taxpayer-funded grants, loans and cash for a variety of companies- mostly in the in the green space after raising $86,000 for Obama as a bundler in 2008, according to the campaign cash website

So far this election cycle, Westly has donated $101,000 to various Democrat candidates and groups according to data compiled by opensecrets, including $60,000 to DNC Service Corp, also known by the less creepy name of the Democrat National Committee.

Earlier this week, I detailed plans by another Obama bundler, Steven Gluckstern, to help municipalities seize mortgage loans under eminent domain laws- that is, abuse eminent domain laws- in order to generate fees for his company, Mortgage Resolution Partners.

Westly’s list of interests backed by the Obama administration is much, much longer than the Gluckstern scheme however.



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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