Sunday, September 23, 2012

An elastic definition of "half"?

Isn't it lovely to have official science on your side?  The National Academy of Science and the National Research Council have released a short pro-Warmist video which purports to show that changes in the sun could not have caused the slight global warming of the late 20th century

The video is clearly designed to impress people who know nothing about the subject.  It is meant to represent "The Science" that Warmists are always talking about.  The video is however crooked from the start.  A correlation between solar activity and terrestrial temperature has been known for around 200 years.  So that is discussed?  Not on your nellie!  It is ignored.  And of course Svensmark's explanation for that correlation (recently confirmed at CERN) is not mentioned either.  So both the facts and the  theory  most relevant to the question they address are ignored!  A virtuoso performance of fraud!

But what of the things they do mention?  If you watch the video, starting at  mark 0:57 to 1:16 minutes you hear them say:

"Before satellites, solar energy had to be estimated by more indirect methods such as records of the number of sunspots observed each year, which is an indicator of solar activity. These indirect methods suggest that there was a slight increase in solar energy during the first half of the 20th century and a decrease in the latter half."

So let us look at the numbers in the sunpot record  Here.   Note that the biggest cycle is solar cycle 19 which started in April 1954.  That's the SECOND half of the century, not the First like they say.  But more important than that, is if you add up the sunspot numbers (found in column 5 of the chart) you will see that there were many more sunspots in the SECOND half of the 20th century than the first.

It's true that sunspot numbers in cycles (such as cycle 19) aren’t the same as solar energy received by the earth but it is sunspot numbers that the video hangs its hat on so there is no doubt about the deception.

So how come official bodies can  perpetrate such a careless fraud?  The only way I can make the numbers come out anywhere near what they say is to put the big leap of 1954 into the first half of the century.  Strange arithmetic!  It certainly gives the impression that they themselves do not believe what they say.  They are just going through the motions in a very careless way:  Just putting out pretty but worthless beads to wave in the faces of  the despised "masses".

TWO polar records this year?

The world's media is extremely excited at the thirty-year record low extent of sea ice at the North Pole which occurred just days ago: but almost nobody is reporting on the fact that something almost equally unusual is going on down around the coasts of Antarctica.

Whoa, that's a lot of ice

Even as the Arctic sea ice starts to grow again from its summery shrunken condition, the austral ice at the planet's other pole may have yet to reach its wintery peak extent. As the graph shows, at the moment it is much larger than normal for the time of year, and depending on what happens in the next week or so it might hit a record high. There has already been a point at which a record for that date occurred, and only a handful of higher daily satellite readings have ever been taken.

The sea ice around the coasts of Antarctica on average covers roughly the same amount of sea as the north-polar sea ice does: it's just as important, though you wouldn't know it by looking at the world's press right now. Another thing not everyone knows is that even as Arctic ice has been on a long decline since satellite measurements began, the Antarctic ice has been growing steadily (this despite well-publicised ice shelf losses around the Western Antarctic peninsula, bucking the overall continental trend).

Taking all the world's sea ice together, then - as opposed to focusing exclusively on the Arctic - the picture is far less gloomy than most media outlets would have you believe. Generally the world has between 15 and 23 million square km of the stuff: at the moment it has a bit more than 18m, which is approximately 1.5m below average for this time of year. Earlier this year, though, it was nearly 1m up on the seasonal average.

There are some other things to bear in mind, too: melting sea ice, of course, doesn't mean rising sea levels the way melting glaciers or ice sheets on land might. Then there's the fact that the satellite record is so short and the polar regions so little known: longer term variations like the one we're seeing may be entirely normal. Famously the president of the Royal Society (Blighty's premier scientific institution) wrote to the Admiralty in 1817:
   It will without doubt have come to your Lordship's knowledge that a considerable change of climate, inexplicable at present to us, must have taken place in the Circumpolar Regions, by which the severity of the cold that has for centuries past enclosed the seas in the high northern latitudes in an impenetrable barrier of ice has been during the last two years, greatly abated.

(This) affords ample proof that new sources of warmth have been opened and give us leave to hope that the Arctic Seas may at this time be more accessible than they have been for centuries past ...
Even so, though, many are warning of an "ice free" arctic - perhaps in only a few years from now. Then, of course, without ice to reflect heat back into space, runaway global warming would surely be a certainty?

One should note first of all that "ice free" in a satellite observation sense doesn't mean "free of ice" - there would still be a lot of ice floating about in that scenario. Then, however, it's also worth considering what Steffen Tietsche, a polar ice expert at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, has to say. Tietsche and his colleagues wrote last year in a leading peer-reviewed geophysics journal:
   We examine the recovery of Arctic sea ice from prescribed ice-free summer conditions in simulations of 21st century climate in an atmosphere–ocean general circulation model. We find that ice extent recovers typically within two years.

    The excess oceanic heat that had built up during the ice-free summer is rapidly returned to the atmosphere during the following autumn and winter, and then leaves the Arctic partly through increased longwave emission at the top of the atmosphere and partly through reduced atmospheric heat advection from lower latitudes. Oceanic heat transport does not contribute significantly to the loss of the excess heat.

    Our results suggest that anomalous loss of Arctic sea ice during a single summer is reversible, as the ice–albedo feedback is alleviated by large-scale recovery mechanisms. Hence, hysteretic threshold behavior (or a “tipping point”) is unlikely to occur during the decline of Arctic summer sea-ice cover in the 21st century.

So, all in all, probably not time to panic yet.


Another Spectacular Green Failure

What would you do with $7.5 billion? There are probably as many answers as there are people, but we’re guessing nobody opted to waste it all on a policy that accomplishes exactly zilch. Unfortunately, it looks like the federal government has done just that. Reuters has the details:
   U.S. federal policies to promote electric vehicles will cost $7.5 billion through 2019 and have “little to no impact” on overall national gasoline consumption over the next several years, the Congressional Budget Office said in a report issued on Thursday.

Greens have an odd knack for developing useless and expensive government policies. Ethanol, ballyhooed as a way to reduce greenhouse gasses, raises food prices for the poor and, in the U.S., actually increases greenhouse gas emissions at great cost. Costly programs to create “green jobs” seem to produce more scandals than jobs. And now we have a subsidy program for electric cars that costs money but otherwise gets nothing done.

Greens need to get better at policy; as it is, greens seem too policy challenged for public opinion to support the sweeping changes they recommend. That’s a shame; the world’s environmental problems are real, and good solutions are urgently needed.


EPA delays FOIA response; what is it hiding?

By Mark A. Wohlschlegel II — In May of 2012, Americans for Limited Government filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) with the EPA regarding their regulation and corresponding law suit on the topic of coal-ash.

This stemmed from our suspicion of the green groups taking advantage of the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA).  By this act, parties that prevail in cases against federal agencies are now allowed to seek reimbursement from the federal government for attorney fees.   Its intent was to ensure that decisions to contest administrative actions are based on the merits and not the cost of litigation, thereby encouraging agencies to base such actions on informed deliberation.  EPA knows this.  Green groups know this.  Neither have anything to lose.   Based on this, ALG is looking for evidence of collusion between the groups to exploit the EAJA.

Our request simply asked for all communications between the EPA’s Office and 11 environmental groups that were also involved in the suit, including the Sierra Club, Chesapeake Climate Change Network and Physicians for Social Responsibility.  ALG voluntarily amended the request on June 11 to narrow the search.  Following this the EPA used our request for a fee waiver as a member of the “news media” as their tool to both delay and stonewall a response to our request. Despite providing what was specifically asked for on two occasions, we were summarily denied three times. Among other objections, in the EPA’s last denial, dated August 6th, it again ignored our reasoned analysis and claimed we did not “turn raw data materials into distinct works,” but rather labeled us as an “information vendor” or “middleman.”

After filing well over 100 FOIA requests, and successfully receiving a “news media” member designation by more than a dozen other federal government departments and agencies, we at ALG are not exactly “green” when it comes to FOIA requests. Not deterred by the EPA’s belligerence, we at ALG re-filed a 55-page request on Aug. 22, detailing our right to a fee waiver as a member of the “news media” for FOIA purposes, and attaching 15 unique editorial pieces done by us. This included an original Aug. 15 article “What is the EPA hiding?” on this very FOIA battle we were having with the EPA. We also brought to the EPA’s attention a 2008 district court case they lost on this very issue. About a week later (and almost four months since our original filing), the EPA gave us our fee waiver.

Now was that really that hard EPA?


The EPA’s Latest Victims: 8 Coal Mines

The EPA added 8 new victims to it’s death toll today when Alpha Natural Resources announced that it would be closing 3 Virginia coal mines and 5 other mines in West Virginia and Pennsylvania resulting in the destruction of 1,200 more coal mining jobs. This is just the latest in a long and steady string of coal mining jobs lost due to the EPA’s War on Coal.

These shutdowns are the result of radical environmentalist policy that has been supported by former Virginia Governor and DNC Chairman Tim Kaine and Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Bob Casey.

As recently as July, Kaine bemoaned suggestions to weaken job-destroying EPA regulations saying  in the New York Times, “My advice is, don’t try to weaken regulations. Sell your story. Say we can meet these standards.”

In January of 2008, Obama said “If somebody wants to build a coal-fired power plant they can, it’s just that it will bankrupt them” when referring to his Cap-and-Trade proposals supported by both Kaine and Casey.

Today’s news is proof that job creation and regulations aimed at destroying the coal industry cannot coexist and the loss of jobs is the direct responsibility of Tim Kaine and Bob Casey who have supported the policies that caused these mine closures.

The closings came as no surprise to Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson who predicted last March that the coal mining industry would fall prey to the out-of-control EPA. “All these EPA guidelines, rules and regulations are nothing more than an attempt to end coal production in the U.S.,” said Wilson.

Unfortunately today’s announcement proves Wilson correct. And it shows that the EPA run by the radical-enviros is completely run amok.


Tragedy of Rising Energy Prices

There is pain associated with $4.00 a gallon gasoline. It’s not the kind you see on the news every night but it is just as tragic. Every day, families across our country struggle to put enough gas in their cars to get to work. Elderly couples choose between going to the doctor today or to church on Sunday. The people who live pay check to pay check, the people barely getting by, are bleeding a slow economic death with no end in sight.

This administration’s energy policy doesn’t even consider Americans who are just surviving on the edge, almost too poor to pay for the necessities of life like groceries or their prescriptions. Instead the President panders to a small group of environmentalists, while the rest of America suffers. The Presidents’ energy policy is clear; energy prices must “necessarily skyrocket”. Similar sentiments have been said by Energy Secretary Chu who suggested that Americans should be paying European prices for gasoline, roughly $8.00 a gallon. This President singled out industries like coal, gasoline and even hydroelectric power as somehow undesirable and therefore deserving of increased regulation and prohibitions on growth.

Earlier this week, Alpha Natural Resources announced that excessive regulations forced the layoff of 1,200 employees, former coal miners who would lose their jobs as they shut down eight coal plants. These people won’t be able to pay their mortgages, pay for their kids to be on the football team and may not be able to afford presents under the tree come December. These are our neighbors in Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania and they are hurting. These eight shuttered plants are only the most recent of the 119 coal mines that have closed since President Obama took office. Think of all of the jobs lost. This President has yet to create one net job since he took office.

These workers had the misfortune of working for the coal industry instead of politically connected industries that the President has propped up with bailouts and subsidies. No greater example of this exists than Solyndra, the failed solar energy plant that was given a $535 million loan from taxpayers.

The President refuses to allow job creation in any portion of the energy section that doesn’t fit his green-energy ideology, putting politics over American jobs. This is exemplified by the President’s decision this year to delay and deny the now infamous Keystone pipeline. That project alone would have created thousands of jobs. During the Obama Presidency oil production on federal lands has declined by over 250,000 barrels a day. That lost production means fewer high paying jobs and more Americans receiving food stamps, because the jobs they would take just don’t exist.

While the nation suffers from 43 straight months of unemployment over 8%, North Dakota’s job market is booming with only 3% unemployed primarily because the state has allowed oil and natural gas drilling on their lands. The people in North Dakota are producing the energy our country needs while being able to put food on the table and pay their mortgages. Yet if the President had his way and those lands were federally owned, the state would have less production, less energy, and fewer jobs.

The personal ideology of President Obama is dictating the nation’s policies without regard to individual suffering. There are tens of thousands of jobs which could be created if the President would change his energy policies. And every American would benefit from lower energy prices, from electricity to heat their homes to gasoline to power their cars.

Winter is coming and many Americans are going to choose not to turn on the furnace and instead wear three more layers, because between paying for gasoline to get us to work, to school, to church, and the grocery store, there just isn’t enough to pay for rising heating prices, too.

Mr. President, when will you see that your energy policies are causing pain?




The graphics problem:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


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