Thursday, November 15, 2012

How Much should it cost to get back to the speed standards of 100 years ago?

In Britain, the Swindon-built "City of Truro" steam train exceeded 100 mph in 1904 so American speeds would have soon emulated that.  Earlier American records are in fact claimed but not substantiated.  And note this comment by a passenger on the record run by "City of Truro": "At this time the travelling was so curiously smooth that, but for the sound, it was difficult to believe we were moving at all...".  So they built good track back then too.  And it is not only good track that the Great Western Railway company built.  "City of Truro" itself still exists in good condition in Britain's National Railway museum.  It is only regulations that have slowed us down in modern times

News stories in the Midwest last month cited a “historic” 15-mile Amtrak trip between Dwight and Pontiac, IL run at 110 mph. Those are the first 15 miles of the Chicago-St. Louis route that have been fully upgraded for the increased top speed (compared with the usual top speed of 79 mph). Upgrading involves installing positive train control (required by law for passenger rail going faster than 79 mph), fencing, a four-gate system at grade crossings, and upgraded track with concrete ties. On board were DOT Secretary Ray LaHood, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, Sen. Dick Durbin, and other dignitaries.

The overall federally aided project intends to upgrade the entire 284 miles of track between Chicago and St. Louis for higher-speed rail with 110 mph top speed and an average speed of 71 mph, enabling the trip time to be cut to four hours from the current five and a half hours. Thus far, $1.6 billion has been spent ($1.2 billion from you and me, as federal taxpayers and another $400 million from Illinois taxpayers.) The total price tag for the route upgrade is $6 billion—and that does not include double-tracking the mostly single-track line.

How many more passengers will the 1.5-hour shorter trip attract? Prof. Ray Mundy, Director of Transportation Studies at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, told public radio’s “Marketplace” that “the amount of people that are going from downtown St. Louis to downtown Chicago that would be affected by improved rail service . . . probably wouldn’t be enough to fill up a 737 that Southwest flies.”

It’s not clear to me, even if Mundy is off by a factor of ten, that spending $6 billion of general taxpayers’ money to provide subsidized competition to tax-paying, self-supporting airlines and bus lines could possibly make sense.

And by the way, as transportation reporter Jon Hilkevitch pointed out in an Oct. 19th Chicago Tribune story on this test run, in the days of steam locomotives passenger trains in the Midwest often exceeded 100 mph.


CO2 is GOOD!

Human Carbon Emissions Seen by Researchers as Holding Back Ice Age -- but they only say so in a last-ditch attempt to save their addled theory about the effects of CO2

Human emissions of fossil carbon into the atmosphere and the resulting increase in temperatures may be holding off the next ice age, according to research from Sweden’s University of Gothenburg.

“We are probably entering a new ice age right now,” Lars Franzen, a professor of physical geography at the university, was cited as saying in an online statement today. “However, we’re not noticing it due to the effects of carbon dioxide.”

Franzen and three other researchers calculated how much of Sweden might be covered by peat lands during an interglacial, the period between two ice ages. Peat absorbs carbon from the atmosphere, and the study found that the country’s carbon-sink potential could increase six- to 10-fold, which theoretically might cause a drop in temperatures.

Increased felling of woodlands and expansion of agricultural land, combined with early industrialization, probably halted the so-called Little Ice Age from the 16th to the 18th century, slowing down or even reversing a cooling trend, according to the researchers.

“It’s certainly possible that mankind’s various activities contributed towards extending our ice age interval by keeping carbon dioxide levels high enough,” Franzen said. “Without the human impact, the inevitable progression toward an ice age would have continued.”

The earth experienced at least 30 periods of ice age in the past 3 million years, according to the university. There were no emissions of fossil carbon in earlier interglacial periods, and carbon sequestration in peat lands may have been one of the main reasons why ice age conditions occurred, according to Franzen.

“The spread of peat lands is an important factor,” Franzen said. “If we accept that rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere lead to an increase in global temperature, the logical conclusion must be that reduced levels lead to a drop in temperature.”


Geoscientist explains why man-made CO2 is not the driver of global warming

He puts facts first, not theory

Dr. Ole Humlum, Professor of Geosciences at the University of Oslo, has published a summary and reply to comments on his groundbreaking paper demonstrating why man-made CO2 is not the driver of global warming. Dr. Humlum summarizes the main findings of his paper at a Norwegian website for geologists:

1. [Observations show] The temperature rise begins at sea level and spreads gradually to the land and atmosphere several months later. This is contrary to the IPCC CO2 hypothesis that atmospheric CO2 controls land and ocean temperature.

2. The geographical distribution of a CO2 increase doesn't start at 30-50 degrees North latitude, which one would expect if the source were mainly created by the fossil fuel industry and transport in the Northern Hemisphere.  Instead, the increase of CO2 starts just south of the equator. This is contrary to the IPCC hypothesis that use of fossil fuels is the primary cause of increased CO2 levels.

Dr. Humlum notes that existing climate models are based on the improper assumption that CO2 controls temperature and have not provided skillful predictions so far. He concludes:

    "One should therefore consider moving the focus of climate research from CO2 to the nature and significance of natural variation, both related to the sun and other [natural causes]. It is most likely where we will find the main reason for the present (and future) climate change."


BBC abandoned balanced climate reporting after meeting with these 28 campaigners

A BBC coverup defeated  -- and we can see the reason behind the secrecy now.  Their "experts" were just a grab-bag of alarmists

In 2006, the BBC decided to stop providing balanced coverage of global warming science and policy after “a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts.”  UK blogger Tony Newbery  filed a freedom of information request to determine just who the 28 “best scientific experts” were.  The BBC refused to comply and went to great (and expensive) legal lengths to avoid the disclosure.

The internet, however, has a long memory.  A search of an internet “wayback” machine revealed the 28 names the BBC was hiding.  Surprise, surprise, the list revealed few “best scientific experts” no scientific experts skeptical of the global warming science and policy the BBC would choose to champion, numerous global warming campaigners and business people seeking to protect and expand taxpayer subsidies to their carbon and alternative energy schemes.

Four senior representatives of the BBC, including BBC Director General George Entwistle,  who attended the 2006 meeting have just been disciplined or resigned from their posts at the BBC following a serious scandal which paints them not as neutral journalists reporting for a taxpayer funded news service, but as “ends justify the means” left-wing campaigners.  BBC Newsnight falsely reported that Lord McAlpine, who served as Treasurer of the Conservative Party and adviser to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, was involved in the North Wales child abuse scandal.  The charges, which have proven false, were made by the BBC without ever contacting Lord McAlpine to hear his side of the story — apparently, a sad pattern at the BBC.  This has left many asking whether these BBC officials were so filled with disdain for Baroness Thatcher that they rushed onto the air a story which would damage her legacy.

Similarly, were these BBC officials so enamored of the goals of radical global warming advocates to implement their agenda by stifling all question and debate, that they rushed the BBC into its policy of only reporting one side of this expensive and controversial set of policies?

Consider Christopher Booker’s report The BBC and Climate Change: A Triple Betrayal, published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

The “Guido Fawkes” blog released the following 28 names as those who counseled the BBC to abandon impartial journalism on climate.   Judge for yourself:

Robert May, Oxford University and Imperial College London
Mike Hulme, Director, Tyndall Centre, UEA
Blake Lee-Harwood, Head of Campaigns, Greenpeace
Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen
Michael Bravo, Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge
Andrew Dlugolecki, Insurance industry consultant
Trevor Evans, US Embassy
Colin Challen MP, Chair, All Party Group on Climate Change
Anuradha Vittachi, Director,
Andrew Simms, Policy Director, New Economics Foundation
Claire Foster, Church of England
Saleemul Huq, IIED
Poshendra Satyal Pravat, Open University
Li Moxuan, Climate campaigner, Greenpeace China
Tadesse Dadi, Tearfund Ethiopia
Iain Wright, CO2 Project Manager, BP International
Ashok Sinha, Stop Climate Chaos
Andy Atkins, Advocacy Director, Tearfund
Matthew Farrow, CBI
Rafael Hidalgo, TV/multimedia producer
Cheryl Campbell, Executive Director, Television for the Environment
Kevin McCullough, Director, Npower Renewables
Richard D North, Institute of Economic Affairs
Steve Widdicombe, Plymouth Marine Labs
Joe Smith, The Open University
Mark Galloway, Director, IBT
Anita Neville, E3G
Eleni Andreadis, Harvard University
Jos Wheatley, Global Environment Assets Team, DFID
Tessa Tennant, Chair, AsRia


The Climate Change Lies Ramp Up Again

By Alan Caruba

Within days of the election, Rasmussen Reports said that “While there was little talk of climate change during the president campaign, the number of U.S. voters who see global warming as a serious problem is at an all-time high.

A survey reported on November 9th found that “68% of likely U.S. voters now say that global warming is at least a somewhat serious problem, including 38% who think it is very serious. Thirty percent (30%) don’t see global warming as a serious problem, with 12% who think it’s not serious at all.”

There’s nothing like a devastating Hurricane Sandy and a follow-up “nor’easter” to get people thinking that “climate” is changing, but the simple unadorned fact is that the Earth has been in a cooling cycle since 1998. It’s getting colder all over the world.

Meteorologist Tim Kelley says “Sandy is not an unprecedented storm. The 1938 hurricane was worse, and was followed by major hurricanes in 1944 and 1954; three major hurricanes in 16 years. We are fortunate to have gone nearly 60 years without a comparable storm here in the northeast.”

“The alarm and fear of anthropogenic (manmade) global warming is a major distraction,” said Kelley, “and a waste of resources that could otherwise go to helping humanity.” There are some simple truths that most people just don’t get. “Heat on Earth comes from our Sun and is stored in our oceans. Small fluctuations in solar and oceanic cycles draft any impact on climate when compared to the influence of anthropogenic CO2.”

“From a scientific perspective,” says Kelley, “it’s almost unfathomable that we have been duped into believing the scare generated by climate change alarmists.” And, yet, clearly a lot of people have been and continue to be duped.

So, like a zombie, climate change is back after the politicians managed to say nothing about it during the long campaign, plus three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate. It has been around since 1988. The greatest charlatan and buffoon the political class has produced, Al Gore, became the face of the global warming hoax. In 2009, when the emails between the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scientists were exposed, it became clear that they were fearful that the new cooling cycle would end their grants and funding.
Headlines blared regarding the hoax and then they were forgotten, ignored.

No matter how many times the facts are presented, the global warming/climate change liars just produce some new report or study proclaiming that “97% of climate experts agree that humanity is causing global warming and other problematic climate change because of our greenhouse gas emissions.” That was the message of the Doran/Zimmerman global warming poll in April 2008 and published in January 2009. As Tom Harris of the International Climate Science Coalition pointed out, the survey has been thorough debunked. It doesn’t matter.

Just after the election, Environmental Defense Fund president, Fred Krupp, congratulated President Obama on reelection, saying he expects the 113th Congress to “make global climate change" a top priority.

Friends of the Earth, another environmental powerhouse, expressed similar thoughts. “In his acceptance speech, President Obama acknowledged the ‘destructive power of a warming planet.’ It is ironic that the outcome of a campaign so marked by the silence of both candidates would be definitively influenced by Superstorm Sandy, but history will show that the winds of Hurricane Sandy blew President Obama back into office.”

Surely some voters looked at the hurricane and concluded that it was “proof” of global warming and/or climate change. It was only proof that hurricanes have been occurring before and since the dawn of mankind.

It was proof of the gullibility, the ignorance of simple facts about the climate, that vast multitudes of Americans have been indoctrinated to believe when they attended school and by the constant media exposure of the repeated lies about global warming.
Ignored in the midst of this is the way such lies get translated into government policies that do immeasurable harm to the economy.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute called on President Obama to take reasoned steps

- Suspend and re-open the rulemaking process for the EPA’s greenhouse gas emissions regulations and other major Clean Air Act rules designed to close coal-fired power plants and raise electric rates and cancel the revised offshore drilling plan and revert to the much-more-ambitious 2008 plan.

- Open the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration

- Approve the Keystone XL Pipeline

- Stop the EPA from interfering in state regulation of hydraulic fracturing.

- Suspend the Renewable Futures Standard for 2013 so corn prices can stabilize and

- Suspend, for obvious reasons, the Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program to “green” energy companies.

That’s the real impact of all the climate change hogwash. Hurricane Sandy left a wide swath of Americans in the dark prior to and during the election. The bunkum about greenhouse gas emissions will impede the steps the nation must take to ensure sufficient energy to keep the lights on from coast to coast.


EU fogs post-2012 climate aid pledges

Europe’s finance ministers will not promise any specific new monies for fast-dwindling climate aid to the developing world when they meet in Brussels today (13 November), according to draft conclusions seen by EurActiv.

The EU has stumped up €7.2 billion of climate finance in the 2010-2012 period under a Fast Start Finance (FSF) deal, due to run out at the end of this year.

The FSF was intended to kickstart a global Green Climate Fund that will eventually generate $100 billion (€78.9 billion) a year in climate aid, but has been beset by squabbles over seats, sources of funding, methods of payment, and beneficiaries.

But the draft economic minister’s council (Ecofin) conclusions say only that the EU will “continue to provide climate finance support after 2012”, without providing details of any 2013-2019 package.

If a gap did appear in funding, “that would be disastrous for us, very negative” said Evans Davie Njewa, a climate negotiator for Malawi and the 48 least developed countries (LDCs).

“I remember Paul Watkinson [France’s chief climate negotiator] assuring us on behalf of the EU that there would be no gap after the 2012,” he told EurActiv. “A gap now would mean our communities having difficulties in adapting [to climate change] and our countries being hurt.”

Of the EU’s €7.2 billion funding to date, the draft conclusions says that 40.5% of the total has been spent on mitigation measures, 30.1% on adaptation and 13% on support action to reduce deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries.

Oxfam described the figures as “relatively balanced”, although it questioned whether the funds were really new, and additional to pre-existing funds that had been earmarked for overseas aid.

Many developing countries though question the allocation of EU FSF funds, 60% of which have been delivered without consulting the affected countries, according to Oxfam.

Mitigation or adaptation

Davie Njewa said that most revenue had so far gone to fund mitigation projects favoured by the wealthy North, rather than adaptation measures, favoured by the LDCs themselves.

“We don’t even have a clear registry where the support has been recorded,” he complained. “We’re told that the money has been going to straight to communities but I don’t know how much because we don’t get official reports,” he said.

Such perceived lack of transparency has fed suspicions that beneficiary countries may have been chosen according to their historic bilateral links with donors, and their economic and political proximities.

Tomorrow’s draft ministerial conclusion says that the EU “should work in a constructive manner with other developed countries towards the identification of pathways for scaling up climate finance from 2013 to 2020 from a wide variety of sources.”

These could include public, private, bilateral, unilateral and alternative sources of finance.

The conclusion also reiterates a previous council statement that revenues collected from airlines in the ETS framework could be used for climate aid.

However that commitment, like the EU’s climate finance program itself, may now be on hold.




Preserving the graphics:  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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