Friday, December 21, 2012

TOO MUCH SNOW closing Washington ski areas

See here for some history of Warmist shrieks about vanishing snow

Mount Baker Highway will be closed at least until Friday, Dec. 21, while state Department of Transportation crews remove nearly 100 trees that toppled onto the road because of wet, snowy and windy weather.

The highway is closed from Coal Creek Bridge at mile post 35, just east of Glacier. It has been closed since Wednesday morning.

The closure is affecting Mt. Baker Ski Area, which also has been closed since Wednesday, when so many trees fell that crews couldn't keep up with their removal – and prompting DOT to close that portion of the highway out of safety concerns.

"Some of them have just snapped off and fallen because of the weight of the snow," Bronlea Mishler, DOT spokeswoman, said Wednesday.  "They keep coming down," she added. "It's safety. We want to keep drivers safe. We want to keep our crews safe."

About six feet of snow has fallen on the area since Friday, according to Mishler.

The first trees fell Tuesday night. Crews were able to remove those.  But tree after tree began toppling after a windstorm early Wednesday morning combined with more snow and then temperatures warm enough to make the snow sit even heavier on the trees.

DOT crews worked throughout Wednesday to remove the snow-laden trees from the highway. In some cases, the weight of the snow, coupled with the saturated ground, uprooted entire trees, and others snapped and came down across the road.

"It's a road issue. It's not a snow issue," said Gwyn Howat, Mt. Baker operations manager of the reason for the ski area's closure.

Officials hope to reopen the ski area on Friday, with Howat saying that the snow conditions were "fantastic."

"It is special snow right now," Howat said of the "champagne powder" that should be there on Friday when the ski area reopens.

By Friday, snowfall for the ski area could total 100 inches in less than a week, she added.  "It's primo conditions for skiers and snowboarders," Howat said.


Warmist ties Newtown massacre to global warming

From the same jack-off who suggested Nuremberg-style trials for climate deniers.

“Surely we can do better in protecting today’s children from random acts of violence. But surely we can also do better in protecting tomorrow’s children from suffering that, however distant and theoretical it may seem to us now, will yield just as many broken lives and broken hearts.” [Grist]

Alarmist mouthpiece Andy Revkin thought Dave Roberts’ dreck was “deeply moving.”


Shouting from the Rooftops‏

By Alan Caruba

For years, decades actually, I and others have been shouting from the rooftops that global warming was a hoax. We were called “deniers” and “skeptics.” A lot of time has passed since the late 1980s when Dr. James Hansen, the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, kicked off the global warming hoax with testimony before Congress.

Global warming gained momentum because the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) seized on it as a means to redistribute the wealth from developed nations to those that have lagged behind and because the media love stories of imminent danger. The media remains largely committed to global warming despite ample evidence it is (a) not happening and (b) a complete lie.

While many regard former Vice President Al Gore as the poster boy of global warming, it has been the IPCC that has been the main culprit in advancing the hoax, issuing reports of dire consequences if nations do not reduce their “greenhouse gas” emissions (mainly carbon dioxide abbreviated as CO2) to avoid a dramatically increased warming in ten, twenty, or fifty years. As time went along, global warming was coming any day now, but it never seemed to arrive.

The problem the lead scientists providing the bogus data to support the IPCC reports encountered was the perfectly natural cooling cycle the Earth entered about sixteen years ago. In 2009, a leak of emails between them was dubbed “Climategate” as it revealed how these conspirators were panicked by the cooling that began to occur around 1998. It also revealed their efforts to smear scientists who dissented from their claims as “deniers” and “skeptics” and plotted to deny them access to leading science publications.

The primary claim made by the IPCC and other “warmists” was that there was a “consensus” among the world’s scientists, but anyone familiar with science knows that it does not operate on consensus. Instead, each new hypothesis or theory is always challenged, often for decades, until it is proven to be reproducible and resistant to alternative interpretation.

John O’Sullivan of Principia Scientific International, an organization of scientists and others battling the global warming hoax, recently reported to its members, interested parties, and science writers like myself of the leak of data by one of the IPCC researchers, Alec Rawls, who no longer wanted to be a party to its reports.

O’Sullivan reported that “Up till now the role of the Sun, referred to as enhanced solar forcing, received only scant mention in prior IPCC reports (AR3 and AR4) being glibly dismissed. But this is the first time IPCC authors have acknowledged the evidence that a solar mechanism seems to be at work.”

“The source of the leak, Alec Rawls, said, “I participated in ‘expert review’ of the Second Order Draft of AR5 (the next IPCC report), Working Group 1 (“The Scientific Basis”) and am now making the full draft available to the public. His reason for taking this action, a break in the confidentially agreement, was the “systematic dishonesty of the report” which he said was corrupted by “bad faith” and “fraud.”

It might seem obvious to most people that the Sun is the most powerful factor in climate change, given the records of the gains and reductions of solar radiation, the Earth’s many ice ages, and the simple fact that it gets colder at night than during the day!

The solar mechanism is, of course, the Sun.

The global warming—now called climate change—hoax depends on convincing people that greenhouse gases, the exhalation of carbon dioxide by humans and mammals, and emissions based on the use of coal, oil, and natural gas pose a threat to the planet’s temperatures. In a very real way, hard core environmentalists favor reducing the world’s population by any means possible and the reduction in all the modern technologies that use energy, coal, natural gas and oil, to enhance life around the globe.

“The (IPCC) admission of strong evidence for enhanced solar forcing changes everything,” said Rawls. “The climate alarmists can’t continue to claim that warming was entirely due to human activity over a period when solar warming effects…were acknowledged to be important.”

In other words, humans play a very small role in the Earth’s climate, especially when compared to the power of the Sun.

This is what some very brave climate scientists and meteorologists have been saying for decades! They have been ignored or derided by the mainstream media who are wedded to the global warming hoax. It had the power of the federal government behind it (and still does) because it remains the justification for costly programs. From the Environmental Protection Agency to the Defense Department and all federal agencies in between, they continue to pump out propaganda and regulations based on this Big Lie.

The United Nations program exists to redistribute billions from developed nations to those who have lagged behind. The recently concluded IPCC conference made the transition from global warming to climate change to “sustainability” with the demand that less developed nations receive funding if they are affected by natural weather events such as hurricanes, heat waves, floods, droughts, and tornadoes.

As Ralph B. Alexander, a physicist and the author of “Global Warming False Alarm”, recently noted, “The link between extreme weather and global warming has as much scientific basis as the pagan rite of human sacrifice to ensure a good harvest.”

Alexander noted that weather events “show no long-term trend whatever over more than a century of reliable data. Weather extremes have occurred from time immemorial, long before industrialization boosted the CO2 level in the atmosphere.”

Indeed, the increase of CO2 has not induced or deterred the current climate cycle; cooling. Since the length of interglacial periods between ice ages is about 11,500 years, the Earth is on the cusp of a new ice age. Ironically, the CO2 increase may be delaying it.


Greenie arrogance  -- and ignorance

A young woman came to my door the other day and told me she was raising money to teach farmers in the Philippines about “sustainable agriculture.”

“Wow,” I replied, “You must be a major expert for Filipinos to reach out halfway across the world and ask you to come teach them.”

“Oh,” she said, “well, we haven't talked to the Filipinos yet. This is just the money we need to get our organization to the Philippines. Then we'll teach them all about sustainable agriculture.”

This 20-year-old, wearing her paisley bandanna and her hemp necklace, fabulously rich by global standards, is only one of the many idealistic people the West now exports to manage the lives of the global poor.

“Sustainability” and Time Preference

The concept of “sustainability” is now ubiquitous in international-development circles. It was most famously defined by the UN potentate and ex-Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland. According to her 1987 UN report, sustainable development is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

The international idealists now use this concept broadly to mean combining economic development with environmental preservation. One of the main fears of the advocates of “sustainable agriculture” is that farmers are unwisely degrading the quality of their soil by using chemical pesticides and fertilizers.

But are outside experts really qualified to determine each Filipino farmer’s proper balance between getting chemically induced high yields now and risking lower yields later?

Each person has his own subjective preferences about how to trade present enjoyment for future enjoyment (and present returns for future returns). Universally, as Ludwig von Mises explained, using the Austrian school’s concept of time preference, we humans are basically impatient. We generally want things now, now, now—instead of someday later. But for each human, the power of this preference depends on his own desires, resources, and judgment.

In the world of reality, in the living and changing universe, each individual in each of his actions is forced to choose between satisfaction in various periods of time. Some people consume all that they earn, others consume a part of their capital, others save.

Although delaying present gratification in favor of future satisfaction often leads to material success, it is ultimately a judgment that depends on each person’s goals and resources. And of course, it depends on the institutions on the ground. In situations where there are tragedies of the commons—e.g., people farming unowned or government-owned land—there are deep incentives to exploit the land. Where there is private property, there are greater incentives to preserve for future generations.

The internationalist concept of “sustainability” is an attempt to override the time preferences of Filipino farmers in favor of the time preference of Gro Harlem Brundtland. Any if any meaning can be given to the term “sustainability,” it would have to do with the real sustainability that comes from having the right rules in place—like property, prices, and profits, which help people avoid tragedies of the commons. And yet that’s not what advocates of sustainability want. They prefer command and control.

“The Needs of the Present”

The concept of “sustainability” depends on the assumption that humans have objective needs. Remember, Brundtland says that we must provide for “the needs of the present” without impinging on the “needs” of the future.

But what does a person “need”? What you need to survive is different from what you need to be happy or prosperous or loved.

What you need to live to age 60 is different from what you need to live to age 100. Where shall we draw the line?

Indeed, if we limit ourselves to the requirements for mere biological survival, a human’s needs could be met with a 6’x6’ concrete cell and a daily bucket of gruel. I don’t think this is what Brundtland has in mind. But she has something in mind. And she is willing to impose it.

Because there is no objective definition of human needs, and because there is no objectively correct tradeoff between present and future wants, “sustainable agriculture” simply means conserving whatever amount of resources the 20-year-old expert visiting your village thinks you should conserve based on some notion she picked up in college. And this is where things get uncomfortable.

Local Knowledge and International Aid

The woman at my door seemed honestly to believe that she was bringing powerful new knowledge to farmers in the Philippines, even though she’d never set foot in the country, let alone planted a crop there.

I asked her where in the Philippines she was going. She answered, “Oh, I'm not sure. Lanao del Norte, maybe? I don’t remember.”

The Philippines is an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands, and it’s a highly diverse place, both geographically and culturally. It matters a lot, for instance, whether you're going to the big northern island of Luzon (controlled by the Christian majority and the U.S.-backed central government) or to the big southern island of Mindanao (where Muslim separatists routinely use kidnap-for-ransom schemes to fund their operations). By the way, Lanao del Norte is on the northern edge of that southern island.

This young woman was missing the essential requirement for all intelligent human action—what anthropologists call “local knowledge” and what F. A. Hayek called the “knowledge of people, of local conditions, and of special circumstances.”

To farm wisely, you need to know what kind of soil, topography, local plants, and insect pests you’re dealing with. You need to know what’s happening among your neighbors and nearby markets. And of course, everywhere in the Philippines, you need to know whom to bribe to get anything done. (It is widely considered the most corrupt country in East Asia.)

Filipino farmers are already working through those challenges on the ground every day. What special knowledge can their savior from North America bring to the table? And if this knowledge is so valuable, why hasn’t it percolated through to those markets already?

The last question is not merely rhetorical. It’s possible something is preventing this knowldege from getting through, or preventing Filipino farmers from taking full advantage of it. If so, what? Are laws in place preventing them from enjoying the full benefits of their work—such as confiscatory taxes, unreliable property rights, or agreements signed with international do-gooders to withhold technologically advanced equipment that could increase yield quickly? Of course, foreigners may have knowledge to share that will improve the long-term viability of the Filipino agricultural sector. But it’s not clear how much bureaucrats, ideologues, and twenty-year-old idealists have to contribute.

The well-meaning outsider believes that somehow, the local people aren’t already using every resource at their disposal carefully and energetically to make a good life for themselves and their children. When Filipino farmers buy a few jugs of insecticide to kill off the pests that eat their crops, so this line of thinking goes, they are making a terrible mistake. Without the outsider’s intervention and her superior, Gro-given knowledge, the Filipinos will surely reduce their landscape to a toxic wasteland.

How on earth did the people of these islands manage to “sustain” their farms before selfless Westerners showed up to guide them?

It is not for me, nor for the idealistic woman at my door, to decide what far-off peoples should do with their soil. Other people are not your property, and we do not know what is best for them. Of course, we can travel to distant places, act in good faith, and give advice after learning the ins and outs of a people’s circumstances. But they might very well tell us to go away. They might even teach us a thing or two.

Sustainability, Control, and Markets

This is not to say that we rich outsiders must ignore the cruel poverty of the world’s least fortunate, who must often choose between a meal today and a meal tomorrow—or indeed have no choice for any meal at all.

But projects aimed at teaching ignorant foreigners how to manage their own resources are rooted in arrogance. The ideal of “sustainability” some are exporting around the world is empty. Definitionless. It is merely a Rorschach test for the personal values of the idealists who employ it. It simply dresses up old-fashioned imperialism in contemporary clothing.

It is, as Morgan J. Polinquin explains, “another attempt to replace the collective decisions of many in the market place with the coercive will of the few.”

The decisions of the “many in the market place” emerge from each individual’s local knowledge—from, as Hayek put it, “the dispersed bits of incomplete and frequently contradictory knowledge which all the separate individuals possess.”

The market is the best way humans have of bringing all those tiny fragments of specific knowledge—about crops, pesticides, bribes, and a million other variables—together. Through the price system, we humans work wonders of mass coordination without any one of us being able to see the grand scheme. And that people sometimes have to work those wonders in a climate of regulation, corruption, or idealistic arrogance makes them all the more unbelievable.

Furthermore, the market allows any person to try out new techniques, and see if they fit into the poverty-destroying global endeavor of free human cooperation.

Perhaps totally “organic” farming, with no chemical pesticides or fertilizers, is best for every farmer in the Philippines. Perhaps it would give everyone the best trade-off between feeding themselves today and preserving soil quality for tomorrow. Perhaps.

But no matter how high up you go in the UN hierarchy, there’s no seat in the sky for any human to sit on and pronounce that judgment for all the rest of the species.

When first-worlders traipse around the world touting cardboard concepts like “sustainability,” we are merely exerting control, once again, over the world’s poor—trying to make their lives fit into our designs.

When my front-door visitor finishes her overseas agricultural adventure, she’ll come back with a digital camera full of photos and a resume full of impressive entries. The Filipino farmers will still be there, living off that soil. Their children will still be there.

Who do you think has a better grasp of the balance between present and future uses of that plot of earth?


Another Blow to Malthus and His Successors

 Growing up in the 1970s I learned that the earth was a fragile thing, that resources were limited and soon to run out, and that mankind could never produce enough to feed the burgeoning masses. I had not quite started driving when the first gas shortages of the early to mid 70s occurred, but I remember gas lines and odd/even days when my parents could buy gas. It seemed to me that the earth was in for a dire time and the future looked bleak.

Of course this is always the progressive mantra: too many people, not enough resources, Americans consume too much, blah, blah, blah. One of the mantras that everyone regardless of political stripe believed was that the days of America producing much oil or growing amounts of gas was over. We would obviously always be dependent on the Middle East and other parts of the world for our energy needs. Or not.

In fact one of the great surprises to almost everyone in this early part of the 21st Century is the explosion of American energy production. In “The North American Gusher” the Wall Street Journal’s Mary Anastasia O’Grady says:

Among the world’s oil and gas producers, the U.S. is now growing the fastest. Even though the growth in U.S. demand for energy is slowing, the decline is offset by rising world demand. If North America’s total productive capacity in hydrocarbons increases by just 3% per year over the next 20 years, Mr. Mills says, the continent will become the largest supplier to burgeoning world markets.

This is almost as shocking as the fall of the Berlin Wall, if not quite as iconic. Maybe more so in that as far as I can tell there were no Ronald Reagan’s predicting anything like it. This surge can literally turn the geopolitical world upside down; it certainly helps when the good guys (that would be us just in case you’re a Democrat) have such energy leverage.

But how did this happen in a world of ostensibly scarce resources? According to the truncated materialist worldview of the modern liberal it shouldn’t happen. This worldview and its Mathusian assumptions infect much of Western culture. Its primary failing is that it never takes into account human nature, doesn’t even admit there is such a thing; since they are fundamentally materialists who eschew any sense of the transcendent or the philosophical, human beings are primarily social constructs enslaved to their environments.

So if it at one point in human history, say the 1970s, oil experts say we have 20 years left of oil, well that’s what we have. Better drive 55 so we don’t run out of the stuff. But human nature always seems to mess up liberal assumptions. To answer the question of how it did happen, just look to human ingenuity:

Mr. Mills’s paper points out that the Carter administration put restrictions on the use of natural gas because it believed there was so little to be had. Today’s bountiful oil and gas reserves, he notes, are “a function of technology, not of geology,” which is why it is revolutionary. “Technology unleashes resources, resource wealth creates capital, and capital is reinvested in new technology that in turn unleashes resources.” Market prices and the ability of investors to respond to supply and demand are crucial to this process.

Combine that ingenuity with free markets and the rule of law, and reasonable regulation, and you have America, energy giant of the 21st Century! Who woulda thunk it!


Australia: Unions versus Greenies

Unions win.  Unusual for a Leftist government to approve that horror of all horrors:  A MINE

FEDERAL Environment Minister Tony Burke has given an Indian mining company the green light to develop an iron ore project on Tasmania's West Coast.

The mine, one of a handful of proposals being fiercely opposed by Tarkine conservationists, is expected to create 125 jobs over its predicted decade of operation.

The National Tarkine Coalition said protesters would barricade the site as soon as work started.

TNC's Scott Jordan said Mr Burke had folded to pressure from the Australian Workers' Union which organised a loud and very angry pro-mining rally in Burnie last month.

'What the AWU wants, Tony gives, it seems," Mr Jordan said yesterday.

"We will monitor the situation and as soon as they start works on site we will be there."

Mr Burke has imposed 29 conditions on Shree Minerals' project including the development of plans to protect threatened species and the Tasmanian devil.

Shree Minerals said the Federal Government approval was a major milestone in its bid to start production at Nelson Bay -- near Couta Rocks -- and the ghost mining town of Balfour.

The company will now seek funding partners.

The Nelson Bay River project has already been approved by the State Government.

Shree Minerals chairman Sanjay Loyalka said the project's development would include measures to stop acid drainage and minimise the risk of road kill.

Mr Loyalka said the mine's footprint would be small compared to the social and economic benefits it would bring.

He said the project would also boost the state's finances through royalties and payroll tax.

Shree Minerals will commission a research program to understand orchid biology in the North-West and support the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program.

Federal Braddon MP Sid Sidebottom said Mr Burke's decision was welcome news for the region.

"Mining has a long history and ongoing importance to the economy and I am pleased that it will continue to do so," Mr Sidebottom said.




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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