Sunday, January 06, 2013

Advance notice

Anthony Watts will be releasing some notable findings on his blog later today.  It  concerns the National Climatic Data Center, a tentacle of the  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  Watts writes:

I have discovered a major data and credibility issue with NCDC’s “State of the Climate” press releases.

I expect that NCDC will make a similar  “State of the Climate” release for “hottest year ever” for the USA and I’ll point out why this claim is not likely to hold up due to my scrutiny of their own data.

Based on what I’ve found, there may be violations of the FDQA (Federal Data Quality Act) going on here. At the very least, they’ll have to explain themselves, at best, we’ll have retractions of some previous NCDC claims in  “State of the Climate” reports over the last two years.

My goal is to make them take enough notice of these problems that they may reconsider claims in the upcoming  “State of the Climate”. Barring that, a long term fix is needed so that the press is not fed false claims that evaporate later.

Federal judge rules EPA overstepped authority trying to regulate water as pollutant in Virginia

U.S. District Judge Liam O'Grady in Alexandria ruled late Thursday that the EPA exceeded its authority by attempting to regulate stormwater runoff into a Fairfax County creek as a pollutant.   O'Grady sided with the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, which challenged EPA's stormwater restrictions.  "Stormwater runoff is not a pollutant, so EPA is not authorized to regulate it," O'Grady said.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli says the ruling could ultimately save Virginia taxpayers more than $300 million.  An EPA spokesman could not be reached for comment after business hours.

The EPA, citing an abundance of stormwater runoff, had proposed a plan that Virginia officials said could cost homeowners and businesses their private property.

The EPA contended that water itself can be regulated as a pollutant if there's too much of it. The agency says heavy runoff is having a negative impact on Accotink Creek and that it has the regulatory authority to remedy the situation.

Cuccinelli, a Republican, argued what the EPA has proposed is "illegal," and he's not alone in the fight. He was joined in the lawsuit against the federal agency by the Democratic-controlled Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

In legal filings, the EPA says that its plan is "in harmony with the broader purposes" of the Clean Water Act, including "reducing the water quality impacts of stormwater."

"There is no possibility of homes being removed in this process," Simon Rosenberg, founder of the New Democrat Network, said. He called the claim by Cuccinelli an "overstatement."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Quarter of British mothers forced to turn their heating off to afford food for their children: Survey warns of increase in 'fuel poverty'

With crazy British Green energy schemes and surcharges responsible for a lot of the bill

Soaring energy bills are forcing one in four mothers to turn off their heating in the depths of winter in order to afford food for their children.

Fuel poverty is resulting in thousands of families resorting to wearing extra clothes and using blankets in their homes.

More than half of families turn off the heating in their houses when the children are out, while 45 per cent of adults keep warm using blankets or duvets during the day, according to a survey.

Fuel bills have already soared by eight per cent this winter, but costs are expected to rise further in coming months.

Experts have warned that the number of households suffering fuel poverty, whereby heating bills account for more than a tenth of a family's income, will double to nine million by 2016.

A shocking 23 per cent of families are already having to choosing between buying food or using heating, according to a survey by the Energy Bill Revolution campaign.

A fifth of respondents said that their children were ill more regularly as a result of colder homes.

The poll questioned 1,000 members of the Netmums website and found that 88 per cent of respondents are more concerned about fuel bills this year compared to last.

Sally Russell, the founder of Netmums, said: 'These are impossible choices for families to make.

'With almost nine in 10 families now rationing energy use due to spiralling prices, this signals a new winter of discontent for British families.'

Ed Matthew, the director of Energy Bill Revolution, said: 'No one should have to make the choice between feeding their family and heating their home.'

The campaign is urging the Government to use money from the carbon tax  to insulate housing, which campaigners argue could reduce bills by £300.


Al Gore, friend of the petro-state

Big Al has the principles of a flea

At the pinnacle of Al Gore’s fame and influence, he was a much jet-travelling man, going from continent to continent, earning huge fees, to give his explosive and exaggerated Powerpoint presentation about the threat of apocalyptic global warming.

There was profit in his prophecy. The man who lost to George W. Bush had picked himself up and turned his crusade into a business. He was here. He was there — lobbying for green initiatives, pushing wind and solar, boosting the notion of carbon credits. He was, as we say today, a huge global brand.

He was also a hero to all who think right. He achieved that rarest of two-fers: The Norwegians gave him a Nobel Prize, the Hollywood sybarites gave him an Oscar. He was a man of peace, and rubbed shoulders with James Cameron. How rich can life get?

He had his own energy company, was appointed to all the right boards and there was not a global conference worth getting on a personal jet for, that did not feature Al’s furrowed brow and finger-pointing apocalyptics.

Along the way, in the service of broadening his already impressive propaganda effort, he acquired — from CBC no less — a digital channel, renamed it Current TV, and hired as lead star the belligerent and bellowing Keith Olberman, the latter fresh from being fired from MSNBC. For Canadians not familiar with Olberman, let us just say he is a partisan broadcaster, shallow and perpetually frenzied, compared to whom Bill O’Reilly is a Zen mystic.

Current was to be the great munition in the war to persuade the world of the perils it faced. But despite the best wishes of Matt Damon and half the cast of Charlie’s Angels, the channel never went anywhere. Some claimed it had a viewership of only 40,000. Olberman did what he does best: got fired.

Now comes the latest news that Al has sold Current, for the magnificent sum of $500-million, $100-million of which is his alone. Not bad for a TV station with less reach and inferior programming to most billboards.

Qatar is about oil, oil and more oil. It is a global warmer’s hell

To whom did the Lord of the Upper Atmosphere sell? Why to al Jazeera — which is to say, effectively to the ruler of Qatar, a wealthy country that has nothing else to sustain it but the sale of its huge petroleum resources.

Qatar is about oil, oil and more oil. It is a global warmer’s hell.

Surely there is some pill too tough to swallow in the idea of the world’s greatest alarmist on the subject of global warming, the evils of petroleum economies and the menace of fossil fuels accepting half-a-billion dollars from a state that utterly epitomizes the practices and product he most evangelistically despises.

But consistency or moral fortitude in the face of profit does not seem to be part of Al’s personal Powerpoint.

One other, not-to-be-missed note: Mr. Gore was very quick to make sure the sale took place before the New Year — the better to spare him, who is now one of the world’s superrich, his friend Barack Obama’s tax hike on those dreadful one-percenters.

That move alone was worthy of a Republican.


A convention of frauds

Steve McIntyre visits a convention of the American Geophysical Union and finds it compeletely taken over  by the Warmist cult

If I was hoping to think about more salubrious characters than Lewandowsky, Mann and Gleick, the 2012 AGU convention was the wrong place to start my trip. All three were prominent at the convention.

AGU is a huge convention – over 20,000 people and thousands of presentations. Only a few presentations are sufficiently important to be featured on the AGU billboard leading to the conference halls. Almost the first thing that I saw at the convention was a billboard publicizing a session on the Mann case:

Also prominently advertised was the opportunity to meet one-on-one with an attorney (who I presume to have been Mann’s attorney):

Mann himself was honored as a new AGU Fellow for his achievements in orientation-neutral and low-verification paleoclimate reconstructions, with special citation to his innovative use of upside-down sediments and success in popularizing reconstructions with verification r2 of 0.

In addition to his fellowship acceptance, Mann spoke at two other sessions. (My recollection of past AGU conventions was that members were limited to one oral presentation, but this policy seems to have been waived.) One of the session chairs, who was six foot three or so, wryly asked the audience not to confuse with the little man he was introducing.

Mann’s wing-woman in one presentation was the even more diminutive Oreskes, who peeking above the podium, was a fitting consort, both in rhetoric and stature. Oreskes’ opening image was, needless to say, a polar bear on an ice flow.

There were at least three sessions on blogs, one of which was convened by John Cook of SKS. Cook’s invited speakers were Michael Mann, Michael Tobis, Zeke Hausfather, Peter Sinclair. For some reason, Cook’s invitation did not include either Judy Curry or me, both long-time AGU members and proprietors of substantial blogs.

AGU used to be about physical sciences. Its erosion of standards was well exemplified by its inclusion of Stephan Lewandowsky, a social psychologist from western Australia, as co-convenor of two sessions. Lewandowsky’s field of social psychology has recently been severely criticized for lack of replicability. Indeed, Lewandowsky’s own recent work can perhaps be best described as a unique combination of Mannian statistics and Gleickian ethics. Doubtless, this will place Lewandowsky on the short list for next year’s AGU fellows.

But the most surprising, even astonishing, appearance was by Peter Gleick himself. Gleick did not simply return, but was honored by an invitation to speak at a prestigious Union session. I hadn’t even thought to look for Gleick on the program, but noticed him outside a session.

I then checked the AGU program and, to my surprise, learned that Gleick was speaking at a Union session. I went to his session with Neal King of SKS, who I’d been chatting with quite cordially in the early afternoon; I encouraged him to attend. Unfortunately, we missed the start of Gleick’s speech so I can’t comment on whether he was accorded a returning hero’s welcome or not.

Gleick’s welcome back to AGU prominence – without serving even the equivalent of a game’s suspension – was pretty startling, given his admitted identity fraud and distribution (and probable fabrication) of a forged document. Last year, then AGU President Mike McPhadren, a colleague of Eric Steig’s at the University of Washington, had stated on behalf of AGU that Gleick had “compromised AGU’s credibility as a scientific society” and that his “transgression cannot be condoned”. McPhadren stated that AGU‘s “guiding core value” was “excellence and integrity in everything we do” – values that would seem to be inconsistent with identity fraud and distribution and/or fabrication of forged documents, even by the relaxed standards of academic institutions.

Although McPhadren had stated that Gleick’s “transgression” would not be “condoned”, AGU’s warm welcome to Gleick shows that McPhadren’s words meant nothing, because AGU has in fact condoned Gleick’s actions.

More HERE  (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Bad weather prompting more British farmers to consider GM use

Washout summer and flooded autumn have persuaded an increasing number of farmers to start using the technology

The extreme weather of 2012 has turned British farmers on to genetically modified crops, with calls from farming leaders to start using the technology as a way to help combat the effects of climate change.

England's wettest year on record, and the UK's second wettest, which had begun with one of the worst droughts for decades, has persuaded an increasing number of farmers that the development of crop varieties with engineered resistance to extreme weather conditions is now a priority. Farming groups are in favour of the move, and many individual farmers now want to explore the use of the controversial techniques, according to delegates at the Oxford Farming Conference.

"If the UK is sets itself outside the global market [in which many countries are pursuing GM crops] then we would become fossilised into an old-fashioned way of farming," Peter Kendall, president of the National Farmers' Union, told the Guardian. "The majority of our members are aware of the real risk of becoming globally uncompetitive because of avoiding using GM."

Kendall pointed to the severe problems that potato and tomato growers have had with blight, as the wet weather has encouraged the spread of the disease. "If you could have something that was blight-resistant, that would be a huge improvement," he said. He argued it would be more environmentally friendly to use GM food and thus avoid the problem of losing large quantities of food to spoilage from such diseases.

Many farmers at the conference backed his views. "When you look at the year farmers have just had, with the weather and diseases and pests [that have spread because of the soggy weather] it has increasingly got to be recognised that we need to look at this," said Alastair Brooks, who farms 6,000 acres in Buckinghamshire.

Andrew Brown, with 620 acres of mostly arable land in Rutland, said: "If global warming is going to go the way scientists tell us, this is only going to get more important."

Adrian Ivory, who farms in Perthshire, said colder, wetter summers seemed to be becoming the norm [LOL!], and these would require different varieties to cope with the adverse growing conditions – varieties that could take many years to cultivate by conventional means, but could be brought forward more quickly using GM technology.

But they emphasised that any move towards GM would be slow, involve scientific assessment and would require public support. "This is not something anyone is rushing into. We recognise it would be in stages, by degrees, and we'd need to have scientific input at every stage," said Brown.

Owen Paterson, secretary of state for the environment, gave a clear signal of the government's backing for further use of GM crops in his speech to the conference. He told delegates that the government would make the case in Europe for GM crops, as well as in the UK.

But many environmental groups oppose the use of GM technology.

It is also unclear whether major retailers will support any move to increase the use of GM crops. Some GM products can be found in imported foods, but UK supermarkets have banned the ingredients from their own-brand products. The European commission has a list of approved strains of ingredients such as corn, maize, soy and rice that are used as ingredients in processed foods, often as emulsifiers.


British wind farm protesters backed by planning minister Nick Boles

People opposed to onshore wind farms should not have their views “ridden over roughshod”, the planning minister has told the energy minister in a private letter.

Nick Boles told John Hayes, a fellow Conservative, that “local people have genuine concerns” and “wind farms are not appropriate in all settings”.

The Daily Telegraph has been told that Mr Boles warned Mr Hayes in the letter that people “bitterly resented” having onshore wind farm developments imposed on them by planners after an inquiry.

The intervention will be a major boost for communities which are fighting the construction of turbines near their homes. It is also the first evidence of a Tory ministerial alliance against Liberal Democrat attempts to introduce more onshore wind turbines.

Mr Boles is looking to build an informal alliance against wind turbines with Mr Hayes, a near constituency neighbour, without having to get agreement from Ed Davey, the Lib Dem Climate Change Secretary.

Campaigners are fighting to halt the spread of wind turbines, with communities complaining that they blight properties and harm wildlife, particularly bats and birds.

There are currently 3,350 onshore turbines, generating five gigawatts (Gw) of power, which is enough for 2.4 million homes. Improvements mean that the approximately 2,682 turbines awaiting construction will produce about five Gw, with around a further 3,063 turbines — producing 7GW — in the planning system.

Many in the planning stage are in Scotland. Not all of these projects will be built — in England about half of all onshore wind projects do not receive planning approval.

To meet current targets, the Government is expected to need up to 13Gw of onshore wind by 2020.

Mr Boles, who is in charge of planning policy in England, wrote to Mr Hayes’s department to form part of a consultation into the community benefits of wind farms.

The letter, sent on Dec 20 to Mr Hayes after the consultation had closed, was described to The Daily Telegraph by a Whitehall source. In it, Mr Boles throws his weight behind communities fighting new onshore turbines. “We should be working with communities rather than seemingly riding roughshod over their concerns,” he wrote.

“Proposals allowed on appeal by planning inspectors can be bitterly resented,” he added. “We have been very clear that the Government’s policies on renewable energy are no excuse for building wind farms in the wrong places.

“We need a package of measures that can command broad public support which is consistent with our emphasis on local and neighbourhood planning which puts local communities in the driving seat. We should be quite clear that local communities and their accountable councils can produce their own distinctive plans to help shape where developments should and should not take place.”

Last night, a source close to Ed Davey said: “We don’t want to impose wind farms on communities but onshore wind remains an important part of our overall energy package.”

In November, Mr Hayes said there was no need for more onshore wind farms that were not already in the planning system, adding it was “job done” in terms of the number required for renewable energy targets.

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: “The whole point of the planning system is to ensure that developments happen in the right places and take into account local concerns.”

The department wanted communities “to feel greater benefit from hosting onshore wind farms. There are some terrific examples of best practice out there, where people feel positively about their local wind farms and we want to learn lessons from these.”

Jennifer Webber, the director of external affairs at RenewableUK, the body representing the industry, said that a record amount of onshore wind capacity had been approved at local level in 2012, suggesting growing community support. She said analysis showed that for every megawatt of wind energy installed “the local community benefits to the tune of £100,000” over the wind farm’s lifespan.

Mr Boles has emerged as a covert champion of opponents of wind power since he was appointed planning minister in the September reshuffle. Last month, he suggested wind farms should not be less than 1.4 miles from homes.




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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