Sunday, March 31, 2013
Climate "wisdom" from Eugene Robinson
Some excerpts from his half-digested "facts" below. Even if he has got all of the facts concerned exactly right, however, NONE of them can reflect global warming. Why? Because even Jim Hansen and Rajendra Pauchauri now concede that there has been NO global warming for over 15 years. Something that does not exist cannot cause anything! Is that too profound for Mr. Robinson?
So what is wrong with Mr Robinson? Why is he purveying a totally wrong picture of global climate? I am going to be charitable. I don't think he is a crook who set out to mislead. I think he is just dumb
All right, now can we talk about climate change? After a year when the lower 48 states suffered the warmest temperatures, and the second-craziest weather, since record-keeping began?
Apparently not. The climate-change denialists — especially those who manipulate the data in transparently bogus ways to claim that warming has halted or even reversed course — have been silent, as one might expect. Sensible people accept the fact of warming, but many doubt that our dysfunctional political system can respond in any meaningful way.
And Sandy was part of a pattern. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2012 was “the second most extreme year on record,” with 11 weather-related disasters including hurricanes Sandy and Isaac as well as swarms of killer tornadoes across the Great Plains and the Ohio Valley.
The year was also exceptionally dry; by July, about 61 percent of the country was experiencing conditions that qualify as “drought.” On a cheery note, the situation was not as bad as the Dust Bowl droughts of the 1930s. Less happily, the lack of rainfall in 2012 exacerbated wildfire activity. “The Waldo Canyon fire near Colorado Springs, Colo., destroyed nearly 350 homes and was the most destructive fire on record for the state,” NOAA reported.
Hurricanes striking where they don’t usually strike, fires burning where they don’t usually burn, drought everywhere — these anomalies begin to add up. Scientists have long told us that one impact of climate change will be increased volatility, and unpredictability, in weather events. This appears to be what we’re getting.
Twenty-year hiatus in rising temperatures has climate scientists puzzled
They're not ready to give up their faith yet but are getting more and more apologetic and tentative
DEBATE about the reality of a two-decade pause in global warming and what it means has made its way from the sceptical fringe to the mainstream.
In a lengthy article this week, The Economist magazine said if climate scientists were credit-rating agencies, then climate sensitivity - the way climate reacts to changes in carbon-dioxide levels - would be on negative watch but not yet downgraded.
Another paper published by leading climate scientist James Hansen, the head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, says the lower than expected temperature rise between 2000 and the present could be explained by increased emissions from burning coal.
For Hansen the pause is a fact, but it's good news that probably won't last.
International Panel on Climate Change chairman Rajendra Pachauri recently told The Weekend Australian the hiatus would have to last 30 to 40 years "at least" to break the long-term warming trend.
But the fact that global surface temperatures have not followed the expected global warming pattern is now widely accepted.
Research by Ed Hawkins of University of Reading shows surface temperatures since 2005 are already at the low end of the range projections derived from 20 climate models and if they remain flat, they will fall outside the models' range within a few years.
"The global temperature standstill shows that climate models are diverging from observations," says David Whitehouse of the Global Warming Policy Foundation. "If we have not passed it already, we are on the threshold of global observations becoming incompatible with the consensus theory of climate change," he says.
Whitehouse argues that whatever has happened to make temperatures remain constant requires an explanation because the pause in temperature rise has occurred despite a sharp increase in global carbon emissions.
The Economist says the world has added roughly 100 billion tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere between 2000 and 2010, about one-quarter of all the carbon dioxide put there by humans since 1750. This mismatch between rising greenhouse gas emissions and not-rising temperatures is among the biggest puzzles in climate science just now, The Economist article says. "But it does not mean global warming is a delusion."
The fact is temperatures between 2000 and 2010 are still almost 1C above their level in the first decade of the 20th century.
"The mismatch might mean that for some unexplained reason there has been a temporary lag between more carbon dioxide and higher temperatures in 2000-2010. "Or it might mean that the 1990s, when temperatures were rising fast, was the anomalous period."
The magazine explores a range of possible explanations including higher emissions of sulphur dioxide, the little understood impact of clouds and the circulation of heat into the deep ocean.
But it also points to an increasing body of research that suggests it may be that climate is responding to higher concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide in ways that had not been properly understood before.
"This possibility, if true, could have profound significance both for climate science and for environmental and social policy," the article says.
There are now a number of studies that predict future temperature rises as a result of man-made carbon dioxide emissions at well below the IPCC best estimate of about 3C over the century.
The upcoming IPCC report is expected to lift the maximum possible temperature increase to 6C.
The Research Council of Norway says in a non-peer-reviewed paper that the best estimate concludes there is a 90 per cent probability that doubling CO2 emissions will increase temperatures by only 1.2C to 2.9C, the most likely figure being 1.9C.
Another study based on the way the climate behaved about 20,000 years ago has given a best guess of 2.3C.
Other forecasts, accepted for publication, have reanalysed work cited by the IPCC but taken account of more recent temperature data and given a figure of between 1C and 3C.
The Economist says understanding which estimate is true is vital to getting the best response.
"If as conventional wisdom has it, global temperatures could rise by 3C or more in response to a doubling of emissions, then the correct response would be the one to which most of the world pays lip service; rein in the warming and the greenhouse gases causing it," the article says.
"If, however, temperatures are likely to rise by only 2 degrees Celsius in response to a doubling of carbon emissions (and if the likelihood of a 6 degrees Celsius is trivial) the calculation might change," it says.
"Perhaps the world should seek to adjust to (rather than stop) the greenhouse-gas splurge.
"There is no point buying earthquake insurance if you don't live in an earthquake zone."
According to The Economist, "given the hiatus in warming and all the new evidence, a small reduction in estimates of climate sensitivity would seem to be justified." On face value, Hansen agrees the slowdown in global temperature rises can be seen as "good news".
But he is not ready to recalculate the Faustian bargain that weighs the future cost to humanity of continued carbon dioxide emissions.
Hansen argues that the impact of human carbon dioxide emissions has been masked by the sharp increase in coal use, primarily in China and India.
Increased particulate and nitrogen pollution has worked in the opposite direction of rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.
Another paper published in Geophysical Research Letters on research from the University of Colorado Boulder found small volcanoes, not more coal power stations in China, were responsible for the slowdown in global warming.
But this did not mean that climate change was not a problem.
"Emissions from volcanic gases go up and down, helping to cool or heat the planet, while greenhouse gases from human activity just continue to go up," author Ryan Neely says.
Hansen's bottom line is that increased short-term masking of greenhouse gas warming by fossil fuel particulate and nitrogen pollution represents a "doubling down" of the Faustian bargain, an increase in the stakes.
"The more we allow the Faustian debt to build, the more unmanageable the eventual consequences will be," he says.
The Enviro’s War on Workers
Susan Sarandon has emerged from her crypt to join forces with radical environmentalists opposing hydraulic fracturing natural gas and oil production in New York.
Daryl Hannah, an actress who is more famed for hanging out with Kennedys than for anything she has done on screen, chained herself to the White House in protest of the Keystone XL pipeline.
The Mayor of Seattle speaks at rally opposing the transportation of coal from the Rocky Mountains to Pacific Ocean ports.
What do these three events have in common?
They reveal that the environmental left will pull every lever at their disposal to stop the development of energy in the United States no matter the harm they do to workers and the economy.
When NBC News has a story titled, “Energy boom begins ripple through U.S. economy,” that details how hydraulic fracturing in just North Dakota and Texas is changing America’s economic landscape.
Men and women, who previously were settling for temporary jobs in Obama’s “New Normal” economy are now finding careers because of the availability of inexpensive domestic energy. And not just in those states where the energy is being produced but in places like Maryland where suppliers create products needed for the growing energy industry.
The NBC report states, “Marlin Steel Wire [a Maryland company], for example, has expanded its payroll and invested in high-tech equipment to keep up with a steady pick-up in orders from other U.S. manufacturers. Orders are rising, said owner Drew Greenblatt, because his customers are receiving a widening discount in the price of natural gas and electricity.”
Greenblatt goes on to connect the dots for those who are too busy chaining themselves to fences to listen, “That’s making U.S. companies that used to be at a price disadvantage now uniquely positioned to win contracts they never won in the past — or haven’t for a while. Everyone talks about what’s going on in North Dakota, but it’s filtering down now to conventional factories throughout America.”
NBC goes on to highlight an employee at the company who now has what he calls a “career” rather than a series of temporary jobs.
Yet, so-called environmentalists are raising millions of dollars to oppose the expansion and development of the very technology that is making a resurgence of the American manufacturing sector and the good, high paying jobs it creates possible.
Liberal New York Governor Andrew Cuomo continues to block this development of this job creation engine that would drive down his citizens electricity costs while accelerating the reinvigoration of the manufacturing sector and the jobs it creates in his state all to woo the enviro crazies to support his presidential dreams.
Environmentalists have done the almost impossible with the Keystone XL pipeline, bringing together the head of the AFL-CIO’s Building and Construction Trade Union with energy industry leaders in support of the jobs and positive energy independent future that the pipeline represents.
The AFL-CIO affiliated union even issued a statement praising the passage of a Senate budget amendment urging approval of the pipeline saying, “The overwhelming support for Keystone in the U.S. Senate has served to send another strong signal to President Barack Obama that Keystone enjoys wide swaths of support throughout the nation, and that it is well past time to green-light.”
And seventeen Democrat Senators joined all of the Senate Republicans in urging approval of the Pipeline in a dramatic show of bi-partisan support. A bi-partisan support rooted in an acknowledgement that energy development creates high paying jobs for American workers.
And the enviros continuing almost hysterical war on coal, even going so far as to oppose the sale of low sulfur U.S. coal to countries that currently burn higher sulfur coal which generates more pollution. Operating under an almost a zombie-like trance, environmentalists seek to deny U.S. miners, railroaders, dock workers and merchant mariners work. And incredibly by doing so, they actually hurt the world’s environment.
Is there any wonder why the effete environmental movement typified by the perpetually arrested Robert Kennedy, Jr., is being viewed as opposing the American worker?
In fact, the only thing that the environmental movement seems to be accomplishing is to fracture the always uneasy Democratic labor-environmental coalition. And while it did not stop Obama’s re-election, the largest fissure in this coalition yet occurred during his campaign, when his EPA’s aggressive war on coal resulted in his losing the endorsement of the United Mine Workers union. The administration’s emphasis on “green jobs” — always a fiction — was intended to counter this coming rift. All it did was delay it.
The truth is that the environmental lobby and the liberal left actively work to destroy blue collar jobs in a deliberate attempt to offshore all environmental costs from the United States, as well as the wealth that is created when our nation builds and creates things.
They have declared a war on the American worker, and their worst nightmare is happening before their eyes. American ingenuity born in the free markets that encourage profit has unleashed a rapidly burgeoning energy independence.
An energy independence that Obama and his minions have actively opposed through their refusal to allow the development of resources on federal lands, which has the potential to create a new American century.
An American century where we build things, dream and create new products and more economical ways to produce them, and where American workers not only have jobs, but have careers, not just pay stations until the next thing comes along.
The only thing standing in the way of this new American century is a massive, foundation money fueled, environmental lobby that would rather see an American worker unemployed on food stamps than getting dirty producing something.
But they can be beaten, when the American worker sees a brighter future for themselves, their children and their country. As the energy economic boom takes root and the malaise of despair that has driven millions of American workers to leave the workforce lifts, the radical environmental left’s war on workers will not only be defeated, but will utterly discredit those who embrace it.
As we see the increasingly desperate attempts for attention by the environmental faithful as they see the wheel of the free market throwing their movement into the ash-heap of history, our nation’s politics will be transformed.
The left’s big government governing coalition ground to dust, all because some very smart people figured out how to turn rock into oil and natural gas.
In the end, if the enviros war on workers is defeated, America’s economic greatness will re-emerge with the heroes being the innovators and risk takers who believed in an energy future that the rest of the world scoffed at.
The rest of the world will scratch their heads wondering how it all happened without government leading the way, never realizing that the only way this new American century could ever happen is in spite of government not because of it.
And this is the American story. Not one of government rules and regulations, but one of smart people empowered to follow their visions by a free market system that rewards risk taking in a natural selection of competing ideas, technologies and processes.
America can once again be a place that the middle class thrives as people work hard in meaningful careers producing personal wealth beyond the imaginations of prior generations.
But only if America chooses to reject the environmental scarcity vision and their war on workers.
British Warmist organization a flop at weather forecasts
Some basic philosophy of science: If your theory is wrong, you won't get the results you predict
Those of us caught in downpours in our shorts or left peeling soggy sausages off the barbecue could probably have told them all along.
The Met Office finally admitted yesterday that the forecasts it gave of ‘dry’ weather last year were ‘not helpful’.
But the organisation’s chief scientist still insisted two-thirds of its long-term forecasts are ‘very helpful’ – without specifying quite what that means for the other third.
In its official guidance to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Met Office said that last April was likely to be ‘drier than usual’.
Instead, of course, it turned into a washout that spilled over into the rest of 2012 – which became the wettest year since records began.
So while the long-term forecast suggested a national drought that was going to get worse, tens of thousands actually found themselves facing widespread flooding. The embarrassing admission came to light thanks to a Freedom of Information request.
An internal document revealed that forecasters had said at the end of March that they expected ‘drier than average conditions for April to June, with April driest’.
But in a report sent later to Defra’s chief scientist, the Met Office admitted: ‘Given that April was the wettest since detailed records began in 1910, and the April May June quarter was also the wettest, this advice was not helpful.’
The Met Office has been so embarrassed by its errors in the past that it stopped issuing long-term forecasts to the public.
Instead, it continues to give ‘probability’ guidance for coming months to Government departments such as Defra which need to plan.
But last year, it seems, its forecast did nothing to help anyone.
Yesterday, Met Office chief scientist Julia Slingo insisted that in almost two-thirds of cases their long term ‘probabilistic’ predictions were ‘very helpful’.
She said of last year’s forecast: ‘In March we were facing really very serious pressures on water resources – a major drought that had been going on for a couple of years. I thought I was right to emphasise the risk of dry conditions continuing as a precautionary principle.’
Still, Professor Sligo was not deterred from making a few predictions for those shivering their way through the Easter weekend.
She suggested better weather would arrive – but not until May. She said: ‘We certainly see the cold weather continuing at least for the next few days, and potentially into the middle of April. Our monthly forecast looking at April slightly favours cold conditions continuing.
‘Beyond that, I think, into the summer, it’s much more difficult to predict. I think we’re expecting a return to normal conditions into May and then June.’
In the short-term, forecasters say most parts of the country can expect dry and bright spells until Tuesday, although temperatures will remain very low.
The £9million bonus bonanza dished out to British green energy bureaucrats
Bureaucrats in charge of the Government’s controversial green policies have benefited from a multi-million-pound bonus bonanza since the last election.
The total amount of performance-related handouts given to civil servants at the Department for Energy and Climate Change has almost tripled since Labour’s final year in office to £9million.
One official received a bonus of £12,000, while others received payments of more than £7,000, to reward them for their work promoting renewable power such as wind farms.
Last night MPs lambasted the department for handing out so much at a time when consumers’ energy bills were going up as a result of the very green policies they are working on.
Last year, the DECC admitted that its green policies – which will fund a new generation of wind farms and nuclear reactors – will add an average of £95 to gas and electricity bills.
A separate parliamentary question has revealed more questionable expenditure at DECC, where more than £7.6million has been paid out over the last two years in pay-offs for staff who have left the department. It means 141 people leaving have pocketed an average of £54,595 each.
And earlier this month, the Daily Mail revealed that the department has gone on a recruitment spree since the last election, with staff numbers soaring by more than a quarter since May 2010.
Now, thanks to a series of parliamentary questions by the Tory MP Priti Patel, it has emerged that the department – headed by Lib Dem Ed Davey – has also been spending millions on bonuses.
In 2011/12, the latest year for which figures are available, some £9,072,483 was spent on bonuses and other payments on top of salary.
This is a 156 per cent rise on the £3,538,274 total in 2009/10, Labour’s last full year in office. The figures show that 1,062 staff received bonuses and other payments. The 20 top payments included one payout of £12,000, five of £10,000, and 14 payouts of £7,500.
To make things worse, the independent Committee on Climate Change, which advises the Government on energy policy has had its own bonus spree, with taxpayer-funded bonuses increasing by 43 per cent over the past four years. The highest was £15,000.
Miss Patel said: ‘Families will be shocked to see their taxes being used to fund a dangerously expensive and excessive bonus and entitlement culture among bureaucrats who are already handsomely paid.
‘Not only are officials at DECC detached from reality as they plan to destroy our landscape with wind turbines and drive up energy costs with their green energy fantasies, they also have no concept of the need to make savings in Whitehall.’
A spokesman for DECC said the extra payments included, as well as bonuses, overtime and other superannuation costs.
She said: ‘We are working very hard to ensure energy bills are as affordable as possible. ‘The Department focuses bonuses on its best performers. We believe performance awards help drive high performance towards achieving important policy objectives.’
With or Without Pipeline Canadian Oil Heads to US
Environmentalists mistakenly think that blocking the Keystone pipeline will prevent crude oil, derived from Canada’s oil sands, from being extracted and from being conveyed into the US to be refined into gasoline, asphalt, and other products that are important to the transportation and manufacturing sectors. Their ultimate goal is to stop all development of the Canadian resource.
The oil spilled, as a result of a train derailment on Tuesday, highlights their misguided efforts.
News flash: Canada is developing their abundant oil sands and the crude oil is already being shipped to the United States—albeit in a more costly and less safe mode.
Early Wednesday morning, 14 cars of a 94-car mixed-freight train, derailed near Parker Prairie, MN. The Canadian Pacific Railroad (CPR) train was carrying oil from Western Canada to Chicago—though CPR does ship to refiners along the Gulf of Mexico, the Northeastern US and Eastern Canada. Of the 14 cars, one ruptured and, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, spilled as much as 26,000 gallons of crude oil (a car can contain 550 barrels of oil and trains often carry 80-150 cars). Two other cars had some leakage—though due to the frozen ground, “there’s no threat to ground or surface water” and there were no injuries.
The CPR train carrying Canadian oil to the US is part of a growing trend, as producers and refiners have turned to railroads to make up for a lack of pipeline capacity. It is estimated that, as Canadian production rises, “rail shipments of western Canadian crude had leapt about 150% to roughly 150,000 barrels a day in the last eight months.” The Wall Street Journal recently stated: “Pipeline or not, lots of Canadian crude oil is headed to the US.” It reported that, this year, more than 200,000 barrels a day will be shipped to the Gulf Coast refining hub, and called the increased use of railroads “an end run around the much-delayed pipeline”—which would more than quadruple capacity to 830,000 barrels a day.
The March 11 article says: “Some oil industry executives and analysts, meanwhile, have raised concerns about rail accidents involving carloads of crude oil.” Despite, a decade-long drop in accident rates, Tuesday’s derailment/spill highlights Keystone’s importance—though a Keystone approval could hurt Obama supporter Warren Buffet’s recent purchase of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad that carries about 25% of the Bakken’s oil and “can ship higher volumes from North Dakota or Alberta in the future.”
The use of rail for Canada’s “stranded” crude oil is not new. Calling it a “pipeline on rails,” in February 2011, the Globe and Mail reported: “Although pipelines continue to carry the overwhelming majority of Canada’s oil production, both Canadian National Railway Co. and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. have begun using their rail networks to deliver crude.” Rail does offer several advantages for transporting Canadian crude. As the National Post, in 2009, points out: “Geopolitically, the rail option opens up the world markets for producers but also allows Canadian oil producers to bypass protectionism as well as the fickleness of environmental politics south of the border.” Oil crossing the international border via rail doesn’t require State Department approval.
Pro-pipeline pressure on the Obama administration is mounting. During the weekend’s Senate budget votes, 17 “moderate and conservative Democrats sided with Republicans on the Keystone pipeline.” Addressing the vote, the Wall Street Journal states: “The Senate vote is symbolic since the budget outline lacks the force of law. Still, the vote reflects the growing bipartisan consensus that a private investment creating tens of thousands of jobs trumps the scare tactics of environmentalists.”
Worry over “contamination from spills” is one of the “scare tactics” used by environmentalists to oppose the Keystone pipeline—yet pipelines are universally accepted as safer than transport by rail or truck (trucks bring the crude oil from the drilling site to the rail terminals).
Another “scare tactic” is to debunk the law of supply and demand; the ability of more resource to lower prices at the pump. On my own Facebook page, a “friend” posted the following: “My question, which neither you nor anyone else has answered is: If producing more oil here lowers prices as Marita says it will, why are we exporting it and why are prices so high?” From Bloomberg Businessweek, here’s an explanation. In short, Edward Morse, head of commodities research at Citigroup Global Markets, predicts that due to increased supply “$90 will be the new ceiling for oil prices rather than the floor it’s been in recent years.” The North American supply, he says, will result in a steep drop in oil imports “from OPEC’s biggest West African members” and “those barrels will have to find another home. The surplus African oil could end up competing with Mideast suppliers for customers in India, China, Europe, and Korea. As the global competition heats up, oil prices the world over will probably drop.”
In a few weeks, the State Department will be holding a pipeline hearing, a “listening session,” in Grand Island, NE. News reports state: “The meeting will give the public a chance to weigh in on the environmental impact of the proposed project.” Four State Department reviews have given the pipeline environmental clearance and, most recently, acknowledged that Canada will continue to extract its rich resource as “the oil sands are absolutely essential to maintaining the future living standards of Canadians,” and “pipeline or not, lots of Canadian crude oil is headed to the US”—though now coming via a “pipeline on rails.” As Wednesday’s little spill spotlights, those who really care about the environment support the Keystone pipeline. (Those unable to attend the April 18 hearing, can submit comments by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.
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
Posted by JR at 2:07 PM