Blowing Smoke: Obama Climate Speech Riddled With Lies
A dangerous, arrogant, fact-free tirade
King Canute, attempting to teach his people a lesson regarding his abilities, supposedly went to the sea and commanded the tide to stop. Twelfth-century English historian Henry of Huntington wrote that Canute took his throne to the seashore, but the tide, “continuing to rise as usual dashed over his feet and legs without respect to his royal person.”
President Barack Obama’s naïve and error-riddled speech at Georgetown University on Tuesday clearly demonstrated that he is serious about trying to stop global climate change. However, like the tide, climate change is a natural event of such proportions that it is largely unaffected by human activities. Obama ignores that the “official climate science” on which he bases America’s climate and energy policies has been washed away by 17 years without global warming, despite atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) — the gas Obama blames for rising temperatures — continuing to increase primarily due to the emissions of China and India.
Unlike America’s hopelessly misguided president, the reasons behind Canute’s action were sensible. He wanted to reduce unrealistically elevated expectations of him. Canute’s goal was to show fawning courtiers that there were things over which he had no control. He knew the facts about tides. Sadly for our American friends, and indeed for the whole free world — which depends on a strong America — Obama lacks Canute’s humility and knowledge about nature. The president’s misunderstanding and his apparent disinterest in real climate science is leading the United States into an economic black hole from which it may take generations to recover.
Obama also seems oblivious to real-world economic evidence that the policy path on which he is setting the U.S. has already been tried and has failed in other countries. It is not surprising that when he launched his most recent climate change initiative last week in Berlin, the German public response was less than enthusiastic — they are already suffering the economic and energy consequences of “going green” in a hopeless attempt to stop climate change. Many Germans are also aware of the implications of the Climategate scandal, through which the corrupted science of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Climatic Research Unit (CRU) was exposed through leaked emails.
In foisting many of the same policies on America that have already failed in Europe, the president appears to be counting on U.S. media to continue to hide the significance of Climategate and the recent halt in planetary warming.
In telling Georgetown students on Tuesday that he doesn’t “have much patience for anyone who denies that this challenge is real,” Obama reveals his ignorance. Nobody is denying that climate change is “real” and that coping with such changes can be challenging. What skeptical scientists do question, however, is the degree to which human activity causes those changes. Saying that “ninety-seven percent of scientists” “acknowledged the planet is warming and human activity is contributing to it,” as Obama did in his speech, is both wrong and meaningless.
As ICSC policy advisor Lord Christopher Monckton just showed, the study that backs this claim is fatally flawed. First, science is never determined by a show of hands. If it were, the Earth would still be considered flat and the center of the universe and space travel impossible. Second, the only statistic that could be interesting would be the fraction of scientists who study the causes of climate change and support the idea that our CO2 emissions are causing serious climate problems. There has never been a reputable survey that asked experts this question.
As we have come to expect from this president on global warming and energy, yesterday’s presentation included many basic science mistakes and inappropriate cherry picking of data. For example, Obama’s assertions about abnormally high temperatures and the extent of Arctic sea ice melt are either meaningless or simply wrong. Last July, new average U.S. temperature records were set by one-fifth of a degree Fahrenheit. This is meaningless since the measurement uncertainty in most of the record is one-half degree Fahrenheit. Similarly, last July’s record temperature was not based on the highs of the day. A record was set merely because the nights were slightly less cool in July 2012 than those experienced in the 1930s. So, when the high and lows of the day were averaged, a record average was established. Nevertheless, the highs of the day in the 1930s still exceeded anything experienced in July 2012.
Obama also neglected to mention that Arctic sea ice coverage records began only three decades ago, when we first started to monitor the Arctic by satellite. Land-based measurements indicate that it was warmer in the Arctic in the 1930s and so ice melt was likely greater then as well, although no one knows for sure.
Obama used the erroneous phrase “carbon pollution” a total of twenty times in his Georgetown speech.
He is, of course, really speaking of CO2, an odorless, invisble gas essential to plant life and in no way a pollutant. Yet the Obama Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) still designates CO2 a “harmful substance” so as to allow greater bureaucratic control of industry under the Clean Air Act. In Tuesday’s address, the president promised to expand the EPA’s CO2 regulations to cover existing power stations, an action sure to cost billions of dollars and millions of jobs for no environmental benefit. EPA’s claim is based on three lines of evidence that a recent amicus brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court shows are invalid. Regardless, calling CO2 “carbon” helps Obama politically since it encourages people to think of CO2 as associated with soot, something that is pure carbon and is clearly dirty and undesirable.
Of course, we can and should reduce the amount of soot going in to the atmosphere, and apart from China, significant advances have occurred. Scrubber technology for coal-fired power plants has been available for a long time. If Obama really wants to help people’s health and the environment, he should encourage all possible use of scrubbers.
The “carbon pollution” mistake is often used by activists to focus negative attention specifically on coal-fired electricity generation, since “carbon” comes from the Latin carbo, meaning coal. Over 40 percent of U.S. energy comes from coal, and so killing this energy source is fundamental to the president’s apparent goals of expanding government control and redistributing wealth. Obama wants to end coal use entirely in the U.S., no matter how clean it can be made. Obama even told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2008: “What I have said is that for us to take coal off the table as an ideological matter as opposed to saying if technology allows us to use coal in a clean way, we should pursue it.”
Aside from his support for climate change adaptation measures, actions that make sense if carried out properly, Obama’s Georgetown speech appears to be mostly oriented towards accomplishing political objectives unrelated to environmental protection. This is very much in line with former Colorado Democratic Senator Timothy Wirth, who in 1993 summed up the strategy well: “We’ve got to ride to global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing.”
It is ironic that Obama would equate his unscientific campaign to “fight against climate change” with NASA’s trips to the Moon. Unlike Obama’s dogmatic approach, always focused on reducing greenhouse gases no matter what science demonstrates about the real causes of climate change, NASA learned from their mistakes and made necessary changes.
For example, when Apollo 1 went up in flames, killing all three astronauts in 1967, engineers ended the use of high oxygen atmospheres in manned space vehicles. But, when climate models on which the global warming scare is based fail to forecast what actually happens in the real world, when cyclones and strong tornadoes diminish, when ice cover in Antarctica increases, Obama and his fellow alarmists simply raise the rhetoric.
Trying to scare us away, he labels scientists who want to base policy on real-world observations as members of “the Flat Earth Society.” Such name-calling merely strengthens our resolve to expose the most serious climate threat we face — the exploitation of public ignorance by alarmists such as Obama.
The president was, however, right to say: “This is not just a job for politicians. So I’m going to need all of you to educate your classmates, your colleagues, your parents, your friends. Tell them what’s at stake. Speak up at town halls, church groups, PTA meetings. Push back on misinformation. Speak up for the facts. Broaden the circle of those who are willing to stand up for our future.”
Yes, that is exactly what we will continue to do. Because you are wrong, Mr. President, dangerously wrong. America is too important for anyone, even those of us who are not U.S. citizens, to let it die because of a lie. And much of what you told Georgetown students on Tuesday was indeed a lie.
How Much Warming Will the President’s Plan Avert? (Hint: It’s way too small to be detected or verified)
President Obama unveiled his Climate Change Action Plan at Georgetown University today. As expected, the President advocated carbon dioxide (CO2) emission standards for new and existing coal-fired power plants, tough new energy efficiency standards for homes and appliances, and federal support for private renewable energy investment on public lands.
Congress’s failure to approve his plan would have “a profound impact on the world that we leave behind not just to you, but to your children and to your grandchildren,” Mr. Obama contended.
The President’s plan, however, provides no specifics on the EPA’s pending power plant emission standards, nor does it estimate how many tons of CO2 emissions those standards will avoid or reduce.
Surprisingly, the 21-page plan contains only four emission reduction estimates. The administration’s fuel economy standards are projected to avoid 6000 million tons of CO2; appliance efficiency standards, 3000 million tons; heavy truck fuel economy standards, 270 million tons; and improved forestry practices, 140 million tons. The grand total of itemized CO2 reductions is 9,410 million tons.
How much climate change will that avert? Too little to be detected or verified.
Cato Institute climatologist Chip Knappenberger provides a plausible way to calculate the global warming mitigation effect of any CO2 reduction proposal. He describes the underlying methodology here.
Suffice it to say, the key factors one must nail down are (1) the relationship between CO2 emissions and atmospheric concentrations, and (2) the relationship between concentrations and global temperatures.
Using both empirical correlation (how atmospheric CO2 concentrations and global temperatures have changed over time) and the mid-range of climate model sensitivity assumptions, Knappenberger deduces that it takes 1,767,250 million metric tons of CO2 (mmtCO2) to raise the global temperature by 1.0 degree C.
Thus, to estimate how much global warming the Obama plan (or at least the quantified portion of it) will avoid, we divide the emission savings — 9,410 mmtCO2 – by 1,767,250. The plan will avert 0.0053°C of global warming. Planet saved!
Climate alarmism’s 10,000 commandments
EPA fiats threaten American lives, livelihoods, living standards and life spans
The United States will “do more,” before it’s “too late” to prevent “dangerous” global warming, President Obama told Berliners last week. If Congress won’t act, he will, by regulating carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, increasing subsidies and reduce environmental overview for wind and solar projects on federal lands, and issuing other rules that will adversely affect economic growth and job creation.
Indeed, his Environmental Protection Agency is already devising new rules that will sharply curtail carbon dioxide emissions, by regulating thousands of facilities that use hydrocarbon energy – and thus ultimately almost everything Americans make, grow, ship, eat and do.
However, the manmade global warming “disasters” exist only in computer models and assertions by scientists who are addicted to billions in government Climate Armageddon grants. Moreover, the “preventative measures” are far worse than the disasters EPA claims to be preventing.
Even the most diehard alarmists have finally recognized that average global temperatures have hardly budged since 1997, even as atmospheric levels of plant-fertilizing CO2 climbed steadily. For many areas, the past winter was among the coldest in decades; the USA and Britain just recorded one their coldest springs on record; and satellite data show that Earth has actually cooled slightly since 2002.
The frequency and severity of hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and droughts are no different from observed trends and cycles over the last century. 2012 set records for the fewest strong tornadoes since 1954 and the number of years with no category 3 or higher hurricane making US landfall. (The vicious tornadoes of recent weeks underscore how quickly the weather can swing back to normal patterns.) Arctic sea ice is within a few percentage points of “normal” levels for the past fifty years, and the rate of sea level rise is not accelerating.
These facts completely contradict computer model predictions and alarmist claims. Moreover, as Climategate and numerous studies have shown, the “science” behind EPA’s ruling that carbon dioxide “endangers” human health and welfare is conjectural, manufactured, manipulated and even fraudulent.
EPA is supposed to protect our environment, health and welfare. Instead, it “safeguards” us from exaggerated or illusory risks – by issuing mountains of costly, intrusive regulations that endanger our health, wellbeing and wildlife far more than any reasonably foreseeable effects from climate change.
This accumulation of anti-hydrocarbon restrictions and penalties is putting EPA in control of nearly every aspect of our lives. Fuel, compliance and business costs will soar. Companies will be forced to outsource work to other countries, reduce work forces, shift people to part-time status, or close their doors.
Poor and minority families will be unable to heat and cool their homes properly, pay their rent or mortgage, buy clothing and medicine, take vacations, pay their bills, give to charity, and save for college and retirement.
With twelve million Americans already out of work, and another eight million working multiple lower-paying, part-time jobs, EPA’s global warming and 1,920 other rules over the past four years translate into unprecedented sleep deprivation, lower economic and educational status, and soaring anxiety and stress. That will mean greater risk of strokes and heart attacks; higher incidences of depression, alcohol, drug, spousal and child abuse; more suicides; and declining overall life expectancy.
EPA’s new 54.5 mpg fuel efficiency standards will force more people into smaller, lighter, less safe cars – causing thousands of needless additional serious injuries and deaths every year – in the name of preventing illusory climate and oil and gas depletion crises.
Federal regulators use the same phony climate change and energy depletion arguments to justify letting wind turbine operators slaughter millions of birds and bats every year – including bald and golden eagles, hawks, condors and whooping cranes. They continue to promote and subsidize $50-per-gallon biofuels, to replace oil and natural gas that the world still has in abundance – thanks to new exploration, drilling and production technologies. This focus on biofuels also means more rainforests and other wildlife habitats are being cut down in the name of “renewable” energy.
EPA and President Obama never consider any of this, in calculating the supposed “benefits” of their onerous regulations. They refuse to recognize that their hysterical claims of climate cataclysms are increasingly indefensible. They ignore the damage that their heavy-handed rules impose on our health, welfare and environmental quality.
EPA finds, punishes and even targets anyone who violates any of its ten thousand commandments, even inadvertently. The agency’s climate change actions, however, are not inadvertent. They are deliberate, and their effects are harmful and far reaching. They will affect every American and 100% of our economy.
And yet, these increasingly powerful bureaucrats – who seek and acquire ever more control over our lives – remain faceless, nameless, unelected and unaccountable. They operate largely behind closed doors, issuing regulations and arranging sweetheart “sue and settle” legal actions with radical environmentalist groups, to advance ideological agendas, without regard for their impacts on our lives, livelihoods, living standards, health, welfare and environment.
They know that, for them, there is rarely any real transparency, accountability or consequences – even for gross stupidity, major screw-ups, flagrant abuses or deliberate harm.
We need to save our environment from environmentalists and EPA – and safeguard our liberties, living standards and lives against the arrogance of too-powerful politicians and bureaucrats. How we achieve this, while protecting our lives and environment from real risks, is one of the greatest challenges we face.
Yawn.... Not another food shortage scare!
These false prophecies have been going on since Malthus. Dodgy estimates combined with dodgy estimates are all we see below.
Just to put one perspective on what is possible foodwise, note that Cape York Peninsula in Australia is about the size of Britain yet is totally undeveloped agriculturally. It is not generally a high rainfall area but wheat is not a high rainfall crop. The soils are rather poor but Chinese market gardeners in the goldrush days got plenty out of them. One could go on ...
Several studies have shown that global crop production needs to double by 2050 to meet the projected demands from rising population, diet shifts, and increasing biofuels consumption. Boosting crop yields to meet these rising demands, rather than clearing more land for agriculture has been highlighted as a preferred solution to meet this goal. However, we first need to understand how crop yields are changing globally, and whether we are on track to double production by 2050. Using ~2.5 million agricultural statistics, collected for ~13,500 political units across the world, we track four key global crops—maize, rice, wheat, and soybean—that currently produce nearly two-thirds of global agricultural calories. We find that yields in these top four crops are increasing at 1.6%, 1.0%, 0.9%, and 1.3% per year, non-compounding rates, respectively, which is less than the 2.4% per year rate required to double global production by 2050. At these rates global production in these crops would increase by ~67%, ~42%, ~38%, and ~55%, respectively, which is far below what is needed to meet projected demands in 2050. We present detailed maps to identify where rates must be increased to boost crop production and meet rising demands.
Citation: Ray DK, Mueller ND, West PC, Foley JA (2013) Yield Trends Are Insufficient to Double Global Crop Production by 2050. PLoS ONE 8(6): e66428. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0066428
Global Cooling Causes Extreme Weather too!
Anything will do for an attention-geting scare
In an interview with Science News in 1975, C C Wallen, Head of the Special Environmental Applications Division of the World Meteorological Organization, had this to say about the consequences of the cooling trend since 1940:-
The principal weather change likely to accompany the cooling trend is increased variability-alternating extremes of temperature and precipitation in any given area-which would almost certainly lower average crop yields.
During cooler climatic periods the high-altitude winds are broken up into irregular cells by weaker and more plentiful pressure centers, causing formation of a "meridional circulation" pattern. These small, weak cells may stagnate over vast areas for many months, bringing unseasonably cold weather on one side and unseasonably warm weather on the other. Droughts and floods become more frequent and may alternate season to season, as they did last year in India. Thus, while the hemisphere as a whole is cooler, individual areas may alternately break temperature and precipitation records at both extremes.
Batty Euro ruling that's threatening churches: Directive giving protection to bats could see dozens of religious buildings closed because of damage animals cause
Medieval churches that survived the ‘ravages of the Reformation’ are under threat from a Brussels directive giving blanket protection to bats, MPs were warned yesterday.
Sir Tony Baldry, who represents the Church of England in the Commons, said dozens of parish churches were facing potential closure because of the crippling cost of dealing with bat infestations.
He told MPs that bat droppings were causing serious damage to medieval wall paintings, sculptures and wooden effigies - as well as posing a potential health hazard that has already forced the closure of one parish church.
But under the EU Habitats Directive, bats are given sweeping protections, making it impossible for the church authorities to deal with them.
Appealing to the Government to licence the destruction of bat nests, Sir Tony said: ‘Many of the churches affected by bat infestation are approaching a situation where their buildings may be unsustainable as a place of worship.
‘Now it is sometimes said that excluding bats from churches will render the bats homeless. But actually there is every chance that church congregations will find themselves homeless and without a place of worship with listed buildings left unoccupied and that is surely a solution which is undesirable for both bats and people.”
He went on: ‘I cannot believe that the European Commission would want a situation in which it was not possible for congregations to worship in churches that go back to the time of the Conqueror, because of bat infestations.
Citing an example in his constituency in Banbury, Oxfordshire, he added: ‘The church of St Peter ad Vincula at South Newington in my own constituency has some very fine, almost unique, medieval wall paintings which seem to have been spared Thomas Cromwell’s men.
‘But having survived the ravages of the Reformation they are now threatened by bat urine.
‘And these are irreplaceable parts of our natural heritage.’ Under the terms of the EU Habitats Directive, destroying the breeding sites or resting places of bats is a criminal offence carrying a maximum sentence of six months in prison.
The situation has left many churches facing huge cleaning and repair bills, and even forced them to take additional measures to accommodate their unwanted guests.
For example, the small parish church of Wiggenhall, St Germans, was forced to fit a ‘bat flap’ when replacing a small broken window pane, pushing up the cost from £5 to £140.
Environment Minister Richard Benyon acknowledged that churches faced serious problems from bats, but warned that issuing licences would lead to lengthy and costly legal challenges.
He suggested that concerned congregations should contact the ‘National Bat Helpline’ for advice on minimising the damage caused by bat colonies.
The Government is focusing on making sure that guidance issued by the helpline and by conservation body Natural England is ‘clear, proportionate and unambiguous’.
The Government is also funding research looking into bat deterrents and alternative roosting sites such as bat boxes.
Mr Benyon said so far acoustic devices are providing the best hope and further trials will be rolled out this year to prove that bats will not get used to them.
He said: ‘Since this has been brought to my attention, it’s rather changed the way I look at churches, and occasionally my mind strays from the sermon now and I look up to see the impact bats may be having in my own church and elsewhere.”
Mr Benyon went on: ‘Like you, I simply do not believe that it was the intention of those who drafted the Habitats Directive to render places of worship unusable to congregations or to impose unreasonable financial burdens to those congregations.’
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.
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