Thursday, September 05, 2013

New Zealand answers Al Gore

NIWA, the New Zealand weather service, is notoriously corrupt and dishonest in the global warming cause and not at all averse to a good ol' NZ "orchestrated litany of lies".  But Al Gore recently hung his hat on their claim that NZ has just had a record warm winter.  Attaching much weight to what was happening on the tiny percentage of the earth's surface that is NZ  is amusing enough but more amusing is some much less ambiguous data -- "freak" late winter snowfalls in NZ.  We read:

"HUNDREDS of skiers are stuck on New Zealand's Mt Hutt after freak weather forced its closure.

A combination of drifting snow and poor visibility has been blamed. While ski area management were aware of an approaching front and poor forecast, the situation deteriorated quickly, Mt Hutt ski area manager James McKenzie said.

There are 316 people trapped on the mountain.

"We made a decision to close the mountain at 11.30 this morning and a number of people made it safely down the road," he said.
"However at midday a combination of new snow blowing around everywhere and wind gusts of up to 45km/h, especially around the Saddles, meant visibility along the upper section of the access road deteriorated to the extent we closed the road completely."

That must pull the NZ winter average temperature down a bit.  Poor old Al Gore.  Cold weather just seems to follow him about

We paid for it. We have a right to see it

Publicly-funded scientists who keep their work secret should be censured and cut off from future funding

Ron Arnold

Who owns taxpayer-funded science? From the way many scientists behave, it’s not the taxpayers.

Many scientific studies funded by federal agencies – through grants, contracts or cooperative agreements – hide the guts of the science. What the scientists keep secret is the raw data they obtain and the methods they use to interpret it, as if those were personal possessions. It’s an especially outrageous attitude when their work is used to justify the horrendous, burdensome regulations.

Independent scientist Rob Roy Ramey recounted an extreme example: “A researcher tracked endangered desert bighorn sheep with government GPS radio collars to record precise animal locations for wildlife rangers. He then reset the access codes so only he could download the data remotely, and refused to surrender the codes. California Fish and Game had to track down and net-gun the bighorns from a helicopter, to manually download the data, costing a fortune and endangering both animals and people.”

Agency “science” frequently isn’t about data collection at all. Instead, it’s a “literature search,” with researchers in a library selecting papers and reports written by others, merely summarizing results and giving opinions of the actual scientists. These agency researchers never even see the underlying data, much less collect it in the field. The agency then holds up those second-hand opinions as if they had rigorously tested them against the data. Using this unscrupulous tactic, they can cherry-pick the literature to make any case they want, for any regulation they want to impose.

With so many federal reports containing no data – only conclusions put forth by another scientist – there is no way to debate, debunk or disprove the underlying facts. It’s almost impossible even to get court orders to track down and disclose the data, if Freedom of Information Act requests are denied, which they frequently are (legally or otherwise).

If there is no way to test a statement, hypothesis or theory, it is not science. It’s opinion or politics. If you hide the raw data, no one can test it, and it’s easy for agenda-driven “researchers” and regulators to implement laws that are based on junk science or even fraud.

Indeed, the only reason a scientist would want to hide his or her data and methods is to prevent others from discovering or demonstrating that they are false – or to surreptitiously seek personal profit from taxpayer-funded discoveries, which likewise are not the property of the discovering tax-paid scientist.

We shouldn’t base our regulations on untested and unscientific “science.” And yet American science is riddled with data secrecy. How can we know the nation isn’t paying for mathematical errors, unreliable methods, deliberate bias, peer-review collusion, outright fakery, or even criminal activity and fraud?

All these allegations against federal agencies have emerged repeatedly. They surfaced once again at an August 2, 2013 congressional hearing. House Natural Resources Committee under Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) has been investigating secretive and corrupted science. At his hearing, “Transparency and Sound Science Gone Extinct?” a panel of four witnesses honed in on the impacts of the Obama administration’s closed-door mega-settlements on endangered species and people.

These secretive Big Green lawsuit settlements use the Endangered Species Act to force agencies to list hundreds of species and make related habitat decisions, not because the science supports the need, but because Big Green settlement deadlines require it. They underscore the nasty reality that the Endangered Species Act is not about protecting species; it’s about land-use control. Everything in the ESA hinges on “critical habitat,” land that a bureaucrat can declare is off limits for public and private users, supposedly to serve a species’ needs, but with devastating impacts on people, jobs and private property.

Panel witness Damien Schiff, principal attorney of the Pacific Legal Foundation, testified that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service itself “estimated that the annual economic impact of critical habitat designation for the California gnatcatcher [a bird] is over $100 million.” It’s undoubtedly much higher than that.

One of the Natural Resources Defense Council's first publications was “Land Use Controls in the United States,” a 1977 handbook that taught activists how to separate land from use (and users and owners). The power to impose land-use controls anywhere is the real motive behind all current sue-and-settle back-room species-listing deadline deals between Big Green and President Obama’s bureaucrats.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe naturally defended his sue and settle deals. “Settlement agreements are often in the public's best interest, because we have no effective legal defense to most deadline cases,” he claimed. That’s a flat-out lie.

Ashe has a powerful legal defense that he refuses to use: Demand that the science underlying the species listing be tested to determine whether it is flawed, corrupt or fraudulent. He won’t use it for a good reason: recent revelations of false science by agency contractors – California’s Mad River Biologists. Failure to pass “truth” tests could totally invalidate the original listing and everything to do with it.

Why won't he use that moral, ethical and legal defense as an impartial arbiter? First, his agency authorized funding for most of the science. Second, most of the scientists are on his agency’s payroll. Third, politically, he can’t try to win because that would make the Obama administration look like it opposes endangered species protection – or is stealing people’s property and supporting fraud.

Operating under this mindset, the FWS becomes a political tool that uses science as its sword and shield. It cannot be an impartial arbiter. In fact, far from being honest and impartial, the FWS is rife with malicious officials, as witness Kent McMullen, chairman of Washington state’s Franklin County Natural Resources Advisory Committee, testified. His written testimony filled nine pages with outrageous FWS dirty tricks and skullduggery in his county – and in this supposedly free, honest, accountable country.

For example, announcements of critical habitat designations for the White Bluffs Bladderpod plant were deliberately kept “under the radar” in Franklin County, so that they could become law, before anyone could object. Only after Hastings asked county officials about it did the impending decision come to light.

McMullen said, “An FWS employee that apologized in private to a farm family told them that they had been told to keep the issue quiet and to not inform landowners or locals.”

The star witness was independent scientist Ramey, a PhD with 33 years of worldwide experience with threatened and endangered wildlife. Ramey hit key points hard: “The American people pay for data collection and research on threatened and endangered species through grants, contracts cooperative agreements, and administration of research permits. They pay the salaries of agency staff who collect data, and author, edit and publish papers based upon those data.” For the most part, regulations are based on those data, and these officials willingly go along with the crooked system.

“It is essential that the American people have the right to full access to those data in a timely manner,” Ramey continued. “A requirement that data and methods be provided in sufficient detail to allow third party reproduction would raise the bar on the quality and reproducibility of the science used in ESA decisions and benefit species recovery.  Failure to ensure this level of transparency will undermine the effectiveness of the very programs that the data were gathered for in the first place.”

Then Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT), who chaired the hearing after Hastings had to leave, told the witnesses: “For all of you, this is a yes or no answer. I’m going to go down the line. ‘Would you agree that in this day and age of the Internet, it is both possible and preferable that actual data be used for ESA decisions that affect both species and people, and should the data be available for everyone to see online on the Internet?’” Mr. Shiff? “Yes.” Mr. Ashe? “Yes.” Mr. McCollum? “Yes.” Dr. Ramey? “Yes.”

They were all on the record, including Director Ashe, whose feet are now available for holding to the fire. Federal decision-making must be based on the best data, not just the best data “available.” That is in the public interest. It’s time we stopped tolerating fraud, abuse and property theft by federal regulators.

Europe Should Abandon Unilateral Climate Policy And Develop Shale, Says EU Energy Commissioner

Germany should not dismiss gas fracking technology that has boosted US industry, nor unilaterally overexpose itself to climate protection efforts, European Energy Commissioner G√ľnther Oettinger said on Tuesday (3 September).

Germany, the bloc's biggest economy and energy market, goes to the polls later this month and afterwards must reform its energy laws reflecting a costly low-carbon approach coupled with scepticism about fossil fuel production, including fracking.

"I advise you to keep all [gas fracking] options open ... that make [Russian leader Vladimir] Putin nervous," he said.

Oettinger, a German national, was alluding to unresolved differences in European fracking laws which leave shale gas output dormant despite its potential, while gas imports are rising, with Russia remaining the biggest single supplier.

Due to environmental concerns, Berlin has suspended plans to regulate hydraulic fracking until after September's election, prolonging the uncertainty that curbs its development.

Fracking, which involves pumping water and chemicals at high pressure thousands of metres below the ground to release gas, has helped lower energy prices in the United States, fuelling an industrial revival.

Oettinger said German industry could afford to pay 50% or 100% more for energy than rivals in the United States, "but not more than that".

Oettinger defended exemptions that Germany grants its industry from energy-related costs. They have come into the focus of an EU probe as neighbours and private German consumer groups complained about alleged distortions to competition.

"If industry wants to survive, it needs [energy cost] exemptions," Oettinger said. He called German Green Party ideas for further industry regulation "adventurous" and warned that industrial players could leave Europe to relocate elsewhere.

Turning to current EU climate policies, Oettinger warned that the bloc risked investing in too many ideas and research while it only accounts for a small part of global emissions.

The European Commission is due to propose 2030 climate protection goals later this year. Oettinger advised caution.

"It is becoming increasingly questionable whether our pioneering activities can be financed when the rest of the world does not follow suit," he said.

Is stopping Keystone a San Francisco hedge-fund billionaire's shrewd investment?

Tom Steyer, San Francisco hedge-fund billionaire and million-dollar donor to Democratic candidates -- including President Obama -- is something of a one-man Big Green with greater wealth and deeper contacts than many activist non-profit foundations.

He's waging a dogged end-of-the-world money war against fossil fuels and is currently cramming mega-bucks into a costly fight against the Keystone XL pipeline as a "game-over" environmental doomsday. Winning his fierce battle, however, won't do a thing about global warming, say climate researchers.

Ken Caldeira, climate researcher at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford, Calif., told Nature Magazine in August: "I don't believe that whether the pipeline is built or not will have any detectable climate effect."

David Victor, a climate-policy expert at the University of California, San Diego, also told Nature, "As a serious strategy for dealing with climate, blocking Keystone is a waste of time. But as a strategy for arousing passion, it is dynamite."

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Keystone XL arouses the rage of Steyer and less affluent Big Green activists because it would move unconventional thick bitumen, processed to flow easily, from Athabasca oil sands in Alberta, Canada, to U.S. refineries near the Gulf of Mexico.

The oil sands are dug out of the ground with big excavators, like a mine, and then processed on site for transfer to a refinery in a pipeline or by rail tank cars, like conventional oil.

The multi-step operation is seen as a carbon dioxide "monster" by former government scientist James Hansen. To the contrary, public polls show a majority of Americans favor construction.

But last Friday, the U.S. State Department's recommendation to proceed with the project was delayed until at least January by the agency's inspector general for an investigation.

Big Green activists claimed that ERM Group, which is writing the pipeline's supplemental environmental impact statement, has financial ties with TransCanada Corp., the pipeline's owner.

Tom Steyer founded Farallon Capital nearly three decades ago, and built much of its wealth on fossil-fuel investments. Steyer departed his firm last year to fight the "tar sands" -- as greenies snidely call them -- with a net worth estimated by Forbes at $1.4 billion.

Farallon has large holdings in Houston-based pipeline company Kinder Morgan, owner of the 60-year-old TransMountain Pipeline System, which transports processed oil sands with condensates from Edmonton, Alberta, to the seaport of Vancouver, British Columbia, for export to Asia.

Its $5.4 billion expansion program calls for an application late this year for government permits to carry more oil sands oil than Keystone.

Nobody is investigating Steyer for his financial ties to TransMountain and his pressuring Democratic contribution buddies -- including Obama in personal meetings -- to kill the competitor to Farallon's investment.

Sen. David Vitter, R-La., told Fox News, "who knows when he's going to divest of these investments. ... Maybe in a few months when his helping kill Keystone will boost them up to top value."

The leading pro-Keystone congressman, Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., introduced a bill to speed approval of the project that made it through the House on a 241-to-175 vote. Steyer's money in Democratic senators' pockets could influence votes. Obama has threatened a veto.

With a U.S. attack on Syria possibly in the offing, we may shortly see the OPEC countries retaliate with their oil weapon.

Terry spokesman Larry Farnsworth told me, "Americans are tired of being held hostage by this administration and OPEC. Energy independence is in reach, and now is the time to make it happen."

Three More Pieces Of Evidence that Global Warming Is A Fraud:

Conventional wisdom, which is hardly conventional and rarely wise, says things happen in threes. What to make, then, of the three hits the global warming alarmist industry has suffered recently?

We've been told until Al Gore was green in the face that increased emissions of carbon dioxide were going to cause an increase in "dirty weather," that we were going to get stronger and more frequent storms.

Nearly a year ago, Gore called Hurricane Sandy a "disturbing sign of things to come" and wrote on his website that "we must heed this warning and act quickly to solve the climate crisis.

"Dirty energy makes dirty weather," he said, also claiming that "scientists tell us that if we do not reduce our emissions, these problems will only grow worse."

Of course, none of his dire predictions has come to pass, even as atmospheric CO2 has hit 400 parts per million, a threshold that's considered to be the gateway to a danger zone.

Two related news items, though, shine a disinfecting light on Gore's toxic rhetoric:

One, the U.S., according to USA Today, "is seeing its quietest year for tornadoes in more than a decade." USA Today also reports that "meteorologist Greg Forbes of the Weather Channel says 2013 is the third-quietest year, in records dating back to 1950."

Two, Bloomberg News is reporting that there have been no Atlantic hurricanes through August for the first time in 11 years, though "predictions were for an above-normal season."

The Northern Atlantic hurricane season ends Nov. 30, so there's time for a grand finale of storms. But that's unlikely. Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group, told Bloomberg that "if you don't get your first hurricane by or before August, it's extremely difficult to get those high storm counts, especially for hurricanes and major hurricanes."

The third event that completes our triad is the story of an international team of activists that set out to raise awareness of global warming but ended up bumbling into a truth it can't overcome.

"Climate change is transforming the Arctic and the world," Kevin Vallely, lead rower of Mainstream Last First, told the Climate News Network in explaining his team's effort.

"By traversing the Northwest Passage completely under human power in a rowboat, without sail or motor, the Mainstream Last First team will be able to demonstrate firsthand the dramatic effects climate change is having on our planet."

Mainstream, of course, didn't make it.

"Severe weather conditions hindered our early progress and now ice chokes the passage ahead," Vallely wrote in the team's final log. "Our ice router Victor has been very clear in what lies ahead.

"At many Eastern places of NWP, locals have not seen this type ice conditions. Residents of Resolute say 20 years have not seen anything like. It's ice, ice and more ice. Larsen, Peel, Bellot, Regent and Barrow Strait are all choked. That is the only route to East. Already West Lancaster received -2C temperature expecting -7C on Tuesday with the snow."

Vallely said the team was "disappointed" that it was "unable to reach" its intended destination, but failed to concede that his team was on a crackpot's mission.

He assured all who cared to listen that "our message" — bringing "awareness to the pressing issues of climate change in the Arctic" — "remains unaffected."

We predict there will soon be a fourth incident that contradicts the alarmists' warnings. Then a fifth, then a sixth, then a seventh, then ...

Australia:  Tony Abbott turns climate sword back on Kevin Rudd

Tony Abbott is the federal conservative leader.  Rud is the Leftist leader

IN the last week of the campaign, Tony Abbott has deliberately returned to where he began five weeks ago - the carbon tax.

It is also where he started his first destruction of Kevin Rudd and where he achieved his final defeat of Julia Gillard.

And Labor is doing everything it can to assist the Opposition Leader make it dominate the final campaign days and sear into the national psyche that the election is a referendum on the carbon tax, which guarantees his mandate to repeal it in government.

What's more, Labor is shaping, in Abbott's words, to "commit political suicide twice" by pledging to use the Labor-Greens control of the Senate to keep the carbon tax and force voters back to the polls next year for a double-dissolution election on the tax.

After using a five-year campaign against "a great big new tax" to weaken two prime ministers and bring himself to the cusp of prime ministership, Abbott isn't missing the final opportunity to stick with his most successful strategy and present Labor in opposition with an insoluble dilemma.

Abbott's last pitch on the carbon tax is that it costs jobs, has cost Labor support and probably cost it government. For Labor in opposition, the carbon tax threatens to split its support and further antagonise workers who felt betrayed by Gillard's deal with the Greens and remain concerned for their jobs and living costs.

Yesterday Abbott was again telling blue-collar workers in a Labor stronghold not that he expected them "to break the habits of a lifetime and suddenly love the Coalition" but that repealing the tax was "one thing we will do which is real, which is concrete, which is easy to understand and which is going to make it easier for the manufacturing workers of our country". "A Labor Party which persists in support of the carbon tax is just setting itself up to lose not one election but two," he said.

"If we win the election which is a referendum on the carbon tax, the last thing that the Labor Party will do is set itself up to lose a second election by continuing to support a tax which has become electoral poison."

While refusing to entertain "hypothetical" questions about Labor's attitude in opposition to the carbon tax Rudd made it clear he thought Labor was on the "right side of history" and would remain so into the future.

Deputy Labor leader and potential opposition leader Anthony Albanese was even blunter about not changing, and Environment Minister Mark Butler entrenched Labor's refusal to repeal the carbon tax.

Rudd's claims he "terminated the tax" by bringing forward the move to a market system a year earlier are long gone as Labor digs in behind the carbon tax in government - and in opposition.


Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  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 or here


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