Friday, October 04, 2013
Is Australia unusually warm this year?
There have been reports to that effect -- excerpt below -- but in the absence of global warming they are of only passing interest. Some parts of the globe will always be warmer than others while yet other parts are cooler. It is the average that is of interest, not cherry-picked components of the whole dataset.
And note that all Australian reports derive from BoM, Australia's official meteorologists. And how they work is a marvel indeed. After their "adjustments", a falling temperature in the raw data can become a rising one! They "adjust" their conclusions to say whatever they want. They have no credibility at all as a source of scientifically accurate data. See here and here and here
They also have a quite poor climate record at their disposal anyway. The lack of good history alone at the BoM makes their pronouncements of "hottest" etc. of dubious worth. It should be remembered that Watkin Tench recorded Sydney temperatures very similar to this year's unusually high Sydney maximum in 1790. BoM records are a long way short of 1790 (Yes. 1790. Not 1970)
Winter may just be ending in Australia, but temperatures are already summerlike. September was one for the record books, with hot temperatures that baked the country from the outback to the coasts and made this the hottest September in the country’s 104 years of record-keeping. The warm start to Australia’s spring keeps the country on a path to having its warmest year on record. Following a wet winter, warmer-than-average conditions have also put parts of the country on watch for yet another intense wildfire season.
Nationally, September temperatures averaged nearly 5°F above normal. That beat the previous hottest September, set in 1983, by a full 2°F. This September also happened to be the most anomalously warm month of record, narrowly edging April 2005 by 0.2°F. In other words, Australia has never had a month so freakishly above average.
Parts of Australia experienced temperatures that were nearly 10°F above average this September, which was Australia's hottest on September record.
The unusually warm weather wasn’t isolated to a specific part of the country. Of the seven states in Australia, five experienced record-high average temperatures. However, the two regions where records weren’t set, Tasmania and Western Australia, weren’t far behind. This was Tasmania’s third warmest September and Western Australia’s fourth warmest.
Though September was record-setting, August also had a notable ending. On August 31, the last day of winter, average temperatures reached 85.9°F. That’s the warmest last day of winter recorded in Australia.
The warm weather is part of longer-term hot streak for the "Land Down Under." Temperatures soared so high in January, during the continent's summer season, that the Australian Bureau of Meteorology famously had to add a new color to its temperature map to account for the unrelenting heat.
The summer of 2013 ended up being Australia's hottest on record, and since January, monthly temperatures have stayed above normal. The average temperature for the year-to-date is 2.8°F above normal. If the year ended today, this would be Australia's hottest year-to-date, putting it ahead of 2005 by a full half a degree Fahrenheit.
DOE chief: Solyndra loan program “terrific success”
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz dismissed the "controversy" surrounding the loan program that gave taxpayer funding to a now-bankrupt solar energy company, calling the program "a terrific success" despite the high-profile bankruptcies.
"The loan guarantee program has had some controversy. Let me say flatly: It's been a terrific success, and a $35 billion loan portfolio has had two percent of defaults, 10 percent of the reserve fund that the Congress itself put aside for what is advancement of risky technologies," Moniz told reporters on C-SPAN's "Newsmakers."
"Utility-scale solar energy, for example, has been an enormous beneficiary of that, where the department's initial loan guarantees got the first projects going. Since then, 10 large projects have gone forward with completely private financing," he said.
Solyndra was the flagship of the DOE loan program. “Solyndra expects to hire a thousand workers to manufacture solar panels and sell them across America and around the world,” President Obama said during a 2010 visit to the company.
Remembering the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo
This fall marks the fortieth anniversary of the Arab oil embargo, a painful episode in American history that had a profound effect on both the economy and psyche of the United States. It began in mid-October 1973, following the US decision to resupply Israel with weaponry after Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year.
In response to President Nixon’s decision, the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries, the Arab members of OPEC, declared an embargo and cut off oil supplies to the United States and its allies.
In the three months after the embargo was announced, oil prices quadrupled, from $3 to $12 per barrel. Yes, twelve bucks would be a monumental bargain in these days of $100-a-barrel crude, but back then it sent shock waves through developed country economies.
Meanwhile, the supply disruptions forced American motorists to wait for hours in long lines to get gasoline. The US government response was largely limited to attempts to reduce consumption, by lowering the national speed limit to 55 mph and asking people to refrain from decorating with holiday lights, to reduce the use of oil that then powered many generating plants.
During the 1970s, Washington also launched efforts that still continue today. Those efforts would purportedly increase the nation’s energy independence by promoting conservation and energy-efficient appliances, nuclear power, and “alternative” energy development via tax breaks, mandates and subsidies for ethanol, wind and solar energy. Our three branches of state and federal government did very little to expand leasing and drilling, onshore or offshore, in the Lower 48 States or in Alaska; much to block such development; and little to encourage these activities.
In August 1973, just before the embargo, even enacting a law to end incessant lawsuits over the Trans-Alaska Pipeline passed Congress by a single vote (by Vice President Spiro Agnew, following a 49-49 Senate vote). After the embargo hit, Congress finally authorized building the pipeline.
Of course, policies aimed at addressing the nation’s long-term energy needs did nothing to alleviate the crisis of late 1973. The United States and most of the developed world desperately needed liquid fuels – to power cars, trucks and tractors, generate power, produce electricity, and safeguard jobs and living standards. Nuclear power could do nothing to feed their transportation network, and wind and solar installations provided barely measurable amounts of electricity. Lack of preparation hurt us badly.
Environmentalist opposition to all things nuclear and hydrocarbon continues. So does their refusal to acknowledge the land, raw material and wildlife impacts of wind and solar power, or even require an honest accounting of how many birds and bats wind turbines slaughter each year. Even as (or because) fracking proves the United States still has vast untapped riches of oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids, they do all they can to delay, block or ban this safe, proven technology.
Now, four decades later, America is still vulnerable to a major and prolonged oil supply disruption. While the Strategic Petroleum Reserve stands ready to cushion an oil shock, it contains barely enough oil to replace imported crude for 93 days. Furthermore, since oil prices are determined globally and affected by political instability, the US economy could still suffer severe repercussions from an oil price spike.
Why does the threat of oil disruptions still plague us? Because of political bickering, regulatory overkill, anti-hydrocarbon ideologies, courts putting almost any ecological argument (no matter how minor or far-fetched) above our need for hydrocarbons – and our government’s systemic inability to focus on the most important issues facing our nation: economic growth, job creation and preservation, and protecting people’s overall health and welfare. Even though petroleum still supplies 63% of the energy that powers our economy, our politicians and policy makers remember the embargo, but ignore its lessons.
Despite the fact that the United States owns some of the world’s largest collective oil resources, about 51% of our oil still comes from other countries. Canada is our largest supplier, but Persian Gulf oil still accounts for almost one-third of total imports. The risk of supply disruptions remains very real.
However, that is just a small part of the problem. Over fourteen million working age Americans are still unemployed, are involuntarily working part-time below their potential and preference, for less pay than with their old jobs – or have simply given up looking for a job. Washington is spending some $3.6 trillion a year, while bringing in only $2.6 trillion in annual revenues. The deficits keep skyrocketing.
The USA could be producing much more of its own oil and natural gas – creating millions of jobs and generating hundreds of billions of dollars in royalty and tax revenues. But it has lacked the political will to open the vast majority of the Outer Continental Shelf. Even the Eastern Gulf of Mexico and the entire East and West Coasts are off limits to leasing and drilling.
The vast majority of US onshore lands owned or controlled by the federal government are likewise off limits, including ANWR and even the Alaskan National Petroleum Reserve. The Obama administration has even increased the regulatory burdens and delays on the few areas it has technically left open, onshore and offshore – while expediting permits and waiving endangered species laws for wind and solar projects. Oil and gas projects have been delayed or scrapped, and virtually all have seen their costs skyrocket.
As a result, our economy has lost hundreds of thousands of jobs and hundreds of billions in salaries. The US Treasury has lost hundreds of billions in bonus, royalty and tax payments. Meanwhile, we continue to subsidize “green” energy, amass debt, and convert millions of jobs from full-time to part-time or no-time. The adverse impacts on people’s lives, livelihoods, living standards and life spans continue to increase.
Were it not for drilling and fracking on state and private lands – in spite of the federal government and constant environmentalist attacks – US oil and gas production would have continued the decline that began in 1970. Instead, due to advanced drilling and production technologies, dedicated entrepreneurs have safely extracted billions of dollars worth of oil and natural gas from shale formations, created 1.7 million jobs, ramped petroleum production back up, and sent almost $100 billion to state treasuries.
Rather than meet our country’s needs for oil and gas, President Obama’s Interior and Energy Departments, EPA and other agencies have strangled our economy in red tape and poured billions of taxpayer dollars down the toilet of ill-conceived, crony-corporatist wind, solar, battery, “green” car and “renewable” fuel projects. Many went belly-up without ever producing any jobs, products or revenues. Worse, the “green” jobs (ie, subsidized by greenbacks) kill 2-4 jobs for every “renewable” job created.
But they ensure that millions of tax dollars return to “green” politicians via campaign contributions, to keep the schemes alive. Tens of millions more are funneled annually through government agencies to eco-activists who work full time to promote renewable energy, oil depletion and climate change myths.
To top it off, five years after the first permit application was submitted, Mr. Obama still refuses to make a decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline. That one project would create tens of thousands of high-paying jobs and transport over 800,000 barrels of US and Canadian crude to Texas refineries, which are currently paying $100 for every barrel they refine into gasoline and myriad other products.
In 1973, America was rocked by a shocking truth. Our nation was not prepared to control its own energy, economic, employment, trade and revenue destiny. In 2013, even amid deepening crises in the Middle East, Africa and other regions, we could be poised to repeat mistakes and painful lessons of the past.
Our energy and economic problems continue today, but not because America lacks the resources. They continue because our “leaders” have put their anti-hydrocarbon attitudes and political alliances ahead of the best interests of the American nation and people.
The hard sell of global warming explained
The cargo cult is a system of belief based around the expected arrival of ancestral spirits in ships bringing cargoes of food and other goods, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
Sophisticated people also fall prey to such confusion.
Consider global warming, which connects the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide to any and all hot days.
On Friday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its fifth report finally admitted the climate is not working the way their computer models predicted.
There has been no hockey stick spike in world temperatures since 1998. Instead we are experiencing global samening, even as carbon dioxide has risen to a whopping 0.04 percent of the atmosphere.
"Many governments are demanding a clearer explanation of the slowdown in temperature increases since 1998," reported the BBC ahead of the official release of this report.
Skeptics laughed, most notably Richard Lindzen, a professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "I think that the latest IPCC report has truly sunk to level of hilarious incoherence," Lindzen wrote.
"They are proclaiming increased confidence in their models as the discrepancies between their models and observations increase."
Physicist Richard Feynman predicted this nonsense nearly 40 years ago in a commencement speech at Cal Tech. "We've learned from experience that the truth will come out," Feynman said.
"Other experimenters will repeat your experiment and find out whether you were wrong or right. Nature's phenomena will agree or they'll disagree with your theory.
"And, although you may gain some temporary fame and excitement, you will not gain a good reputation as a scientist if you haven't tried to be very careful in this kind of work.
"And it's this type of integrity, this kind of care not to fool yourself, that is missing to a large extent in much of the research in Cargo Cult Science."
However, global warming has never been about science but always about politics, which is why an economist and not a scientist heads the IPCC.
The tactics of proponents of this junk science are straight from the Rules for Radicals outlined by Saul Alinsky more than 40 years ago.
Alinsky inspired fellow Chicagoan, Bill Ayers, the terrorist who later became a tenured professor who launched the political career of a community organizer named Barack Obama.
All 12 rules apply, but most applicable are Rules No. 3 ("Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy") and No. 5 ("Ridicule is man's most potent weapon").
Rule No. 3 is why radicals selected global warming as the vehicle to bully the world into adopting their changes.
Schools have eased on their requirements for science decades ago, obviously dropping instruction on photosynthesis, which is how plants convert water and carbon dioxide into the carbohydrates that are the basis of all but a fraction of a percent of life on this planet.
Under Rule No. 5, proponents label skeptics as deniers, and heap scorn upon any skeptic who dares go public with his doubts.
But as Feynman said, the truth will come out; one after another, the predictions of the Al Gore crowd have fallen.
Three record snowstorms in Washington alone have undermined the prediction that snow will disappear.
Also, hurricanes are becoming less frequent and less powerful.
Polar bears are growing in number and now show the classic signs of overpopulation, including smaller bodies and moving outside of their usual habitat as the competition for food intensifies.
Which explains why the IPCC released its fifth assessment report late Friday, when officials dump cargoes of bad news.
Lessons from Australia for the USA?
Realists in the great land down under have finally emerged on top in rebuking epic scams that have wrought disastrous economic consequences. On September 7, the national Liberal Party (not to be confused with the American liberal brand) ousted the climate alarm-promoting Labor Party which had imposed a deeply unpopular and costly carbon tax, or so-called “carbon pricing mechanism”.
A June 2011 poll revealed that almost 60 percent of Australians opposed the tax, while just 28 percent favored the scheme (the rest undecided). As David Briggs of Galaxy polls observed: “The problem for the government is that most voters believe the personal cost outweighs the environmental benefits.” Many opponents also believed that man-made global warming theories are a “hoax”.
The resounding defeat of the Green Party-backed Labor Party following 6 years in power comes at a time when it is abundantly clear that the UN IPCC’s alarming computer model-based predictions of global warming got it wonderfully wrong in light of the past 15-17 years of flat temperatures despite increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations. To top off that inconvenient good news, the Arctic ice sheet which was supposed to have disappeared has been rapidly expanding....
A Teachable Lesson for America
As American Energy Alliance spokesman Benjamin Cole notes: “The results of the election should be an instructive lesson for U.S. lawmakers who have yet to understand the economic consequences of a carbon tax.” He warns that “Given the results of Aussies’ election, U.S. policymakers who want to replicate the failed Australian experiment on the U.S. economy will do so at their own peril.” Some lawmakers who support it are already feeling a political sting.
AEA has recently targeted Alaska Democratic Sen. Mark Begich and North Carolina Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan with anti-campaign ads for their favorable March votes on measures attached to a non-binding Senate Democratic budget which amounted to support for a carbon tax. Begich and Hagan both also voted against an amendment by Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt that would have blocked a carbon tax. In addition, Begich voted in favor of an amendment by Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse that called for a “fee on carbon pollution.” Begich and Hagan, who both face reelection in 2014, have called the ads misleading.
Remarkably, former Secretary of State George Shultz, and economist Nobel laureate Gary Becker, two senior fellows at Stanford University’s conservative Hoover Institution, co-authored an April 8 Wall Street Journal article advocating a “revenue neutral” tax on carbon. They began by saying, “Americans like to compete on a level playing field to win on competitive merits.” They then go on to argue that the way to level that playing field is to introduce that tax on what they described as a “major pollutant” to “encourage producers and consumers to shift towards energy sources that emit less carbon – such as toward gas-fired power plants and away from coal-fired plants – and generate greater demand for electric and flex-fuel cars and lesser demand for conventional gasoline-powered cars.”
The op-ed piece proposed that this can be accomplished in two possible ways. It might be imposed upon the population-at-large at the point of consumption (gasoline stations and electricity bills), or alternatively, could be collected as a tax at the production level to “greatly reduce the number of collection points” through the IRS or Social Security Administration. In the case of using IRS, “an annual distribution could be made to every taxpayer and recipient of the Earned Tax Credit. In the case of SSA, the distribution could be made in terms proportionate to the dollars involved, to everyone either paying into the system or receiving benefits from it.”
And you thought income redistribution was just a liberal Democrat thing?
Sadly, they aren’t the only prominent and usually brilliant conservatives who seem to have sampled the carbon tax Kool-Aid. Reagan economist Arthur Laffer has said he would support such a tax in exchange for a payroll or income tax reduction; Bush 43 economist Greg Mankiw supports a global tax; and Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a senior advisor to John McCain in 2008, wants a tax to provide the energy industry with regulatory “certainty.”
President Clinton attempted a similar gambit nearly 20 years ago with a proposed tax on energy use. His so-called “BTU tax”, which would have been imposed upon every segment of the economy, provoked a brutal backlash that should have been no big surprise. He and congressional Dems soon caved in to demands of a vocal anti-BTU coalition which included small businesses, the agriculture sector, the building trades, the transportation industry, manufacturers, and even social-service organizations representing poor and homeless clients who rely upon affordable gasoline and heating fuel.
As with Australia, this experience constituted another teachable moment. (The great English writer Samuel Johnson observed, “There is nothing like a hanging to concentrate the mind.”) One year later , in November 1994, Republicans took over control of the House for the first time in decades.
Raise your hand if you truly believe that a “revenue neutral” carbon tax has any chance of being enacted, or if so, staying that way for very long.
For the rest of you, expect that a newly imposed carbon tax would be revenue neutral only briefly, at best, and then become but one more cookie jar to raid in futile attempts to keep up with escalating demands of government’s spending addiction. And if you harbor any illusions that those tax rates won’t increase over time, consider a lesson taken from European VAT experience. Since the time it was implemented, the initial VAT rate of 10 percent in Germany has climbed to 19 percent, in France it is up from 13.6 percent to 19.6 percent, and in several other countries VAT rates now exceed 20 percent.
Also remember that from a social cost perspective, carbon taxes are, by nature, regressive, meaning that they inflict largest pain burdens upon low-income households. This is something that liberals, who claim to care more about such matters than heartless conservatives do, should begin to think about.
Such policies, driven by unfounded climate alarmism, motivated by Green crony capitalism, and embracing the vision of transforming America into a European-style socialist welfare state, will impose unacceptable social and economic costs. And as the Australian experience demonstrates, the damage will come at a high political price for those responsible as well.
Verbatim "Climate" Journalism/b>
By Alan Caruba
On September 27 I was reading my Wall Street Journal as usual when I turned the page to read the following headline: “U.N. Affirms Human Role in Global Warming.” There is no human role in global warming and there is no global warming. The Earth has been in a cooling cycle for the past seventeen years.
The Journal article began “Stockholm—A landmark United Nations report issued Friday reaffirmed the growing believe that human activity is the dominant cause because a rise in global temperatures and reiterated that a long-term planetary warming trend is expended to continue.”
I concluded that the Journal had fallen into the common error of “verbatim reporting”, another way of saying that the two reporters bylined on the article had done nothing more than take the UN news release regarding the “summary report” of this week’s fifth “Assessment Report” (AR5) from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and then embellished it with a few calls to people identified as experts or spokespersons.
This isn’t journalism. It’s public relations. I know because I practiced both of these magical arts for many years. All governments, all institutions, all organizations, and all enterprises of every description practice public relations. The job of journalists, however, is to lend some balance to the claims or to expose outright lies.
Much to its credit, a September 30 Journal editorial eviscerates the article, noting that the IPCC’s latest report is a “flimsy intellectual scaffolding…to justify killing the U.S. coal industry and the Keystone XL pipeline, banning natural gas drilling, imposing costly efficiency requirements for automobiles, light bulbs, washing machines, and refrigerators, and using scare resources to subsidize technologies that even after decades can’t compete on their own in the marketplace.”
Every few years, in order to maintain the fiction of global warming, the IPCC has put out a report that it claims represents the combined wisdom of several hundred scientists and others—in this case 800 of them. I suspect that are far smaller group, a cabal, a coterie, and conspiracy of skilled propagandists actually write the IPCC reports.
Most certainly, in 2009 with the online exposure of hundreds of emails between the so-called climate scientists at the University of East Anglia and others here in the U.S., dubbed “climategate”, we learned that they had been deliberately falsifying the outcomes of their computer models and, at the time, were growing increasingly worried over the obvious cooling occurring.
What was striking about the totally uncritical Journal article was that even The New York Times—long an advocate of the global warming hoax—actually took note of the many scientists who have long since repudiated and debunked it. It reported that “The Heartland Institute, a Chicago organization, issued a document last week saying that any additional global warming would likely be limited to a few tenths of a degree and that this ‘would not represent a climate crisis.’” The Institute has created a website of useful information at www.climatechangereconsidered.com.
As usual, one often has to read a British newspaper such as the Telegraph to get the other side of the story. It, too, took note of the Heartland Institute that, since 2008, has sponsored eight international conferences that brought together leading scientists to rebut the IPCC lies. In addition, it has released “Climate Change Reconsidered II”, a report that disembowels the IPCC’s report. The Telegraph quoted Prof. Bob Carter, a contributor to the Heartland report, who criticized the IPCC for its “profoundly distorted” view of climate science, calling it a “political body” that was “destroying the essence of the scientific method.”
In a commentary posted on the widely-visited website, Watts Up With That, by Anthony Watts, two leading skeptics of global warming, Patrick J. Michaels and Paul C. “Chip” Knappenberger described the IPCC’s AR5 as a “Humpty Dumpty-esque report once claiming to represent the ‘consensus of scientists’ (that) has fallen from its exalted wall and cracked to pieces under the burdensome weight of its own cumbersome and self-serving processes, which is why all the government’s scientists and all the government’s men cannot put the IPCC report together again.”
The IPCC report, said Michaels and Knappenberger, was rendered “not only obsolete on its release, but completely useless as a basis to form opinions (or policy) related to human energy choices and the influence on the climate.” They concluded by recommending that “The IPCC report should be torn up and tossed out, and with it, the entire IPCC process which produced such a misleading (and potentially dangerous) document.”
For the layman who has little or no knowledge of climate science or meteorology, it is sufficient to know that none of the claims put forth about global warming have come true. None of the claims being made again will come true. Indeed, given the cycles of ice ages, the present cooling could turn into a new one.
For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.
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
Posted by JR at 7:36 PM