Friday, December 13, 2013

Ozone Hole Hoax unravelling

I have been pointing out for years that there is no sign of any systematic change in it -- JR

The banning of ozone-depleting chemicals hasn't yet caused detectable improvements in the Antarctic ozone hole, new research suggests.

Instead, changes in the South Pole's ozone hole from year-to-year are likely the result of natural variations in wind patterns, researchers said here Wednesday (Dec. 11) in a press conference at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

"Ozone is produced in the tropics, but it's transported by the winds from the tropics to the polar region," said Anne Douglass, a scientist with the Aura project at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. That transport "varies a little bit from year to year."

The findings suggest that measuring the total size of the ozone hole says little about ozone depletion, and that it's misleading to use the hole's extent alone to measure environmental progress. In fact, people won't be able to see the true impact of reducing ozone-munching chemicals in the atmosphere until around 2025, Douglass and her colleagues said. And, they added, the hole won't be completely healed until 2070.

The classic way of measuring the hole is by measuring the total area that contains less than 220 Dobson units of ozone. But the ozone layer extends vertically throughout the stratosphere, so using just one measure is like "looking at a flat table," Douglass said.


Danger of over-regulating fracking

The emergence of hydraulic fracturing to recover oil and natural gas generally is seen as an economic success story. It has vaulted the United States into the ranks of the world’s top oil and gas producers and led to a manufacturing renaissance whose effects few could have foreseen at the start of the 1990s.

A dozen years ago, shale gas amounted to only 2 percent of total domestic gas production. Today, it is 40 percent and rising. Natural gas is in such ample supply that its price is one-third to one-half less here than what it fetches in Europe or Asia.
U.S. consumers especially have benefitted from shale production, saving the average household $1,200 a year on its energy bills. And it has created tens of thousands of well-paying jobs and generated $74 billion in government revenues.

Another major benefit of the shale boom has been a major reduction in oil and gas imports, which has helped to lower the U.S. trade deficit. The question going forward is not how much oil and gas the United States will have to import but rather how much it may be able to export.

Still, domestic fracking for oil and gas faces some major obstacles. Companies need approval from state regulators if they want to drill or dispose of wastewater, a process that can be contentious and lengthy. They usually must divulge the types of chemicals used in fracking, even if disclosure helps competitors.

And stagnant or falling oil and gas prices can make fracking unprofitable for even the largest companies. It remains to be seen whether the latest gushers of oil from the Gulf of Mexico will have that effect.

Washington nevertheless is preparing to regulate fracking on federal and Indian lands, even though 98 percent of today’s fracking operations are on public lands in Utah and other western states where rules for shale oil and gas production already are in place. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has proposed a fracking rule focused on well casing and cementing, chemical disclosure, and water management practices, all of which currently are regulated in the U.S. west.

Since only a small percentage of fracking occurs on federal land in states not regulating that method of oil and gas recovery, complying with the proposed BLM rule might not seem too difficult or costly. But once the camel’s nose is under the tent, the new regulations could become the basis for federal regulation of fracking on private land as well.

What passes nowadays for sound environmental policy often is ineffective or produces “unintended” consequences, such as landowners’ willful destruction of natural habitats for endangered species or “shoot, shovel and shut up” before regulators can limit private property rights.

Prevailing state action makes federal fracking rules unnecessary and redundant. The BLM’s proposal creates a one-size-fits-all federal regulatory regime that ignores the geological and hydrological differences between states. What’s right for, say, Colorado, isn’t necessarily right for Texas and North Dakota.

Given that fracking has an excellent safety record—in fact, there hasn’t been a single case of groundwater pollution from fracking—it’s time to reconsider a government policy that places the states at odds with Washington.

In short, abundant domestic oil and gas production on federal and Indian land can be a huge source of growth for the economy. But to get there, we will need a clear strategy of allowing states to continue to regulate fracking without interference from federal agencies.

Duplicative federal regulations will raise compliance costs, which means oil and gas projects being abandoned, thousands of jobs lost, less government revenue, more public debt, less money available for building roads, ports and schools, higher oil and natural gas prices, and heavier dependence on the Middle East.


Spain Alters Environment Law to Speed up Shale Development
Spain changed environmental rules to speed approvals on industrial projects from pig farms to oil rigs and for the first time will regulate shale drilling.

Authorities will have six months to rule on projects based on the potential harm to nature, according to a law published Dec. 5 by parliament that will take effect after appearing in the government’s Official Bulletin. Spanish legislation previously set no clear timeline.

“This is a step in the right direction,” Lars Hubert, exploration manager for shale at San Leon Energy Plc (SLE), said by telephone from Poland. “It should make permitting easier.” The Dublin-based company has four Spanish licenses to prospect for shale rock and six more awaiting approval.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s People’s Party has used its congressional majority and a fast-track process to produce the biggest revamp of environmental-impact laws since 2008. The changes are designed to keep future projects from getting stuck for years in review and clarify developers’ legal liability.

Explorers including BNK Petroleum Inc. (BKX) of Canada and San Leon have set up Spanish offices to explore for shale resources, which have revolutionized natural-gas production in the U.S. while generating lawsuits over possible water contamination.

“Industrial companies in any sector need security to plan their investments,” Margarita Hernando, general manager of the Aciep trade group for oil and gas exploration, said in an e-mailed response to questions about the new law. “Without this security, investments don’t come, or they go away.”

In the U.S., Congress passed legislation in recent years that helped open the way for the shale boom, which requires large volumes of water for the thousands of wells drilled annually.

While Spain’s new law regulates industries from steel to agriculture, its most notable impact may be on oil and gas exploration in one of Europe’s most energy-deficient countries.

Spain imports about 99 percent of its oil and gas, paying 43 billion euros ($59 billion) this year through September. A groundswell of project interest emerged as the government embraced Repsol SA (REP)’s request to explore off Spain’s Canary Islands and backs the development of untapped shale areas.

About 70 permits are in effect for prospecting in Spain, 80 percent higher than five years ago, according to trade groups. Cairn Energy Plc has said waters off Spain have “enormous potential” for conventional drillers, or those not searching for shale.

Spain’s new law requires environmental clearance for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. At the same time it recognizes the water-intensive technique, giving drillers some measure of legal security in one of Europe’s most arid countries that’s also a leading fruit and vegetable producer.

The law widens authorization for water trading as well and creates “conservation credits.” Those can be used by developers to use additional public water or degrade the environment in one region, provided they restore it in another, using a trading mechanism.

The bill was introduced in Parliament in September. The government’s Environmental Quality General Manager Guillermina Yanguas said then that it would “reinforce protection for the environment, simplify steps and ease procedures” for projects.

For the first time a project’s effects on climate change, particularly its carbon footprint, must be taken into account. That was added to the existing list of environmental attributes at risk from development, from rivers and forests to biodiversity and health.


More Bankruptcies Just Mark of ‘Success’ for Dept. of Energy

Fisker Automotive declared bankruptcy last week, inspiring the eternally optimistic Obama Department of Energy to crow about its achievements again.

“Recognizing that these investments would include some risk, Congress established a loan loss reserve for the program, and the Energy Department built in strong safeguards to protect the taxpayer if companies could not meet their obligations,” Bill Gibbons, an agency spokesman, said in an e-mail to Bloomberg News. “Because of these actions…the Energy Department has protected nearly three-quarters of our original commitment to Fisker Automotive.”

Leave to the Obama administration hucksters to sell yet another green energy loser as a gain for the taxpayers. With this bankruptcy, it’s a $139 million loss that DOE gets to spin. The stellar defenders of the public purse originally thought Fisker was worth a $529 million risk, but quickly recognized that mistake and stopped paying at $193 million. Ever since it’s been a series of almost comedic errors that have included a partnership with battery-making dud A123 Systems, fire incidents, recalls, a bad Consumer Reports review, and other mishaps.

Like A123, a foreign investor will now buy Fisker’s cadaver. A group called Hybrid Technology LLC, led by Richard Li, the son of Hong Kong’s richest man, will buy the leftovers for $25 million. Bloomberg reported that Fisker listed assets of $500 million and debts of up to $1 billion in its Chapter 11 filing.

“(Hybrid Technology) is committed to building upon the Fisker legacy and presence in the United States as a foundation for the design and manufacture of advanced hybrid electric vehicles,” said a spokeswoman for the group, in another unfailingly positive statement put out by the DOE. “We will work to realize the full potential these fantastic cars offer in helping to remake the auto industry for the 21st Century.”

Fisker legacy? Fantastic cars? It’s too bad DOE’s breezy forecasts and eternal sunshine weren’t enough to power all the wind and solar projects they have forced taxpayers to subsidize. But the PR-ocracy has generated plenty to make even their worst “investment” disasters appear as if they were genius visionaries.

For example, in September DOE spokesman Bill Gibbons told the Washington Free Beacon that stimulus support for Ecotality was “meant to establish the seeds of infrastructure needed to support a growing market for advanced vehicles,” noting that “the company installed more than 12,500 charging stations in 18 US cities—or approximately 95 percent of their goal.” In other words, despite our loss of millions of dollars in public money, it was (almost) mission accomplished!

And when Colorado-based Abound Solar declared bankruptcy in June 2012, DOE deputy director of Public Affairs Damien LaVera wrote a lengthy article defending the agency’s “investments” in solar energy.

“Of the $400 million that Abound was originally approved for, the Department only lent the company less than $70 million,” LaVera wrote. “Because of the strong protections we put in place for taxpayers, the Department has already protected more than 80 percent of the original loan amount. Once the bankruptcy liquidation is complete, the Department expects the total loss to the taxpayer to be between 10 and 15 percent of the original loan amount.

“This effort has seen many successes as well as a few setbacks,” LaVera added, “but one thing is clear: America must continue playing to win in the clean energy race.”

Then there was the September testimony by former DOE Loan Programs Office director Jonathan Silver, in a hearing about secret email exchanges on private accounts held before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. When Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio questioned him about millions of dollars in lost “investments” thanks to his agency’s poor judgments, Silver said the losses only represented three percent of the portfolio and one percent of the loan loss reserve set aside by Congress for the stimulus, which Silver said made the program a “success.”

For its part, the relentless cheerleaders at DOE have rah-rah-ed praises for Silver.

“Under Mr. Silver’s leadership,” DOE’s Web site says, “the Loan Programs Office has grown to become the largest project finance effort in the United States. Since Mr. Silver took office, the agency has committed over $40 billion in 42 clean energy projects with total project costs of over $63 billion. Cumulatively, these projects create or save over 66,288 jobs across 38 states and avoid over 38 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, equivalent to taking over 4.5 million vehicles off the road or about as many vehicles as in the state of Michigan. The program’s 23 generation projects produce over 32 million megawatt hours, enough to power nearly 3 million homes.”

So in the eyes of DOE you can mark down Fisker as another feather in their cap. When the Department announced in September it would auction the remainder of Fisker’s loan obligation – after coming to the conclusion that no one in their right mind would buy the company otherwise – current executive director of the Loan Program Peter Davidson saw the development as another opportunity to tout success.

“While our original loan commitment was for $528 million,” Davidson wrote, “only $192 million was actually disbursed. In addition, the Department has already recouped more than $28 million from the company’s accounts. These actions combined have already protected more than two-thirds of our original loan commitment….

“Despite Fisker Automotive’s bankruptcy setback, the DOE loan portfolio remains very strong – and is playing a crucial role in helping America’s auto industry thrive, innovate and compete.”

So the only people daring to rain on the bankruptcy positivity parade are those who are owed money by Fisker. News reports say a Delaware judge has the case on a fast track, with a hearing on the sale scheduled for January 3. According to Associated Press, unsecured creditors are owed $250 million, “but stand to receive a minimum total cash distribution of only $500,000.” Among those who have filed claims are former employees who say they are owed $4 million in back pay and benefits.

The Orange County Register reported the Fisker filings include a 669-page document of creditors. “Some of the names on the list indicate how well-connected the company was to Hollywood, Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C.,” the newspaper reported. Among them are actor Leonardo DiCaprio and Al Gore, as well as Joe Biden’s son, Hunter. The vice president appeared at an announcement in Wilmington, Del. in 2010 to promote Fisker’s plans to produce its second model at a former GM plant there, which never happened.

John Doerr, a senior partner with the Kleiner Perkins tech investment firm and big supporter of President Obama, was also listed as a creditor. After the scandal of Solyndra, and the bondholders who got screwed in the government’s GM bailout, it will be interesting to see who gets what’s owed them in the Fisker case

“Fisker’s collapse closes yet another sad chapter in DOE’s troubled portfolio,” said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA) in a statement. “The jobs that were promised never materialized and, once again, taxpayers are on the hook for the administration’s reckless gamble.”

Remember when the taxpayers were supposed to be the ones protected first in cases where their money went to failed enterprises? Don’t be such a stick in the mud; just enjoy the breeze and the sunshine.


UK Climate Change Committee Gives Green Light For Fracking

Britain should press ahead with fracking, the chairman of the Government’s climate change advisory body said yesterday. Lord Deben dismissed claims by green groups that fracking would cause significant damage to the environment, adding that Britain needed to drill shale wells to reduce reliance on foreign imports of fossil fuel.

Lord Deben, who as John Gummer served as Environment Secretary in John Major’s Government, told The Times: “It just isn’t true that fracking is going to destroy the environment and the world is going to come to an end if you frack. And yet to listen to some people on the green end, that’s what they say.”

Greenpeace argues that gas and toxic chemicals used in fracking could contaminate water supplies and that exploiting mineral reserves impairs efforts to cut emissions.

Lord Deben said that shale gas, which has helped the US to cut emissions because it is cleaner than coal, could give Britain greater energy security and should be exploited as quickly as possible. “I’m in favour of it. The carbon budgets have already assumed that we are going to use gas well on through the 2020s and into the 30s. There will be a need for gas [and] much better to have it from us and as soon as we can because I do genuinely think people ought to be worried about the security of our energy supplies.”

However, Lord Deben added that shale gas would not result in cheaper energy bills, even if widely exploited. “God has managed to put it in the places where it’s going to be most difficult for people to get planning permission to do this.

“There is absolutely no logical evidence to suggest that the amount of gas that we are likely to get in Britain, given the geological formation, given where the places are, given that we have gas at a deeper point and we don’t have the American advantage of the waylaws of ownership work, it isn’t going to be game-changing. The idea that we would have a lower price in Britain than the rest of Europe, [those who say that] just don’t understand how the gas price works.”


The deceptive and destructive David Suzuki

The cover story of the November 25, 2013 Canadian weekly magazineMacleans pictures self-appointed Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki. The caption reads,“Environmentalism Has Failed”“David Suzuki loses faith in the cause of his lifetime.”Suzuki admission

Suzuki doesn’t realize he‘s the cause of the failure as a major player in the group who exploited environmentalism and climate for a political agenda. Initially most listened and tried to accommodate, but gradually the lies, deceptions and propaganda were exposed. The age of eco-bullying is ending. Typically Suzuki blamed others for the damage to the environment and climate but now he blames them for not listening to him. He forgets that when you point a finger at someone three are pointing back at you.

Environmentalism was what academics call a paradigm shift, which Thomas Kuhn defines as “a fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions.” It was a necessary new paradigm. Everybody accepts the general notion it is foolish to soil your own nest and most were prepared to participate. Most were not sure what it entailed or how far it should go.

Extremists grab all new paradigms for their agenda but then define the limits for the majority by pushing beyond the limits of the idea. Environmentalism and the subset climate are at that stage pushed there by extremists like Suzuki. Instead of admitting the science is wrong they double down and make increasingly extreme statements, just like the IPCC. It underscores the political rather than the scientific agenda. For example, Suzuki, apparently frustrated that politicians were not listening to his demands for action on climate change said they should be jailed.

Environmental groups grabbed environmentalism and quickly took the moral high ground preaching that only they cared about the Earth. Suzuki set up the David Suzuki Foundation (DSF) with tax benefits that required it to be non-political, but after active involvement in an Ontario election he was forced to resign. His major theme in the election was to push the climate change and alternate energies put in place in that Province when Maurice Strong was in charge of Ontario Hydro, the state controlled energy agency. Ontario is the perfect example of how and why climate energy policies promoted by Strong as Founder of UNEP are a disaster.

The Foundation campaigned on environmental issues most presented in deceptive or incomplete ways. An example was the attack on salmon farming and corrupted research onPCBs and sea lice. This was the focus of an interview of researcher Vivian Krause by Ezra Levant. Another was Suzuki’s parade across Canada pushing extinction theories and claims of DSF Board member E.O Wilson that 3 species go extinct every hour. He never named one. He never listed the plethora of new species found. He refused to discuss the issue and in his visit to schools pre-arranged and wrote a question for a selected student to ask. He promoted threats of global warming, but refused to debate the issue or answer questions. When asked questions on a radio interview in Toronto, he swore and stormed out of the studio.

He hired former Federal politician NDP (socialist party) David Fulton as Director of DSF. James Hoggan has been Chairman of the Board for many years. His PR Company has major alternate energy companies as clients. Hoggan is the proud creator of DeSmogblog a web site that claims it is “Clearing the PR Pollution that clouds climate science” but mostly involves personal attacks on people asking questions. The objective was to denigrate people by creating “favorable interpretations” to the following questions. “Were these climate skeptics qualified? Were they doing any research in the climate change field? Were they accepting money, directly or indirectly, from the fossil fuel industry?” This doesn’t answer skeptics questions about the science.

Their real agenda was disclosed in a Climatic Research Unit (CRU) leaked email dated December 2007 from senior writer Richard Littlemore to Michael Mann.

"Hi Michael [Mann],

I’m a DeSmogBlog writer [Richard LIttlemore] (sic) (I got your email from Kevin Grandia)* and I am trying to fend off the latest announcement that global warming has not actually occurred in the 20th century.

It looks to me like Gerd Burger is trying to deny climate change by “smoothing,” “correcting” or otherwise rounding off the temperatures that we know for a flat fact have been recorded since the 1970s, but I am out of my depth (as I am sure you have noticed: we’re all about PR here, not much about science) so I wonder if you guys have done anything or are going to do anything with Burger’s intervention in Science."

(* Grandia was a former writer for DeSmogBlog who moved there after serving as a research assistant for a Liberal Minister in Ottawa.)

Do as I say, not as I do is the hallmark of extreme environmentalists behaviour. Al Gore is the poster boy for this hypocrisy. It appears Suzuki is only different in scale. They were enumerated in programs by SUN TV Reporter Ezra Levant. They include the familiar list of funding and financial activities and personal wealth accumulated, especially in properties.

A major part of Suzuki’s attacks relate to global warming. His refusal to debate or even answer questions is legendary. He ignores his lack of qualifications on climate, but uses that challenge when it comes to his supposed expertise in genetics and genetically modified food. A possible explanation for his “environmentalism is a failure” claim is a PR move to divert from the exposure of his climate ignorance in an Australian interview. He could not answer questions about information fundamental to any understanding.

Suzuki abandoned his academic career in genetics decades ago explaining why in a 1999 Seattle speech. His concerns related to the internment of his Japanese Canadian family during WWII. Here are his words:

"In the exuberance of the excitement over the discovery of new principles of heredity — that seemed to apply across the plant and animal kingdoms — geneticists began to make wonderful, wild statements about the implications of their discoveries. I’m sure most of you know that it ultimately led to what was considered a legitimate area of science called Eugenics.

Some of our most eminent geneticists taught courses in eugenics, wrote textbooks in eugenics, published articles in eugenics journals. Eugenics being the attempt to apply the new-found knowledge of heredity to improve the genetic quality or makeup of human society."

It seems more logical to maintain standing as a geneticist and work to prevent such drifts occurring. Instead he quit and became a tele-evangelist using state television (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) to push his environmental/political agenda.

His television series became his undoing as a classic example of how extremism is its own undoing. It’s why Suzuki’s exploitation of environmentalism, as he defines it, caused failure. Most programs in the series were unjustified, misleading condemnations of different components of society. I identified some of the misinformation in a presentation to farmers in Saskatchewan a few years ago. Afterward a woman told me that a month earlier she would have disagreed with my comments. Now she understood because Suzuki did a program on farming and as a farmer’s wife she knew how wrong and biased it was.

Each new program exposed another segment of society to the deception. This created a populace open to and not surprised by the exposure of his hypocrisies. The same is happening to climate alarmism as more and more segments of society are negatively affected. His actions and climate driven energy policies close industries, decimate communities, cause job losses and force business closures, virtually all unnecessarily.

As Suzuki’s campaign to use environmentalism for a political agenda fails he lashes out, blaming others for the failure. It parallels what is happening in the climate alarmist community. The comments and claims become more extreme, but achieve the opposite of their goal. It is necessary to consider the further negative effects of their exploitation and deceptions. What is the damage to the credibility of science? Can we pursue environmentalism with rational, science based, prioritized policies?


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


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