Thursday, February 28, 2013

Lord Lawson Calls On Geneticist Sir Paul Nurse To Acknowledge Global Temperature Standstill

Paul Nurse is an example of a poor boy made good, something uncommon and fragile in Britain.  It would seem that toeing the establishment line is something that he sees as necessary to protect his current standing.  You can have a Nobel Prize (which Nurse does) but someone who read PPE or Classics at Oxford will still have a much more secure social standing than you. He is certainly extremely dogmatic, something he condemns in theory.

Lawson's background is by contrast very establishment, though his Jewish roots would handicap him in British Leftist eyes

The fact that Nurse got his Ph.D. from that great temple of global warming -- the University of East Anglia -- is also at least amusing

And an undoubtedly amusing utterance from him  is this:  "We need to emphasize why the scientific process is such a reliable generator of knowledge with its respect for evidence, for skepticism, for consistency of approach, for the constant testing of ideas"

He himself seems to have no skepticism, no  respect for evidence and no interest in the constant testing of ideas.  Even Rajendra Pachauri is  more honest about the facts than Nurse is -- JR

In a letter to the President of the Royal Society, Lord Lawson has criticised Sir Paul Nurse for denying the reality of a global temperature standstill.

Lawson was responding to a gratuitous attack by Sir Paul in a recent lecture at Melbourne University. In his speech, Sir Paul appeared to reject empirical evidence that the global warming trend of the 1980s and 1990s has come to a temporary halt since the beginning of the 21st century.

In his letter, Lord Lawson writes:

"You claim that I “would choose two points and say ‘look, no warming’s taking place’, knowing that all the other points that you chose in the 20 years around it would not support his case”. That is a lie. I have always made clear that there was a modest degree of recorded global warming during the 20th century (see, for example, my book An Appeal to Reason, which you have clearly not taken the trouble to read).  However, so far from choosing any arbitrary ‘two points’, I was drawing attention to the fact that this warming trend appears to have ceased, since – contrary to the predictions of what you describe as “consensus scientific opinion” – there has been no further recorded global warming at all for at least the past 15 years, as even the IPCC Chairman, Dr Pachauri, has now conceded. Whatever the precise reason for this, it cannot simply be dismissed or denied."

SOURCE. (Full letter available from link)

Why won’t this administration look at this revenue source?

Because of their false agenda, that’s why.   They’re still convinced that, despite 17 years of no warming (as recently admitted by the head of the IPCC), oil is bad and “green” is good and that they’re doing something to save the world.  Disregard the fact that green is still unviable.  Disregard the fact that everywhere it has or is being pushed, energy costs are skyrocketing.  Nevermind the fact that we are sitting on a sea of fossil fuel products that we only need to access.  Screw the fact that science can find no discernable warming.  Their minds are made up.

That said, there’s also the fiscal side of the house.  The debt.  The deficit.  And the demand by Democrats to raise more revenue.

Unfortunately, because of their agenda, they’re likely to completely screw up a golden opportunity to bring in much more revenue and drive energy prices down, because their agenda is against fossile fuel.  And we all know the party agenda comes before what is best for the country.

Enter the administration with a renewed plan to tax oil companies instead of opening access to the vast natural riches we enjoy.  The result?  Well this chart will help you comprehend the vast differences in the two policy choices

So the either/or is “tax ‘em or open access”.  The difference:

    "According to a 2011 study by Wood Mackenzie, increased oil and natural gas activity underpro-access policies would generate an additional $800 billion in cumulative revenue for government by 2030. The chart puts into perspective the size of these accumulating revenues – enough to fund entire federal departments at various points along the timeline. By contrast, Wood Mackenize also found that hiking taxes on oil and natural gas companies would, by 2030, result in $223 billion in cumulative lost revenue to government."

It only proves the old saw -”If you want more of it, reward it and if you want less, tax it”.  Think about it – money to help run government and pay down the debt (not to mention the thousands, if not millions of jobs created) being passed up in the name of false science and agenda politics.

Meanwhile, we’ll be left in the cold and the dark, thanks to agenda driven policies with no foundation in reality.


Biofuels wiping out America’s grasslands at fastest pace since the 1930s

America’s prairies are shrinking. Spurred on by high commodity prices and a biofuels rush, farmers are digging up grasslands in the northern Plains to plant crops at the quickest pace since the 1930s. While that’s been a boon for farmers, the upheaval could create unexpected problems.

A new study by Christopher Wright and Michael Wimberly of South Dakota State University finds that U.S. farmers converted more than 1.3 million acres of grassland into corn and soybean fields between 2006 and 2011, a period of soaring crop prices and biofuel mandates (right). In states like Iowa and South Dakota, some 5 percent of pasture is turning into cropland each year.

It’s a big transformation in the heart of the country: The authors conclude that the rates of grassland loss are “comparable to deforestation rates in Brazil, Malaysia, and Indonesia.” And those changes are already having plenty of impacts.

For one, farmers are now growing crops on increasingly marginal land. In Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota, corn and soy are planted in areas that are especially vulnerable to drought. But farmers take the risk because corn and soy have become so lucrative — and, in part, because the federal government offers subsidized crop insurance in case of failure. (The study also finds evidence that many farmers are no longer enticed by federal conservation programs that pay for grassland cover.)

The loss of pasture itself could also have big environmental impacts. Studies have found that grasslands hold carbon in their soil better than cropland does. So there’s a climate-change angle here. A 2008 paper in Science argued that fuels like corn ethanol and soy biodiesel lose a portion of their carbon advantage over gasoline if farmers are simply digging up virgin grassland to grow the crops.

There’s a wildlife angle, too: The Prairie Pothole Region, traversing Minnesota and the Dakotas, is one of the continent’s key breeding grounds for ducks and other ground-nesting birds. Tall grasses in the area help sustain a number of species and shield birds from predators. But corn fields are now encroaching on the habitat, and bird populations are dropping.

In recent years, some environmental groups have argued that it doesn’t make sense for the federal government to keep subsidizing this push into the prairies. A recent report (pdf) from the Environmental Working Group, for instance, argues that Congress should scale back crop insurance for farmers who move into the country’s grasslands and wetlands. Farm groups, for their part, say the insurance is vital for their work — instead, Congress should expand conservation programs.

And what about biofuels? Groups like EWG have criticized ethanol mandates for pushing up corn and soybean prices and driving the crop boom. There’s a lot more hope for next-generation cellulosic biofuels grown from switchgrass or other plants with a much smaller environmental footprint. Or biodiesel made from algae, say. But until those become viable, the crop rush continues.


9th Circuit: Sea Shepherds are “pirates”

 A federal appeals court has declared a sea-faring group of anti-whaling protesters modern-day pirates and ordered them to halt their aggressive and high-profile attacks of Japanese whalers.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled late Monday that the whalers were likely to succeed with their federal lawsuit seeking to permanently ban Paul Watson and the Sea Shepherd organization he founded from disrupting the annual whale hunt in the waters off Antarctica.

The Sea Shepherd’s efforts are the subject of the television show, “Whale Wars.”

The court in December ordered the organization to keep its ships at least 500 yards from Japanese whalers. The whalers have since accused the protesters of violating that order at least twice this month.

Watson and his lawyers contend U.S. courts don’t have jurisdiction in the Southern Ocean.


Environmentalism and Human Sacrifice

Dennis Prager

Last week, Bjorn Lomborg, the widely published Danish professor and director of one of the world's leading environmental think tanks, the Copenhagen Consensus Center, published an article about the Philippines' decision, after 12 years, to allow genetically modified (GM) rice -- "golden rice" -- to be grown and consumed in that country.

The reason for the delay was environmentalist opposition to GM rice; and the reason for the change in Philippine policy was that 4.4 million Filipino children suffer from vitamin A deficiency. That deficiency, Lomborg writes, "according to the World Health Organization, causes 250,000 to 500,000 children to go blind each year. Of these, half die within a year."

During the 12-year delay, Lomborg continues, "About eight million children worldwide died from vitamin A deficiency."

"Golden rice" contains vitamin A, making it by far the most effective and cheapest way to get vitamin A into Third World children.

So who would oppose something that could save millions of children's lives and millions of other children from blindness?

The answer is people who are more devoted to nature than to human life.  And who might such people be?  They are called environmentalists.

These are the people who coerced nations worldwide into banning DDT. It is generally estimated this ban has led to the deaths of about 50 million human beings, overwhelmingly African children, from malaria. DDT kills the mosquito that spreads malaria to human beings.

US News and World Report writer Carrie Lukas reported in 2010, "Fortunately, in September 2006, the World Health Organization announced a change in policy: It now recommends DDT for indoor use to fight malaria. The organization's Dr. Anarfi Asamoa-Baah explained, 'The scientific and programmatic evidence clearly supports this reassessment. Indoor residual spraying (IRS) is useful to quickly reduce the number of infections caused by malaria-carrying mosquitoes. IRS has proven to be just as cost effective as other malaria prevention measures and DDT presents no health risk when used properly.'"

Though Lukas blames environmentalists for tens of millions of deaths, she nevertheless describes environmentalists as "undoubtedly well-intentioned."

I offer two assessments of this judgment.

First, in life it is almost always irrelevant whether or not an individual or a movement is well intentioned. It is difficult to name a movement that has committed great evil whose members woke up each day asking, "What evil can I commit today?" Nearly all of them think they're well intentioned. Good intentions don't mean a thing.

Second, while environmentalists believe they have good intentions, I do not believe their intentions are good.

Concern for the natural environment is certainly laudable and every normal person shares it. But the organized environmentalist movement -- Lomborg specifically cites Greenpeace, Naomi Klein and the New York Times -- is led by fanatics. The movement's value system is morally askew. It places a pristine natural world above the well-being of human beings.

The environmentalist movement's responsibility for the deaths of tens of millions of poor children in the Third World is the most egregious example. But there are less egregious examples of the movement's lack of concern for people.

Take the Keystone XL pipeline, the pipeline the Canadian government wants built in the US in order to send Canadian crude to American refineries. It would be a 1,179-mile, 36-inch-diameter crude oil pipeline, beginning in Alberta, and ending in Nebraska. The pipeline will be able to transport about 830,000 barrels of oil per day to Gulf Coast and Midwest refineries, reducing American dependence on oil from Venezuela -- Iran's base in the Western Hemisphere -- and the Middle East by up to 40 percent. It will also provide Americans with many thousands of well-paying jobs.

Approving this pipeline is a moral and economic necessity.

The American economy needs the pipeline -- even big labor wants it; it vastly reduces American dependency on countries that wish to hurt us; it helps our ally and biggest trading partner, Canada; and if America doesn't use that oil, China will.

But the Obama administration may (again) veto the Keystone XL pipeline -- for one reason: environmentalist fanaticism.

The employment of thousands of Americans, the well-being of the American economy and American national security -- all of these concerns are secondary to the environmentalist movement's view of nature uber alles.

There are many fine people who are concerned with the environment. Indeed, we should all be. But the movement known as environmentalism is not only a false religion, it is one that allows human sacrifice


What do the Greenies Really want?

There is no such thing as a happy Greenie

Nothing gets better press than those who claim to be environmentally friendly.  You have corporations trying to shower you with money to get off your bad guy target list, and foundations can’t shovel enough money in your direction as you crusade to save the earth.

But what do enviros really want?

From a domestic energy use standpoint, they don’t want the development of vast U.S. natural gas and oil fields using hydraulic fracturing.  This proven technique for gas and oil extraction threatens to make the U.S. oil and natural gas independent within the next decade, killing their alarmist chant about running out of so-called “fossil” fuels.

They don’t want nuclear, and have even worked to stop the development of places to safely store nuclear waste, preferring unsafe storage over a storage solution that makes the industry more viable.

They don’t want offshore oil drilling, or domestic drilling for that matter.

Many of them don’t want wind, as the giant windmills are killing fields for any birds that make the mistake of venturing into these chopping farms.  And if the good liberals in Hyannisport, Massachusetts are any indication, they certainly don’t want these towering eyesores potentially impacting their million dollar views.

Of course, enviros want solar power, but solar takes copper and a lot of it.  And, naturally, they oppose the development of a mine in a remote wasteland in Alaska that contains one of the largest copper deposits on earth, the very material needed to help create their green nirvana.

Enviros claim to believe that our world has one environment and that actions in the Brazilian rain forests impact the rest of the world.  Yet, actions by the U.S. environmental movement actually create much more pollution than they actually stop.

When the environmentalist push for something like a carbon tax for U.S. manufacturers and those who supply them the fuel to run their plants, by design they increase the cost of producing goods and services here in the United States.

As these costs increase, those who manufacture and produce goods have to make a decision on whether it remains cost effective to continue to make their products here in the U.S., or whether to move production elsewhere in the world.

In the case of the enviro supported carbon tax, the Heritage Foundation study by economists Nicolas Loris and David Kreutzer determined that this enviro tax would cut a family of four’s income by $1,400 annually and raise their utility bills by $500 a year.  Quite the pocketbook hit, and it doesn’t even include the increase in gasoline prices that are projected.

But the real irony is that the carbon tax would also cause some U.S. manufacturers of goods to move their production overseas to avoid the tax.  This is where it is reasonable to ask whether the enviro movement is really on the side of the environment or not.

It is no mystery that China has become one of the world’s largest manufacturing economies over the course of the past forty years since Nixon paid his famous visit to Mao.

It is also no mystery that China, particularly Beijing has followed in the footsteps of its former communist cohorts in eastern Europe in becoming one of the most heavily polluted areas in the world.

What does a potential U.S. carbon tax have to do with pollution in China?

China’s economic boom is almost entirely due to the lower cost of producing goods in the country.  While decreased labor costs certainly play a role, the high cost of doing business in the United States is another.  A carbon tax would just make our domestic costs higher, encouraging those who might be inclined to locate a factory in the U.S. to look elsewhere.

The ironic result of pushing a U.S. carbon tax is that the tax will likely cut carbon dioxide emissions in the United States while increasing them elsewhere.  And while doing so, it would likely have the added negative of causing an increase in manufacturing in parts of the world where spewing waste in the air is an accepted part of doing business.

The net effect is likely to be an increase in world-wide pollution.  If enviros truly believe that every eco-system affects one another, than a tax which results in a net increase in pollution should be opposed, and opposed vigorously.

If the enviro movement were serious about world-wide pollution, they would be ardent advocates for hydraulic fracturing, which is unleashing a natural gas reserve in our nation which has caused President Obama to call the U.S. the “Saudi Arabia of natural gas.”

The enviro movement would be decrying Obama Administration efforts to stop hydraulic fracturing and other energy exploration on federal lands as detrimental to the world environment.

But instead the enviro movement seeks to block “fracking” at every turn.  This, in spite of the fact that natural gas is a clean burning fuel that through abundance, can take over much of the power generation in the country based upon free market cost based decisions.

The virtuous cycle created by low cost energy ends with more goods produced in the United States due to it making financial sense to do so without any government mandates or involvement.

If the United States is producing more goods instead of high pollution tolerant environments like China, those goods will be produced in a more environmentally friendly way.  Those goods also won’t have the additional carbon footprint associated with transporting them across the Pacific Ocean to market.

This seeming win/win equation for both the environment and the U.S. economy escapes the professional, environmental protestors.

If you have any doubt about the sincerity of enviro leaders, one only has to look at their staunch opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, where environmental leaders would rather have Canadian oil refined and burned in China under significantly less stringent air quality guidelines than under the United States’ much more restrictive rules.

No rational person who claimed to support a clean earth could make that choice outside of the delusion that stopping the flow of the oil to the U.S. would stop the flow elsewhere.

If one is to assume that the enviro leaders are rational, it leads back to the original question, what do enviros really want?  Because clearly, it has nothing to do with a cleaner world-wide environment.




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Plastic bags and buying cheese

My city recently passed a law making it illegal for stores to provide plastic bags for free at the checkout stand. Now we have the option of paying ten cents for a paper bag or bringing our own. If one looks at this new law in isolation, it seems reasonable enough. People will adjust to the change and the environment will be better for it.

That's how it looks if you view the bag law in isolation. But allow me to put it in context and explain how I feel when I go to my local grocery store, Safeway.

When I walk into the store, and realize I didn't bring my reusable bags, I feel like an absent-minded moron. This is how I usually feel during the day, so it's no big deal.

Then I start looking for cheese, only to discover that some genius in Safeway's marketing department thinks that cheese should be spread out over about seven different locations throughout the store. You have your cottage cheese here, your artisanal cheeses there, your shredded cheeses somewhere else, and so on. There is no logical order to any of it. Five minutes into my shopping, I am filled with rage and I feel manipulated. I assume someone at Safeway decided that inconveniencing me would somehow make me buy more shit because I end up walking down every frickin' aisle in the store looking for my cheese. It's not the inconvenience that bugs me so much as the feeling of manipulation.

When I'm ready to pay, I see long lines at the human checkout stands and short lines at the self-checkout. I know from experience that using the self-checkout, which was designed by a crack team of practical jokers, sadists, and monkeys that have been abused by their trainers, will bring me to frustration. I know I will inadvertently move my bag before the system believes I should and it will proclaim to all nearby shoppers that I might be a shoplifter. I will feel humiliated, incompetent, stupid, and shamed.

So I skip the self-checkout and look for the shortest line with a human checker. The 15 Items or Less line looks good, but I'm never confident in how they do that calculation. Is a six-pack one item or two? What about two identical items for which only one needs to be scanned and the cashier can hit the "times two" button? Will the people behind me think I cheated? Will the cashier give me an angry look and call the manager? What exactly is the process for dealing with express line cheats?

I can't stand the ambiguity so I head for the regular checkout stand and its longer line. When it's my turn to pay I am faced with the choice of proving I have a loyalty card or paying a penalty if I can't. I don't carry loyalty cards with me because I would need a wheelbarrow for all of them. Instead, I rely on using one of our phone numbers at the checkout. But which one? The people behind me glare at me and my time-wasting hesitation, or at least it feels that way. I know some of those folks were just looking for cheese so they can't be happy.

Is the loyalty card registered under the landline number for our house? Or might it be the phone number we had at our old home when we first got the card? Is it under my wife's cell phone number or do I have my own Safeway loyalty card? I can't remember. I peck at the point-of-sale terminal until one of those numbers works.

Now I have to decide on debit versus credit. I choose credit because of the airline miles associated with the card, which is another cesspool of complexity. I get mad just thinking about my airline miles.

Now the point-of-sale terminal asks if I want to donate a dollar to some worthwhile charity. I approve of the charity, but it pisses me off that they ask me in this particular situation. It's manipulative. I JUST WANT MY DAMN CHEESE!!!!

The cashier informs me that my credit card is blocked. I must have recently purchased a few things that match the pattern of credit card thieves. I switch to my emergency backup credit card while the people behind me wonder if I am a credit card thief, a pauper, or an idiot who forgot to pay his bills. I feel belittled and frustrated and angry.

I am also aware that there was probably some sort of coupon or discount for the stuff I am trying to buy that I didn't know about. So I feel a little ripped off too.

Now I have to figure out the bag situation. I have too many items to hand-carry because my search for cheese caused me to buy several items I didn't even know I needed. It only got worse as I got hungrier and hungrier over the course of my cheese safari. Damn you, Safeway marketing department! Damn you!

The cashier asks, as law requires, whether I want to pay ten cents for a paper bag. I would happily pay the ten cents if the cost were baked into the total price, but something about being asked in front of witnesses makes it feel wrong. And I know that if I do buy the bag I will be destroying the planet for future generations. I will feel guilty buying it, guilty loading it into my car, and guilty recycling it later. I decide to buy a reusable bag that is offered at the checkout. At this point, for reasons I still don't understand, the cashier gives me a death stare and moves in slow motion toward the reusable bags, as if to signal to me that I have done something wrong, but I'm not sure what.

Then the cashier asks if I need help to my car with my half-a-bag of groceries. I know her company requires her to ask, but it calls into question my manhood. I feel insulted because I know I can lift as much as five pounds and carry it across an entire parking lot without stopping more than twice.  I try to ignore the insult. . . until the bagger asks the same question.

By the time I reach my car I feel frustrated, angry, guilty, stupid, incompetent, belittled, weak, humiliated, ripped off, and inconvenienced. The feeling lasts until I get home and my wife says, "That's the wrong cheese." That feeling pretty much replaces all the other ones.

My point is that the new bag law in California is entirely reasonable when viewed in isolation. Likewise, loyalty cards, self-checkout, and all the other annoyances make complete sense when viewed in isolation. But we don't live in a world in which anything can exist in isolation. Safeway and my city government have made the simple act of food shopping so complicated that I'd rather scrounge in the dumpster behind the store than endure the pain of shopping inside the store.

This is an interesting issue because every business decision that causes inconvenience for customers is viewed in isolation. When you take that perspective, eventually the entire process becomes so complicated it is barely competitive with dumpster diving.

What we need is some sort of system in which any proposed complication is viewed as more bothersome than earlier complications. The first complication usually doesn't cause much problem. The tenth complication - no matter how well-meaning - destroys the system.

But here's my big gripe. Yes, I saved the best for last. You see, brains are like muscles in the sense that they have a limited capacity during any given day. If you lift too many heavy objects, your muscles will fail. Likewise, if you use up all of your brain cycles on nonsense, you have nothing left for the important things in life, such as making Dilbert comics and writing blog posts.

Seriously though, I think society is blind to the hidden cost of complexity in daily life. The ever-worsening complexity isn't simply annoying; it is hijacking your brain. Every minute you spend trying to find cheese, and trying to pay for it without getting arrested, is time you aren't thinking about solutions to real problems.

If this seems like no big deal, you might be wrong. Consider that everything good about modern civilization was invented by people who really needed to focus to get the job done. What happens to a world-class engineer or entrepreneur when he or she has to syphon off more brain energy to satisfying Safeway's marketing strategy instead of designing new products? Now multiply that times a hundred because every retailer, website, and business is trying to complicate your life too.

Complexity sneaks up on you because every individual decision - such as the bag laws in my city - make sense when viewed in isolation. But if that trend continues, complexity will be a huge drag on civilization.


Ten good reasons not to worry about polar bears

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the signing of an international agreement to protect polar bears from commercial and unregulated sport hunting. The devastating decades of uncontrolled slaughter across the Arctic, including the Bering Sea, finally came to an end. And so in honor of International Polar Bear Day (Wed. February 27) – and because some activists are calling 2013 The Year of the Polar Bear – I’ve made a summary of reasons not to worry about polar bears, with links to supporting data. I hope you find it a useful resource for tuning out the cries of doom and gloom about the future of polar bears and celebrating their current success.

1) Polar bears are a conservation success story. Their numbers have rebounded remarkably since 1973 and we can say for sure that there are more polar bears now than there were 40 years ago. Although we cannot state the precise amount that populations have increased (which is true for many species – counts are usually undertaken only after a major decline is noticeable), polar bears join a long list of other marine mammals whose populations rebounded spectacularly after unregulated hunting stopped: sea otters, all eight species of fur seals, walrus, both species of elephant seal, and whales of all kinds (including grey, right, bowhead, humpback, sei, fin, blue and sperm whales). Once surveys have been completed for the four subpopulations  of polar bears whose numbers are currently listed as zero (how about funding that, WWF?), the total world population will almost certainly rise to well above the current official estimate of 20,000-25,000 (perhaps to 27,000-32,000?).

2) The only polar bear subpopulation that has had a statistically significant decline in recent years is the one in Western Hudson Bay (WH)(Fig. 1). A few others have been presumed to be decreasing, based on suspicions of over-harvesting, assumed repercussions of reduced sea ice and/or statistically insignificant declines in body condition (see 3, below) – not actual population declines.

3) Polar bears in the US portion of the Chukchi Sea are in good condition and reproducing well, while sea ice in the Bering Sea has rebounded from record lows over the last ten years – good reasons not to be worried about polar bears in the Chukchi. The Chukchi subpopulation (which includes bears in the Bering Sea) was formerly assumed to be decreasing due to suspected over-harvesting and past declines in sea ice – even though no population survey had ever been done (see 2, above) – but preliminary reports about a recent survey suggest that Chukchi polar bears are doing very well. While there is still no official population estimate for the Chukchi (currently listed as zero), sea ice coverage in the Bering Sea has been higher than average over the last ten years and 2012 didn’t just break the satellite-era record set in 1999, it exceeded it by almost 100,000 square kilometers.

4) A survey by the Nunavut government in 2011 showed that polar bear numbers in Western Hudson Bay have not declined since 2004 as predicted and all available evidence indicates that Hudson Bay sea ice is not on a steadily precipitous decline – good reasons not to be worried about Hudson Bay bears. While polar bear biologists Ian Stirling and Andrew Derocher continue to insist that the modest decline in numbers of Western Hudson Bay polar bears recorded between 1998 and 2004 was due to earlier breakup of sea ice – and continues on that trend to this day – it turns out that much of the data used to support that claim is either unpublished, woefully out of date, or both. Although Stirling and colleagues have not yet published comparable dates of sea ice breakup since 2007 (they use a particular computation of satellite data), Canadian Ice Service data suggests that over the last 10 years we have not seen another very early breakup in Hudson Bay like the one that occurred in 2003. Surprisingly, 2009 was a late breakup year: the Port of Churchill experienced the latest breakup of sea ice since 1974 (three weeks later than average). All of which suggests that in Western Hudson Bay, some years have been good for polar bears and others have been not so good, but there has not been a relentless decline in sea ice breakup dates over the last thirty years.

5) Population decreases in polar bear numbers attributed to earlier sea ice breakup in Western Hudson Bay (see 4, above) have not been anywhere near as severe as the catastrophic decline that took place in 1974 in the eastern Beaufort Sea, which was associated with exceptionally thick sea ice. The modest decline in the Western Hudson Bay population that took place between 1998 and 2004 (down 22%) pales in comparison to the 1974 Beaufort event, when ringed seals numbers (i.e. polar bear food) dropped by 80% or more and numbers of polar bears plummeted. Similar events took place in 1984 and 1992, which means that three precipitous population declines due to heavy ice have taken place in this polar bear population over the last 40 years – but each time, numbers rebounded a few years later. In other words, due to entirely natural causes, polar bear numbers can fluctuate quite dramatically over relatively short periods because of the highly variable sea ice habitat they live in.

6) Polar bears need spring and early summer ice (March through June) for gorging on young, fat seals and documented declines in sea ice have rarely impinged on that critical feeding period (except for a few isolated years in Hudson Bay, see 4, above). A new study suggests that while some Western Hudson Bay bears will likely perish if the ice-free period extends to six months (from its current four-to-four+), many will survive because of their exceptional fat storage abilities.

7) There is no plausible evidence that regulated subsistence hunting is causing polar bear numbers to decline, despite suspicions harbored by the Polar Bear Specialist Group.

8) Global temperatures have not risen in a statistically-significant way in the last 16 years (see Fig. 2) – a standstill not predicted by climate models and a phenomenon even the chairman of the IPCC has acknowledged – which suggests that the record sea ice lows of the last few years are probably not primarily due to CO2-caused increases in global temperatures. Such changes in Arctic sea ice appear to be normal habitat variations that polar bears have survived before (see 9, below) and are likely due to natural processes we do not yet fully understand.

9) Survival of polar bears over a hundred thousand years (at least) of highly variable sea ice coverage indicates that those biologists who portend a doomed future for the polar bear have grossly underestimated its ability to survive vastly different conditions than those that existed in the late 1970s when Ian Stirling began his polar bear research. Sea ice has varied – countless dozens of times – over the short term (decades-long climate oscillations) and the long term (glacial-to-interglacial cycles of thousands of years). Over the last 100,000 years, there have been periods of much less ice than today, but also much, much more. Polar bear population numbers probably fluctuated up and down in conjunction with some of these sea ice changes but the polar bear as a species survived – and so did all of the Arctic seal species it depends on for food. Such survival indicates that these Arctic species, in an evolutionary sense, are very well-adapted to their highly-variable habitat.

10) Polar bears today are well distributed throughout their available territory, which is a recognized characteristic of a healthy species.

These are all good reasons to feel good about the current status of the polar bear. It is plain to see that these ice-dwelling bears are not currently threatened with extinction due to declining sea ice, despite the hue and cry from activist scientists and environmental organizations. Indeed, because the polar bear is doing so well, those who would like to see polar bears listed as “threatened” depend entirely upon dramatic declines in sea ice prophesied to occur decades from now to make their case.


Landowners '£1 billion wind farm boom'

Scotland’s wealthiest private landowners are on course to earn around £1 billion in rental fees from wind farm companies

Struan Stevenson, a Conservative MEP, estimated the sum will be paid over the next eight years to at least a dozen landowners willing to allow turbines on their estates and farms.

He suggested the wealthiest Scots are benefiting from the spread of wind farms at the expense of consumers, who have to heavily subsidise the technology in their energy bills.

Among the landowners named in the book is the Duke of Roxburghe, who, he estimated, could earn £1.5 million a year from turbines erected in the Lammermuir Hills.

Titled So Much Wind – The Myth of Green Energy, the book also claims that the spread of wind farms is leading to a new wave of Clearances as families are forced to move away by the construction of industrial turbines.

It was published as MSPs debated Alex Salmond’s plan to generate the equivalent of all Scotland’s electricity from renewable sources by the end of the decade.

Mr Stevenson estimated that the target would require the construction of around 5,000 wind farms in Scotland of which around 1,900 have already been built.

“We’re seeing in Scotland the biggest transfer of money from the poor to the rich that we’ve ever seen in our history,” he told a press conference in Edinburgh.

“In parts of the Highlands now tourism is being effectively destroyed and people are leaving the Highlands because tourists no longer want to go there with the landscape bristling with wind factories and industrial wind turbines.

“It’s a catastrophic policy that could lead to the lights going out in Scotland and power cuts in the years ahead. It’s time this was exposed.”

His book argued that “money is the driver” behind landowners’ willingness to allow the construction of wind farms on their estates and farms.

“Rental payments vary and are top secret but it is estimated that a dozen or more of Scotland’s wealthiest private landowners will pocket around £1 billion in rental fees over the next eight years,” he wrote.

Mr Stevenson estimated the Duke of Roxburghe’s income based on 48 120-metre high turbines at Fallago Rig in the Lammermuir Hills.

He wrote that Sir Alastair Gordon-Cumming, a seventh baronet, could be earning £435,000 a year for allowing 29 turbines on his Altyre Estate near Forres in Moray.

Meanwhile, he estimated the Earl of Seafield could get £120,000 a year from eight turbines on his estate near Banff.

The Earl of Moray is estimated to receive around £2 million annually in rent for 49 turbines at Braes O’Doune, which Mr Stevenson wrote are “clearly visible from the iconic Stirling Castle”.

The Earl of Glasgow, a Liberal Democrat peer, has 14 turbines on his Kelburn estate in Ayrshire that could generate £300,000 of income per year.

Mr Stevenson highlighted how the Crown Estate, will controls large tracts of land and the seabed around Scotland, is on course to net billions of pounds from offshore wind farms. The revenue will be split between the Treasury and the Queen.

The Tory MEP argued wind farms are extremely inefficient and erratic, saying National Grid figures showed they produced only 0.1 per cent of the UK’s electricity needs on Tuesday morning this week.

In a debate at Holyrood, opposition MSPs complained about SNP ministers overturning local planning authorities’ decisions to reject wind farm applications.

However, Fergus Ewing, the Scottish Energy Minister, insisted he would only approve “the right developments in the right places”.

Scottish Land and Estates, the body that represents landowners, and the Roxburghe Estate declined to comment on Mr Stevenson's claims.


British Member of Parliament Admits Climate Change Act ‘A Mistake’

by John O'Sullivan

Britain’s deeply unpopular Climate Change Act (2008) may be set for repeal as another politician joins the growing number of MP’s aghast at the damage it is having on the nation’s ailing economy.

Conservative Member of Parliament, Douglas Carswell’s mea culpa today (February 25, 2013) shows dignity and acceptance of the weight of evidence conflicting with the already scientifically dubious notion of human-caused global warming.  “My biggest regret as an MP is that I failed to oppose the 2008 Climate Change Act. It was a mistake. I am sorry,” said Carswell on his blog.

The announcement comes hot on the heels of last week’s surprise admission by Rajendra Pachuari, the UN’s head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Dr. Pachauri conceded that we are now into a 17-year pause in global temperature rises, as confirmed recently by Britain's Met Office. Even NASA’s most strident climate doomsayer, Dr. James Hansen concedes there has been "a pause” in any temperature rise.

The 2008 rush to enact the UK’s "carbon tax" is now dismissed by Carswell as “gesture legislation” and like other politicians he admits “this law has turned out to have real consequences.”  Like others Carswell has woken up to the stark reality of just how much the UK’s Climate Change Act has pushed up energy prices and is “squeezing households and making economic recovery ever more elusive,” says the MP.  Under the Act the government is currently legally committed to cutting CO2 emissions by 35 per cent by 2022 and 50 per cent by 2025. In contrast, the EU is only committed to cutting emissions 20 per cent by 2020.Skyrocketing energy bills have forced 6 million households in fuel poverty and the proposed Carbon Floor Price will increase this number to 12 million - that is 1 in 4 households

Ironically, Carswell is a graduate of the UEA, made infamous by the Climategate scandal of 2009. He is also regarded widely as among the more principled politicians in Westminster hoping to turn the tide on this folly. Carswell was voted in 2009 by ‘Spectator’ readers as ‘Parliamentarian of the Year’ while ‘The Daily Telegraph’ nominated him a ‘Briton of the Year.’  He now takes his place among that fast growing band of dissenting Conservative politicians speaking out about the damage misguided ‘green’ policies have had on our economies.


Yes! We Should Defund The U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change

It seems that along with 17 years of flat global temperatures there is some evidence that we are witnessing some cooling on global warming hype and hysteria in Washington as well. Following President Obama’s State of the Union pledge to double down on his frenetic “green” war to prevent climate change, U.S. Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) has introduced legislation to discontinue any more taxpayer green from being used to advance the U.N.’s economy-ravaging agendas. The proposed bill would prohibit future U.S. funding for the alarmist Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and also for the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), a scam devoted to redistributing American wealth in penance for our unfair capitalist free market prosperity.

Congressman Luetkemeyer strongly objects to the UNFCC’s use of IPCC’s suggestions and faulty data to implement a job-killing agenda here in America. He argues: “The American people should not have to foot the bill for an international organization that is fraught with waste, engaged in dubious science, and is promoting an agenda that will destroy jobs and drive up the cost of energy in the United States. Unfortunately, the president appears to be ready to fund these groups, revive harmful policies like cap and trade, and further empower out of control federal regulators at a time when we should be doing everything possible to cut wasteful spending, reduce regulatory red tape, and promote economic growth.”

While the amount we give to the UNFCC and IPCC may seem like a tiny pittance in the realm of government spending largesse, it’s important to realize that true costs of that folly amount to countless billions in disastrous policy and regulatory impacts. Under the Obama administration, the two organizations together have received a total average of $10.25 million annually, which will be upped to $13 million under a FY 13 budget request. The George W. Bush administration previously provided about $5.7 million each year.

Representative Luetkemeyer’s defunding proposal cites unsupportable IPCC claims based upon irresponsible science practices which were revealed in e-mail exchanges between climate researchers in the U.K.’s East Anglia University network. These communications provide clear evidence that leading global scientists intentionally manipulated data and suppressed legitimate opposing arguments in peer-reviewed journals. In some instances, collaborators were asked to delete and destroy incriminating e-mails rather than comply with legally-binding Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

It may be instructive to remember that all of this global warming crisis frenzy really got heated up in the late 1980s, less than two decades after many scientists had warned during the mid-1970s that the next Ice Age was rapidly approaching. Even the National Academy of Sciences predicted in 1975 that there was a “finite possibility that a serious worldwide cooling could befall the Earth within the next 100 years.”

But guess what? Climate actually does change, and the planet then experienced a warming spell. Attributing this “crisis” to influences of man-made carbon emissions, a presumption based upon theoretical climate models, the U.N. established its FCCC in 1992, began to organize conferences, and created the  IPCC to conduct scientific reviews.

The central FCCC strategy to fight what was promoted as “anthropogenic” (man-made) climate change was brilliant…to put a value credit on cutbacks in the amounts of carbon dioxide emitted by fossil-burning industries, and then let other industries that produced amounts of CO2 emissions in excess of their allocations, purchase credits from them. In other words, they would create a trading market to buy and sell air.

This carbon “cap-and-trade” program would be accomplished on a country-to-country international scale through the Kyoto Protocol treaty, penalizing developed countries that produce lots of CO2 emissions by forcing them to purchase credits from less developed countries (amounting to free money for them). Incidentally, China and India, which emit huge amounts of CO2, were given a pass because of their developing country status.

Although IPCC is broadly represented to the public as the top authority on climate matters, the organization doesn’t actually carry out any original climate research at all. Instead, it simply issues assessments based upon supposedly independent surveys of published research. However, some of the most influential conclusions summarized in its reports have neither been based upon truly independent research, nor properly vetted through accepted peer- review processes.

The IPCC asserted in its 2007 report that the Himalayan glaciers would likely melt by 2035 due to global warming, prompting great alarm across southern and eastern Asia, where glaciers feed major rivers. As it turned out, that prediction was traced to a speculative magazine article authored by an Indian glaciologist, Syed Hasnain, which had absolutely no supporting science behind it. Hasnain worked for a research company headed by the IPCC’s chairman, Rajendra Pachauri.  IPCC’s report author, Marari Lai, later admitted to the London Mail, “We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policymakers and politicians and encourage them to take action.”

Can we count upon objective conclusions from scientists who feel “called to action”? Consider commentary by the late Stephen Schneider who served as a lead author for important parts of three sequential IPCC reports. In a 1989 interview he told Discover magazine: “On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, on the other hand, we are not just scientists, but human beings as well. And like most people, we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that, we need to get some broad-based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of the doubts we might have. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”

Oh, by the way… while “climate” is generally associated with periods spanning at least three decades, Schneider’s alarmist global warming position completely reversed a view he championed little more than a decade earlier. His 1976 book, The Genesis Strategy, warned that global cooling risks posed a threat to humanity.

While it should be recognized that most of the many scientific reviewers are indeed dedicated and competent people who take their work very seriously, few of them have much if any influence over final conclusions that the public hears about. Instead, the huge compilations they prepare go through international bureaucratic reviews, where political appointees dissect them, line by line, to glean the best stuff that typically supports what IPCC wanted to say in the first place. These cherry-picked items are then assembled, condensed and highlighted in the Summaries for Policymakers which are calibrated to get prime-time and front page attention.

Political summary editing processes usually progress through a series of drafts that become increasingly media-worthy. For example, the original text of an April 2000 Third Assessment Report (TAR) draft stated: “There has been a discernible human influence on global climate.” That was followed by an October version that concluded: “It is likely that increasing concentrations of anthropogenic greenhouse gases have contributed significantly to observed warming over the past 50 years.” Then in the final official summary, the language was toughened up even more: “Most of the observed warming over the past 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations.”

When the U.N. Environment Programme’s spokesman, Tim Higham, was asked by New Scientist about the scientific background for this change, his answer was honest: “There was no new science, but the scientists wanted to present a clear and strong message to policymakers.”

Sometimes IPCC report statements directly contradict conclusions published by the same authors during the same time period. Regarding any “discernible human influence on global climate”, a 1996 IPCC report summary written by B.D. Santer, T.M.L Wigley, T.P. Barnett, and E. Anyamba states: “…there is evidence of an emerging pattern of climate response to forcings by greenhouse gases and sulphate aerosols…from geographical, seasonal and vertical patterns of temperature change…These results point towards human influence on climate.”

However,  another 1996 publication, “The Holocene”, by T.P. Barnett, B.D. Santer, P.D. Jones, R.S. Bradley and K.R. Briffa, says: “Estimates of…natural variability are critical to the problem of detecting an anthropogenic [human] signal…We have estimated the spectrum…from paleo-temperature proxies and compared it with…general [climate] circulation models…none of the three estimates of the natural variability spectrum agree with each other…Until…resolved, it will be hard to say, with confidence, that an anthropogenic climate signal has or has not been detected.”

Go figure!


Identifying Global Warming Snow And Global Cooling Snow

Heavy snow during the 1970s was caused by global cooling, but equally heavy snow in recent years is caused by global warming.

Global warming snow can be differentiated from global cooling snow, based on the current funding scam of the climate seance community.


Australia:  Queensland State Government plans to allow logging in areas earmarked for national parks

THE State Government is about to reopen logging in about two million hectares of environmentally sensitive land put aside by the previous government.

The move will see timber felled in prime conservation areas that were earmarked for national parks.

Logging will resume in southeast Queensland, the western hardwoods area, cypress regions in the west, central Queensland and north Queensland.

A leaked email from Agriculture Department director-general Jack Noye to National Parks Department director-general John Glaister says Agriculture Minister John McVeigh has approved the logging.

The email also notes that it is proposed that logging be conducted without Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service approval for codes or harvest plans.

It sparked a vicious response from Greens environment spokeswoman Larissa Waters, who said the letter confirmed Premier Campbell Newman was an environmental vandal.

"The reopening of native forest logging will trash invaluable habitat for native wildlife, destroy carbon stores and is an economic risk, given plantation forestry is more sustainable and provides reliable employment into the future," Senator Waters said.

Mr McVeigh said the areas being reopened were not World Heritage-listed forests.

"They are areas that have been previously available and they will ... meet the highest forest sustainability management standards," he said.

"Many of these robust, former state forests had been sustainably harvested for a century and more, supporting regional towns before being locked up by Labor in its dirty preference deals with the Greens."

He said the Greens wanted to shut down local forest industries, which forced greater reliance on imports.

It is expected about 30,000ha per year will be logged on a 30 to 40-year cycle.

In 1999, the state government signed the South East Queensland Forests Agreement with the Queensland Timber Board and conservationists.

Its aim - and other agreements that followed - was to end disputes over what areas should be logged or conserved and for producing plantations such as between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast to gradually replace native forest logging over 25 years.

But logging companies in country towns such as Monto and Mundubbera, often major local employers, complained that the agreements starved them of logs.

Senator Waters said Mr Newman was determined to repeal all environmental protection.




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

James Hansen, the denier

Robert W. Endlich visted  Santa Fe to hear a talk by  James Hansen.  His report below

I attended a talk by Dr. James Hansen, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Sciences on effects of climate change on 21 Feb 2013.  James Hansen is also famous for being arrested, reportedly three times, for protesting the use of fossil fuels and the consequent emission of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Dr. Hansen’s talk was illustrated by of a number of slides depicting topics concerning surface temperature history, sensing systems, and paleoclimate history. His delivery rarely spoke to the content on the screen, and often rambled into opinions on the evils of fossil fuel use, dangerous rapid temperature rise, approaching “tipping points,” and the need to heavily tax fossil fuel use.

One item after another struck me as being completely at odds with measurements. For instance, Hansen claimed Earth’s energy balance is out of balance, and we are warming rapidly, but recent global surface temperatures of land and water have not increased and in fact many measures show cooling over the past 17-19 years. In the US, there has not been a new state maximum temperature record set since 1995, and in spite of the claims to the contrary, July,1936, is still the warmest month on record, set when CO2 was less than 300 parts per million. CO2 is now 395 PPM.

The talk was 45 minutes long, with 15 minutes allotted to questions and answers.  Dr. Hansen is adept at President Obama’s knack of turning a question into an invitation to wax at length on opinions on anything vaguely related to the question. There were four questions; I asked number three.

My question was, roughly, “Dr. Hansen, one of your slides showed a time series of warming periods, indicated by reds, and cooling periods, indicated by blues, over time, indicating to me that climate warming and cooling periods are the norm.  But, your 1988 forecast to the Senate was for continuous increases in temperature, about 1C of warming, from 1988 to the present. Observations show 10 years of warming from 1988 to 1998, but steady and by many measures, even falling temperatures since, a period over 17 years where the temperature has not risen at all. The total rise since 1988 has been only 0.2 - 0.3C.  To what do you attribute the poor performance of that prediction?”

 Hansen’s reply wandered around, saying there were three scenarios forecast and that actually the climate forcing was less than the “Business as Usual, Scenario A.”  (In the basic talk he bemoaned CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use were on an ever increasing curve; to me, a non-sequitur)  He then said that temperatures had NOT decreased, despite the fact that seven of the nine commonly watched measurements of global land, sea, and greenhouse temperatures have shown falling temperatures since at least 2001 during this time of increasing CO2.  He then said I should have seen his 1983 paper and the forecast he made back then!

It has been 34 years since I have been in Graduate School. I was disappointed that a world-renowned researcher could not provide a cogent, coherent answer to a pertinent question regarding accuracy of the forecast which brought him to prominence.  “How has this guy passed his candidacy exam or prelims?” I thought.

When formal questions were over, a number of attendees approached the podium; I joined the group.  At my turn, I asked him a question about the paloeclimate records he referenced during the talk. I showed him a graphic of temperature and CO2 vs. geologic time with data provided by Berner and Scotese, which you can see if you Google  “Berner Scotese Geologic CO2 Temperature Graph”.

I asked him about two periods in geologic history. First was end of the Ordovician, about 450 million years ago when CO2 increased from 4000 to 4400 PPM but earth entered a “snowball earth” phase. Second was the end of the Jurassic 150 million years ago, when CO2 was increasing, but temperatures fell.  He told me that the data were wrong.

I specifically asked him about the measurements which showed large amounts of CO2 during the Cambrian and Ordovician about 4000-6000 PPM, and that even the IPCC speaks of large amounts of CO2 in the early Paleozoic. He said that there were no measurements of large CO2 amounts in the Paleozoic and again said I was wrong.  I guess he has not heard of the Royer Compilation

I then asked about the Vostok Ice Core data which shows four previous interglacial periods CO2 was about 200-270 PPM, and temperatures were clearly much warmer that the present. “Dr Hansen, doesn’t the fact that the previous interglacials were a lot warmer than now, falsify the claim that CO2 is an important driver of climate?”  He argued with me that the Vostok Ice core data did not show this, and said I was wrong. Google to see the data yourself.

Finally, I told him that the Greenland Ice core data showed that during the present interglacial period, temperatures were at a maximum 8000 years ago and have cooled overall since then.  I asked him if CO2 has an important effect on climate, how this could be, and I said that there was nothing alarming about the present temperatures and rate of change of temperature.  He told me that I was wrong again and his data showed today is the warmest in the Holocene Interglacial period. Google “Greenland Ice core data graph GISP2” and examine the geologic record showing temperatures and temperature changes to see how wrong Hansen is regarding this fact.

Hansen says the science is settled and there are no data which contradicts the alarmist view of imminent catastrophic temperature change and tipping points.
Who is the “denier?”

Hansen can’t accept the fact that measurements, observations, facts and data show that present temperatures are quite ordinary and that the rates of temperature change are among the smallest of the past 10,000 years, despite present CO2 concentrations.

Received via email from Bob Endlich [], a New Mexico meteorologist

NASA thinks that the USA is the world

Their only data below is about the Eastern United states but in their 5th paragraph below they link their findings to "climate change", code for global warming.  They are a model of slippery wording but their intention is clear.  They imply that shrinking foests in the area they look at are a global phenomenon.  But are they?  They avoid that question.  It should however be noted that their data cover the last 10 years, when there has been NO global watrming, so what they found CANNOT be a global effect

NASA scientists report that warmer temperatures and changes in precipitation locally and regionally have altered the growth of large forest areas in the eastern United States over the past 10 years. Using NASA’s Terra satellite, scientists examined the relationship between natural plant growth trends, as monitored by NASA satellite images, and variations in climate over the eastern United States from 2000 to 2010.

Monthly satellite images from the MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) showed declining density of the green forest cover during summer in four sub-regions, the Upper Great Lakes, southern Appalachian, mid-Atlantic, and southeastern Coastal Plain. More than 20 percent of the non-agricultural area in the four sub-regions that showed decline during the growing season, were covered by forests. Nearly 40 percent of the forested area within the mid-Atlantic sub-region alone showed a significant decline in forest canopy cover.

“We looked next at the relationships between warmer temperatures, rainfall patterns, and reduced forest greenness across these “We looked next at the relationships between warmer temperatures, rainfall patterns, and reduced forest greenness across these regions,” said Christopher Potter, a research scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. “This comprehensive data set gave us the evidence to conclude that a series of relatively dry years since 2000 has been unfavorable for vigorous growth of forest cover over much of the Eastern U. S. this past decade.” Potter is the first author of the paper titled “Declining Vegetation Growth Rates in the Eastern United States from 2000 to 2010,” published by Natural Resources, Dec. 2012, (3), 184-190.

In the past, scientists were uncertain about what was causing the changes in the forests in the eastern U. S. Based on small-scale field site measurements since 1970, forest growth was thought to be increasing in regions where soil nutrients and water were in good supply. At the same time, there were fewer wildfires throughout the eastern U.S., which scientists believe contributed to the transformation of more open lands into closed-canopy forests with more shade-tolerant, fire-sensitive plants.

More recent studies indicate that climate change could be having many adverse and interrelated impacts on the region. The warming climate this century has caused new stresses on trees, such as insect pest outbreaks and the introduction of new pathogens. Scientists consider both climate change and disease to be dominant driving forces in the health of forests in this region.

NASA’s technology is revealing an entirely new picture of these complex impacts. The MODIS satellite captures very broad regional patterns of change in forests, wetlands, and grasslands by continuous monitoring of the natural plant cover over extended time periods. Now, with over a decade of “baseline” data to show how trees typically go through a yearly cycle of leaves blooming, summer growth, and leaves falling, scientists are detecting subtle deviations from the average cycle to provide early warning signs of change at the resolution of a few miles for the entire country.

"The next studies at NASA Ames will research areas that appear most affected by drought and warming to map out changes in forest growth at a resolution of several acres," said Potter.

This research was conducted under the National Climate Assessment as part of the United States Global Change Research Act of 1990.


New boogeyman for the Warmists

A conservative charity gives money to climate-skeptic causes!  How surprising!  Roughly the whole of the conservative side of politics is skeptical of global warming so Donor's Trust sure is an heroically effective organization if they have achieved all that!    Nothing however could rival what governments around the world spend on promoting Warmist causes

While the secretive Donors Trust has given millions to a variety of right-wing causes, denying climate change appears to be its top priority. An analysis by the environmentalist group Greenpeace reveals Donors Trust has funneled more than one-third of its donations — at least $146 million — to more than 100 climate change denial groups over the past decade. In 2010, 12 of these groups received between 30 to 70 percent of their funding from Donors Trust. We’re joined by Suzanne Goldenberg, U.S. environment correspondent for The Guardian, who has written a series of articles detailing the ties between Donors Trust and opponents of climate change science. "The goal here is to create this illusion, this idea that there is a really strong movement against the science of climate change and against action on climate change," Goldenberg says. "In fact, that’s actually, to an extent, become a reality now: You see that opposition to action on climate change is central to Republican thinking."


Straight-out lies from the NYT

"The Earth’s average surface temperature continues to climb".  But it doesn't.  It is no higher now than it was in 1998.  The article then goes on to give an account of global warming theory that attempts to account for the average earth surface temperature.  But they miss the bus in that too.  They ignore entirely the huge adiabatic effect of the huge mass of the earth's atmosphere.  The effects of air pressure alone account for a large part of the earth's surface temperature

Climate change is arguably the most important issue humanity has ever faced. The Earth’s average surface temperature continues to climb and weather is increasingly volatile. Our current trajectory looks perilous.

Is the situation really that critical? I asked atmospheric chemist Dr. Laura Foster.

    "The future world will be a warmer place with different weather patterns and disease patterns and coastlines. We will have to adapt to these changes.      The pessimist in me thinks of human beings on Earth like bacteria in a petri dish: we’re going to pollute our petri dish to the point that we can no longer survive in it."

The situation is that critical. Climate change is real. Responding to it will be full of challenges. But there will also be opportunities — an aspect of climate change emphasized by Dr. Emily Shuckburgh, a climate scientist based at the British Antarctic Survey.

Dr. Shuckburgh speaks widely about climate change, and if you happen to be in San Francisco next week, you’ll have the opportunity to attend one of her talks. Dr. Shuckburgh will be giving a public lecture titled “Climate Disruption: What Math and Science Have to Say” as part of a Mathematics of Planet Earth series being sponsored by the Simons Foundation.

“I think this talk will be of interest to everyone — and of particular interest to those who like math and science,” says Brian Conrey, executive director of the American Institute of Mathematics. “Also, Emily is a fantastic role model — she is so accomplished — and is an inspiring speaker.”

Following is a basic overview of how the Earth’s current average surface temperature arises.

It all starts, of course, with the Sun, which blazes away 93 million miles from the Earth. The Sun radiates energy that ultimately reaches the Earth.

This radiant energy from the Sun is absorbed by the Earth, which then radiates energy back out again, enabling the planet to maintain a constant average surface temperature.

If that were the end of the story, the Earth’s average surface temperature would be about -18°C. Much too cold to support life as we know it. But there’s something else going on. Not all of the energy radiated from the Earth makes it out into space. Some is captured and returned to Earth, resulting in an actual average surface temperature of 15°C.

The capture-and-return process is remarkable. Encasing the Earth are a variety of molecules that make up what we call our atmosphere. These molecules can be classified by the symmetry of their molecular bonds: some molecules — over 99% — have symmetric bonds, while the remaining molecules have asymmetric bonds. Symmetric-bond molecules are invisible to the Earth’s radiant energy. They have no impact on the Earth’s temperature. But with asymmetric-bond molecules we have a different story.


Goodbye to a Very Green "Business Week‏"

By Alan Caruba

In late 2010, I let my subscription to The Economist expire and now I am going to do that for Bloomberg Business Week.

In the February 18-24 edition of Business Week, an editorial, “The Right Way Forward on Climate Change”, contained this gem: “Still, the U.S. accounts for about 19 percent of all emissions—emissions that are causing global temperature increases, rising seas, and destructive droughts, floods, and hurricanes, according to a government advisory panel report released last month.”

When a magazine publishes such drivel, you should not read it. There are no rising temperatures worldwide. There is, in fact, a colder world that reflects a cooling cycle that began around sixteen years ago. Glaciers are growing. Snow is falling in increasing amounts and in places one usually does not associate with snow like Arizona. The seas are not rising. Polar bears are not going extinct. Et cetera.

To not know such simple facts betrays either an appalling ignorance or an appalling agenda, the advancement of the global warming—now called climate change—hoax.

The February 25-March 3 edition had an editorial on why the Keystone XL pipeline should be approved. It began “Americans concerned about pollution and climate change have traditionally stood with science, in particular the consensus that greenhouse gas emissions from human activity are warming the earth and changing the climate.” There is so much wrong with this short sentence one hardly knows where to start.

First of all, “climate change” is what the climate has been doing for 4.5 billion years on planet Earth. There have been a number of ice ages which properly can be called climate change . When the last one ended around 11,000 years ago, we entered the Holocene.

Pay attention now to this description of the Holocene: “Most recent of all subdivisions of geologic time, ranging from the present back to the time (c.11,000 years ago) of almost complete withdrawal of the glaciers of the preceding Pleistocene epoch. During the Holocene epoch, the sculpturing of the earth's surface to its present form was completed.”

“Withdrawal of the glacial ice resulted in the development of the present-day drainage basins of the Missouri and Ohio rivers, the development of the Great Lakes, and a global rise in sea level of up to 100 ft (30 m) as the glacial meltwater was returned to the seas. Warming climates resulted in the poleward migration of plants and animals.”

“The most significant development during the Holocene was the rise of modern humans, who are thought to have first appeared in the late Pleistocene.” Those modern humans did not control the climate when they arrived on the scene and they do not control it now. They will never control it no matter how many times Al Gore or the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says so.

We do not sacrifice virgins, tossing them into volcanoes to ensure a good harvest, nor do we do rain dances during a drought any more. Some of us, however, are convinced that we are the first Americans to have ever experienced a drought, a hurricane, or a blizzard.

When a magazine like Business Week employs morons to write its news and opinion, there is no point in subscribing to it in order to have your own intellect reduced by a couple of IQ points.

I am thoroughly sick of hearing that all life on the planet is threatened or going extinct. Been there. Done that.

In his weekly column on science topics, the Wall Street Journal’s Matt Ridley noted that, “When the asteroid slammed into the Yucatan Peninsula 66,038,000 years ago, North America took the brunt of the impact, because the asteroid came in from the southeast like a golf chip shot.” Globally, it wiped out all the dinosaurs, along with many bird and other species. Their relatives, the alligators survived. “Mammals reappeared within 20,000 years in North America, “probably from Asia via an Arctic land bridge.”

Right now, countless “environmental” organizations around the world are gearing up to celebrate “Earth Day” on April 22. Is it just a coincidence that it is the birthdate of Communist revolutionary and the former Soviet Union’s first dictator, Vladimir Lenin? I think not.

Business Week, the Economist, Time, Newsweek and countless other elements of the print and broadcast media will have an environmental orgasm, spewing forth the tired, old lies that undergird the greatest hoax of the modern era; one they can no longer call “global warming” because millions of people have concluded the Earth is getting colder, so now they call it “climate change.”

The alleged “consensus” of geoscientists and others that supports the climate change theory barely exists.

As reported in the March edition of The Heartland Institute’s Environmental & Climate News, “Global warming alarmists are attacking the integrity of scientists, desperately seeking to minimize the damage presented by a recent survey of geoscientists and engineers regarding global warming.

“A recent survey of more than 1,000 geoscientists and engineers reported in the peer-reviewed Organization Studies found that only 36 percent agree with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assertion that humans are causing a serious global warming problem. By contrast, a majority of scientists in the survey believe that nature is the primary cause of recent global warming and/or that future global warming will not be a very serious problem.”

Meanwhile, here in America, the current administration will continue to flush billions of dollars we do not have down the environmental drain, “investing” in the most uncompetitive and least productive forms of energy ever invented. It is an administration that declared war on coal—a resource that powered fifty percent of all the electricity we use until they came along. Can we—should we—trust people who cannot reduce the nation’s insane debt and deficit by even one half of one percent?

Should we trust people, journalists, charged with the responsibility to bring us the news about economic and scientific topics when they clearly are clueless? I think not.


God and Climate Change

Obama Has Brought Religion Back Into the Environmental Conversation

President Obama once again brought up climate change in his State of the Union Address, just as he did in his inaugural address last month. This week, he spoke in the cold voice of science, but in that first address the president took a different approach, one in which the seeds of a broader environmental coalition can be found.

On his second inauguration, Obama said the U.S. must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in order to “preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.”

Climate activists have argued that science, not God, requires urgent greenhouse gas reductions. Now, as a Slate headline put it, “Obama Brings God Into the Climate Change Fight.”

Some environmentalists speculated that Obama might be hoping to reach out to devout Christians—many of them Republicans—in the hope of building a wider consensus.

Role of Christianity

This is a long way from the 1967 declaration of American historian Lynn White, in Science magazine, that Christianity bears primary responsibility for raping the earth. Indeed, Obama’s inaugural remarks appear to have been an allusion to the book of Genesis, which tells us that God gave the world to human beings for their sustenance and enjoyment, but requires us to be good stewards of his creation.

The president also might have been acknowledging the fact that among the political problems of our time, climate change could be the most “wicked” of all. Voters are being asked to bear large burdens now in order to create practical benefits that might not be realized until many of them are dead. If the case for climate change is not deeply moral, capable of invoking powerful altruistic motives, it will be politically hopeless.

Many of Obama’s environmental supporters admittedly have in mind a different message of the Christian God. If human beings alter the climate radically, they will be “playing God,” challenging God’s authority over his own creation. In the Old Testament, we learn that those who challenge God’s authority will surely be punished, typically with flood, famine, pestilence, drought, earthquake or other environmental calamity.

Today, new prophets tell us that our modern sins will lead to rising seas, stronger hurricanes and longer droughts. If we don’t reform our sinful ways, global catastrophe on a biblical scale looms. Billy Graham could hardly have said it better.

Hearing God’s call

In traditional Christian theology, there are two direct ways to access the thinking of God: the “Book of the Bible” and the “Book of Nature.”

Until Charles Darwin, Christians believed that the earth was not much changed from its creation about 6,000 years ago, meaning the design of the natural world offered a glimpse into the mind of God. John Calvin would thus write that God “daily discloses himself in the whole workmanship of the universe.” The plant and animal kingdoms are “burning lamps” that “shine for us ... the glory of its author.” To eliminate a species or damage the earth is to limit our knowledge of God.

In some ways, environmentalism should be seen as a secularized version of Calvinism, minus God. Obama has brought God back into the environmental conversation, even if his theological knowledge is incomplete.


Australia: Key climate change body loses Government funding

Amid much weeping and wailing and garnishing of teeth

A key research body charged with preparing Australia to handle the impacts of global warming is running out of money.

The National Climate Change Adaptation Research facility [NCCARF] has been running for five years but the Federal Government has decided not to extend its funding.

It means that from June the facility, which develops knowledge used by decision-makers from both the Commonwealth and industry, is expected to be wound up.

With more than 100 researchers set to be affected by the funding cut, Professor Jean Palutikof, director at the facility, says she is saddened and concerned that critical work may not being followed through.

"We've built up a lot of knowledge through our research programs that have really placed Australia in a very good position to deal with the challenge," she said.

"There are a lot of people out there now who know a lot about climate change and those people were not in that position five years ago.

"We might be seen an organisation that perhaps is meeting a future challenge rather than a current challenge although I have to say looking out of the window here in Queensland it looks to me like the challenge is pretty much here now.

"The bottom line is the activities of government in that respect of the present time are totally inadequate.

"Therefore we are also going to have to prepare ourselves to respond to the impacts of climate change that will inevitably happen because we haven't really managed that successfully on the mitigation front.

"When I say we haven't managed that successfully, I'm really talking about the global effort, not the effort of Australia individually."

Chief executive officer at the Investor Group on Climate Change, Nathan Fabian, says NCCARF has played an integral role in keeping the nation and industry up-to-date on what is proving an important global issue.

"Business is largely still working out what it knows and what it doesn't know about the physical impacts of climate change and to us," he said.

"NCCARF has played an important interpretive role between the science of climate change and its impacts on regions and resources and in some cases the assets that we invest in, so there is still an important role to be played."




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


Monday, February 25, 2013

Eco-tastrophe! How MPs in the pay of subsidised eco-firms set insane new carbon targets that send your bills sky-rocketing... and drag us to a new Dark Age

David Rose is truthtelling in Britain's Daily Mail once again

Like all MPs, Tim Yeo is paid £65,000 a year. But he never has to make do with just that. Last year alone, three ‘green’ companies paid the Conservative MP for South Suffolk £135,970.

For this, he usually did just a few hours’ work a month. Yet he may be the firms’ most valuable asset, as Mr Yeo is chairman of the Commons Select Committee on Energy and Climate Change, and so plays a key role in shaping the green economy in which his sometime employers – AFC Energy, Eco City Vehicles and TMO Renewables – operate.

And he may be about to perform his most valuable service yet.

Mr Yeo has moved an extraordinary amendment to the Energy Bill that would set a crippling and binding target for the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by generating power in 2030. It would transform the electricity industry and bring huge benefits to the business sector, which has so generously rewarded Mr Yeo.

For the rest of us, however, the effects will be very different. It will cause already high energy bills to soar further and could lead to more power cuts. The effect on business is likely to be even more dramatic.

Yet despite the considerable drawbacks, the amendment is likely to be passed into law. Following intense campaigning by an alliance of dozens of green pressure groups and renewable-energy firms, the move has won the support of Labour, many backbench Liberal Democrats and some Tories, which may be enough to push it through Parliament.

‘Even without the amendment, the long-term consequences of the Bill will be horrible,’ said Professor Gordon Hughes of Edinburgh University, one of Britain’s leading experts on energy economics. He issued a strong warning the ‘surreal’ amendment could spell the end of British  industry. ‘It’s a recipe for deindustrialisation,’ he said.


MYTH The world is continually getting warmer.

TRUTH Official Met Office data shows no statistically significant global temperature rise since January 1997. The fact was confirmed last week by Raj Pachauri, chairman of the UN Intergovernmental Panel  on Climate Change (IPCC). Many scientists say this means forecasts of how much warmer the world will be by 2100 must be revised downwards. Pachauri disagreed: for him to be convinced, the ‘pause’ would have to last 30 years.

MYTH Global warming is already causing extreme weather.

TRUTH If anything, weather has become less, not more extreme in the past 50 years. Professor Roger Pielke Jr of Colorado University – no climate sceptic – last week said that the past seven years had been the longest period ever recorded without a Category 3 or stronger hurricane hitting America, and that drought  has decreased since the  mid-20th Century. The IPCC admits  there is no evidence that global warming has caused more storms  in the tropics.

MYTH If we don’t take swift, drastic action to cut CO2 emissions, the world will soon become uninhabitable

TRUTH The ‘pause’ in rising temperatures, along with new research into the decline in the sun’s output and other natural factors, is leading many scientists to lower estimates of how fast carbon dioxide warms the world. Until now, the IPCC has suggested that doubling CO2 causes a worrying increase of 3.5C, but many experts say it is about 1.7C. The computer models still say the world will be at least 2C warmer by the end of the century, but they failed to predict the pause.

MYTH We’ve got to do our bit, even if it hurts. If we cut emissions, the rest of the  world will follow.

TRUTH The fiasco of the 2009 UN climate conference in Copenhagen proved that China, India, Brazil and other fast-growing nations are simply not prepared to make any binding commitments to reduce their emissions. However, by cutting our own ever more deeply, all we do is increase the already rocketing price of our energy and so drive jobs abroad – while making almost no difference to world CO2 levels.

MYTH The faster we cut carbon in our power generation, the more prosperous we will be.

TRUTH We face declining energy capacity, while the Government targets on 2030 emissions would mean few firms will be willing to invest in the one proven type of power source – gas – that can fill the gap relatively cheaply. Instead of  ‘green growth’, we face years of impoverished stagnation, while industry flees Britain and our  sky-high energy prices.

MYTH The Arctic is going to be ice-free in summer in a few years.

TRUTH Although last summer saw a return to the relatively low levels of ice seen in 2007, the growth of Arctic winter ice this year is the fastest on record. Canadian archaeologists have been finding evidence the ice cover shrank to half its current extent during a warm period 7,000 years ago – but never vanished entirely.

Much more here

One day, turning off the lights won't be up to you

Britain's governments have taken suicidal gambles with our energy supplies

Readers of this column might have been astonished by the media response last week to that warning by Alistair Buchanan, retiring head of the energy regulator Ofgem, that next month we will see the closure of five major coal-fired power stations that between them contribute nearly a sixth of the UK’s average electricity needs.

Over the next few years, Mr Buchanan feared, we will be dangerously close to not having enough power in the grid to keep Britain’s lights on.

I have been trying to explain this here for so long that my readers may be weary of it. It was back in 2006 that I first reported on why, within a decade or so, we might see Britain’s lights going out. In fact, as I set out in my book, The Real Global Warming Disaster, in 2009, the writing was already on the wall in the government’s energy White Paper of 2003. Tony Blair signed us up to an energy policy centred on building thousands of windmills, already fully aware that we would be losing many of our coal-fired power stations due to an EU anti-pollution directive, and that we were unlikely to build any new nuclear power stations to replace those that by now would be nearing the end of their life.

This made a nonsense of Mr Buchanan’s claim in a vacuous interview with Evan Davis, on Tuesday’s Today programme on Radio 4, that everything was fine with Britain’s “visionary” energy policy until we were hit by that “financial tsunami” in 2008. This prompted Mr Davis to comment, “So we can blame the bankers for it, as we normally do”. (Nine months earlier I had written a column headed, “When the lights go out, you’ll know who to blame” – it wasn’t the bankers.)

The most interesting passage in Mr Buchanan’s interview was where he began hinting at what has recently been emerging as a terrifying new element in the Government’s energy policy. It well knows that electricity from the tens of thousands more wind turbines it hopes to see built in the coming years will cost between two and four times as much as that from conventional power stations. Its solution to this is to rig the market with new taxes and other devices so that this will make electricity from wind farms somehow seem competitive – not by making wind cheaper but by doubling the cost of electricity from the gas, coal and nuclear power stations that still provide virtually all the electricity we need to keep our lights on.

Around lunchtime last Monday, for instance, National Grid was showing that all our 4,300 wind turbines put together were providing barely a thousandth of the power we were using, 0.1 per cent, or a paltry 31MW (as compared with the 2,200MW we can get from a single gas-fired plant).

The harsh fact is that successive governments in the past 10 years have staked our national future on two utterly suicidal gambles. First, they have fallen for the delusion that we can depend for nearly a third of our future power on those useless and unreliable windmills – which will require a dozen or more new gas-fired power stations just to provide back-up for when the wind is not blowing.

Yet, at the same time, by devices such as the increasingly punitive “carbon tax” due to come into force on April 1, they plan to double the cost of the electricity we get from grown-up power stations, which can only have the effect in the coming years of doubling our electricity bills, driving millions more households into fuel poverty.

If our government were not lost in a bubble of complete make-believe, it would keep open those coal-fired power stations the EU is forcing us to close next month (although it may be too late), it would stop subsidising grotesquely expensive wind farms, and it would go flat out to exploit Britain’s vast reserves of the shale gas that has more than halved US gas prices in four years.

But we do not have such a government. Our lights will go out, our economy will suffer a catastrophe, our bills will double, and tens of thousands more people will die of cold in those freezing winters that our politicians were somehow fooled into believing would never come again.


Wind farms will create more carbon dioxide, say scientists

Thousands of Britain’s wind turbines will create more greenhouse gases than they save, according to potentially devastating scientific research to be published later this year.

The finding, which threatens the entire rationale of the onshore wind farm industry, will be made by Scottish government-funded researchers who devised the standard method used by developers to calculate “carbon payback time” for wind farms on peat soils.

Wind farms are typically built on upland sites, where peat soil is common. In Scotland alone, two thirds of all planned onshore wind development is on peatland. England and Wales also have large numbers of current or proposed peatland wind farms.

But peat is also a massive store of carbon, described as Europe’s equivalent of the tropical rainforest. Peat bogs contain and absorb carbon in the same way as trees and plants — but in much higher quantities.

British peatland stores at least 3.2 billion tons of carbon, making it by far the country’s most important carbon sink and among the most important in the world.

Wind farms, and the miles of new roads and tracks needed to service them, damage or destroy the peat and cause significant loss of carbon to the atmosphere, where it contributes to climate change.

Writing in the scientific journal Nature, the scientists, Dr Jo Smith, Dr Dali Nayak and Prof Pete Smith, of Aberdeen University, say: “We contend that wind farms on peatlands will probably not reduce emissions …we suggest that the construction of wind farms on non-degraded peats should always be avoided.”

Dr Nayak told The Telegraph: “Our full paper is not yet published, but we should definitely be worried about this. If the peatland is already degraded, there is no problem. But if it is in good condition, we should avoid it.”

Another peat scientist, Richard Lindsay of the University of East London, said: “If we are concerned about CO2, we shouldn’t be worrying first about the rainforests, we should be worrying about peatlands.

“The world’s peatlands have four times the amount of carbon than all the world’s rainforests. But they are a Cinderella habitat, completely invisible to decision- makers.”

One typical large peat site just approved in southern Scotland, the Kilgallioch wind farm, includes 43 miles of roads and tracks. Peat only retains its carbon if it is moist, but the roads and tracks block the passage of the water.

The wind industry insists that it increasingly builds “floating roads,” where rock is piled on a textile surface without disturbing the peat underneath.

But Mr Lindsay said: “Peat has less solids in it than milk. The roads inevitably sink, that then causes huge areas of peatland to dry out and the carbon is released.”

Mr Lindsay said that more than half of all British onshore wind development, current and planned, is on peat soils.

In 2011 the Scottish government’s nature protection body, Scottish Natural Heritage, said 67 per cent of planned onshore wind development in Scotland would be on peatland.

Struan Stevenson, the Tory MEP for Scotland who has campaigned on the issue, said: “This is a devastating blow for the wind factory industry from which I hope it will not recover.

"The Scottish government cannot realise their plans for wind farms without allowing the ruination of peat bogs, so they are trying to brush this problem under the carpet.

"This is just another way in which wind power is a scam. It couldn’t exist without subsidy. It is driving industry out of Britain and driving people into fuel poverty.”

Scotland’s SNP government has led a strong charge for wind power, promising that 100 per cent of the country’s electricity will be generated from renewable sources.

But even its environment minister, Stewart Stevenson, admits: “Scotland has 15 per cent of the world’s blanket bog.

"Even a small proportion of the carbon stored in peatlands, if lost by erosion and drainage, could add significantly to our greenhouse gas emissions.”

In 2008 Dr Smith, Dr Nayak and Prof Smith devised the standard “carbon payback time” calculator used by the wind farm industry to assess the CO2 impact of developments on peat soils.

“Large peatland wind farms introduce high potential for their expected CO2 savings to be cancelled out by release of greenhouse gases stored in the peat,” they said.

“Emission savings are achieved by wind power only after the carbon payback time has elapsed, and if this exceeds the lifetime of the wind farm, no carbon benefits will be realised.”

Even the initial version of the calculator found that the carbon cost of a badly sited peat wind farm — on a sloping site, resulting in more drainage of the peat, and without restoration afterwards — was so high that it would take 23 years before it provided any CO2 benefit. The typical life of a wind farm is only 25 years.

The researchers initially believed that well-managed and well-sited peatland wind farms could still cut greenhouse gas emissions, over time, compared to electricity generation overall.

But now they say that the shrinking use of fossil fuels in overall electricity generation has changed the equation, making the comparison less favourable to all peatland wind farms.

“Our previous work argued that most peatland sites could save on net [CO2] emissions,” they said. “But emissions factors [in UK electricity generation as a whole] are likely to drop significantly in the future.

"As a result, peatland sites would be less likely to generate a reduction in carbon emissions, even with careful management.”

The significance of the Aberdeen researchers’ work is increased by the fact that they are funded by the Scottish government and are broadly pro-wind.

They wrote in a previous paper that “it is important that wind farm developments should not be discouraged unnecessarily because they are a key requirement for delivery of the Scottish government’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions”.

Helen McDade, from the John Muir Trust, which campaigns to protect wild land, said: “Much of the cheap land being targeted by developers desperate to cash in on wind farm subsidies is peatland in remote wild land areas of the UK.

"This statement, from the academic team who developed the carbon calculator for the Scottish government, is a timely reminder that we must have independent and scientific assessment of the effects of policy and subsidies.”

The wind industry insisted that the impact of properly managed wind farms on peat and carbon emissions was minimal. Niall Stuart, director of Scottish Renewables, a trade association, said that damaged peatland could be restored in as little as a year.

He said the association had signed a “statement of good practice principles” with environmental groups promising that “every reasonable effort” will be made to avoid “significant adverse environmental effects” on peatland, including “properly planned and managed habitat restoration”.

Jennifer Webber, a spokesman for RenewableUK, the industry lobbying group, said: “Wind farms continue to be an important tool in decarbonisation and energy independence, with actual measurements showing wind displacing gas from the system. This is why they retain support from environmental organisations.”


Emails show EPA collaboration with media 'friendlies'

Officials at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have released a second batch of emails to and from former Administrator Lisa Jackson using the false name of "Richard Windsor" in apparent violation of federal transparency laws and regulations.

The new emails reveal Jackson and other top EPA officials devoting extensive attention to and cooperation with media, public officials and other "friendlies" whose coverage and commentary put the agency's policies and leadership in a positive light.

The new release also contains page after page of emails in which all or most of the information is redacted on the basis of an EPA claim that it was exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act's fifth, or "deliberative process," exemption.

That exemption permits, but does not require, withholding of documents created as part of the decision process leading to adoption of a specific agency policy or program.

The agency posted the new batch of Richard Windsor emails Friday evening as President Obama prepared for a weekend golf vacation in Florida on a trip from which White House reporters were barred.

Earlier in the week last week, Obama described his tenure in the White House as "the most transparent administration in history."

The Competitive Enterprise Institute think tank had filed FOIA requests for all emails to or from Jackson using the false name. The illegal emails - federal law bars use of false names in email or other communication regarding official business - were ordered to be made public by a federal court in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed against the agency by the conservative group.

In ordering the agency to release an estimated 12,000 Richard Windsor emails to CEI in four separate tranches, the court rejected an EPA attempt to withhold all of the controversial emails from public disclosure. The first tranche was made public in January. The agency witheld 900 emails from the first batch without providing an explanation.

Jackson announced her plan to resign in December, 2012 shortly after the court ruled the Richard Windsor emails had to be released to CEI.

The existence of the illegal emails was discovered by CEI senior fellow Christopher Horner while researching his recently published book entitled "The Liberal War Against Transparency."

Christopher Horner, a CEI senior fellow, told The Washington Examiner that the think tank estimates that 85 percent of the emails released Friday were redacted under the FOIA's fifth exemption. An EPA spokesman has been asked for a comment for this news story.

In one of the emails to "Richard Windsor," Andy Adora, then Jackson's press secretary, told the EPA head that an eagerly anticipated Washington Post news story had been delayed. Adora told Jackson she "can't decide if she's losing a battle w her editors or if they're taking extra time to make this a bigger story." An apparently disappointed Jackson responded as "Richard Windsor," saying "Yeesh."

Adora is now a press secretary at the U.S. Department of Justice.

In another of the legible Richard Windsor emails, Jackson corresponded with an associate EPA administrator about her eagerness to see herself on the cover of Rolling Stone for an article that described her as "the eco-warrior" and "the most progressive EPA chief in history."

In a third of the legible Richard Windsor emails, Jackson expressed her elation at being included by NBC's The Grio among its top 100 African-American history makers: "When you go to the Grio's website, I'm right there. Cool. Thanks to whoever worked this. Let's do something fun on it. CNN just did a feature on the top 100."

EPA officials will have to explain to the federal court how the Adora, Rolling Stone cover and Grio Top 100 emails, as well as each of the hundreds of other emails redacted under the deliberative process exemption of the FOIA, were integral parts of the agency's policy-making process.

Transparency in government experts often point to such tactics by federal officials as examples of how FOIA regulations can be used to delay making public embarrassing documents.


Obama's anti-stimulus energy policies take money out of economy

"I have to tell you that there are some Democrats, for example, who represent states or districts that are heavily reliant on old power plants and are more heavily manufacturing based," President Obama said during a Google online chat session with the public on Friday. "And the truth is that if you produce power using old power plants, you're going to be emitting more carbon, but, to upgrade those plants means energy is going to be a little more expensive, at least on the front end."

Naturally, Obama understated the costs involved in upgrading power plants and switching to new sources of energy. But his remark is true in its essentials: In exchange for very modest reductions in carbon emissions, his policies require consumers to pay higher upfront prices for electricity.

Now compare Obama's statement to the theory behind his stimulus package -- both the $800 billion package he championed and signed in 2009 and the additional stimulus he has since asked Congress to enact. The assumption underlying his proposed and enacted deficit spending, expansion of entitlements (such as food stamps) and demand-side tax breaks as stimulus is that Americans have a temporary cash-flow problem. The idea is that because people don't have enough money in their pockets, commerce is suffering, causing hiring to lag. So by providing a small pay increase to workers and extra business for contractors, the Recovery Administration was supposedly alleviating this temporary cash crunch so as to ease the economy back onto the road to recovery.

Apparently, though, the one hand in Obama's White House doesn't know what the other is doing. Because even as "stimulus Obama" talks about putting more money in people's pockets, "green-energy Obama" is demanding that Congress un-stimulate the economy by burdening Americans with the large upfront costs. As Obama put it on Friday, it's his job to convince people to "take actions now where the benefits are going to be coming down the road -- or at least avoiding big problems down the road -- and it's hard when people are thinking about day to day issues." Indeed.

The Institute for Energy Research predicts that new EPA rules on mercury and cross-state pollution targeting old power plants will shut down 34 gigawatts of coal-fired production capacity, or 10 percent of the U.S. total. Those burdened most by the energy price increases resulting from these rules -- as with the price hikes that result from Obama's more ambitious plans for carbon reduction -- will be the poor, who already spend a greater percentage of their income on energy than those who are more affluent.

Obama's energy and economic policies are thus incoherent and working at cross-purposes. He acknowledges yet fails to appreciate the trade-offs involved in carbon rationing and other environmental regulations. If you wonder at the stimulus' failure to put the economy back on track in spite of such large expenditures, this contradiction explains it all. How can Obama maintain that the economy is stuck because middle and lower-income Americans don't have enough money in their pockets, then at the same time enact policies that guarantee they will have even less money in their pockets? What good is it to inject billions into the economy via government, only to have them taken out again through government-mandated increases in the price of electricity?


No winners in Obama's green-energy trade war

"As long as countries like China keep going all-in on clean energy," President Obama said in last week's State of the Union Address, "so must we."

Obama has thrust the U.S. into an arms race in green-energy subsidies. To grasp the difficulty - or perhaps futility - of such a contest, look at SolarWorld, the subsidized German manufacturer now drowning in a sea of cheap Chinese panels.

Bonn-based SolarWorld has benefitted nicely from German solar subsidies for years. In 2008, the company opened U.S. operations in Oregon, with help from local politicians.

Oregon offered SolarWorld up to $100 million in renewable energy tax credits. Boris Klebensberger, the company's COO, asked for more. The Oregonian reported at the time: "Klebensberger, calling the right to have renewable energy a 'civil right,' urged Oregonians to push for more government support and incentives for the sector."

At that time, an interviewer with GreenTech Media asked Klebensberger: "U.S. incentives aren't as generous as in Germany. Are you concerned about the ability to succeed in this regulatory environment?"

"That is one of the problems in America," Klebensberger responded

Obama's election made the U.S. incentives more generous. In 2009, the Export-Import Bank, a federal agency, approved $61.0 million in loan guarantees for SolarWorld to sell solar panels in South Korea.

On Earth Day 2010, while announcing "Solar Express" - an expedited process for subsidizing solar panel exports - Ex-Im Chairman Fred Hochberg toured SolarWorld's California factory.

Later in 2010 the Obama administration announced SolarWorld was eligible for an $82.2 million Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit.

Despite all this help, the company has faltered. In early September 2011, SolarWorld announced it was ending all manufacturing in its its California plant and laying off 186 of its 300 employees there. The Oregonian reported that an industry analyst said of the Oregon plant " 'To be honest, it's just a matter of time' before the plant sees job losses given China's pressure on prices."

Two weeks later, the Obama administration gave the company another hand. The Department of Energy awarded a $2.3 million stimulus grant to SolarWorld to study new manufacturing techniques for solar panels.

September was fruitful for the SolarWorld-Obama relationship: On the 30th of the month, Ex-Im approved an $18.9 million direct loan, at a low 2.63% rate, to an Indian power company buying SolarWorld panels.

Meanwhile, states and the federal government provide plenty of other subsidies for SolarWorld's customers. If you installed solar panels on the roof of your corner store in recent years, you could get a stimulus grant from the Treasury. Generate electricity with solar panels, and you can get the production tax credit. Many states require their utilities to buy solar- and wind-generated power.

But still, the profits don't flow. In recent weeks SolarWolrd announced it was laying off more than a third of the workers at its flagship Oregon factory. The company is losing hundreds of millions of dollars a year, and its stock is plummeting.

As a result SolarWorld has pocketed only $27 million of its $100 million in state tax credits, according to company spokesman Ben Santarris. If you don't make profits, you don't owe tax credits, and thus you can't benefit from tax credits. SolarWorld never got any federal tax credits, for the same reason.

Why can't SolarWorld - or Solyndra before it - turn a profit? Because the Chinese sell their solar panels for much cheaper. Chinese labor is cheaper, but U.S. solar companies like SolarWorld also charge that China "cheats."

China subsidizes its solar manufacturing and exporting even more than the U.S. does. This allegedly allows it to "dump" panels in Europe and the U.S., helping China kill U.S. competitors and thus corner the market. Santarris calls it "mercantilism."

Obama's Commerce Department, three weeks before the election, announced retaliatory tariffs against the Chinese solar industry.

But if Obama wants "affordable renewable energy," as he says, why doesn't he welcome cheap solar panels subsidized by the poor people of China. Cheaper energy means more disposable income and cheaper manufacturing, freeing up consumer spending and thus creating new jobs.

But Obama doesn't just want affordable solar energy, nor does he simply want jobs - he insists on solar jobs. That means more subsidies and tariffs.

Taxpayers and consumers pay the price for these policies. The benefit goes to companies like SolarWorld, which still can't turn a profit. You have to wonder if this trade war is a war worth fighting.




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here