Monday, February 10, 2014

Can Migrating Corals Outpace Ocean Warming and Acidification?

Discussing:  Couce, E., Ridgwell, A. and Hendy, E.J. 2013. "Future habitat suitability for coral reef ecosystems under global warming and ocean acidification". Global Change Biology 19: 3592-3606.

According to Couce et al. (2013), "there is concern that the growing frequency and severity of mass bleaching episodes may lead to species composition shifts and functional collapse in coral reefs in the near future." On the other hand, they also note global warming "has the potential to improve currently marginal environmental conditions and extend the range of tropical coral reefs into higher latitudes," as is "demonstrated in the fossil record in response to warmer geological periods (e.g., Lighty et al., 1978; Veron, 1992; Precht and Aronson, 2004; Greenstein and Pandolfi, 2008; Woodroffe et al., 2010; Kiessling et al., 2012)."

But what if ocean acidification occurs concurrently?

To investigate this potential situation, Couce et al. employed "a suite of statistical models based on the environmental factors thought to be limiting to the present equilibrium distribution of shallow-water coral reefs, perturbing them with Earth System Model projected future sea surface temperatures and aragonite saturation changes (the simulations used in Turley et al., 2010)," while considering "a range of potential future CO2 emissions scenarios," but focusing on "the consequences of the 'A2' scenario (characterized by regionally oriented economic development and high population growth, expecting ca. 850 ppm CO2 by 2100)."

After all was said and done, the three UK researchers found, "contrary to expectations, the combined impact of ocean surface temperature rise and acidification leads to little, if any, degradation in future habitat suitability across much of the Atlantic and areas currently considered 'marginal' for tropical corals, such as the eastern Equatorial Pacific." And they note, in this regard, that "these results are consistent with fossil evidence of range expansions during past warm periods."

In terms of the nitty-gritty here-and-now, Couce et al. conclude by stating that their results "present important implications for future coral reef management, as they suggest that more emphasis should be placed on conservation efforts on marginal reefs as they are not necessarily a 'lost cause'."


Seven Rough Questions Corporations, Eco-Groups Avoid when they Proclaim ‘We Must Stop Global Warming’

When public figures make a far-reaching policy proclamation, shouldn't they clearly affirm they did their due diligence on the matter?

When a prominent person, group or corporation exploits a situation to promote an immediate singular solution to a controversial problem they deem to be settled while having no personal expertise on the topic and in the face of plausible fact-based criticisms of the basic problem, it’s a natural reaction to ask if they fully examined all aspects of it before adopting their final position. On the topic of global warming, readers here are free to borrow seven questions I repeatedly pose regarding due diligence. Perhaps they’ll also encounter the same deer-in-the-headlights reactions I’ve seen.

One can envision a cartoon caricature of the actual screencapture below, where an asterisk after the statement “The time for action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is now” might lead to fine print saying “comments supporting our view are welcome, dissenting ones will not be seen by the public”

In a recent public comment section of a blog at the Hewlett Foundation, I questioned the blog writer’s settled global warming science premise and subtly tried to induce some introspective thought about alleged funding influences on either side of the issue. When the blog writer completely sidestepped my questions, this was yet another perfect opportunity to pose the following seven questions I’ve been asking since 2009. Readers here are more than welcome to use them – I’ve highlighted the specific words in green that would need to be changed to suit whatever person, group or company readers wish to send these to.

* What is the Hewlett Foundation’s official position regarding “Climate Change Reconsidered: The 2009 Report of the NONgovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC)”, the related 2011 Interim Report, and CCR 2 Report? These reports, (seen here: are a detailed, authoritative rebuttal of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) findings, which the Obama Administration and the EPA rely on for their regulatory proposals.

* What is the Hewlett Foundation’s official position regarding allegations that the IPCC reports fall short of EPA guidelines requiring highly influential scientific assessments to meet a variety of standards for transparency, data availability and due diligence?

* Has the Hewlett Foundation done its own due diligence assessments of IPCC reports to assure readers of its statements that information conveyed by it on the issue of global warming is above reproach? If those assessments have been done for the Hewlett Foundation, can it provide specific references in IPCC reports where theories of natural causes for the current global warming have been disproved, or more simply, show that the IPCC had any requirement to also evaluate potential natural causes?

* If the Hewlett Foundation takes the position there is a scientific consensus in favor of the idea of human-caused global warming, is it prepared to show how “consensus” is the new operating standard of scientific inquiry across all fields of study?

* If the Hewlett Foundation’s position is indeed that global warming skeptic scientists operate under guidance from industries opposing CO2 regulation, is it prepared to provide specific proof of improper payments to those scientists, and specific proof of faults in the scientists’ resulting reports that are obvious indications of industry-guided science errors?

* Is the Hewlett Foundation able to demonstrate how energy sustainability and stewardship of the environment are synonymous with CO2 regulation, considering the questions above?

There’s really no right or wrong answers to those. But rather than answer them, the Hewlett Foundation’s blog moderator partly addressed the funding point in my first comment while avoiding my questions about his organization’s official position on skeptic climate science points. He subsequently directed me to a new blog by no less than the president of the Hewlett Foundation, Larry Kramer, who still skipped my questions.

I’ll spell out Kramer’s original blog link url here so readers are aware of what his blog’s prior title was, and so that all may see how the final url changes. Apparently “No Room for Debate” was too assertive, so it was changed mere hours after it appeared to “There Comes a Point”. The prior title is seen in my screencapture of the rebuttal I submitted. My rebuttal is no longer “under moderation”, though, it has been deleted.

The first time I used those seven questions was in July 2009, after seeing a news item about Deutsche Bank’s declaration that we need to do something about global warming. Deutsche Bank never replied. Various Nike personnel gave me the email run-around about my inquiry being sent to the top administrators, when I asked how they justified bailing out of the US Chamber of Commerce over the global warming issue. My questions are most often ignored, such as when the “Grannies for a Livable Future” did so last year.

The disturbing part of this entire exercise is the irony in which these people are so keen to inform the public about the perils of global warming, yet they are unwilling or unable to use a great public opportunity to tell us why they know skeptic climate scientists are unworthy of consideration.

But there was one instance where a corporate spokesperson felt no restraint.

We are familiar with Dr. S. Fred Singer, Dr. Frederick Seitz and also the Non-Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC).  Dr. Singer’s first critique of the UN IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report was titled Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate, and it listed 24 contributors from 14 countries and included a foreword by Dr. Seitz.   Climate scientists from NASA, Stanford University and Princeton who were contacted by ABC News dismissed the NIPCC report as “fabricated nonsense.”

The “fabricated nonsense” bit arises solely out of a March 23, 2008 ABC News piece titled “Global Warming Denier: Fraud or ‘Realist’?”, in which ABC’s viewers were never told who the NASA, Stanford and Princeton scientist accusers were, or how those scientists proved the NIPCC Report was either a fabrication or simply nonsensical. As seen in the balance of PNM’s response, they feel consensus validates the conclusion put out by IPCC scientists.

Lovely. The largest electricity provider in the state of New Mexico, PNM Resources,  apparently has a global warming policy that was significantly influenced by a single line out of a news report, and is otherwise shored up by little more than a ‘show of hands’. Their email to me had no restriction about reproducing it, and they went dead silent on my subsequent follow-up email questions.

By all means, feel free to use my set of questions to find out how many more public figures, politicians, groups or corporations are able to defend their ‘pro-global warming’ positions. Wouldn’t it be even more interesting if a professional pollster posed those questions in order to see how many end up looking like a deer caught in the headlights.


Global Warming Improving Mental Health?

Freelance writer Marlene Cimons, an adjunct professor of journalism at the University of Maryland, wrote an editorial published by LiveScience and Yahoo News claiming increases in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events damage mental health. Cimons presented this assertion as a means to claiming global warming is harming mental health.

Assuming for the sake of argument that extreme weather events cause mental health-damaging stress, the facts show global warming is improving rather than harming mental health.

While spending the majority of her editorial asserting a link between extreme weather events and mental health, Cimons addressed global warming science in less than a full paragraph. Citing an anecdotal story of somebody claiming to have stress-related headaches and depression after Sandy battered the New Jersey coastline in November 2012, Cimons made an unsupported leap in logic that global warming caused the storm and therefore caused the headaches and depression.

Global warming realists know factual evidence shows extreme weather events have become less frequent and extreme as our planet gradually warms from the Little Ice Age conditions that prevailed through the end of the nineteenth century. Cimons’ editorial is a timely reminder that global warming activists should not go unchallenged when they falsely assert the relatively few extreme weather events that still occur must be caused by global warming.



European Court of Justice condemns EPAW; Armed groups have more rights than wind farm victims

On 21 January 2014, the Luxembourg-based General Court of the European Court of Justice ruled that the European Platform Against Windfarms (EPAW) does not have “legal personality,” and therefore had no right to initiate a recourse in its chambers against the European Commission. epawEPAW represents 649 associations of windfarm victims across Europe. It had brought a case against the European Union, denouncing Brussels’ new renewable energy targets for not respecting the rights of citizens to participate in environmental decision-making under the provisions of Aarhus Convention legislation.

Yet in a judgment dated 18 January 2007, the Court of Justice had declared admissible an appeal by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), an organization with no legal personality, based outside the EU, and with a history of armed rebellion. The Court had then given value to the argument that "it is a question of avoiding excessive formalism” (case C-229/05 P).

Initially, the General Court had admitted EPAW’s recourse, and had processed it. Indeed, unincorporated bodies based in Ireland such as EPAW do not have to be constituted as registered associations to have certain rights regarding environmental matters. The Irish Supreme Court even confirmed on 27 November 2013 that in similar circumstances unincorporated bodies could bring matters into proceedings at the Irish High Court. These bodies argue that, lacking both time and resources, many groups of citizens cannot spend precious energy and money drafting legal statutes, organizing annual assemblies, writing minutes, doing secretarial work and filing reports to government(s).

Other EU institutions, like the European Ombudsman and the European Commission, did not refuse to process complaints submitted to them by EPAW. Neither have the United Nations in Geneva, which are watching over the rights of the people in environmental matters under the Aarhus Convention. Furthermore, the Platform is registered (Nº 66046067830-67) on the EU’s Transparency Register, which provides information on organizations seeking to have a say in EU decision making.

On 23 January, EPAW received from the General Court the defense memorandum of the European Commission, which had been lodged nearly 4 months earlier. Attached to that same email of 23 January was the ruling of the Court, not permitting EPAW to challenge the arguments of the Commission, dismissing the case and ordering EPAW to pay the costs incurred by Brussels in defending itself.

“The Aarhus Convention stipulates that access to justice must be ‘free of charge or inexpensive’,” complains Mark Duchamp, of EPAW. “As a platform, we have no money, and our lawyer is working pro bono. What the Court has done is to castigate windfarm victims, whereas it had helped the armed group PKK to get its funds unfrozen by EU banks.

“In the circumstances, we can’t even appeal the decision, risking more punishment we can’t afford. And if we can’t pay the defense costs of the European Commission, what then? Will Brussels name a figure, and force windfarm victims to sell their homes to pay for it? This is outrageous, especially when considering that the Commission has been violating its own laws on people’s participation in decision-making, as per the findings of the United Nations’ Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee. But Brussels is proceeding with its non-compliant 2020 renewable energy program in defiance of its own legislation and of the UN. It is now even seeking to extend this illegal program to 2030 in a manner which is, again, non-compliant with required public participation procedures. This is precisely what EPAW was, rightly, trying to stop.”

Duchamp is wondering about the independence of the Court of Justice from the executive arm of the EU: “the Court had admitted our recourse. They had processed it, notifying the other party (the European Commission). But all of a sudden, eight months later, they backtracked without letting us present new evidence, such as the Irish Supreme Court ruling, or even defend ourselves against the misleading allegations of the Commission. They showed a surprising hostility by condemning us to pay costs, whereas they had themselves decided to accept our recourse. If indeed our action was not admissible, why did they process it, notifying the defendant? And if it was their mistake, why condemn us to pay the European Commission’s lawyers? – Again this is outrageous, and we have a good reason to be indignant.

“Now the Commission is no longer under the threat of seeing its new renewable energy targets challenged by the General Court. Brussels was handed a get-out-of-jail-free card, the Aarhus Convention is dead in the water, and so may be the rule of law in the EU.”


Greenie bureaucrat responsible for big British flooding disaster

The Labour quango chief blamed by flood victims for wrecking homes and livelihoods has effectively been told to quit by No 10.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, now put in charge of handling the flooding crisis by David Cameron, said Environment Agency chairman Chris Smith should make a public apology for its mistakes.

And asked whether Lord Smith, a former Cabinet Minister, should resign, Mr Pickles said bluntly: ‘He has to make his own decision.’

He used brutal sarcasm to pile on the pressure, adding: ‘I don’t see myself becoming the advocate of the “Save Chris Smith” campaign or printing “Save The Environment Agency One” T-shirts.’

He accused Lord Smith of playing ‘divide and rule’ by ‘trying to set town against country’, letting the EA become ‘riddled with politically correct’ eco-fanatics opposed to dredging, presiding as the organisation ‘lost its way’ and spending 20 times more money on its bloated bureaucracy than on keeping rivers clear.

Mr Pickles’s comments came 24 hours after Lord Smith visited the flood-hit Somerset Levels and refused to resign. The Minister showed little sympathy over the mauling local residents gave Lord Smith, who lives in a £1 million London apartment with beloved Tibetan terrier Jinny.

‘It’s always good to get feedback from your customers,’ Mr Pickles observed drily. ‘At least he’ll never have to hire a focus group to know what people are thinking.’

Ignoring Labour claims that the Government is ‘scapegoating’ Lord Smith, Mr Pickles urged him to give in to demands to say sorry for the EA’s alleged failings.

‘It’s not a sign of weakness. A bit of reaching out and humanity and humility is good for everybody, whether a distinguished quangocrat or a member of the Cabinet.’

Mr Pickles added: ‘Being flooded is like a burglary: Afterwards, the effect continues. It’s not just the drying out or loss of precious possessions and memories. Every time it rains people wonder, “Is it going to happen again?” ’

Mr Pickles was asked by Mr Cameron to take charge of the crisis last week after Environment Secretary Owen Paterson had to have urgent treatment for a detached retina.

Mr Paterson, who is married to an aristocrat’s daughter, had been criticised for visiting the Somerset Levels in town shoes, not Wellington boots. He was accused of seeming ‘shrill and aloof’ in interviews and in dealing with flood victims.

By contrast, plain-talking Yorkshireman Mr Pickles was born into a Labour-supporting family and has the common touch you would expect of an Essex MP.

Mr Pickles said the EA had blundered by stopping dredging. ‘The Somerset Levels were man-made and dredging was a fundamental part of keeping it going, just as it is with any land below sea level right across the world. You need to continuously dredge.

‘It worries me that in a politically correct attempt to be more environmentally sound than the next person, something as basic as this has been forgotten.’

No one has ever accused Eric Pickles of being a slave to political – or any other – fashion. By contrast, culture vulture Lord Smith was a New Labour Minister who cut his teeth in trendy, Labour-run Islington, the urban fount of political correctness.

‘Chris Smith tried to play divide and rule by setting town against country [when he said that the EA had to protect one or the other]. That is a false choice.

‘The people on the ground have done a fantastic job, but the agency has lost its way and become riddled with political correctness.

It is not the first time he has clashed with the EA’s eco warriors. ‘Don’t even start me on my arguments with them about fortnightly rubbish collections,’ he roared.

The flood has submerged the homes and lives of thousands of people. And if Mr Pickles has his way, the EA and Lord Smith will join the casualty list.

He plans to force town halls to spell out on council tax bills how much money each household is contributing to the EA’s eye-watering £1.2 billion annual budget. He said: ‘The EA hiked up the council tax by around 20 per cent in the West Country last year with little to show for it. ‘

He added: ‘It must not be invisible any more. They need a clear leadership and to understand that people matter. People are entitled to feel safe in their homes.

‘The EA gets £1.2 billion a year but paid out £395 million on staff last year and just £20 million on improving maintenance of culverts and channels to ensure the free flow of water.’ It was the most expensive agency of its type in Europe, costing nearly as much as in the USA.

Mr Pickles had no truck with green activists who say people on the Somerset Levels chose to live below sea level and should move.

‘That’s bad news for most of the Netherlands isn’t it?’ he quipped, with trademark deadpan humour.  ‘I am certainly not in retreat. I want people back in their homes and animals back in their farms.’

Mr Pickles said he was determined to restore train links to Cornwall after the track crumbled into the sea in Dawlish in Devon.

But he does not rule out re-routing the track inland in the future. And he plans a massive ‘storm audit’ of all coastal road and rail links to find out whether other changes are needed.

‘We will look at all our strategic infrastructure to ensure it is as  clear as possible from disruption from storms.’

He is due to visit areas hit by the floods in a few days. When he does, unlike Mr Paterson, he will definitely be wearing Wellingtons.

Are they black or green?

‘Black, of course,’ laughed Mr Pickles. Green Wellies are for the posh kids, like Messrs Paterson and Cameron.


Forgotten: Historic hot temperatures recorded with detail and care in Adelaide, Australia

What I found most interesting about this was the skill, dedication and length of meteorological data taken in the 1800′s. When our climate is “the most important moral challenge” why is it there is so little interest in our longest and oldest data?

Who knew that one of the most meticulous and detailed temperature records in the world from the 1800′s comes from Adelaide, largely thanks to Sir Charles Todd. The West Terrace site in Adelaide was one of the best in the world at the time, and provides accurate historic temperatures from  “Australia’s first permanent weather bureau at Adelaide in 1856″. (Rainfall records even appear to go as far back as 1839.)  Lance Pidgeon went delving into the National Archives and was surprised at what he found.

If we want to understand our climate the records from the 1800′s in Adelaide are surely worth attention?

The BOM usually shows graphs like this one below starting in 1911. You might think you are looking at the complete history of Adelaide temperatures and that smoothed temperature is rising inexorably, but the historic records remain unseen. While “hottest” ever records are proclaimed in the media, few go hunting for older hotter records. Yet, one of the hottest temperatures recorded in Australia were recorded in 1828, and raging heatwaves with temperatures over 50C occurred in the 1800s. In 1896 a monster heatwave across the nation killed hundreds, and people were even evacuated on emergency trains.

BOM temperature records for Adelaide ignore older warmer days: BOM

The old equipment was not identical to modern stations, but it was recorded diligently and with expert attention, and in the same location for over 120 years. When compared side by side, the older types of screens produced slightly more  extreme temperatures than the Stevenson screens but this does not mean that the old recordings should be forgotten. With careful adjustment the Adelaide record could be one of the longest in the world. Strangely, no one seems too interested. If these old records showed Adelaide was way cooler in the 1860′s, do we suppose an eager PhD student would not have jumped at the chance to splice historic old and new records into a long alarming graph and a popular thesis? The question begs…

I fear the cult of the young means the smarts of the oldest of old-timers is automatically discounted, yet those old codgers  from the 1800′s  weren’t necessarily old at the time, and were connected to the harsh realities of the natural world in way that soft cushy net-connected university grads could not imagine today.

Below, notice how commonly those red spikes go about 40C? Adelaide gets scorched nearly every year. It’s summer.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


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