Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Climate Alarmists Never Called Out For Spreading Fear
Al Gore was at it again over the weekend, scaring people unnecessarily about global warming. He, and others like him, should be held accountable for constantly trying to terrify the public. Will they ever be?
Preaching Saturday in Kansas City, the former vice president and current hysteric in chief declared while prattling on about the California drought that "the Dust Bowl is coming back, quickly, unless we act."
About that first Dust Bowl, the one in the 1930s: Was that also caused by man-made global warming, during a time when human carbon dioxide emissions were much lower?
Or was it just a part of the natural climate cycle that's been running throughout Earth's history?
The Kansas City Star reported that Gore packed them in at the "Westin Crown Center ballroom."
The Nobel Prize winner regaled the audience "with a 90-minute presentation, using photos and videos to illustrate a litany of floods, wildfires, torrential rains, droughts, dust storms, rising sea levels and increasing world temperatures."
In other words, what they heard at the Folk Alliance International conference was just another installment in Gore's long line of public disservice.
The man has made a post-vice-presidency career of scaring people for no reason. From his wildly exaggerated "Inconvenient Truth" movie to his claim years ago that the north polar ice cap would be gone by 2013 — it wasn't — to loopy predictions that "we're approaching this tipping point," Gore has been spreading hysteria and fright like a farmer sows seeds.
And so have the Democrats who have followed. Just last week, Secretary of State John Kerry said global warming is "the world's most fearsome weapon of mass destruction." He's clearly taking cues from his boss, President Obama, who has said that climate change is the "global threat of our time."
Obviously Kerry is unaware that there are life-and-death events with long-term consequences occurring in Ukraine and Venezuela during a time in which America's global reputation is in sharp decline.
Meanwhile, it seems Obama hasn't noticed how poor his economic recovery has been and how many Americans are either out of work or are painfully underemployed.
Maybe shrieking about global warming is a politician's attempt to cover up his failures while Gore keeps the climate change flame burning because he has a deep need to keep proving himself relevant and an oversized ego to feed.
Though the causes of their obsession might be dissimilar, all alarmists have one thing in common: Their predictions of disaster — the superstorms, the underwater coastal cities, famine, mass starvation, the end of snow, the end of skiing, a dangerous refugee problem — have been wrong.
Sure, there's been some rough weather recently. But it's just weather. As far as we know, no reputable scientist has positively linked the unusual cold and snow to man-made global warming.
Every weather event, every temperature reading, every cloud or lack thereof that the alarmists spin as proof of man-made global warming is actually within the historical variability of our climate.
Despite their record of failed predictions, the alarmists have never been held accountable for needlessly stirring up fear and generating anxiety.
Nor have they been called out for assembling a class of citizens who constantly hector everyone else about their carbon dioxide emissions.
The alarmists are instead feted, celebrated, glorified and held up as noblemen by a media and political class that are as invested in the narrative as the alarmists are. There's been no critical assessment, little inquiry into their methods and zero questioning of their motives.
Those questions are saved instead for the backward, unsophisticated skeptics and "deniers" who surely believe Earth is flat.
Facing Reality on Carbon Dioxide
Though you wouldn't necessarily know it based on news coverage, the United States in the reign of President Barack Obama is enduring the most prolonged period of slow growth and high unemployment since World War II. The president asserts that he saved us from another Great Depression, which, like his claim that the stimulus would "create or save" millions of jobs, is about as provable as the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin.
The Obama administration has done little to spur job creation, but a great deal to inhibit it. The president mocks the idea of deregulation ("cut two regulations and call me in the morning"), but the new layers of rules and directives his administration has layered over the already-existing sedimentary encrustations cannot have helped.
There is one segment of the economy that has defied the trough, though, and that's energy. The U.S. is now the world's leading producer of hydrocarbons. The International Energy Agency predicts that the U.S. will produce more petroleum than either Saudi Arabia or Russia by 2015. For the first time since 1949, the U.S. is a net exporter of gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. For the past several years, the oil and gas industry has added between $300 billion and $400 billion annually to the economy. Without the hydrocarbon boom, the economy would still be in recession.
Obama has attempted to take credit for the boom in domestic energy production. His website boasts, "The President established a national goal in 2011 to reduce oil imports by one third ... "
The president can issue goals and schedules to his heart's content, but like so much else about his tenure, these words are piffle. As Mark Mills, an energy analyst at the Manhattan Institute notes, the president had absolutely nothing to do with the energy renaissance that is reshaping our economy and can do more.
Neither did Big Oil. Small businesses, most with fewer than 15 employees, are responsible for 75 percent of America's energy production. "Fracking" is only part of the story. The boom in on-shore energy production is the result of American technological prowess wedded to entrepreneurial genius. Computers and cameras guide probes below ground, minimizing dry holes. Horizontal drilling permits seams long inaccessible to be tapped.
Rumor has it that in North Dakota, epicenter of the Bakken formation, workers are in such demand that McDonald's is paying up to $18 an hour. The state currently enjoys the lowest unemployment rate in the nation and boasts a $1 billion budget surplus.
The boom is not limited to North Dakota. At least 16 other states have more than 150,000 workers associated with the energy industry. In the states most associated with the fracking revolution -- Pennsylvania, Colorado, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Wyoming -- statewide employment growth has beaten the national average.
Is the domestic energy expansion bad for the environment? Certainly not when natural gas replaces coal. Besides, the world has not yet figured out how to power itself with other energy sources. Ethanol, which consumes 40 percent of all corn grown in the U.S., provides only 5 percent of transportation energy. Renewables, including hydropower, biomass wood, wind, solar and geothermal, accounted for just 9.3 percent of U.S. energy use in 2012, despite government subsidies. The developing world, including China, India and Brazil, are unwilling to sacrifice economic growth on the altar of climate change. Germany, which made a hasty and emotional switch away from nuclear power after Fukushima and made a heavy investment in wind power, is now building dirty coal generation plants to cope with rising prices.
Democrats can sneer at so-called deniers all they like, but they themselves are denying a hard reality: Hydrocarbons will continue to power the world for the foreseeable future. There is no other fuel that can put planes in the air, for example. If carbon dioxide is causing the planet to warm (and the models significantly overpredicted the amount of warming so far), mankind will have to find ways to cope with the problem other than massive taxes to discourage CO2 use. Maximizing natural gas usage is one such step. Basic R and D on improving batteries, solar cells and other technologies is another. Seawalls, dikes and other ameliorating efforts are a third.
In the interim, the energy boom in the U.S. is a job creator, a boon to our friends (like Canada, Britain and Israel -- also poised to exploit the new technologies) and a setback for our adversaries.
British taxpayers fund wind farm scam
Comprehensive report from Scotland
Wind farm firms have been accused of building huge, ineffective turbines to exploit a lucrative loophole funded by the taxpayer.
And although the Government knows about the scam, it has not acted to stamp it out.
The Government pays different rates for wind energy depending on how much power is produced by turbines. In an effort to encourage small businesses and individuals to get involved in the industry, David Cameron's coalition agreed to buy electricity produced by low-powered machines at around double the rate of towering turbines. This means businesses like farms can afford to run a small turbine, which does not produce huge amounts of electricity.
But some operators are exploiting a legal loophole by building huge turbines and then slowing them down so their output is within the same category as a much smaller machine.
Critics claim it can be highly lucrative because owners receive the higher Feed-In Tariff (FIT) rate but also have a giant turbine which will consistently out-perform smaller machines.
But the practice, known as de-rating, means that some of the huge turbines scarring the landscape have been deliberately modified to be ineffective.
The Sunday Post has learned that although the Westminster Government is aware of specific de-rating cases, it has not moved to close down the loophole.
Scottish Conservative MEP Struan Stevenson last night blasted: "The whole thing is getting exposed as one of the biggest scandals since the collapse of the banks and de-rating is simply another spoke in the wheel."
Labour MP Sir Tony Cunningham, who represents Workington in Cumbria, recently quizzed the Westminster Government to find out what action it was taking. In response to his parliamentary question Energy Minister Michael Fallon revealed he was aware that eight of 110 turbines installed at the higher 100kw to 500kw FIT rate up to September 2013 had been de-rated.
He also revealed talks with industry body RenewableUK had not identified a "workable technical solution".
Linda Holt, of campaign group Scotland Against Spin, said: "Consumers are being ripped off. They are being forced to pay more for the turbines and people have suffered greater visual impacts than they need to."
Regulator Ofgem, which licenses the FIT scheme, said it does not keep a list of how many turbines on the FIT scheme are de-rated. But when it receives applications for a modified turbine it makes stringent checks to ensure the turbine has been permanently downgraded. It also confirmed it has not yet rejected any applications for the coveted 100kw to 500kw FIT category.
RenewableUK's deputy chief executive Maf Smith said: "The wind industry adheres strictly to the guidelines drawn up by the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the independent regulator Ofgem.
"When issues have arisen, we have drawn them to the attention of Government and regulators, recommending improvements to ensure that the system is robust. The reasons for de-rating are complex. In some instances, the grid is unable to cope with a turbine operating at full power, as grid connections are limited in that area."
Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesperson said: "This is not a widespread problem and there is little evidence that de-rating is used as a means of accessing preferential tariffs."
* Wind farms were "secretly" paid nearly £20m to shut down before spells of stormy weather, an investigation revealed.
Companies qualify for "constraint payments" when they have to temporarily close down their turbines because bad weather would mean they produce so much power the National Grid would be unable to cope. The cash is paid to the companies through householders' domestic bills.
Dr Lee Moroney, of the Renewable Energy Foundation, uncovered a little known system called "forward trades" in which the Grid decides a sum that will be paid for a period of heavy weather, which is agreed before the bad weather even arrives.
It revealed £18.6m in forward trades were paid in 2011/12 in addition to £15.5m in traditional constraint payments. The payments covered all forms of power generation in England and Scotland but it is understood the majority applied to wind farms.
* The Feed-In Tariff is a Government scheme in which fixed-rate payments are made for every kilowatt hour generated by a turbine through a "generation tariff".
Turbines with a capacity of between 100kw and 500kw which come online before March 31 will earn 18.04p per kilowatt hour of electricity and those which generate 500kw to 1.5m kw earn 9.79p p/kwh. But the tariffs will be reduced for turbines coming online after April 1 with 14.82p p/kwh for turbines which produce between 100kw to 500kw and 8.04p p/kwh for 500kw to 1.5m kw machines.
Turbine owners can also use the electricity to power their businesses thus saving thousands of pounds in energy bills. They also see a second benefit from an "export tariff" in which excess energy not used by the turbine owner can be sold to the National Grid for 4.64p p/kwh.
* Critics reacted with fury when it was revealed millions of trees had been felled to make way for wind farms.
According to figures released in 2011, 10,000 hectares of woodland had been felled over the past decade to allow giant turbines to be built. It meant an area covering almost twice the size of Dundee could have been felled to fuel Scotland's "renewables revolution".
Critics hit out at the destruction of the forests which naturally soak up C02 emissions. John Mayhew, of the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland warned wind farms were the biggest threat to Scotland's rural habitats and landscapes.
* Last week The Sunday Post revealed tycoon Donald Trump was facing a fresh battle over wind turbines - at his new golf course in Ireland.
He recently withdrew plans to build a second golf course in Aberdeenshire, after losing a legal battle to stop construction of 11 turbines off the coast. He then revealed he had invested £12.4m in the Doonbeg Golf Club in County Clare instead.
But a planning application has been lodged for nine giant turbines to be built three miles inland from the course.
Environmental campaigners say they will be contacting Mr Trump to ask for his support in opposing the plans.
* In November The Sunday Post revealed a Scots dog owner had won a battle to have two wind turbines removed after claiming her pet suffered seizures.
But 66-year-old Irene Cardle's victory was tinged with sadness because her beloved dog Shadow died just days after the 19-yard machines came down.
Irene claimed Shadow's health seriously deteriorated after nearby Blacklaw Primary School, in East Kilbride, built two turbines close to her home. The retired book-keeper revealed the turbines had made their lives a misery and she was forced to leave the house for hours at a time to escape the constant flicker and whine.
South Lanarkshire Council said it removed the turbines because they were not "cost-effective".
Drought-Stricken California to Get No Irrigation Water; 17 California Communities Could Run Dry
As the California Farm Drought Crisis Deepens, a federal agency rules agricultural heartland won’t get any federal irrigation water this summer.
In a move that will likely signal higher food prices nationally, a federal agency says California’s drought-stricken Central Valley — hundreds of thousands of acres of the most productive farmland in the U.S. — won’t get any irrigation water this summer.
Friday’s announcement by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation follows an earlier warning of no irrigation deliveries from the California State Water Project and leaves Central Valley farms and cities with only wells and stored water to get through the worst drought since the state began keeping records in the 1800s.
Statewide, some 8 million acres of farmland rely on federal or state irrigation water.
California Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency following reports that the water content of snow in Northern California’s Sierra Nevada, whose spring runoff is stored in reservoirs and moved by canals to other areas of the state, stands at 29% of normal.
The announcement is significant because California is the largest U.S. agriculture producer. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s most recent California Agricultural Statistics for the 2012 crop year, the state remains the leading state in cash farm receipts, with more than 350 commodities representing $44.7 billion, or 11% of the U.S. total, in 2012.
Over a third of the U.S.’s vegetables and almost two-thirds of its fruits and nuts were produced in California, the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service said in a report. The federal agency’s announcement will particularly affect San Joaquin Valley farmers who are last in line to receive federal water, San Jose Mercury News reported, adding that many farmers will have to pump already overtaxed wells or leave fields fallow this year. Farmers will leave 500,000 acres of fallow this year, the paper quoted Mike Wade, executive director of the California Farm Water Coalition, as saying 17 California Communities Could Run Dry in 100 Days
Is Shutting Off Irrigation Water a Good Idea?
Of course it is. It was a bad idea to provide subsidies to water the desert in the first place.
California grows a lot of food. Much of it is because of subsidies that overcharge residential customers [for water] for the benefit of farm owners.
I have a better idea: eliminate tariffs, crop supports, and all subsidies. We can get peppers, onions, tomatoes, and other produce and fruit items from places that do not have US taxpayer subsidies.
Activists will howl "other countries subsidize farmers". Without a doubt many do. An if so, it will be at their expense, not US taxpayer expense.
In Australia, the debate is over coal seam gas
Greenies treat it like they treat fracking elsewhere -- with hysteria
Until last week I thought the NSW government had in effect banned the coal seam gas industry. The O'Farrell government has certainly abandoned public debate and as a result the greenies and Alan Jones have filled the vacuum with a lot of nonsensical claims.
But last week, the government designated a coal seam gas project in Narrabri as a "strategic energy project" which is meant to cut back on red and green tape.
Jones is in a different class to the greenies. He is a strong supporter of free enterprise. He supported me and Chris Corrigan over the waterfront dispute and he has been a strong voice for many good causes. But, for reasons I do not understand, Jones has a bee in his bonnet over the gas industry.
I became interested in natural gas at the request of the Victorian government, which was concerned at the impact of gas sales to China and its implications for the eastern Australia gas market. The massive developments in Queensland are already imposing transitional effects. There is a real prospect Sydney could suffer gas shortages causing major dislocation to business. Gas prices are already rising and it could take at least three years to supply additional gas to Sydney if everything goes well and if the government holds its nerve.
I do not discard community concerns about the gas industry. The NSW government has comprehensive regulations to manage it. Whatever the risks, they need to be addressed. But some activists are totally opposed to the gas industry regardless of the regulations and of the consequences.
The Greens also oppose coal and nuclear power and claim that solar and wind power can make the difference. It's hard to fathom why they oppose natural gas which has half the emissions of brown coal.
We all face risks every day. It's a risk to drive down the street or walk across the road. The question is whether the risks can be managed. Managing risk is the reality in Queensland, especially between farmers and the gas industry.
Professor Peter Hartley from Rice University in the US said: "There is no proven case of fracturing fluid or hydrocarbons produced by fracturing diffusing from the fractured zone into an aquifer." I believe you would be hard pressed to find any independently confirmed cases of water contamination as a result of drilling by the gas industry after more than 2 million fracking operations in the US.
There is a revolution in the US gas industry, to the extent that manufacturing plants that were established by the US in China are now popping up back home.
The US will soon have energy independence because of new technologies, such as fracking and horizontal drilling. In NSW and Victoria you would think the new technology is some form of plague.
The Santos project will face Jones leading the charge, microphone at the ready.
There are big changes under way in the NSW, Victorian and Queensland natural gas markets. Some big decisions will need to be made and they should be premised on the facts, the science and the public interest. The industry can provide jobs and rising living standards but for that to happen, there needs to be sensible debate, not a scare campaign.
Australian skeptic gets an apology (sort of) from "Hockeystick" Mann
By Andrew Bolt
Open and shut case. Michael Mann is a liar:
Normally I do not sue, but this seems to me a special case.
Mann, the climate alarmist who gave the world his dodgy ”hockey stick”, is now suing sceptic Mark Steyn for mocking him and his lawyers have produced deceptive legal documents in his defence.
Mann has published an outright lie that defames me, and should face the same punishment he wishes to mete out on Steyn for mere mockery.
I do not lie and Murdoch does not pay me to do so. Nor has Mann singled out a single “lie” I’m alleged to have committed.
In fact, Mann is so reckless with the facts that his tweet links to an obvious parody Twitter account run by one of my critics, clearly believing that it’s actually mine.
I have sent Mann the following email:
I note your publication of the following defamatory tweet:
You have published an outright lie that defames me.
I do not lie and am not paid by Rupert Murdoch to lie. You have not identified in your tweet a single example of an alleged lie, which suggests you simply made up this defamatory claim.
Indeed, you were so reckless with the facts that your tweet links to an obvious parody Twitter account run by one of my critics which you have clearly believed is mine.
Your other link is to the website of a warmist journalist who for years was a Murdoch columnist, too, writing on climate change. Was he, too, paid by “villainous” Rupert Murdoch to “lie to public”?
I’ve since learned that you last year retweeted another defamatory comment: “No other media organisation in any other civilised nation would employ #AndrewBolt as a journalist”.
As it turns out, that, too, is incorrect. I am not only employed by News Corp but by Australia’s Network 10 and Macquarie Radio Network, where I host a weekly television show and co-host a daily radio show respectively. I have also appeared as a commentator on other media outlets, including the state-owned Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Al Jazeera, the BBC and Canadian radio stations. I am very confident I would be able to find work as a journalist in another “civilised nation”.
I note this because repeated defamations under Australia’s law is evidence of malice – and your history of defaming me shows a complete disregard for the facts.
It is appalling that you could be so reckless, so spiteful, so destructive and so ill-informed. I have long doubted the rigor and the conclusions of your work as a climate scientist and often deplored the way you conduct debate, but even I had never before today considered publically calling you a liar.
I demand you delete your tweet and issue a public apology on the same Twitter account within 24 hours. Failure to do so will not only cast doubt on your commitment to truth in debates on global warming, but expose you to legal action.
Mann gives a very grudging “not necessarily” apology for his brazen lie (and follows it up elsewhere with a string of insults):
Too late. His mask has slipped. What else has he repeated - whether “science” or personal calumnies - that was false and motivated by spite or self-protection?
For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.
Preserving the graphics: Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere. But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases. After that they no longer come up. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here or here
Posted by JR at 7:33 PM