Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Forget his fearsome reputation - Genghis Khan rose to power thanks to a period of wet and warm WEATHER
During what climate historians know as the Medieval Warm Period. Against all evidence, Warmists doggedly insist that the MWP occurred only in North Atlantic regions. Mongolia is in the North Atlantic area? It is in fact on the opposite side of the Eurasian continent
He was one of the most feared warriors in history, waging bloody war across Asia and Europe. But Genghis Khan’s 13th-century rampage may have never happened had it not been for a spell of good weather.
The leader of the Mongol armies created a vast empire that eventually stretched across China, India, Russia and Eastern Europe.
Historians used to think his armies of nomadic horsemen were fleeing the bleak, cold and dry Mongolian plains for warmer regions. But now scientists have discovered that the rise of the Mongol Empire coincided with a 14-year spell of weather that was the warmest and wettest for 1,000 years.
The academics, from Columbia University in New York, discovered the weather anomaly by studying the rings of ancient trees. They think the conditions created those needed for a boost in lush growth of grass, which would have fuelled the soldiers' horses and fattened their livestock.
The good weather lasted from 1211 to 1225 - the exact period when Genghis Khan and his armies rose to prominence.
Amy Hessl, co-author of the study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said: ‘The transition from extreme drought to extreme moisture right then strongly suggests that climate played a role in human events.
‘It wasn’t the only thing, but it must have created the ideal conditions for a charismatic leader to emerge out of the chaos, develop an army and concentrate power.
‘Where it’s arid, unusual moisture creates unusual plant productivity, and that translates into horsepower. Genghis was literally able to ride that wave.’
Before Khan rose to power the Mongol tribes had been racked by disarray and internal warfare. In the early 1200s he united the tribes, creating a military state that invaded its neighbours and expanded, soon ruling most of what would become modern Korea, China, Russia, eastern Europe, southeast Asia, Persia and India.
Khan made himself master of half the known world, and inspired mankind with a fear that lasted for generations.
He was a prolific lover, fathering hundreds of children across his territories. Some scientists think he has 16 million male descendants alive today.
In all, Genghis conquered almost four times the lands of Alexander the Great. He is still revered in Mongolia and in parts of China.
The empire eventually fragmented, but the Mongols’ vast geographic reach and their inventions survived. Their ideas included an international postal system, organized agriculture research and a civil service based on merit.
Neil Pederson, who co-wrote the paper, said: ‘Before fossil fuels, grass and ingenuity were the fuels for the Mongols and the cultures around them.
Other historical events that studies say were affected by climate include the disappearance of the Maya, the expansion and fall of Roman imperial power and the 13th-century collapse of south east Asia's Angkor civilisation.
Unwinding the Energiewende
The Energiewende or “energy transition” in Germany is a cautionary tale in many respects not least the unintended consequences of policy.
The German energy policy has been guided by three European directives. A target for reduction in carbon emissions, an effort to increase energy efficiency and critically a target for renewables in the energy mix. The desire to cut carbon emissions may be laudable if somewhat ineffective if China and India continue to increase their output of CO2, and a push to reduce energy efficiency seems sensible. However it is the third of the EU directives that has possibly led to most harm.
A target for renewables in the energy mix has forced EU governments to pick and support the only technologies that are scalable within the present timescale, regardless of cost. So Germany has offered large subsidies for solar and wind which has led to a huge increase in German energy prices but then had to offer subsidies to German heavy industry to shield them from the increasing costs of power. But then these energy subsidies to industry have in turn been challenged by the EU.
Furthermore, the German government’s stance on energy includes decommissioning its nuclear power stations. This combined with an increase in renewables which by their nature provide intermittent power and which have priority access to feed the grid has destabilized the energy market. Gas plants previously providing base load power are now only used to balance renewables making them uncompetitive and leading to the bizarre consequence that Germany is now building new lignite coal power stations to provide this back up generation capacity for its large renewable sector.
So the end result is that due to the skewed policy response caused by EU energy policy, Germany is locked into very heavily subsidized solar and wind production causing energy prices to rise whilst at the same time building more coal fired capacity to back up the intermittency of its large renewable sector which negates the central plank of EU policy to reduce carbon emissions. And the increasing price of energy is seeing large German energy users turning to the US to invest in new plant and further carbon leakage to the developing nations
All this is in stark contrast with the US. Cheap and abundant shale gas has pushed much of the dirtier coal energy production out of the energy mix, so without heavy market intervention the US has dramatically reduced its CO2 emissions whilst slashing its energy costs. And whilst once the energy debate in the EU was in part characterized by showing the world how policy directives could lead the way in effective CO2 reduction the result seems to prove the exact opposite.
Blowing the Budget in the Wind
If the history of the Obama administration is any indication, one of the most efficient ways for the federal government to waste money is to “invest” it in green energy projects. Projects that are doomed to fail because they are nowhere near being economically viable.
In fact, we could argue that the green energy industry itself just isn’t sustainable, which makes these kinds of government-subsidized “investments” a very bad deal for taxpayers.
It would be one thing if only the money of millionaires and billionaires were at high risk of being lost, but when ventures like these are entirely dependent upon government subsidies to even exist in the first place, that’s a very good indication that there are a lot of better and smarter things that could be done with the taxpayers’ money. Especially when there is no hope of the green energy projects ever living up to their promises.
Unfortunately, because the green energy industry is so dependent upon the government’s subsidized support for its existence, rather than developing economically viable technologies and businesses, it spends a lot of its limited resources on keeping the stream of government subsidies that feed it going. Their latest gambit has reached all the way into the White House, as President Obama’s latest budget proposal is actually proposing disadvantaging their profitable competitors while making their own subsidized support permanent:
Yesterday, President Obama unveiled his proposed national budget for fiscal year 2015, and it includes a smorgasbord of efforts on climate issues.
“We know that future generations will continue to deal with the effects of a warming planet,” the President said yesterday in a speech introducing the budget.
The $3.9 trillion document allocates about $1 trillion for discretionary spending across both defense and non-defense, with the rest going to mandatory programs like Social Security and Medicare. Within that $1 trillion, Obama carves out numerous programs to push forward the climate action plan he announced last year….
This includes a permanent extension of the production tax credit for wind — a cost of $19.2 billion over ten years — which expired at the end of 2013….
The budget would axe about $4 billion in tax breaks that are currently available to the oil and natural gas industries, and another $3.9 billion in tax preferences for coal.
It must be really nice to have a “friend” in the White House who is willing to help you stack the deck in your favor, no matter the cost to taxpayers. Bloomberg Businessweek explains how important it is for the wind energy lobby to get that tax credit made permanent:
In Texas, the wind tends to blow the hardest in the middle of the night. That’s also when most people are asleep and electricity prices drop, which would be a big problem for the companies that own the state’s 7,690 wind turbines if not for a 20-year-old federal subsidy that effectively pays them a flat rate for making clean energy no matter what time it is. Wind farms, whether privately owned or part of a public utility, receive a $23 tax credit for every megawatt-hour of electricity they generate. (A megawatt-hour is enough juice to power about 1,000 homes for one hour.) This credit, which was worth about $2 billion for all U.S. wind projects in 2013, has helped lower the price of electricity in parts of the country where wind power is prevalent, since wind producers can charge less and still turn a profit. In Texas, the biggest wind-producing state in the U.S., wind farms have occasionally sold electricity for less than zero—that is, they’ve paid to provide power to the grid to undercut the state’s nuclear or coal energy providers.
This sweetheart deal looks to be on its way out, in part because it succeeded in what it set out to do. Over the past five years, wind has accounted for 36 percent of all new electricity generation installed in the U.S., second only to new natural gas installations. Wind now supplies more than 4 percent of the country’s electricity. At about 60,000 megawatts, there’s enough wind energy capacity to power 15.2 million U.S. homes, a more than twentyfold increase since 2000. It’s still tiny compared to fossil fuel: Combined, coal and natural gas supply roughly two-thirds of U.S. electricity. But wind produces about six times more electricity than solar. That’s led Congress to take steps to do away with tax incentives first established in 1992 to help the fledgling industry take root. In December lawmakers allowed the credit to expire.
That the green energy lobby is now working to make the wind energy tax credit a permanent burden upon U.S. taxpayers, even as the industry supporters claim the industry’s “success”, really means that the entire industry’s business model is fatally flawed. In calling to make the tax credit permanent at their behest, President Obama is really communicating on their behalf that the wind energy industry will never be able to sustain itself without it.
A smart investor would recognize these things and cut their losses so they could move on to greener opportunities. Allowing the wind energy industry’s tax credit to permanently expire rather than be made a permanent burden for American taxpayers would make that possible.
Wealthy environmentalists push Democrat Harry Reid to lean-in to green energy
Democrats have decided to lean-in, not back-away, from so-called clean energy. Despite the embarrassing history of government-funded green-energy failures, “wealthy environmentalists are pushing Democrats to take bolder positions on climate change”—and global warming, as an issue, provides the impetus for more green-energy spending.
The Boston Globe reported on a recent “summit between Washington’s liberal elite and San Francisco’s climate intelligensia” that included “Senate majority leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, six other senators, and … Al Gore.” The Globe points to new efforts by Democrats to “make global warming a central issue during the midterms.”
Reid has, according to the Globe, “pledged to allot time to anyone who wants to discuss climate change at party lunches or on the Senate floor.” He needs to keep the ruse alive because he is connected to more than $3 billion in Energy Department green-energy deals that helped him get reelected in 2010—behavior that has earned him the moniker: “one of America’s most corrupt politicians.”
Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), along with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), has planned an all-night talkathon on the subject that will take place on Monday, March 10—about which Boxer said: “So many Senators coming together for an all-night session shows our commitment to wake up Congress to the dangers of climate change.” According to a press release from the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, 28 Senators will be participating—slightly more than one quarter of the Senate.
Apparently they don’t want to miss out on the $100 million in campaign cash the “wealthy environmentalists” have committed to cooperative candidates—while also “threatening to withhold money from candidates in swing states who support the Keystone oil pipeline.”
The Globe quotes Wade Randlett, a renewable energy entrepreneur who co-hosted the San Francisco fundraiser, as saying: “What was really energizing is everyone understood clean energy would be at the forefront of the Senate agenda. It wasn’t back-away; it was clearly lean-in.”
So, who are these “wealthy environmentalists,” who are driving the agenda and making powerful U.S. Senators jump like an organ grinder’s monkey to do their bidding? The answer is found in Christine Lakatos’ newest report for the Green Corruption Files: The dark, driving force behind the president’s massive green-energy scheme.
Since 2012, Lakatos and I have partnered to expose Obama’s green-energy crony-corruption scandal. She does the research and writes the thorough exposé on the chosen topic and, based on her work, I write the overview report and link to the Green Corruption File for those who want the full story. Our collaborative efforts have been cited by prominent commentators, such as Rush Limbaugh and Michelle Malkin, and referenced in many news stories.
Lakatos focuses on left-wing think tank, Center for American Progress (CAP) founded by John Podesta—who is now serving as White House counselor specializing in climate change issues. The Huffington Post (HP) says this about CAP and Podesta: “John Podesta probably is and has been the most important opinion leader for progressives in America in the last decade, certainly during the term of the Obama Administration, through his leadership of the Center for American Progress (CAP).” HP points out: CAP has “been a vocal voice for this president’s policies in the media and on the Hill. But their area of highest visibility is advocacy for a clean energy economy where John Podesta has personally led the effort.”
Podesta is the organ grinder from within the White House and progressive political platforms. Tom Steyer is now doing the same from outside Washington—leading “San Francisco’s climate intelligensia.”
Lakatos chronicles many key players with readily recognizable names who have connections to the Obama White House, CAP, and green energy projects. They include Lawrence Summers, Carol Browner, Steve Spinner, and Van Jones—as well as many others who have been heavily involved but have maintained a lower profile and corporate donors that are tied to tens of billions of green energy funds. However, in light of his recent political-influence reveal, Tom Steyer—CAP Board Member and donor, Obama bundler, and host of the recent “summit” (held on his 1800-acre ranch, with views of the Golden Gate Bridge)—is worthy of special attention.
Lakatos states: “Like most prominent Obama fundraisers, Steyer has enjoyed relatively easy access to the White House, and as of the summer of 2012, it was reported that he had met with senior White House officials in the West Wing on at least four occasions. Steyer was even handpicked to make a cameo appearance at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.”
Steyer founded and was the Senior Managing Member of Farallon Capital Management—until late 2012 when the firm’s partners bought out his “profit share.” His net worth is estimated to be $1.55 billion—some of which is reported to have been made through millions of dollars worth of shares his firm invested in big oil companies such as BP and pipeline company Kinder Morgan. Fox News reports: “He continues to have significant investments with Farallon, according to a spokesman, Steyer has directed the fund to ‘green’ his portfolio and divest him of all positions in oil and coal—including Kinder Morgan.”
Regarding his recent interest in California’s blooming green-technology industry, the New York Times (NYT) quoted Steyer as saying: “really what we’re fighting is self-interested dirty-energy companies.”
Having made billions through “dirty-energy companies,” Farallon Capital Management has been greening its portfolio. The NYT cites Steyer, when he was still with Farallon, as “the main financial backer of Greener Capital [now EFW Capital], a venture firm that invests in renewable energy start ups.” A 2012 Washington Free Beacon report points out some of Farallon’s other green-energy investments:
Farallon owns nearly $14 million worth of shares of Westport Innovations, the self-described “global leader in natural gas engines.” The Westport Carbon Project (WCP), according to its website, “was established to monetize the carbon emission reductions associated with the Westport HD engine, the Cummins Westport ISL G and other natural gas engines developed with our OEM partners. The WCP enables customers to earn annual carbon rebate cheques for the natural gas vehicles in their fleet as of January 1, 2010.”
Farallon also owns more than $8 million worth of shares of Fuel Systems Solutions, which according to its website “designs, manufactures and supplies proven, cost-effective alternative fuel components and systems for transportation and industrial applications. Its gaseous fuel technology for propane (LPG) and natural gas (CNG) generates savings, reduces emissions, and promotes energy independence.”
While a 2011 Forbes profile on Steyer quotes him as saying: “I am a true believer that we have to change the way we generate and consume energy in the United States,” it would also be easy to view his combined investment and politicking efforts as “self-interested,” as he does stand to profit from the polices he’s promoting.
Senator David Vitter (R-LA), in the Fox News story accuses Steyer of having financial interest in the death of a pipeline he opposes on environmental grounds. Vitter says: “I think it’s hypocrisy, quite frankly. Who knows when he's going to divest of these investments ... maybe in a few months when his helping kill Keystone will boost them up to top value. ... Who knows?”
According to Steyer spokesman Chris LeHane, “This divestment has been taking place consistent with the applicable legal requirements.”
Steyer calling traditional energy companies “self-interested” is like the presumed morally superior pot calling the proven economically superior kettle black. Perhaps he really is a “true believer.” If so, he should remove himself from any form of financial gain he can reap from his political activism and donations. But maybe, like I do, those self-interested oil companies truly believe that developing our own resources to provide all Americans with energy that is efficient, effective and economical is in America’s best interest.
The 2014 elections give Americans the opportunity to decide whether they side with the 28 Democrat Senators at Monday night’s sleepover who are dancing at the behest of the organ grinders—or if we want to learn from the mistakes of their failed green-energy projects only profiting the wealthy while robbing taxpayers, raising electricity rates and hurting the poor.
Do we lean-in or back-away?
"The great Stalin plan for the transformation of nature"
Stalin preferred trees to people too
On October 20, 1948, the Soviet government announced the world'ss first state- centered program to reverse human-induced climate change, a grandiose plan to construct 5.7 million hectares of forest in the Russian south. However, the plan collapsed upon Stalin's death in 1953 because of a fundamental contradiction at the plan's heart. At first, the Stalin Plan advanced a basically conservative vision of restoring the steppes to an imagined prehistoric state, but soon a group of radical scientists advancing untested silvicultural theories managed to take control. The resulting struggle between the old approach and the new brought about the plan's collapse.
TWENTIETH-CENTURY DICTATORS liked trees. Although the environmental record of authoritarianism offers a dismal list of failures, including the nuclear accidents at Chernobyl and Chelyabinsk-65, the fouled air of Beijing and Shanghai, the vanished fisheries of the Aral and Caspian Seas, and the acidified industrial wastelands of Bitterfeld and Katowice, afforestation projects represent a notable exception. Indeed, afforestation on a massive scale was the environmental panacea of choice for dictators in the twentieth century.
The Nazis and their Reichforstmeister, Hermann Göring, in addition to making the conservation-spirited Dauerwald the preferred forestry method for the German Reich, initiated a sweeping National Afforestation Program in 1934, focused on creating ecologically sound mixed forests, a program which succeeded in increasing the overall forest cover of Germany despite aggressive industrialization and the rigors of war.
Benito Mussolini created a “ National Forest Militia", a black-shirted paramilitary group under the direction of the General Command of the Voluntary Militia for Natural Security, to assist in “ technical work, reforestation ... and propaganda in the field of silviculture. ”
Mao Zedong devoted little attention to forestry matters, and his Great Leap Forward (1958 – 1960) and Cultural Revolution (1966 – 1969) resulted in widespread forest destruction, but his followers have taken afforestation very seriously, embarking in 1978 on the construction of a “ Great Green Wall ” more than four thousand kilometers in length, with the aim of doubling the forest cover of the Chinese north.
But older and bolder than any of these was the Soviet effort, which began in the early 1920s and reached its zenith in 1948 with the “Great Stalin Plan for the Transformation of Nature”, the world's first state-directed effort to reverse human-induced climate change.
The Stalin Plan foresaw the creation of nearly six million hectares of new forest — an area greater than that of all the forests of Western Europe — in the form of windbreaks along the rivers of the Russian south and the perimeters of the collective farms. According to Soviet claims, these new forests would halt desiccating Central Asian winds, cool and dampen the climate of southern Russia, and eliminate the periodic droughts that had afflicted the steppe for decades. But despite an enormous propaganda blitz, including a patriotic oratorio composed by Dmitrii Shostakovich, and the allocation of huge sums of money, the plan was abandoned after fewer than five years,
All Scientists are Sceptics ~ Australia's Professor Bob Carter
Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of the science of climate change is the lack of any real substance in attempts to justify the hypothesis ~Professor Stewart Franks
ICSC Chief Science Advisor Professor Bob Carter discusses the NIPCC report: "Any human global climate signal is so small as to be embedded within the background variability of the natural climate system"
"Professor Bob Carter, PhD on the latest NIPCC report", radio interview on Truth News radio, Australia.
"In today's show we are joined by Professor Bob Carter for the entire second hour to discuss the findings contained in the latest NIPCC report.
"The NIPCC ("Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change") is an international panel of nongovernment scientists and scholars who have come together to understand the causes and consequences of climate change from a sceptical viewpoint, looking at information which is routinely ignored by the official U.N. body, the IPCC.
"The NIPCC was formed in response to the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report, released in 2007 with the aim of providing an independent, second opinion on the IPCC's findings. The first full report of the NIPCC was published in 2009. Another report followed in 2011, and the latest report was published in 2013.
"The 2013 NIPCC report contains an Executive Summary and a Summary for Policy Makers which present the findings in an approachable way for general readers. "From the Summary For Policy Makers:
"NIPCC’s conclusion, drawn from its extensive review of the scientific evidence, is that any human global climate signal is so small as to be embedded within the background variability of the natural climate system and is not dangerous. At the same time, global temperature change is occurring, as it always naturally does. A phase of temperature stasis or cooling has succeeded the mild twentieth century warming. It is certain that similar natural climate changes will continue to occur.
"In the show today, Professor Carter goes through some of the key findings in the latest report and addresses some popular misconceptions about polar ice and climate variability over the past ten thousand years."
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 7:35 PM