Sunday, March 16, 2014

No warmer now than it was in 2003

And other differences are microscopic when expressed as percentages of degrees Kelvin

No warming.  That is what can be deduced from data compiled by NASA as it relates to temperature over the past decade.

The average temperature in 2003 was 14.61 degrees Celsius. And the average temperature in 2013 was 14.61 degrees Celsius, at a growth rate of 0 percent.

Yet, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increased by more than 5.5 percent, from 375.77 parts per million (ppm) to 396.48 ppm, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  Curious.

In fact, since 1959 — as far back as NOAA’s dataset goes for carbon dioxide levels — carbon dioxide has increased a whopping 25.48 percent, from 315.97 ppm to today’s level of 396.48 ppm.

Casting further doubt on the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s man-made global warming hypothesis, carbon emissions have been accelerating, too. For example in the 1960s, they grew at an average rate of 0.27 percent a year, 0.39 percent in the 1970s, 0.45 percent in the 1980s, 0.42 percent in 1990s, and 0.54 percent in the 2000s.

Shouldn’t temperatures be accelerating, too?

They only grew at an average rate of 0.18 percent in the 2000s. That compares with 0.01 percent average annual increase in the 1990s, 0.12 percent in the 1980s, and 0.14 percent in the 1970s. In the 1960s, temperatures actually dropped an average annual 0.39 percent rate, even as emissions increased.

Does this suggest that the more carbon increases, the less impact it has on temperature?

A better question then might be to what degree the rate of increase in carbon emissions actually affects temperatures? The below chart shows CO2 increasing at a rate far faster than temperatures.

In the meantime, policy makers at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) say we have to take their word for it and attempt to curb carbon emissions here in the U.S. — if that’s even possible — while those emissions promise to continue growing unabated overseas at an ever-faster pace.

According to BP, carbon emissions will increase by 29 percent by 2035 based on continued growth in emerging markets.

That implies carbon dioxide will be at a whopping 114.98 ppm above today’s levels, or an average annual increase of 1.3 percent. That is faster than carbon dioxide has ever grown.

And so, if carbon emissions will be accelerating over the next couple of decades, then temperatures should, too, eventually. Right?

The good news is we’ll find out very soon if the rapidly increasing carbon emissions result in the increasing temperatures the UN has predicted. So far, they have not, calling into question why the EPA is issuing any carbon emission restrictions. This isn’t settled at all.


Not reproduced above is some nonsense about Celsius not being a ratio scale.  The author has evidently been bluffed by Greenies.  Celsius can be converted to a ratio scale (degrees Kelvin) simply by adding a constant and if you compared temperatures using the Kelvin scale, you would get an even SMALLER percentage change in temperature in recent times

The bonfire of insanity: Woodland is shipped 3,800 miles and burned in Drax power station. It belches out more CO2 than coal at a huge cost YOU pay for... and all supposedly for a cleaner, greener Britain!

On a perfect spring day in the coastal forest of North Carolina I hike along a nature trail – a thread of dry gravel between the pools of the Roanoke river backwaters. A glistening otter dives for lunch just a few feet away.

Majestic trees soar straight and tall, their roots sunk deep in the swampland: maples, sweetgums and several kinds of oak. A pileated woodpecker – the world’s largest species, with a wingspan of almost 2ft – whistles as it flutters across the canopy. There the leaves are starting to bud, 100ft above the ground.

The trees seem to stretch to the horizon: a serene and timeless landscape.

But North Carolina’s ‘bottomland’ forest is being cut down in swathes, and much of it pulped and turned into wood pellets – so Britain can keep its lights on.

The UK is committed by law to a radical shift to renewable energy. By 2020, the proportion of Britain’s electricity generated from ‘renewable’ sources is supposed to almost triple to 30 per cent, with more than a third of that from what is called ‘biomass’.

The only large-scale way to do this is by burning wood, man’s oldest fuel – because EU rules have determined it is ‘carbon-neutral’.

So our biggest power station, the leviathan Drax plant near Selby in North Yorkshire, is switching from dirty, non-renewable coal. Biomass is far more expensive, but the consumer helps the process by paying subsidies via levies on energy bills.

That’s where North Carolina’s forests come in. They are being reduced to pellets in a gargantuan pulping process at local factories, then shipped across the Atlantic from a purpose-built dock at Chesapeake Port, just across the state line in Virginia.

Those pellets are burnt by the billion at Drax. Each year, says Drax’s head of environment, Nigel Burdett, Drax buys more than a million metric tons of pellets from US firm Enviva, around two thirds of its total output. Most of them come not from fast-growing pine, but mixed, deciduous hardwood.

Drax and Enviva insist this practice is ‘sustainable’. But though it is entirely driven by the desire to curb greenhouse gas emissions, a broad alliance of US and international environmentalists argue it is increasing, not reducing them.

In fact, Burdett admits, Drax’s wood-fuelled furnaces actually produce three per cent more carbon dioxide (CO2) than coal – and well over twice as much as gas: 870g per megawatt hour (MW/hr) is belched out by wood, compared to just 400g for gas.

Then there’s the extra CO2 produced by manufacturing the pellets and transporting them 3,800 miles. According to Burdett, when all that is taken into account, using biomass for generating power produces 20 per cent more greenhouse gas emissions than coal.

And meanwhile, say the environmentalists, the forest’s precious wildlife habitat is being placed  in jeopardy.

Drax concedes that ‘when biomass is burned, carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere’. Its defence is that trees – unlike coal or gas – are renewable because they can grow again, and that when they do, they will neutralise the carbon in the atmosphere by ‘breathing’ it in – or in technical parlance, ‘sequestering’ it.

So Drax claims that burning wood ‘significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions compared with coal-fired generation’ – by as much, Burdett says, as 80 per cent.

These claims are questionable.  For one thing, some trees in the ‘bottomland’ woods can take more than 100 years to regrow. But for Drax, this argument has proven beneficial and lucrative.

Only a few years ago, as a coal-only plant, Drax was Europe’s largest greenhouse gas emitter, and was often targeted by green activists. Now it boasts of its ‘environmental leadership position’, saying it is the biggest renewable energy plant in the world.

It also gets guaranteed profits  from the Government’s green energy subsidies. Last year, these amounted to £62.5 million, paid by levies on consumers’ bills. This is set to triple by 2016 as Drax increases its biomass capacity.

In the longer term, the Government has decreed that customers will pay £105 per MW/hr for Drax’s biomass electricity – £10 more than for onshore wind energy, and £15 more than for power from the controversial new nuclear plant to be built at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

The current ‘normal’ market electricity price is just £50 per MW/hr.

Mr Burdett admitted: ‘Our whole business case is built on subsidy, like the rest of the renewable energy industry. We are simply responding to Government policy.’

Company spokesman Matt Willey added: ‘We’re a power company. We’ve been told to take coal out of the equation. What would you have us do – build a dirty great windfarm?’  Meanwhile, there are other costs, less easily quantifiable.

‘These are some of our most valuable forests,’ said my trail companion, Derb Carter, director of the Southern Environmental Law Centre in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

‘Your government’s Department  for Energy and Climate Change claims what’s happening is sustainable,  and carbon neutral. But it’s not. What you’re actually doing is wrecking the environment in the name of saving  the planet.

After our hike through the forest, Mr Carter and I drove to a nearby airfield, where we boarded  a plane. From 2,000ft up, the forest spread beneath us. Soon, however, we reached an oblong wedge, an open wound in the landscape.

It was a recent ‘clear cut’ where every tree had been removed, leaving only mud, water and a few stumps. Clear cuts are the standard means of harvesting these forests, and this one covered about 35 acres.

In the next 10 minutes, we flew over at least a dozen such holes in the tree cover. Finally a looming smokestack appeared up ahead: Enviva’s pellet plant at Ahoskie.

To one side lay the material that provides the plant’s input: a huge, circular pile of logs: tens of thousands of them, each perhaps 30 or 40ft long.  In the middle was a heavy-duty crane. It swivelled round and grabbed bunches of the logs as if they were matchsticks, to feed them into the plant’s machines.

Later, we inspected the plant on the ground. It’s clear that many of the logs are not branches, but trunks: as Carter observed, they displayed the distinctive flaring which swampland trees often have at their base.

Here the story becomes murky. At Drax, Burdett said that in making pellets, Enviva used only ‘thinnings, branches, bentwood .  .  . we are left with the rubbish, the residue from existing forestry operations. It’s a waste or by-products industry.’  He insisted: ‘We don’t actually chop whole trees down.’

But looking at the plant at Ahoskie, Carter said: ‘I just don’t get this claim that Drax doesn’t use whole trees. Most of what you’re seeing here is whole trees.’

Pressed by The Mail on Sunday, Enviva yesterday admitted it does use whole trees in its pellet process. But according to spokeswoman Elizabeth Woodworth, it only pulps those deemed ‘unsuitable for sawmilling because of small size, disease or other defects’.

She claimed such trees, no more than 26 inches in diameter, make up a quarter of the wood processed at Ahoskie. Another 35 per cent comes from limbs and the top parts of trunks whose lower sections went to saw mills. To put it another way: 60 per cent of the wood cut by the loggers who supply Enviva is turned into pellets.

The firm, she added, was ‘committed to sustainable forestry… replacing coal with sustainably produced wood pellets reduces lifecycle emissions of carbon dioxide by 74 to 90 per cent.’

How fast do these forests, once cut, really regrow?

Clear-cut wetlands cannot be replanted. They will start to sprout again naturally quite quickly, but according to Clayton Altizer of the North Carolina forest service: ‘For bottomland sites, these types of forests are typically on a 60 to 100-year cycle of growth depending on the soil fertility.’ Other experts say it could easily take more than 100 years.

That means it will be a long time before all the carbon emitted from Drax can be re-absorbed. For decades, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere will be higher than it would have been if Drax still burnt only coal.

Drax’s Nigel Burdett yesterday admitted he did not know how long a North Carolina clear-cut bottomland swathe would take to regrow, but insisted this simply doesn’t matter. What counted, he said, was not the areas which had been cut, but the whole region from which the pellets were sourced.

Drax’s website implies unmistakeably that biomass deserves its ‘carbon neutral’ status because the wood cut for pellets regrows. But Mr Burdett said: ‘The rate at which it re-grows is irrelevant. The crucial issue is how much there is across the whole catchment area.’

He said that in North Carolina, as in other southern states, more wood is growing than being cut so the ‘sustainable’ claim is justified.

There is an obvious objection to this: the forests would be growing still faster, and absorbing more CO2, if they weren’t being cut down.

Burdett’s argument gets short shrift from conservationists.

Danna Smith, director of North Carolina’s Dogwood Alliance, said the pellet industry increases the pressure to ‘over-harvest’ forests, as landowners know they have a guaranteed market for material which they could not otherwise sell: ‘It adds to the value they get from clear-cutting.’

Moreover, she added, if this incentive did not exist, they would wait until the smaller trees were big enough to cut for furniture and construction – and all that time, they would be absorbing carbon.

A recent study showed that bigger, older trees absorb more CO2 than saplings. As for Drax’s claim that what counts is regrowth across the region, ‘that just doesn’t capture what’s happening around the mills where they’re sourcing the wood’.

According to a study by a team  of academics, published in December by Carter’s law centre, Enviva’s operations in North Carolina ‘pose high risks to wildlife and biodiversity, especially birds’.

The Roanoke wetlands are home to several rare or endangered species: the World Wildlife Fund said in a report that the forests constitute ‘some of the most biologically important habitats in North America’ and constitute a ‘critical/endangered resource’.

Meanwhile, in North Yorkshire, the sheer scale of Drax’s biomass operation is hard to take in at first sight. Wood pellets are so much less dense than coal, so Drax has had to commission the world’s biggest freight wagons to move them by rail from the docks at Hull, Immingham and Port of Tyne. Each car is more than 60ft high, and the 25-car trains are half a mile long. On arrival, the pellets are stored in three of the world’s largest domes, each 300ft high – built by lining colossal inflated polyurethane balloons with concrete. Inside one of them, not  yet in use, the echo is impressive. Light filters in through slits in the roof, like a giant version of the Pantheon church in Rome.

To date, only one of Drax’s six turbine ‘units’ has been converted from coal to biomass: another two are set to follow suit in the next two years. Eventually, the firm says, its 3.6 gigawatt capacity – about five per cent of the UK total – will be ‘predominantly’ biomass, burning seven million tons of pellets a year.

From the domes, the pellets are carried along a 30ft-wide conveyor belt into a milling plant where they are ground to powder. This is burnt in the furnaces, blown down into them by deafening industrial fans.

All this has required an investment of £700 million. Thanks to the green subsidies, this will soon be paid off. Even if all Britain’s forests were devoted to Drax, they could not keep its furnaces going. ‘We need areas with lots of wood, a reliable supply chain,’ Mr Burdett said.

As well as Enviva, Drax buys wood from other firms such as Georgia Biomass, which supplies mainly pine. It is building new pellet-making plants in Mississippi and Louisiana.

Last month, the Department of Energy and Climate Change issued new rules on biomass sourcing, and will insist on strict monitoring to ensure there really is ‘sustainability’.

In North Carolina, this will not be easy: as Carter points out, there is very little local regulation. But wouldn’t a much more effective and cheaper way of cutting emissions be to shut down Drax altogether, and replace it with clean new gas plants – which need no subsidy at all?

Mr Burdett said: ‘We develop  our business plan in light of what the Government wants – not what might be nice.’


It's time for GM crops, adviser tells British PM

There is no evidence genetically modified crops are dangerous and they may even be more beneficial to health than natural produce, says government's top science adviser

Genetically modified crops could be more nutritious than natural produce, the government’s Chief Scientific Adviser has told the Prime Minister.

Sir Mark Walport has written to David Cameron recommending that farmers should start to plant GM crops.

There is no scientific evidence to suggest that such crops are dangerous to humans or the environment, he says.

They could even be more beneficial to health, he argues. Scientists could add nutrients to the genetic make-up of plants.

They would cut down on the need for pesticides and help farmers feed a growing population at a time when global warming threatens climates. “Extensive studies have failed to reveal any inherent risks to humans or the environment,” said Sir Mark. “We take it for granted that because our shelves and supermarkets are heaving with food that there are no problems with food security. But we have limited land in the UK and climate disruption and population growth are putting pressure on food supply.”

GM crops have polarised opinion since they were first produced by American scientists in 1982.

Activists claim they could cause cancer, damage ecosystems and cross-pollinate with grasses to produce “super-weeds”.

No GM crops are currently grown in Britain. Sir Mark is calling for a new body to approve GM crop production on a case-by-case basis, in the same way that the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence regulates new drugs. Currently GM crops must be passed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and then approved by the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes — an independent body of scientific experts.

But scientists have accused the EFSA of being increasingly “hostile” to GM plants.

However, other academics said that the European Union regulations were important. Prof Joe Perry, of the University of Greenwich, said: “The regulatory process within the EU gives confidence to consumers.”

Previous studies have suggested that some modified crops could cause tumours and early death. But a report published on Thursday by academics from Cambridge and Reading Universities ruled out any link to cancer.

A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said the government was working to allow GM crops to be grown in Britain.


Strange Democrat priorities

They pulled an all-nighter in the Senate on one of the coldest nights in DC, after the coldest winter on record with over 55 new lows having been recorded. They held their all-nighter not to discuss the Ukraine and the invasion of the SECOND independent state by the smug thug in the Kremlin; or a downed possibly-by-terrorism Malaysian airliner; they were concerned not that more people will wind up uninsured than before Obamacare began, or that a huge number of doctors are leaving with no one who will replace them or to take Obamacare payments anyway; not about the election in Florida that will turn congress Republican...(oh yes, the Republican candidate won!)...but Climate Change.

Before the AGW narrative took hold, I mean, the one cartoonists with a great sense of humor at Walt Disney's studios created, the climate has never changed. Every day the climate was exactly like the day before, the month before, the year before - the same. The idea that climate is capable of changing naturally as the deniers insist, is preposterous.

The Ukraine is coming apart at the seams, 30,000 Russian troops wearing no insignia (both the invasion and the no insignia is a violation of international law) have invaded eastern Europe, and one Democratic senator after another Democratic senator thought it proper to get up on his soapbox with pre-prepared speeches from the White House, to talk at length about the $50 million donation some hedgie offered to support the narrative that Global Warming is "real." In other words, after having already spent billions over the last decade trying to convince  unbelievers, aka infidels, by repeating it a million times that Global Warming is real will make it so, the Democrats are looking to fund out of the nation's treasury another round of AGW religious indoctrination of the nation's citizens at taxpayer's expense.

Global Warming? It's about money and if you thing it's about science, there's a really cute pet DODO I can sell you. It talks and walks like a duck and dispenses cash like an ATM.

The Democrats tell us that 98% of the American people believe Global Warming is real - which must be true if one had recalculated the US population where 98% of Americans were democrats who lived in The Village or Palm Beach, and the nation's Republicans are represented by the 2% who own penthouse pied a terres next to The Donald's at Trump Towers. As it happens, only Democrats - and no one else - actually believe the warming narrative the very year after the planet had experienced a 60% polar ice cap growth; and after a three ft. sheet of ice covered the North American continent and much of the world too, for almost three months...

...which reminds me before I forget:

If Global Warming were not a political, but a genuine scientific issue, "settled science" as our president tells us just as convincingly as he told us that "words have meaning" and that "You can keep your health care plan; you can keep your doctors," I ask why is this story about a global meltdown only believed by  Democratic operatives and no one else but Democrats hype it?  Just asking, but then who am I  to ask anything?

Because it isn't political? Of course it's not political!

It's financial!

People will make a lot of money in the world's largest redistributionist scheme ever devised. Money from your pockets to theirs. They have a lot of money riding on the AGW story, including the hedgie who will "donate" $50 million to propagate it.

Indeed, we Americans do live in The Twilight Zone, the epicenter is Congress, and with the all nighter in mind, one can observe that DC is like a roach motel into which one can check in, but one cannot check out.

Email from

China’s Shale Revolution Taking Shape As Production Surges More Than Fivefold

China, which sits on the world’s largest shale reserves, may exceed its 2015 output goal, as a new project in the nation’s southwest and the promise of fresh investment leave government targets looking outdated.

China Petrochemical Corp., the parent of the listed company known as Sinopec, agreed last week with local government to build shale gas capacity at its Fuling site to 5 billion cubic meters a year by 2015. It suggests a national target of 6.5 billion cubic meters will be met or surpassed.

“China can easily beat the 2015 target, thanks largely to the accelerated pace of development from Sinopec’s Fuling project,” said Shi Yan, an analyst at UOB-Kay Hian Ltd. in Shanghai. Shi said contributions from other shale producers could lift 2015 output as high as 10 billion cubic meters.

While China’s reserves are almost double that of the U.S., its production target is meager compared to U.S. output in 2012 of 266 billion cubic meters. High costs, difficult terrain and lack of infrastructure have stunted development and cast doubt on whether even its existing targets could be met. As concerns over coal-fired pollution mount, the nation is pushing harder to unlock its potential shale bonanza.

“China is on the way to achieve its 2015 target, especially with the suddenly expanded capacity from Sinopec,” said Gordon Kwan, regional head of oil and gas research at Nomura Holdings Inc. in Hong Kong. He said PetroChina Co., the nation’s biggest oil and gas company, may produce as much as 2 billion cubic meters of shale gas in 2015.

Output Surge

China’s annual shale gas production surged more than fivefold in 2013 to 200 million cubic meters a year, according to the Land and Resources Ministry. The country consumed 169 billion cubic meters of gas in 2013, with about one third coming from imports.

The Fuling project recorded daily production of 2.2 million cubic meters on March 2, up from 1.5 million cubic meters, according to the Chongqing Daily, the official newspaper of the municipality where Fuling is located. Sinopec Chairman Fu Chengyu said the Fuling agreement signals the start of a “massive” development phase for shale gas in China, according to a report on the land ministry’s website on March 4.

At the National People’s Congress in Beijing, which wraps up this week, both Fu and Zhou Jiping, the chairman of PetroChina and its parent China National Petroleum Corp., said they would open up shale development to private investment, as part of government-driven reforms.

Collective Effort

The collective effort makes the 2015 target achievable, said Neil Beveridge, a senior research analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in Hong Kong. However, it will still be “a bit of a stretch” to meet China’s far more ambitious annual target of 60 billion to 100 billion cubic meters by 2020, he said.

China holds 25.08 trillion cubic meters of exploitable onshore shale-gas reserves, the land ministry said in March 2012. The U.S. has 13.65 trillion cubic meters of technically recoverable gas from shale formations, its Energy Information Administration said in January that year.

Lv Dapeng, Sinopec’s Beijing-based spokesman, and Li Runsheng, CNPC’s Beijing-based spokesman, didn’t answer two calls each to their office lines seeking comment on the companies’ production targets.


Green Hypocrisy: CEO of Virgin Airlines Says Global Warming Skeptics Should ‘Get Out of Our Way’

Richard Branson, the CEO of Virgin, recently said that climate change deniers should “get out of our way.” The comment comes after Apple CEO Tim Cook said earlier this month that global warming skeptics should not buy shares in his firm. But the Daily Caller pointed out that Branson’s statement is, well, just a bit hypocritical to say the least.

    Virgin CEO Richard Branson may be championing green business investments but his airline empire has emitted more than 7.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere over the years.

    Branson recently took to his blog to decry global warming denialism, saying that those who are skeptical of mankind’s effect on the planet should “get out of our way.” But Branson’s own airline companies have emitted millions of metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere.

I think it’s a good time to revisit this video of filmmaker and journalist Phelim McAleer pointing out the hypocrisy of environmentalists at the UN Climate Change Conference in 2009.



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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