Friday, May 30, 2014

British Antarctic survey dynamites W. Antarctic scare

Glacial retreat shown to be a recurring natural phenomenon.  Journal abstract follows article below

Media reports have hyped the collapse of several large western Antarctic glaciers, quoting scientists who said the melting ice could raise sea levels by another 4 feet. Left-leaning news outlets ran with headlines like “This Ice Sheet Will Unleash a Global Superstorm Sandy That Never Ends” and “Global warming: it’s a point of no return in West Antarctica.”

“The collapse of this sector of West Antarctica appears to be unstoppable,” said NASA glaciologist Eric Rignot, whose research on the collapsing ice sheets made waves.

“The fact that the retreat is happening simultaneously over a large sector suggests it was triggered by a common cause, such as an increase in the amount of ocean heat beneath the floating sections of the glaciers,” Rignot said. “At this point, the end of this sector appears to be inevitable.”

But as BAS research shows, the collapse of Antarctic glaciers is nothing new. In fact, studies show this has been happening for thousands of years — without the help of mankind.

“Our results show that the large isotopic warming… since the 1950s is not unusual, with equally large warming and cooling trends observed several times over the past 308 years,” BAS scientists found. “This is consistent with a study from continental West Antarctica [Steig et al., 2013] which concluded that this recent warming is not unprecedented in the context of the past 2000 years.”

“The record reveals a reduction in multidecadal variability during the twentieth century and suggests that the warming since the late 1950s has not yet taken the system outside its natural range” the scientists continued. “This is not inconsistent with the exceptional recent global warming, during which approximately 20% of the observationally covered Earth’s surface still does not show 100 year trends that are significantly larger than internal variability.”


A 308-year record of climate variability in West Antarctica

By Thomas, Elizabeth R et al.


We present a new stable isotope record from Ellsworth Land which provides a valuable 308-year record (1702-2009) of climate variability from coastal West Antarctica. Climate variability at this site is strongly forced by sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and atmospheric pressure in the tropical Pacific and related to local sea ice conditions. The record shows that this region has warmed since the late 1950s, at a similar magnitude to that observed in the Antarctic Peninsula and central West Antarctica, however, this warming trend is not unique. More dramatic isotopic warming (and cooling) trends occurred in the mid-19th and 18th centuries, suggesting that at present the effect of anthropogenic climate drivers at this location has not exceeded the natural range of climate variability in the context of the past ~300 years.

Geophysical Research Letters, 40 (20). 5492-5496.

EPA To Unilaterally Push Cap And Trade On Carbon Emissions

Despite being soundly rejected a few years ago, cap-and-trade will soon get its U.S. encore — but not in Congress. The Obama administration will likely use its executive power to unilaterally impose carbon dioxide emissions trading systems.

The Environmental Protection Agency will unveil regulations for existing U.S. power plants early next month. For months, onlookers have been speculating about what could be included in the EPA’s rule for existing power plants.

But over the past few days it has become clear that the Obama administration will use the EPA to push cap-and-trade systems and other anti-fossil fuel policies on U.S. states. Administration insiders have told news outlets that cap-and-trade will likely be one of the options the EPA gives states to cut their carbon dioxide emissions.

The Wall Street Journal reported the EPA’s proposal will “include a cap-and-trade component where a limit is set on emissions and companies can trade allowances or credits for emissions” to meet new federal rules. The Journal added that power plant “operators could trade emissions credits or use other offsets in the power sector, such as renewable energy or energy-efficiency programs, to meet the target.”

The plan is being sold as a “flexible” one. By allowing states a menu of policy options to meet federal mandates, the standards will ostensibly meet the unique needs of each individual state. But the stark reality behind the proposal is that it will be a boon for states that have already imposed cap-and-trade systems — which are overwhelmingly Democratic states.

The Washington Post reported last week that “the measure will spur regional carbon-trading programs on the East and West coasts” according to “several individuals briefed on the matter”.

The Democratic governors of California, Oregon, Washington have all signed executive agreements to tax on carbon dioxide. California already operates a cap-and-trade system that went into effect in 2012. Washington’s Democratic governor Jay Inslee recently signed an executive order to impose cap-and-trade and phase out coal power.

“This is the right time to act, the right place to act and we are the right people to act,” Inslee said last month. “We will engage the right people, consider the right options, ask the right questions and come to the right answers — answers that work for Washington.”

Several eastern U.S. states and Canadian provinces have already started their own regional cap-and-trade system called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Currently nine states participate in RGGI — Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Only one of the nine states is led by a Republican.

News reports say that the EPA will require states to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by a whopping 25 percent in the coming decades. The new rules are set to be unveiled next week by President Obama himself, underpinning the significance of the new rules.

The EPA’s emissions limits for existing power plants will put new burdens on coal-reliant states and raise electricity prices as more coal plants are retired. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is set to release a study on the economic costs of the EPA’s carbon dioxide regulations, which will likely be staggering.

“We anticipate it to be unprecedented in complexity and cost,” Dan Byers, senior director for policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s energy arm, told an audience last week.

Environmentalists have argued that emissions limits for existing power plants would not only prove environmentally beneficial, but would also be a boon to the economy.

“This is a magic moment for the President — a chance to write his name into the record books,” Frank O’Donnell, director of Clean Air Watch, told the Post. “But history will ultimately judge this less by an excellent speech than by the final contents and outcome of this initiative.”

The Natural Resources Defense Council, like the Chamber, is preparing to release its own study this week on the economic benefits of carbon dioxide regulations.

NRDC argues that mandating emissions limits would spur jobs in energy efficiency and green energy and lower power bills and pollution levels.

But the coal industry disagrees. They have already seen the Obama administration effectively ban the building of new coal-fired power plants unless they use costly clean coal technology.

“The impact will not only be to greatly increase electricity rates, putting U.S. manufacturing at a competitive disadvantage, but [also to] jeopardize reliability of the nation’s electric grid,” said Hal Quinn, president of the National Mining Association.

Coal currently generates about 40 percent of the country’s electricity — a share which has declined in recent years because of stricter environmental regulations and increased competition from natural gas.

Hundreds of coal plants have already been slated for early retirement across the country, according to industry data. And many more are sure to follow once the Obama administration cracks down on emissions from existing power plants.

Retiring coal plants are already set to help increase power prices by 4 percent this year, according to the Energy Information Administration. By 2020, power prices are predicted to rise another 13 percent — not including the cost impacts of the EPA’s upcoming power plant rules.

“While President Obama continues to pedal around his climate agenda in the hopes of solidifying a presidential legacy, concerns about how American businesses and consumers will actually meet these costly rules have been met with only silence,”  said Laura Sheehan, spokeswoman for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electrcity.

“Given the current path we’re on, the administration is gambling with the livelihoods of hardworking Americans and is threatening to tip our country over the edge in costly and unreliable energy policies,” Sheehan said. “And once we go over that ledge, there’s no coming back up.”


Germany’s Green Jobs Miracle Collapses

From:  "Die Welt"

Renewable energy was supposed to create tens of thousands of green jobs. Yet despite three-digit Euro billions of subsidies, the number of jobs is falling rapidly. Seven out of ten jobs will only remain as long as the subsidies keep flowing.

The subsidization of renewable energy has not led to a significant, sustainable increase in jobs. According to recent figures from the German Government, the gross employment in renewable energy decreased by around seven per cent to 363,100 in 2013.

Counting the employees in government agencies and academic institution too, renewable energy creates work for about 370,000 people.

This means, however, that only to about 0.86 percent of the nearly 42 million workers, which are employed in Germany, work in the highly subsidized sector of renewable energy. Much of this employment is limited to the maintenance and operation of existing facilities.

Further job cuts expected

In the core of the industry, the production of renewable energy systems, only 230,800 people were employed last year: a drop of 13 percent within one year, which is primarily due to the collapse of the German solar industry.

There is no improvement in sight, according to the recent report by the Federal Government. It says: “Overall, a further decline of employees will probably be observed in the renewable energies sector this and next year.”

15 years after the start of green energy subsidies through the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), the vast majority of jobs from in this sector are still dependent on subsidies.

Hardly any self-supporting jobs in Green energy

According to official figures from the Federal Government, 70% of gross employment was due to the EEG last year. Although this is a slight decrease compared to 2012, seven out of ten jobs in the eco-energy sector are still subsidized by the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG).

Around 137,800 employees work in the wind sector which was the only eco-energy sector, besides geothermal, that increased employment. About 56,000 employees in photovoltaic sector depend on EEG payments.

Investments drop by 20 percent

Subsidies for the generation of green electricity have been paid for almost 15 years and have piled up into a three-digit billion sum, which has to be paid over 20 years by electricity consumers through their electricity bills. This year alone, consumers must subsidize the production of green electricity to the tune of around 20 billion Euros. A lasting effect on the labour market is not obvious.

The report, “Gross employment in renewable energy sources in Germany in 2013″, commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Economy and Energy, was jointly written by the institutes DLR, DIW , STW , GWS and Prognos.  According to the researchers, the cause of the decrease in employment is the declining investments in green energy systems.

The investments in renewable energy sources in Germany fell by a fifth, to 16.09 billion Euros in the past year. Only about half as many solar panels were installed in Germany as the year before. Investment in biomass plants and solar thermal dropped as well.

“Nothing left from the job miracle“

The researchers do not expect that the production of high quality green energy systems will still lead to a job boom in Germany. For this year and the next they expect a further decline in employment instead. Thereafter, low-tech sectors such as “operation and maintenance” as well as the supply of biomass fuels are expected to „stabilise the employment effect”.

„A few years ago the renewable sector was the job miracle in Germany, now nothing is left of all of that,” said the deputy leader of the Greens in the Bundestag, Oliver Krischer.

The Green politician is sceptical about the attempts by the Federal Government to reduce the subsidy dependence of the green energy sector: „The brakes on the expansion of renewables by the previous conservative-liberal government is now fully hitting the job market,” said Krischer: “Thanks to the current EEG reform by the Union and SPD, the innovative and young renewables industry will lose more jobs. “

The bottom line, no jobs remain

The report by the Federal Government explicitly estimates only the „gross employment“ created primarily by green subsidies. The same subsidies, however, have led to rising costs and job losses in many other areas, such as heavy industry and commerce as well as conventional power plant operators.  For a net analysis, the number of jobs that have been prevented or destroyed as a result would have to be deducted from the gross number of green jobs.

Official figures for the net effect of renewables on employment in Germany were originally supposed to be presented in July, according to the Federal Economics Ministry. However, the presentation has now been delayed until the autumn.

Researchers such as the president of the Munich-based IFO institute, Hans-Werner Sinn, believe that the net effect of subsidies for renewable energy on the labour market is equal to zero:

“Whoever claims that net jobs have been created must prove that the capital intensity of production in the new sectors is smaller than in the old ones. There are no indications for that. ”

“There is no positive net effect on employment by the EEG,” said Sinn: “Through subsidies for inefficient technologies not a single new job has been created, but wealth has been destroyed. “


They were warned

Article below from September, 2009

One of the UK’s leading energy and environment economists warns that the government’s promise that green energy policies will create tens of thousands of jobs and stimulate competitive industries is an illusion.

In his report The Myth of Green Jobs, published today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, Professor Gordon Hughes (Edinburgh University) dispels this assumption by finding that

* The government target for generating electricity from renewable energy sources will involve a capital cost that is 9-10 times the amount required to meet the same demand by relying upon conventional power plants.

* The extra investment required for renewable energy – about £120 bln – will be diverted from more productive uses in the rest of the economy.

* Increases in the cost of energy together with the diversion of investment funds means that many manufacturing firms will either go bankrupt or relocate.

* It is impossible for the UK to acquire a long-term comparative advantage in the manufacture of renewable energy equipment by any combination of policies that are both feasible and affordable.

* Policies to promote renewable energy could add 0.6-0.7 percentage points per year to core inflation from now to 2020.

* The cumulative impact of these policies could amount to a loss of 2-3% of potential GDP for a period of 20 years or more.

“Claims by politicians and lobbyists that green energy policies will create a few thousand jobs are not supported by the evidence. In terms of the labour market, the gains for a small number of actual or potential employees in businesses specialising in renewable energy has to be weighed against the dismal prospects for a much larger group of workers producing tradable goods in the rest of the manufacturing sector,” Professor Hughes said.


The Obama Administration’s Hypocritical Environmental Policy

Congress and the federal government have enacted policies and made decisions in the name of protecting the environment. The problem is, now those decisions have backfired — and made us worse off environmentally. Here are five examples:

1. Keystone Delay Means More Rail: Stating concern for the environment, President Obama delayed and rejected the initial Keystone XL Pipeline permit even though the State Department found no environmental complications. After five years of political dodges and delays from the president, TransCanada is now seriously considering using railroads to deliver the oil to refineries – an option the State Department did find less environmentally safe. Carloads of crude oil have increased from 9,500 in 2008 to more than 407,000 last year. The State Department determined that rail delivery had a higher likelihood of spills and  higher CO2 emissions than pipelines. Rail transport should be an option, of course. But if Obama’s top concern is the environment, he should opt for the pipeline – and not drive TransCanada to rail transportation.

2. Biofuels are an ecological and human disaster: As part of his climate change agenda, Obama has praised alternative fuels as the way of the future and condemned oil-based transportation fuels for tying the U.S. to dependence on CO2 emissions and foreign countries. But evidence continues to mount that ethanol, the largest source of alternative fuels, is at best accomplishing nothing in the way of efficiency or energy independence. Not only are biofuels an economic loser, the Department of Energy funded a recent report that found biofuels actually increase CO2 emissions. Other studies have shown our biofuels policy results in poorer land and water quality, not to mention higher food prices. Though America’s biofuels policies predate Obama, there’s no reason to support a policy that even environmental organizations have called “an ecological disaster.”

3. Wind Power and Bloody Bird Baths: There is no end to what the Obama administration will do to protect critters such as lesser prairie chicken, but it has a funny way of protecting the environment when it comes to politically correct renewable energy projects such as wind. For example, the Obama administration has worked to cut red tape for wind projects by allowing them a higher kill rate of bald and golden eagles during a project’s first 30 years of operation, which is conveniently the approximate lifetime of a wind generator. Who needs America’s bird when you can have an intermittent power source propped up with the taxpayer’s money?

4. Killing Nuclear Energy: Obama and his administration have expressed support for nuclear power, which fits neatly into their carbon-less vision for America’s electricity supply. Nuclear power is emissions-free. It also has a small physical footprint and waste stream compared to the massive amount of energy it generates. But one look at the state of the industry would tell you otherwise.

Because of the Department of Energy’s complete failure to meet its responsibilities to collect and dispose of nuclear waste, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has stopped all licensing activities. Through no fault of the industry or technology, this means no new plants or life extensions for existing ones. This has been a failure of many administrations and congresses, but Obama has distinguished himself by abandoning the waste plan Congress passed and replacing it with no plan at all. If that weren’t enough, an antiquated and onerous regulatory regime has only become more antiquated and onerous on Obama’s watch.  Between his policies on nuclear waste and regulation, Obama is effectively killing an affordable, CO2-free energy source.

5. Global Warming Poverty Obama has set into motion regulations that severely limit CO2 emissions from electricity generation (as well as vehicles). If successful, these regulations will effectively phase out some 40 percent of the nation’s electricity, which is generated by coal. A Heritage Foundation study found that doing this will cause energy prices to rise (along with everything else that depends on energy) and jobs to be lost, particularly in manufacturing. One doesn’t have to look far or hard to see that some of the poorest countries in the world are those that struggle to provide affordable and reliable electricity, which is a basic building block of economic growth and human wellbeing. And energy poverty leads to environmental poverty, whether in Germany or in Africa. If these regulations hurt America’s economy, the long-term effect on America’s environment may well be negative – no matter how well-intentioned the original regulations were.


Australia: Vegetation-clearing curbs in fire-prone regions to be eased

Greenies trumped; Californians ought to be envious

Residents in bushfire-prone regions of NSW will be given greater scope to clear vegetation close to homes to reduce fire risks under laws proposed by the Baird government.

Households will be allowed to clear trees with 10 metres and shrubs and other vegetation within 50 metres of their homes.

"We’re putting people before trees," Premier Mike Baird told reporters in Sydney on Thursday. "This is empowering individuals."

The laws were first mooted late last year after bushfires in the Blue Mountains in October destroyed more than 200 homes and damaged more than 100 others. They also come as the prospects of an El Nino weather event in the Pacific increase; the resulting dry, warm conditions would raise the chances of another early and busy fire season.

"We have worked closely with the (Rural Fire Service) to develop these new rules which will empower landowners who are taking responsibility for minimising the fuel loads near their homes – a key fire prevention goal," Mr Baird said.

A report following the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria by Philip Gibbons from the Australian National University found that clearing trees and shrubs within 40 metres of homes was the most effective method of fuel reduction.

Ross Bradstock, from the University of Wollongong’s Centre for Environmental Risk Management of Bushfires, said land clearing could be beneficial in reducing the threat fires pose to houses but only if residents avoid planting gardens that nullified the benefits.

"There’s certainly evidence that clearing of this kind can contribute to a significant reduction of risk," Professor Bradstock said. "However, things like garden design particularly close into the house - which are not necessarily captured by this [policy] - can be very, very important."

RFS Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers welcomed the new laws: "We need to ensure the community is as prepared as possible for bushfire and these changes will give residents the flexibility they need to clear their property from bushfire risk."


Trent Penman, a senior research scientist at the Wollongong centre, agreed that vegetation clearing near homes could reduce the risk of a second ignition source other than from ember attack.

Land clearing, though, has the potential to destabilise slopes and ridges, creating other threats to properties, particularly in the Blue Mountains, Ku-ring-gai Chase and the Illawarra Escarpment region near Wollongong.

"You might remove the trees but then you end up with unstable land surface that might slip under heavy rain," Dr Penman said. While ridge-tops could be undermined, "at the bottom of the ridge you don’t want things falling on your head, either", he said.

Councils and the RFS could also find themselves with additional monitoring roles without the extra resources needed to manage them. "It will create a lot of extra work for them," Dr Penman said.

The RFS's Mr Rogers said residents would be able to identify whether clearing posed any land-slip risks from maps that will be made available once the laws are passed.

He said that there was "no silver bullet" when it comes to reducing fire risks and residents in bushfire prone areas should continue to keep in contact with their local RFS unit and maintain a bushfire survival plan.

Threatened communities, species

Greg Banks, a former RFS staffer and now the bushfire policy officer for the NSW Nature Conservation Council, said the loosening of clearing rules could make communities less prepared.

"Under the existing process, it requires people to engage with the RFS so that they come out and have a look at their property before issuing a hazard-reduction certicate to clear,"  Mr Banks said.

Contact with fire experts can also assist homeowners to identify evacuation routes and even the preservation of some vegetation that might now be cleared, he said. "Some vegetation can prove very useful in providing a barrier to embers."

Tensions may also increase among residents of areas fringing bushland, such as Hornsby, Mosman and the Sutherland shire, many of whom have chosen to live in those regions because of the natural environment.

"Are they going to be do something on those properties because their neighbours already have?," Mr Banks said.

The Greens said the new laws would also give a "carte blanche" to the destruction of sensitive native habitat.

"Trees and scrub are essential vegetation for native animals, especially as effects of climate change continue to take place, so it is essential to retain oversight over clearing," said Greens MP and environment spokesperson Mehreen Faruqi .



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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Stranded on an ice floe

Polar bears on ice floes prove global warming so I guess this does too

(A recent photo from lake Superior)


Antarctic began melting 5,000 years earlier than first thought: Ice sheet's volatile past reveals an unstable future, claims study

The Warmists will try to spin this but the plain fact is that the Antarctic undergoes large natural fluctuations and nobody knows why.  Attributing recent changes to global warming is therefore tendentious,  a claim without evidence

The Antarctic ice sheet is more unstable than first thought with a new study suggesting melting began 5,000 years earlier than previously believed.

The study reveals that shrinking of the vast ice sheet accelerated during eight distinct periods between 20,000 and 9,000 years ago causing a rapid sea level rise.

During one period 14,600 years ago, melting glaciers released so many icebergs into the ocean that sea level rose 6.5ft (2 metres) in just 100 years.

The results provide the first clear evidence for dramatic melting in Antarctic's and reflect predictions for the region's future.

It also follows recent news that destabilisation of part of the West Antarctic ice sheet has already begun and could be 'unstoppable.'

The study was conducted by an international team including researchers from Germany, Canada, Hawaii, Lapland and Australia.

The group examined two sediment cores from the Scotia Sea between Antarctica and South America that contained ‘iceberg-rafted debris’.

This is debris that has been scraped off Antarctica by moving ice and deposited via icebergs into the sea.

As the icebergs melted, they dropped minerals into the seafloor sediments, giving scientists a glimpse into the past behaviour of the Antarctic ice sheet.

Periods of rapid increase in iceberg-rafted debris suggest that more icebergs were being released by the Antarctic ice sheet.

The researchers discovered increased amounts of debris during eight separate episodes beginning as early as 20,000 years ago, and continuing until 9,000 years ago.

Up until now, the melting of the Antarctic ice sheet wasn't thought to have started until 14,000 years ago.

‘Conventional thinking based on past research is that the Antarctic ice sheet has been relatively stable since the last ice age, that it began to melt relatively late during the deglaciation process, and that its decline was slow and steady until it reached its present size,’ said lead author Michael Weber, a scientist from the University of Cologne in Germany.

‘The sediment record suggests a different pattern – one that is more episodic and suggests that parts of the ice sheet repeatedly became unstable during the last deglaciation,’ Professor Weber added.

The research has provided the first solid evidence that the Antarctic ice sheet contributed to what is known as ‘meltwater pulse 1A’,

Meltwater pulse 1A was a period when sea levels rose rapidly from between 52 to 79ft (16 to 24m) around 14,600 to 13,500 years.

The largest of the eight episodic pulses outlined in the new Nature study coincides with this event.

‘During that time, the sea level on a global basis rose about 50 feet in just 350 years – or about 20 times faster than sea level rise over the last century,’ said Professor Peter Clark, an Oregon State University.

‘We don't yet know what triggered these eight episodes or pulses, but it appears that once the melting of the ice sheet began it was amplified by physical processes.’

Some 9,000 years ago, the episodic pulses of melting stopped, the researchers say.

‘Just as we are unsure of what triggered these eight pulses,’ Professor Clark said, ‘we don't know why they stopped.

‘Perhaps the sheet ran out of ice that was vulnerable to the physical changes that were taking place.

‘However, our new results suggest that the Antarctic ice sheet is more unstable than previously considered.’

Today, the annual calving of icebergs from Antarctic represents more than half of the annual loss of mass of the Antarctic ice sheet – an estimated 1,300 to 2,000 billion tonnes.

Earlier this month, Nasa said vast glaciers in West Antarctica seem to be locked in an irreversible thaw linked to global warming that may push up sea levels for centuries, according to scientists.

In a few hundred years they say the irreversible melt that has already started could eventually add four to 12 ft (1.2 to 3.7 metres) to current sea levels.


The Myth of the Climate Change '97%' consensus

What is the origin of the false belief—constantly repeated—that almost all scientists agree about global warming?  A survey of the relevant claims below

Last week Secretary of State John Kerry warned graduating students at Boston College of the "crippling consequences" of climate change. "Ninety-seven percent of the world's scientists," he added, "tell us this is urgent."

Where did Mr. Kerry get the 97% figure? Perhaps from his boss, President Obama, who tweeted on May 16 that "Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: #climate change is real, man-made and dangerous." Or maybe from NASA, which posted (in more measured language) on its website, "Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities."

Yet the assertion that 97% of scientists believe that climate change is a man-made, urgent problem is a fiction. The so-called consensus comes from a handful of surveys and abstract-counting exercises that have been contradicted by more reliable research.

One frequently cited source for the consensus is a 2004 opinion essay published in Science magazine by Naomi Oreskes, a science historian now at Harvard. She claimed to have examined abstracts of 928 articles published in scientific journals between 1993 and 2003, and found that 75% supported the view that human activities are responsible for most of the observed warming over the previous 50 years while none directly dissented.

Ms. Oreskes's definition of consensus covered "man-made" but left out "dangerous"—and scores of articles by prominent scientists such as Richard Lindzen, John Christy, Sherwood Idso and Patrick Michaels, who question the consensus, were excluded. The methodology is also flawed. A study published earlier this year in Nature noted that abstracts of academic papers often contain claims that aren't substantiated in the papers.

Another widely cited source for the consensus view is a 2009 article in "Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union" by Maggie Kendall Zimmerman, a student at the University of Illinois, and her master's thesis adviser Peter Doran. It reported the results of a two-question online survey of selected scientists. Mr. Doran and Ms. Zimmerman claimed "97 percent of climate scientists agree" that global temperatures have risen and that humans are a significant contributing factor.

The survey's questions don't reveal much of interest. Most scientists who are skeptical of catastrophic global warming nevertheless would answer "yes" to both questions. The survey was silent on whether the human impact is large enough to constitute a problem. Nor did it include solar scientists, space scientists, cosmologists, physicists, meteorologists or astronomers, who are the scientists most likely to be aware of natural causes of climate change.

The "97 percent" figure in the Zimmerman/Doran survey represents the views of only 79 respondents who listed climate science as an area of expertise and said they published more than half of their recent peer-reviewed papers on climate change. Seventy-nine scientists—of the 3,146 who responded to the survey—does not a consensus make.

In 2010, William R. Love Anderegg, then a student at Stanford University, used Google Scholar to identify the views of the most prolific writers on climate change. His findings were published in Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences. Mr. Love Anderegg found that 97% to 98% of the 200 most prolific writers on climate change believe "anthropogenic greenhouse gases have been responsible for 'most' of the 'unequivocal' warming." There was no mention of how dangerous this climate change might be; and, of course, 200 researchers out of the thousands who have contributed to the climate science debate is not evidence of consensus.

In 2013, John Cook, an Australia-based blogger, and some of his friends reviewed abstracts of peer-reviewed papers published from 1991 to 2011. Mr. Cook reported that 97% of those who stated a position explicitly or implicitly suggest that human activity is responsible for some warming. His findings were published in Environmental Research Letters.

Mr. Cook's work was quickly debunked. In Science and Education in August 2013, for example, David R. Legates (a professor of geography at the University of Delaware and former director of its Center for Climatic Research) and three coauthors reviewed the same papers as did Mr. Cook and found "only 41 papers—0.3 percent of all 11,944 abstracts or 1.0 percent of the 4,014 expressing an opinion, and not 97.1 percent—had been found to endorse" the claim that human activity is causing most of the current warming. Elsewhere, climate scientists including Craig Idso, Nicola Scafetta, Nir J. Shaviv and Nils- Axel Morner, whose research questions the alleged consensus, protested that Mr. Cook ignored or misrepresented their work.

Rigorous international surveys conducted by German scientists Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch —most recently published in Environmental Science & Policy in 2010—have found that most climate scientists disagree with the consensus on key issues such as the reliability of climate data and computer models. They do not believe that climate processes such as cloud formation and precipitation are sufficiently understood to predict future climate change.

Surveys of meteorologists repeatedly find a majority oppose the alleged consensus. Only 39.5% of 1,854 American Meteorological Society members who responded to a survey in 2012 said man-made global warming is dangerous.

Finally, the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—which claims to speak for more than 2,500 scientists—is probably the most frequently cited source for the consensus. Its latest report claims that "human interference with the climate system is occurring, and climate change poses risks for human and natural systems." Yet relatively few have either written on or reviewed research having to do with the key question: How much of the temperature increase and other climate changes observed in the 20th century was caused by man-made greenhouse-gas emissions? The IPCC lists only 41 authors and editors of the relevant chapter of the Fifth Assessment Report addressing "anthropogenic and natural radiative forcing."

Of the various petitions on global warming circulated for signatures by scientists, the one by the Petition Project, a group of physicists and physical chemists based in La Jolla, Calif., has by far the most signatures—more than 31,000 (more than 9,000 with a Ph.D.). It was most recently published in 2009, and most signers were added or reaffirmed since 2007. The petition states that "there is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of . . . carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate."

We could go on, but the larger point is plain. There is no basis for the claim that 97% of scientists believe that man-made climate change is a dangerous problem.


America's Highest Ranked Climate Charlatans: Obama and Kerry

By Alan Caruba

John Kerry, our Secretary of State, continues to provide reasons to believe he is either too stupid to hold such a high position or too willing to tell lies to keep pace with President Obama.

Their views on “climate change” are so lacking in scientific fact that they are telling people we’re all doomed if we don’t abandon vast traditional U.S. energy resources and continue to  throw more billions at “renewable energy” that provides a very costly three percent of the nation’s huge energy needs. Meanwhile, nations in Europe, China, India and elsewhere are abandoning solar and wind, and building coal-fired plants.

At a Boston College commencement speech on May 19, Kerry outdid himself talking about climate change. “If we make the necessary efforts to address this challenge—and supposing I’m wrong or scientists are wrong, 97 percent of them all wrong—supposing they are, what’s the worst that can happen?” The worst is more wasted billions spent on something mankind can do nothing about and the administration’s continued efforts to control every inch of land in the U.S. and all of its waters.

In the May 27 edition of The Wall Street Journal, Joe Bast, the president of the free-market think tank, the Heartland Institute, and Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist for the University of Alabama, teamed out to write about “The Myth of the Climate Change 97%.” While demolishing this Big Lie, they noted that “Surveys of meteorologists repeatedly find a majority oppose the alleged consensus. Only 39.5% of 1,854 American Meteorological Society members who responded to a survey in 2012 said man-made global warming is dangerous.”

Obama’s and Kerry’s problem, along with all the other climate change charlatans, is that is the Earth is now into its 17th year of a natural cooling cycle based on lower radiation from the Sun, itself in a natural cycle. It is the Sun, not mankind that determines the climate of the Earth.

The Petition Project in which 31,073 U.S. scientists, over 9,000 of whom have a Ph.D. in a scientific field, participated says “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will in the foreseeable future cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.”

“The purpose of the Petition Project is to demonstrate that the claim of ‘settled science’ and an overwhelming ‘consensus’ in favor of the hypothesis of human-caused global warming and consequent climatological damage is wrong. No such consensus or settled science exists.”

In his State of the Union speech, Obama said “climate change is a fact.” Well, yes, if you keep in mind that climate change is measured in centuries, not decades or years. Claiming that every hurricane or tornado is evidence of climate change ignores this. His claim that climate change is “settled science” is just one more lie.

The Obama administration recently released a Climate Assessment report that was nothing more than a repeat of the lies the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been telling since 1983. They have all been based on computer models rigged to produce a global warming outcome. This process continues in several U.S. government agencies.

Following the last mini-ice age that lasted from 1300 to 1850, the Earth quite naturally warmed, most of which occurred prior to 1945. Meanwhile, the ice sheets of both the Arctic and Antarctica have been growing, particularly at the South Pole. The rise of oceans is measured in mere centimeters, posing no threat to polar bears or the island of Manhattan.

To Kerry’s question, “What’s the worst that can happen?” a recent Wall Street Journal opinion said that answer is “we spend trillions of dollars trying to solve a problem that we can’t do anything to stop: that we misallocate scarce resources in a way that slows economic growth; that slower growth leads to less economic opportunity for Boston College grads and especially the world’s poor; and that America and the world become much less wealthy and technologically advanced than we would otherwise. All of which would make the world less able to cope with the costs of climate change if Mr. Kerry is right.”

Mr. Kerry isn't right and that makes him and President Obama a national and a global problem.


After Election Drubbing, UK Government Climate Adviser Backs Down On Wind, Tones Down Rhetoric

Britain has approved enough onshore wind turbines to meet climate change targets, leaving the public to choose other ways to cut emissions in future, the government’s chief climate adviser has said.

Lord Deben of Winston appeared to contradict forecasts by his own Committee on Climate Change of a tripling in the number of wind farms by 2030 — equivalent to almost 10,000 more turbines.

There are 4,400 onshore turbines operating with a capacity of seven gigawatts, while a further six gigawatts have received planning permission and are being built or awaiting construction. Last year the committee published four plans for cutting emissions by 2030, all of which included 25 gigawatts of onshore wind.

However, the Conservative peer, who was environment secretary in John Major’s government, said that there were enough wind farms with planning permission to meet a legally binding target for renewable energy by 2020. After that date the public may choose other methods of cutting emissions, he added.

Lord Deben also said that it was wrong to label people such as Lord Lawson of Blaby, the former chancellor, as “climate change deniers”. They should be called “dismissers”, he said.

Lord Lawson said this month that the phrase “climate change denier” was “deliberately designed to echo ‘Holocaust denier’ — as if questioning present policies and forecasts of the future is equivalent to casting malign doubt about an historical fact”.

Lord Deben said: “The dismissers are people who do not deny that climate change is happening, do not deny that human beings are largely [causing it], but who think you can dismiss its urgency and seriousness. That case only stands up if you ignore the vast majority of scientists.”

The peer, better known as John Gummer, said that Britain needed “a portfolio of different mechanisms” and “you have got to keep the portfolio in balance”. He added: “I’m happy that we have already got enough onshore wind to 2020 to meet that part of the portfolio.”

Asked if more onshore wind farms should be approved after 2020, he said: “It is likely that [onshore wind] will continue to play a part in our renewables after 2020, but it is not a decision we have to make now, and there are circumstances in which it might not. The public will decide what the balance is.” He added that power from offshore wind was “falling in price very significantly”.

The Conservatives pledged last month to end subsidies for new onshore wind turbines if they win the next election. Lord Deben declined to comment on the move, saying that he spoke as an independent on climate change. He appeared, though, to support the government’s announcement this month that it would end subsidies for large solar farms in the countryside. Lord Deben said that he backed the exploitation of shale gas and criticised campaigners who regarded fracking as “a sin against the Holy Ghost”.


Europe’s Energy Death Wish

 Arthur Herman

Maybe the Ukraine crisis will awaken the Europeans to reconsider fracking and realize the danger their enviro fanatics have put them in.

Want to understand why Europe won’t stand up to Vladimir Putin’s dismemberment of Ukraine? Look at the recent meeting of the G-7’s energy ministers in Rome.

It’s common knowledge that Europeans are dependent on Russia’s state-run Gazprom for their natural-gas needs — up to 30 percent for the European Union as a whole, more for Eastern Europe. The threat of cutting off this vital supply allowed Putin to get away with annexing Crimea, cowing our NATO allies into quivering passivity in the face of naked aggression.

The energy ministers of France, Germany, Italy and Great Britain meeting in Rome know this, too. As the Brit representative at the Rome meeting put it, Europe desperately needs a plan “to prevent energy being used as a weapon in the future” — and to wean themselves off Gazprom.

But their “answer” is pathetic.

The draft 13-point plan includes everything from stockpiling more supplies of natural gas in case of a cutoff and diversifying supply sources (meaning not just buying from the Russians) to promoting more “clean and sustainable energy technologies” (meaning more windmills).

Everything, that is, except the most obvious solution of all: tapping into Europe’s own huge natural-gas reserves.

According to our Energy Information Administration, Europe sits on reserves equaling 639 trillion cubic feet of gas — roughly equal to half of Russia’s reserves (the world’s largest) and more than enough to make Europe independent of Putin and Gazprom.

But that tapping those reserves means embracing fracking, the technology that has revolutionized the US energy industry by unlocking vast amounts of shale gas and oil.

Like environmentalists here, Europe’s greens have made fracking a dirty word — and the European fanatics have more political clout.

For example, Exxon Mobil began fracking to harvest natural gas in Germany in 2008 — but had to stop when the government issued a moratorium. France has banned fracking outright. The United Kingdom has proven gas reserves of 200 trillion cubic feet in Lancashire alone — but with even the Cameron government pushing, it may be years before permits to drill get granted.

This is insanity in action. Every government in Europe knows fracking would produce enormous government revenues, create tens of thousands of jobs, reduce natural-gas prices there to something approaching the price here (which is about a quarter of what Germans or Italians pay), all while using the same technology that for 60 years has drilled 1.2 million wells in the United States without producing a single case of contaminated ground water.

But Europe’s environmentalists still see natural gas as a dreaded “fossil fuel” and so won’t let it happen. And so Putin is empowered to increase his grip over the continent’s future — even though the solution sits directly under everyone’s feet.

It’s a good lesson for us here, too. Letting the greens dictate your energy choices, whether it’s halting the XL Pipeline or fracking in New York, isn’t just bad economics. It can also leave your rivals and enemies controlling your energy destiny.


You know all those resources we're about to run out of? No, we aren't

Tim Worstall, a rare earth trader, displays the crass ignorance of Greenie resource scare-mongers

 Among the more surprising things that the BBC revealed to us last week was that the UK was going to run out of coal within the next five years. Given that the island is pretty much built on a bed of coal, this is something of a puzzler.

The article states:

In just over five years Britain will have run out of oil, coal and gas, researchers have warned.

A report by the Global Sustainability Institute said shortages would increase dependency on Norway, Qatar and Russia.

As your intrepid mineral resources correspondent (aka El Reg's dodgy metals dealer) I thought I'd better have a look at the report that claimed this. As it happens, it appears to be an update of maps to this report from last year from the Institute And Faculty Of Actuaries that led to the claim.

Given my background, obviously I looked at the minerals rather than the fossil fuels part of it. And in this writer's opinion I have to say that the people who wrote it betray a baffling ignorance of the subject under discussion.

They appear to work under the impression that mineral reserves are somehow the definition of the number of minerals we have left to us, when in fact reserves are the working stock of extant mines (more or less). They also seem confused about mineral resources, which are the piles of stuff where we know their location, how to get them out, that we can do so while making a profit at current prices and with current technology, though we may not have got around to proving that to the required legal standard. When we have proven it, they will move from being resources to reserves.

Given that phosphate rock and potassium as resources are good for 1,500* and around 7,000** years to therefore claim that, as this report does, that they were in very scarce supply in this last decade just gone is thus, well, it's not very accurate is it?

Given that the two are also 0.2 per cent and 2.5 per cent of the entire crust of our planet the idea that we'll ever run out of either with future technologies also seems a tad suspect.

And then I spotted this one. It's a piece from New Scientist, a place I was knew as a seriously interesting magazine (Dedalus certainly used to make me larff).

In detail:

Without more recycling, antimony, which is used to make flame-retardant materials, will run out in 15 years, silver in 10 and indium in under five. In a more sophisticated analysis, Reller has included the effects of new technologies, and projects how many years we have left for some key metals. He estimates that zinc could be used up by 2037, both indium and hafnium - which is increasingly important in computer chips - could be gone by 2017, and terbium - used to make the green phosphors in fluorescent light bulbs - could run out before 2012.

This prediction was made in 2008. You recall how Apple stopped shipping iPads last year as the indium tin oxide to make the screens ran out? That we've been completely bereft of CFL lightbulbs for two years now as the terbium disappeared? No and no? Exactly.

For a metals guy, the one that stands out most is that reference to hafnium. It betrays a complete and total ignorance of how mining actually works. It's true that there are no mineral reserves of hafnium, nor are there any mineral resources. So, our guys looked at what was in stockpiles, saw there were no reserves nor resources and concluded that it will run out.

However, "resources" and "reserves" are a legal and economic description, not one of actual availability. And given that Hf doesn't form any interesting ores, we can't go digging for it and make a profit by having done so. This is not the same as stating that there's not plenty available though.

For when we go digging for zircon (the mineral sand) from which we extract zirconia (the oxide) and ultimately zirconium (the metal), we find that it contains two to four per cent Hf. We don't care though, Zr and Hf are so chemically similar that we just don't bother to separate them.

Except when we try to make nuclear-grade Zr: then we do care because Zr is transparent to neutrons and Hf opaque. So, to make those fuel rods for reactors, we extract the Hf from the Zr: and that's where the global supply of some few hundred tonnes a year (perhaps 500) of Hf comes from.

So yes, there are no reserves and no resources because we cannot mine for it directly or profitably. But we can still produce it profitably. There's some 18,000 tonnes a year of Hf in the 600,000 tonnes a year of Zr we do process and there's some thousands of years of that Zr out there for us to process. And we only use 500 tonnes a year of Hf... so it's not going to run out by 2017, is it?

This display of ignorance doesn't stop here:

Take the metal gallium, which along with indium is used to make indium gallium arsenide.

This is the semiconducting material at the heart of a new generation of solar cells that promise to be up to twice as efficient as conventional designs. Reserves of both metals are disputed, but in a recent report René Kleijn, a chemist at Leiden University in the Netherlands, concludes that current reserves "would not allow a substantial contribution of these cells" to the future supply of solar electricity. He estimates gallium and indium will probably contribute to less than 1 per cent of all future solar cells - a limitation imposed purely by a lack of raw material.

Sigh. Gallium is another one of these byproduct metals. We can't get it directly and profitably.

Fortunately we mine for aluminium by sticking bauxite into a Bayer Process plant, where we boil it in caustic soda. If you put the right doohicky on the side of this plant then you get the gallium out. It's at about 100ppm, 100 grammes per tonne of bauxite processed. Some 8,000 tonnes a year passes through those plants, which is useful because only a few of those BP plants have the doohickeys and globally we only use around 400 tonnes of gallium a year. And yes, we do know that there's around a 1,000-year supply of Ga in the bauxite that we already know that we'll process for the aluminium content.

We simply don't have any meaningful shortage of these metals that they're worrying about.



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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Sophisticated attempt to MEASURE the influence of CO2 finds it to be negligible

Tiny warming of residual anthropogenic CO2

François Gervais

The residual fraction of anthropogenic CO2 emissions which has not been captured by carbon sinks and remains in the atmosphere, is estimated by two independent experimental methods which support each other: the 13C/12C ratio and the temperature-independent fraction of d(CO2)/dt on a yearly scale after subtraction of annual fluctuations the amplitude ratio of which reaches a factor as large as 7. The anthropogenic fraction is then used to evaluate the additional warming by analysis of its spectral contribution to the outgoing long-wavelength radiation (OLR) measured by infrared spectrometers embarked in satellites looking down. The anthropogenic CO2 additional warming extrapolated in 2100 is found lower than 0.1°C in the absence of feedbacks. The global temperature data are fitted with an oscillation of period 60 years added to a linear contribution. The data which support the 60-year cycle are summarized, in particular sea surface temperatures and sea level rise measured either by tide gauge or by satellite altimetry. The tiny anthropogenic warming appears consistent with the absence of any detectable change of slope of the 130-year-long linear contribution to the temperature data before and after the onset of large CO2 emissions.

International Journal of Modern Physics B, Volume 28, Issue 13, 20 May 2014.

Prince Charles has drunk the Kool Aid

Prince Charles has called for an end to capitalism as we know it in order to save the planet from global warming.

In a speech to business leaders in London, the Prince said that a “fundamental transformation of global capitalism” was necessary in order to halt “dangerously accelerating climate change” that would “bring us to our own destruction”.

He called for companies to focus on “approaches that achieve lasting and meaningful returns” by protecting the environment, improving their employment practices and helping the vulnerable to develop a new "inclusive capitalism".

The Prince was taking part in his first major UK public engagement since sparking a diplomatic row last week by likening the behaviour of Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, to Adolf Hitler.

In a politically-charged speech at the Inclusive Capitalism conference, the Prince said: “I remember when the Iron Curtain came down there was a certain amount of shouting about the triumph of capitalism over communism. Being somewhat contrary, I didn't think it was quite as simple as that. I felt that unless the business world considered the social, community and environmental dimensions, we might end up coming full circle.”

The Prince, who has long been outspoken about the need to tackle climate change, said the world now stood at “a pivotal moment in history” ahead of major UN summit in Paris next year on reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.

“Over the next eighteen months, and bearing in mind the urgency of the situation confronting us, the world faces what is probably the last effective window of opportunity to vacate the insidious lure of the ‘last chance saloon’ in order to agree an ambitious, equitable and far-sighted multilateral settlement in the context of the post-2015 sustainable development goals and the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change,” he said.

“Either we continue along the path we seem collectively determined to follow, apparently at the mercy of those who so vociferously and aggressively deny that our current operating model has any effect upon dangerously accelerating climate change - which I fear will bring us to our own destruction - or we can choose to act now before it is finally too late, using all of the power and influence that each of you can bring to bear to create an inclusive, sustainable and resilient society,” he said.

The Prince was addressing an audience of 200 business leaders including Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, and chief executives of multinational companies such as UBS, GlaxoSmithKline and Unilever.

He called on businesses to focus on the long-term and make “an authentic moral commitment to acting as true custodians of the Earth and architects of the well-being of current and future generations”.

“It is only by adopting a broader sense of value that our finances will be sustained and we can find new sources of profit,” he said.

His comments appear to align with those of Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, who has called for “responsible capitalism”.

The Prince suggested that companies must do more to put “young people properly at the heart of companies' employment practices and planning strategies, in order to tackle more effectively the world's growing youth unemployment crisis”.

Businesses must also “account properly for carbon dioxide emissions, the use of water and fertiliser, the pollution we produce and the biodiversity we lose”, he said.

The Prince said that businesses would be unpopular with their peers in the short term for going green but would reap “immense” rewards in the long term.


45 senators, including vulnerable Dems, are asking the EPA to delay incoming emissions regulations

It’s only a small matter of time until the Obama administration finally, rapturously releases what its hopes will be the crown jewel of its rise-of-the-oceans-slowing climate-change agenda: Regulations capping the emissions from existing power plants, a.k.a., stamping out coal plants across the country. This set of regs is going to be even more complicated and controversial than the regulations for only new power plants the administration released last year, and as the AP obliquely explains, we’re likely to start seeing those “necessarily skyrocketing” energy prices Obama once mentioned pretty quickly here:

    "Electricity prices are probably on their way up across much of the U.S. as coal-fired plants, the dominant source of cheap power, shut down in response to environmental regulations and economic forces.

    New and tighter pollution rules and tough competition from cleaner sources such as natural gas, wind and solar will lead to the closings of dozens of coal-burning plants across 20 states over the next three years. And many of those that stay open will need expensive retrofits.

    Because of these and other factors, the Energy Department predicts retail power prices will rise 4 percent on average this year, the biggest increase since 2008. By 2020, prices are expected to climb an additional 13 percent, a forecast that does not include the costs of coming environmental rules.

    The Obama administration, state governments and industry are struggling to balance this push for a cleaner environment with the need to keep the grid reliable and prevent prices from rocketing too much higher."

“Tough competition” from wind and solar? …That’s cute. Our egregiously subsidized wind and solar industries account for about 4 percent of our electricity generation and are terribly unreliable (just ask Germany, which has lately had to bring more coal plants online to make up for their faulty renewables), while coal still provides around 40 percent of our electricity and is the most reliable mass source we have. Natural gas is great with its cleaner-burning emissions, coming in with the really stiff competition at around 30 percent, but it has some infrastructural issues that are currently keeping it at second place in terms of reliability.

Make no mistake — the Obama administration swooping in with major regs that deeply affect 40 percent of our electricity generation is going to take its economic toll, and 45 senators  — Democrats and Republicans included — would like the Obama administration to step back for a second a perhaps more deeply consider that toll. Via The Hill:

    "Forty-five senators are pressing the Environmental Protection Agency to delay new rules on limiting carbon emissions from power plants. …

    The senators are pressuring the EPA to set a 120-day comment period rather than the standard 60-day comment period. That would double the normal allotted for industry, consumers, businesses, and states to give their two cents on the rule.

    Fifteen Democrats signed the letter, including the four seen as most vulnerable in the midterm elections: Sens. Mary Landrieu (La.), Mark Warner (Va), Mark Pryor (Ark.) and Mark Begich (Alaska). …

    “Affordable, reliable, and redundant sources of electricity are essential to the economic well-being of our states and the quality of life of our constituents,” the letter to EPA chief Gina McCarthy said.

    “While we all agree that clean air is vitally important, EPA has an obligation to understand the impacts that regulations have on all segments of society,” it said."


Greenie versus Greenie

Just what effect seismic testing will have along the Jersey Shore is in question, but it seems that almost everyone except the Obama Administration is opposed to taking a chance on any negative consequences resulting from it during a study that hardly appears to be of high priority.

Both recreational and commercial fishing representatives joined environmentalists at a Point Pleasant Beach rally Friday morning in an effort to postpone the Rutgers University project approved by the Obama Administration as a climate change study designed to access deep sea sediments. It's set to begin off the coast on June 3, and will utilize high energy seismic blasting that could disturb fish and marine mammal populations.

There probably wouldn't be so much opposition if the seismic blasting were to be conducted in mid-winter, but running the program during the prime inshore period of fish abundance doesn't seem to make any sense at all.

The Recreational Fishing Alliance notes that only President Obama and his Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, can postpone this study -- and they've been deaf to the bipartisan requests to do so. Gov. Chris Christie and his Department of Environmental Protection have been requesting a postponement along with many members of the N.J. Congressional delegation. A petition is being circulated by Clean Ocean Action, but it will take individual communications from voters to pressure President Obama into avoiding any negative consequences to the Shore and its economy during the prime season.


Why the Best Path to a Low-Carbon Future is Not Wind or Solar Power

As the science on climate change and its impacts on the global economy become clearer and more urgent, governments are increasingly looking for ways to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The largest source of these emissions comes from the combustion of fossil fuels—including coal, oil and natural gas—to produce electricity, an effort that in 2012 made up about 40 percent of emissions globally and 32 percent in the United States. More and more, countries are seeking to lower emissions in the electricity sector by turning to low and no-carbon generation options. However, until now, there has been little thorough, empirical analysis of which of these technologies is most efficient, and which provides the best “bang for our buck” as we seek to reduce emissions.

My new Brookings working paper breaks down the comprehensive costs and benefits of five common low-carbon electricity technologies: wind, solar, hydroelectric, nuclear, and gas combined cycle (an advanced, highly energy efficient type of natural gas plant). Using data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the paper asks the question, “Which of the five low-carbon alternatives is most cost-effective in lowering emissions?” The results are highly policy-relevant, and offer enlightening answers to a number of questions that can help governments aiming for a low-carbon future.

1. What’s it going to cost me?

This is an important question because energy costs are private and owed by everyday consumers, whereas the benefits of reducing carbon use are shared as a global public good. So, what would it cost you and I to move toward a world where we generate electricity through mostly low-carbon technologies? How would the cost per megawatt hour (MWH) and kilowatt hour (KWH) change?

One of the best scenarios for our proposed low-carbon alternatives would be for each of them to replace the use of coal-fired plants when electricity demand is moderate, which is most of the time, and gas simple cycle plants during shorter periods of peak energy use.

The table above compares the cost per kilowatt-hour (KWH) of each of the five low-carbon technologies compared to the cost per KWH of the high-carbon technologies that it replaces. All of the low carbon technologies save on energy costs compared to coal and simple cycle gas plants: wind, solar and hydro because the energy from wind, sun and water is free; nuclear because uranium is cheaper than coal or gas per unit of energy; and gas combined cycle because it is much more energy efficient than coal or gas simple cycle. Four of the five low-carbon technologies, excluding gas combined cycle, have a much higher net capacity cost—that is, the cost of building and maintaining the low-carbon power plants—because all four are much more costly to build and maintain than a new coal or gas simple cycle plant. A gas combined cycle plant saves on capacity costs mainly because it costs about two-thirds less to build than a coal-fired plant.

Adding up the net energy cost and the net capacity cost of the five low-carbon alternatives, far and away the most expensive is solar. It costs almost 19 cents more per KWH than power from the coal or gas plants that it displaces. Wind power is the second most expensive. It costs nearly 6 cents more per KWH. Gas combined cycle is the least expensive. It does not cost more than the cost of power from the coal or less efficient gas plants that it displaces. Indeed, it costs about 3 cents less per KWH.

To place these additional costs in context, the average cost of electricity to U.S. consumers in 2012 was 9.84 cents per KWH, including the cost of transmission and distribution of electricity. This means a new wind plant could at least cost 50 percent more per KWH to produce electricity, and a new solar plant at least 200 percent more per KWH, than using coal and gas technologies.

2. Are the additional costs of wind and solar justified by the benefits of reduced carbon dioxide emissions?

The additional costs of wind and solar could be worthwhile, provided that the value of the emissions they avoid is great enough. However, as the following table shows, if we value the reduced emissions at $50 per ton of carbon dioxide, the benefits of wind and solar, net of their costs, is less than the other three low-carbon alternatives.

The emission benefits of four of the five low-carbon alternatives per KWH are roughly the same, about five cents per KWH. The benefits of wind and solar, minus their additional costs, are negative. The net benefits of the other three alternatives are positive and substantially higher. Gas combined cycle ranks number one in terms of net benefits while hydro and nuclear rank two and three.

A carbon dioxide price of $50 per metric ton places quite a high value on reducing carbon dioxide emissions. For example, the price for carbon dioxide emissions in the European Trading System reached a high of about 30 euros in 2006 and was trading around 5 euros at the end of 2013. Recent prices in trading systems in California have been around $12 and in several eastern U.S. states around $2 per ton.
3. Why are the costs per KWH of wind and solar so much higher, and the benefits not much different, than the other three low-carbon alternatives?

Costs are much higher for three reasons. First, the cost per MW of capacity to build a wind or solar plant is quite high (and much greater than that of a gas-fired plant). The cost per MW of solar capacity is especially high. Reductions in the cost of solar-voltaic panels have reduced the cost of building a solar plant by 22 percent between 2010 and 2012, but further reductions are likely to have a lesser effect because the cost of solar panels is only a fraction of the total cost of a utility-scale solar plant.

Second, a wind or solar plant operates at full capacity only a fraction of the time, when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining. For example, a typical solar plant in the United States operates at only about 15 percent of full capacity and a wind plant only about 25 percent of full capacity, while a coal plant can operate 90 percent of full capacity on a year-round basis. Thus it takes six solar plants and almost four wind plants to produce the same amount of electricity as a single coal-fired plant.

Third, the output of wind and solar plants is highly variable—year by year, month by month, day by day and hour by hour—compared to a coal-fired plant, which can operate at full capacity about 90 percent of the time. Thus more than six solar plants and four wind plants are required to produce the same output with the same degree of reliability as a coal-fired plant of the same capacity. In the paper we estimate that at least 7.3 solar plants and 4.3 wind plants are required to produce the same amount of power with the same reliability as a coal-fired plant.

By way of contrast, a new low-carbon gas combined cycle or nuclear plant can operate also at 90 percent of full capacity and can replace a coal-fired plant on a one-to-one basis. A hydro plant with storage can operate at 100 percent capacity during peak periods and more than 40 percent during non-peak periods. In dollar terms, it takes a $29 million investment in solar capacity, and $10 million in wind capacity, to produce the same amount of electricity with the same reliability as a $1 million investment in gas combined cycle capacity.

The benefits of reduced emissions from wind and solar are limited because they operate at peak capacity only a fraction of the time. A nuclear or gas combined cycle plant avoids far more emissions per MW of capacity than wind or solar because it can operate at 90 percent of full capacity. Limited benefits and higher costs make wind and solar socially less valuable than nuclear, hydro, and combined cycle gas.

4. How can we be sure that a new low-carbon plant will replace a high-carbon coal plant rather than some other low-carbon plant?

We cannot be sure. If electricity producers do not have to pay a price for the carbon dioxide they emit, the likelihood is great than a new low-carbon plant will replace an existing, low-carbon gas combined cycle plant. The cost of running an existing coal plant is typically much less than running an existing combined cycle plant and the combined cycle plant will be shut down before the coal plant. The reduction in emissions will be far less than if the coal plant is shut down because a coal plant emits about three times as much carbon dioxide as a gas combined cycle plant.

However, if electricity producers have to pay a high enough price for the carbon dioxide they emit, then a coal plant will be shut down before a gas combined cycle plant. The price of carbon dioxide emissions required to tip the balance between shutting down coal and shutting down gas depends on the price of gas relative to that of coal. It also depends on whether we are talking about the short-term choice of running an existing gas plant rather than an existing coal plant or the longer term choice of investing in a new combined cycle gas plant rather than a new coal plant.

In the United States, where the price of natural gas is low compared to most other countries, the price for CO2 emissions had to be about $5 or more in 2013 in order to tip the short-term balance in favor of shutting down coal. At current U.S. gas prices, investment in new gas combined cycle is more profitable than an investment in a coal plant even without any price penalty attached to CO2 emissions.

In Europe, where the price of natural gas is much higher than in the United States, a CO2 emission price of $65 to $85 per metric ton is required to tip the short-term balance in favor of shutting down coal, far higher than the current price of CO2 emissions in the European Trading System. However, the price of CO2 emissions need only be about $12 to $22 per metric ton to tip the longer-term balance in favor of investing in a new gas combined cycle plant rather than a new coal plant.

5. What does this paper have for policymakers interested in reducing carbon dioxide emissions at a reasonable cost?

First, renewable incentives that are biased in favor of wind and solar and biased against large-scale hydro, nuclear and gas combined cycle are a very expensive and inefficient way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Second, renewable incentives in the absence of a suitably high carbon dioxide price are even less effective, because without a carbon price renewable energy will replace low-carbon gas plants rather than high-carbon coal plants.

Third, renewable incentives should be based not on output of renewable energy but on the reduction in CO2 emissions by renewable energy. They are not the same thing.

Fourth, a carbon price is far more effective in reducing carbon emissions precisely because it is not biased toward any one technology but rewards any technology that reduces emissions at a reasonable cost.

Fifth, the benefits of a natural gas combined cycle plant are not dependent on the natural gas fracking revolution in the United States. Combined cycle plants are highly beneficial even in Europe, where natural gas prices are higher and fracking more limited. The problem in Europe is that the price of CO2 emissions in the European Trading System is far too low to encourage production of electricity by gas rather than coal.

Sixth, even though the electricity sector accounts for only 40 percent of worldwide carbon emissions, cleaner electricity can reduce CO2 emissions in other sectors, for example by reducing the carbon footprint of electric vehicles and home heating.

Finally, the electricity sector offers one of the simplest and most cost effective ways of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Simply replacing all high-carbon U.S. coal plants with any of the five low-carbon alternatives can reduce U.S. CO2 emissions in the electricity sector by 50 to 70 percent. The potential reductions in other countries, such as China where coal is more important, are even greater.


Why Renewables Haven't Destroyed the Grid - Yet!

By Davis Swan

Most supporters of renewable energy development are probably pretty comfortable with the way things are going.  Wind and Solar generation has been increasing both in "nameplate capacity" and in actual production of electricity.  There have not been any significant grid failures that can be blamed on renewables.  Apart from a consolidation within the solar cell manufacturing sector there have not been any notable bankruptcies within the electricity generating sector.  All visible signs are positive for a continued expansion of renewable resources.

When I talk to groups about renewable energy I start off with a Youtube video which demonstrates testing the compression strength of a concrete block. For 2 minutes and 40 seconds this is the most boring video you could imagine. The block shows absolutely no sign of stress. At 2:41 the concrete block fails and is utterly destroyed.  As far as I am concerned we are at about 2 minutes and 30 seconds with respect to the electrical grid.

In order to understand what I believe to be the serious risks facing the electrical generation and distribution system it is necessary to review the structure of the system as it was before renewables began to be developed in a significant way. The chart below shows hypothetical load profiles for a peak demand day during the spring/fall, winter and summer as well as a line that represents the overall generating capacity in the system.

It can be observed that the system demand/load varies considerably throughout the day and throughout the year. It is also clear that there is a great deal of excess supply available for most hours on most days. In fact, only on the highest peak demand days of the entire year will the demand come close to the supply. That is by design as every well-managed electrical generation system in the world requires a reserve margin of 8-15% above peak demand.

This reserve is meant to provide resiliency for the grid to accommodate scheduled maintenance shut-downs at major facilities such as nuclear plants, natural gas-fired and coal-fired plants as well as unscheduled outages due to storms or switching problems or other operational issues.

(Note: I appreciate that many people will raise objections to the demand curves presented in that their local situation might be very different.  That is one of the challenges facing every Independent System/grid Operator.  Local demand curves can be all over the map due to the mix of commercial, residential, and industrial users.  My point is not that these particular curves are the most typical in all locations.  The point is that demand varies significantly over the course of the day and through different seasons.)

So before we began to develop renewable energy there was plenty of generation capacity within the system.  In fact, many generation facilities were not running at anything close to capacity most of the time.

Because of a public policy decision to reduce the burning of hydro-carbons (and the associated production of CO2 emissions) wind and solar generation sources have been subsidized through a variety of financial instruments including capital grants, tax credits, and feed-in-tariffs.  Renewables have also been given preferential access to the grid in most jurisdictions.

These measures have achieved the stated policy goal.  Wind and solar now make up a significant percentage of generation capacity in a number of jurisdictions and at times provide a large percentage of electrical production.

For example, Germany has developed over 30 GW of solar power and over 30 GW of Wind.  On a blustery spring day in Germany renewables can meet up to 40% of the total electrical demand for a few hours at mid-day.  There are regular announcements of "new records" for both solar and wind generation.  A similar situation exists in Texas with regards to wind and in parts of Hawaii with regards to solar.

Remembering that there was already a surplus of generation capacity in the system before the development of renewables it is obvious that when renewables hit their generation peaks most traditional thermal generation plants are unable to sell electricity.  That would not be a problem if the construction of these plants had not been financed based upon assumptions regarding how often they would be used and what wholesale electricity prices would be.  In fact, the economics of running these plants has deteriorated to the point where many utilities, especially in Europe, are on a "credit watch".

The rational response of companies trying to sell electricity into a market that has a great over-supply would be to decommission some of the oldest and most polluting plants to bring supply and demand into a better balance.  But there is a problem.  Renewable resources cannot be relied upon, particularly at peak demand times.

In this situation demand rose throughout the week as a strong high pressure system spread across the state bringing with it colder temperatures while at the same time shorter days required more lighting.  One of the more troublesome realities of meteorology is that large, stable high pressure systems are often responsible for peak electrical demand in both winter and summer because they are associated with clear skies and temperature extremes.  These systems are also commonly characterized by very low winds across a wide area.

As a result while demand continued to climb wind energy faded away to almost nothing.  At this point most of the thermal generation assets available within Texas had to come on-line in order to meet demand.

So it is impossible to decommission even the oldest and least efficient thermal generation plants in the system regardless of how many wind farms have been built and solar panels deployed.  German utility E.on came face-to-face with that reality in the spring of 2013 when they were instructed by the local grid operator to keep an old plant operational even though it would rarely be needed.

But a new day is dawning in the U.S. and it could be a darn cold (or hot) one.

The EPA announced regulations in December 2011 that will require coal-fired thermal generation plants to clean up or shut down.  The reality is that for many of these plants it will not be feasible to clean them up.  In fact, in some cases the EPA will not even allow them to be updated with modern pollution controls.  As a result more than 40 GW of firm generation capacity will be decommissioned over the next several years.

Plans to replace this loss are in some cases vague and have been changing often.  Increased conservation and better utilization of existing plants are frequently included in Integrated Resource Plans.  In other cases greater reliance upon renewables is explicitly identified.  These are not really replacements for firm capacity.

A number of new Natural Gas fired plants are also under construction.  While current low gas prices make this an attractive option the threat of future significant price hikes as well as the EPA's stated goal to regulate CO2 emissions are worrisome and are impacting the ability to secure financing of these plants in some cases.

As more and more coal-fired plants are retired it is likely that total system firm generation capacity will drop resulting in smaller reserves.  This, in turn, will make the system more susceptible to storms or other unplanned outages.

The degree to which grid security is compromised will vary from region to region depending upon the penetration of renewables, number of coal-fired plant retirements and the health of the local economy which has a major impact on electricity demand.  Based upon those factors I believe Texas and the Mid-west are the areas most at risk.

It may be that the reduction in coal-fired generation will do nothing more than cull excess capacity out of the system with no negative impacts.  But groups such as the Institution of Engineering and Technology in the UK have issued warnings about the progressive stress on a system that has taken decades to evolve and is now faced with unprecedented challenges.

Like the concrete block in the Youtube video the system is not displaying any outward signs of weakness.  The question is this - will the North American electricity system encounter its own version of second 2:41?



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


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Researcher hits media & admits West Antarctica ice sheet melt not traceable to humans!

And we've got 200 years before anything much happens anyway

"I have a problem with the widespread implication (in the popular press) that the West Antarctic collapse can be attributed to anthropogenic climate change," said Mike Wolovik, a graduate researcher at Lamont-Doherty who studies ice sheet dynamics. "The marine ice sheet instability is an inherent part of ice sheet dynamics that doesn't require any human forcing to operate. When the papers say that collapse is underway, and likely to last for several hundred years, that's a reasonable and plausible conclusion."

 But, he said, the link between CO2 levels and the loss of ice in West Antarctica "is pretty tenuous." The upwelling of warmer waters that melt the ice has been tied to stronger westerly winds around Antarctica, which have been linked to a stronger air pressure difference between the polar latitudes and the mid-latitudes, which have in turn been linked to global warming.

"I'm not an atmospheric scientist, so I can't evaluate the strength of all of those linkages," Wolovik said. "However, it's a lot of linkages." And that leaves a lot of room for uncertainty about what's actually causing the collapse of the glaciers, he said.

Researchers have been discussing the theory of how marine ice sheets become unstable for many years, said Stan Jacobs, an oceanographer at Lamont-Doherty who has studied ocean currents and their impact on ice shelves for several decades.

"Some of us are a bit wary of indications that substantial new ground has been broken" by the two new papers, Jacobs said. While ocean temperatures seem to be the main cause of the West Antarctic ice retreat, there's a lot of variability in how heat is transported around the ocean in the region, and it's unclear what's driving that, he said. And, he's skeptical that modeling the system at this point can accurately predict the timing of the 's retreat.

But, he added, "this is one more message indicating that a substantial from continued melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet could occur in the foreseeable future.

Cochran agreed: The papers' message is "that … over the next couple hundred years, there's going to be a significant rise in , and at this point we can't stop it."


We Can Easily Adapt To Sea Level Changes, New Report Says

Attempts to stem sea level rises by reducing CO2 levels in order to "combat" global warming are a complete waste of time says a new report by two of the world's leading oceanographic scientists.

Over the last 150 years, average global sea levels have risen by around 1.8 mm per annum - a continuation of the melting of the ice sheets which began 17,000 years ago. Satellite measurements (which began in 1992) put the rate higher - at 3mm per year. But there is no evidence whatsoever to support the doomsday claims made by Al Gore in 2006 that sea levels will rise by 20 feet by the end of the century, nor even the more modest prediction by James Hansen that they will rise by 5 metres.

Such modest rises, argue oceanographer Willem P de Lange and marine geologist Bob Carter in their report for the Global Warming Policy Foundation, are far better dealt with by adaptation than by costly, ineffectual schemes to decarbonise the global economy.
They say:

"No justification exists for continuing to base sea-level policy and coastal management regulation upon the outcomes of deterministic or semi-empirical sea-level modelling. Such modelling remains speculative rather than predictive. The practice of using a global rate of sea-level change to manage specific coastal locations worldwide is irrational and should be abandoned."

It is irrational not least because it is based on a complete misunderstanding of the causes and nature of sea-level rises. There are parts of the world where the sea level is rising, others where it is falling - and this is dependent as much on what the land is doing (tectonic change) as on what the sea is doing.
In other words - a point once made very effectively by Canute - it is absurdly egotistical of man to imagine that he has the power to control something as vast as the sea. The best he can hope to do is to adapt, as previous generations have done, either by deciding to shore up eroding coastal areas or abandon them and move further inland.

And for those still in doubt, here is what Vincent Courtillot, Emeritus professor of geophysics at Paris Diderot University has to say in his introduction to the report:

"Sea level change is a naturally occurring process. Since the last glacial maximum, some 18,000 years ago, de-glaciation has taken place and this natural global warming has led to sea-level rise of on average 120 m or so. At some times, pulses of melt water coming from large peri-glacial lakes led to rates of sea level rise as high as 3 m per century. The rate slowed down some 7000 years ago and since then has been naturally fluctuating by only a few metres. The remaining global sea-level rise has been about 20 cm in the 20th century. Has this led to global disasters? The answer is no. If the projected rise over the 21st century is double what was seen in the 20th, is it likely that it will result in global disasters? Again, the answer is most likely no; human ingenuity, innovation and engineering, and the proper material and financial resources should solve local problems if and when they arrive, as they have in the 20th century."


Well, I Guess Obama Hasn't Healed the Planet

When Barack Obama won his party’s presidential nomination in 2008, he proclaimed that “generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that… this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

Six years later, the president is threatening to go around Congress and upend the American economy in a misguided attempt to secure his legacy on climate change.  He’s gone from the candidate who said, “I face this challenge with profound humility and knowledge of my own limitations” to the president who says if Congress won’t act on this issue, “I will.”

Despite Americans’ keen interest in just about any issue except climate change, the White House is encouraging climate hysteria to push the Environmental Protection Agency’s coming regulations.

President Obama wants to use the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. The two main problems with this: It would devastate the economy and it would NOT heal the planet, so to speak.

“Even if we were to stop emitting greenhouse gas emissions entirely, we would not moderate the Earth’s temperature more than a few tenths of a degree Celsius by the end of the century,” said Heritage’s Nicolas Loris, the Herbert and Joyce Morgan Fellow.

Read that again: A few tenths of a degree—from taking extreme measures.

And how well do these dire climate projections do in reality? In fact, the climate models the administration relied on for its proposals projected the earth would warm 0.3 degree Celsius over the past 17 years—which did not happen, Loris reports. During that time, carbon dioxide emissions did increase—yet the projected warming did not happen.

That doesn’t bother the White House, which continues hyping the latest climate report with “with bogus claims of past, current and predicted climate impacts,” says David Kreutzer, Heritage’s research fellow in energy economics and climate change.

You may not be able to count on the White House’s climate projections, but there are several things you can count on from Obama’s action plan:

higher energy prices
lower incomes for Americans
slower economic growth

White House adviser John Podesta said this week that congressional attempts to block the administration have “zero percent chance” of working. Will members of Congress take that as a challenge and step up to protect Americans from this wrongheaded plan that would bring only economic harm for no environmental benefit?


The Slow, Sure Death of "Climate Change" Lies

By Alan Caruba

Even though President Obama continues to lie about “climate change” and employs the many elements of the federal government to repeat those lies, this huge hoax is dying.

Obama is on record saying that climate change “once considered an issue for the distant future, has moved firmly into the present” and is “affecting Americans right now.” Climate change as studied by climatologists is measured in terms of centuries whereas the weather is what is happening today. It has been happening before and since the rise of civilization. Obama’s claim that “climate-related changes are outside of recent experience” and “have become more frequent and/or intense” is a lie from start to finish.

The White House recently released its latest “National Climate Assessment.” It is 841 pages of outlandish claims that reflect the lies generated by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. When you consider that the federal government spends an estimated $2.6 billion annually in grants for climate research, about the only beneficiaries are those “scientists” employed to further the hoax.

The UN’s IPCC was created in 1983 and has issued a series of reports whose sole intention has been to frighten people around the world with claims of global warming that are scientifically baseless.

The Heartland Institute, a non-profit market-based think tank, responded by creating the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) and by sponsoring a series of international conferences. The 9th conference will be July 7-9 in Las Vegas. That effort began in 2003 in cooperation with the Science & Environmental Project led by Dr. S. Fred Singer and was joined by the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change.

I am an advisor to the Institute, having written about environmental and energy issues for several decades at this point.

Calling on thousands of scientists around the world, in 2013 the NIPCC published the first of a three-volume response to the IPCC’s fifth assessment. This year, it has published a volume of Climate Change Reconsidered devoted to biological impacts, a 1,062 page opus. The NIPCC is an international panel of scientists and scholars with no government affiliation or sponsorship, and it receives no corporate funding.

Writing in the Financial Post in October 2013, Lawrence Solomon, the executive director of Energy Probe, a Toronto-based environmental group, noted that “solar activity is now falling more rapidly than at any time in the last 10,000 years.” The Earth’s climate is primarily a reflection of solar radiation or the lack of it. From 1300 to 1850, the Earth was subject to a mini-ice age. While the global warming hoax began in the late 1980s, Solomon noted that, in the 1960s and 1970s, the scientific consensus was that the Earth “was entering a period of global cooling. The media in those years was filled with stories about a pending new ice age.

It was only the intervention of the UN’s IPCC that changed the “consensus” to one of global warming. A cooling cycle that began around fourteen years ago could lead to another mini-ice age or the planet could be on the cusp of a full-fledged one. On average, the interglacial periods of the Earth have lasted about 11,500 years and we are at the end of such a period.

Climate Change Reconsidered II devoted to biological impact features scientific studies that conclude:

# “Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is not a pollutant.” Considering that all vegetation on Earth depends on it, it is not surprising that another conclusion was that the ongoing rise in the air’s CO2 content is causing a great greening of the Earth.

# As a result, “there is little or no risk of increasing food insecurity due to global warming or rising atmospheric CO2 levels and that terrestrial ecosystems have thrived throughout the world as a result of warming temperatures and rising levels of atmospheric CO2. Multiple lines of evidence indicate animal species are adapting, and in some cases, evolving, to cope with climate change of the modern era.”

# In addition, “rising temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels to no pose a significant threat to aquatic life and that a modest warming of the planet will result in a net reduction of human mortality from temperate-related events.”

The irony of the latest NIPCC report, of course, is that it responds to the claims of global warming and carbon dioxide’s role at a time when the Earth is cooling. It makes one wish that all the talk about “greenhouse gases” is true enough to help us escape from the present cooling.

One thing we do know for sure is that the Greens talk of climate change has lost its grip on the public imagination and attention. As the cooling cycle continues, people around the world will be far more focused on increased evidence of massive ice sheets at both poles, on frozen lakes and rivers, on shortened growing seasons, and on the desperate need for more fossil fuels to warm our homes and workplaces.


Obama and EPA Use “National Security” to Block Independent Investigations!

The executive branch has an enormous amount of power and thanks to President Obama’s time in office, that power has expanded over the past 6 years.

The result of this extended power is that an overbearing executive branch comes into conflict with individual rights and liberties as it continues its expansion. The IRS scandal is an excellent example of how executive bureaucracy will go to any length to protect and perpetuate its own existence.

While the President does have extraordinary power over the executive branch, there are safeguards in place to prevent fraud and abuse. Inspectors general serve as a watchdog element to stop these bloated bureaucracies from devolving into tyranny and lawlessness. But what happens when these Inspectors General are shut out? What happens when members of the President’s inner circle deliberately try to thwart investigations into the Executive branch bureaucracies?

That is exactly what is happening at the Environmental Protection Agency! EPA Assistant Inspector General Patrick Sullivan testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that the EPA’s Office of Homeland Security, run by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, is currently acting as a “rogue law enforcement organization.” A unit run by Barack Obama’s political staff has been blocking independent investigations for years and preventing the Inspector General from doing his job.

Time and time again, when the Obama administration is forced to choose between transparency and opacity, it chooses the latter. This is corruption at its absolute worst!

This isn’t just a story about the EPA. Yes, that part of the story is important and should serve as a smoking gun, showing just how corrupt the Obama administration has become. But the story is much larger than just this one agency. Across the board, government agencies’ corrupt elements are being revealed. Not through legitimate investigation, but through the Obama administration’s resistance to oversight efforts.

The greatest comedy over the past six years is that as lawless as the Obama administration may be, many of the checks and balances designed to curtail White House abuses happen to have a serious conflict of interest.

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals is charged with determining whether executive orders and bureaucratic regulations are constitutional. Last year, Harry Reid abolished the filibuster to allow Democrats to pack this court with Obama supporters. That check has been all but eliminated.

The Attorney General is supposed to enforce the law of the land. Unfortunately, Eric Holder has no intention of upholding anything. He refuses to enforce our immigration laws and has refused to defend laws passed by Congress when they come up before the Supreme Court. When Congress held Eric Holder in contempt, they turned the case over to… Eric Holder! As if this corrupt Obama appointee would ever police himself…

Now we have a branch within the Environmental Protection Agency that refuses to cooperate with independent investigators. The EPA already has a number of excuses that it uses to avoid oversight. The agency uses “public health” and “environmental protection” as excuses to explain away its actions. These latest discoveries show that the White House actually staffed the EPA’s Office of Homeland Security with Obama supporters for the sole purpose of blocking oversight investigations.

First of all, why on earth does the EPA need an Office of Homeland Security? The actual Department of Homeland Security is redundant enough as it is… why does the EPA need its own miniature, in-house version? The answer is simple. Now, whenever the Obama administration wants something to go away or for an investigation to stop, this small unit of Obama staffers can claim that a program or regulation is in the name of “national security.”

A lot of this is the Republicans’ fault. Both parties have contributed to the rise of national security justifications for illegal actions. We have been conditioned to just accept that whenever the goal is national security, the ends always justify the means. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.

The Obama administration’s politicization of this EPA unit shows just how corrupt our government has become. When confronted over environmental regulations and the EPA’s inner workings, the White House has actually tried to claim immunity and confidentiality by arguing the agency protects national security. The only things that the EPA protects are the wallets and bank accounts of the environmental lobby.

The Obama administration is out of control. But quite frankly, party affiliation has nothing to do with it. The Executive branch has grown to be so corrupt that it will stop at nothing to protect itself and shield itself from investigations. Even if it means claiming “national security” to stop investigations into the Environmental Protection Agency, the modern Presidency knows no shame.

This is completely absurd, but it is unfortunately our fault. We have allowed the Executive branch to become so bloated and corrupt. We have been conditioned by both political parties to accept “national security” as an excuse for practically anything


Australia:  Green anti-coal seam gas activists at work

Anti-gas activist’s camp relies on gas cylinders, six drums of diesel and electric generator. Go figure.

Less than a week after a council vowed to shut down a large anti-coal seam gas protest camp in the state's north and promised police would be called in to send it packing, the activists have been told they can stay.

The Bentley camp, near Lismore, is a temporary home to between hundreds and thousands of people, depending on the day.

It was established in February on private land adjacent to the site where Metgasco plans to begin exploratory drilling for gas.

Richmond Valley Council announced last Wednesday the camp's approval would expire at the end of that week and not be renewed due to its burgeoning numbers, the length of time it had been there, and the "ongoing breach of many of the approval conditions".

The mayor, Ernie Bennett, said police would be required "for sure" to move the campers on.

But on Thursday morning, Mr Bennett said the protesters would not be moved, despite their occupation of the land being "illegal".

"I don't think it would be appropriate to remove them at this point," he said.

"Council is working with them to put an appropriate DA [development application] before council."

The Greens have said the police should not be used to break the protest.

“The NSW Police Force should not be used as private security to allow a coal seam gas company to force its way into a community that has overwhelmingly rejected the presence of gas fields in the Northern Rivers,” Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham said this week.



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