Friday, July 18, 2014
Global Warming Reaches New Records
If you look up the Japanese records concerned, you find that the exciting temperature concerned is in fact only three tenths of one degree Celsius above the 30 year average. Such a tiny rise would excite only a Warmist and if real, could easily be just a natural fluctuation
And since the temperature concerned is for June only, the rise could well be cancelled out over the rest of the year. Attaching any weight to just one month is cherrypicking
Scientific evidence about the rising of average global temperatures seems to be piling up.
According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, average global temperatures in April, May and June this year were the highest since the beginning of official records, in 1891.
The Japanese records, released on Monday, show that this year’s second quarter was about 0.68 degrees Celsius warmer than the average for the whole 20th century.
U.S. space agency NASA uses different method for calculating average temperature, but its records, released Monday, show almost identical results.
In addition, the U.S. Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Mauna Loa Observatory reports that the monthly average of carbon dioxide levels in the earth’s atmosphere reached 400 parts per million, the highest in the last 800,000 years.
U.S. Amb. Blames 'Climate Change' for Hotel That Collapsed 12 Yrs Ago on African Beach
Against all the evidence. About what you would expect of Samantha Power
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power posted photos on Twitter Wednesday to illustrate the purported effects of climate change on a West African nation’s coastline, but the pictures show a hotel that collapsed into the sea 12 years ago, the victim of erosion blamed largely on years of illegal mining of coastal sand.
“Had sobering meeting with Benin’s U.N. Ambassador, who described the devastating effects of climate change on his coastal country,” she tweeted. “Showed me chilling photos of eroding coastline, said ‘that’s climate change – a daily life of falling in the sea.’”
Although not identified by Power, the two photos posted with the tweet are of the remains of the Palm Hotel in Cotonou, the largest city in Benin, a small, narrow country tucked between Nigeria and Togo. The building collapsed in 2002, 20 years after it was built.
A Nexis search of news reports going back almost two decades shows that Benin, like its Gulf of Guinea neighbors, has long struggled with coastal erosion, a problem recorded since the 1960s.
The earlier reports, however, say nothing about climate change, rising sea levels or melting icecaps.
Instead, the erosion is attributed largely to activity by locals and poor decision-making by authorities in the affected countries, and in Cotonou’s particular case to the city’s location on a narrow strip of low-lying land, between a large lake and the sea.
A 1997 Pan African News Agency (PANA) report blamed Benin’s coastal erosion on a “lack of coherent environmental policy, high population growth and over-exploitation of natural resources.”
Another PANA report the following year quoted an Organization for African Unity (now African Union) scientific commissioner as saying in a speech on Benin’s coastal erosion that the causes were both local human activity and natural phenomena, including “very low coastal topography, intense waves and high winds and weak soils.”
In 2001, a report by the United Nations’ Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN) news service referred to disruptions of natural sand movement along the West African coast, including Benin, caused by the construction decades earlier of the port of Lome in neighboring Togo, which included the construction of a 1.1 mile-long protective jetty
An IRIN report in 2003 noted the collapse of Cotonou’s Palm Hotel the previous year, but made no reference to global climate change or rising sea levels.
“Environmentalists say the building of a new port [in Cotonou] 40 years ago, the construction of dams on rivers near the coast, the removal of sand from beaches to make cement, and other human activities are partly responsible for the coastline’s rapid retreat,” it said.
“The city began to suffer coastal erosion in 1962 after the construction of breakwaters for new deep-water port interrupted the wave-driven movement of sand along the coastline,” the report said. “For the next 25 years the waterfront to the east of the breakwaters, deprived of new sediments to make up for those being washed further down the coast, retreated by 15 to 20 meters a year.”
The report quoted a Port of Cotonou coastal management expert as saying that more than one million cubic meters of sand are removed from Benin’s beaches each year.
A 2005 BBC report on erosion in Cotonou referred to plans to build levees along the coast to protect the city from “the invasion of the ocean.”
But it, too, did not refer to rising sea levels or climate change.
“It is claimed that the taking of sand from the beaches is, in effect, digging the city’s grave,” the report said.
A U.N. Development Program (UNDP) project started in 2008 points to another contributor to Benin’s erosion problems – the harvesting of oysters in ways that damage mangrove trees by chopping healthy branches. Encouraging more sustaining methods of removing the oysters, the UNDP noted that the mangrove trees help to “protect the coastline from erosion.”
‘All due to climate change’
Only in more recent years have references to climate change started to appear in news reports on Benin’s erosion problems.
An IRIN report in Aug. 2008 quoted a German environmental activist as saying coastal erosion along the Gulf of Guinea “is all due to climate change – the greenhouse gas emissions result in global warming and subsequent melting of the Greenland ice cap.”
A month later, another IRIN report said, “Coastal erosion in the Gulf of Guinea, including Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria, has been linked to climate change, and in turn to rising sea levels, flooding, and waterborne diseases.”
However, the same report also reported on the sand removal problem.
“Until recently, it was legal for companies in Benin to pump sand from the beach for construction projects, further shrinking the coast,” it said. “The government banned this practice in September 2007, but locals say they still see companies hauling away sand.”
(Another IRIN report, in Oct. 2008, said the ban had in fact been put in place 15 years earlier, but that “coastal sand mining is still common in Benin.”)
A 2011 Inter Press Service report on coastal erosion in the area blamed both local human activity and global climate change.
“Climate change-induced rises in sea levels are part of the problem, but other activities such as unregulated sand mining and the destruction of coastal mangrove forests have also played a role throughout the region,” it said.
Benin, a country with a population of around 10 million, is slightly smaller than Pennsylvania.
EPA ‘Changes the Rules in the Middle of the Game', Congress Told
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) "changes the rules in the middle of the game" by vetoing previously issued dredge-and-fill permits, representatives from multiple business associations told members of the House Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment at a hearing on Capitol Hill Tuesday.
“The developer enters the permitting process believing that once it proves it can meet every condition imposed by the government, that it will hold the permit for a specific number of years to both complete and operate the project,” William Kovacs, vice president of the environment, technology, and regulatory affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, testified at the hearing.
Kovacs stated that it often takes several years and costs developers “millions of dollars” to get a permit, only to have it revoked, creating "great uncertainty” for developers that discourages them from pursuing new projects.
“A permit has value only as long as the administrator believes it should not be revoked,” Kovacs said, adding that "seeking a permit becomes an expensive gamble with company and stockholder assets."
Harold Quinn, the president and CEO of the National Mining Association, echoed Kovacs’ remarks, stating that permit certainty is an “essential and highly valued commodity.”
“We need to be able to rely upon the fact that the permits conditions will not change,” agreed Nick Ivanoff, senior vice chairman of the American Roads and Transportation Builders Association. He stated that developers “could lose permits through no fault of their own, but simply because EPA changes the rules in the middle of the game.”
“If EPA has its way, every permit will forever remain subject to modification and even revocation at literally any time, simply because EPA unilaterally changes its opinion of information that it has long possessed,” said Leah Pilconis, senior environmental advisor to the Associated General Contractors of America.
According to a summary by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, the Army Corps of Engineers has the authority to issue dredge-and-fill permits with EPA oversight under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act of 1972.
However, Patrick Parenteau, a professor at Vermont Law School, who worked as a regional counselor with the EPA for over 40 years, stated that the agency has every right to retroactively veto permits, but added that it has rarely chosen to exercise this option.
“This law [Clean Water Act] authorizes EPA to exercise this very rare, last resort, very carefully crafted authority before, during, or after the issuance of a 404 permit,” he said, adding that the EPA has only exercised its veto authority 13 times out of 2 million permit activities.
“404(c) is not broken,” Parenteau told subcommittee members. “It should be retained.”
In 2011, the EPA vetoed a 404(c) permit for Arch Coal on its Spruce Mine, located in Logan County, West Virginia. According to the Transportation Committee’s summary, Arch Coal conducted an extensive 10-year environmental review prior to receiving its permit in 2007 and had complied with all provisions of Section 404 following authorization.
In March 2012, a U.S. District judge overruled the EPA’s use of its retroactive veto, calling it “a stunning power for an agency to arrogate itself when there is absolutely no mention of it in the statute.”
But this decision was overturned in 2013 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to take up the case at this time.
Wind turbine fires 'ten times more common than thought', experts warn
Wind turbines may catch on fire ten times more often than is publicly reported, putting nearby properties at risk and casting doubt on their green credentials, researchers have warned.
The renewable energy industry keeps no record of the number of turbine fires, meaning the true extent of the problem is unknown, a study backed by Imperial College London finds on Thursday.
An average of 11.7 such fires are reported globally each year, by media, campaign groups and other publicly-available sources, but this is likely to represent just the “tip of the iceberg”.
There could in fact be 117 turbine fires each year, it argues, based on analysis showing just 10pc of all wind farm accidents are typically reported.
Fires tend to be “catastrophic”, leading to turbines worth more than £2 million each being written off, because the blazes occur so high up that they are almost impossible to put out, it warns.
Turbines are prone to catching on fire because their design puts highly flammable materials such as hydraulic oil and plastic in close proximity to machinery and electrical wires, which can ignite a fire if they overheat or are faulty.
“Lots of oxygen, in the form of high winds, can quickly fan a fire inside a turbine,” it says. “Once ignited, the chances of fighting the blaze are slim due to the height of the wind turbine and the remote locations they are often in.”
It warns: “Under high wind conditions, burning debris from the turbine may fall on nearby vegetation and start forest fires or cause serious damage to property.”
The main causes of fires are lightning strikes, electrical malfunction, mechanical failure, and errors with maintenance, it finds.
The academics used data compiled by the Caithness Windfarm Information Forum (CWIF), an anti-wind lobby group, which records 1,328 accidents involving wind farms globally between 1995 and 2012. Of these, 200 – 15 per cent - involved turbines catching on fire, implying 11.7 fires per year.
But the report, published in the journal Fire Safety Science, also back CWIF’s view that the true number is far higher.
It points out that the wind industry body, Renewable UK, has admitted there were 1,500 wind farm accidents and incidents in the UK alone between 2006 and 2010 - while just 142 individual accidents in the UK were documented in CWIF’s database over the same period.
This implies that less than 10pc of incidents are publicly reported.
Dr Guillermo Rein, of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Imperial, said: “Fires are a problem for the industry, impacting on energy production, economic output and emitting toxic fumes. This could cast a shadow over the industry's green credentials. Worryingly our report shows that fire may be a bigger problem than what is currently reported.”
He told the Telegraph he believed it was “the responsibility of the industry” to keep a proper database and believed the industry itself had been “surprised by the magnitude of the problem”.
UK cases highlighted in the report include a 100-metre tall turbine that caught fire during hurricane-force winds at Ardrossan in North Ayrshire in December 2011, reportedly due to a lightning strike. The wind turbine was completely burnt out and debris scattered over large distances due to the strong wind.
In 2005, a turbine at the Nissan factory in Sunderland was engulfed in fire before falling onto a nearby A-road, causing traffic disruption. The blaze was believed to be caused by a loose bolt jamming a mechanism, causing it to overheat.
Dr John Constable, director of Renewable Energy Foundation, which has published research showing that wind turbine performance declines sharply with age, said: “This new study on wind turbine fire hazards is an important reminder that there are hidden operation and maintenance costs affecting the economic lifetime of what is after all very expensive equipment. Just because the wind is free doesn’t mean that it is a cheap way of generating electricity.”
A spokesman for Renewable UK said it did “not have numbers of fires as in many cases these do not need to be formally reported”.
Renewable UK’s director of health and safety, Chris Streatfeild, said: “The wind industry welcomes any research that will help reduce maintenance times and improve safety standards. However, the industry would probably challenge a number of the assumptions that are presented in the research, which include the questionable reliability of the data sources referenced and perhaps more importantly a failure to understand the safety and integrity standards for fire safety that are in effect standard practice in any large wind turbine.”
He said: “Fire is a very important issue for the industry in terms worker and public safety as well in reducing costs through minimising any operational down time. However the operational practices and design standards are such that the actual safety risks associated fire are extremely low. No member of the public has ever been injured by a wind turbine in the UK.”
Though Scorned by Colleagues, a Climate-Change Skeptic Is Unbowed
John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, says he remembers the morning he spotted a well-known colleague at a gathering of climate experts.
“I walked over and held out my hand to greet him,” Dr. Christy recalled. “He looked me in the eye, and he said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Come on, shake hands with me.’ And he said, ‘No.’ ”
Dr. Christy is an outlier on what the vast majority of his colleagues consider to be a matter of consensus: that global warming is both settled science and a dire threat. He regards it as neither. Not that the earth is not heating up. It is, he says, and carbon dioxide spewed from power plants, automobiles and other sources is at least partly responsible.
But in speeches, congressional testimony and peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals, he argues that predictions of future warming have been greatly overstated and that humans have weathered warmer stretches without perishing. Dr. Christy’s willingness to publicize his views, often strongly, has also hurt his standing among scientists who tend to be suspicious of those with high profiles. His frequent appearances on Capitol Hill have almost always been at the request of Republican legislators opposed to addressing climate change.
“I detest words like ‘contrarian’ and ‘denier,’ ” he said. “I’m a data-driven climate scientist. Every time I hear that phrase, ‘The science is settled,’ I say I can easily demonstrate that that is false, because this is the climate — right here. The science is not settled.”
Dr. Christy was pointing to a chart comparing seven computer projections of global atmospheric temperatures based on measurements taken by satellites and weather balloons. The projections traced a sharp upward slope; the actual measurements, however, ticked up only slightly.
Such charts — there are others, sometimes less dramatic but more or less accepted by the large majority of climate scientists — are the essence of the divide between that group on one side and Dr. Christy and a handful of other respected scientists on the other.
“Almost anyone would say the temperature rise seen over the last 35 years is less than the latest round of models suggests should have happened,” said Carl Mears, the senior research scientist at Remote Sensing Systems, a California firm that analyzes satellite climate readings.
“Where the disagreement comes is that Dr. Christy says the climate models are worthless and that there must be something wrong with the basic model, whereas there are actually a lot of other possibilities,” Dr. Mears said. Among them, he said, are natural variations in the climate and rising trade winds that have helped funnel atmospheric heat into the ocean.
Dr. Christy has drawn the scorn of his colleagues partly because they believe that so much is at stake and that he is providing legitimacy to those who refuse to acknowledge that. If the models are imprecise, they argue, the science behind them is compelling, and it is very likely that the world has only a few decades to stave off potentially catastrophic warming.
And if he is wrong, there is no redo.
“It’s kind of like telling a little girl who’s trying to run across a busy street to catch a school bus to go for it, knowing there’s a substantial chance that she’ll be killed,” said Kerry Emanuel, a professor of atmospheric science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “She might make it. But it’s a big gamble to take.”
By contrast, Dr. Christy argues that reining in carbon emissions is both futile and unnecessary, and that money is better spent adapting to what he says will be moderately higher temperatures. Among other initiatives, he said, the authorities could limit development in coastal and hurricane-prone areas, expand flood plains, make manufactured housing more resistant to tornadoes and high winds, and make farms in arid regions less dependent on imported water — or move production to rainier places.
Dr. Christy’s scenario is not completely out of the realm of possibility, his critics say, but it is highly unlikely.
In interviews, prominent scientists, while disagreeing with Dr. Christy, took pains to acknowledge his credentials. They are substantial: Dr. Christy, 63, has researched climate issues for 27 years and was a lead author — in essence, an editor — of a section of the 2001 report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the definitive assessment of the state of global warming. With a colleague at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Dr. Roy Spencer, he received NASA’s medal for exceptional scientific achievement in 1991 for building a global temperature database.
That model, which concluded that a layer of the atmosphere was unexpectedly cooling, was revised to show slight warming after other scientists documented flaws in its methodology. It has become something of a scientific tit for tat. Dr. Christy and Dr. Spencer’s own recalculations scaled back the amount of warming, leading to further assaults on their methodology.
Dr. Christy’s response sits on his bookshelf: a thick stack of yellowed paper with the daily weather data he began recording in Fresno, Calif., in the 1960s. It was his first data set, he said, the foundation of a conviction that “you have to know what’s happening before you know why it’s happening, and that comes back to data.”
Dr. Christy says he became fascinated with weather as a fifth grader when a snowstorm hit Fresno in 1961. By his high school junior year, he had taught himself Fortran, the first widely used programming language, and had programmed a school computer to make weather predictions. After earning a degree in mathematics at California State University, Fresno, he became an evangelical Christian missionary in Kenya, married and returned as pastor of a mission church in South Dakota.
There, as a part-time college math teacher, he found his true calling. He left the pastoral position, earned a doctorate in atmospheric sciences at the University of Illinois and moved to Alabama.
And while his work has been widely published, he has often been vilified by his peers. Dr. Christy is mentioned, usually critically, in dozens of the so-called Climategate emails that were hacked from the computers of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Center, the British keeper of global temperature records, in 2009.
Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main storyContinue reading the main story
“John Christy has made a scientific career out of being wrong,” one prominent climate scientist, Benjamin D. Santer of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, wrote in one 2008 email. “He’s not even a third-rate scientist.”
Another email included a photographic collage showing Dr. Christy and other scientists who question the extent of global warming, some stranded on a tiny ice floe labeled “North Pole” and others buoyed in the sea by a life jacket and a yellow rubber ducky. A cartoon balloon depicts three of them saying, “Global warming is a hoax.”
Some, including those who disagree with Dr. Christy, are dismayed by the treatment.
“Show me two scientists who agree on everything,” said Peter Thorne, a senior researcher at Norway’s Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center who wrote a 2005 research article on climate change with Dr. Christy. “We may disagree over what we are finding, but we should be playing the ball and not the man.”
Dr. Christy has been dismissed in environmental circles as a pawn of the fossil-fuel industry who distorts science to fit his own ideology. (“I don’t take money from industries,” he said.)
He says he worries that his climate stances are affecting his chances of publishing future research and winning grants. The largest of them, a four-year Department of Energy stipend to investigate discrepancies between climate models and real-world data, expires in September.
“There’s a climate establishment,” Dr. Christy said. “And I’m not in it.”
Man Sentenced to 30 Days for Catching Rain Water on Own Property Enters Jail
Gary Harrington, the Oregon man convicted of collecting rainwater and snow runoff on his rural property surrendered Wednesday morning to begin serving his 30-day, jail sentence in Medford, Ore.
“I’m sacrificing my liberty so we can stand up as a country and stand for our liberty,” Harrington told a small crowd of people gathered outside of the Jackson County (Ore.) Jail.
Several people held signs that showed support for Harrington as he was taken inside the jail.
Harrington was found guilty two weeks ago of breaking a 1925 law for having, what state water managers called “three illegal reservoirs” on his property. He was convicted of nine misdemeanors, sentenced to 30 days in jail and fined over $1500 for collecting rainwater and snow runoff on his property.
The Oregon Water Resources Department, claims that Harrington has been violating the state’s water use law by diverting water from streams running into the Big Butte River.
But Harrington says he is not diverting the state's water -- merely collecting rainwater and snow melt that falls or flows on his own property.
Harrington has vowed to continue to fight the penalty, stating that the government has become “big bullies” and that “from here on in, I’m going to fight it.”
“They’ve just gotten to be big bullies and if you just lay over and die and give up, that just makes them bigger bullies, Harrington said in an interview two weeks ago with CNSNews.com.
"We as Americans, we need to stand on our constitutional rights, on our rights as citizens and hang tough. This is a good country, we’ll prevail,” he said.
His release is expected in early September.
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Posted by JR at 5:15 PM