Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Kidney stone nonsense demolished

Warmists are chortling over a recent report that associated increased kidney stones with higher temperatures.  A close reading of the  press release that announced the findings is interesting, however.  First note the following excerpt:

"A painful condition that brings half a million patients a year to U.S. emergency rooms, kidney stones have increased markedly over the world in the past three decades. While stones remain more common in adults, the numbers of children developing kidney stones have climbed at a dramatically high rate over the last 25 years. The factors causing the increase in kidney stones are currently unknown, but may be influenced by changes in diet and fluid intake. When stones do not pass on their own, surgery may be necessary."

The study team also found that very low outdoor temperatures increased the risk of kidney stones in three cities: Atlanta, Chicago and Philadelphia. The authors suggest that as frigid weather keeps people indoors more, higher indoor temperatures, changes in diet and decreased physical activity may raise their risk of kidney stones.

Then look at the international prevalence of stones  -- in Table 1.  We find that the USA in 1988-1994 had a kidney stone prevalence of 5.2% whereas Italy has a prevalence of 1.72% in 1993-1994.  We also find that Spain had an incidence of 2.0% in 1987 and a prevalence of 10.0% in 1991.

So what is going on?  It's hard to know where to start.  But let me draw attention to the statements highlighted in red.  They first admit that they DON'T know what causes stones.  Climate  change is simply a speculation.  Then they admit that LOW temperatures go with more stones in some cities.  Global warming does not affect Atlanta, Chicago and Philadelphia??  It's not very global in that case is it?

And, going to the statistics, why should the USA have a prevalence that is 3 times higher than Italy?  Is the USA 3 times warmer than Italy?  Obviously not.  And, finally, the Spanish statistics suggest that the whole thing is basically a mystery.  So the careful scientific conclusion by the authors that "The factors causing the increase in kidney stones are currently unknown" is well justified.  The Warmists have however ignored that scientific conclusion and hopped on to the speculations attached to it. -- JR


Increasing amounts of water in the upper troposphere are a direct result of human activity
Just more computer modelling. You can get any conclusion you want with modelling. The paper is "Upper-tropospheric moistening in response to anthropogenic warming"

Rising levels of water vapour high above the Earth are likely to intensify the effects of global warming in coming decades, say scientists.

The increasing amounts of water in the upper troposphere are a direct result of human activity, research suggests.

Computer simulations predict that as burning fossil fuels warms the climate, concentrations of water vapour will rise.

The moistening of the atmosphere in turn absorbs more heat and raises the Earth’s temperature further.

To investigate these effects scientists measured levels of water vapour in the upper troposphere, a region three to seven miles above the Earth’s surface.

Their findings were compared with climate model predictions of water circulation between the ocean and atmosphere.

The results showed that increasing levels of atmospheric water vapour could not be explained by natural forces such as volcanoes or changes in solar activity.

But they did appear to be linked to emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.

Lead scientist Professor Brian Soden, from the University of Miami, US, said: 'The study is the first to confirm that human activities have increased water vapour in the upper troposphere.'

The findings are published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


Climate Alarmists Never Quit!

By Alan Caruba

In the same way Americans are discovering that the Cold War that was waged from the end of World War Two until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 is not over, Americans continue to be subjected to the endless, massive, global campaign to foist the hoax of global warming--now called climate change—on everyone.

The campaign’s purpose to convince everyone that it is humans, not the sun, oceans, and other natural phenomenon, and that requires abandoning fossil fuels in favor of “renewable” wind and solar energy.

“It is not surprising that climate alarmists, who desire above all else blind allegiance to their cause, would demand all school teachers toe the ‘official party line’ and quash any dissent on the subject of man-made global warming in their classroom,” says Craig Rucker, the Executive Director of co-founder of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT). “What is absurd is that any teacher or free-thinking person for that matter would listen to them.”

These days when I am challenged regarding my views about global warming, climate change or energy I send the individual to  and, two constantly updated websites filled with links to information on these topics. Both are maintained by CFACT.

It’s not just our classrooms where Green indoctrination goes on. It is also our news media that continue to distort every weather event to advance the hoax. Guiding and feeding them is a massive complex of organizations led by the United Nations—the International Panel on Climate Change—that maintains the hoax to frighten people worldwide in order to achieve “one world order.”

On September 23, heads of state, including President Obama, will gather in New York City for what the Sierra Club calls “a historic summit on climate change. With our future on the line, we will take a weekend and use it to bend the course of history” to save the world from “the ravages of climate change.” This is absurd. Suggesting that humans can alter the climate in any way defies centuries of proof they do not.

One of the leading Leftist organizations, the Center for American Progress, focused on the July 14 Major Economics Forum in Paris, offered four items for its agenda. Claiming that “the Arctic is warming two times faster than any other region on earth”, they wanted policy changes based on this falsehood. They blamed climate change for “global poverty” and wanted further reductions in so-called greenhouse gas emissions from energy use. The enemy, as far as they were concerned was energy use.

Mary Hutzler, a senior research fellow of the Institute for Energy Research, testified before a July 22nd meeting of the Senate Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Development and Foreign Assistance, that due to Europe’s green energy (wind and solar) policies, industrial electricity prices are two-to-five times higher than in the U.S. and that, by 2020, 1.4 million European households will be added to those experiencing energy poverty.

There are lessons to be learned, for example, from Spain’s investment in wind energy that caused the loss of four jobs for the electricity it produced and 13 jobs for every megawatt of solar energy. In Germany, the cost of electricity is three times higher than average U.S. residential prices. Little wonder that European nations are now slashing wind and solar programs.

Billions Wasted to Combat Global Warming

In the U.S., the Obama administration used its “stimulus” to fund Solyndra—$500 million dollars—and fifty other Green energy projects that have failed or are on their way to failure. Undeterred with this appalling record, on July 3 the Energy Department announced $4 billion for “projects that fight global warming.”

But there is no global warming. The Earth has been in a cooling cycle for seventeen years and it shows no indication of ending anytime soon. This is the same administration that has waged a war on coal, forcing the closure of many plants that produced electricity efficiently and affordably, and had throughout the last century.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s 2014 weather highlights showed that, from January to June, the temperature in the U.S. has risen by a miniscule 0.1 degrees Fahrenheit compared with the average temperature for the 20th century. NOAA also noted that recorded temperatures for the first half of 2014 are the coldest since 1993 when the cooling cycle began. The exception to this has been California.

Brainwashed for decades about global warming, 20% of likely voters, according to a July Rasmussen poll, still believe that global warming is not over, colder weather or not, 17% were not sure, but fully 63% disagreed!

The results of a Pew Research Center poll in June revealed that 35% of Americans say there is not enough solid evidence to suggest mankind is warming the Earth while another 18% says the world has warmed due to “natural patterns”, not human activity. Pew found that liberals remain convinced that humans are to blame, but the bottom line is that 53% disputed the President’s claims.

That means that a growing number of Americans are now skeptics.

In the months to come we will see marches and meetings intended to further the global warming lies. The good news is that fewer Americans are being influenced by such efforts.


Venezuela climate summit comes to far-Left conclusions

A UN-backed conference in Venezuela has ended with a declaration to scrap carbon markets and reject the green economy.

The Margarita Declaration was issued at the end of a four-day meeting of around 130 green activist groups, which the Venezuelan government hosted in order to raise the volume of civil society demands in UN discussions on climate change.

“The structural causes of climate change are linked to the current capitalist hegemonic system,” the final declaration said. “To combat climate change it is necessary to change the system.”

The declaration will be handed to environment ministers when they meet ahead of the UN’s main round of talks in Lima this year.

The meeting, called the Social Pre-COP, is the first time that civil society has been invited to participate with the UN at this scale at international climate talks.

Groups who participated in the meeting include WWF, CAN International, Third World Network and Christian Aid.

Venezuela said the purpose of the meeting is to “set the basis of an alliance between peoples and governments”.

While it is unclear who signed the declaration, it contrasts with the views of many national governments, which see the transition to a green economy as underpinning efforts to tackle climate change.

‘False solution’

The declaration also conflicts with the UN’s own schemes to tackle climate change.

It says carbon markets are a “false solution” to the problem of climate change and brands a UN-backed forest conservation scheme “dangerous and unethical”.

The forests programme, called Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Land Degradation (REDD), was first introduced into UN proceedings in 2005 at the request of the governments of Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica.

Under this mechanism, rich countries pay developing nations to preserve their forests, removing some of the financial incentive to chop them down.

Deforestation is a significant contributor to climate change as it releases the carbon that is stored in trees.

Similarly, the UN has set up its own carbon market, called the Clean Development Mechanism, which allows developed countries to pay for projects that will reduce the carbon footprint of poor countries.

The latest set of proposals for a global climate treaty recently released UN officials explicitly includes references to market-based solutions aimed at tackling environmental degradation and raising investment capital.

Maria de Pilar GarcĂ­a-Guadilla, a professor at the Simon Bolivar University in Venezuela, said that there was an underlying assumption in the declaration that capitalism was the cause of climate change – a position maintained by the Venezuelan government in its own development plan – but that this was a “fallacy”.

“Venezuela relies heavily on the use of hydrocarbons, or the extractive economies, to support their anti-neoliberal socialist policies. The extractive economy has a severe negative social and environmental impacts in the indigenous communities and in the most biodiverse areas,” she said.

She added that the Margarita Declaration is “very discursive and the real issues are not inside.”

Mixed opinions

Objections to the concept of a “green economy”, which encourages green growth through carbon markets and clean energy investments, prompted a walkout at the Rio+20 summit in 2012.

Some developing countries are concerned that this model could put them at a commercial disadvantage, and that rich countries should instead focus on how to transfer cash and sustainable technologies to poorer nations.

Venezuela, a staunchly socialist government, has long opposed the “green economy” concept, alongside other Latin American countries including Argentina, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, and Nicaragua.

But the opinions of civil society are more mixed. CAN International, a coalition of green NGOs which was present at the Social Pre-COP, said that REDD is “key to emissions reductions” in the manifesto that it released before the UN’s last climate conference, in Warsaw last year.

One participant at last week’s meeting told RTCC on condition of anonymity that: “In terms of being a neutral observer, [the Venezuelan government] do have their views and they definitely have their ways”.

He added that most of the Venezuelan groups present at the meeting were supportive of the government’s position, in contrast to the 34 Venezuelan NGOs who rejected their invitation to the gathering, due to concerns that it would provide an opportunity for the government to push their socialist agenda.

“That made Venezuela not need to actively push for things, letting the movements propose their views instead,” he said.


GMO Scare Mongering -- more from Rich Kozlovich

Mike Adams, who publishes Natural News and styles himself as the Health Ranger recently posted an article entitled, The Agricultural Holocaust explained: the 10 worst ways GMOs threaten humanity and our natural world on July 27, 2014.

He claims "genetically modified organisms (GMOs) a serious threat to humanity and the environment? The reasons span the realms of science, social justice, economics and the environment, and once you understand this, you'll readily understand why so many environmentalists, humanitarians, responsible scientists and social justice advocates are strongly opposed to GMOs", and lists ten reasons why?

His second claim is - GMOs have never been safety tested for human consumption, and goes on to say;

"Although GMO advocates ridiculously claim GMOs have been "proven safe in thousands of studies," what they don't tell you is that those were all short-term studies on animals, not humans.

In fact, GMOs have never been shown to be safe for long-term human consumption. What happens when a child eats GMOs for two decades? Does it substantially increase their risk of cancer, diabetes, kidney failure or future Alzheimer's? Nobody knows, exactly, because the tests haven't been done.

As often happens with other chemicals, GMOs are simply let loose into the world with an attitude of "let's see what happens!"

Although I’ve largely addressed this in my previous post, I will add this. Nothing can be proven safe; it’s called proving a negative. Scientifically impossible! You can only prove what things do, not what they don’t do. It’s like demanding someone “prove” they’re “not” cheating on their spouse. Can’t be done! And these people know this, making it another lie of omission.

Since these products have been used for decades, and there’s no indication that GMO’s cause anything, including “cancer, diabetes, kidney failure or future Alzheimer's” why does he say it? Because speculation is easy! He might just as well make the claim – “we don’t know if GMO’s causes AIDS!”

You can make any accusation and frame it in the form of a question and not have to prove anything one way or another. But the thought is planted in people’s minds there’s something nefarious about GMO’s, and the companies producing them. This has been the scare tactic activists have been using going back to Silent Spring and the mother of junk science, Rachel Carson.

Dr. Madeleine Pelner Cosman, Ph.D. notes that there are seven steps to this process and usually follow this pattern:

1.      Create a "scientific" study that predicts a public health disaster
2.      Release the study to the media, before scientists can review it
3.      Generate an intense emotional public reaction
4.      Develop a government-enforced solution
5.      Intimidate Congress into passing it into law
6.      Coerce manufacturers to stop making the product
7.      Bully users to replace it, or obliterate it

One more thing that needs to be addressed and that’s exactly what pesticide is he talking about? Since GMO Bt cotton is his theme later in his article, we need to see what the EPA thinks:

"Bt products are found to be safe for use in the environment and with mammals. The EPA (environmental protection agency) has not found any human health hazards related to using Bt. In fact the EPA has found Bt safe enough that it has exempted Bt from food residue tolerances, groundwater restrictions, endangered species labeling and special review requirements. Bt is often used near lakes, rivers and dwellings, and has no known effect on wildlife such as mammals, birds, and fish.

Humans exposed orally to 1000 mg/day for 3-5 days of Bt have showed no ill effects. Many tests have been conducted on test animals using different types of exposures. The results of the tests showed that the use of Bt causes few if any negative effects. Bt does not persist in the digestive systems of mammals.

Bt is found to be an eye irritant on test rabbits. There is very slight irritation from inhalation in test animals which may be caused by the physical rather than the biological properties of the Bt formulation tested.

Bt has not been shown to have any chronic toxicity or any carcinogenic effects. There are also no indication that Bt causes reproductive effects or birth defects in mammals.

Bt breaks down readily in the environment. Because of this Bt poses no threat to groundwater. Bt also breaks down under the ultraviolet (UV) light of the sun."

We have to get past this outrageous scare mongering and realize they're big argument is that GMO's are "unnatural" because of how the genes are implanted. That's completely the wrong take. Our only concern should be what the genes are supposed to do, not how they got there. More to come.


2 Charts Show Why Wind Power Won't Solve the Carbon Problem

When discussing electricity, the words "carbon dioxide" invariably come into play. The utility industry's use of carbon based fuels is responsible for roughly 40% of the generation of this greenhouse gas domestically. Alternative power options are often held up as the solution to this problem. But wind turbines are a great example of why this isn't true—and these two graphs show why.

Getting into wind

Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL  ) has made a big commitment to wind power. This mid-western utility got just 3% of its power from wind in 2005, which happens to be the backdated starting date for CO2 emission regulations being proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). By 2020, however, wind is projected to make up 22% of the company's generation.

That's a huge increase, with coal taking most of the hit. However, even after the rapid wind power growth coal will still account for 43% of Xcel Energy's power pie. Natural gas, which is cleaner than coal but still emits carbon dioxide, and nuclear power will throw in another 30%. And the Texas experience with wind power shows why:

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), "At 8:48 p.m. on March 26, wind generation on the electric grid covering most of the state of Texas reached a new instantaneous peak output of 10,296 megawatts (MW). At that moment, wind supplied almost 29% of total electricity load." While that's impressive, note the use of the word "instantaneous" as you look at the graph above.

The power generated by wind turbines is anything but constant. It juts up and down with often severe moves. For example, before and after hitting that peak, wind turbines in Texas were only producing around 2,000 MW of power. It's not because someone in Texas turned the turbines off, it's because the wind stopped blowing. That's why Xcel Energy isn't giving up on the base-load trio of coal, gas, and nuclear.

I have the power!

This trio is controlled by the utility and can be run as hard as needed. Nuclear, for example, is usually run between 80% and 100% of capacity. Coal and natural gas tend to run at lower levels, but could easily be pushed higher if needed. The important thing is that how hard these power sources are worked is within the control of the utility.

In fact, the next graphic shows how important the interplay between nature-controlled wind and man-controlled power is. Look at the lines for wind and coal. When wind is up, coal is down. And when wind is down, coal is up. The same dynamic is true for natural gas.

This isn't a fluke -- it's because utilities like Excel need to have a reliable power source to offset the peaks and valleys of an inherently unreliable fuel source. It's the same reason why Southern Company (NYSE: SO  ) is building 1.5 gigawatts of nuclear and coal plants right now. It wants to maintain its flexibility.

For example, in 2020, the company expects to have the option to generate as much as 50% of its power from coal or gas, whichever is cheaper. Nuclear, meanwhile, is expected to run at a steady state of around 18%. Renewables? Well, they are just small slice of the pie at 8% of total capacity in 2020.

Note, however, that renewable sources provided 4% of Southern Company's power last year, despite coming in at 6% of the utility's total capacity. And the 4% is elevated by the fact that hydro, which tends to run at high capacity rates, is a big part of the mix. Despite investing in solar and wind, Southern Company isn't willing to give up the control offered by natural gas, coal, and nuclear power plants.

Good and bad

Renewable power like wind turbines is a wonderful thing. However, it isn't an answer to the CO2 problem. The generation profiles of Xcel energy and Southern Company prove this out. Expect the wind to become an increasingly important utility player, but don't expect it to kill coal, gas, or nuclear anytime soon.

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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



Anonymous said...

Your first article reminded me of the recent reporting of ebola outbreaks in Africa. The reporter stated definatively that there is no treatment for ebola. Later on, the same reporter said the Americans who had contracted the disease were "being treated" and were in isolation. How do you treat a disease that has no treatment?

Anonymous said...

Wind power won't solve the CO2 problem but it's a wonderful thing? For who???