Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Study: Cutting Emissions Pays for Itself

This is just another model-driven fantasy.  There is NO WAY less CO2 in the air would be healthier.  We breathe CO2 out every minute of our day.  We are totally used to it.  And it would be a WARMER world, not a cooler one that is more healthy.  Cold weather (winter) is the time of our great dying.  Just ask any hospital administrator.

The only scintilla of sense in the article is that burning fossil fuel tends to give off particulate matter, which can be a health hazard in large quantities. But such health hazards mainly exist in third world countries.  Where power is produced in modern power stations, particulate matter is filtered out.  No doubt some very fine particles escape but, despite many attempts, there has been no study that shows such pollution to have health effects.  I reviewed such studies over and over on my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog and found them all to be flawed and therefore inconclusive.  The article below is just one big train of dubious assumptions

Lower rates of asthma and other health problems are frequently cited as benefits of policies aimed at cutting carbon emissions from sources like power plants and vehicles, because these policies also lead to reductions in other harmful types of air pollution.

But just how large are the health benefits of cleaner air in comparison to the costs of reducing carbon emissions? MIT researchers looked at three policies achieving the same reductions in the United States, and found that the savings on health care spending and other costs related to illness can be big—in some cases, more than 10 times the cost of policy implementation.

“Carbon-reduction policies significantly improve air quality,” says Noelle Selin, an assistant professor of engineering systems and atmospheric chemistry at MIT, and co-author of a study published today in Nature Climate Change. “In fact, policies aimed at cutting carbon emissions improve air quality by a similar amount as policies specifically targeting air pollution.”

Selin and colleagues compared the health benefits to the economic costs of three climate policies: a clean-energy standard, a transportation policy, and a cap-and-trade program. The three were designed to resemble proposed U.S. climate policies, with the clean-energy standard requiring emissions reductions from power plants similar to those proposed in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.

Health savings constant across policies

The researchers found that savings from avoided health problems could recoup 26 percent of the cost to implement a transportation policy, but up to 10.5 times the cost of implementing a cap-and-trade program. The difference depended largely on the costs of the policies, as the savings—in the form of avoided medical care and saved sick days—remained roughly constant: Policies aimed at specific sources of air pollution, such as power plants and vehicles, did not lead to substantially larger benefits than cheaper policies, such as a cap-and-trade approach.

Savings from health benefits dwarf the estimated $14 billion cost of a cap-and-trade program. At the other end of the spectrum, a transportation policy with rigid fuel-economy requirements is the most expensive policy, costing more than $1 trillion in 2006 dollars, with health benefits recouping only a quarter of those costs. The price tag of a clean energy standard fell between the costs of the two other policies, with associated health benefits just edging out costs, at $247 billion versus $208 billion.

“If cost-benefit analyses of climate policies don’t include the significant health benefits from healthier air, they dramatically underestimate the benefits of these policies,” says lead author Tammy Thompson, now at Colorado State University, who conducted the research as a postdoc in Selin’s group.

Most detailed assessment to date

The study is the most detailed assessment to date of the interwoven effects of climate policy on the economy, air pollution, and the cost of health problems related to air pollution. The MIT group paid especially close attention to how changes in emissions caused by policy translate into improvements in local and regional air quality, using comprehensive models of both the economy and the atmosphere.

In addition to carbon dioxide, burning fossil fuels releases a host of other chemicals into the atmosphere. Some of these substances interact to form ground-level ozone, as well as fine particulate matter. The researchers modeled where and when these chemical reactions occurred, and where the resulting pollutants ended up—in cities where many people would come into contact with them, or in less populated areas.

The researchers projected the health effects of ground-level ozone and fine particulate matter, two of the biggest health offenders related to fossil-fuel emissions. Both pollutants can cause asthma attacks and heart and lung disease, and can lead to premature death.

In 2011, 231 counties in the U.S. exceeded the EPA’s regulatory standards for ozone, the main component of smog. Standards for fine particulate matter—airborne particles small enough to be inhaled deep into the lungs and even absorbed into the bloodstream—were exceeded in 118 counties.

While cutting carbon dioxide from current levels in the U.S. will result in savings from better air quality, pollution-related benefits decline as carbon policies become more stringent. Selin cautions that after a certain point, most of the health benefits have already been reaped, and additional emissions reductions won’t translate into greater improvements.

“While air-pollution benefits can help motivate carbon policies today, these carbon policies are just the first step,” Selin says. “To manage climate change, we’ll have to make carbon cuts that go beyond the initial reductions that lead to the largest air-pollution benefits.”

The study shows that climate policies can also have significant local benefits not related to their impact on climate, says Gregory Nemet, a professor of public affairs and environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin at Madison who was not involved in the study.

“A particularly notable aspect of this study is that even though several recent studies have shown large co-benefits, this study finds large co-benefits in the U.S., where air quality is assumed to be high relative to other countries,” Nemet says. “Now that states are on the hook to come up with plans to meet federal emissions targets by 2016, you can bet they will take a close look at these results.


Hundreds of 'toxic' methane vents discovered in the Atlantic's depths - and they could be caused by global warming

Toxic, my foot!  Methane is the main component of natural gas.  Your gas stove probably runs on it.  And nor could the seeps be caused by global warming -- because there hasn't been any global warming for a long time now

Scientists have been left shocked by the surprising appearance of hundreds of methane vents off the US East Coast. More than 500 vents have been found where methane is seeping into the ocean.

And there is concern that these increased amounts of gas could be caused by global warming.

The study published in Nature Geosciences was carried out by researchers from Mississippi State University, the US Geological Survey (USGS) and other institutions.

The research suggests that natural methane leakage from the seafloor is far more widespread in the US Atlantic than previously thought.

In total more than 570 seafloor cold seeps were observed between Cape Hatteras, North Carolina and Georges Bank, Massachusetts.

Cold seeps are areas where gases and fluids leak into the surrounding water from sediments on the seafloor.

The seeps were found on the outer continental shelf and the continental slope of the eastern US.  Previously, only three seep areas had been identified in this area - making the findings a dramatic increase on what was known before.

‘Widespread seepage had not been expected on the Atlantic margin,’ said Adam Skarke, the study’s lead author and a professor at Mississippi State University.

‘It is not near a plate tectonic boundary like the US Pacific coast, nor associated with a petroleum basin like the northern Gulf of Mexico.’

The location of the seeps and knowledge of the underlying geology suggests the leaking methane is being produced by microbial processes in shallow sediments.

At depths of more than 2,000 feet (600 metres) in some places, the seeps are too deep to release methane directly into the atmosphere.

However, there is the danger that if the methane stays in the water, it could oxidise into carbon dioxide.

This can increase the acidity of ocean waters and reduce oxygen levels, which can be harmful to marine life.

While not directly pointing a finger at climate change, the researchers indicate that global warming could be the cause of the problem.

‘Warming of ocean temperatures on seasonal, decadal or much longer time scales can cause gas hydrate to release its methane, which may then be emitted at seep sites,’ said Dr Carolyn Ruppel, study co-author and chief of the USGS Gas Hydrates Project.

‘Such continental slope seeps have previously been recognised in the Arctic, but not at mid-latitudes. So this is a first.


Climate Science Does Not Support IPCC Conclusions

By S. Fred Singer

Since 2008, the Chicago-based, libertarian-leaning Heartland Institute has organized nine ICCCs (International Conferences on Climate Change). Norman Rogers (American Thinker, Aug 9, 2014) has given a general overview of ICCC-9 (at Las Vegas), which attracted an audience of well over 600 and featured speakers from 12 nations. Here I present a more detailed and personalized account of the two main science issues that appear to be of general concern. The first has to do with future temperatures and the second has to do with future sea level rise (SLR).

When it comes to global average surface temperature (GAST), the concern seems to be to remain below 2 deg. It should be recognized that this limit is entirely arbitrary. There is no established scientific basis for assigning special significance to it; it just happens to be the “Goldilocks” number. Here is what I mean: If one were to choose 0.5 deg, people will say “we’ve already seen that and nothing has happened.” However, if we were to choose 5 deg, people will say, “we’ll never see that much warming—hence of no significance.” That is why 2 deg may have become the alarmists’ choice.

The real question relates to Climate Sensitivity (CS)—defined as the temperature rise associated with a doubling of CO2. (The definition varies slightly between different authors.)

IPCC initially claimed a very large CS. But after the first Assessment report of 1990, CS dropped from 4.5 to about 2.5 deg. From then on, IPCC only considered the last part of the 20th century and no longer claimed the earlier warming (1910-40) to be manmade

In my view, CS may actually be close to zero. This means CO2 has very little influence on climate change—probably because of negative feedback. There is still debate, however, about what kind of negative feedback to expect. Should it come from water vapor or from clouds?

1. IPCC’s ever-changing, non-existing evidence for AGW

First, I want to critique IPCC reports #1 (1990) to #5 (2013). As a so-called ‘expert reviewer’ I have enjoyed a unique observation platform for successive IPCC drafts. It is rather amusing that the Summaries talk about increasing certainty for AGW (anthropogenic global warming)—while at the same time modeled temperatures increasingly diverge from those actually observed [S-2].

First, we note that each report “Summary” is produced by a political consensus, not like the underlying scientific report. (Doubting readers can visit the web site.) As Rogers points out, the U.N. mandate is: “understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change...” There is no mandate to consider any other causations, such as natural ones related to solar change and ocean circulation cycles—just presumptive human causes, such as fossil fuels. The IPCC sees a human climate-fingerprint everywhere because that is what they are looking for.

Specifically, IPCC-AR1 indicates a climate sensitivity of 4.5 deg, by considering both reported temperature increases (1910-1940 and 1975-1997) to be anthropogenic [S 1]. After severe criticism of this ’evidence’, IPCC dropped the climate sensitivity to 2.5 deg by considering only the most recent decades of reported global warming as anthropogenic. The earlier warming (1910-1940) is now considered to be caused by natural forcing.

Having given up on anthropogenic forcing for 1910-40, IPCC then considered different types of evidence to support AGW for the interval 1975-2000. In their 1996 report, AR2, Ben Santer “manufactured” the so-called Hotspot (HS), a calculated maximum warming of the upper troposphere [S-3], and claimed it as a fingerprint of AGW. This is incorrect on two counts; the HS is not a fingerprint of AGW at all—and it does not even exist. It was manufactured from the (balloon-radiosonde) temperature record, where a segment shows a short-term increase while there has been no long-term increase [S-4] as clearly seen from the actual data.

It is worth noting that CCSP 1.1 [2006], the climate change science report of the US government, with Santer as a lead author, shows a HS in the models [S-3] but no observed HS [S-4]. The disparity between models and observations is striking. It nicely illustrates the major source of scientific disagreement—between those who rely on model calculations vs those who rely on observations.

In IPCC-AR3 [2001], they no longer use the HS but have gone to Mike Mann’s notorious Hockeystick—claiming that in the past 1000 years only the 20th century showed unusual warming [S-5].

A close examination of the proxy data used in the Hockeystick shows that the warming was not unusual at all and probably less than existed 1000 years ago—and that major warming comes only by adding the (reported) temperature curve from instruments [S-5]. Note also that Mann suppresses his post-1979 proxy data, which probably showed no such warming.

Because of many valid criticisms, the Hockeystick argument has now been dropped by IPCC and is no longer used to claim AGW. Instead both AR4 [2007] and AR5 [2013], in their chapters on ‘Attribution,’ rely on very peculiar circular argument for supporting AGW.

Both reports ‘curve-fit’ a calculated curve to the reported temp data of the second half of the 20th century. [This can always be done by choosing a suitable value of climate sensitivity, and an assumed aerosol forcing]. After having obtained a reasonable fit, they then remove the greenhouse- gas forcing, and of course, obtain an unforced model curve that no longer shows any temp increase (see S-6). But they then claim that this gap with respect to the data is sure evidence for AGW. This claim defies logic and makes absolutely no sense. They simply modified the calculated curve and then claimed that the resultant gap proves anthropogenic warming.

More HERE (See the original for links and graphics)

If it quacks like a duck … it must be a turtle

“Why We’re Definitely Not Headed for Another Ice Age.”

When I saw that headline in Newsweek, I thought, do they know something that I don’t? But once I read the article, it left me wondering how in the world they came to that conclusion.

It reminds me of the great retort by paleontologist Robert Bakker to those who did not agree with his belief that many kinds of dinosaurs were birds.

“There are still a few of my colleagues who think if it walks like a duck, breathes like a duck and grows like a duck, it must be a turtle,” said Bakker.

Let’s see if this Newsweek article is a duck or a turtle.  It starts out by admitting that “there are currently very low levels of activity on the sun – the lowest in more than 100 years – and they are likely to fall further.”

So far so good. I agree.

Then the article reminds us of the “crippling winters” between 2008 and 2010 that closed airports and paralyzed transport systems in western Europe and the eastern United States. (Interestingly, it fails to mention the record cold and snow this past winter in the United States, nor the record cold in the U.S. Midwest this summer.)

The article then describes the Maunder Minimum, a 70-year period between 1645 and 1715 when solar activity almost stopped. It even discloses that the Maunder Minimum coincided with a period of bitter winters known as “the little ice age.”

This is all true.

And finally, the article quotes Mike Lockwood, Professor of Space Environment Physics at Reading University:

“When you look at the overall trend of solar magnetic fields and things, then you see that we’ve now had three cycles where every (solar) maximum has got weaker, every minimum has got deeper, and there’s no reason not to expect that trend to continue. It’s not a negligible probability that we go into a Maunder Minimum.”

Great! This is still good information.  So what do we have here?

If a lack of sunspots correlated with the last little ice age, and if we now have the lowest sunspot activity in more than 100 years (and still dropping), and if the U.S. and Europe have recently  endured the coldest, snowiest winters on record, and if we have the “not negligible probability” of descending into a Maunder Minimum, mightn’t we come to the conclusion that we’re heading into a little ice age?

Uh, no. Look out! Here comes the turtle. Here comes the legerdemain.

“The sun’s cycles, however inactive they become, will not save the world from global warming,” the article asserts. “A slight, temporary change in the sun’s activity cannot mitigate many years of suffocating emissions, whatever the deniers would have us believe.”

Oh, those nasty deniers.

How did we suddenly move from a Maunder Minimum to global warming?

Because researchers say so. Which researchers? Researchers who crunched their numbers through the UK Met Office’s “sophisticated climate models.”

Forget the facts. Forget what we can see with our very own eyes. Instead, lets bury our heads in our models (computer-generated guesses).

Have these Met Office models been programmed to overestimate the effects of CO2? We don’t know.

Have these Met Office models been programmed to underestimate the effects of solar activity? We don’t know.

Have  these Met Office models been programmed to estimate the effects of well-known ice-age cycles? We don’t know.

Remember that acronym GIGO (Garbage in, garbage out)?  If it looks like garbage, and smells like garbage, and tastes like garbage, well, maybe it’s garbage.

What about Russian astrophysicist Habibullo Abdussamatov’s contention that we’re headed into a little ice age?  No mention of him.

What about British astrophysicist Piers Corbyn’s contention that we’re now headed into a little ice age?  No mention of him.

What about American climatologist Cliff Harris’s contention that we’re now headed into an ice age?  No mention of him.

What about American climate scientist Don Easterbrook’s contention that we’re now headed into an ice age? No mention of him.

I’ll stick to my guns. I think we definitely are headed into another ice age.


Taxpayers, beware – of Big Wind’s latest deceitful ad campaign

Facing trouble abroad, Siemens ads seek to tap into US taxpayers and wind welfare system

Mary Kay Barton

If you watch much mainstream TV, you’ve probably seen Siemens’ new multi-million-dollar advertising blitz  to sell the American public on industrial wind. Why the sudden ad onslaught?

The wind business abroad has taken a huge hit of late. European countries have begun slashing renewable mandates, due to the ever-broadening realization that renewables cost far more than industrial wind proponents have led people to believe: economically, environmentally, technically, and civilly.

Siemens’ energy business took a €48m hit in the second quarter due to a bearings issue with onshore turbines, and a €23m charge due to ongoing offshore grid issues in Germany – on top of subsidy and feed-in tariff cutbacks, recent articles have pointed out.

As Siemens’ tax-sheltering market dries up in Europe, its U.S. marketing efforts are clearly geared toward increasing its income and profits via wind’s tax sheltering schemes in the United States. The company stands to make millions, so Siemens ad campaign is obviously part of an overall pitch to persuade Congress to extend the hefty wind Production Tax Credit (PTC), more accurately called “Pork-To-Cronies.” As Warren Buffett recently admitted, “We get tax credits if we build lots of wind farms.  That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”

Taxpayers and ratepayers, beware!

President Obama often says he intends to “close corporate loopholes,” but his PTC and other policies continue funneling billions of taxpayer dollars to his wealthy corporate insiders and campaign contributors – while we continue to rack up unconscionable debt for our children and grandchildren.

Increasing public awareness of the wind energy scam has led to increased opposition to extending any more corporate welfare to Big Wind via the PTC and energy investment tax credit (ITC). Enter another bureaucratic end-run around once clear statutory language by this Administration.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the increasingly politicized IRS recently relaxed the definition of “commence construction” to the point where the definition bears no resemblance to the actual words.  During a hearing by the House Energy Policy, Health Care and Entitlements subcommittee last October, Curtis G. Wilson of the IRS admitted that developers can now game the system to the point where projects built years in the future could still meet the eligibility requirement for “commence” now.

U.S. taxpayers and ratepayers are doomed when, instead of allowing the markets to work, crony-corruptocrats are picking the winners and losers in the energy marketplace, using such nefarious tactics.

Sadly, most people don’t even know the difference between energy and power. This reality has built the framework for the biggest swindle ever perpetrated on citizens worldwide.  Many have bought into the alarmist argument that “we have to do something” to stop “dangerous manmade global warming.” Enter the wind industry sales department, primed to capitalize on public fears and alarmist hype.

Siemens also needs to convince the 80% of U.S. citizens who live in suburbia that industrial wind factories are “environment-friendly,” and everyone loves them. Thus, as usual for these disingenuous ad campaigns, a sprawling wind facility is pictured among green fields, with no homes anywhere to be seen, no birds are being slaughtered, while a happy Iowa leaseholder smiles and says she loves wind.

A drive out Route 20A in Wyoming County, western New York State, however, tells a far different story. The western side of Wyoming County – which used to be some of the most beautiful countryside in New York State, has been industrialized with 308 giant, 430-foot-tall towers, and their 11-ton, bird-chopping blades spinning overhead, only hundreds of feet from peoples’ homes and roadways. There’s no doubt that Siemens won’t be showing you this reality in any of their TV ads!

Unfortunately for the residents of Orangeville in Wyoming County, greed at the top in Washington, DC determined their fate. The sole reason Invenergy went ahead with its plan to build its 58-turbine project was that, in the early morning hours of January 1, 2013, the PTC was added as pork for companies sucking at the wind welfare teat.

Ever appreciative of the handouts, Invenergy owner Ukrainian Michael Polsky rewarded President Obama by holding a $35,000 a plate fundraiser at his Chicago mansion. Mr. Obama is so committed to Big Wind that he’s even legalized 30-year eagle kill permits just for the wind industry. Anyone else harming an eagle, or even possessing a single bald eagle feather, is penalized with an iron fist.

There you have it – corporate cronyism in all its glory, with bird murder as its crowning achievement.

Word of impending lawsuits lingers in Orangeville. It remains to be seen if disenchanted leaseholders will end up suing Big Wind, as others have. In the meantime, we’re hoping we don’t have any 11-ton blade breaks that throw shrapnel for thousands of feet, or any airplanes crashing into wind turbines during fog, as occurred in South Dakota earlier this year, killing all four on board. (I’ll bet you won’t be seeing any of these facts in Siemens’ ads, either.)

Our elected officials need energy literacy. Even a small dose would help.

What’s most frustrating, when attempting any kind of correspondence regarding these energy issues with many elected officials, is the kind of response I received from Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY)  when I wrote him a letter about ending the Wind PTC. Senator Schumer never even mentioned the PTC in his response. Instead, he rambled on about the need to “reduce foreign oil imports,” and increase “efficiency” – neither of which has a thing to do with wind-generated electricity.

Mr. Schumer recently feigned alarm following complaints by citizens about soaring electric rates – demanding answers about it, while simultaneously supporting yet another Wind PTC extension (plus other rate-increasing “renewable” projects). Senator Schumer’s hypocrisy is outrageous, and unacceptable.

Perhaps it’s time for U.S. ratepayers and taxpayers to demand that their elected officials first pass an energy literacy exam, before they pass such cost-exorbitant, “green” boondoggles on to consumers.

Congress is on vacation through Labor Day, which makes this the perfect time to approach your senators and representatives while they’re home.  Attend town hall meetings and in-district fundraisers. Remind your representatives that we put them in office, and that we can also vote them out!

Since energy plays a pivotal role in our national economy – impacting the cost of absolutely everything else – candidates should have “energy” listed on their “issues” webpage.

Good candidates will support an “All of the Sensible” energy policy, as opposed to the “All of the Above” energy policy which President Obama has been pushing on behalf of the “green” movement. “Sensible” alternative energy options are those that are backed up by scientific and economic proof that they provide net societal benefits. Industrial wind fails this test miserably!

For more information, refer friends and elected officials to Robert Bryce’s excellent book, Power Hungry: The myths of “green” energy and the real fuels of the future.

Continue to call and write their offices, and encourage them to oppose any extension of the PTC and ITC! Write letters to your local newspapers, copy their district offices, and post information on their social media pages (e.g., Face Book & Twitter).

We must demand accountability from elected officials, or vote them out! Reliable, affordable energy is what has made America great. We need to keep it that way.

Mary Kay Barton is a retired health educator, New York State small business owner, Cornell-certified Master Gardener, and is a tireless advocate for scientifically sound, affordable, and reliable electricity for all Americans.

 Via email

UK: Could you earn a 65pc return from a wood-burning boiler?

Why burning wood reduces CO2 is not explained.  Burning wood in fact gives off more CO2 than oil, gas, coal etc.

Invest £35,000 in a biomass boiler and get a guaranteed £57,645 in seven years - with help from the Government. Does the claim stack up?

Invest £35,000 and get a guaranteed return of over £57,645 in just seven years. It’s a very bold claim, but natural energy company Euroheat this week said this is possible for households that switch to wood-fuelled heating, and that’s before any savings on existing energy bills are factored in.

The Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive, which launched in April, pays households that generate and use renewable energy to heat their buildings. Payments are made quarterly for seven years and are based on the type and amount of energy generated.
But can you really achieve a return of 65pc just by installing a wood burning system? The short answer is probably not, but there are significant savings to be made particularly if you currently use electricity or oil to heat your home.

What is the Renewable Heat Incentive?

As part of the Government’s aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet targets for reducing climate change, it will pay households to produce renewable energy. A wood burning, or biomass, system will achieve a tariff of 12.2p per kilowatt hour of energy produced. Other renewable sources such as solar thermal panels, air, ground and water-source heat pumps pay different rates.

The scheme is open to homeowners, private landlords, social landlords and self-builders, but not other new build homes. Anyone who has installed a renewable energy source since 15 July 2009 can also apply.

What is a biomass boiler?

Put simply, it’s a device that burns wood to provide heating and hot water. There are three main types of wood fuelled heating systems; a boiler than provides heat and hot water for the whole house, a stand-alone stove that provides heat to individual rooms and a stove with a back-boiler that heats the room directly and provides hot water, and may also run radiators in the rest of the house.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


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