Wednesday, September 17, 2014
DiCaprio film magnifies the real climate change 'monster'
Real problem is monstrous government programs that perpetuate poverty, disease and death
By Tom Harris and Bob Carter
In Carbon, Leonardo DiCaprio’s new film about the “climate crisis,” we are told the world is threatened by a “carbon monster.” Coal, oil, natural gas and other carbon-based forms of energy are causing dangerous climate change and must be turned off as soon as possible, DiCaprio insists.
But he has identified the wrong monster. The real one is the climate scare – something DiCaprio promotes with his sensationalist, error-riddled movie. That is the real threat to civilization.
Carbon is the first of four films that DiCaprio planned to release in the weeks prior to the United Nations’ Climate Summit 2014, to be held in New York City September 23. If Carbon is any indication of what the rest of the series will be like, the public needs to brace itself against still more mind-numbing global warming propaganda.
DiCaprio repeatedly uses the “carbon pollution” and “carbon poison” misnomers – when he’s really talking about carbon dioxide (CO2), the plant-fertilizing gas that is essential for all life on Earth. But in addition to that deception, DiCaprio’s film is based on a myth: that CO2 from human activities is causing catastrophic climate change.
The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) lists thousands of scientific papers that either debunk or cast serious doubt on this popular though misguided notion.
Oregon-based physicist Dr. Gordon Fulks explains that the climate scare has “become a sort of societal pathogen that virulently spreads misinformation in tiny packages like a virus. CO2 is said to be responsible for global warming that is not occurring, for accelerated sea level rise that is not occurring, for net glacial and sea ice melt that is not occurring, for ocean acidification that is not occurring, and for increasing extreme weather that is not occurring.”
Fulks is right. DiCaprio’s film is just another vector for spreading the virus.
According to NASA satellites and ground-based temperature measurements, global warming ceased in the late 1990s, some 18 years ago. And yet, CO2 levels have risen almost 10% since 1997, a figure that represents an astonishing 30% of all human-related emissions since the industrial revolution began. These facts contradict all CO2-based climate models, upon which nearly all global warming concerns are founded. Similarly:
* Rates of sea-level rise remain small and are even decelerating; over recent decades they have averaged about 1 mm/year as measured by tide gauges and 2-3 mm/year as inferred from “adjusted” satellite data. That works out to a mere 4 to 12 inches per century, which is hardly a cause for alarm.
* Satellites also show a greater expanse of Antarctic sea ice now than at any time since space-based measurements began in 1979. During this period, Arctic sea ice has remained well within historic bounds and fluctuations, dating back centuries.
* The NIPCC’s March 2014 Biological Impacts report explains that the minute decline in alkalinity of the oceans projected by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s speculative computer models is small compared with the daily and seasonal changes that marine organisms already experience. Neither the IPCC nor the NIPCC forecasts that human CO2 emissions will cause oceans to become acidic in the coming centuries. They have become ever so slightly less alkaline over recent decades, but they are still very far from becoming acidic.
* A 2012 IPCC report concluded that there has been no significant increase in either the frequency or the intensity of extreme weather events in the modern era. The NIPCC 2013 report concluded the same. For the United States, the eight and one-half years since a category 3-5 hurricane made landfall is the longest such period since at least 1900.
The costs of feeding the climate change monster are staggering. According to the Congressional Research Service, between 2001 and 2014 the US Government spent $131 billion on human-caused climate change projects. They also allowed tax breaks for anti-CO2 energy initiatives totaling $176 billion.
Federal government spending on climate change and renewable energy is now running at $11 billion a year, and tax breaks at about $20 billion a year – for a total of more than double the total value of all wheat produced in the United States in 2013 ($14.4 billion).
Dr. Bjørn Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, calculates that the European Union’s goal of a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions below 1990 levels by 2020 will cost almost $100 billion annually by 2020 – or more than $7 trillion over the course of this century.
That is currently the most severe target in the world. It has caused EU energy prices to rise ominously, costing numerous jobs, sending millions of families into “fuel poverty,” and resulting in thousands of mostly elderly people dying from hypothermia, because they could not afford to heat their homes properly during cold winter months.
Lomborg, a supporter of the UN’s climate science, asserts, “After spending all that money, we would not even be able to tell the difference” between global temperatures a century from now with a 20% reduction in EU carbon dioxide emissions by 2020, or without it.
So, Al Gore was right in one respect. Climate change is indeed a moral issue.
There is nothing quite so immoral as wealthy, well-fed, well-housed Westerners like Messrs. Gore and DiCaprio promoting the waste of huge amounts of money on futile anti-global warming policies – money that could instead be spent improving living standards and saving lives in developing countries.
Billions of people in those poor nations lack adequate lights, refrigeration, sanitation, schooling, clean water and proper health services. Tens of millions of them suffer needlessly from malnutrition and horrible diseases of poverty, and millions of them die prematurely every year.
Denying them the finances to build inexpensive hydrocarbon-fired power stations has been aptly described as technological genocide. That is where the moral outrage should lie.
Perhaps Mr DiCaprio would like to make a film about this – the real climate monster.
Solar storm has lessons
Dr Charles R. Anderson
Recent observations of the effects of a massive solar storm on the Earth’s atmosphere made by NASA using the SABER instrument on the TIMED satellite have very important implications for the two main classes of hypotheses backing the idea of catastrophic man-made global warming. burning earth
During this solar storm, gigantic quantities of energy were dumped into the Earth’s upper atmosphere by highly energetic particles. The SABER instrument measures the infrared emissions from the Earth’s upper atmosphere. The NASA measurements of those infrared emissions during the solar storm showed that 95% of the energy dumped into upper atmosphere was quickly re-emitted into space. There was no significant warming of the Earth’s surface.
The significance with respect to the various man-made global warming hypotheses of this observation has often not been well-explained by critics of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (AGW). The fact that the energy arrives in the atmosphere as energetic particles has often been glossed over in such commentaries, yet this is very important.
The energy of the solar storm is not of the same nature as the mix of ultraviolet (UV), visible light, and near and mid infrared radiation which provides the Earth with heat energy on a daily basis. Though this important difference exists, the results of the solar storm energy measurements by NASA are still crucially significant for one of the principal global warming hypotheses and somewhat significant for the other main AGW hypothesis.
There are two standard hypotheses for the global warming mechanism that CO2 is supposed to provide at a catastrophic level:
1) A large back-radiation effect near the Earth surface caused by water vapor and CO2, which warms the surface.
2) A delay or decrease in radiation in the upper troposphere or stratosphere caused by increased CO2 and NO.
As I have discussed many times on my blog, most recently in Simple Explanation of Why Greenhouse Gases Do Not Warm the Earth’s Surface, back-radiation at the Earth’s surface is insignificant because the mean free path for the infrared radiation absorptions of water vapor and carbon dioxide are very short and the corresponding temperature differences between the surface and the lower few meters of the atmosphere are therefore very small.
The smaller than claimed infrared radiation from the surface is very quickly absorbed and distributed to nitrogen, oxygen, and argon in the air due to the very high collision rate in the lower atmosphere. These primary air molecules do not radiate this energy and it is then mostly transported by convection upward or toward the poles. Water vapor and CO2 actually slightly increase the rate of energy transport upward following the downward temperature and density gradients.
Thus Hypothesis 1 fails to make physical sense. As more and more proponents of catastrophic AGW have realized this failure, they have turned to the second hypothesis as the justification for AGW.
Hypothesis 2 also fails. See: Does Increased CO2 Cause a Decrease in Infrared Emission to Space? Once again the lack of a significant temperature gradient in the upper troposphere for radiation purposes and no temperature gradient in the tropopause is one significant problem for this hypothesis. It is hard to change the temperature much of the CO2 emitters. Another problem is that more and slightly warmer infrared emitters causes any warming in the upper atmosphere to be reduced because more emitters are sending individually increased radiation into space. For the same reasons that Hypothesis 1 fails, it is also not possible for the warming CO2 absorbers to transmit energy back to the Earth's surface by radiation, so any effect of warming remains in the upper atmosphere.
The major significance of the NASA SABER measurements on how effectively CO2 and NO eliminated the energy of the solar storm is that this is confirmation of my argument that Hypothesis 2 fails.
A local warming high in the atmosphere does not result in a warming of the surface of the Earth. Indeed, the infrared gases are highly effective in cooling the atmosphere, especially in the upper atmosphere where the mean free path for infrared absorption by CO2 and NO is longer than near sea level.
As I initially pointed out in Slaying the Sky Dragon, the back-radiation effects claimed for infrared active gases were so small that the role of such gases in absorbing solar radiation before it could arrive at the surface of the Earth was a very significant cooling effect of these wrongly designated greenhouse gases.
A warming of the atmosphere thousands of meters above the surface is not an equivalent warming of the surface where we live. Very little such atmospheric energy is transported to the surface. This remains true as I have more thoroughly explained more recently here: Infrared-Absorbing Gases and the Earth’s Surface Temperature: A Relatively Simple Baseline Evaluation of the Physics.
The fact that I have pointed to my own explanations for the failures in the physics of Hypothesis 1 and Hypothesis 2 is not a claim that I am the only scientist who has understood the bad physics of these crucial catastrophic man-made global warming arguments.
Fortunately, more and more scientists have come to understand the physics either wholly or in good part. More and more scientists have come to understand that the two hypotheses used to explain catastrophic AGW are either wrong or at least dubious.
America’s accessible cities
In a triumph for the automobile, allegedly "dumb" growth beats "smart" growth
Cities have been pivotal to improved living standards, because of the opportunities they facilitate. This is particularly evident over the past two centuries, as world urbanization has risen from 3 percent to over 50 percent, and to more than 80 percent in the United States.
The prosperity of urban residents depends in large measure on their ability to reach the best available jobs in the city in a reasonable period of time. This requires access. University of Paris economists Remy Prud’homme and Chang Woon Lee and othershave shown that cities tend to perform better economically if the transport system permits more jobs to be reached in a fixed time, such as 30 minutes. Cities are defined as metropolitan areas, which include core municipalities and suburbs. As former World Bank planner Alain Bertaud has indicated, “large labor markets are the raison d’être of large cities.”
With frequent press attention on traffic congestion and “gridlock,” it may be surprising that work trip travel times in US cities are better than those of high income competitors in other nations. Indeed, the University of Minnesota’s David Levinson, found that the typical employee can reach two-thirds of jobs in major US metropolitan areas within 30 minutes.
Census Bureau data indicates that the average work trip travel time in US cities of more than 5 million population was approximately 29 minutes each way. Western European cities of more than 5 million population have an average travel time of 32 minutes. Toronto, Canada’s only city of this size, has a travel time of 33 minutes. East Asian cities with more than 5 million residents (Tokyo, Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto, Nagoya, Seoul, Hong Kong and Singapore) have far longer average travel times — at 42 minutes. Australia’s two largest cities (Sydney and Melbourne), which are yet to reach 5 million, have an average travel times of 35 minutes.
A number of examples can be cited. For all its well known traffic congestion, Los Angeles has the shortest travel time of any high income world megacity (cities over 10 million population), at just 27 minutes. Paris and New York are the strongest competitors, at 34 minutes, while Tokyo’s 50 minutes is nearly double that of Los Angeles (estimated from travel time distributions reported by the Japan Statistics Bureau).
Dallas-Fort Worth is the best performing US city between 5 million and 10 million population, at 26 minutes. Travel time in Houston, Miami and Philadelphia is almost as short, at 27 minutes. Only the Germany’s Ruhr Valley (Essen-Duisburg-Dortmund) does better than these cities, at 24 minutes. Hong Kong’s travel time is the longest in this population category, at 46 minutes. This may be surprising, since in many ways Hong Kong conforms to current urban planning ideals. It is the densest urban area in the high income world and the largest transit work trip market share.
The US travel time advantage extends to metropolitan areas with more than 1,000,000 population. The average work trip travel time was 25 minutes in the US, compared to 27 minutes in Western Europe and 28 minutes in Canada. No data was found for the smaller metropolitan areas of East Asia or Australia.
Why are US cities so accessible? Despite the hostility of planners toward the automobile, the secret lies in automobile access. Generally, automobiles are faster than other modes, such as transit, walking and cycling for trips of the lengths required in modern metropolitan areas. The US also has more dispersed (decentralized) employment, which increases access and shortens travel times. Only 8 percent of major metropolitan area employment is in the downtown areas (central business districts) in US cities. Similar factors account for the Ruhr Valley’s quick travel times in Germany, with unusual employment dispersion and comprehensive freeway coverage (for Europe).
By contrast, nearly half the population and half of the jobs are in pre-1980 suburban areas (not the urban core), according to my analysis of zip code data. This makes more employment closer to people throughout the metropolitan area, on generally less congested roads.
Meanwhile, cars are getting cleaner. The Department of Energy forecasts the new US (and Canadian) fuel economy standards will reduce gross greenhouse gas emissions a quarter by 2040, despite a strong increase in driving and a conservative assumption of no progress in new car emissions after 2025. Yet things are likely to get much better, with groundbreaking advances by manufacturers, automated vehicle developers and government agencies. The California Air Resources Board is aiming for a statewide fleet that emits zero emissions by 2050, on the way to 100 percent.
Superior access is one reason that US cities dominate international income rankings. Access to greater employment choices is good for metropolitan economies. The result is a higher standard of living and less poverty than would otherwise be the case.
The much feared talk by climatologist Judith Curry (excerpts)
Just the news that she was GOING TO give a public talk has had Warmists frothing
Climatologist Dr. Judith Curry, who was until recently the Chair of School of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology, detailed her conversion from a scientist who accepted the global warming “consensus” on man-made global warming to one who now openly challenges it. Curry spoke at the National Press Club in Washington DC on September 16 at an event sponsored by the George C. Marshall Institute.
Curry warned of possible global cooling. “We also see a cooling period starting around the turn of the (21st) century.” She also suggested that the “current cool phase will continue until the 2030s.”
“Even on the timescale of decade or two, we could end up be very surprised on how the climate plays out and it might not be getting warmer like the UN IPCC says,” Curry noted. “We don’t know what’s going to happen. All other things being equal – yes — more carbon dioxide means warmer, but all other things are never equal,” she emphasized.
“We just don’t know. I think we are fooling ourselves to think that CO2 control knob really influences climate on these decadal or even century time scales,” she added.
“I view the [climate change] problem as a ‘big wicked mess,” Curry told the crowd at luncheon assembled. “The main problem is we are putting the policy cart before the scientific horse,” Curry said.
Curry believes the United Nations has distorted the research of global warming and shifted too much on carbon dioxide as the “control knob” of the climate system. “Climate scientists have focused primarily on greenhouse gases,” Curry noted, linking that focus on the IPCC’s focus and the funding streams available to scientists who focus on CO2. “Other factors relatively neglected,” Curry declared.
“The early articulation of a preferred policy option by the UN framework marginalized research on broader issues surrounding climate change and resulted in an overconfident assessment of the importance of greenhouse gases in future climate change and stifled development of a broad range of policy options.”
Curry also dismissed the UN global climate treaty process. “Relying on global international treaty to solve the problem — which I do not think would really solve the problem even if it was implemented – is politically unviable and economically unviable
Curry told of her conversion and how she ended up disillusioned with the so-called “consensus.”
“Prior to 2005, I was comfortably ensconced in academia,” Curry noted and discussed how she grew increasingly “uneasy about how the UN IPCC dealt with uncertainty.”
Curry’s turning point was the Climategate email controversy in 2009. She said she was disappointed at the “lack of transparency” and the ‘silence” of many of her colleagues about the behavior of the upper echelon of the UN scientists revealed in the emails.
Curry showed the headline from Scientific American termed her a “heretic” and the headline blared: ‘Climate Heretic’: ‘Judith Curry Turns on Her Colleagues’
Crushing of Scientific Dissent
Curry spoke of the “intolerance of dissent” and attempts to silence skeptic in the global warming discussion today. “President Obama said in his State of the Union address, ‘we don’t have time for a meeting of the flat earth society.’”
She called claims of a 97% consensus “deeply flawed.”
“You cannot even talk about these kinds of issues in the mainstream climate debate. We get called ‘deniers’. This is a very sad state of affairs,” she noted.
“Careerism is a big problem. It much more beneficial to join the dominant paradigm, rather than to fight against it,” Curry explained.
“If I were nontenured scientist, I would fear for my job! But I am a senior scientist with retirement in my sight, so I can afford to do what I want, say what I think.”
“I no longer write government grant proposals. I have lot more independence. I truly feel liberated by not having to chase dollars,” she added.
Curry lamented the current state of academia. “There is a system in place with an emphasis on paper counts, an emphasis on dollars, and it is very difficult to dig in and work on hard problem. You have got to keep cranking it out. I really despair. I really despair,” she said.
“I see more of our graduates going into private sector rather than academia,” she added.
Curry was optimistic about how the internet is changing things for the better. “Social media is changing things like crazy. The whole emphasis on peer review being challenged by social media and open access journals. The whole dynamic of research and higher academia is changing for the better,” she explained.
“I was on that treadmill, I am mostly off it now and it is very liberating to be off that treadmill,” she added.
Curry also challenged the notion that there was more “extreme weather” today. “Much of the severe weather we think we are seeing right now — you look back to the 1930 and 1950s and this is what we were seeing also. This is weather amnesia,” she noted.
“Sandy was a category one, when it struck. There is nothing exceptional about a category one hurricane striking New York City. What was exceptional was the damage and this was associated with extreme wealth and development in that region,” she said.
“We have seen that the hurricane landfalls have become fewer in last few decades overall. So you cannot blame it on global warming,” she said.
Sea Level Rise
Curry downplayed sea level rise fears. “If you look back to the 1930 and 1940s, the rate of sea level rise was at least as large as recent values when there was little contribution of human caused warming.”
“Bangladesh, this is the poster child for sea level rise – has an estimated only 10-15% of their sea level rise associated with warming, the rest of it is associated with land use issues and geological issues. So trying to cure the sea level problem by reducing warming — even if that were possible — is only going to address a fraction of the sea level rise issue,” Curry said.
She also laughed about the growing number of excuses (currently at 52) for the global warming ‘pause‘, approaching 18 years according to satellite data.
Windmill blues in Germany
Dr Klaus L.E. Kaiser
The first large scale wind-power installation, some 100 km (65 miles) offshore the northwest coast of Germany has finally been connected to the grid. The Offshore-Windpark Deutsche Bucht is a wind farm with a total of 80 wind turbine towers, each with a hub height of 100 m (300 ft.) above the sea and a combined design output of some 400 Megawatts in electric power.
Connection to the Grid
Because of delays in getting the underwater cabling and connection to the power grid on land, the whole power park was standing idle for the last two years. In order to prevent potential damage to gear boxes and turbines, each tower was supplied with energy from small gasoline-powered electricity generators for that time.
Several years behind schedule, the Bard 1 wind farm finally came together in March 2014. The wind farm was connected to the electrical grid and started to deliver energy. Alas, it did not last very long. In March, the separate AC-to-DC converter station at the facility suffered a “meltdown.” A new converter installed a few days ago was shut down not much later without explanation.
The alternating current (AC) coming from the turbines cannot be directly transmitted to the grid. Instead, it needs to be converted to high voltage direct current (HVDC) first. In principle, that is a straight forward task and has been solved for a long time. All the high-tension electrical power transmission lines around the world use such HVDC converters. So what’s the problem with the wind farm converter?
In contrast to a steady one-source input, like from a nuclear or coal-fired power plant, a wind farm has many smaller sources with the output of each constantly varying with conditions like wind direction, wind speed and blade angle. Such variations lead to destabilizing energy-oscillations in the whole system that cannot be handled by the current converters. To make matters worse, the engineers have yet to fully understand the nature of the problem and to come up with any solution for it.
In short, the power that may be in the offshore wind (if and when it blows) cannot easily be controlled and converted into anything useful at this time. With Germany’s plans for another 10,000 offshore turbines some investors are getting a bit worried about the possibility of unsolvable systemic problems with such far-offshore wind power systems.
Of course, one has to ask why wind power installations have enjoyed the attention of investors to begin with. It was all based on the tax write-offs and guaranteed energy feed-in tariffs some governments in Europe and elsewhere bestowed upon them. Both in the U.S. and Canada such government schemes for “alternative energy” are still in full bloom.
In contrast, other countries have seen the light and are going in the opposite direction, building new coal-fired and nuclear power plants as fast as they can.
New Power Plants
While in the U.S. coal mines are closing down and the miners being laid off, the opposite is happening elsewhere on the globe. China, India, France and Hungary, to name a few, are building new power plants based on coal and/or nuclear fuel. Even Japan, which closed down its nuclear power plants after the Fukushima sea quake, is set to restart several reactors next month. On a global scale, however, coal is still the king in terms of stationary electric power generation.
Despite a consumption of 90 million barrels of oil per day, the world needs more coal than ever, about 8,000 million tons per year. Most of that is used for electric power, the rest mainly for heating. Obviously, with estimated reserves many multiples of that annual consumption, the world is not going to run out of coal tomorrow.
The world has enough uranium resources to satisfy the demand for several hundred years alone. Then there is the potential for thorium-based reactors, with a potential fuel supply in the U.S. for another 1,000 years. The holy grail of energy independence, however, would be controlled nuclear fusion. If that can be achieved, the earth would have an unlimited power supply. Now that would really be “alternative power.”
The highly touted, government-subsidized, unreliable, intermittent and expensive “alternative power” schemes currently in vogue are nothing but a phenomenal waste of money. As evident from the described wind farm in Germany, the required technology is not in place at this time, perhaps may never be.
New book promotes MORE CO2
As ever-more scientists denounce misguided attempts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the evidence grows that more CO2 in the atmosphere, not less, is best.
A new book ‘About Face!’ by two respected scientists and an economist makes the case for adding more CO2 to earth’s atmosphere.
The scientists are Madhav Khandekar in Canada and Cliff Ollier in Australia, plus economist Arthur Middleton Hughes in the USA. They show us why CO2 is essential to all life on earth. It is plant food.
The authors say, “We believe that the more CO2 there is in the atmosphere the bigger and better plants will grow all over the world. Three million people die each year because the prices of food are too high for them. We want to increase CO2 in the atmosphere and reduce world malnutrition.”
The Authors' Synopsis
This book is highly controversial as billions of dollars are involved in ethanol and climate control. The Obama Administration is planning to shut down all coal fired electric plants because they emit CO2 in amounts more than the EPA permits. This will cost more than $300 billion dollars and result in more than 100,000 unemployed. We say that such actions are unnecessary and wrong.
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issues periodic reports that predict the warming of the earth and that the warming will raise the level of the oceans, and bring on wild weather such as hurricanes, droughts, floods, tornadoes, etc. None of this is true. It has no scientific basis.
Today, more than one million people die from malaria in Africa and other less developed areas. None die from malaria in the US, Europe, Australia or other developed countries where the mosquitos that spread malaria have been wiped out using DDT.
The US and UN have forbidden these less developed areas to use DDT. This must be changed. More than three million people die from malnutrition because of the high price of food partly due to 14% of the world corn crop being converted to ethanol. We cite studies that show that increasing CO2 in the atmosphere by 300 ppm will increase food production by 36% in every country in the world on all continents.
This increase can result from abandoning the thousands of laws and regulations that inhibit emission of CO2. Carbon dioxide is a harmless, odorless, tasteless gas that is essential to photosynthesis – the basis of plant growth – without which life on earth would end.
Copies of 'About Face!' are available to buy securely online now at secure.mybookorders.com
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.
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Posted by JR at 3:59 PM