Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Billions won’t satisfy Warmists

By Christopher Booker in Britain

Led by the BBC, the usual media suspects were quick to trumpet last week’s claims by the Met Office and the World Meteorological Organisation that 2014 is set to be “the hottest year ever”. It’s funny that the rest of us hadn’t noticed; least of all those citizens of North America and Russia whose lives were lately disrupted by record snowfalls.

It is true that the temperature records compiled by the avid warmists of the Met Office and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (the one formerly run by climate activist James Hansen) have managed to show this year squeaking just ahead of 2010 as “the hottest year since records began”. But the much more comprehensive and reliable satellite records agree that 2014 is way down the list, with six of the past 16 years ahead of it.

The reason for this excitement just now, even before the final 2014 data are in, is that it is timed to coincide with yet another two-week UN climate conference in Lima, where thousands of officials and activists are gathered to whip up support for next year’s planned “universal climate treaty” in Paris.

What worries them more than anything is the unavoidable evidence that global temperatures have shown no significant rise for 18 years, making ever more nonsense of all those scary computer model predictions relied on by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. But so carried away are they by their quasi-religious belief system that, when it was again proposed in Lima that richer nations should pay poor countries $100 billion a year to protect them from runaway global warming, the UN’s chief spokesman, Christiana Figueres, dismissed this as “a very, very small sum”. What is needed to decarbonise the global economy, she said, is “$90 trillion over the next 15 years”. It makes the £1.3 trillion we Brits are committed by the Climate Change Act to pay to halt global warming within 36 years look like chicken feed.


American Energy to the Rescue

Americans want a robust economy with upper mobility. Increasingly, they realize the policies and the arrogance of Obama, Pelosi, and Reid have severely retarded our economic growth.

Obama, Pelosi and Reid used their enormous power to build their legacies – ObamaCare, redistribution of wealth, pristine environmental practices and the war on carbon. All would be achieved by a bigger and coercive federal government. Initially, they tried a Keynesian stimulus, which was sold as shovel ready and failed. Then, there was the “Cash for Clunkers,” which was another redistribution failure.

And now, it's full steam ahead for historic, legacy building. ObamaCare was intended to cover every American and reduce the cost of health care. Instead, health care prices are rising and employers are not hiring. As a result, millions of Americans are unemployed and many other Americans are working part-time in an effort to avoid the rules and regulations of ObamaCare.

Next, there was the clean energy plan where Obama, Pelosi, Reid and environmental czars spent billions of dollars on windmills, solar panels and anything else that was deemed clean and renewable. Solyndra went bankrupt, and so did Obama, Pelosi and Reid’s environmental legacy. Still seeking a legacy, they waged war on coal and stopped the Keystone XL Pipeline as well as thwarted fracking and drilling for oil on federal lands.

Fortunately for Americans, Obama, Pelosi and Reid do not have total czarist’s powers, and private, entrepreneurs made America into an energy giant. Larry Kudlow exalts the technology revolution,which helped reduce the cost of energy. The drop in the price of oil, gas and natural gas is the equivalent to a tax cut – giving all Americans more money to spend on other goods and services making the economy robust, increasing the standard of living, and employing more Americans. Kudlow:

And here in the U.S., the oil-price drop is a huge tax cut that will primarily help the middle class. … We just had a free-market tax cut that will boost middle-class incomes and just about everything else.

The American energy revolution, combined with the market forces of supply and demand, is delivering something on the order of a $125 billion tax cut. Not only have wholesale oil prices dropped from about $100 a barrel to $66, but gasoline prices have fallen from nearly $4 a gallon to $2.78 at the week’s close.

Now...that’s a tax cut; with no big-government spending hikes.

America’s technology revolution has transferred spending on energy to consumer goods and services. Everyone wins! Well, not the legacy-seeking elites – Obama, Pelosi and Reid. Beware, Obama is still seeking his environmental legacy by contorting the clean air act of the 1970s. The EPA has proposed rules that will further restrict coal, drilling and fracking. Again, Kudlow:

Of course, the far-left Democratic enviros aren’t sitting still. The EPA is now taking aim at the entire U.S. energy industry with its newly proposed smog rules -- probably the most expensive regulations in U.S. history -- even though the fracking revolution is producing much cleaner energy than ever before.

So, what we have is a clean-energy revolution, and it’s lighting a much-needed fire under our economy. Fortunately, our recent, election results indicate that Americans are seeking a vibrant economy and do not care about the legacies of Obama, Pelosi and Reid.


If Erica Grow Didn’t Rip Up our Global Warming Flier, Maybe She’d Understand the Science Better

Television weather presenter Erica Grow deserves a hearty Thank You for advertising The Heartland Institute’s new pamphlet, “Global Warming: Crisis or Delusion.” Grow also perfectly illustrated how global warming alarmists can expand their knowledge with assistance from the new pamphlet.

Two weeks ago, Grow on her Twitter account posted a photo on her ripping the pamphlet in half and calling the pamphlet “propaganda” and “BS.” Grow’s followers apparently flooded her inbox with dissatisfaction about her Tweet, prompting her to write a column on the WUSA website explaining her actions.

“As you can imagine, a bunch of people got pretty ticked off,” Grow acknowledged.

Grow explained that she called the pamphlet propaganda because the pamphlet concluded by stating, “Public policies should aim at fostering economic growth to adapt to natural climate change.” According to Grow, “The final bullet point is especially egregious because it contains the word ‘should’.” Grow added, “A fact statement cannot contain a persuasive word.”

Curiously, Grow did not call out the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)  for similarly advocating for a particular course of action. Just two weeks before Grow’s Twitter tantrum, BBC News published an article titled, “Fossil fuels should be phased out by 2100 says IPCC.” As BBC News pointed out, “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says in a stark report that most of the world’s electricity can – and must – be produced from low-carbon sources by 2050.”

So when Grow’s alarmist friends at a United Nations bureaucracy employ stark, strong language in an attempt to dictate energy policy to the United States, Grow considers that science rather than propaganda. By contrast, when climate realists propose policies favoring climate adaptation instead, Grow considers that propaganda rather than science. Hmmm…..

Later in her column, Grow revealed her fundamental lack of understanding about the global warming debate. Grow argued the pamphlet is misleading because “it’s well-documented that the majority of the scientific community agrees with the hypothesis that climate change is at least partially caused by human activity.” However, few skeptics claim global warming is not “at least partially caused by human activity.”

The key issues dividing alarmists and skeptics are the degree of human causation, the pace of recent warming, the proper context of recent warming, the current and likely impacts of global warming, and the desirability of alarmists’ prescribed solutions. By closing her mind to all of these issues merely because she erroneously believes most skeptics dispute any human role in recent warming, Grow has allowed her preexisting lack of knowledge to preclude any future gains in knowledge.

Simply put, objective scientific evidence and an open mind are the best means of discovering scientific truths and implementing beneficial public policy. Grow’s theatrical destruction of a climate science pamphlet that contradicts her own limited knowledge of the topic is a disservice to open and honest scientific discourse. The ironic silver lining, however, is Grow’s actions merely directed more people to the scientific summary.


Presidential Pollinator Protection: Myths, Facts and Hyperbole

Rich Kozlovich says the bees are doing OK -- without Presidental protection.  Excerpts from a very comprehensive article below

In June of 2014 President Obama sent out an executive order to all Cabinet secretaries and agency heads requiring;  “the federal government to develop a plan for protecting pollinators such as honey bees, butterflies, birds and bats in response to mounting concerns about the impact of dwindling populations on American crops.”….. “the problem is serious and requires immediate attention to ensure the sustainability of our food production systems, avoid additional economic impact on the agricultural sector, and protect the health of the environment".

The President’s order requires the government to establish a new task force to develop a “coordinated research action plan” in order to understand the pollinator problem and prevent their loss by “developing plans to enhance habitats for pollinating species on federal lands. And agencies will partner with local governments, farmers, and the business community in a bid to increase the quality and availability of available habitats for the species.”

 President Obama further states; "given the breadth, severity, and persistence of pollinator losses, it is critical to expand federal efforts and take new steps to reverse pollinator losses and help restore populations to healthy levels”.

 Now here’s the part that should be of even more concern.   The President says; "these steps should include the development of new public-private partnerships and increased citizen engagement."

This issue of pollinator protection concerns started with a demise of many honey bees in 2006 with something called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) involving European honey bees.  So let’s start our inquiry there.

There is a wide view that all this started in Fortune: "As bees go missing, a $9.3B crisis lurks", By David Stipp, August 28 2007. [i]

Although this became a public issue in 2007, it’s now 2014 and this current CCD issue was already going on for some time before 2007.   At least seven years have passed since CCD appeared on the public’s radar and yet the planet’s seven billion people are still alive.  It would appear these claims of agriculture disasters called “beepocalypse” [ii] [iii]is clearly premature.  NPR proclaimed we were at “a crisis point for crops.” [iv] But is this reality or is this being promoted by scaremongers and scientific fraudsters?

At the beginning there was a great deal of speculation, but no consistent or verifiable scientific explanation for this.    What was causing honey bees to simply start dying or disappearing from their colonies?  First of all we have to understand that CCD isn’t anything new or unusual.  We have had regular occurrences of this forever, with major occurrence seeming to occur about every ten years, and bee keepers have always recovered from this in the past.  Similar die-offs were described as far back as 1898.  More recently, in 1995-96, Pennsylvania beekeepers lost 53 percent of their colonies without a specific identifiable cause.  Over the years it’s interesting to see the reasons given to explain these collapses.  Let’s review

In 1903, in the Cache Valley in Utah, 2000 colonies were lost to an unknown "disappearing disease" after a "hard winter and a cold spring." No specific cause was found.   Synthetic organic insecticides were blamed in the 1960’s, Africanized honey bee genes were blamed in the 1970’s and in the late 1970s we had another scare similar to this they also called the “disappearing disease”.

Pesticides are always the favorite target of activists, and while I don’t think it reasonable to say they have no impact since they do kill insects, we do need to ask; are we doing anything differently that we have done for those decades when there wasn’t any CCD?  Of course there are claims that modern pesticides, such as neonicotinoids, weren’t used in decades past are these are responsible for this crisis.  The questions we need to explore is whether this is a cause of this inordinate collapse, and is there really a crisis at all?

This whole issue of neonicotinoids being the cause of CCD is fraught with misinformation, misrepresentation of the facts, manipulation of the facts and hyperbole my the media that is only interested in promoting a false anti-pesticide narrative, when in fact it turns out neonics may actually improve the health of honey bees.

The fact is honey bee colonies worldwide are increasing, not decreasing.  Countries such as Canada and Australia use neonics extensively but aren’t having problems with reduced honey bee colonies.   (See Jon Entine's two part series on this for charts and an extended and well researched commentary.  Part I and Part II)

This bring us to pathogens and parasites. The wild bee population was suffering as badly as the domestic populations from Varroa mites and tracheal mites. As for pathogens; it was reported “that analysis of honeybee samples collected between 2002 to 2007 showed that the virus, Israeli acute paralysis virus, had been circulating in the US for at least five years.” And in fact one researcher found two kinds of viruses that transformed the shape of wings or caused a disease only affecting queen bee larvae.

“First, it is not true that there has been a mysterious worldwide collapse in honey bee populations. In fact managed hives (which contain the bees which do the vast majority of our pollinating) have increased by a remarkable 45 per cent over the last five years. Lawrence D. Harder from the department of biology at the University of Calgary and Marcelo Aizen from Buenos Aires set about pinning down a couple of myths…….The bee disaster scenario is dependent upon data which is far too regional to take seriously and ‘not representative of global trends’. The truth is that there are more bees in the world than ever. They go on to say; ‘It is a myth that humanity would starve without bees.’ While some 70 per cent of our most productive crops are animal-pollinated (by bees, hoverflies and the like), very few indeed rely on animal pollination completely. Furthermore, most staple foods — wheat, rice and corn — do not depend on animal pollination at all. They are wind-pollinated, or self-pollinating. If all the bees in the world dropped dead tomorrow afternoon, it would reduce our food production by only between 4 and 6 per cent..... ‘Overall we must conclude that claims of a global crisis in agricultural production are untrue.’

It appears that in spite of the fact that bees have probably been to most intensely studied insect in the history of mankind someone just happened to notice that a phorid fly, Apocephalus borealis, was parasitizing bees, causing them to become disoriented and abandon the hives, a primary symptom of CCD.   There is an extensive discussion here, “A New Threat to Honey Bees, the Parasitic Phorid Fly Apocephalus borealis”. [xiii]

It turns out John Hafernik, a biology professor at San Francisco State University, had collected some belly-up bees from the ground underneath lights around the University’s biology building. He was looking around for something to feed a praying mantis.  He noted in a prepared statement, “I left them in a vial on my desk and forgot about them.” He soon got a shock. “The next time I looked at the vial, there were all these fly pupae surrounding the bees,” he said. A fly (Apocephalus borealis) had inserted its eggs into the bees, using their bodies as a home for its developing larvae. And the invaders had somehow led the bees from their hives to their deaths.”

Remember once again - this was all in spite of the fact that bees have probably been the most intensely studied insect in the history of mankind without someone noticing for all these decades and possibly centuries.  Apocephalus borealis, was parasitizing bees causing them to become disoriented and abandon the hives - a primary symptom of CCD.  Another fact we need to understand.  Pesticide poisonings and CCD are two different things and it's important that we don't conflate one with the other.  These are two distinctly different issues with two different causes requiring two distinctly separate approaches in dealing with them.      

This fly places its eggs into the bee’s abdomen. Later as the larvae grow inside the bees and they begin to lose control of their ability to “think and walk….. exhibiting zombie-like behavior by walking around in circles with no apparent sense of direction. Bees will leave “the hive at night flying blindly toward light…..It eventually dies and the fly larvae emerge.”

One research team [xiv] "found evidence of the fly in 77 percent of the hives they sampled in the Bay Area of California, as well as in some hives in the state’s agricultural Central Valley and in South Dakota”.

It's clear that CCD has been going of forever. It is clear that pesticides can kill some bees, but that number is insignificant and cannot possibly explain the symptoms displayed by honey bee colonies suffering from this disorder. It is clear that fungi and disease are playing a major role. It is now clear that parasites are the number one major component in their demise, and they exacerbate the disease problem.

In conclusion it is clear that most of the scare tactics used are meaningless; we won’t starve; pesticides are our friend; the bees will return; the cause is most assuredly ‘all natural’ and the scaremongers will look for another reason to condemn humanity. I just hope we will have the good sense to ignore them.

Under the order to protect pollinators the President requires the formation of a “new task force” with the goal of developing a coordinated research action plan in order to better understand and prevent the loss of pollinators.   IN order to do this government agencies will work to develop “plans to enhance habitats for pollinating species on federal lands. And agencies will partner with local governments, farmers, and the business community in a bid to increase the quality and availability of available habitats for the species.

This will be just another excuse for huge land grabs by the federal government, as if under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) the use of “suitable habitat” rulings aren’t bad enough already.  Given the federal government’s penchant for abusing the ESA, the Clear Water Act, the Clean Air Act to overturn Constitutional safeguards and gain control over private property and the economy, this sentence; agencies will partner with local governments, farmers, and the business community in a bid to increase the quality and availability of available habitats for the species”, should be cause for concern for everyone.

In Conclusion - There is no pollinator crisis with birds, bees, bats or butterflies that have anything to do with pesticides, genetically modified organisms or any of the other things activists attack industry.  However, this pollinator protection initiative by the President and government agencies could clearly be used as another excuse for huge land grabs by the federal government, as if under the Endangered Species Act “suitable habitat” rulings aren’t bad enough already.  The fact is the claims and scare tactics being used are meaningless; we won’t starve; pesticides are our friend; the bees have returned and will continue to thrive, and the cause of CCD is most assuredly ‘all natural’; there is no bird, bat or butterfly crisis and the scaremongers will look for another reason to condemn humanity.  I just hope we will have the good sense to ignore them.

Much more HERE

Australia: Alan Jones interviews David Leyonhjelm on the Senate’s Inquiry Into the Great Wind Power Fraud & Cross-Bench renewable energy  Plan

The wind industry in Australia is in full-scale panic because the Senate’s cross-benchers (who hold the balance of power in the Upper House) have won Coalition support for their Inquiry into the great wind power fraud: which will turn a (long-overdue) blowtorch on the biggest rort in Australian history.

Adding to the wind industry’s mounting woes is the fact that the cross-benchers have also put together a plan that will put the wind industry out of its misery, by elevating the place of “old” hydro power and small-scale solar – especially “stand alone solar” in remote locations – under the Large-Scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET): both “old” hydro and small-scale solar are perversely excluded from the LRET.

The vast bulk of hydro capacity was built pre-1998 and is, therefore, ineligible to participate – a matter that has Tasmanian Senator, Jacqui Lambie seeing red.

STT hears that the cross-bench plan is with Tony Abbott’s office and has already won the PM’s tick of approval.

The Inquiry and the plan has been pushed along by cross-bench Senator, David Leyonhelm, who appears in this recent interview with Alan Jones on 2GB.

Alan has a little radio show that more than just a few Australians tune into each morning. Syndicated through over 77 Stations and with close to 2 million listeners Countrywide – AJ as he’s known – is one of those people that leads the political charge on many issues that really affect ordinary Australians and which the rest of the press ignore.


A couple of weeks ago I interviewed Dr Jay Tibbetts – you might recall is an American. A medicical adviser to the Brown County Health Department in Wisconsin. He attacked the Australian Medical Association, who quite disgracefully, but not surprisingly given that the leadership of that mob now is hopelessly of the left. And the AMA virtually arguing that there was no problem with this sub-audible infra-sound emitted by wind turbines. And Doctor Tibbetts cited endless international evidence in relation to the health risks posed by the low-frequency noise that wind turbines generate.

Well that interview lead to an email that I received this week from eastern Europe.  Amazingly they had heard my interview, on the Internet with Doctor Tibbetts in relation to what I call the lunacy of wind farms and the sleep deprivation that they cause and my email correspondent said “I just wanted to tell you how much we appreciated your excellent interview and your courage to do it. I know how risky this is.  My emailer said he posted the interview on his website and it went ballistic. And I’m told, he says it’s spreading from Austria to Germany, and Finland and Ireland and Poland and many other countries. My emailer said ‘I can guarantee you that all people in Europe, especially in Germany were like crazy and spread your interview like crazy when they got it on my Facebook page.

Well people are waking up to the lies and deceit peddled by governments and renewable energy companies all over the world. There is a report this week by AGL energy of all outfits who found that non-solar households are paying hidden subsidies and more than $200 million a year, here in Australia to households who have solar roofing panels.  Now we know that this wind power-solar power are driving up the cost of what you pay for electricity and what business pays. And the AGL Chief economist Paul Simshauser, said the problem of wealth transfers to renewable energy sources was increasing. In other words to prop up renewable energy, you the taxpayer have money taken out of your pocket and that, in billions of dollars, goes to renewable energy companies. Most of them foreign companies.

Now people increasingly can’t hack this. We’re told 650 electricity customers are complaining to their retailer every day about electricity prices. The Australian Energy Regulator’s annual report found disconnections have surged and more than 237,000 New South Wales households, one in seven customers, has complained to their provider about pricing in the financial year ended 30 June this year.

Now we are spending billions of dollars on wind energy. It accounts for less than 2% of power generation in China, 3% in America. And this whole renewable energy thing is completely out of control. Wind power costs up to $214 per megawatt hour, coal $78 to $91. If the renewable energy mob want a set of rules that would be simple – then go ahead with your wind farm but don’t ask for taxpayers’ money. How can wind turbine companies buy off a farmer for $10,000 a turbine and then that same company be subsidised by the taxpayers? Who are you.

I have spoken to so many people, but one of them is Andrew Gardiner in Napthine’s electorate. He’s running for election this Saturday, the Premier of Victoria. Next to 140 turbines, 150 metres high, 56m blades – the biggest monsters in the southern hemisphere, some are 90 m from his property. Eight of them, 1.7 km from his home. And he’s been bullied and intimidated by AGL. I repeat – coal-fired power $78-91 a megawatt hour wind power, up to $214 per megawatt hour and solar power, over $400 a megawatt hour.

And here you’ve got this Gullen Range wind farm near Goulburn, which breaks nearly every rule that governed its application to operate. But don’t worry, it’s foreign owned. Would you believe Canberra, were meant to be spending 17,000 million dollars (17 billion), erecting between 7000 and 10,000 of these wind turbines.

Yet Germany are pushing ahead with new coal-fired electricity plants because political and public concern there is increasing over the cost of energy. China is building a new coal fired power station every 10 days every year. And remember when I spoke to Angus Taylor, the new member for Hume, turbines in his electorate enjoys subsidies to $500,000,000 to a $billion a year.

Well David Leyonhjelm is a New South Wales Senator, representing the Liberal Democrats and along with Senators Madigan, Day, Xenophon and Back, David Leyonhjelm succeeded in establishing, has succeeded in establishing – and this will put a few noses out of joint – a Senate inquiry into wind turbines. This will blow the whole show open.

It was a narrow vote. Because you see people like Mcfarlane, the Energy Minister, they’re in bed with wind companies. 33 to 32. The inquiry will be known as The Select Committee on Wind Turbines. It will investigate regulatory governance, or lack of it, over wind turbines, their economic impact, which can only be negative. It will examine on household power prices of wind power, we know that. The implementation of planning processes which as you can see with Gullen Range, are ignored. The integrity of national wind farm guidelines – they have none. The impact of wind turbines on firefighting – that’s another story altogether – and crop management.

And the committee will have the power to send for and examine people and documents. And it will report its proceedings from time to time and make interim recommendations and it will report by June 24 next year. This is a very pioneering and important initiative and not before time.


Australia: Greenie land-grab contested

THE long-running Federal Court case of southern NSW farmer Peter Spencer strikes at the heart of land ownership in Australia, Queensland federal MP Bob Katter says.

MR Katter has flown to Sydney to support Mr Spencer's legal case against the Commonwealth and the NSW government over land-clearing laws.
He argues restrictions imposed on the clearing of vegetation on his farm constitutes an acquisition of his property.

Speaking outside the court on Thursday, Mr Katter told reporters that the case, which was launched in 2007, was one of the most important in Australia's history.

"Today the question is: who owns the land, the crown or the people?  "If we don't own our own land and a bunch of half-witted politicians own our land, than God help us all.  "This is why I have tracked across Australia to support Peter."

It comes more than four years after Mr Spencer staged a 52-day hunger strike in 2009 and 2010 on a suspended platform on his former property at Shannons Flat, near Cooma.

The leader of Katter's Australian Party said "millions of dollars worth of timber and timber rights" had been taken off Mr Spencer without compensation.



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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