Thursday, December 25, 2014

Ocean acidity is a snark -- but a snark supported by threats

The Feely-Sabine ocean acidification claim ignores 80 years of real-world data that show NO acidification trend

The Feely fraud himself

“Ocean acidification” (OA) is receiving growing attention. While someone who doesn’t follow climate change science might think OA is a stomach condition resulting from eating bad seafood, OA is claimed to be a phenomenon that will destroy ocean life—all due to mankind’s use of fossil fuels. It is a foundational theory upon which the global warming/climate change narrative is built.

The science and engineering website Quest recently posted: “Since the Industrial Revolution in the late 1700s, we have been mining and burning coal, oil, and natural gas for energy and transportation. These processes release carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. It is well established that the rising level of CO2 in our atmosphere is a major cause of global warming. However, the increase in CO2 is also causing changes to the chemistry of the ocean. The ocean absorbs some of the excess atmospheric CO2, which causes what scientists call ocean acidification. And ocean acidification could have major impacts on marine life.”

Within the Quest text is a link to a chart by Dr. Richard A. Feely, who is a senior scientist with the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL)—which is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Feely’s climate-crisis views are widely used to support the narrative.

Feely’s four-page report: “Carbon Dioxide and Our Ocean Legacy,” offered on the NOAA website, contains a similar chart. This chart, titled “Historical & Projected pH & Dissolved Co2,” begins at 1850. Feely testified before Congress in 2010—using the same data that show a decline in seawater pH (making it more acidic) that appears to coincide with increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide.

In 2010, Feely received the $100,000 cash prize from the Heinz Family Foundation awards (established by Teresa Heinz, wife of Secretary of State John Kerry). The Heinz award site touts Feely’s work: “Ocean acidity is now considered global warming’s ‘evil twin,’ thanks in large measure to Dr. Feely’s seminal research on the changing ocean chemistry and its impact on marine ecosystems.”

The December edition of the scientific journal Nature Climate Change features commentary titled: “Lessons learned from ocean acidification research.”

However, an inquisitive graduate student presented me with a very different “lesson” on OA research.

Mike Wallace is a hydrologist with nearly 30 years’ experience, who is now working on his Ph.D. in nanogeosciences at the University of New Mexico. In the course of his studies, he uncovered a startling data omission that, he told me, “eclipses even the so-called climategate event.”

Feely’s work is based on computer models that don’t line up with real-world data —which Feely acknowledged in e-mail communications with Wallace (which I have read). And, as Wallace determined, there are real world data. Feely and his coauthor Dr. Christopher L. Sabine, PMEL Director, omitted 80 years of data, which incorporate more than 2 million records of ocean pH levels.

Feely’s chart, first mentioned, begins in 1988—which is surprising, as instrumental ocean pH data have been measured for more than 100 years — since the invention of the glass electrode pH (GEPH) meter. As a hydrologist, Wallace was aware of GEPH’s history and found it odd that the Feely/Sabine work omitted it. He went to the source. The NOAA paper with the chart beginning in 1850 lists Dave Bard, with Pew Charitable Trust, as the contact.

Wallace sent Bard an e-mail: “I’m looking in fact for the source references for the red curve in their plot which was labeled ‘Historical & Projected pH & Dissolved Co2.’ This plot is at the top of the second page. It covers the period of my interest.” Bard responded and suggested that Wallace communicate with Feely and Sabine—which he did over a period of several months. Wallace asked again for the “time series data (NOT MODELING) of ocean pH for 20th Century.”

Sabine responded by saying that it was inappropriate for Wallace to question their “motives or quality of our science,” adding that if he continued in this manner, “you will not last long in your career.”  He then included a few links to websites that Wallace, after spending hours reviewing them, called “blind alleys.”  Sabine concludes the e-mail with: “I hope you will refrain from contacting me again.”

Interestingly, in this same general timeframe, NOAA reissued its World Ocean Database. Wallace was then able to extract the instrumental records he sought and turned the GEPH data into a meaningful time series chart, which reveals that the oceans are not acidifying.

“In whose professional world,” Wallace asks, “is it acceptable to omit the majority of the data and also to not disclose the omission to any other soul or Congressional body?”


Imbecile John Holdren says the global goal is to have world-wide carbon dioxide emissions “close to zero by 2100.”

"I can't breathe" would become a reality for all of us in that case.  All animals emit CO2 in their breath

As part of the White House “Open For Questions” video posted last week, Holdren was asked: “Do you know the rate of reduction in carbon emissions the world would have to achieve in order to prevent an unstoppable process of methane release from the Arctic areas?”

“No one knows for sure how much warming would be enough to produce this result, but it's thought to be considerably less likely to happen if the ultimate warming is less than 2 degrees Celsius, that is 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above the pre-industrial value, than if the ultimate warming is greater than that,” Holdren responded.

“That was one of the reasons why the nations that are party to the United Nations framework convention on climate change have embraced a global goal of keeping the increase below the 2 degrees Celsius.”

“To have a better than even chance of meeting that goal would require global emissions of carbon dioxide to be about 50% below their 2005 value by 2050 and close to zero by 2100. That will not be easy, but with appropriate leadership from the United States, China and the other big emitters it can be done,” Holdren continued.

According to the Earth Policy Institute, in 2005 carbon emissions from fossil fuel burning reached 7.9 billion tons. It was approximately 4 billion tons in 1969 and was at 3 million tons in 1751, before the automobile.

“Arctic permafrost contains huge quantities of stored carbon, some of which would be released to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and methane if the permafrost thawed as a result of global warming,” Holdren said.

“Similarly, there are large stores of methane frozen into ice crystals under the Arctic Ocean, some which could also be released if enough warming occurred. Release of any significant fraction of these carbon stocks would speed up the pace of global warming.”


Hands off the human footprint!

Brendan O’Neill

We should expand our eco-footprint

The Lima climate deal agreed this week, committing the nations of the world to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, has upset green-leaning observers and campaigners. They think it doesn’t go far enough. They want the world’s leaders to make a greater effort to shrink humanity’s so-called eco-footprint on the planet. spiked disagrees. We think the human footprint should be expanded, not wiped away. Read our climate manifesto with a difference, first published in 2009:

[Hands off the human footprint]

From Genesis to the Enlightenment, mankind was seen as the master of the planet. We have ‘dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and every other living thing that moves on the Earth’, said the Bible. Let’s put ‘nature on the rack’ and ‘extract her secrets’, said Enlightenment thinkers. Now we’re described as a malignant tumour, a ‘serious planetary malady’, in the words of one leading green, and our achievements – industry, cities, skyscrapers – are disparaged as the ‘human footprint’. The goal of environmentalism is to shrink this ‘footprint’, speaking to a view of humans as ultimately destructive and of our breakthroughs as gigantic follies that must be decommissioned. No way. We have not poisoned the planet; we have humanised it. And far from being shrunk, our ‘footprint’ – our 5,000-year project of taming and transforming this wild ball of gas and water – must be expanded further.

[Ditch the carbon calculators]

Every human activity is now judged according to how much carbon it emits. Flying, working, eating, development and even reproducing – people’s decision to create new human life – are measured in ‘tonnes of CO2 emitted’. A baby is another 10 tonnes of carbon a year, we’re told; more fridges in China will add too much CO2 to the atmosphere, it is claimed. But human activity is not reducible to the number of toxins it allegedly creates. The carbon judgment on our daily activities has replaced God’s judgement – except where the God squad at least distinguished between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ activities, under the morality-lite, toxins-obsessed tyranny of original carbon sin, everything is potentially harmful. Stop carbon-calculating our lives, and let us celebrate people’s activities in human terms, recognising them as good, creative, explorative, industrious, or simply as making people happy.

[Demand more economic growth]

Creating plenty – plenty of food, homes and things – was the overarching aim of most human societies. From the toiling Israelites’ vision of a ‘land of milk and honey’ to Socialists such as Sylvia Pankhurst’s dream of ‘a great production that will supply more than all the people can consume’, we recognised that plenty would make us more comfortable and more free, allowing us to spend less time toiling and more time talking, thinking, experimenting, living. Yet in the eco-era, thinkers demonise ‘plenty’ and celebrate ‘enoughism’, to use one green writer’s word: but whose idea of ‘enough’? Economic growth is denounced as polluting, and people’s desire for wealth is redefined as a mental illness: ‘affluenza’. The sin of gluttony has been rehabilitated in pseudo-scientific terms. We should insist that ‘growth is good’ – in fact, it’s essential if we are to satisfy people’s needs, and liberate their time and their minds so that they can realise their desires.

[Dont sustain sustainable development]

The only kind of development bigged up today is ‘sustainable development’. It sounds nice: development is a good thing, and who wants to do things in an unsustainable fashion? Yet the cult of sustainability, of pursuing only small-scale projects that can be sustained into the distant future without too much eco-stress, speaks to a lack of human daring. The idea is that we should only build and create things that can be held together or remade without much effort, and that we should never, ever think of overhauling society, of making industrious leaps forward, of discarding the homes, towns and vehicles we have now in favour of better versions. The demand to do only That Which Can Be Sustained is really a warning against rethinking, reimagining and remaking our world. It’s an intellectual straitjacket for progress. We should wriggle free from it.

[No limits on population growth]

Progressives once argued that unemployment, poverty and hunger were social problems susceptible to social solutions. Today the orthodoxy is that they are natural or demographic problems springing from humanity’s failure to respect Mother Nature’s limits. Nowhere is this clearer than in the rise of eco-Malthusianism and the notion that the planet is overpopulated by ‘too many mouths to feed’. Society’s failure to create a world fit for people, a world of plenty, is redefined as individuals’ failure to control their reckless fecundity and limit the number of new ‘resource-users’ (formerly known as ‘bundles of joy’). When problems were understood in social terms, the solution was seen as more debate and more progress; when problems are understood in natural terms, the solution is seen as curbs on people’s nature-transgressing behaviour and the use of eco-blackmail to curtail fecundity. Population growth is not the problem – the lack of social imagination is.

[Stop demonising deniers]

Serious debate about humanity and its future is continually curtailed. Anyone who questions the science or politics of global warming is written off as a ‘Flat Earther’, a phrase used by Gordon Brown, among others. Some label ‘climate change denial’ as a psychological disorder and claim these ‘evil words’ will literally bring about death and destruction. From Torquemada on, censors have always painted their enemies not only as wrong but as morally warped, and their utterances as a threat to the social fabric. The idea of ‘denial’, meanwhile, suggests there is an already established Truth that we must either Accept or Deny – no challenge to it can be tolerated. We should defend scepticism, not because climate sceptics always have something interesting to say, but because every breakthrough in history has sprung from at least a willingness to ask awkward, agitating questions about accepted truths.

[No to eco-protectionism]

In the past even Marxists sang the praises of capitalism’s tendency to internationalise production and trade. The ‘rapid improvement of all instruments of production, [and] the immensely facilitated means of communication, draws all, even the most barbarian, nations into civilisation’, wrote Marx and Engels in 1848. Today we have ‘locavores’ – people who only eat food produced within 100 miles of where they live – and green lobby groups deploying the pseudo-science of ‘food miles’ to argue against the CO2-emitting import of foreign foodstuffs. Eco-miserabilists have even invented the category of ‘love miles’ to measure the pollution caused by importing Valentine’s Day flowers from Kenya. This is the resurrection of protectionism in green language, and is causing people in the Third World to lose their jobs and homes. We need more, and more meaningful, links between the North and the South, not fewer.

[Make energy the solution]

Whether we’re digging for coal or extracting uranium, man’s use of the Earth’s resources to create energy is frowned upon. We’re ‘destroying the planet’, apparently, by draining its fuels. Such panic over allegedly dwindling resources is not based on hard evidence that this stuff is running out, but on a conviction that we shouldn’t really be using it in the first place. Even our use of water is now problematised: green charities talk about our ‘water footprint’ and tell us to live ‘water-neutral lives’. This speaks to a new view of people as merely consumers rather than producers, destroyers rather than creators. The Earth has been relabelled a ‘warehouse of resources’ and our role is apparently to tiptoe through it and borrow only what we really, really need. We should see the creation of energy not as the problem but as the solution, allowing us to power industry, light up whole cities, and improve human existence. All kinds of energy can be explored – even wind and waves – just so long as the principle of expanding energy to meet our needs is accepted first.

[Address the democratic deficit]

Our leaders hold international climate summits in the hope of finding that sense of historic momentum that is sorely lacking in everyday politics. Unable to inspire voters with anything like a grand vision of a future Good Life, they instead play at ‘making history’, depicting themselves as the defenders of basic existence from the coming eco-Armageddon. Yet rather than resolving the crisis of political vision, such summits expose it: on one side our leaders express disappointment with we the public’s lack of ‘urgency and drive and animation’ about climate change, and on the other side everyday people sensibly switch off, seeing such summits as a waste of time and telling pollsters that they don’t think climate change is the biggest problem facing the world. Today’s democratic deficit, the gulf between the rulers and the ruled, will not be fixed by the displacement activity of pseudo-historic international conferences – we need openness, honesty and debate.

[Humans before polar bears]

In the past many thought there was a white, hairy being in the clouds who was judging our behaviour. Today many believe that another white, hairy being – the polar bear – is a barometer of human hubris. Everything we do is measured according to its alleged impact on the ice floes, polar-bear habitats, and other natural phenomena. This represents the creation of a new, backward morality, one which seeks to control human behaviour and lower humanity’s horizons through mythical tales of our eco-destructiveness; the idea of limits, harm and polar-bear vulnerability are used to hector and cow the public. We need to rediscover a sense of human morality, of judging our behaviour in its own terms rather than the terms set by miserabilist misanthropes and cynically externalised as Concern For Polar Bears. When it comes to political decision-making, progress and development, only one question should ever be asked: will it or will it not benefit humankind?


Congress Talks GMO Labeling, Actually Makes Sense

The early results of this bipartisan effort, it may surprise you to learn, aren’t half bad.

Recently, the FDA, courts, and voters in several states have had their say on a variety of food-labeling issues.

The FDA’s menu-labeling rules dropped last month. Lawsuits on a variety of food-labeling issues continue to bubble. Examples include lawsuits over labels appearing on foods from mayonnaise to booty to skim milk.

Now Congress is having its say. And the early results of this bipartisan effort, it may surprise you to learn, aren’t half bad.

The issue Congress chose to tackle, in a hearing this week, is that of mandatory GMO labeling. While several states are agitating for such labels—and Vermont voters even approved such a measure—there have also been calls for Congress and the FDA to implement some sort of mandatory federal labeling scheme.

Last week, for example, a group of celebrity chefs traveled to Washington to push Congress to label GMO foods. But that move may have backfired.

“In a press conference before the meeting, about half a dozen of the chefs admitted to reporters they do not have GMO labeling on their menus,” reported Politico.

As if that news wasn’t bad enough for the activist chefs, this week’s hearing on Capitol Hill shows that Congress appears to have little stomach for either state or federal GMO labeling regulations.

“If the labeling could result in higher food costs, then maybe that’s not a risk we want to take,” said Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ).

“I’m concerned that mandatory [GMO] labeling could be inherently misleading,” said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) in an opening statement during Wednesday’s energy and commerce committee’s health subcommittee hearing.

Waxman said FDA-mandated GMO labels could serve to mislead consumers by implying GMO foods aren’t as safe as conventional ones. FDA officials claim GMO foods are just as safe as any others.

The lack of fervor for more regulations surprised some. Waxman in particular, reports Politico, is one of “a handful of key lawmakers from the Democratic party with a reputation for being proactive on food regulation [and who] surprisingly expressed concern over the recent push for GMO labeling requirements.”

The concerns of Democrats like Pallone and Waxman were echoed by their Republican colleagues.

“Food labeling is a matter of interstate commerce, and is therefore clearly a federal issue that rightfully resides with Congress and the FDA,” said subcommittee Chairman Joseph R. Pitts (R-PA) in his opening remarks. “I am concerned that a patchwork of fifty separate state labeling schemes would be impractical and unworkable.”

Opposition in Congress both to a federal labeling scheme and to state efforts to demonize GMO foods has helped give rise to a bipartisan bill that would crack down on the latter.

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) is pushing the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act. The bill, co-sponsored by Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-NC), would preempt state labeling laws like that in Vermont and, Pompeo says, “protect consumers by eliminating confusion and advancing food safety.”

Effectively, the sensible bill would tell states and cities that they cannot do what the Constitution forbids them already from doing: require, for example, local approval for labels of foods moving in interstate commerce. The bill would reserve for producers the option to label foods that do or do not contain GMO ingredients.

One group supporting the Pompeo/Butterfield bill is the Grocery Manufacturers Association. In a GMA press release earlier this year, one partner called the bill “an important first step to restoring sanity to America’s food labeling laws.”

GMA should know about such steps. They filed suit in federal court earlier this year challenging Vermont’s unconstitutional GMO-labeling law, which mandates that the label of a food product containing genetically engineered ingredients must display an affirmative declaration of the presence of such ingredients if the product is to be sold in the state. That suit is ongoing. Meanwhile, a separate lawsuit filed this week by supporters of an Oregon ballot initiative that would have mandated GMO labeling in the state—which lost at the ballot box—has already been rescinded.

Efforts to force labeling in Vermont, Oregon, and many other states is clear evidence of the need for action. I'd prefer the Supreme Court weigh in on the Vermont lawsuit and side with GMA, effectively settling the issue. The next-best thing would be for Congress to act. If this week is any indication, Congress might beat the high court to the punch.


EPA attacks wood fires

"Chestnuts roasting on an open fire..." But WAIT! Stop the music -- What is the moisture content of those logs? Before burning the logs, did you knock them together to see if they sounded hollow?

You really should go dashing through the snow to your local hardware store in search of a "moisture meter," the perfect gift for that environmentally paranoid person on your Christmas list. Those people are so hard to please, aren't they?

And be sure to check your local air quality forecast on before lighting a fire.

Alas, the Environmental Protection Agency recognizes that, "Across the country this holiday season, families and friends will gather around wood stoves or fireplaces."

But it also warns that "how you build that fire -- and what your burn -- can have a significant impact on air quality and health, both inside your home and out."

For instance, where there's smoke, there's a problem, says EPA: "Whether you’re using a wood stove, pellet stove, or your fireplace, seeing smoke from your chimney means your fire isn’t burning efficiently or cleanly as it could."

The agency that uses pollution controls to influence many aspects of human behavior wants you to know that wood smoke contains fine particles (also called particle pollution or PM2.5 -- no kidding!) which can harm the lungs, blood vessels and heart.

EPA offers the following tips for clean wood burning:

-- Burn only dry, seasoned wood that makes a hollow sound when thumped.

-- Buy a wood moisture meter. (Hey, what's another $20?)

-- Start a small fire with dry kindling, then add a few pieces of wood, keeping spaces in between for better, cleaner burning.

-- Never burn household garbage, cardboard, painted or treated wood. (Don't chop up the chifferobe, in other words.)

Finally, the EPA recommends using an EPA-certified wood stove to put less smoke into the air.

Oh, and happy new year! The EPA is updating its requirements for newly manufactured wood stoves, outdoor wood boilers and other wood heaters to make them cleaner in the future. EPA says it anticipates issuing final regulations by Feb. 3, 2015.


New EPA Regs Issued Under Obama Are 43 Times as Long as Bible

Since President Barack Obama took office on Jan. 20, 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued 3,120 new final regulations, equaling 27,854 pages in the Federal Register, totaling approximately 27,854,000 words.

Using the website and data from the Federal Register, found 3,120 final rules published by the EPA since January 2009 covering  greenhouse gases, air quality, emissions, and hazardous substances, to name a few. The Federal Register publishes documents, including proposed rules, notices, interim rules, corrections, drafts of final rules and final rules but the tabulation included only the final rules from the EPA.

For comparison with those final rules, the Gutenberg Bible is 1,282 pages long and contains 646,128 words.This means that the new EPA regulations issued by the Obama Administration now contain 21 times as many pages as the Bible and 43 times as many words.

Also, the EPA regulations have 25 times as many words as the entire Harry Potter series, which includes seven books with 1,084,170 words.

To get an approximate word count for each EPA rule in the Federal Register, evaluated a few random rules from the 3,120 EPA regulations published since Obama took office, and calculated an approximate average of 1,000 words per page. From this, calculated that the 3,120 final EPA rules that have been published in the Federal Register so far take up 27,854,000 words.

This is only an approximation because some pages in the Federal Register carry more words than others, and some regulations end in the beginning or middle of a page. For example, one of the regulations was five-pages long and totaled 5,586 words, an average of 1,117 words per page.

Another regulation was three-pages long and 3,150 words, which averaged to 1,050 words per page. Another rule was four-pages long and 4,426 words, or an average 1,106 words per page.

“The broader question of whether the Obama Administration’s EPA is ‘overreaching’ in its regulatory effects has not gone away. Critics both in Congress and outside of it regularly accuse the agency of overkill,” states a Congressional Research Service (CRS) report, EPA Regulations: Too Much, Too Little, or On Track?

“EPA’s actions, both individually and in sum, have generated controversy,” the CRS report states. “Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress have expressed concerns, through bipartisan letters commenting on proposed regulations and through introduced legislation that would delay, limit, or prevent certain EPA actions.”

Yet, EPA proponents are fighting for more rules. “Environmental groups and other supporters of the agency disagree that EPA has overreached,” said CRS. “Many of them believe that the agency is, in fact, moving in the right direction, including taking action on significant issues that had been long delayed or ignored in the past. In several cases, environmental advocates would like the regulatory actions to be stronger.”



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


1 comment:

John A said...

Is this "According to the Earth Policy Institute, in 2005 carbon emissions from fossil fuel burning reached 7.9 billion tons. It was approximately 4 billion tons in 1969 and was at 3 million tons in 1751, before the automobile." accurate?

If so, 1969 may have been the year we finally caught up with... termites. I once stumbled on a short abstract of a mid-1980s paper about termites, in which a back-of-the-envelope estimate (itself admittedly based on guesses of termite numbers) of CO2 emitted by termites was a bit over 4 billion tons per year.

More recently

• Scientists have calculated that termites alone produce ten times as much carbon dioxide as all the fossil fuels burned in the whole world in a year.
• Scientists estimate that, worldwide, termites may release over 150 million tons of methane gas into the atmosphere annually. In our lower atmosphere this methane then reacts to form carbon dioxide and ozone.