Sunday, November 30, 2014

Hundreds of Records Fall During U.S. Cold Spell

Mid-November 2014 has been a time of record-setting temperatures and snowfall. Hardly anyone in the United States can avoid it, and even if your locale hasn’t experienced record cold itself, somewhere in your region has. This is not how global warming is supposed to work.

The United States has experienced an unusual amount of record-breaking cold weather and weather-related phenomena in 2014. Early in the year, in large part due to the polar vortex, hundreds, if not thousands, of American cities and towns experienced multiple days of record-setting temperatures – both record lows and record-low high temperatures.

This odd weather continued into the summer. In July, record lows or record-low high temperatures were set in cities across the nation, including in Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, and Pittsburgh, as well as in states from Minnesota to Alabama and Florida. The streak continued into September, when 246 record-low high temperature records were broken or tied between September 1 and September 10 alone.

Jacksonville, Florida recently joined hundreds of other cities in the nation that have, since November 10, witnessed record lows – a low of 24 degrees broke the 141-year-old mark for November 20 by six degrees.

Weather Bell Analytics reports:

    An astounding 226 million Americans will experience at or below freezing temperatures (32°F) on Tuesday as well – if you venture outdoors.

    More than 85% of the surface area of the Lower 48 reached or fell below freezing Tuesday morning. All 50 states saw at or below freezing temperatures on Tuesday.

    Record lows from Idaho to Nebraska and Iowa south to Texas and east through the Great Lakes, the eastern 2/3 of the US will shatter decades-long and in some cases, century-long records. Temperatures east of the Rockies will be 20–40°F below climate normals.

    Compared to normal, temperatures over the past several days have dropped off a cliff – to 10°C below climate normal – more anomalous than even during the polar vortex of early January.

And reported 1,360 cities and towns set daily-low maximum records over the past week.

On one night in mid-November, every state in the nation, including Florida, Hawaii, and Texas, had one or more locations reporting at or below freezing temperatures, and 85 percent of the nation saw freezing temperatures. This is mid-November, not mid-winter.

And let’s not forget about snowfall. Buffalo, among other Great Lakes region cities, is experiencing “Snowpocalypse,” a phrase I’m copywriting if possible. More than six feet of snow fell in Buffalo in less than 48 hours, with three or more feet threatening to fall by the end of the week. This is more than the city typically gets annually.

By November 3, areas in Maine, which typically accumulate less than a foot of snow for the entire month of November, had already received two feet of snow. Not to be outdone, on November 1, South Carolina experienced its earliest snowfall since official records began in 1886. The previous earliest snowfall recorded was on November 9, 1913.

Indeed, snow currently covers more than 50 percent of the country, more than twice the coverage the United States usually experiences for mid-November.

The records keep falling and climate models keep getting it wrong.


Dear Northeast, how’s that solar working out for you?

A couple of months ago, effective in November, National Grid, one of Massachusetts’ two dominant utilities, announced rate increases of a “whopping” 37 percent over last year. Other utilities in the region are expected to follow suit.

It’s dramatic headlines like these that make rooftop solar sound so attractive to people wanting to save money. In fact, embedded within the online version of the Boston Globe story: “Electric rates in Mass. set to spike this winter,” is a link to another article: “How to install solar power and save.” The solar story points out: “By now everyone knows that solar power can save homeowners big money on utility bills.” It claims that solar works even in New England’s dreary winters and cites Henry K. Vandermark, founder and president of Solar Wave Energy in Cambridge, as saying: “Even snow doesn’t matter if your panels have a steep angle. It just slides right off them.”

Solar is not the panacea it is promoted to be, though it is true that—after a substantial investment, heavy government subsidies (funded by all taxpayers), and generous net-metering programs (that raise costs for non-solar customers)—solar systems can save money on the typical homeowners’ monthly bill.

New England has seen one big power plant close within the past year—Salem Harbor Power Station in Salem, Massachusetts went “dark” on June 1, in part due to tightening federal regulations. Another major closure will take place within weeks: Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.

A new, state-of-the-art natural gas plant on 18 acres of the 65-acre Salem site will replace the Salem Harbor plant. The remaining 47 acres will see redevelopment, including renewable energy. But, that plan has received pushback from environmental groups that want it fully replaced with renewables. The Boston Globe states: “A decade ago, replacing the aging plant with a far cleaner natural gas facility would have thrilled environmental and public health advocates.” The Conservation Law Foundation filed a lawsuit against the project’s approval, claiming the state “failed to adequately consider its own climate change law when state energy officials approved the Salem plant.” In February, the group settled the suit after it caused construction delays and reliability concerns.

Just days before the plant closed, a report from The Daily Climate addressed the controversy over usage of the Salem Harbor site: “Many activists pushed back, arguing for wind or solar generation or non-energy uses, such as a marine biotechnology research facility.” One activist group: HealthLink, “has marshaled opposition to running a gas line to the new plant” and another: Grassroots Against Another Salem Plant (GAASP), “has pledged to use peaceful civil disobedience to block construction of the gas plant.”

The state of Massachusetts has offered three closed, or scheduled to be closed, coal-fueled power plant sites $6 million to pursue renewable energy projects—even though wind and solar require full back up from fossil fuel power plants so electricity is available in the frigid Northeast winters. Additionally, a new report from two Stanford Ph.Ds., who spent 4 years trying to prove renewables can, ultimately, replace fossil fuels, have had to admit defeat: “Renewable energy technologies simply won’t work; we need a fundamentally different approach.”

Having lived with the 63-year old Salem Harbor plant in her back yard for 20 years, Linda Haley, doesn’t, according to WGBH News, “understand why Salem would encourage use of a non-renewable fossil-fuel resource like natural gas when alternative investments in green technology finally seem possible.”

These stories reveal the snow job that has been perpetuated on the general public regarding renewable energy. They don’t understand the need for power or how it works. They seem to believe that when a rule passes a magic wand waves replacing older, but still fully functional, power plants with wind or solar—that doesn’t produce electricity 24/7/365 as do the decommissioned coal or nuclear plants and which requires far more land to produce the same amount of, albeit intermittent, electricity.

An iced up wind turbine or a solar panel covered in seven feet of snow—even if some of it slides off—doesn’t generate electricity. And the cold days of a Northeast winter create one of the times when energy demand peaks.

Remember last winter’s polar vortex, when freezing weather crippled the Northeast for days and put a tremendous strain on the electric supply?

Congress, following the near crisis, brought in utility executives to explain the situation. Regarding the nation’s electrical output last winter, Nicholas Akins, the CEO of the biggest generator of coal-fueled electricity in the U.S., American Electric Power (AEP), told Congress: “This country did not just dodge a bullet—we dodged a cannon ball.” Similarly, Michael Kormos, Executive VP of Operations for PJM Interconnection (the largest grid operator in the U.S. overseeing 13 states), commented on operations during the polar vortex: PJM was “never—as some accounts have portrayed—700 megawatts away from rolling blackouts. … On the worst day, January 7, our next step if we had lost a very large generator would have been to implement a small voltage reduction”—industry speak for the last option before power outages.

About last winter’s grid reliability, Glenn Beck claims: “I had an energy guy come to me about three weeks ago. …He said, ‘We were one power plant away from a blackout in the east all winter long… We were using so much electricity. We were at the top of the grid. There’s no more electricity. We’re at the top.’”

This winter’s extreme weather—with new records set for November power demand—has already arrived. Come January, there will be not one, but two fewer Northeast power plants since last year—not because they had to be retired, but because of EPA regulations and public sentiment. In a November 17 op-ed, former Senators Bayh (D-IN) and Judd (R-NH) said: “Vermont Yankee produced 26 percent of New England’s power during the peak of last year’s frigid weather.” The Northeast won’t have Vermont Yankee’s power this January.

Without these two vital power plants, what will the Northeast do?

For several months, since I had a chat with Weather Bell Analytics’ Joe Bastardi at the International Conference on Climate Change, I’ve continued to say that I fear people will have to die due to power outages that prevent them from heating their homes in the winter cold, before the public wakes up to the damage of these policies. AEP’s Atkins seems to agree. He told Columbus Business First: “Truth be known, something’s probably going to have to happen before people realize that there is an issue.”

“New England is in the midst of an energy crisis,” claims WGBH News. The report continues: “residents and businesses are facing a future that may include ‘rolling blackouts’ on days when usage is highest.”

ISO New England, the agency that oversees the power grid, warns, in the Boston Globe: “Boston and northeast Massachusetts are ‘expected to face an electricity capacity shortage’ that could lead to rolling blackouts or the use of trailer-mounted diesel generators—which emit far more pollutants than natural gas—to fill the gap.” Ray Hepper, the lawyer for ISO New England, in a court filing, wrote: “The ISO simply cannot make megawatts of generation materialize that are not on the system.” In an interview, he added: “We’re really, as a region, at the point of needing new power plants.”

As the Salem Harbor story illustrates, natural gas will likely fuel those new power plants and environmental groups are expected to challenge construction. Plus, natural gas faces cost volatility. On November 20, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), in the wake of November cold, not experienced since the 1970s when global cooling was predicted, featured an article titled: “Chill pushes up natural-gas prices” that stated: “Natural-gas stockpiles shrank by more than expected last week reflecting surging demand.” As in the ’70s, many are now projecting, based on solar activity and other natural variables, a long global cooling trend.

While the Boston Globe, in September, said: “The upcoming winter is not expected to be as cold as last season,” Bastardi told me otherwise. He said: “This winter could be as cold and nasty as last year and in a worst case go beyond that to some of the great winters of the late 1970s, lasting all the way into April. As it is, we still have a winter comparable to last year forecasted, though the position of the worst, relative to averages, may be further southeast than last year.” During a November 19 appearance with Neil Cavuto, Bastardi suggested that we may see a bit of warming after November, but will have one, or two, very cold months after that.

The WSJ quoted Brian Bradshaw, portfolio manager at BP Capital in Dallas: “‘Everyone thinks it’s not possible’ to have another winter like last year ‘But the weather does impossible things all the time.’” WSJ added: “the natural-gas market is setting up for a repeat of last winter.”

So, why, when natural gas prices sit at historic lows that experts predicted will lower electricity rates, is the Northeast facing double-digit increases? The answer: there is no magic wand. The changes have been mandated, but the replacements aren’t ready yet. Ray Gifford, former commissioner with the Colorado Public Utility Commission, told me: “I don’t see how the gas infrastructure in New England can be built fast enough to replace retiring baseload capacity.”

Within the past decade, natural gas went from supplying less than a fifth of New England’s power to one half—which could be great if New England had natural gas, but it is, as Tim Maverick, Commodities Correspondent for Wall Street Daily, says: “gas-starved.” After last winter’s freezing weather, Maverick wrote: “The Northeast was slapped in the face with the reality that there’s not sufficient pipeline infrastructure to provide it with the mega-energy pull it draws in the colder season. This is probably because not one new pipeline infrastructure has been introduced in over 40 years. Natural gas consumption in the Northeast has grown more than 20% in the last decade, and not one new pipeline has been built. Current pipelines are stuffed and can carry no more supply.”

At the Edison Electric Institute financial conference on November 11, AEP’s Atkins confirmed that the proposed timeline to cut pollution from the EPA will shutter coal plants before completion of construction of new power plants using other fuels, or the infrastructure to move the needed natural gas around.

The lack of available supply, results in higher prices. The Boston Globe explains: “gas supplies for home heating are purchased under long-term contracts arranged far in advance, so utilities have the advantage of locking in lower rates. Power plants, on the other hand, often buy shorter-term and are more exposed to price movements in the spot markets.” In the winter’s cold weather, the gas goes to people’s homes first. Different from coal, which is shipped by train, with a thirty-day supply easily held at the point of use, the switch to natural gas leaves power plants struggling to meet demand, paying higher prices.

Addressing the 2013/2014 winter, Terry Jarrett, a former public service commissioner and a nationally recognized leader in energy, utility, and regulatory issues, said: “Natural gas couldn’t shoulder that burden, due in part to a shortage of infrastructure to deliver gas where it was needed—this despite record-setting production in the Marcellus Shale and elsewhere. But more importantly, whereas coal’s sole purpose is to generate electricity, natural gas is also used for home heating. And when push comes to shove, heating gets priority over generation.”

Last winter, coal and nuclear met the demand to keep the lights on and heat homes and businesses. AEP reports that 89 percent of its coal plants, now slated for retirement, ran at capacity just to meet the peak demand.

These shortages in the Northeast occur before the implementation of Obama’s Clean Power Plan that experts believe will shut down hundreds of coal-fueled power plants nationwide by 2016. New pipelines and new plants need to be built, but “not-in-my-backyard” attitudes and environmental activists will probably further delay and prevent construction as they have done in the Northeast, which will result in higher electric bills nationwide.

“Because less-expensive coal generation is retiring and in part is being replaced by demand-response or other potential high energy cost resources, excess generation will narrow and energy prices could become more volatile due to the increasing reliance on natural gas for electricity generation,” PJM’s Kormos told Congress.

The lessons for America’s energy supply learned from the Northeast’s far-reaching experiment, that has only resulted only in price increases and potential energy shortages, are twofold. First, don’t shut down existing supply until the replacement is ready, as legal action and local attitudes can slow its development. Second, you can cover every square inch of available land with wind and solar, but when extreme weather hits, it requires a reliable energy supply, best met by coal and nuclear.

Current policy direction will have all of America, not just the Northeast, freezing in the dark. I hope it can it be turned back before it is too late.


States Reject GMO Scares

Voters in two states, Colorado and Oregon, defeated GMO labeling at the ballot box in the November elections. This is the third year in a row activists who want labels identifying genetically modified foods have lost state initiatives and referenda.

Voters rejected Colorado’s Proposition 105 with 67 percent of the vote. Measure 92 in Oregon was a much closer race, with 49 percent of the vote in support of the initiative.

Despite the continuous defeats, experts agree campaigns demanding GMO labeling are far from over.

Activists Won’t Give Up

“The hallmark of the hard left is never to give up on a theme until long after it is dead…. I expect no let-up,” said Dennis Avery, director of the Center for Global Food Issues, which studies agriculture and environmental concerns regarding food production.

Competitive Enterprise Institute Executive Director Greg Conko agreed, saying, “We’re just at the beginning.”

“I’m very happy the labeling initiatives in Colorado and Oregon failed on Election Day, just like prior initiatives in Washington State last year and California in 2012. But I’m still troubled they’ve attracted as much support as they have,” Conko added.

GMOs Declared Safe

Avery said the attraction for labeling genetically modified foods has grown over the last twenty years despite scientific research demonstrating the safety of genetic modification. Domestic and international bodies, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Academies of Science, agree GMOs are safe.

Conko notes the U.S. Food and Drug Administration already requires producers to inform consumers any time a food has been changed in a way that impacts safety, wholesomeness, nutritional value, or even traits such as food’s taste, color, or mouth feel beyond the normal range of what consumers would expect.

Conko pointed out GMO labeling doesn’t actually tell consumers what’s different about their food. “Its sole purpose is to use scary terminology to make consumers think there’s something to be concerned about, when nothing could be further from the truth,” he said.

Opposing Interest Groups

The campaigns pitted environmental activists against major corporations, including Monsanto Co., Kraft Foods Group Inc., and Coca-Cola Co.

Grassroots campaigns in the two states had hoped to draw support from young voters. However, opponents don’t agree the so-called activists are really grassroots groups.

“These labeling initiatives are sometimes characterized by proponents as arising from grassroots movements, but they are something quite different: They are funded by self-interested special interests—the organic agriculture/food industry and the producers of various kinds of ‘natural’ remedies and other products that are nothing more than modern-day snake oil,” said Henry I. Miller, the Robert Wesson fellow in scientific philosophy and public policy at the Hoover Institution.

Conko argues anti-GMO laws and referenda are unnecessary because consumers already have multiple avenues to identify GMO products, including GMO-free shopping guides and smart phone apps listing GMO-free foods.

“The market has identified a demand for that information, and normal market forces are finding a variety of ways to supply it,” Conko said.


“No dirty-oil-and-gas” Queen revealed

Will the real Gwen Lachelt please step down? That’s no wisecrack, but a very serious question in Colorado because she’s using a position of political influence to strategically devastate the state’s petroleum industry – and saying otherwise.

Lachelt, a La Plata County Commissioner, is a long-time anti-oil and gas extremist who now co-chairs Democratic Governor John W. Hickenlooper’s oil and gas task force, a board of environmentalists and industry supporters convened to recommend drilling policies to the state legislature, debating key issues including a devastating fracking ban.

Lachelt says, “I have never taken a position to ban fracking” – which is technically true but realistically unbelievable. I have recorded the career of Gwen Lachelt and more than 250 other enviro activists since I wrote Undue Influence in 1999 and established its companion website a year later.

Take a look at Lachelt’s real history: She organized the Oil and Gas Accountability Project (originally the Citizens Oil and Gas Support Center) in 1999 in Durango, Colorado as a project of the rabidly anti-oil and gas San Juan Citizens Alliance.

Her early OGAP campaign, the Western Coalbed Methane Project attempted to stop all coalbed methane operations in the American West.

Another early campaign, Democratizing Oil & Gas Commissions (DOGCOM), attempted to remove anyone associated with the oil and gas industry from membership in Colorado’s Oil & Gas Commission.

By 2004, Lachelt was so successful as OGAP’s executive director ($42,000 salary) that the ultra-green Seattle-based software millionaire Paul Brainerd singled her out for a new strategy he had in mind: “market-based campaigns” to destroy a company’s finance and supply chain.

Brainerd’s foundation funded OGAP to hold “a workshop to train activists in Canada and the U.S. and to develop a corporate accountability campaign targeting one energy corporation that operates in both countries.”

With these instructions from Brainerd, OGAP and Canada’s Dogwood Initiative held the September, 2004 workshop for 40 activist leaders from all over Canada and the U.S., in a Denver venue. The workshop was titled, Corporate Energy Campaigning: Using financial pressure for conservation. Follow that link to see how vicious it was.

The corporate campaign was a tactic to destroy companies by targeting their banking and supplier relations, invented by labor organizer Raymond F. Rogers, Jr. in 1974 and well known among environmentalists by the 1980s. By 2008, it had been developed into a sophisticated nuclear option by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, deployed in their 2008 “Tar Sands Campaign” with its four-step corporate death march, “Raise the Negatives, Raise the Costs, Slow Down and Stop Infrastructure, and Enroll Key Decision Makers.”

Shortly after the OGAP workshop, Brainerd gave a “challenge grant” to the Washington, D.C.-based Mineral Policy Center (founded 1988), which had adapted the corporate campaign into an anti-mining tactic called “No Dirty Gold” under former Greenpeace leader, Steven D’Esposito. Brainerd directed the Mineral Policy Center to merge with the Oil and Gas Accountability Project and operate jointly under the new name, Earthworks. Brainerd lays out his strategy here.

Lachelt and D’Esposito immediately adapted the company-killing No Dirty Gold project, and co-founded the No Dirty Oil and Gas coalition. On Nov. 15, 2006, Earthworks registered the websites www.nodirtyoilandgas dot com and dot org.

OGAP, as part of  Earthworks, aggressively pushed for anti-oil and gas legislation in New Mexico in 2007, driving a number of oil and gas firms from the state, including Key Energy Services, which closed its Farmington, New Mexico natural gas operations in 2008, leaving 700 employees without a job.

Public outrage at Earthworks’ No Dirty Oil and Gas attacks made the name too shrill – and honest – and was morphed into “No Dirty Energy,” which it remains to this day.

That’s the real Gwen Lachelt. There’s no evidence that she has had a “Road to Damascus” persecution epiphany converting her to a moderate member of Hickenlooper’s oil and gas task force.

The task force itself was the result of a threat by a raging anti-oil and gas millionaire, Boulder Democrat U.S. Rep. Jared Polis. He accepted the task force as his price for withdrawing two ballot initiatives he funded that would have imposed devastatingly expensive restrictions on Colorado’s petroleum industry if they won. With out-of-state Big Green political money flooding in to support the initiatives, Hickenlooper couldn’t risk losing his state’s biggest industry. Thus we got the oil and gas task force.

Lachelt told The Durango Herald she has never taken a position on banning hydraulic fracturing but simply supports regulations on fracking, including under the Safe Drinking Water Act (with its environmental group lawsuit provisions).

Simply Raise the Negatives, Raise the Costs, Slow Down and Stop Infrastructure, Enroll Key Decision-Makers. Get rid of the companies and you get rid of fracking. And a large chunk of Colorado’s economy. She’s still the Queen of No Dirty Oil and Gas.


The Gruberization of environmental policies

Accumulation of fraudulent EPA regulations impacts energy, economy, jobs, families and health

Paul Driessen

Call it the Gruberization of America’s energy and environmental policies.

Former White House medical consultant Jonathan Gruber pocketed millions of taxpayer dollars before infamously explaining how ObamaCare was enacted. “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” he said. “It was really, really critical to getting the bill passed.” At least one key provision was a “very clever basic exploitation of the lack of economic understanding of the American voter.”

The Barack Obama/Gina McCarthy Environmental Protection Agency is likewise exploiting its lack of transparency and most Americans’ lack of scientific understanding. EPA bureaucrats and their hired scientists, pressure groups and PR flacks are getting rich and powerful by implementing costly, punitive, dictatorial regulations “for our own good,” and pretending to be honest and publicly spirited.

EPA’s latest regulatory onslaught is its “Clean Power Plan.” The agency claims the CPP will control or prevent “dangerous manmade climate change,” by reducing carbon dioxide and “encouraging” greater use of renewable energy. In reality, as even EPA acknowledges, no commercial-scale technology exists that can remove CO2 from power plant emission streams. The real goal is forcing coal-fired power plants to reduce their operations significantly or (better still) shut down entirely.

The agency justifies this by deceitfully claiming major health benefits will result from eliminating coal in electricity generation – and deceptively ignoring the harmful effects that its regulations are having on people’s livelihoods, living standards, health and well-being. Its assertion that reducing the USA’s coal-related carbon dioxide emissions will make an iota of difference is just as disingenuous. China, India and other fast-developing nations must keep burning coal to generate electricity and lift people out of poverty, and CO2 plays only a tiny (if any) role in climate change and destructive weather events.

The new CPP amplifies Obama Administration diktats targeting coal use. Companion regulations cover mercury, particulates (soot), ozone, “cross-state” air pollution, sulfur and nitrogen oxides that contribute to haze in some areas, and water quality. Their real benefits are minimal to illusory … or fabricated.

American’s air is clean, thanks to scrubbers and other emission control systems that remove the vast majority of pollutants. Remaining pollutants pose few real health problems. To get the results it needs, EPA cherry picks often questionable research that supports its agenda and ignores all other studies. It low-balls costs, pays advisors and outside pressure groups millions of dollars to support its decisions, and ignores the cumulative effects of its regulations on energy costs and thus on businesses, jobs and families.

Now, for the first time, someone has tallied those costs. The results are sobering.

An exhaustive study by Energy Ventures Analysis, Inc. tallies the overall effects of EPA regulations on the electric power industry and provides state-by-state summaries of the rules’ impacts on residential, industrial and overall energy users. The study found that EPA rules and energy markets will inflict $284 billion per year in extra electricity and natural gas costs in 2020, compared to its 2012 baseline year.

The typical household’s annual electricity and natural gas bills will rise 35% or $680 by 2020, compared to 2012, and will climb every year after that, as EPA regulations get more and more stringent. Median family incomes are already $2,000 lower since President Obama took office, and electricity prices have soared 14-33% in states with the most wind power – so these extra costs will exact a heavy additional toll.

Manufacturing and other businesses will be hit even harder, the study concluded. Their electricity and natural gas costs will almost double between 2012 and 2020, increasing by nearly $200 billion annually over this short period. Energy-intensive industries like aluminum, steel and chemical manufacturing will find it increasingly hard to compete in global markets, but all businesses (and their employees) will suffer.

The EVA analysis calculates that industrial electricity rates will soar by 34% in West Virginia, 59% in Maryland and New York, and a whopping 74% in Ohio. Just imagine running a factory, school district or hospital – and having to factor skyrocketing costs like that into your budget. Where do you find that extra money? How many workers or teachers do you lay off, or patients do you turn away? Can you stay open?

The CPP will also force utility companies to spend billions building new generators (mostly gas-fired, plus wind turbines), and new transmission lines, gas lines and other infrastructure. But EPA does not factor those costs into its calculations; nor does it consider the many years it will take to design, permit, engineer, finance and build those systems – and battle Big Green lawsuits over them.

How “science-based” are EPA’s regulations, really? Its mercury rule is based on computer-generated risks to hypothetical American women who eat 296 pounds of fish a year that they catch themselves, a claim that its rule will prevent a theoretical reduction in IQ test scores by an undetectable “0.00209 points,” and similar absurdities. Its PM2.5 soot standard is equivalent to having one ounce of super-fine dust spread equally in a volume of air one-half mile long, one-half mile wide and one story tall.

No wonder EPA has paid its “independent” Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee $181 million and the American Lung Association $25 million since 2000 to rubberstamp its secretive, phony “science.”

Rural America will really be walloped by the total weight of EPA’s anti-coal regulations. Nonprofit electricity cooperatives serve 42 million people in 47 states, across three-fourths of the nation’s land area. They own and maintain 42% of America’s electric distribution lines and depend heavily on coal. They have already invested countless billions retrofitting coal-fired generators with state-of-the-art emission control systems, and thus emit very few actual pollutants. (CO2 fertilizes plants; it is not a pollutant.)

EPA’s air and water rules will force these coal units to slash their electricity generation or close down long before their productive lives are over – and before replacement units and transmission lines can be built. Electricity rates in these rural areas are already higher than in urban areas, but will go much higher. Experts warn that these premature shutdowns will slash electricity “reserve margins” to almost zero in some areas, make large sections of the power grid unstable, and create high risks of rolling blackouts and cascading power outages, especially in the Texas panhandle, western Kansas and northern Arkansas.

The rules will thus put the cooperatives in violation of the Rural Electrification Act and 16 other laws that require reliable, affordable electricity for these far-flung communities. EPA’s actions are also putting rural hospitals in greater jeopardy, as they try to cope with “Affordable Care Act” rules and other burdens that have already caused numerous closings. As USA Today reported, the shuttered hospitals mean some of the nation’s poorest and sickest patients will be denied accessible, affordable care – and people suffering strokes, heart attacks and accidents will not be able to reach emergency care during their “golden hour,” meaning many of them will die or be severely and permanently disabled.

EPA never bothered to consider any of these factors. Nor has it addressed the habitat, bird, bat and other environmental impacts that tens of thousands more wind turbines will have; the “human health hazards” that wind turbines have been shown to inflict on people living near them; or the high electricity costs, notorious unreliability, and increased power grid instability associated with the wind and solar installations that EPA seems to think can quickly and magically replace the coal-based electricity it is eliminating.

Congress, state legislators and attorneys general, governors and courts need to stop these secretive, duplicitous, dictatorial Executive Branch actions. Here’s one thought. Heartland Institute Science Director Jay Lehr helped organize the panel that called for establishing the Environmental Protection Agency. In a persuasive analysis, he says it’s time now to systematically dismantle the federal EPA and replace it with a “committee of the whole” of the 50 state environmental protection agencies.

The new organization would do a far better job of protecting our air and water quality, livelihoods, living standards, health and welfare. It will listen better to We the People – and less to eco-pressure groups.

Via email

Big Wind gusts in lame duck

Congress returns for a lame duck session that is beginning to look like a regular cornucopia of goodies for all those patient souls on Washington, D.C.’s K Street who, if they deliver, can expect nice bonuses to pad their mid-six figure paychecks.

With a bevy of tax credits scheduled to expire on December 31, there will be a scramble to approve a whole package of so-called tax extenders.  This tax package would in some cases push the life of these credits out for a few years, and in others, make them permanent.  After all, it is humiliating for those struggling Silicon Valley venture capitalists to have to grovel before Congress every couple of years to get their research and development tax credits when they could be doing something so much more important like pushing for our nation’s immigration laws to get turned upside down to allow them to hire cheap labor.

But one tax extender is coming under increasing scrutiny even though its supporters are some of the biggest blowhards in a town where this distinction is meaningful — the Wind Production Tax Credit.

That’s right, our government gives the hardscrabble wind energy industry tax credits so that they can sell the energy they produce to electric utilities for less than the cost of generating other non-subsidized electricity generating sources.

If downtrodden companies like Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway did not receive a tax credit for producing wind what would they do?

Here’s what, Warren — not Jimmy although to wrap your head around this you may need to be in Margaritaville — had to say, “we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them.”

Of course, the Wind Production Tax Credit is really small potatoes, only costing the U.S. Treasury $13 billion.  And with a regular two or three year renewal timeframe, it is constantly generating revenues for those ravenous lobbying firms and their latest ingénue who worked as a driver for a key Member of Congress in his/her first campaign.

So what’s not to like?

With the Wind Production Tax Credit you harm other legitimate non-subsidized electricity generating sources who apparently are paying too much attention to their business and not enough to keeping the D.C. politicians well watered.  This creates the fun situation where stable energy sources get shut down or downsized to accommodate sources that are dependent upon unstable atmospheric conditions.

Of course, the Wind Production Tax Credit has been in existence since 1992 scrambling along to help this nascent industry which is a 21st century adaptation of 15th century technology.

And finally, for all those nature haters, those giant blades scything through the sky have proven to be death traps to more than 600,000 bats annually which otherwise would be feasting on insects that can be killed just as easily using pesticides.  This is not to mention the Obama Administration waiver to allow these avian death machines to kill eagles for the next thirty years without facing a federal government fine that anyone else would receive.

And to think this important industry would be forced to fend for itself after December 31, 2014 unless Congress acts during this lame duck session.

What a tragedy.



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


Friday, November 28, 2014

More unsettled science

The journal article below reveals that estimates of Antarctic ice were way out.  The sea ice should be shrinking according to the famous Warmist "models" but it is in fact expanding.  And now we know that it is not only expanding in area but also thickening in size.  Pesky!  So it will be more resistant to global warming than predicted, if such warming ever eventuates.  The findings are from what they found when they sent a robot sub under the ice.

An explanation of "deformed" ice:  "These thick, craggy floes likely wouldn't exist without the fierce winds that circle Antarctica from west to east, the researchers said. Winter storms bash up the ice, freezing and reforming the rubble into new, thicker ice. "It must have been crunched up a tremendous amount and [the floes] piled up on top of each other," Maksym said"

A telling comment from one of the researchers:  ""If we don't know how much ice is there is, we can't validate the models we use to understand the global climate," Maksym told Live Science. "It looks like there are significant areas of thick ice that are probably not accounted for."

Thick and deformed Antarctic sea ice mapped with autonomous underwater vehicles

G. Williams et al.


Satellites have documented trends in Antarctic sea-ice extent and its variability for decades, but estimating sea-ice thickness in the Antarctic from remote sensing data remains challenging. In situ observations needed for validation of remote sensing data and sea-ice models are limited; most have been restricted to a few point measurements on selected ice floes, or to visual shipboard estimates. Here we present three-dimensional (3D) floe-scale maps of sea-ice draft for ten floes, compiled from two springtime expeditions by an autonomous underwater vehicle to the near-coastal regions of the Weddell, Bellingshausen, and Wilkes Land sectors of Antarctica. Mean drafts range from 1.4 to 5.5 m, with maxima up to 16 m. We also find that, on average, 76% of the ice volume is deformed ice. Our surveys indicate that the floes are much thicker and more deformed than reported by most drilling and ship-based measurements of Antarctic sea ice. We suggest that thick ice in the near-coastal and interior pack may be under-represented in existing in situ assessments of Antarctic sea ice and hence, on average, Antarctic sea ice may be thicker than previously thought.


Now Britian's Royal Society is doing a panic

Just computer games again, of course.  But they are giving themselves a century for it to come true.  Pretty safe.  They'll all be dead before they have to answer for being false prophets

Extreme temperatures, flash flooding is set to become far more common towards the end of the century, a group of respected scientists has predicted.

Changes in weather patterns globally will make people, especially ageing populations, far more vulnerable to extreme hot spells, according to a report published by the Royal Society.

And the experts also predict that the impact of blazing summers will increase ten-fold by 2100, while the impact of flooding will more than quadruple over the same period, the report estimates.

Scientists calculated the impact of climate change and population changes on the chances of people being affected by floods, droughts and heatwaves around the world.

Extended hot periods like that seen in 2003 - when temperatures soared to 101°F (38.5°C) and railway tracks buckled in the heat - will become far more common.

The report focuses on the risks to people from floods, droughts and heatwaves.

Drier parts of the world are expected to get drier and wetter parts, wetter.  [How handy!]

Increasing population numbers in areas that are exposed to extreme weather events exacerbate the risks from floods and droughts in many regions - especially East, West and Central Africa, India and South-East Asia.

Over-65s are one of the groups most vulnerable to heatwaves, which could hit the UK and Europe.

Changes in temperature and humidity could result in significant reductions in ability to work outdoors across much of Africa, Asia, and parts of North, South and Central America. This would impact rural communities and food production for a growing global population.

Scientists adopted a ‘worst case’ scenario by assuming an increase in average temperatures around the world of up to 4.8°C by 2100.

The researchers defined a heatwave as a run of five days during which night-time temperatures are at least 5°C above the norm. [Cripes!  By British standards, I live in a heatwave for 6 months of the year at that rate]

Professor Peter Cox, from the University of Exeter - one of the authors of the Royal Society report, said: ‘We measure exposure to individuals. That goes up because of more extreme events and because the size of the vulnerable population increases.

‘Climate change increases the risk to people by a factor of two or three and population change multiplies that by at least 1.5 and up to four times in the case of heatwaves.’ 

The report also found a dramatically increased risk of exposure to flooding in the UK and parts of western Europe, while the threat of drought hung over the Mediterranean.

Blah, blah, blah ...


A QUARTER of Canadian polar bears are under threat from global warming: They could be wiped out by shrinking ice caps (?)

Pure long term speculation based on some very complicated climate modelling procedures and using a worst case scenario.  No new observations of actual bear populations

Images of lonely polar bears seemingly stranded on chunks of drifting ice have become one of the defining images of global warming.  Now scientists warn that a quarter of Canadian polar bears could be wiped out by the end of the century because of shrinking ice caps.

Warming temperatures could destroy one tenth of the bear’s habitat, affecting their ability to roam across huge expanses of ice to hunt for food.

Biologists from the University of Alberta believe that as summers get warmer in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago - islands off the North American continent and Greenland – more permanent ice cover will melt away every year.

This means that by 2100, each polar bear population in the Archipelago may have to endure between two and five months of the year without ice at sea, which would likely lead to starvation and hamper their ability to mate.

Projected global warming would adversely affect one tenth of their habitat, which is being damaged by man-made pollution, according to the study.

It found that sea ice across the Arctic is declining and altering the physical characteristics of marine ecosystems.

Predatory animals are vulnerable to these changes in sea ice conditions because a smaller amount of sea ice lessens animals' opportunities to roam across expanses of ice and catch prey.

The study, published in Plos One, used sea ice projections from 2006 to 2100 to gain an insight into the conservation challenges for polar bears.

Biologist Stephen Hamilton from University of Alberta said: ‘We predict that nearly one-tenth of the world’s polar bear habitat, as much as one-quarter of their global population, may undergo significant habitat loss under business-as-usual climate projections.’


Projected Polar Bear Sea Ice Habitat in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago

Stephen G. Hamilton et al.



Sea ice across the Arctic is declining and altering physical characteristics of marine ecosystems. Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) have been identified as vulnerable to changes in sea ice conditions. We use sea ice projections for the Canadian Arctic Archipelago from 2006 – 2100 to gain insight into the conservation challenges for polar bears with respect to habitat loss using metrics developed from polar bear energetics modeling.

Principal Findings

Shifts away from multiyear ice to annual ice cover throughout the region, as well as lengthening ice-free periods, may become critical for polar bears before the end of the 21st century with projected warming. Each polar bear population in the Archipelago may undergo 2–5 months of ice-free conditions, where no such conditions exist presently. We identify spatially and temporally explicit ice-free periods that extend beyond what polar bears require for nutritional and reproductive demands.


Under business-as-usual climate projections, polar bears may face starvation and reproductive failure across the entire Archipelago by the year 2100.


Britain’s energy policy is a catastrophic mess that will keep prices high

The story of how the Labour Party destroyed Britain’s system of financial regulation, launching the ill-fated Financial Services Authority, is now well known. The tale of how it wrecked the pioneering energy market painstakingly introduced by its predecessor, a process tragically continued by the present coalition, is far less well understood. We should thus be grateful for the latest paper from Reform, the think tank, which explains exactly how it all went wrong.

The main point is that Britain no longer has a real energy market and that the Coalition’s reforms are “the biggest expansion of state power since the nationalisations of the 1940s and 1950s”. Nominally private companies still generate and deliver electricity that consumers pay for but just about everything, from prices to outcomes, are now heavily determined by politicians.

The author, Rupert Darwall, finds that the result is a “vast ramshackle Public Private Partnership combining the worst of all worlds – state direction of investment funded by high cost private sector finance”. Devastatingly, as he notes cogently, almost all sorts of generation that currently take place in Britain – be it zero, low or high carbon – now benefits from handouts or various kinds of price supports.

The unfashionable truth is that the privatisation of the electricity industry in the 1980s and the introduction of genuine competition in the 1990s was a triumph. The real hero was Lord Lawson of Blaby, energy secretary in the 1980s. The system evolved and improved over time, with a key duopoly eventually broken up, with the pro-competition drive led by Stephen Littlechild, the brilliant economist who was in charge of energy regulation in the 1990s. Prices fell significantly, delivering large benefits to consumers and companies and helping to deliver a significant boost to competitiveness.

The rot really set in when Tony Blair decided in 2007 to impose a target that a predetermined proportion of energy would be generated from renewable energy, mainly wind and solar. Ed Miliband’s influence on the UK’s energy policy during his time in government was also catastrophic. The return of regulation was helped by the fact that energy prices had started to rise again for the first time in years, and the increase was blamed (entirely wrongly) on privatisation and markets. Paradoxically, the interventions of the Labour and coalition years seem almost designed to dramatically hike prices.

The Labour reforms ended the free market that had been introduced by the Tories and which had worked far better than many people realised at the time. The green quotas meant that the Government had to retake control of all electricity generation: given that it started to subsidise heavily certain forms of electricity, it also had to create artificial incentives to make that enough investment remained in other sources, rigging other markets, too.

It’s all a giant mess. The Government believes that a “fully competitive and open electricity market” will only be reintroduced in 2028. Unless we return to one much sooner, we will condemn ourselves to falling living standards, gross inefficiencies and a monumental misallocation of resources. Let us hope that the next government sees sense. 


Think it's unusally warm outside? Then you must be left-wing: Climate change beliefs affect how we perceive the weather, study claims

If you don't believe in climate change, you're less likely to feel that the weather is getting warmer - and vice versa. That's according to a study that analysed how people remembered a particularly warm winter in the US in 2012.

And they found those who believed in climate change remembered it being warmer, while those who didn't thought it was colder.

The research, published in Nature Climate Change, was carried out by three US sociologists - , Dr Aaron McCright of Michigan State University, Dr Riley Dunlap of Oklahoma State, and Dr Chenyang Xiao of American University.

They studied how people remembered the erroneously warm winter of 2012, which was the fourth warmest on record for the US of the previous 117 winters.

During the winter, the seasonal average was about 1.9°C (3.9°F) above the 20th century average.

The researchers compared data from Gallup polls in early March 2012 after the winter ended with temperature data from the US, reports the Washington Post.

Most correctly said that the weather had been unusual, with those in more affected areas noticing the conditions more.

But those with certain political and scientific beliefs had differing views on how severe the changes had been.

'Democrats [were] more likely than Republicans to perceive local winter temperatures as warmer than usual,' the researchers wrote.

Liberals and women were also more likely than conservatives and males to attribute the warmer-than-normal local winter temperatures to global warming.

The results suggest that, apart from actual science, people's view on climate change can be skewed by their beliefs.


Australia: Green Party leader trying to hang on to renewable energy target

Greens leader Christine Milne has reached out to key crossbench senators to try to save the renewable energy target.

Senator Milne has sent three personalised letters to RET fence-sitters Jacqui Lambie, Nick Xenophon and Ricky Muir, detailing the impact scaling back the target would have on their states.

In one letter, she appeals to fellow Tasmanian, Senator Lambie, to help drive investment in renewable energy or face "economic pain, higher unemployment and social dislocation".

Senator Lambie has pushed for hydro to be included in the RET, claiming the target disproportionately affects Tasmanians - who predominantly run on hydro-electricity.

"I fear you have been misled by industries that have a financial interest in destroying Tasmania's emerging industries," Senator Milne writes.

The government wants to slash the target of 41,000 gigawatt hours to about 27,000, claiming that figure will represent 27 per cent of energy use by 2020 instead of the bipartisan level of 20 per cent.

Senator Milne's letters, obtained by AAP, follow a crossbench plan to include existing hydro and solar projects in the RET.

The proposal - spearheaded by Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm - would mean no significant new investment in renewable energy would be needed to meet the target.

It comes amid industry uncertainty prompted by a breakdown in major party negotiations.

Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer - with two Senate seats - is committed to maintaining the target, leaving Senator Muir and Senator Xenophon as crucial votes to pass the proposal if the government signs on.

Senator Milne claims including existing hydro in the target would cost households and would not reduce emissions nor drive new investment - a key aim of the policy.

"In other words, it would be all-pain for no gain," she writes to Senator Muir.

The Clean Energy Council believes the proposal would hand $13.5 billion to existing hydro power at the expense of much of the planned $14.5 billion of investment in new large-scale renewable energy.

Senator Milne has requested meetings with each senator next week.


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


Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Ethanol Mandate Proves the Government Is a Poor Central Planner

The federal government’s mandate to require Americans to use expensive, inefficient biofuels is so broken and dysfunctional it can’t even decide the ideal target amount of production.

On Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency again announced that it would not determine the amount of ethanol and biofuels required to be mixed into every American’s fuel tank for 2014 by the Energy Independence and Security Act. In 2005, Congress mandated that alternative fuels, primarily corn-based ethanol, progressively be added to gasoline and diesel and that the EPA annually adjust the targets originally set by Congress as needed. Now that 2014 is almost over, the EPA has failed again to clarify the standards. Friday’s non-decision should remind us again of some of the reasons why it’s high time Congress repeal what some have accurately labeled a “Soviet-style production quota system” for the nation’s fuel supply.

1. The Renewable Fuel Standard hurts drivers, eaters, taxpayers and the environment. Because of the RFS, Americans have to pay more for fuel than they normally would without the mandate, and the fuel they put in their tanks is less energy efficient because ethanol isn’t as energy dense. Further, the increased demand for corn for use in ethanol increases the price of corn by as much as 68 percent, which affects not only Americans but the world, because corn is a staple food in many countries as well as a staple feed for livestock. In addition, ethanol has proven to be harmful to smaller engines.

Although environmental organizations initially supported the mandate to reduce oil use and greenhouse gas emissions, many now argue that the ethanol mandate is poor environmental policy. When radical environmentalists and free-market groups, the UN, motorcyclists, ranchers, anti-poverty groups, restaurants and others agree on something, maybe it’s time to listen.

2. The system is broken and full of uncertainty. The EPA was supposed to have published a proposed set of standards in September 2013 and finalized in November so that industry/refineries could plan for the following year. Through a series of delays and extensions, the final standards came out only last week.

Imagine if a teacher required students to regularly turn in homework and take tests but told students the grading scale hadn’t been determined yet. Imagine further that while the teacher promised to produce the grading scale before school started, she hadn’t yet developed it with two months of school left to go. Parents would be up in arms and students would be worried that their efforts might not have been enough and would cost them dearly. The teacher would rightly be fired.

But Congress continues to let a similar “teacher”—the EPA—carry on with a broken system which Congress itself created. Those in favor of the mandate are quick to say it creates “market certainty.” It’s hard to see how that is the case.

3. Unmet targets indicate why the federal government is a poor central planner. In fact, some targets have been missed by a long shot. The EPA routinely has had to keep cellulosic biofuel targets well below what Congress stipulated because the technology to turn corn refuse into fuel isn’t economically viable. Congress’s target for 2013 was to have 1 billion gallons in the nation’s fuel supply; in its 2013 revised target the EPA only mandated 6 million—less than 1 percent of the original target.

On the other hand, there is “too much” ethanol. Congress anticipated Americans would be driving a lot more than they are. In addition, because older or smaller vehicles can safely handle only a certain proportion of ethanol, we have run up against what some call a “blend wall” where the market has no outlet for more ethanol. When not enough of the cellulosic ethanol is produced, the EPA fines refineries and when there is the potential for too much ethanol or biodiesel, the EPA stamps down demand.

4. Only politically connected groups benefit from the RFS. A handful of organizations stand to benefit from the RFS such as corn and soybean growers, ethanol refiners, plant-based ethanol producers, and the politicians who get their votes. In fact, it appears that the string of delays for the 2014 standards occurred because the agriculture and ethanol lobbying arms were unhappy that the EPA originally proposed to cut the ethanol requirement for the first time in the mandate’s existence. But the RFS is a clear case of concentrated benefits to a handful of connected industries at the expense of the rest of America and the environment.

To make matters worse, the mandate stifles competition and growth in the alternative fuels industry. Instead of relying on a process that rewards competition and innovation, the mandate guarantees a market for the ethanol producers’ product and prevents the industry from achieving the price point at which the technology will be economically viable. When the government plays favorites, it traps valuable resources in unproductive places.

The path forward to remove favoritism and provide market opportunities for competition and innovation is to remove those policies that create those incentive structures. Congress should repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard.


RINO thinks global warming is a vote winner

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican once perceived as a moderate who favored bipartisan lawmaking back when that was still a thing in the GOP, has been talking recently about how his party needs a real climate change policy. And with stories rife this morning that Arizona Senator and former presidential candidate John McCain is urging him to run for president in 2016, Graham is going to have to figure out how to rein his party’s climate deniers.

“I think there will be a political problem for the Republican Party going into 2016 if we don’t define what we are for on the environment,” said Graham. “I don’t know what the environmental policy of the Republican Party is.”

But with incoming Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell promising to fast-track the Keystone XL pipeline and gut the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it seems like they may actually have one—just not one that will help Graham’s cause, or the climate. And a bill offered up by departing Texas Congressman Steve Stockman, who did not run for reelection, adds fuel to the climate-denier fire.

You may remember Stockman as the Congressman in the Jon Stewart climate denier segment who grilled a testifying scientist about why climate change predictions did not take into account “global wobbling,” something that has nothing to do with the climate. His new bill is more of the same. Stockman has introduced H.B.  5718 or the “Stockman Effect Act,” (its official name in the Congressional Record) “to study the effect of the Earth’s magnetic field on the weather.”

It says, “Congress finds as follows: (1) Prior to a magnetic polar shift, there is a decline in the Earth’s magnetic fields. (2) Decrease in magnetic fields could impact global temperatures. (3) There is a possibility that the reason Mars lost its atmosphere was because of the loss of its magnetic field. (b) Magnetic Field Study. The director of the National Science Foundation shall commission a study on the impact that a shift in the Earth’s magnetic field could have on the weather.”

Alas, Congress is not a scientific body and Stockman is not a scientist. (He was formerly a computer salesman). And there is no “Stockman Effect,” at least none relating the the climate.

According to National Journal reporter Jason Plautz, “The bill doesn’t explicitly mention global warming, but would put Congress on record as saying that a ‘decrease in magnetic fields could impact global temperatures’ and instructs the director of the National Science Foundation to commission a study on the impact a shift in the Earth’s magnetic field could have on the weather. Scientists contacted by National Journal said they weren’t aware of a “Stockman Effect” related to geophysics or climate change.”

“But scientists say that the long-term changes in the magnetic field make it unlikely that it’s causing the rapid warming,” wrote Plautz. “Bob McPherron, a professor of space physics at the University of California Los Angeles, said the possible link was ‘very tenuous’ and that most of the science behind it is not well understood. A 2011 NASA publication noted that polarity reversals are ‘the rule, not the exception’ and said that fossils from the last reversal 780,000 years ago showed no change to plant or animal life or glacial activity.”

Former South Carolina congressman Bob Inglis, who served in the House with Graham in the late ’90s and early ’00s and later founded the Energy and Enterprise Initiative to take on the daunting task of convincing conservatives to act on climate change, told Roll Call he agrees with Graham.

“If conservatives plan on winning the White House back, we’ve got to have something on the menu that addresses this felt need for action on climate,” he said.


Caruba: Turning Climate Into Cash‏

As this is being written, all fifty states have freezing weather and nearly a month before the winter solstice on December 21 some northeastern cities are buried in record-setting snowfalls.

At what point will the public conclude that virtually everything that we have been told about “global warming” and “climate change” by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, (IPCC) as well as U.S. government agencies we’re supposed to trust has been bogus, based on computer models, none of which have proven to be accurate?

At what point will the public conclude that climate, a perfectly natural phenomenon so vast and so powerful, is being exploited in order to transfer large amounts of money from wealthy nations to those who are not? It is redistribution of wealth on a global scale. That is the primary reason for the U.N. climate fund. A total of $9.3 billion has been pledged by several nations.

My friend, Marc Morano, said this about the U.N. Green Climate Fund: 'It’s going to be a giant green slush fund of money distributed by the U.N. through political patronage system. It’s all designed to make climate an issue that every government has to pay attention to.”

“This is a new political party—if you will—the climate party, and it’s demanding a lot of fees and it’s demanding a lot of spending.  The U.N. bureaucracy loves to spend money, loves to have scandals, loves to empower themselves. So this is all about empowering UN bureaucrats, diplomats and delegates and the UN’s own sense of self importance.”

Morano is the Communications Director for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) and executive editor and chief correspondent for the award-winning, a global warming and eco-news center founded in 2009. He has been on the front line of combating the lies told about global warming and climate change for many years.

I have been an advisor to CFACT over the years, sharing information that has consistently debunked what I regard as the greatest hoax of the modern era.

The worst part of the hoax was and is the billions that have been squandered on the bogus, useless “scientific” studies intended to keep it going. Then there have been billions more spent on the near useless “renewable” energy projects that have only demonstrated that wind turbines kill hundreds of thousands of birds and solar farms have the same affect. The electricity they produce is minimal and so unpredictable it requires the backup of traditional fossil-fueled energy plants.

The near total lack of the impact of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere on its climate has not stopped the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from using carbon dioxide as justification for issuing a torrent of regulations that are crippling the provision of energy nationwide, attacking private property rights, and slowing the growth of our economy.

Thanks to Mother Nature, Americans and others around the world experiencing the 19-year-old cooling cycle the Earth has been in are beginning to realize that humans have nothing to do with causing climate change.

Sadly, too many world leaders, including our own, keep talking about climate change as if it was something we can influence by a reduction of “greenhouse gas” emissions. That’s just another way of saying use less energy.

The world leaders are wrong. Some are just flat out lying.

Editor's Note:

"According to Weatherbell: More than 85% of the surface area of the Lower 48 reached or fell below freezing Tuesday morning, November 18. All 50 states saw at or below freezing temperatures that day. reported 1,360 daily low maximum records were set, meaning  those 1,360 cities and towns saw their coldest daily highs ever recorded. In addition, snow covered more than 50 percent of the country, more than twice the coverage the U.S. usually experiences in mid-November CNN reported areas in Buffalo, New York, among other cities along the Great Lakes, experienced a year’s snow in just three days."

-- H. Sterling Burnett, Managing Editor, Environment & Climate News, Nov 25, 2014


Demagoguery Beats Data

By pest exterminator Rich Kozlovich

“What is more frightening than any particular policy or ideology is the widespread habit of disregarding facts. Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey put it this way; "Demagoguery beats data." Thomas Sowell

The pest control industry seems to be faced with the same problem. We're constantly told how we have to restrict pesticide use. We are told we must find alternatives to what we're using. We're told we must adopt “least toxic” (whatever that means) pest control programs.


Because they claim that pesticides may affect our health and the environment adversely.  This isn’t only from the environmental activists outside of government.  It's also the constant refrain from those environmental activists within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

It costs about three hundred million dollars to bring a pesticide to market - are we to assume that we don’t know what all the potential effects these products may have on people and the environment? Actually - yes! We aren’t allowed to test people, so we don’t really know what any product will do, whether it's pesticides or automobiles, until it is in common use. With pesticides ultimately the final testing ground will be agriculture.

In years gone by the structural pest control industry used far more liquid pesticides than we do now, and we were only using 4% of all the pesticides manufactured, liquids only being a part of that percentage. Four percent doesn’t make much money when the cost of testing is so high. Therefore any pesticide manufactured must be manufactured for use on corn, tobacco, cotton, rice, wheat, soybeans, etc. or it isn’t manufactured. We've changed what we're using in structural pest control dramatically over the last thirty years, we did so because of efficacy. We shifted to a higher reliance to baits for cockroaches and ants because of their effectiveness.  However we must understand - if a pesticide is used in structural pest control it is because it has been used profitably elsewhere and for some time. We get it last.

New technology in structural pest control is usually old technology everywhere else where pesticides are needed and used. So what must we conclude from that? If these products have been used extensively, and for some time, then the effect on people and the environment must absolutely be known to EPA.

So what then must we conclude from that?  Logically we can only conclude they don’t care what the facts are. They've apparently made up their minds to advocate the same view as the environmental activists and are not going to let facts stand in the way.  These "Sue and Settle" lawsuits, which is nothing short of illegal collusion between environmentalists  and government bureaucrats, gives clear evidence of that.   Between regulators, activists, universities, researchers, self serving politicians, and a compliant media,  they have managed to keep the public ignorant and frightened through “filtered facts” which has now given the completely opposite view of what is actually occurring.

Their answer to any criticism is that we must adopt IPM or "green" pest control, which cannot be truly defined. Name one thing you know for sure about IPM! Everybody has their own perception as to what it means, what products can be used, what techniques should be used, where and when they should be used if ever. This will always be debated because IPM is an “ideology, not a methodology” and "green" is nothing short of neo-pagan mysticism.

If these products are so dangerous and EPA has the authority to remove products that are harmful from the market, and they have traced the results of use of these products over the years - why don’t they do it? They clearly have the power and they certainly have the desire -  why don’t they do it? It is quite simple - the facts must not support such an action.

Why are they promoting IPM to the tune of thousands of dollars a year in the form of grant money? Is it because there are no facts to support the elimination of these products and no matter how many times they change the rules (Food Quality Protection Act is one example along with re-registration requirements) to make it impossible to use pesticides they still can’t find the science to support the ban of pesticides, so they attempt to do it through a back door called IPM, organic or green pest control.  And why IPM or green pest control?  Because if there's no alternative there's no problem.  IPM and Green Pest Control are their representatives of an alternative.

The public is constantly told by the media that pesticides cause every conceivable malady.  When it is discovered they're wrong or the facts were deliberately perverted - as in the Alar case - it's passed off as journalism. The activists jump up and down swearing it was good journalism. The media jumps up and down defending their right to say what they want no matter what the real truth is and no matter who is hurt, and as in the Alar case, refusing to publicly acknowledge their misconduct.

What are the facts regarding pesticides. There is no evidence that pesticides have adversely effected the general health of the population! In fact, if you compared the world before modern pesticides and today we find that we are better fed and healthier than ever in this nation’s history or any other nation that has adopted extensive pesticide use. Only the countries who are unable or unwilling to adopt modern practices suffer the consequences of dystopia; poverty, misery, disease, squalor, hunger, starvation and early death.

There has been a great deal of talk regarding trace amounts of chemicals in our waters and land, and even trace amounts of over 200 manmade chemicals in our bodies. So what? This must be a good thing since the advent of these products people are living longer and healthier lives. The appearance of chemicals has nothing to do with toxicity. It's the dose makes the poison, not it's presence, and there are toxic chemicals necessary for good health which appear in detectable trace amounts in our bodies.

Still we have educated individuals teaching (and being taught) in our schools and universities that manmade chemicals are the great evil and we need to go "green" or “all-natural” or “organic”. Whatever those terms mean!  I love the claim that things are "chemical free".  Let's get our heads on right about chemicals.   The universe - including you - is made up of chemicals - if it's chemical free it doesn't exist.

Most people have been misled into thinking that "organic" foods are healthier, and "organic" food is pesticide free.  That's blatantly false!  As far as the claim they taste better - taste is subjective and in point of fact nothing could be further from the truth.

Note the following information by Dr. Bruce Ames.

Dr. Bruce Ames (a biochemistry professor at the University of California) pointed out in 1987 that we ingest in our diet about 1.5 grams per day of {natural} pesticides. Those foods contain 10,000 times more, by weight, of {natural} pesticides than of man-made pesticide residues. More than 90% of the pesticides in plants are produced {naturally} by the plants, which help protect them from insects, mites, nematodes, bacteria, and fungi. Those natural pesticides may make up 5% to 10% of a plant's dry weight, and nearly half of them that were tested on experimental animals were carcinogenic. Americans should therefore feel unconcerned about the harmless, infinitesimal traces of synthetic chemicals to which they may be exposed. The highly publicized traces of synthetic pesticides on fruits and vegetables worried some people so much that they began to favor ``organically produced'' foods, thinking that they would not contain any pesticides. Most people are not aware that organic gardeners can legally use a great many pesticides, so long as they are not man-made. They can use nicotine sulfate, rotenone, and pyrethrum (derived from plants), or any poisons that occur naturally, such as lime, sulfur, borax, cyanide, arsenic, and fluorine.

This apparently is OK because its “natural”. Chemicals are chemicals and guess what - they all have chemical names. If I presented you the following menu would you eat it? By the way, these foods are known carcinogens.

"Cream of Mushroom Soup, Carrots, Cherry Tomatoes, Celery, Mixed Roasted Nuts, Tossed Lettuce and Arugula with Basil-Mustard Vinaigrette, Roast Turkey, Bread Stuffing (with onions, celery, black pepper & mushrooms), Cranberry Sauce, Prime Rib of Beef with Parsley Sauce, Broccoli Spears, Baked Potato, Sweet Potato, Pumpkin Pie, Apple Pie, Fresh Apples, Grapes, Mangos, Pears, Pineapple, Red Wine, White Wine, Coffee, Tea., Jasmine Tea." (Source: American Council on Science and Health)

Here are the chemicals that make up this natural meal.

"Hydrazines, aniline, caffeic acid, benzaldehyde, caffeic acid, hydrogen peroxide, quercetin glycosides, caffeic acid, furan derivatives, psoralens, aflatoxin, furfural, allyl isothiocyanate, caffeic acid, estragole, methyl eugenol, heterocyclic amines, acrylamide, ethyl alcohol, benzo(a)pyrene, ethyl carbamate, furan derivatives, furfural, dihydrazines, d-limonene, psoralens, quercetin glycosides, safrole,furan derivatives ,benzene, heterocyclic amines, psoralens,allyl isothiocyanate,ethyl alcohol, caffeic acid,ethyl alcohol, furfural,acetaldehyde, benzene, ethyl alcohol, benzo(a)pyrene, ethyl carbamate, furan derivatives, furfural,benzo(a)pyrene, coumarin, methyl eugenol, safrole,acetaldehyde, caffeic acid, coumarin, estragole, ethyl alcohol, methyl eugenol, quercetin glycosides, safrole,acetaldehyde, benzaldehyde, caffeic acid, d-limonene, estragole, ethyl acrylate, quercetin glycosides,ethyl alcohol, ethyl carbamate,benzo(a)pyrene, benzaldehyde, benzene, benzofuran, caffeic acid, catechol, 1,2,5,6-dibenz(a)anthracene, ethyl benzene, furan, furfural, hydrogen peroxide, hydroquinone, d-limonene, 4-methylcatechol,benzo(a)pyrene, quercetin"

For those that read the chemicals listed above you will notice that some of them are repeated a number of times. I deliberately left the list in that way because you are getting a multiple dose in the above Thanksgiving meal.

Does that sound so bad now? It is unfortunate that so many in positions of authority and responsibility continue to allow filtered facts to become the conventional wisdom. More importantly it is impossible for any society to make intelligent long term decisions when preconceived notions are allowed to dictate what “facts” will be allowed to be presented. Then again, facts are confusing and that certainly is the last thing the public needs, after all it is the last thing the environmentalists and their minions want. It might interfere with all those scares they are constantly presenting as eminent disasters. That in turn would foul up contributions and then the greatest disaster of them all would occur. They would have to go out and get real jobs.

All of this is disturbing, but what I find most disturbing is the unwillingness of our industry's information deliverers - the trade journals and trade associations -  to stand up to these people and publish the truth. When we fail to stand up and be counted we're appeasers and enablers.  Eventually that will turn us into traitors to our own industry.


BHP Billiton’s short-lived climate cuddle

(BHP is one of the world's biggest miners -- Particularly in coal and iron)

The climate-friendly bonhomie of BHP Billiton’s Chairman, Jac Nasser, didn’t last long into question time at the company’s annual general meeting in Adelaide late last week.

Ahead of the AGM BHP had gone to great lengths to buff its climate policy credentials. In his opening speech Nasser even addressed climate change before discussing the state of the global economy.

However, when asked whether the company would continue to invest in thermal coal assets Nasser testily declared that there is no “realistic alternative” to the ongoing use of coal in power stations.

Aviva Imhof, representing her father and a number of other shareholders, had initially congratulated the board on their recent in acknowledging the seriousness of climate change and the implications of it for the company. [Disclosure: Ms Imhof is a work colleague]

“Will BHP Billiton rule out new investments in thermal coal? Do you believe that your existing investments in thermal coal risk becoming stranded assets due to the need to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius?,” she asked Nasser.

“It’s ‘no’ and ‘no’,” Nasser said. “Do you have any other questions?,” he bluntly asked.

She did. “So, given that the IPCC and the global consensus is that up to 80% of fossil fuels need to remain in the ground if we are to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius, how could you justify additional investments in thermal coal?,” she asked.

Nasser reiterated that the company accepts the IPCC’s assessment of climate science. He argued that the company believed in the need to pursue a twin objectives of limiting climate change and track and providing for growing energy needs for development.

“You have to be realistic. The realistic side of this is that there are no real alternatives for the growing demand of energy over the next decade,” he said.

Imhof was stunned: “I’m really surprised to hear you say that Mr Chairman, given the absolutely astronomic decline in the price of solar and wind and other renewables. Solar is reaching grid parity in at least 16 markets around …”.

Nasser tersely interjected. “Ms Imhof, it’s not us, it’s the IPCC.”

“Yes and the IPCC say there has to be no investments in high-carbon infrastructure after 2017 if we are going to keep within two degrees of global warming. So it seems to me that if you say you are not going to rule out further investments in thermal coal you are not taking your commitment to climate change seriously,” she responded.

While Nasser was asserting there was no alternative to thermal coal last Thursday, an investor presentation briefing released on Monday morning indicated that the company is acutely aware of the declining financial performance of thermal coal and its vulnerability to energy competition.

In one slide (page 31) BHP Billiton states that energy growth will continue but concedes that “the shape of future energy demand mix is difficult to predict.” While the BHP Billiton code is cautious, the implication is clear: that at least in part, the growth of renewables and efficiency are posing a threat to thermal coal.

This is as good as confirmed when in another slide (page 33) the company refers to ‘energy coal’ as being “contestable.”

Another slide (page 48) charts the contribution of the company’s coal division to earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) plummeting from approximately 14 per cent in 2010 to approximately two percent in the space of five years.

In an accompanying note, BHP Billiton laments that the thermal coal market “remains well supplied” which is “prolonging the weaker pricing environment.” While demand it says “remains steady”, it soberly notes that prices will languish longer until further mines close.

As for the coal industry’s long touted silver bullet of Carbon Capture and Storage, in his speech Nasser would only go so far as to state that it is “exploring opportunities” to invest in the technology.


Australia: More Bureau of Meteorology shenanigans

(BOM:  "The Australian Climate Observations Reference Network – Surface Air Temperature (ACORN-SAT) dataset has been developed for monitoring climate variability and change in Australia. The dataset employs the latest analysis techniques and takes advantage of newly digitised observational data to provide a daily temperature record over the last 100 years")

The BoM ACORN SAT project has reconstructed Cobar temperature data commencing with an obviously invalid adjustment

This is the second episode in the Cobar ACORN-SAT series examining BoM adjustments to the CDO [Climate Data Online] temperature data – here I start to look at adjustments to minimum temperatures. The 1st episode looked at maximum temperatures.

A list of ACORN adjustments to Cobar data is here and you can see the first min adjustment listed is 1st Jan 1972 meaning the adjustment factor applies to all data earlier than that. You will see it is labelled as “Statistical” meaning there is no evidence for it in station diaries or admin records but it derives from computer driven comparisons sifting data differences from multiple stations as far away as Parkes and Hillston – see map. In this case of the 4th adjustment the following stations data was used.

Making the chart of Cobar annual minimum temperatures compared to ACORN-SAT my eye was caught by the adjustment starting in 2006 and affecting all earlier years which I have marked with a blue 6.

That is unlisted in the ACORN-SAT documentation and is substantial at about -0.4 degrees C. The slight mismatch between Cobar Met Office and ACORN from 2007-2013 is due to rounding differences because I have made my ACORN annuals by averaging a year of daily data which I leave as produced by Excel with multiple decimal places.

The next adjustment to look for is at 1971 where I have the blue 4, which is the 4th adjustment in the ACORN list and is listed at -0.49 degrees C. The increased departure of ACORN cooler than Met Office to about -0.9 is obvious on the chart.

Examining this adjustment in greater detail I have made a chart comparing Cobar MO and ACORN version with nearest neighbours Bourke, Wilcannia and Nyngan. The average difference between the 1971 & 1972 readings for these 3 stations is +0.2 at Cobar MO, +0.4 at Bourke PO, +0.4 at Nyngan, and -0.4 at Wilcannia, an average for the 3 Cobar neighbours of +0.13, not very different from the +0.2 that we know happened at Cobar Met Office.

But instead of leaving the higher quality Cobar Met Office readings well alone – what does the BoM decide to do with their adjustment #4? They take off 0.49° making the 1971-1972 difference now 0.7 – greater by 0.3 than any of the neighbours. Presumably the BoM justify this by their computer driven comparisons with sites as distant as Parkes.

If the reasons for an adjustment can not be seen in nearest neighbours then it must be an exercise in fantasy to search for a reason in a cherry picked array of more distant stations which are all of poorer quality than Cobar Met Office.

It is interesting to check the differences in annual minimums between Cobar Met Office and Cobar Airport which are only about 7 or 8 km apart. You might expect them to be very similar and in lockstep – not so from the chart.

Note the BoM never refer to Cobar Airport data in ACORN-SAT – but we are free to check it out.

First there is no evidence here of a step or jump around 2006 – 2007.

While there are such wildly varying and apparently random differences between these two very adjacent sites – what on earth can the BoM learn by comparing Cobar with Parkes – or indeed any other station in their adjustments list.

These are the sort of unsafe foundations that pro-IPCC climate science is based on.

SOURCE (See the original for links)


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


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Craig Idso on facts the IPCC ignores

Cold-stunned turtles strand in record numbers

That global warming can be a bitch

Cape Cod:  Seated on the hard concrete floor of the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary’s maintenance barn, veterinarian Kelly Sattman lifted turtle No. 491 to eye level.

    She pressed a small speaker that looked like an old transistor radio up to one ear while holding a sensor to the turtle’s neck.

    Sattman tried to parse out the heartbeat from the white noise crackling from the speaker, and the roar of a heater struggling to keep the barn, set up as a turtle triage center on Friday, at 55 degrees.

    “Any time buddy,” she urged. “Show them that you’re living.”

    The count of recovered cold-stunned turtles was 520 on Friday, well past the 2012 record of 413. With survival rates at 80 percent, the sheer numbers of this year’s strandings taxed Audubon sanctuary staff and volunteers and overwhelmed the capacity of the New England Aquarium’s Quincy Animal Care Center, which can handle 70 turtles comfortably, and 120 in a pinch.

    On Thursday, the aquarium was able to transport 20 turtles from Quincy to the National Marine Life Center in Buzzards Bay and another 31 were flown to a turtle rehab hospital in Georgia and to the South Carolina Aquarium. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fisheries staff were also working to arrange air transport for those animals that had been stabilized.

    The Quincy facility took 70 Friday, but with hundreds sitting in crates awaiting transport and treatment, the aquarium sent veterinarian Leslie Neville to Wellfleet Friday to begin treatment.

    The metabolism of hypothermic sea turtles can be so depressed that their heartbeat slows to as low as one beat per hour.

    It can be hard to tell the dead from the living, but No. 491, a 5-pound Kemp’s ridley taken off Cold Storage Beach in Truro on Thursday, had a heart that was virtually racing at 12 beats per minute. He, or she, (it’s hard to tell the sex of juveniles) was returned to a towel-lined banana crate, then loaded into volunteer driver Dave Horton’s car for the trip to Quincy.

    By the late afternoon, aquarium and Audubon staffs were setting up kiddie pools, filling them with water to rehydrate and gradually warm up the turtles. Sattman and Neville recorded statistics like heartbeat and weight that would help speed the process when the turtles reached Quincy.


UK's blackout prevention plans in doubt after back-up power plant fails

What happens when you spend billions on useless windmills. The windmills don't even rate a mention below

Britain’s plans to keep the lights on this winter have been thrown into fresh doubt after a power plant supposed to provide back-up electricity supplies failed during testing.

The Peterhead gas-fired station in northern Scotland was unable to generate power as expected during a test last week, it has emerged.

The plant, owned by energy giant SSE, was one of three power stations handed a contract last month by National Grid to be paid to guarantee they could fire up if needed, as part of emergency measures to prevent blackouts.

The plans were drawn up after a series of power plant closures eroded Britain’s spare electricity generation capacity – the safety buffer between peak supply and demand – to wafer-thin levels.

The three back-up power plants recruited under the emergency plans were supposed to guarantee they would be available if required between 6am and 8pm on weekdays from November to February.

But Peterhead, a 32-year old plant with 780-megawatt capacity, unexpectedly failed to produce required power levels last Thursday during a monthly "proving" test.

“We are in the process of discussing what did go wrong,” a spokesman for National Grid said.

Both SSE and National Grid declined to disclose details of the fault or to confirm whether it had now been fixed.

Dan Lewis, senior energy policy adviser at the Institute of Directors, said the failure was "worrying".

“There’s just no margin for error," he said. "When we are up against tighter and tighter margins inevitably things start to trip up. You don’t need many cold days to put yourself in a difficult position.”

One industry source claimed Peterhead had simply failed to generate power at all during the test, while Utility Week, which first disclosed the failure, reported that power unexpectedly dropped from 780MW to zero, citing National Grid data.

“They should have awarded the contract to a more reliable plant,” one UK power trader told the publication.

National Grid’s spokesman said the company did not recognise the specific power output figures cited by Utility Week.

But they added: “The reason to do tests is to ensure this kind of thing doesn’t happen when you actually need them.”

National Grid’s spokesman added that SSE could face penalty charges if Peterhead “doesn’t function as it should”.

The disclosure of the problem at Peterhead highlights the fragility of Britain’s energy system heading into this winter as its ageing power plant fleet suffers unexpected shutdowns.

Peter Atherton, energy analyst at Liberum Capital, described the test failure as “embarrassing”.

Britain’s tight capacity margins mean “you can’t have many things go wrong,” he said.

Peterhead had functioned as expected in a previous test earlier this month. The two other power plants recruited to the scheme have also both been functioning in recent weeks.

As well as the back-up power plants, National Grid has also brought in emergency measures to pay industrial businesses to power down or switch to diesel generators from 4pm to 8pm on winter weekdays.

Fires at Ferrybridge and Ironbridge power plants had already eroded Britain’s spare capacity more than had been expected this winter and safety outages at four nuclear reactors worsened the situation.

However, two of the four nuclear reactors have now resumed operation with a third due to do so in coming days.

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: “This Government has a plan to keep the lights on now, and into the future, thanks to the new powers we have given to National Grid and investment in the UK’s energy infrastructure.

“National Grid undertakes these proving tests in order to be certain that plants are able to provide extra generating capacity when called upon.

"Peterhead is one of three plants who have been contracted to provide extra generation over the winter months if needed, while a number of other power units which were previously out of service have also begun the process of resuming generation.”


Environmental good deeds give people a 'warm glow'

That's what it is all about

Doing an environmentally good deed gives you a warm feeling - quite literally.  Psychologists found that when volunteers thought they were helping the environment their perception of temperature changed.  It was as if they were enveloped in a "warm glow", said the scientists.

People classed as environmentally "friendly" estimated the temperature around them to be around 1C higher than those led to believe their behaviour was environmentally "unfriendly".

The report authors, led by Danny Taufik, from the University of Griningen in the Netherlands, wrote in the journal Nature Climate Change: "Acting environmentally friendly boosts a person's self-concept, which is reflected in a literal warm glow.

"We also explored whether physical warmth (skin temperature) is affected by acting environmentally friendly, but we found no consistent evidence for this."

Students taking part in the study completed a questionnaire about their carbon footprint, and were told that lower scores indicated environmentally friendly behaviour.

They were then given a fake carbon footprint score for the "average" student, against which their own scores were compared.

Participants were also asked to guess the temperature of the room in which they were sitting.

Those whose carbon footprints appeared to be more environmentally friendly than average rated the room significantly warmer than students whose scores were less friendly.

The researchers concluded that helping the environment was intrinsically rewarding, which was something that should be recognised by "green" campaigns.

For instance, informing people they could help protect the environment by unplugging unused electronic devices may be a better strategy than telling them it will save money.

Future research could explore the extent to which acting in an environmentally friendly way might influence warmth-related behaviours such as setting central heating thermostats, said the scientists.

They added that other work had shown a negative psychological state caused by feeling lonely resulted in lower perceived temperatures, and also prompted people to take warmer showers "presumably to make one feel better


Needed: Accurate climate forecasts

Focusing on carbon dioxide (because that’s where the money is) threatens forecasts, and lives

By Paul Driessen and David R. Legates

Pleistocene glaciers repeatedly buried almost half of the Northern Hemisphere under a mile of ice. The Medieval Warm Period (~950-1250 AD) enriched agriculture and civilizations across Asia and Europe, while the Little Ice Age that followed (~1350-1850) brought widespread famines and disasters. The Dust Bowl upended lives and livelihoods for millions of Americans, while decades-long droughts vanquished once-thriving Anasazi and Mayan cultures, and flood and drought cycles repeatedly pounded African, Asian and Australian communities. Hurricanes and tornadoes have also battered states and countries throughout history, in numbers and intensities that have been impossible to pattern or predict.

But today we are supposed to believe climate variability is due to humans – and computer models can now forecast climate changes with amazing accuracy. These models and the alarmist scientists behind them say greenhouse gases will increasingly trigger more “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people, species and ecosystems,” a recent UN report insists.

In reality, carbon dioxide’s effect on devastating weather patterns is greatly overstated. We are near a 30-year low in hurricane energy (measured by the ACE index of “accumulated cyclone energy”), and tropical cyclone and storm activity has not increased globally over that period. In fact, as of November 18, it’s been 3,310 days since a Category 3-5 hurricane hit the US mainland – by far the longest stretch since records began in 1900. This Atlantic hurricane season was the least active in 30 years.

Moreover, there has been no warming since 1995, several recent winters have been among the coldest in centuries in the United Kingdom and continental Europe, the 2013-14 winter was one of the coldest and snowiest in memory for much of the United States and Canada – and the cold spell could continue.

Accurate climate forecasts one, five or ten years in advance would certainly enable us to plan and prepare for, adapt to and mitigate the effects of significant or harmful climate variations, including temperatures, hurricanes, floods and droughts. However, such forecasts can never be even reasonably accurate under the climate change hypothesis that the IPCC, EPA and other agencies have adopted. The reason is simple.

Today’s climate research defines carbon dioxide as the principal driving force in global climate change. Virtually no IPCC-cited models or studies reflect the powerful, interconnected natural forces that clearly caused past climate fluctuations – most notably, variations in the sun’s energy output.

They also largely ignore significant effects of urban and other land use changes, and major high-impact fluctuations like the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (El Niño and La Niña) and North Atlantic Oscillation. If we truly want reliable predictive capabilities, we must eliminate the obsession with carbon dioxide as the primary driver of climate change – and devote far more attention to studying all the powerful forces that have always driven climate change, the roles they play, and the complex interactions among them.

We also need to study variations in the sun’s energy output, winds high in the atmosphere, soil moisture, winter snow cover and volcanic eruptions, Weatherbell forecaster Joe D’Aleo emphasizes. We also need to examine unusual features like the pool of warm water that developed in the central Pacific during the super La Niña of 2010-2011 and slowly drifted with the wind-driven currents into the Gulf of Alaska, causing the “polar vortex” that led to the cold, snowy winter of 2013-2014, he stresses.

“The potential for climate modeling mischief and false scares from incorrect climate model scenarios is tremendous,” says Colorado State University analyst Bill Gray, who has been studying and forecasting tropical cyclones for nearly 60 years. Among the reasons he cites for grossly deficient models are their “unrealistic model input physics,” the “overly simplified and inadequate numerical techniques,” and the fact that decadal and century-scale circulation changes in the deep oceans “are very difficult to measure and are not yet well enough understood to be realistically included in the climate models.”

Nor does applying today’s super computers to climate forecasting help matters. NOAA, the British Meteorological Office and other government analysts have some of the world’s biggest and fastest computers – and yet their (and thus the IPCC’s and EPA’s) predictions are consistently and stupendously wrong. Speedier modern computers simply make the “garbage in, garbage out” adage occur much more quickly, thereby facilitating faster faulty forecasts. Why does this continue? Follow the money.

Billions of dollars are doled out every year for numerous “scientific studies” that supposedly link carbon dioxide and other alleged human factors to dwindling frog populations, melting glaciers, migrating birds and cockroaches, and scores of other remote to ridiculous assertions. Focusing on “dangerous human-induced” climate change in research proposals greatly improves the likelihood of receiving grants.

American taxpayers alone provide a tempting $2.5 billion annually for research focused on human factors, through the EPA, Global Change Research Program and other government agencies. Universities and other institutions receiving grants take 40% or more off the top for “project management” and “overhead.” None of them wants to upset this arrangement, and all of them fear that accepting grants to study natural factors or climate cycles might imperil funding from sources that have their own reasons for making grants tied to manmade warming, renewable energy or antipathy toward fossil fuels. Peer pressure and shared views on wealth redistribution via energy policies, also play major roles.

When Nebraska lawmakers budgeted $44,000 for a review of climate cycles and natural causes, state researchers said they would not be interested unless human influences were included. The “natural causes” proposal was ultimately scuttled in favor of yet another meaningless study of human influences.

The result is steady streams of computer model outputs that alarmists ensure us accurately predict climate changes. However, none of them forecast the 18-years-and-counting warming pause, the absence of hurricanes, or other real-world conditions. Nearly every one predicted temperatures that trend higher with every passing year and exceed recorded global temperatures by ever widening margins.

The constant predictions of looming manmade climate disasters are also used to justify demands that developed nations “compensate” poor and developing countries with tens or hundreds of billions of dollars in annual climate “reparation, adaptation and mitigation” money. Meanwhile, those no-longer-so-wealthy nations are implementing renewable energy and anti-hydrocarbon policies that drive up energy costs for businesses and families, kill millions of jobs, and result in thousands of deaths annually among elderly pensioners and others who can no longer afford to heat their homes properly during cold winters.

Worst of all, the climate disaster predictions are used to justify telling impoverished countries that they may develop only to extent enabled by wind and solar power. Financial institutions increasingly refuse to provide grants or loans for electricity generation projects fueled by coal or natural gas. Millions die every year because they do not have electricity to operate water purification facilities, refrigerators to keep food and medicine from spoiling, or stoves and heaters to replace wood and dung fires that cause rampant lung diseases. As Alex Epstein observes in his new book, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels:

“If you’re living off the grid and can afford it, an installation with a battery that can power a few appliances might be better than the alternative (no energy or frequently returning to civilization for diesel fuel), but [such installations] are essentially useless in providing cheap, plentiful energy for 7 billion people – and to rely on them would be deadly.”

By expanding our research – to include careful, honest, accurate studies of natural factors – we will be better able to discern and separate significant human influences from the powerful natural forces that have caused minor to profound climate fluctuations throughout history. Only then will we begin to improve our ability to predict why, when, how and where Earth’s climate is likely to change in the future. Congress should reduce CO2 funding and earmark funds for researching natural forces that drive climate change.

Via email

Australian Wind Industry in a Tailspin as Senate Sets Up Inquiry Into the Great Wind Power Fraud & Cross-Benchers Lay Out Plans for the LRET

(LRET = Large-scale Renewable Energy Target)

STT recently covered a motion proposed by cross-bench Senators Leyonhjelm, Madigan, Day, Xenophon; with the support of the Coalition, through their Deputy Government Whip in the Senate, STT Champion, WA Senator, Chris Back to establish a wide-ranging inquiry into the wind industry in Australia. It gives us much pleasure to report that the Senate voted to establish the inquiry, as moved by David Leyonhjelm on Monday.

Sure, it was a close-run thing, but many a grand final has been won by a single kick.

Predictably, the wind industry, its parasites and spruikers have gone into a tailspin – wailing about the dreaded malady of “uncertainty” – of the kind that everyone else gets to face on a daily basis in every aspect of life and business – but from which the wind industry must be protected at all times.

But the Senate inquiry is just the beginning of the wind industry’s many woes.



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