Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Indian railroad engineer Rajendra Pachauri now thinks he knows how to judge countries

The outgoing chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Dr Rajendra Pachauri, has a new vision for the organisation's future.

Traditionally focused on collating the science underpinning climate change, Pachauri's proposals would seem to take the IPCC in a distinctly more political direction.

Suggesting the panel "moves forward with the times and responds to changing expectations", Pachauri wants the IPCC to take an official role in assessing countries' pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and in totting up whether they add up to enough to meet global climate change targets.

Pachauri has chaired the IPCC for the past 13 years, overseeing the publication of two  major assessment reports. Published every five or six years, the job of these reports is to pull all the latest scientific evidence on how and why the climate is changing into one definitive tome.

With the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) completed last October, the IPCC is in self-reflection mode. This is standard practice after every major report, but this time is perhaps the last formal opportunity for Pachauri to make his thoughts known before stepping down as Chair later this year.

The IPCC has posted several documents on its website, containing a number of proposals due for consideration when the panel meets at the end of the month in Nairobi, Kenya. One such document is the Chairman's own " Vision Paper on the Future of the IPCC".

Established in 1992, the official focus for international climate policy is the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The next round of UNFCCC talks (COP21) take place in Paris in December, where all 192 countries have committed to drawing up a new global climate deal.

In the coming months, each country will outline what action it intends to take under this global commitment. These are known collectively as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).

Past IPCC's scientific assessment reports have provided a basis for the UNFCCC talks. But Pachauri suggests the IPCC should develop a new "product", a different style of report produced annually to more directly feed into international climate negotiations.

Rather than colating scientific evidence on climate change, the purpose of the IPCC's new annual report would be to tally up the pledges by each country towards cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and assess whether they collectively add up to enough to limit warming to two degrees above pre-industrial levels. This is internationally-accepted target for avoiding "dangerous" climate change.

As part of its climate change projections, the IPCC considers a scenario in which global temperature stabilises at two degrees, known as RCP2.6. Pachauri suggests the IPCC is "well within its right" to extend its role beyond detailing the scientific basis for the two degree target to include an assessment of whether or not we're on track to achieve it.

Pachauri's proposal for a new annual report is all part of his vision for how the IPCC can "fulfill this mandate more effectively". And the time is ripe to do so now, he adds:

What would an annual report summing up countries' INDCs look like in practice? The details are yet to be firmed up but would involve a new dedicated task force, says Pachauri:


Rice: Climate Change, Gay Rights Part of National Security Strategy

Speaking at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., on Friday, White House National Security Advisor Susan Rice described the terrorist threat from radical Islam as “violent extremism” and said part of President Barack Obama’s national security strategy is fighting “the very real threat of climate change" and promoting gay rights.

Rice’s remarks followed the release on Friday of Obama’s 2015 National Security Strategy, which updates a similar document released by the White House in 2010.

While saying the radical Islamic group ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) is an offshoot of al Qaeda and that the United States is committed to “countering the corrosive ideology of violent extremism,” Rice called for a “sense of perspective” when assessing that threat.

“Too often, what’s missing here in Washington is a sense of perspective,” Rice said. “Yes, there is a lot going on.

“Still, while the dangers we face may be more numerous and varied, they are not of the existential nature we confronted during World War II or during the Cold War,” Rice said. “We cannot afford to be buffeted by alarmism in a nearly instantaneous news cycle.”

In her remarks, Rice listed other threats to U.S. security, including “the very real threat of climate change” and the necessity of promoting equality for homosexuals.

“American leadership is addressing the very real threat of climate change,” Rice said. “The science is clear.

“The impacts of climate change will only worsen over time,” Rice said. “Even longer droughts; more severe storms; more forced migration.

“So we’re making smart decisions today that will pay off for generations,” Rice said.

Equality for homosexuals is also a focus of the 2015 National Security Strategy, Rice said, by first addressing equality based on gender and then citing the rights of people who oppose gender classification.


It's Not Just Brian Williams

By Alan Caruba

“When reporters forfeit their credibility by making up stories, sources, or quotes, we are right to mock them. When their violations are significant or repeated, they should be fired,” says Charles Lipson, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago. “Demanding honest reporting has nothing to do with the reporter’s politics, personality, or personal life. It is about professional standards and our reasonable expectations.”

Writing at Real Clear, Prof. Lipson concluded by saying, “It’s essential for our news organizations, and it matters for our democracy.”

Are we seeing a trend here? Dan Rather at CBS and now Brian Williams at NBC? Well, two news anchors are not a trend, but biased and bad reporting is. It’s not new, but it does seem to be gathering momentum and nowhere has it been more apparent than the millions of words written and spoken about “global warming” and now “climate change.”

It would be easy and convenient to lay the blame on America’s Liar-in-Chief, President Barack Obama, but the “global warming” hoax began well before he came on the scene. It was the invention of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) dating back to its creation in 1988 when it was established by the UN Environment Program and the World Meteorological Organization.

The IPCC came to world attention with the creation of the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty that committed the nations that signed it to reduce “greenhouse gas emissions” based on the premise that global warming—a dramatic increase—was real and that it was man-made. The Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on December 11, 1997. The United States Senate rejected it and our neighbor, Canada, later withdrew from it. Both China and India were exempted, free to continue building numerous coal-fired plants to generate the energy they need for development.

Today, though, the President is an unrelenting voice about the dangers of “climate change” which he and John Kerry, our Secretary of State, have rated the “greatest threat” to the world. Obama’s national security strategy document was released just a day before he equated the history of Christianity with the barbarism of today’s Islamic State.

The national security document included terrorism to which it devoted one out of its 29 pages.  Essentially Obama sees all the problems of the world, real and imagined, as challenges that require “strategic patience and persistence.” This is his way of justifying doing nothing or as little as possible.

Still, according to Obama, the climate is such a threat, his new budget would allocate $4 billion to the Environmental Protection Agency for a new “Clean Power State Incentive Fund” to bribe more states to close even more power plants around the nation. He wants to increase the EPA’s overall budget by 6% to $8.6 billion. The Republican Congress is not likely to allocate such funding.

As for the environment, there have been so many lies put forth by the government and by a panoply of environmental organizations of every description, buoyed by legions of “scientists” and academics lining their pockets with billions in grants, that it is understandable that many Americans still think that “global warming” is real despite the fact that the Earth is now 19 years into a well-documented cooling cycle.

Not only are all the children in our schools still being taught utter garbage about it, but none who have graduated in recent years ever lived a day during the non-existent “global warming.”

On February 7, Christopher Booker, writing in The Telegraph, a British daily newspaper, wrote an article, “The fiddling with temperature data is the biggest science scandal ever.”  You are not likely to find any comparable reporting in a U.S. daily newspaper.

Citing research comparing the official temperature graphs from three weather stations in Paraguay against what had originally been reported by them, it turned out that their cooling trend had been reversed by the U.S. government’s Global Historical Climate Network and then amplified by “two of the main official surface records, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (Giss) and the National Climate Data Center.”

Why should we be surprised that the national media continues to report on “global warming” when our government has been engaged in the deliberate distortion of the actual data? It is, however, the same national media that has provided virtually no investigative journalism to reveal what has been going on for decades.

What fate befalls Brian Williams is a mere blip on the screen of events. At this writing, I cannot see how NBC could ever keep him as the managing editor and news anchor.

What matters regarding much of the product of the mainstream media is the continuing torrent of “news” about “global warming” and “climate change”; the former is a complete hoax and the latter a factor of life on planet Earth over which humans have no control, nor contribute to in any fashion.


Scientists Fear Another ‘Little Ice Age’ Is On The Way

Last year may have been the warmest on record, but it has done little to quell the fears of scientists arguing that declining sunspot activities could bring on another “little ice age.”

Shrinivas Aundhkar, director of India’s Mahatma Gandhi Mission at the Centre for Astronomy and Space Technology, said declining amounts of sunspots being observed in the last two solar cycles could mean a “mini ice age-like situation” is around the corner.

“The sunspots that can be seen on the sun have comparatively less temperature compared to other surfaces on it,” Aundhkar told people at a lecture entitled “Get Ready for Little Ice Age.”

“The sun undergoes two cycles that are described as maximum and minimum,” Aundhkar said. “The activity alternates every 11 years, and the period is termed as one solar cycle. At present, the sun is undergoing the minimum phase, reducing global temperatures.”

For years now, scientists have been warning that fewer observed sunspots could mean the Earth is heading for a cooling period. This view, however, has not been adapted by many scientists studying global warming, who say that human activity and natural climate cycles are warming the planet.

High sunspot activity has been associated with periods of warming on the Earth, like the period between 1950 and 1998. Scientists have noted that low sunspot activity has coincided with cooler periods, like the so-called “Little Ice Age” that lasted from the late Middle Ages to the 19th century, where temperatures were much cooler than today.

The past few years have seen more and more scientists argue that declining solar activity likely means cooler temperatures ahead. At the end of 2013, for example, German scientists predicted a century of global cooling based on declining solar activity and ocean oscillation cycles.

“Due to the de Vries cycle, the global temperature will drop until 2100 to a value corresponding to the ‘little ice age’ of 1870,” wrote scientists Horst-Joachim Luedecke and Carl-Otto Weiss of the European Institute for Climate and Energy.

Earlier that year, Professor Mike Lockwood of Reading University told BBC News that declining solar activity has set the stage for global cooling.

“By looking back at certain isotopes in ice cores, [Lockwood] has been able to determine how active the sun has been over thousands of years,” the BBC reported. “Following analysis of the data, Professor Lockwood believes solar activity is now falling more rapidly than at any time in the last 10,000 years.”

Aundhkar now argues that winter temperatures have dropped in the North Pole, causing severe winters, like the so-called “polar vortex” experienced by the U.S. last winter.

“This has also triggered the jet stream, which is active in the northern parts of the globe to shift in inter tropical climate zone like India,” Aundhkar said. “As a result, cold wind conditions were witnessed during the last two years. The unseasonal hailstorms in November and December are a result of the influence of the jet stream. This has also led to steady weakening of magnetic energy of the sun, leading to mini ice age like situation.”

Aundhkar’s explanation for harsh winters runs counter to the explanation given by White House science czar John Holdren, who said that global warming was driving freezing and snowy winters.

In a White House video from last year, Holdren claimed a “growing body of evidence suggests that the kind of extreme cold being experienced by much of the United States as we speak is a pattern that we can expect to see with increasing frequency as global warming continues.”

But Aundhkar disagrees. He argues that Earth is heading for another cooling period like the 17th century, when sunspots were very quiet.

“The Earth may be heading towards a mini-ice age period, which is similar to what was observed in the 17th century,” Aundhkar said. “During the time, the sunspots on the Sun were absent. This led to a drop in northern hemisphere temperature by 2-3 degrees. The current scenario is almost the same. Such climatic conditions might affect the agricultural pattern and health and trigger disasters in the worst scenario.”


Comment from Britain on the "hottest" year

So the results are in. No significant warming, since at least 2005. The main US global-temperature scorekeepers - NASA and the NOAA - say that last year was definitely the hottest year on record. ice advance But they've been contradicted by a highly authoritative scientific team, one actually set up to try an establish objective facts in this area.

On the face of it, there's no dispute. The NASA and NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration) statement says:

    "The year 2014 ranks as Earth’s warmest since 1880, according to two separate analyses by NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists".

Open and shut, right?

But in fact, detecting a global average temperature rise - of less than a degree since the 1880s, as all sides agree - among thousands upon thousands of thermometer readings from all over the world and spanning more than a century is no simple matter. The temperature at any given location is surging up and down by many degrees each day and even more wildly across a year. It can be done, across a timescale of decades, but trying to say that one year is hotter or colder than the next is to push the limits of statistics and the available data. This sort of thing is why the battle over global temperatures tends to be so hotly debated.

A few years ago, a new dataset was established called the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project. It was intended to address various issues raised by climate sceptics: but in fact it has plumped down firmly on the warmist side of the debate, saying that in fact there are no undue biases in the temperature records, changes in the Sun do not have any major climate effects, and so on.

Now, however, the BEST boffins have broken ranks with the NASA/NOAA/UK Met Office climate establishment and bluntly contradicted the idea that one can simply say "2014 was the hottest year on record". According to BEST's analysis (pdf):

    "Our best estimate for the global temperature of 2014 puts it slightly above (by 0.01 C) that of the next warmest year (2010) but by much less than the margin of uncertainty (0.05 C). Therefore it is impossible to conclude from our analysis which of 2014, 2010, or 2005 was actually the warmest year".

That may seem like not such a big deal, but it is really. At the moment the big debate in this area is about the "hiatus" - has global warming been stalled for the last fifteen-years-plus, or not?

If you think it hasn't, and you're seeking to convince ordinary folk without advanced knowledge in the area, it is a very powerful thing to be able to say "last year was the warmest on record".

If on the other hand you contend that global warming has been on hold for over a decade, saying "last year was almost exactly as hot as 2005 and 2010" fits exactly with the story you are trying to tell.

It matters, because colossal amounts of CO2 have been emitted during the hiatus period - on the order of a third of all that has ever been emitted by humanity since the Industrial Revolution, in fact. Nobody says that CO2 isn't a greenhouse gas, but it could well be that it isn't nearly as serious a problem as had been suggested.

You takes your choice of who you listens to on this, of course: NASA/NOAA/UKMetO or BEST, warmists or sceptics.

But it might be worth remembering that the former are arguing for massive government and economic action, action which people would not take voluntarily - that is action which will make people poorer, then. In other words the warmists want to take away your money and your standard of living (for your own good, they would say). And standard of living is not just consumer goods, it's health care, it'sregular showers and clean clothes, it's space programmes and education for your kids and many many other things that you will have less of in the green future advocated by warmists - it's your whole life.

Whereas the sceptics, certainly the more reasonable among them, are merely saying "look here wait a minute". Which is always a good idea before taking massive governmental and economic action, some would say, especially as rather a lot has been done in that line already.

And one thing's for sure - given NASA/NOAA/UKMet's attitude this year ("hottest on record") compared to 2013 ("one more year of numbers isn't significant"), the idea that they aren't actively pushing a warmist agenda - the idea that they are in some way unbiased and objective about all this - is quite plainly rubbish.


Restoring Power: How lawmakers can lower your electricity bill

This report by the Yankee Institute examines the State of Connecticut's mandate requiring electricity providers to get a certain percentage of their power from renewable energy sources. The executive summary of the report is provided below:

Connecticut’s residents are getting a shock from their electric bills.

These higher costs squeeze our budgets, reduce the funds available for consumers’ other spending priorities, and force employers to slow their growth plans and reevaluate doing business in Connecticut. The Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), passed by the legislature in 1998 and modified a number of times since, contribute to the rising cost of electricity and reduce the ability of the state’s utilities to decide the best, most efficient, and cleanest way to produce energy.

The first step in reasserting control over our electricity market and reducing prices is to repeal the Renewable Portfolio Standard.

The following paper, written by scholars at the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University, shows that RPS mandates will cost Connecticut:

* $1.587 billion from 2014 to 2020, or $453 out of each Connecticut resident’s pocket. That’s more than $1,800 for a family of four;

* 2,660 jobs;

* $283 million in lost real disposable income.

By mandating that utility companies buy a growing percentage of electricity produced by a small list of renewable energy sources, RPS takes a simple problem and complicates
it by limiting our energy consumption choices. Instead of forcing consumers to purchase more expensive electricity, the state could follow the lead of other states and allow consumers to choose their energy’s generation sources.

RPS is based on the false promise that Connecticut would develop a “green economy” and create local jobs. Instead, RPS has created jobs in Northern Maine and Quebec, where wood-burning biomass and hydropower plants fulfill our state’s RPS mandates.

Higher energy prices hit the poor the hardest.

The RPS mandates have pushed electricity rates higher, and will continue to do so as the standards become stricter every year until 2020, when 27 percent of the state’s electricity must be produced by an approved source of renewable power.

The RPS mandates force electricity providers to buy more expensive energy, because they cannot look for the least expensive option but instead must buy energy from a narrow list of approved sources. This has put on a drag on investment in cheaper energy sources and instead has promoted investment in sources that meet the requirements of the mandates.

Connecticut is now further behind other states that have built energy sectors that meet the needs of citizens, and have focused on making traditional sources of energy cleaner.

Where are the promised jobs?  Only a small amount of the energy produced to meet RPS mandates comes from Connecticut – we bear the costs but we don’t see the benefits.

State lawmakers told us in 1998 that tax credits and mandated consumption for the “green” energy sector would stimulate growth and lead to more jobs in Connecticut. But they were wrong. The promised jobs, which would supposedly offset the economic loss from higher electricity costs, never materialized.

Instead, our electricity rates continue to go up – even as consumption decreases – and this study shows that only 3.8% of the electricity purchased to satisfy RPS mandates was produced in Connecticut. Most of our money (and those promised jobs) ended up in Maine, where the state’s surplus wood fuels its biomass industry. Our future hope for RPS-approved electricity is based on hydropower from Quebec.

The cost to develop and prop up the “green” energy sector continues to put a drag both on the state’s budget and on the state’s business community – particularly the manufacturing
sector, which is an important source of jobs and money for the state’s economy.

These increased costs also hit cities and towns, which have much higher electric bills than the average household. The RPS mandates also mean the state is involved in picking winners and losers in the energy market, as traditional suppliers are forced offline. In the meantime, we are supporting the growth of solar and wind businesses that may need government handouts for years in order to survive.

Less Control of Our Energy Markets

The RPS mandates force the state into a predetermined course. The RPS mandates have reduced our use of sources that can provide energy around the clock and have made us reliant on sources that provide energy only when the climate is just right – because either the wind is blowing or the sun is shining. The unanswered question is what to do when those sources are not readily available, and we no longer have the capacity to meet our needs with more reliable sources of energy.

Finally, because wind and solar energy sources tend to be more distant from population centers, we will likely have to add an additional 4,300 miles of new transmission lines to move energy to our market. That will cost billions of dollars, which will be subsidized by energy consumers.

Looking Ahead:  To bring costs down for consumers, and to make Connecticut a more competitive state for business, it is time to repeal the RPS mandates.



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