Tuesday, February 03, 2015
More Warmist crookedness
Joe Romm recently tried to show that the recent heavy snowfall in the N.E. of the U.S.coast area proved global warming. I pointed out the major logical fault in that claim a few days ago and left the matter at that. Another strange thing about the claim however is to associate heavy snow with warming. Snow is cold stuff. Doesn't unusually heavy snow therefore indicate unusual cold, not unusual warmth?
But illogic is not the only fault in the article. Steve Goddard has recently put up the graph below which shows the claim to be utterly dishonest from the start. The Warmists involved are quite psychopathic in their lack of any ethics or morality.
Goddard went back to the original data and found that the whole claim is founded on a careful cherrypick from the data. They have used one of the oldest tricks of chartmanship: Choosing the range you display. And in this case extending the range displayed gives a totally opposite conclusion to the one drawn by the Warmists
If image does not come up click here
Is the Pentagon hyping climate change?
"Facts" turn out to be fiction. Warmism can't survive the truth
Let’s face it: Climate change can be a murky thing, hard to see and touch in the here and now. Except for some melting icecaps and vanishing species, it’s more future threat than current crisis.
So when the folks at the Pentagon went looking for photos to illustrate how global warming is “already beginning” to affect their 7,000 facilities, they must have been thrilled to discover an alarming image of a four-story building that collapsed when the permafrost melted right out from under it on a military base in Alaska.
There’s just one problem with that photo, which appears on the cover of the “adaptation roadmap” the Pentagon issued last fall: The building is not on a military base. It’s not even in Alaska. It’s in Russia.
Moreover, the collapse of the building, a block of flats above the Arctic Circle in Russia’s eastern reaches, had nothing to do with climate change, according to the photographer, Vladimir E. Romanovsky, a geophysicist at the Permafrost Laboratory at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. “It’s not global warming; it’s bad maintenance,” Romanovsky said in a telephone interview. “For the whole winter, there was hot water leaking in the basement.”
Pentagon officials were mortified when we here at the Energy and Environment blog alerted them to the photo’s provenance. They quickly swapped it out for an admittedly less dramatic shot of an Alaska roadway buckled by degraded permafrost
“I’m embarrassed about it,” said John Conger, the acting assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations and environment. “The fact of the matter is we shouldn’t have used it. We asked the Army Corps of Engineers for a picture of permafrost damage in Alaska, and this is what they sent us.”
Problem solved! Except that the photo isn’t the only instance of Pentagon climate hype. The agency has been praised for taking a relatively proactive approach, compared with other federal agencies, to a problem that presents undeniable risks to property and national security. But at the Department of Defense, the immediacy of the threat has, at times, been a little overstated.
For example: Conger, who regularly discusses climate change with the press and in other public forums, often mentions that sea-level rise has forced Cape Canaveral Air Force Base to move its launch pads a quarter-mile inland so “they wouldn’t flood anymore.”
But that’s not true, said officials with both the Air Force, which manages one set of launch pads, and NASA, which manages another.
While Cape Canaveral has been battling beach erosion due to stronger storms, its launch pads have never flooded. And while there is a revised development plan for the cape that involves building future launch pads farther back from the sea – an “adaptation strategy for assured national access to space,” as one presentation put it – those launch pads have yet to be built.
In an interview, Conger acknowledged the error. “We’ve done some fact-checking today, because you raised the issue, and what was changed was the master plan,” not the actual location of the launch pads. “I’ve used that example in the past, and I won’t anymore.”
Finally, we come to the example that set this whole line of inquiry in motion: Conger’s assertion that two military bases are running out of water.
“There are a couple bases that run out of water in the West in twenty years,” Conger said last June at a conference on sea-level rise hosted by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) at Old Dominion University. “What do you do when a base runs out of water? Truck it in like you do in Afghanistan?”
That’s an intriguing question, but one that turns out to be largely theoretical. Because the bases – Fort Irwin National Training Center in California’s Mojave Desert and Mountain Home Air Force Base in the high desert of southern Idaho – are decades away from running out of water.
At Fort Irwin, the Army has implemented a host of conservation measures – landscaping with desert plants rather than grass, for example – that have slashed annual water consumption from 1 billion gallons to around 700 million gallons, sharply extending the life of the existing water supply.
“The current survey from the [U.S. Geological Survey] tells us we have 40 to 50 years of water left,” said Muhammad Bari, director of public works at Fort Irwin.
The three basins that have supplied the fort for decades will eventually run dry, Bari said. But the Army has already identified an alternative water source a few miles away. “So we’ll be able to extend our life for the foreseeable future,” he said.
The situation is similar in Mountain Home, where the latest survey shows the regional groundwater aquifer has a “useful life” of 25 to 30 years, spokesman Shane Mitchell said via email. Because the base is one of Idaho’s largest employers, this news greatly troubled state leaders, who worried that the dwindling water supply might cause bureaucrats in Washington – i.e., Conger — to seek to close Mountain Home.
So last year, Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter (R) sought and won legislative approval to purchase water rights for the base from the Snake River. And in August, J.R. Simplot Co., the potato company, agreed to sell its rights for $2.5 million.
Now those rights are held by the Idaho Water Resource Board, which will keep them in reserve “until we figure out how to get a project in place to get the water to Mountain Home,” said Brian Patton, the board’s executive director. That project, expected to cost as much as $35 million, involves pumping the water “600 vertical feet out of the canyon and across 11 miles of desert.”
“We’re hoping the Pentagon ponies up a major portion of it,” Patton said. To prod Washington to action, the agreement with Simplot says the company can repurchase the rights if the Pentagon fails to exercise them within seven years.
Presented with these facts, Conger argued that the “water thing” was not an exaggeration on his part. “This is actually a real issue,” he said. “Whether this is climate change or just climate, it’s fair to say we’re newly sensitized to some of these problems because of the focus on climate change” in Washington.
Conger is also in the midst of assessing the vulnerability of the nation’s military bases to other effects of climate change, including sea-level rise, excessive heat and wildfires. A full report is due out later this year.
“There’s been a series of things that we’ve been doing to try and be reasonable,” he said. “The water one is a future issue, identifying what’s coming down the road.”
David Titley, director of the Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk at Penn State University and a former rear admiral in the Navy, said the Pentagon does deserve credit for taking “tangible, discrete actions … to address some of the impacts of climate change,” though few of them are “as exciting as buildings collapsing in the permafrost.” In particular, he said, planning is well underway for one of the most immediate threats: rising tides at Naval Station Norfolk.
Still, “overhyping is just as bad as ignoring or denying,” Titley said. “This is a challenge, not necessarily a crisis.”
Is there such a thing as an earthwide average temperature?
Or is it just a statistical fiction?
by Jeff Jacoby
UNLESS YOU'VE spent the last few weeks in solitary meditation on a remote island, you couldn't miss the wave of media stories breathlessly proclaiming that 2014 was the hottest year in recorded history. As usual, the coverage was laced with alarm about the menace posed by climate change, and with disapproval of skeptics who decline to join in the general panic.
Well, I'm also not a scientist. But I do know that what NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and NOAA's National Climatic Data Center actually reported was rather less categorical than what the news accounts — or the White House — might lead you to believe. As both government agencies made clear in their briefing materials, the likelihood that 2014 was the planet's warmest year is far from a slam-dunk. Indeed, the probability that 2014 set a record is not 99 percent or 95 percent, but less than 50 percent. NOAA's number-crunchers put the probability at 48 percent; NASA's analysis came in at 38 percent.
You don't have to be a scientist to realize that climate is complicated and hard to get right. Climate models have so far been unable to accurately predict changes in global temperature. Experts didn't foresee the global cooling that began in the 1940s and didn't anticipate the warming cycle that started in the late 1970s. Climate science is still in its infancy, and it would be folly to treat any single explanation for changes in global temperatures as impervious to challenge or skepticism.
In fact, the very idea of a "global temperature" is hard to make sense of. How can an entire planet, with its multifarious systems, be said to have a temperature, or even an average temperature?
Averaging is a familiar and useful concept that we use in a myriad of contexts. Average household income, average life expectancy, average weight of airline passengers, average number of earned runs given up by a pitcher, average daily temperature in Waikiki in April — each is a comprehensible and meaningful statistic. But as the authors of a provocative 2007 paper in the Journal of Non-Equilibrium Thermodynamics explain, there are certain kinds of variables that lose all meaning if they are averaged. For example, exchange rates are extremely useful when comparing two currencies. The notion of a "global exchange rate," however, would be absurd.
Temperatures on the earth are in constant flux. They change with latitude, with time of day, with season, with weather; they vary from ocean depths to atmospheric heights, from the equator to the poles. Even assuming that the necessary raw data could be properly gathered, mathematicians must choose among multiple averaging techniques, which can yield flatly contradictory results.
Physically, there is no such thing as the "global temperature trend," the authors conclude. Hence, "ranking this or that year as the 'warmest of the millennium' is not possible, since other averages will give other results with no grounds for choosing among them."
As headline fodder, "warmest year ever" may be irresistible. As an unassailable reality on which critical public policy questions should turn? Be skeptical.
Shell Eyes Arctic Drilling this Summer
Oil major Shell wants to revive its Arctic oil drilling programme this year after a near two-year suspension, angering environmentalists who say the risk of an oil spill is too high.
Remote and costly to develop, the Arctic is estimated to contain 20 percent of the world's undiscovered hydrocarbon resources and despite fierce opposition, plans for drilling north of the Arctic Circle are under way in the United States, Russia and Norway.
Shell, Europe's largest energy firm, is intent on restarting its Arctic drilling campaign in Alaska's Chukchi Sea this summer. It was suspended in early 2013 following the grounding of a drilling rig.
"Will we go ahead? Yes if we can. I'd be so disappointed if we wouldn't," Shell Chief Executive Ben van Beurden told journalists at the company's fourth quarter results conference in London.
The resumption depends on having the logistics in place, receiving necessary permits and fending off a number of legal challenges, he said.
Opposition to the Arctic drilling has been fierce.
"Shell is taking a massive risk doggedly chasing oil in the Arctic, not just with shareholder value, but with the pristine Arctic environment," said Greenpeace environmental campaigner Charlie Kronick in a statement.
"No company is able to operate safely in this remote, fragile ocean where the nearest rescue fleets are hundreds of miles away."
The Anglo-Dutch company has already spent $1 billion on preparing its Arctic drilling work and it is costing Shell several hundred millions of dollars a year even without progressing with drilling, Chief Financial Officer Simon Henry said.
Shell said time was pressing for oil production to start in Alaska as capacity use of a pipeline connecting the remote region to the main North American oil system was falling close to levels at which it cannot operate.
"That means not only new projects wouldn't go ahead but the existing (ones) won't be able to operate either," Henry said.
Markets vs. Mandate: the American energy dilemma
New York State’s fracking ban has evoked strong polarising sentiment. Local anti-fracking supporters welcomed the ban as a necessary intervention against corporations pursuing profits at the expense of local safety. The fracking industry on the other hand, saw it as a political move; an example of political interference in the markets at the expense of jobs, energy security and the principles of enterprise and free markets that America stands for.
This dynamic is symptomatic of a bigger tension between markets and mandate within the US energy industry; one that that lies at the heart of hotly contested issues like the Keystone pipeline and the proposed TTIP EU-US free trade agreement.
And against the backdrop of a President carving out climate action as a top priority, historic US commitments to reducing emissions, a Republican House majority that views Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency as big-government interventionism, and America’s emergence as a global energy producer, how this tension is resolved affects not just the future of American energy, but has wider global ramifications.
Six years ago I wrote in the Financial Times about the need for less interference in European energy markets to enhance competitiveness; a perspective I still find myself inclined towards today, and for good reason.
Take energy security for example. Shifting responsibility for energy security from suppliers to government would reduce, not increase, security. A liberalised market provides strong incentives for producers to diversify supply and respond to consumer demand. OPEC’s current oil price war might even eventually strengthen a fracking industry forced to become more technically innovative and cost efficient to survive, despite the shorter-term challenges.
Then there is the danger of vested interests influencing a wide government mandate and effectively using government as a proxy for their own interests as illustrated by recent alleged links between energy company Devon Energy and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt.
And of course there is the notion that climate change justifies state intervention to make cleaner renewables more competitive against oil and gas. But while this is a logical argument, its worth noting that government intervention is at least partly to blame for renewables having less market share in the first place. Federal research for US oil and gas as well as tax credits and subsidies totalling $10 billion between 1980 and 2002 dwarfed state support for renewables, ensuring there was never a level playing field to begin with. And modern-day fracking could not have developed without federal research and demonstration efforts in the 1960s and ’70s.
But as valid as all this is, it fails to tell the whole story.
What makes the energy industry unfortunately unique is the speed with which it could environmentally impact our planet; a factor so exceptional it justifies exceptional action in addressing it, including, if need be, some level of market intervention.
The real problem with the US energy debate is its deep ideological polarisation. Energy discourse is too often pulled towards dogmatic extremes; between those who believe strong government intervention is necessary to further centralise and regulate energy markets, sometimes to the point of protectionism, or conversely those who, as economist Paul Krugman put it when describing the GOP, “believe climate change is a hoax concocted by liberal scientists to justify Big Government, who refuse to acknowledge that government intervention to correct market failures can ever be justified”.
Yet with the looming 2016 Presidential elections, the potential for politicised narratives and populist slogans to take priority over any meaningful measured balance in the US energy discourse is all too real and present.
Somewhere between climate deniers, including prominent GOP members, refusing to acknowledge the need for any climate action, and those attempting to address the problem in a vacuum without considering how sweeping interventionist solutions undermine economic competitiveness (an approach that creates an inevitable political, business and electoral backlash), lie more sustainable, effective solutions. It is vital moderates across the political aisle work together to reach them.
Global Urban Renewal
Al Gore and Felipe Calderon want to stuff you into a box in order to “save the planet.”
An unholy alliance between former president Al Gore, former Mexican president Felipe Calderon, and Britain's Prince Charles, and the entire membership of the World Economic Forum, affectionately nicknamed by its lower echelon members, "The Chicken Little Society," but sourly discouraged by senor members, has formed, and it has a plan for you.
An article by Daniel Greenfield on FrontPage on January 28th put me onto the trail of another horrendous idea from the whirligig mind of Al Gore, "Al Gore Wants to Spend $90 Trillion to Create a World Without Cars."
If you ever wanted to live in a giant slum with no way to get anywhere except by waiting on the poorly operated local public transit system in hock to municipal systems, you can have it for just $90 trillion. Come on. That's pocket change. And just think, you'll be able to live in a horrible futuristic nightmare. (See either "Soylent Green," "Logan's Run," "Metropolis," "THX 1138," or sunless, always-raining Los Angeles in "Blade Runner" for a foretaste of your future - if Gore's fantasy gels into reality.)
"Former Vice President Al Gore and Mexican President Felipe Calderon proposed a $90 trillion plan to redesign every city on earth so that motor vehicles would become obsolete due to more dense populations."
It is a scheme to relieve you of the time, expense, and bother of owning a car. And also of owning your own home, of having nice neighbors, of your privacy, of your career, and of living your own life. Gore and Calderon have better uses for your time on earth as a reckless and irresponsible occupant. Western Journalism reported:
"We cannot have these cities with low density, designed for the use of cars," Calderon said. "We recommend those cities should have more density and more mass transportation."
The better for you to be stamped, hole-punched, assigned a number, and bar-coded so you can be better managed, controlled, redirected, watched, and reduced to serfdom and dependency.
Remember that Calderon was president of a country that keeps sending hordes of illegal immigrants across our border to idle American workers or become welfare state "clients." It's all for your own good. Don't complain. Don't you want a clean, safe, and healthy planet?
No, we can't have "low density" cities. They've got to be evacuated, emptied out, declared forbidden zones, and ploughed under for Mother Earth to reclaim in her own good time. Everyone now living in them should be forcibly moved to the giant, high-density slum where everyone and his mother is underfoot and in the way. In the 1930's and 1940's this was called compulsory "resettlement."
When all cities are scoured of cars, and you have been dispossessed, you will be a displaced person until a walk-in closet has been assigned to you by your friendly government real estate agent or licensed and certified relocater. When your time to "move" comes, remember that you will be allowed to take only what will fit into a carry-on bag, or a back-pack.
You won't be able to escape Gore Town or Calderon Ciudad except with a special travel pass and permit, but they'll be hard to come by because you'll need to have a legitimate purpose for exiting the city. Your sick mother on the other side of the country just won't qualify. She'll need to take her cough medicine by herself. Bereavement leave will never be denied; just don't have so many relatives who may die at any moment.
Gore and Calderon will have taken a leaf from Maryland which taxes rainfall runoff from your property, and imposed a "breathing tax" for every cubic square foot of oxygen you inhale, and also tax your CO2 exhalents, to help control greenhouse gases. After all, plants have got to breathe, too.
It's all for the good of Mother Earth, you see. If you don't buy the Global Warming mantra, then you must be a racist, or a bigot, or are certifiably "disturbed."
Of course, Al Gore, Prince Charles, and Felipe Calderon and others of the elite won't be your next-door neighbors. They'll be living across town in triple-gated enclaves and sanctuaries with guards armed with .50 caliber machine guns fixed with night scopes to deter intrusive burglaries, or resting from their labors in their similarly secured mansions in the countryside. They'll be far away from the noise and ordure of the general population, planning more population engineering controls.
They're saviors of mankind, even though they'll have sentenced it to grinding and perilous poverty. But, after all, isn't life nasty, brutish, and short, for every one of us, except for occasional episodes of numbness? Why would you want to prolong it?
Our and the planet's saviors, of course, will experience the joy of remaking the world in their own minds. You and countless other minions will be but tiny, insignificant elements of a megalopolis tree house world. Still, our saviors will expect to be swamped with expressions of gratitude.
For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.
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Posted by JR at 1:38 AM