Monday, February 16, 2015
The science is settled, eggs are good for you
The science-is-settled crowd got a little more uncomfortable as the settled science of cholesterol being bad for us is being dismantled by the U.S. government’s top nutrition advisory panel.
That’s right. After more than fifty years of government and public health harpies hectoring against eating eggs, with many Americans resorting to eating the dreaded egg substitute in a cardboard container as a result, the feds are issuing a gigantic never mind.
The Washington Post quotes Walter Willett, chair of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health, as saying, “There’s been a shift of thinking.”
Egg producers have seen a 30 percent drop in consumption since the shoot-first-find-out-the-truth-later public science industry had their way in getting cholesterol declared a public enemy to good heart health. I’m certain some eager trial lawyer will figure out someone to sue to help these small farmers get fair reparations from those who lobbied the federal government to include cholesterol on the bad-for-you nutrition list, and subsequently profiteered off of the farmer’s hardships.
Gee, I wonder if there are any other examples of settled science turning out to be wrong after many years and untold economic damage?
How about the case of the northern spotted owl?
The northern spotted owl was declared an endangered species back in the early 1990s and the remedy was that large swaths of forest in the Northwest were placed off-limits for timber harvesting. Now, two decades later, mill towns are ghost towns, and environmentalists are pressing to take even more land out of production.
Yet, the original goal of the northern spotted owl recovery plan was to get 3,000 nesting pairs well distributed throughout the region that included northern California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Today, there are 3,000 nesting pairs on privately-owned land in California alone. Privately-owned land where timber harvesting continues and peacefully co-exists with a thriving species.
It is on the publicly-held land where the professional environmental activists hold sway that the bird is doing less well, struggling under pressure from the irony that it does better hunting in more open spaces (the exact kind of habitat created by timbering.)
Naturally, the environmental group scientists and their allies in the Obama Administration refuse to declare victory for a re-established species because to do so will open up millions of acres of additional timberland for harvest. And that is the dirty little secret in the Northwest, it never was about the bird, and always was about shutting down timbering — the destruction of small, rural communities was just acceptable collateral damage to the public interest scientists.
As President Obama and his media allies continue lock-step declaring the science settled on the climate change issue, it would be wise for policy makers to remember the previously-fought wars on eggs and timber and the mistaken science that led to destructive decisions before proceeding with actions that will have catastrophic impacts on the American economy.
Because sometimes the science is settled until it isn’t. Oh, by the way, is Pluto a planet again, or have scientists changed their minds once more?
Crooked scientists are getting away with it
This is in the very important field of drug testing so it gives some insight into how Warmists get away with their deceptions. They cover up for one-another. An academic journal abstract below
Importance: Every year, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspects several hundred clinical sites performing biomedical research on human participants and occasionally finds evidence of substantial departures from good clinical practice and research misconduct. However, the FDA has no systematic method of communicating these findings to the scientific community, leaving open the possibility that research misconduct detected by a government agency goes unremarked in the peer-reviewed literature.
Objectives: To identify published clinical trials in which an FDA inspection found significant evidence of objectionable conditions or practices, to describe violations, and to determine whether the violations are mentioned in the peer-reviewed literature.
Design and Setting: Cross-sectional analysis of publicly available documents, dated from January 1, 1998, to September 30, 2013, describing FDA inspections of clinical trial sites in which significant evidence of objectionable conditions or practices was found.
Main Outcomes and Measures: For each inspection document that could be linked to a specific published clinical trial, the main measure was a yes/no determination of whether there was mention in the peer-reviewed literature of problems the FDA had identified.
Results: Fifty-seven published clinical trials were identified for which an FDA inspection of a trial site had found significant evidence of 1 or more of the following problems: falsification or submission of false information, 22 trials (39%); problems with adverse events reporting, 14 trials (25%); protocol violations, 42 trials (74%); inadequate or inaccurate recordkeeping, 35 trials (61%); failure to protect the safety of patients and/or issues with oversight or informed consent, 30 trials (53%); and violations not otherwise categorized, 20 trials (35%). Only 3 of the 78 publications (4%) that resulted from trials in which the FDA found significant violations mentioned the objectionable conditions or practices found during the inspection. No corrections, retractions, expressions of concern, or other comments acknowledging the key issues identified by the inspection were subsequently published.
Conclusions and Relevance: When the FDA finds significant departures from good clinical practice, those findings are seldom reflected in the peer-reviewed literature, even when there is evidence of data fabrication or other forms of research misconduct.
Some awkward facts about "climate change"
By forecaster Joe Bastardi
I was asked several months ago by a close friend and advisor, “Joe, what do you want to be remembered for?” It was then I realized this global warming debate borders on insanity. My stand was and is principled, based on my need and love of climate to form a needed foundation to forecast. If a person said something you knew not to be true about someone you loved, how would you react? It’s that simple. I am this way because I have used climate to help me in what God made me to do. But the argument itself is getting progressively crazier to me.
Look at the distortion we have going on today. I was told I am not a “climate scientist” on national TV by a guy whose hands were shaking as he recited talking points and who said that a one in a hundred year synoptic-scale event – the Great Ohio Valley blizzard of 1978 – was lake effect snow. At the time, Lake Erie was frozen and a southwest wind was blowing over it.
So after 40 years of studying this and using it daily, I’m not a climate scientist, but one of the alarmists' heroes, an engineer-turned-actor who bills himself a science guy, is? That he had my kids thinking he was Santa Clause means he has a whole generation of people willing to buy what he says, no matter how inane. Perhaps if I lost three inches off my neck and stuck on a bow tie, it would give me more credibility.
Then there’s this headline from the London Telegraph: “The fiddling with temperature data is the biggest science scandal ever.”
When I saw it, my thoughts were, this is old news. To guys like me, very old news. Perhaps the most newsworthy thing about it was that this is not mainstream and, therefore, the whole issue is settled.
Juxtapose the Telegraph with this from USA Today: “Buried in Boston? Blame it on climate change – maybe.”
Notice how the author in typical Utopian fashion takes no real stand: Blame it on climate change – maybe.
Let me take a stand and inform him of some facts he seems to not understand.
1.) Boston averages close to 6.6 inches of precipitation in the months of January and February and 26 inches of snow. That means in any given 15-day period (roughly 25%) Boston would average about 1.6 inches of precipitation and six inches or so of snow. How is it the city had twice the amount of precipitation (around 3.2 inches) – which really is not that big a deal since even back-to-back rainstorms can do that – and ten times the amount of snow (64 inches)? It’s not because it’s warm, it’s because it’s so cold. The frigid air masses have resulted in a high snow ratio. The storms did what most storms do – intensify – but it’s the cold that has lead to the very high snow-to-liquid ratios. In a normal temperature-structured storm, the same parameters would likely produce closer to the classic 10-1 ratio.
2.) The author is also unaware of a sudden drop in the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), something Weatherbell.com jumped on to warn people in the East that the period Jan. 26-Feb. 10 would be tough. I used the same method before the “Snowmageddon” siege in the winter of ‘09-'10. It’s something you look for in seasons when there is a warm event in the tropical Pacific, which in this case is a weak Modoki El Nino. It’s not a question of if or when, but where you see that happen. In 2010, it was centered further southwest, so we knew well beforehand something was up.
By the way, just how does climate change know to blast Boston (last 15 days close to 10 degrees Fahrenheit below normal with 10x the normal snowfall) while leaving places like DC alone (near normal temperatures, little snow) at the same time? How did it know in 2010 to blast DC, but leave places in northern New England with normal temperatures and snow? Amazing how it can pick and choose like that on a local level, given its assigned global dominance.
3.) The water is warm off the East Coast, but that’s because we are in the waning days of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) warm cycle. This is well known among meteorologists who have studied these periods. In fact, this winter is mimicking to a large extent the winter of 1957-1958, which was non-eventful until later January right through March! The AMO is falling and is below 0 now, much like Bill Gray of Colorado State said it would be by 2020, ending completely the warming observed when the Pacific and Atlantic warmed. This means the remaining warm water in the Atlantic basin is still in the Western Atlantic as the northern, eastern and southern areas cool, until the full flip takes place, still several years off. Guess what happens when there is change naturally? There are places where there can be enhanced conflict in the weather.
Gee, imagine that. Clashes in the weather.
The term “climate change” is the biggest piece of deception one can use. Nobody denies the fluid back and forth on all time scales of the earth’s weather and climate patterns. It’s redundant and a sound bite that means nothing, except as something to smear people who bring countering points to light. When global warming was debunked by nature herself, alarmists adapted “climate change” and then blamed a perfectly natural occurrence on man. The “golden chain” is the wrapping of oneself in a mantle of “saving the planet climate heroism”; the enslavement is the diminishing of hope for billions of people yearning for more freedom.
Top 10 Global Warming Lies That May Shock You
Global warming alarmists frequently make false and deplorable assertions (see, for example, my recent column debunking false claims that global warming is causing a decline in wheat production), but the Environmental Defense Fund’s recent fund-raising mailer, “10 Global Warming Effects That May Shock You,” may well set a new low. However, climate realists can make lemonade from EDF’s preposterous mailer by using it to show open-minded people the difference between global warming alarmists and global warming truth-tellers.
EDF has assembled what it believes to be the 10 most powerful global warming assertions in the alarmists’ playbook, yet each assertion either backfires on alarmists or has been proven false. While reading how flawed EDF’s assertions are, remember these are the very best arguments global warming alarmists can make. Open-minded readers should have very little difficulty dismissing the mythical global warming crisis after examining the top 10 assertions in the alarmist playbook.
Alarmist Assertion #1
“Bats Drop from the Sky – In 2014, a scorching summer heat wave caused more than 100,000 bats to literally drop dead and fall from the sky in Queensland, Australia.”
Global warming alarmists’ preferred electricity source – wind power – kills nearly 1 million bats every year (to say nothing of the more than 500,000 birds killed every year) in the United States alone. This appalling death toll occurs every year even while wind power produces just 3% of U.S. electricity. Ramping up wind power to 10, 20, or 30% of U.S. electricity production would likely increase annual bat kills to 10-to-30 million every year. Killing 30 million bats every year in response to dubious claims that global warming might once in a great while kill 100,000 bats makes no sense.
Just as importantly, alarmists present no evidence that global warming caused the summer heat wave in a notoriously hot desert near the equator. To the contrary, climate change theory and objective data show our recent global warming is occurring primarily in the winter, toward the poles, and at night.
Australia’s highest recorded temperature occurred more than half a century ago, and only two of Australia’s seven states have set their all-time temperature record during the past 40 years. Indeed, Queensland’s 2014 heat wave paled in comparison to the 1972 heat wave that occurred 42 years of global warming ago. If global warming caused the 2014 Queensland heat wave, why wasn’t it as severe as the 1972 Queensland heat wave? Blaming every single summer heat wave or extreme weather event on global warming is a stale and discredited tactic in the alarmist playbook. Objective science proves extreme weather events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, heat waves, and droughts have become less frequent and less severe as a result of the Earth’s recent modest warming.
Wind power kills 1.4 million birds and bats in the U.S every year, even while producing very little power.
Wind turbines kill 1.4 million birds and bats in the U.S every year, even while producing very little power.
Alarmist Assertion #2
“Lyme Disease Spreads” – Warmer temperatures are contributing to the range expansion and severity of tick-borne Lyme disease.”
Lyme Disease is much more common in northern, cooler regions of the United States than in southern, warmer regions. Asserting, without any supporting data or evidence, that a disease that prospers in cool climates will become more prevalent as a result of global warming defies objective data and common sense. Moreover, a team of scientists extensively researched Lyme Disease climate and habitat and reported in the peer-reviewed science journal EcoHealth, “the only environmental variable consistently association with increased [Lyme Disease] risk and incidence was the presence of forests.”
Granted, alarmists can argue that forests are thriving under global warming, with the result that forest-dwelling ticks will also benefit. However, expanding forests are universally – and properly – viewed as environmentally beneficial. Alarmist attempts to frame thriving forests as harmful perfectly illustrate the alarmists’ proclivity to claim anything and everything – no matter how beneficial – is severely harmful and caused by global warming.
Moreover, even if global warming expanded Lyme Disease range, one must look at the totality of global warming’s impact on the range of viruses and diseases. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports Lyme Disease “is rare as a cause of death in the United States.” According to the CDC, Lyme Disease is a contributing factor to less than 25 deaths per year in the United States. Indeed, during a recent five-year span examined by the CDC, “only 1 [death] record was consistent with clinical manifestations of Lyme Disease.” Any attempts to claim global warming will cause a few more Lyme Disease deaths must be weighed against the 36,000 Americans who are killed by the flu each year. The U.S. National Institutes of Health have documented how influenza is aided and abetted by cold climate. Any attempt to connect a warmer climate to an increase in Lyme Disease must be accompanied by an acknowledgement of a warmer climate’s propensity to reduce influenza incidence and mortality. The net impact of a warmer climate on viruses and diseases such as Lyme Disease and influenza is substantially beneficial and life-saving.
Top 10 Global Warming Lies That May Shock You
Continued from page 1
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Alarmist Assertion #3
“National Security Threatened – The impacts of climate change are expected to act as a ‘threat multiplier’ in many of the world’s most unstable regions, exacerbating droughts and other natural disasters as well as leading to food, water and other resource shortages that may spur mass migrations.”
The alarmists’ asserted national security threat depends on assertions that (1) global warming is causing a reduction in food and water supplies and (2) migrations of people to places with more food and water will increase risks of military conflict. Objective facts refute both assertions.
Regarding food and water supplies, global crop production has soared as the Earth gradually warms. Atmospheric carbon dioxide is essential to plant life, and adding more of it to the atmosphere enhances plant growth and crop production. Longer growing seasons and fewer frost events also benefit plant growth and crop production. As this column has repeatedly documented (see articles here, here, and here, for example), global crops set new production records virtually every year as our planet modestly warms. If crop shortages cause national security threats and global warming increases crop production, then global warming benefits rather than jeopardizes national security.
The same holds true for water supplies. Objective data show there has been a gradual increase in global precipitation and soil moisture as our planet warms. Warmer temperatures evaporate more water from the oceans, which in turn stimulates more frequent precipitation over continental land masses. The result of this enhanced precipitation is an improvement in soil moisture at almost all sites in the Global Soil Moisture Data Bank. If declining precipitation and declining soil moisture are military threat multipliers, than global warming is creating a safer, more peaceful world.
Alarmist Assertion #4
“Sea Levels Rising – Warmer temperatures are causing glaciers and polar ice sheets to melt, increasing the amount of water in the world’s seas and oceans.”
The pace of sea level rise remained relatively constant throughout the 20th century, even as global temperatures gradually rose. There has similarly been no increase in the pace of sea level rise in recent decades. Utilizing 20th century technologies, humans effectively adapted to global sea level rise. Utilizing 21st century technologies, humans will be even better equipped to adapt to global sea level rise.
Also, the alarmist assertion that polar ice sheets are melting is simply false. Although alarmists frequently point to a modest recent shrinkage in the Arctic ice sheet, that decline has been completely offset by ice sheet expansion in the Antarctic. Cumulatively, polar ice sheets have not declined at all since NASA satellite instruments began precisely measuring them 35 years ago.
Alarmist Assertion #5
“Allergies Worsen – Allergy sufferers beware: Climate change could cause pollen counts to double in the next 30 years. The warming temperatures cause advancing weed growth, a bane for allergy sufferers.”
Pollen is a product and mechanism of plant reproduction and growth. As such, pollen counts will rise and fall along with plant health and vegetation intensity. Any increase in pollen will be the result of a greener biosphere with more plant growth. Similar to the alarmist argument, discussed above, that expanding forests will create more habitat for the ticks that spread Lyme Disease, alarmists here are taking overwhelmingly good news about global warming improving plant health and making it seem like this good news is actually bad news because healthier plants mean more pollen.
Indeed, NASA satellite instruments have documented a spectacular greening of the Earth, with foliage gains most prevalent in previously arid, semi-desert regions. For people experiencing an increase in vegetation in previously barren regions, this greening of the Earth is welcome and wonderful news. For global warming alarmists, however, a greener biosphere is terrible news and something to be opposed. This, in a nutshell, defines the opposing sides in the global warming debate. Global warming alarmists claim a greener biosphere with richer and more abundant plant life is horrible and justifies massive, economy-destroying energy restrictions. Global warming realists understand that a greener biosphere with richer and more abundant plant life is not a horrible thing simply because humans may have had some role in creating it.
Hawaii Wind Farm, Failing, for Sale
An SEC filing required as a condition of the potential sale of windfarms from Hawaii’s largest wind farm developer, First Wind, to TerraForm Power, Inc., have revealed a number of difficulties the subsidized windfarm has faced in meeting its terms of operation with regard to generating and delivering reliable power to the grid.
As reported in the Hawaii Free Presss (Feb. 8), the SEC filing paints a company in trouble, even before the sale is approved. In the filings TerraForm acknowledged:
"We have limited experience in energy generation operations. As a result of this lack of experience, we may be prone to errors .... We lack the technical training and experience with developing, starting or operating non-solar generation facilities. With no direct training or experience in these areas, our management may not be fully aware of the many specific requirements related to working in industries beyond solar energy generation.
Additionally, we may be exposed to increased operating costs, unforeseen liabilities or risks, and regulatory and environmental concerns associated with entering new sectors of the power generation industry, which could have an adverse impact on our business as well as place us at a competitive disadvantage relative to more established non-solar energy market participants.
In addition, such ventures could require a disproportionate amount of our management’s attention and resources. Our operations, earnings and ultimate financial success could suffer irreparable harm due to our management’s lack of experience in these industries."
TerraForm’s filing also indicates First Wind’s wind farms suffer from an array of problems. For instance, under its power purchasing agreement, First Wind was required to install and maintain a battery energy storage system to maintain electric grid stability and reliability. However, the battery system manufacturer and manager, Xtreme Power, is in bankruptcy and no longer provides replacement batteries or other necessary components. Though First wind is attempting to secure replacement batteries, it admits the new battery system may not be able to meet the company’s terms of operation.
An additional equipment problem uncovered in TerraForm’s SEC filing is the turbines and other equipment originally produced and supplied to First Wind by Clipper Windpower are no longer manufactured, backed or serviced by Clipper. A number of defects were found in the turbines and other equipment Clipper provided, affecting various turbines operations up to the present. The defects resulted in prolonged, “downtime for turbines at various projects,” according to TerraForm’s SEC filing.
Prolonged arbitration and litigation ensued, resulting in a settlement agreement signed by First Wind releasing Clipper from all warranty and maintenance obligations. As a result, TerraForm reports, “if Clipper equipment experiences defects in the future, we will not have the benefit of a manufacturer’s warranty on such original equipment, may not be able to obtain replacement components and will need to self-fund the correction or replacement of such equipment, which could negatively impact our business financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.”
Location and Financing Problems
TerraForm lists a number of other problems potentially resulting in losses or even the closure of some turbines or windfarm sites entirely. For instance, First Wind did not properly notify the FAA of wind turbine construction in certain locations, thus if aviation conflicts arise, the turbines may have curtail their operation or even be shut down. In addition, operations at some wind farm locations have been curtailed due to an excessive number of endangered bats and birds being killed by the turbines.
TerraForm is also concerned the wind farms it wishes to purchase may be unable to secure financing for ongoing operations unless Congress keeps in place the entire panoply of subsidies and tax advantages wind farms currently benefit from. According to TerraForm, “PTCs and accelerated tax depreciation benefits generated by operating projects can be monetized by entering into tax equity financing agreements with investors that can utilize the tax benefits, which have been a key financing tool for wind energy projects. The growth of our wind energy business may be dependent on the U.S. Congress extending the expiration date of, renewing or replacing PTCs, without which the market for tax equity financing for wind projects would likely cease to exist.” It is an open question whether Congress will continue to renew the wind production tax credit or if it will continue to provide favorable tax breaks to the energy industry.
With the all of these forces buffeting First Wind’s wind farms, one may wonder why TerraForm wants to purchase the assets.
Exposed EPA Memo: Tie Fighting Global Warming to Americans’ ‘Personal Worries’
More evidence that the EPA is an evangelizing body, not an objective body
An Environmental Protection Agency memo sent to top officials implored the agency to build up support for its agenda by tying its regulatory agenda to the “personal worries” of Americans.
“Polar ice caps and the polar bears have become the climate change ‘mascots,’ if you will, and personify the challenges we have in making this issue real for many Americans,” reads a memo circulated among top agency officials in March 2009, just months after President Barack Obama took office.
Climate Change Argument “Unpersuasive”
“Most Americans will never see a polar ice cap, nor will most have the chance to see a polar bear in its natural habitat,” the memo reads. “Therefore, it is easy to detach from the seriousness of this issue. Unfortunately, climate change in the abstract is an increasingly—and consistently—unpersuasive argument to make.”
“However, if we shift from making this about the polar caps and about our neighbor with respiratory illness we can potentially bring this issue home to many Americans,” the memo adds. “There will be many opportunities to discuss climate-related efforts this year. As we do so, we must allow the human health argument to take center stage.”
The EPA memo even says to use people’s children as a way to build up support for their efforts to fight global warming and ramp up clean air and water regulations.
“This justifies our work at the most base level. By revitalizing our own Children’s Health Office, leading the global charge on this issue, and highlighting the children’s health dimension to all of our major initiatives—we will also make this issue real for many Americans who otherwise would oppose many of our regulatory actions,” the memo reads.
‘Breathtakingly Disingenuous Shift’
The EPA memos were obtained by Chris Horner, attorney and senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, through a Freedom of Information Act request. Horner found the memo in a trove of emails to former EPA chief Lisa Jackson’s secret email account, which used the alias “Richard Windsor.”
“What this memo shows is the recognition that EPA needed to move its global warming campaign away from the failed global model of discredited Big Green pressure groups and their icons,” Horner told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“In it, we see the birth of the breathtakingly disingenuous ‘shift from making this about the polar caps [to] about our neighbor with respiratory illness,’” Horner said. “It also shows the conviction that if they yell ‘clean air’ and ‘children’ enough, they, the media, and the green groups will get their way.”
Sent During Cap-and-Trade Debate
The memo was circulated as federal lawmakers were debating cap-and-trade legislation during Obama’s first term in office. A cap-and-trade bill passed out of the House in June 2009 but was eventually defeated in the Senate after opponents successfully tied the effort to a de facto energy tax.
Since this defeat, the Obama administration has been keen on focusing on the public health benefits of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Near the end of 2009, EPA found greenhouse gases posed a threat to public health because they cause global warming. But greenhouse gases don’t directly impact public health, so EPA relied on other ways to connect the dots.
When EPA released the first-ever regulations on greenhouse gas tailpipe emissions in 2012, the agency touted the rule’s public health benefits, resulting from reduced amounts of traditional air pollutants coming from tailpipes.
More recently, EPA said rules to cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal-fired power plants would result in fewer asthma attacks, especially in children. But these alleged public health benefits come from reducing smog and other air pollutants, not carbon dioxide.
“Asthma disproportionately affects African-American kids,” said current EPA chief Gina McCarthy. “In just the first year these standards go into effect, we’ll avoid up to 100,000 asthma attacks and 2,100 heart attacks—and those numbers go up from there.”
“These standards are also doing more than to just address public health. By the time these standards are fully in place in 2030, the average household will also save $8 a month on electricity and create thousands of jobs that can’t be shipped overseas,” McCarthy said.
Targets ‘Unchurched’ Americans
The memo also mentions convincing “unchurched” Americans who belong to other activist groups to support fighting global warming.
“For many, environmental protection is about the caribou, polar bears, and sea otters,” reads the memo. “While our work certainly impacts all of these creatures, it obviously does not reflect our day-to-day work. It is important for us to change this perception, particularly among those who are critically impacted by [environmental justice] issues—but are otherwise ‘unchurched.’ (By unchurched, I mean they are not affiliated with a group or effort that would self-identify as EJ or environmentalist.)”
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 1:41 AM