Thursday, March 12, 2015

Climate change predictions have been wrong for decades

By Walter E. Williams

"But the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact," said President Barack Obama in his 2014 State of the Union address. Saying the debate is settled is nonsense, but the president is right about climate change. gives the definition of climate change: "Changes in average weather conditions that persist over multiple decades or longer. Climate change encompasses both increases and decreases in temperature, as well as shifts in precipitation, changing risk of certain types of severe weather events, and changes to other features of the climate system."

That definition covers all weather phenomena throughout all 4.54 billion years of Earth's existence.

You say, "Williams, that's not what the warmers are talking about. It's the high CO2 levels caused by mankind's industrial activities that are causing the climate change!" There's a problem with that reasoning.

Today CO2 concentrations worldwide average about 380 parts per million. This level of CO2 concentration is trivial compared with the concentrations during earlier geologic periods. For example, 460 million years ago, during the Ordovician Period, CO2 concentrations were 4,400 ppm, and temperatures then were about the same as they are today. With such high levels of CO2, at least according to the warmers, the Earth should have been boiling.

Then there are warmer predictions. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, warmers, such as the Union of Concerned Scientists, made all manner of doomsday predictions about global warming and the increased frequency of hurricanes. According to the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, "no Category 3-5 hurricane has struck the United States for a record nine years, and Earth's temperature has not budged for 18 years."

Climate change predictions have been wrong for decades. Let's look at some. At the first Earth Day celebration, in 1969, environmentalist Nigel Calder warned, "The threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind."

C.C. Wallen of the World Meteorological Organization said, "The cooling since 1940 has been large enough and consistent enough that it will not soon be reversed." In 1968, Professor Paul Ehrlich predicted that there would be a major food shortage in the U.S. and that "in the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people (would) starve to death."

Ehrlich forecasted that 65 million Americans would die of starvation between 1980 and 1989 and that by 1999, the U.S. population would have declined to 22.6 million. Ehrlich's predictions about England were gloomier. He said, "If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000."

In 1970, Harvard University biologist George Wald predicted, "Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind." Sen. Gaylord Nelson, in Look magazine in April 1970, said that by 1995, "somewhere between 75 and 85 percent of all the species of living animals (would) be extinct."

Climate change propaganda is simply a ruse for a socialist agenda. Consider the statements of some environmentalist leaders. Christiana Figueres, the U.N.'s chief climate change official, said that her unelected bureaucrats are undertaking "probably the most difficult task" they have ever given themselves, "which is to intentionally transform the (global) economic development model."

In 2010, German economist and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change official Ottmar Edenhofer said, "One must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world's wealth by climate policy." The article in which that interview appeared summarized Edenhofer's views this way: "Climate policy has almost nothing to do anymore with environmental protection. ... The next world climate summit in Cancun is actually an economy summit during which the distribution of the world's resources will be negotiated."

The most disgusting aspect of the climate change debate is the statements by many that it's settled science. There is nothing more anti-scientific than the idea that any science is settled. Very often we find that the half-life of many scientific ideas is about 50 years. For academics to not criticize their colleagues and politicians for suggesting that scientific ideas are not subject to challenge is the height of academic dishonesty.


Fracking gets a boost in Britain

Ineos has invested £168m in UK shale gas exploration through a deal with IGas Energy that will see the companies drill up to 11 wells in the North West and frack six of them.

The petrochemicals giant said it would pay an initial £30m for stakes of 50pc-60pc in seven exploration blocks in the Bowland basin in Cheshire and north Wales, as well as an option of a stake in two East Midlands blocks and buying IGas out of one block in Scotland.

Ineos has also committed to pay up to £138m to fund exploration in the Bowland licences, where IGas has already drilled three wells.

The proposed work involves drilling six vertical wells, one of which would be fracked, and five horizontal wells, all of which would be fracked.

IGas shares rose almost 16pc on the news, which its chief executive Andrew Austin said "underpins the quality, scale and significant potential of our licences".

"Ineos’s commitment of upfront cash and considerable capital investment will help fund us through the next steps of our shale appraisal and production programme," he said.

IGas would have to repay its £65m share of costs if the sites ever began commercial shale gas production.

No fracking has taken place in the UK since a moratorium was lifted in 2012 while planning applications to do by rival Cuadrilla have made slow progress.

Drilling under the IGas deal is unlikely to begin for several years, Ineos director Tom Crotty said.

The IGas deal is Ineos's first under plans unveiled last year by its billionaire owner Jim Ratcliffe to invest up to £640m in UK shale gas exploration.

Ineos said the deal would make it the third biggest shale gas player by licence area - behind IGas and Cuadrilla - with access to a quarter of a million acres of potential shale gas reserves.

Gary Haywood, head of Ineos's upstream division, said: "This is a great opportunity to acquire some first class assets that have the potential to yield significant quantities of gas in the future.

"Ineos’s scale, asset position across the UK, US shale gas expertise, and our expertise in managing oil and gas facilities will be a great match with IGas’s existing onshore asset base, and significant exploration and production capability."

Ineos had previously bought stakes in two Scottish exploration blocks near its Grangemouth refinery in the hope of sourcing ethane as a feedstock, but faces an uphill battle after the Scottish Government recently imposed a fresh moratorium on fracking.

Mr Crotty said it was happy with the Scottish government’s proposal for public consultation but warned that a long-term ban would be “a major problem for the Scottish economy”.

He denied that recent setbacks for Cuadrilla suggested the tide was turning against shale. “The tide has always been a bit difficult,” he said. “We have a lot of work to do to persuade people this isn’t a Frankenstein monster.”

Mr Crotty said he would not be surprised if a Government announcement on awarding new shale oil and gas exploration licences was delayed until after the general election for political reasons – despite companies having been told to expect the results early this year.

Whitehall and industry sources confirmed a delay was expected.


EPA Chief Gina McCarthy Can't Answer Climate Questions

Gina McCarthy, head of the EPA, can't answer basic questions about global temperatures, climate models or numbers of hurricanes. She didn't know being a global warming zealot requires knowledge of math.

If the science of climate change was "settled," you'd think one of the generals in the war on global warming would have memorized the numbers that point to our planetary doom from a menace the administration says is a greater threat than terrorism.

But McCarthy was asked some pretty simple questions Wednesday at a Senate hearing Wednesday on her request for $8.6 billion to help fight the claimed imminent doom of climate change, and her performance didn't help her case.

One of the questions involved droughts and the claim that their frequency has increased due to warming that is said to be caused by mankind's increased production of greenhouse gas, such as carbon dioxide, the basis for all life on Earth but judged by the EPA to be a pollutant.

"Let me ask you this," said Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., inquired of McCarthy. "There was an article from Mr. (Bjorn) Lomborg ... from the Copenhagen Institute. He says, along with Dr. (Roger) Pielke from Colorado, that we've had fewer droughts in recent years. Do you dispute that?"

The seemingly clueless McCarthy pathetically responded that she didn't "know in what context he's making statements like that." Context? Truth has its own context, and the inconvenient truth that McCarthy wasn't aware of, or didn't want to face, is that Pielke and Lomborg are right.

Pielke, a professor at the University of Colorado, told the Senate environment and public works subcommittee in July 2013 that droughts have "for the most part become shorter, less frequent and cover a smaller portion of the U.S. over the last century." Globally, he said, "there has been little change in drought over the last 60 years."

Sessions also asked McCarthy if we've had more or fewer hurricanes in the last decade. It was another question she said she couldn't answer because "it's a very complicated issue." Well, no, not unless basic math is a complicated issue. Sessions noted that we have in fact gone nearly a decade without a Category 3 storm or higher making landfall in the U.S.

The last hurricane to hit America as a Category 3 or higher was Wilma, which struck Florida on Oct. 24, 2005. Superstorm Sandy had wind speeds barely reaching Category 1 status when it slammed into New Jersey in 2012 and wreaked havoc.


Obama’s Plan Will Kill Jobs, Hike Heating Costs

Any Wisconsinites starting to wonder whether they are living through “The Long Winter,” as described by Laura Ingalls Wilder, will find no comfort in President Obama’s plans to cut the use of our most affordable and reliable sources of energy.

Though we may not be relegated to heating our homes by burning twisted bundles of straw, the president’s plans to restrict use of our most economical fuels will not only increase the costs of driving, heating and lighting, they will reduce incomes and kill jobs. For Wisconsin, it works out to 20,000 fewer manufacturing jobs by 2023.

How so? Natural gas, petroleum and coal provide nearly 80 percent of all energy used in the United States. Despite large subsidy and mandate driven growth rates, wind and solar satisfy only about 2.5 percent of our energy needs and do so at higher cost and with intermittent supply. And therein lies the problem. Eliminating conventional energy makes us pay more and get less. There are no magic wands here.

When energy is more expensive, consumers spend more on it and less on other things. And producers must pay those higher energy costs as well. That raises the costs of lawn mowers, blenders and every other product people may want at the same time those people (i.e., the aforementioned consumers) have less to spend on those things. So, guess what? Fewer lawn mowers and blenders will be sold; and it takes fewer employees to make those lower quantities.

Researchers at The Heritage Foundation used a clone of the Department of Energy’s big energy model and estimated the economic impact of the Obama administration’s broadly stated carbon targets.

What we found is that, for Wisconsin, “fewer” means 20,000 lost manufacturing jobs. And this is after accounting for any increases in jobs manufacturing no-carbon or low-carbon substitutes and any gains from increased energy efficiency that the higher energy prices induce. That 20,000 figure is the net job loss.

There are those who say (however indirectly) that those 20,000 newly unemployed workers need to take one for the team to prevent climate catastrophe. There are a couple of Grand Canyon sized holes in this argument.

First, the associated claims of increasingly extreme weather are not borne out in the data kept by our own National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration nor even by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s data keepers. There just aren’t any upward trends in hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts or floods. Nor is sea-level rise accelerating.

Extreme weather events have been with us since there was us, and they will almost certainly continue regardless of rules from Washington, D.C.

Second, cutting our emissions by even 60 percent (we are not on track for that) would moderate world temperatures by less than a tenth of a degree Celsius by the end of the century. Throw in a 60 percent cut from the rest of the developed world and any increase is cut by less than two-tenths of a degree. So to the 20,000 lost Wisconsin manufacturing jobs add those from the other 49 states, Canada, Japan, all of Western Europe, and the impact still would be an amount nobody could detect without a very accurate thermometer.

If the lost jobs don’t buy us much on the global warming side, wouldn’t we at least get cleaner air? Since CO2 is colorless, odorless and nontoxic (and helpful to plant growth) we need to look at conventional pollution.

The air has gotten cleaner even as energy production has risen dramatically. According to the National Energy Technology Laboratory, modern coal power technology cuts emissions of nitrous oxides by 86 percent, of sulfur dioxides by 98 percent, and of soot by 99.8 percent.

If you want to, go ahead and worry about your own carbon footprint, but let’s not have Washington use its regulatory footprint to stomp out 20,000 manufacturing jobs in Wisconsin for no good reason.



Today, we learn from the New Republic, a delegation of six schoolkids is visiting Washington DC with a view to educating Republican senators including Mitch McConnell, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz about the reality of global warming.

Let us pause awhile to relish the arrogance, stupidity and frankly borderline child-abusive nature of this ludicrous stunt, cooked up by the hard-left pressure group Avaaz.

One of the kids, Nadia Sheppard, 16 from North Carolina is quoted as saying: “Scientists have noticed that this was a problem for a really long time, like, maybe 20 years ago? Longer than I’ve been alive.”

Yeah, but, like, Nadia, what scientists have also, like, noticed is that there has been no statistically significant warming since 1998, the year before you were born. Does it not strike you as a bit suspicious that the thing you’ve been told by your teachers constitutes the greatest peril of our age – “global warming” – hasn’t actually happened at any stage in your entire existence?

Not that I’m blaming poor Nadia or those other hapless kids who have been dragooned into this stunt. Rather I blame Avaaz – and the broader climate alarmism movement generally – for co-opting innocents like this into their grubby propaganda wars.

Two points worth remembering about kids are a) their frontal lobes haven’t formed so they’re impulsive and irrational and b) the quality of their knowledge is dependent on the quality of their teaching, so if they’ve been taught idiocy then they will spout idiocy.

Later in the article, we learn of a separate poll, commissioned by Avaaz last year, which revealed that of more than a thousand US 12-year-olds polled, 90 per cent responded that climate change is real and “significantly” driven by human activity.

This devastating near-unanimity among America’s prepubescents on the reality of climate change I personally find moving, powerful and hugely persuasive.

I’m now just an opinion poll away from being forced to recognise the error of my ways. So tell us, please, Avaaz because this is really important and we’re dying to know:

Is America’s kitten population similarly convinced of the reality of global warming? And if it is, mightn’t this have the makings of a devastatingly effective media campaign with the potential to go viral like you would not believe?

Just a thought, Avaaz. Feel free to take or leave.


Electric cars won’t save drivers anything, not one single red penny

We have the glorious news today that if only everyone drove electric cars then everyone driving an electric car would save loadsamoney. It isn’t actually true though, electric cars won’t save drivers anything at all, not one single red penny:

Electric cars could cut the UK’s oil imports by 40% and reduce drivers’ fuel bills by £13bn if deployed on a large scale, according to a new study.

An electric vehicle surge would deliver an average £1,000 of fuel savings a year per driver, and spark a 47% drop in carbon emissions by 2030, said the Cambridge Econometrics study.

The paper, commissioned by the European Climate Foundation, said that air pollutants such as nitrogen oxide and particulates would be all but eliminated by mid-century, with knock-on health benefits from reduced respiratory diseases valued at over £1bn.

But enjoying the fruits of a clean vehicle boom will require an infrastructure roll-out soon, as the analysis assumes a deployment of over 6m electric vehicles by 2030 – growing to 23m by 2050 – powered by ambitious amounts of renewable energy.

And who, might we ask, has to pay for that infrastructure? Ah, yes, of course, that’s us, the general taxpayer, isn’t it? So, we’re asked to dig into our pockets to make driving cheaper for other people. And given that it’s not the poor who are going to be buying expensive electric vehicles that’s us, the general taxpayer, subsidising the better off, isn’t it? Not quite the way this is meant to work.

However, there’s another problem with this. Which is that electric cars aren’t going to save drivers any money at all, not in the long term. For petrol driven cars, if petrol were untaxed, are still very much cheaper than electric cars. Sure, for environmental reasons that might mean that a bit of subsidy to get the new technology rolling might be worth it (not that we agree but we’re willing to accept the possibility at least). And that tax on petrol does raise some £27 billion for the Treasury, at least it did last time we looked.

Politicians are not simply going to acquiesce at having £27 billion less of our money a year to play with and dispose of as they wish. Thus, as electric cars become a larger portion of the fleet so taxation of electic cars will rise in order to replace that revenue lost from taxing petrol. That £27 billion is still going to be extracted from drivers whatever else happens.

So given that the savings from electric vehicles are entirely tax driven, and the tax system will not, as soon as the revenue loss becomes noticeable, stay static then we cannot say that the widespread adoption of electic cars will save drivers money.

In fact, given that the electric car untaxed is still more expensive than the petrol car untaxed, yet the political imperative will be to make sure that tax revenues do not fall, we will find out that electric cars cost drivers more than petrol driven. Because, once electric cars become popular, they will have to carry the costs of their inefficiency and also that same tax burden.

This idea that drivers will, in the long term, save money by having electric cars is thus a con. It simply won’t happen: not when politicians so enjoy spending the money they raise through the taxation of driving.



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