Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Harmless pesticide still used in Australia -- ozone "hole"  regardless

In their role as sand in the gears of civilization, Greenies constantly find reasons to ban useful chemicals,  making pest and weed control difficult and raising costs.  We need therefore to look at where a ban is really needed.  In this case the reason for the ban is a laugh.  Methyl bromide was banned because it allegedly harmed the ozone layer.

But even though the ozone layer "protections" were put in place long ago, the "hole" in the ozone layer waxes and wanes as it always did.  The "protections" have protected nothing. The ozone "hole" is now properly regarded as just another failed Greenie scare.  Although  official meteorological records of the "hole" are no doubt still available, nobody I know even bothers to track it anymore.

So the ban on Methyl bromide should in fact now be lifted completely -- giving farmers and others a colorless, odorless, nonflammable fumigant to use, where appropriate

About 70 per cent of Australian strawberries are being grown on runners that have been fumigated with an environmentally damaging pesticide that has been banned around the world.

Methyl bromide is an odourless and colourless gas which was banned under the United Nations Montreal Protocol in 1989 because it depletes the ozone layer.

Australia agreed to phase it out by 2005 but a decade later, nine strawberry runner growers at Toolangi, in Victoria's Yarra Valley, are still using nearly 30 tonnes a year.

They produce 100 million strawberry runners annually, which in turn generate about 70 per cent of Australian strawberries.

Each year they apply to the UN for a critical use exemption from the ban, claiming the alternatives are financially crippling.

The co-chair of the UN Methyl Bromide Technical Options committee, Dr Ian Porter, said the situation was frustrating.

"Internationally, we've gotten rid of 85 per cent of methyl bromide, and it's a great win for mankind — in fact it's the best environmental gain that's been made," he said.

"[The strawberry runner growers] want to get rid of it, but there's a responsibility to provide high-health runners for the industry.

"It's frustrating ... but we don't want industries to fall over economically or technically. We don't want more disease or pests in Australia."

Environmental Justice Australia said it was concerned the growers were using a loophole to continue their use of methyl bromide.

"I think if people did know more about this issue, they'd be very concerned that the strawberries they're consuming are contributing to this significant environmental issue," chief executive Brendan Sydes said.

"There was a commitment to phase out this chemical by 2005 and yet, despite that, we're continuing to use it in this industry. It's a real concern.

"I think it's a real failure of the industry to come up with some alternative methods of producing strawberry runners, but also of the government to insist on compliance with this important regulatory regime."

Prices would increase to $10 a punnet: industry

The strawberry growers said if they were forced to stop using methyl bromide, the viability of the $400 million strawberry industry would be "compromised" and 15,000 jobs jeopardised.

The industry estimated their costs could soar by 500 per cent if they were to switch to soilless growing systems, similar to those used in parts of Europe.

The runner industry has invested more than $700,000 on research and development to find alternatives to methyl bromide.

That cost would be passed on to consumers, and a punnet of strawberries could end up costing more than $10.

"You imagine turning 100 hectares immediately into glass houses, and the impact that would have," Dr Porter said.

"It's just not the least bit economical at this stage.

"It's tough to weigh up economics, it's one of our challenges. Will consumers pay $10 a punnet? I don't know."


Feisty Ala. climate change critic claims Washington is trying to intimidate him

An Alabama atmospheric scientist who has gained a global reputation as a repudiator of "mainstream climate science" strongly defended his research record at the University of Alabama, Huntsville (UAH), where he is a distinguished professor and director of the university's Earth System Science Center.

John Christy, who has been at UAH since 1987, said this week that all of his research funds are derived from state and federal agencies and that he has never accepted research money from business or industry groups that have challenged the scientific findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the National Research Council and other expert bodies.

Nor has he accepted research funding from groups actively engaged in lobbying against U.S. climate change policies, he said.

Moreover, Christy suggested a recently launched congressional investigation into sources of his and other climate scientists' research funding is an attempt by Democrats in Washington to squelch dissenting opinions about the degree of climate warming and the role that human-generated greenhouse gas emissions have in a shifting climate.

"I've been involved in this issue for 25 years, and I'm past the point of being intimidated," Christy said in an email responding to the inquiry led by House Natural Resources ranking member Ra├║l Grijalva (D-Ariz.) exploring outside funding to climate researchers at seven U.S. universities.

"This is simply a way for the Administration to publicly draw attention to us as scientists not aligned with their views, implying there must be a scurrilous reason for daring to think the way we do," he added.

Christy said he did not distinguish between Democrats in Congress, where the investigation is playing out, and members of the Obama administration who have cast Christy and other scientists with dissenting views on climate change as being idealogues or beholden to the fossil fuel industry and other polluters.

"They are one and the same to me," he said.

Not a joiner

Christy's comments follow renewed attention brought to his and six other high-profile academics' research records, public engagements and other activities carried out in their capacities as university employees.

Others targeted by the Grijalva investigation are Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Robert Balling of Arizona State University, Judith Curry of the Georgia Institute of Technology, Steven Hayward of Pepperdine University, David Legates of the University of Delaware and Roger Pielke of the University of Colorado.

All seven of the academics have testified before Congress, and several have participated in events hosted or sponsored by groups seeking to disprove widely accepted climate change theories or characterize the phenomenon as a hoax.

Some of those organizations, such as the Heartland Institute and the Institute for Energy Research, have come under scrutiny from advocacy groups, climate scientists and elected officials for their lobbying activities, public statements and financial support for research that promotes climate change skepticism.

Christy, who is credited with important research using balloons and satellites to measure changes in the Earth's lower atmosphere, is well-known to climate skeptic organizations, and his work has been cited in various documents and reports. He is also a well-known figure in both Washington, D.C., and Alabama, where he has been the state's official climatologist since 2000.

In the past, Christy has said he avoids close association, including attending the meetings of climate skeptic groups, to avoid "guilt by association."

He has testified before Congress numerous times, most recently in 2013, and is one of the lead authors of the IPCC's 2001 report in which the satellite temperatures were included as a high-quality data set for studying global climate change. He has since become one of the IPCC's staunchest critics.

Among other things, Christy has said IPCC models suggesting that climate change is an imminent threat are wrong, and he has argued that efforts to arrest climate change by sharply curtailing the burning of fossil fuels will leave the country without its cheapest and most abundant energy resources.

"Someone has just done a terrific job at marketing an [unproven] idea," Christy said of leading climate theories in a June 2014 interview

Before Congress, Christy has often struck a more combative posture.

"It appears the nation has indeed enacted knee-jerk remedies to 'combat climate change' through regulations on carbon dioxide," he told a House panel in December 2013. "I warned this committee in 1996 that these would be 'unproductive and economically damaging.'"

In the same testimony,Christy submitted comments from fellow climate scientist Curry of Georgia Tech likening the IPCC to an entity that has stifled scientific inquiry and worked to infect the scientific and policy communities with false findings, much the way a disease infects an organism. "We need to put down the IPCC as soon as possible -- not to protect the patient who seems to be thriving in its own little cocoon, but for the sake of the rest of us whom it is trying to infect with its disease," Curry said.

Such comments have brought Christy into the crosshairs of numerous climate advocacy groups, as well as Democrats like Grijalva, who last month began digging into sources of financial support for researchers like Christy and the six others targeted in the investigation.

In a Feb. 24 letter, Grijalva asked UAH administrators to respond to a series of questions and information requests concerning Christy's work. Among other things, the congressman asked for all of Christy's testimony before government agencies, as well as detailed information on any "external funding" that Christy has received from non-UAH sources, including "consulting fees, promotional considerations, speaking fees, honoraria, travel expenses, salary, compensation and other monies."

In an email last week, a spokesman for House Natural Resources Committee Democrats declined to provide any information on the investigation's findings to date.

Christy said that the university will be sending a response "based on all of my funding records." As for the investigators' request for all of Christy's public testimony, he said his remarks before Congress are already part of the public record, including information about research funding sources.

Christy also has the backing of his employer. Ray Garner, chief of staff to UAH President Robert Altenkirch, said in a statement that Christy "has always approached his work with the utmost of integrity, and the quality of his research is nothing short of exemplary."


Is Global Warming a Moral Cause?

On March 1, the New York Times published a silly piece titled “Is the Environment a Moral Cause” by Robb Willer (writing from Palo Alto, CA, of course) saying conservatives don’t embrace global warming alarmism and other popular environmental causes because they are more concerned about “patriotism, respect for authority, sanctity or purity” than “protecting people and ecosystems from harm and destruction.”

With all due respect to Prof. Willer, this isn’t even close to the truth. Rupert Wynham’s wonderful March 26 letter to the BBC makes it abundantly clear that conservatives view global warming as an issue loaded with moral concerns of a different kind: truth-telling, respect for others, healthy skepticism toward authority and propaganda, and willingness to publicly debate those who disagree.

Conservatives – and, opinion polls show, a healthy majority of the American public – don’t “believe in global warming” because its advocates utterly lack credibility. They’ve been caught again and again exaggerating, lying, and even breaking the law to end any civil discussion of the causes and consequences of climate change. Ordinary people aren’t fooled by propaganda. They’ve figured it out.

Willer writes, “To win over more of the public, environmentalists must look beyond the arguments that they themselves have found convincing.” That’s only partly right. They need to start speaking the truth, stop believing government agencies and advocacy groups that have been shown to lie and deceive to achieve power or financial rewards, and start debating their critics. Nothing else will restore environmentalism to the status it properly held before it became an appendage of the left-liberal political movement.


Institute of Physics Accused of Corruption as Climate Change ’97 Percent Consensus’ Claim is Debunked

In the nearly two years since John Cook and his colleagues published their ’97 percent’ paper claiming a scientific consensus on climate change, the term ’97 percent’ has become something of a mantra for global warming advocates. President Obama tweeted “Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: #climate change is real, man-made and dangerous.” The Guardian runs a regular column headed “Climate Consensus – the 97%” (regular contributors include co-authors of the original paper).

The paper, published by the Institute of Physic’s IOPScience has been downloaded over 300,000 times and was voted the best 2013 paper in Environmental Research Letters. But does the 97 percent claim stack up?

Richard Tol, Professor of Economics at the University of Sussex and the Professor of the Economics of Climate Change at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, says no. He has penned a blog, since published in edited form by The Australian, thoroughly debunking Cook’s paper, its methodology, its results, and the way it has been used by climate change advocates.

“Climate research lost its aura of impartiality with the unauthorised release of the email archives of the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia,” Tol says. “Its reputation of competence was shredded by the climate community’s celebration of the flawed works of Michael Mann. Innocence went with the allegations of sexual harassment by Rajendra Pachauri and Peter Gleick’s fake memo.

“Cook’s 97% nonsensus paper shows that the climate community still has a long way to go in weeding out bad research and bad behaviour. If you want to believe that climate researchers are incompetent, biased and secretive, Cook’s paper is an excellent case in point.”

Firstly, Tol points out that science doesn’t depend on consensus. A scientific truth is objective not subjective; that is, it’s true whether one person adheres to it, or everybody adheres to it.

Secondly, Cook’s paper, titled Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature, only claims that 97 percent of the scientific literature that takes a position on climate change (most does not) supports man-made global warming hypotheses. Yet supporters have used it to claim that 97 percent of scientists support global warming theories; they do not.

That aside, Tol highlights problems specific to Cook’s paper, such as the fact that, although Cook and his team sampled over 12,000 papers to reach their conclusion, they “did not check whether their sample is representative for the scientific literature. It isn’t. Their conclusions are about the papers they happened to look at, rather than about the literature. Attempts to replicate their sample failed: A number of papers that should have been analysed were not, for no apparent reason.”

That wasn’t the only sampling issue – further analysis has found that their sample was “padded with irrelevant papers,” such as an article on TV coverage of climate change which has been used as evidence to support climate change. “In fact, about three-quarters of the papers counted as endorsements had nothing to say about the subject matter,” Tol says.

Despite these and other issues, the paper’s editor praised the paper for its “excellent data quality”. Refusal to hand over data for third party analysis breaches the publisher’s policy on validation and reproduction, yet an editorial board member of the journal defended Cook’s obfuscation as “exemplary scientific conduct”.

The conduct of the Institute of Physics as the publishers of the report, and the University of Queensland, Cook’s employer, in protecting him has led the blogger Andrew Montford to accuse them of corruption.

“As an indictment of the corruption of climate science it’s hard to beat. That the Institute of Physics and the University of Queensland would stand behind such a blatant piece of politicking and deceit is almost beyond belief.

“As far as they are concerned when it comes to climate science there is no study too fraudulent, no conduct too reprehensible, no deception too blatant,” he said.


Do Joe Romm and Fellow Climate Scientists Think Sexual Misconduct is OK?

Climate science is a world in which wealthy businessmen who make charitable donations to museums are targeted and ostracized. Yet creeps who write about urinating on women get a free pass

A passage from former IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri’s 2010 book, "Return to Almora"

Yesterday the left-leaning US website, ThinkProgress.org, ran this headline: Museums’ Ties To The Koch Brothers Are Not OK, Scientists Say. The story is written by Joe Romm, a gent who tosses around the phrase ‘anti-science’ so frequently he long ago deprived it of all meaning.

We’re told about an open letter signed by Romm and 53 other “Leading climate scientists and museum experts.” These people say they’re

deeply concerned by the links between museums of science and natural history with those who profit from fossil fuels or fund lobby groups that misrepresent climate science.

The letter singles out a particular person, David Koch. The fact that this wealthy individual chooses to donate his money and time to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and the American Museum of Natural History is a scandal, apparently. According to the letter:

We are concerned that the integrity of these institutions is compromised by association with special interests…

When some of the biggest contributors to climate change and funders of misinformation on climate science sponsor exhibitions in museums of science and natural history, they undermine public confidence in the validity of the institutions responsible for transmitting scientific knowledge.

… the only ethical way forward for our museums is to cut all ties with the fossil fuel industry… [bold added]

Ah, yes. Integrity. Public confidence. Ethics. These are all important ideas. Too bad activist scientists such as Romm are so selective about where and when they think such ideas apply. I’ve recently written about a senior Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) official by the name of Jean-Pascal van Ypersel who has worked for and taken money from Greenpeace.

Where is the open letter from 54 leading climate scientists pointing out that the IPCC’s integrity is irretrievably compromised by such a link? Why aren’t these same scientists declaring loudly that there’s no quicker way to undermine public confidence in a purportedly scientific entity than for its officials to get into bed with agenda-driven, green multinationals?

And if ordinary, everyday ethics are the issue where, oh where, are the open letters making it clear there’s no place in climate science for the sort of egregious sexual harassment of which Rajendra Pachauri, the former chairman of the IPCC, now stands accused?

Why hasn’t anyone at ThinkProgress even bothered to mention Pachauri’s resignation? Hello, it happened more than a month ago – on February 24th. Why isn’t anyone on that website talking about the highly embarrassing fact that Pachauri’s resignation letter tells us he’s on a religious crusade to save the planet? Surely a statement such as that shockingly undermines everyone’s confidence in the IPCC’s scientific neutrality.

When a public figure steps down due to allegations of sexual misconduct that’s big news. Why isn’t ThinkProgress reporting this news? At what moment in history would it be more relevant for the public to know that a top climate official finds himself in this kind of trouble? I mean, there’s only a major climate summit scheduled for later this year.

Search for ‘Pachauri’ at ThinkProgress and you’ll get 163 hits, or 17 pages of results. There’s

an interview with Pachauri from May 2007
a 2009 story about Pachauri endorsing the activist 350.org’s campaign
a 2010 defense of Pachauri after he is criticized by Roger Pielke Jr. in the New York Times
a 2011 article that refers to Pachauri – an economist and industrial engineer – as the “U.N.’s top climate scientist”
But the mentions of this public figure stop dead on November 2, 2014. Apparently not a single newsworthy event involving the U.N.’s [former] top climate scientist has occurred since then.

Let us speak frankly: Climate science is a world in which wealthy businessmen who make charitable donations to museums are targeted and ostracized. Yet creeps who write about urinating on women – and who stand accused of long term, outrageous sexual harassment – get a totally free pass.


The tip of the climate spending iceberg

How your tax and consumer dollars finance Climate Crisis, Inc. and hobble America

Paul Driessen

Lockheed Martin, a recent Washington Post article notes, is getting into renewable energy, nuclear fusion, “sustainability” and even fish farming projects, to augment its reduced defense profits. The company plans to forge new ties with Defense Department and other Obama initiatives, based on a shared belief in manmade climate change as a critical security and planetary threat. It is charging ahead where other defense contractors have failed, confident that its expertise, lobbying skills and “socially responsible” commitment to preventing climate chaos will land it plentiful contracts and subsidies.

As with its polar counterparts, 90% of the titanic climate funding iceberg is invisible to most citizens, businessmen and politicians. The Lockheed action is the mere tip of the icy mountaintop.

The multi-billion-dollar agenda reflects the Obama Administration’s commitment to using climate change to radically transform America. It reflects a determination to make the climate crisis industry so enormous that no one will be able to tear it down, even as computer models and disaster claims become less and less credible – and even if Republicans control Congress and the White House after 2016. Lockheed is merely the latest in a long list of regulators, researchers, universities, businesses, manufacturers, pressure groups, journalists and politicians with such strong monetary, reputational and authority interests in alarmism that they will defend its tenets and largesse tooth and nail.

Above all, it reflects a conviction that alarmists have a right to control our energy use, lives, livelihoods and living standards, with no transparency and no accountability for mistakes they make or damage they inflict on disfavored industries and families. And they are pursuing this agenda despite global warming again being dead last in the latest Gallup poll of 15 issues of greatest concern to Americans: only 25% say they worry about it “a great deal,” despite steady hysteria; 24% are “not at all” worried about the climate. By comparison, 46% percent worry a great deal about the size and power of the federal government.

But Climate Crisis, Inc. is using our tax and consumer dollars to advance six simultaneous strategies.

1) Climate research. The US government spends $2.5 billion per year on research that focuses on carbon dioxide, ignores powerful natural forces that have always driven climate change, and generates numerous reports and press releases warning of record high temperatures, melting icecaps, rising seas, stronger storms, more droughts and other “unprecedented” crises. The claims are erroneous and deceitful.

They are consistently contradicted by actual climate and weather records, and so alarmists increasingly emphasize computer models that reinvent and substitute for reality. Penn State modeler Michael Mann has collected millions for headline-grabbing work like his latest assertion that the Gulf Stream is slowing – contrary to 20 years of actual measurements that show no change. Former NASA astronomer James Hansen received a questionable $250,000 Heinz Award from Secretary of State John Kerry’s wife, for his climate crisis and anti-coal advocacy. Al Gore and 350.org also rake in millions. Alarmist scientists and institutions seek billions more, while virtually no government money goes to research into natural forces.

2) Renewable energy research and implementation grants, loans, subsidies and mandates drive projects to replace hydrocarbons that are still abundant and still 82% of all US energy consumed. Many recipients went bankrupt despite huge taxpayer grants and loan guarantees. Wind turbine installations butcher millions of birds and bats annually, but are exempt from Endangered Species Act fines and penalties.

Tesla Motors received $256 million to produce electric cars for wealthy elites who receive $2,500 to $7,500 in tax credits, plus free charging and express lane access. From 2007 to 2013, corn ethanol interests spent $158 million lobbying for more “green” mandates and subsidies – and $6 million in campaign contributions – for a fuel that reduces mileage, damages engines, requires enormous amounts of land, water and fertilizer, and from stalk to tailpipe emits more carbon dioxide than gasoline. General Electric spends tens of millions lobbying for more taxpayer renewable energy dollars; so do many other companies. The payoffs add up to tens of billions of dollars, from taxpayers and consumers.

3) Regulatory fiats increasingly substitute for laws and carbon taxes that Congress refuses to enact, due to concerns about economic and employment impacts, and because China, India and other countries’ CO2 emissions dwarf America’s. EPA’s war on coal has already claimed thousands of jobs, raised electricity costs for millions of businesses and families, and adversely affected living standards, health and welfare for millions of families. The White House and EPA are also targeting oil and gas drilling and fracking.

Now the Obama Administration is unleashing a host of new mandates and standards, based on arbitrary “social cost of carbon” calculations that assume fossil fuel use imposes numerous climate and other costs, but brings minimal or no economic or societal benefits. The rules will require onerous new energy efficiency and CO2 emission reduction standards that will send consumer costs skyrocketing, while channeling billions of dollars to retailers, installers, banks and mostly overseas manufacturers.

As analyst Roger Bezdek explains, water heaters that now cost $675-1,500 will soon cost $1,200-2,450 – with newfangled exhaust fans, vent pipes and condensate removal systems. Pickup trucks with more fuel efficiency and less power will nearly double in price. Microwaves, cell phones, vacuum cleaners, hair dryers, toasters, coffee pots, lawn mowers, photocopiers, televisions and almost everything else will cost far more. Poor and middle class families will get clobbered, to prevent perhaps 5% of the USA’s 15% of all human CO2 emissions toward 0.04% of atmospheric CO2, and maybe 0.00001 degrees of warming.

4) A new UN climate treaty would limit fossil fuel use by developed countries, place no binding limits or timetables on developing nations, and redistribute hundreds of billions of dollars to poor countries that claim they have been harmed by emissions and warming due to rich country hydrocarbon use. Even IPCC officials now openly brag that climate policy has “almost nothing” to do with protecting the environment – and everything to do with intentionally transforming the global economy and redistributing its wealth.

5) Vicious personal attacks continue on scientists, businessmen, politicians and others who disagree publicly with the catechism of climate cataclysm. Alarmist pressure groups and Democrat members of Congress are out to destroy the studies, funding, reputations and careers of all who dare challenge climate disaster tautologies. At President Obama’s behest, even disaster aid agencies are piling on.

New FEMA rules require that any state seeking disaster preparedness funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency must first assess how climate change threatens their communities. This will mean relying on discredited, worthless alarmist models that routinely spew out predictions unrelated to reality. It likely means no federal funds will go to states that include or focus on natural causes, historical records or models that have better track records than those employed by the IPCC, EPA and President.

6) Thought control. In addition to vilifying climate chaos skeptics, alarmists are determined to control all thinking on the subject. They are terrified that people will find realist analyses and explanations far more persuasive. They refuse to debate skeptics, respond to NIPCC and other studies examining natural climate change and carbon dioxide benefits to wildlife and agriculture, or even admit there is no consensus.

They want the news media to ignore us but cannot put the internet genie back in the bottle. The White House is trying, though. It even sent picketers to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s home, to demand that he knuckle under and apply 1930s’ telephone laws to the internet, as a first step in content control

States must refuse to play the climate crisis game. Through lawsuits, hearings, investigations and other actions, governors, legislators, AGs and other officials can delay EPA diktats, educate citizens about solar and other natural forces, and explain the huge costs and trifling benefits of these draconian regulations.

Congress should hold hearings, demand an accounting of agency expenditures, require solid evidence for every climate claim and regulation, and cross-examine Administration officials on details. It should slash EPA and other agency budgets, so they cannot keep giving billions to pressure groups, propagandists and attack dogs. Honesty, transparency, accountability and a much shorter leash are long overdue.

Via email


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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