Friday, April 10, 2015

Anaesthetic is WARMING the planet: Gases used to knock out patients during surgery are contributing to climate change (?)

We're used to being nagged about gas concentrations in parts per million but now we are being nagged about gas concentrations in parts per trillion!  We didn't even get to stop on parts per billion. And the idea that the anaesthetic gases are much "stronger" in their effect than CO2 ignores completely that the magnitude of CO2 effects is very unsettled (The "climate sensitivity" debate).  There is reason to believe that the effect of CO2 is real but negligible.  The same may be true of the anaesthetic gases.  Theories take you only so far and can be too simplistic.  Certainly in the last 18 years the theoretical effect of the trace gases has not accorded with reality

Anaesthetic gases used to send patients to sleep during surgery are accumulating in the Earth's atmosphere where they are contributing to climate change.

Scientists say they have detected the gases used in anaesthetic as far afield as Antarctica and concentrations have been rising globally in the past decade.

The gases - desflurane, isoflurane and sevoflurane - are potent greenhouse gases that have 2,500 times the impact on global warming compared to carbon dioxide.

Dr Martin Vollmer, who led the study at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Material Science and Technology in Dubendorf, Switzerland, said the anaesthetic gases were capable of storing far more energy from the sun than carbon dioxide.

He said: 'On a kilogram-per-kilogram basis, it's so much more potent.  'Modern halogenated inhalation anesthetics undergo little metabolisation during clinical application and evaporate almost completely to the atmosphere.'

The researchers, whose work is published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, found that concentrations of desflurane reached 0.30 parts per trillion in 2014.

Isoflurane, sevoflurane and halothane have reached 0.097, 0.13 and 0.0092 parts per trillion in the atmosphere respectively.

By comparison, carbon dioxide gas currently makes up 400 parts per million in the atmosphere.

However, one kilogram (2.2lbs) of desflurane produces the same greenhouse effect as 2,500 kg (5,512lbs) of carbon dioxide.

The researchers estimate that anaesthetic gas emissions currently combine to produce the equivalent effect in the atmosphere of 3.1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.

The research team did not examine the impact of nitrous oxide, another major component of anaesthetic, as it is released by many other sources.

The researchers have been taking air samples from remote sites around the Northern Hemisphere since 2000 while they have also obtained air samples in the North Pacific and the South Shetland Islands in Antarctic.

The team also used two hourly measurements at a high altitude observatory at Jungfraujoch, Switzerland since 2013 to track anaesthetic gases.  They then used computer modelling to produce global estimates for the concentrations of these gases.

However, Edmond Eger, an anaethesiologist at the University of California San Francisco, said: 'What the report fails to note is that a major factor determining the environmental effect is the manner in which the anesthetics are used.

'Many anesthetists deliver sevoflurane or isoflurane in a two - three liters per minute flow but deliver desflurane in a lower flow - 0.5 to one liter per minute. 'Some believe that desflurane has clinical advantages that argue for its continued use.'


Busted: Obama’s claim that global warming caused daughter’s one-time asthma attack

Here’s what actually happened.

President Obama claimed today that global warming was to blame for a one-time asthma attack that happened to his daughter Malia when she was in pre-school.

Except that, according to Michelle Obama, the attack occurred while they were at the circus — a venue teaming with peanuts.

And wouldn’t you know it, Malia has a peanut allergy.

Blame global warming? That’s nuts!


Freeman Dyson says the  Earth is actually growing greener

Eminent physicist Freeman Dyson is very elderly but still alive and alert.  He celebrates the increased levels of CO2 in the air in a recent interview

Freeman says models do a good job of helping us understand climate but they do a very poor job of predicting it.

Dyson says, “as measured from space, the whole earth is growing greener as a result of carbon dioxide, so it’s increasing agricultural yields, it’s increasing the forests and it’s increasing growth in the biological world and that’s more important and more certain than the effects on climate.”

He acknowledges that human activity has an effect on climate but claims it is much less than is claimed. He stresses the non-climate benefits of carbon are overwhelmingly favourable.

SOURCE (Video at link)

The sun and the wind are free, but converting them to RELIABLE electricity is expensive, if not impossible

By Marita Noon

In an effort to get America off of fossil fuels, “free” solar and wind energy is often touted as the solution. However, in reality, the so-called free energy has high costs and does little to minimize fossil-fuel use or cut greenhouse gases.

Because solar and wind energy are not available 24/7 — also frequently referenced as not “dispatchable” — incorporating them into the electricity portfolio requires back-up power to be available on demand. When the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow, we still expect to have heating or air conditioning, cook our dinners, charge our phones, and use our computers.

To do this, requires fossil fuels—typically natural gas “peaking plants,” but depending on what is available, it may be a coal-fueled power plant that is forced to operate inefficiently, releasing more CO2 than it would if allowed to operate as intended.

Think of it this way: If you want to cook a hamburger, and you have a charcoal grill, you go outside about 30 minutes before you plan to cook. You mound up the charcoal, sprinkle it with lighter fluid, and toss on a match. When the coals are white on the edges, you know they are ready. You put your burger on the grill and cook it for five to eight minutes. Once you remove the burger, the coals are still hot for hours. Ultimately, they burn down to ashes and are cold enough that you can throw them into your plastic trash can, or into the forest. To restart it later in the same day is not efficient.

By comparison, if you are going to cook that same hamburger over natural gas or propane, you go out five minutes before you plan to grill to heat up the elements. You cook your burger, and you turn it off. No coals, no cool down needed.

Power plants function in a similar fashion.

A coal-fueled power plant cannot easily be turned on and off. It works most efficiently — i.e. cleanly — when it burns continuously. Like the grill, you can add more coal throughout the process to keep the temperature up, which creates the steam that generates electricity.

But with a natural-gas-fueled power plant, you can easily turn it on and off. So when the wind suddenly stops blowing — with no warning, the gas plant can quickly ramp up to generate the needed power.

As Germany, with the highest implementation of renewable energy of any country, found out, to maintain grid stability, it needs coal- and natural-gas-fueled power plants. As a result of its policies that favor renewables, such as solar and wind, Germany has had to subsidize its fossil fueled power plants to keep them open.

So, by adding solar and wind power to the energy mix, we actually increase costs by paying for redundant power supplies—which ultimately, through rate increases, hurts the less fortunate who also have to cover the costs of the renewables.

In the cold weather of Albuquerque’s winter, I received a call from an “unemployed single mother living in an 800 square-foot apartment.” When I answered the phone, she dumped on me. She was angry. Her life circumstances meant she didn’t turn on her heat because she couldn’t afford it. After stating her position, she ranted at me, “I just opened up my utility bill. I see that I am paying $1.63 a month for renewable energy.” She continued: “I don’t give a f#*! about renewable energy! Why do I have to pay for it?”

I tried to steer her attention away from the utility company and toward the legislature that nearly a decade ago passed the Renewable Portfolio Standard, which requires increasing amounts of more expensive renewable energy. As a result, her rates went up, and she had no say in the matter — except that she may have voted for the legislators who approved the policy.

Recently, in Florida, the state NAACP chapter had an op-ed published that, essentially, said the same thing: renewable energy for some people, costs those who can least afford it.

It is not that renewable energy is bad. I have friends who live off the grid. They are cattle ranchers, who live in New Mexico’s Gila Forest. Were it not for their solar panels, they’d have no lights, no computers, no direct contact with the rest of the world. For them, solar panels on the roof — with a back-up system of car batteries — are their salvation. At a cost that worked for them, they were able to purchase used solar panels that someone else had discarded. They are grateful for their solar panels, but they have little option — and they know that; they accept it.

Without thinking of what works well in each situation, government has tried to apply a one-size-fits-all solution. Based on a phony narrative of energy shortages and global warming, err, climate change, renewables have been sold as the panacea. While they may be the right choice in a few cases, such as my cattle ranching friends, or even in the oil fields — which are one of the single biggest industrial users of solar power, many individual locales may be better served by coal, or natural gas, even nuclear, than by renewable power. But the mandates, or the EPA, have not taken that into consideration.

In New Mexico, there are two coal-fueled power plants situated virtually at the mouth of the coal mine. The coal is extracted and sent straight to the power plants that generate most of New Mexico’s power and provide enough excess to sell to neighboring Arizona and California. But, EPA regulations require that these plants, now, with years of useful service left, be shut down. Some of the units will be converted to natural gas — something the region also has in abundance. However, the natural gas has pipelines that can take it to the world markets; it is not stranded in the San Juan Basin.

In contrast, the coal cannot conveniently leave the area — there is no rail to transport it. Looking at the specifics of the basin, it makes sense to continue to generate electricity from coal and allow the natural gas to benefit markets (perhaps even our allies) without other resources — but the EPA and its environmental advocates will hear nothing of it. Their ideology drives the policy whether it makes economic, or practical, sense or not.

Just try to bring truth or logic into the discussion, and the crusaders will treat you as they have Indiana’s Governor Mike Pence.

Last month, I released a white paper: Solar power in the U.S. Using real-life data and news reports, we present the harsh realities of today’s solar market—which has reacted, not with facts, but by smearing me and the supposed funding of the organizations I lead. Apparently, when you have emotion and messaging on your side, you do not need to be impeded by facts — such as the sun and the wind are free, but converting them to electricity is expensive; converting them to reliable, albeit expensive, electricity is virtually impossible. Ah, but they never let the truth stand in the way of their feel-good story.


Using the Global Warming Hoax to Destroy America

By Alan Caruba

When President Obama announced on March 31 that he intends to ensure that the U.S. will slash its “greenhouse gas emissions” 26% below 2005 emissions levels by 2025 in order to keep pledges made to fulfill the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, he failed to mention that such levels would be comparable to what they were in our Civil War era, 150 years ago.

He also failed to mention that the U.S. has made no such pledges as regards the 1992 “Kyoto Treaty” which was resoundingly rejected by the U.S. Senate when then Vice President Al Gore brought it back from the U.N. conference.

There is no need, globally or nationally, to reduce such emissions. It would be a crime against humanity, especially for the millions that would be denied electrical power or would see its cost rise exponentially. “The President has no credible evidence to back up his claims,” said H. Sterling Burnett, a Research Fellow with the free market think tank, The Heartland Institute. “Obama’s climate actions are likely to cause far more harm to people, especially the poor, than any purported threats from global warming.”

“Global warming” and “climate change” are attributed to the use of fossil fuels to manufacture and transport ourselves and our goods, and to create electrical energy, despite the fact that the Earth, its oceans and land areas naturally generate such gases.

There are, for example, more than 1500 potentially active volcanoes and countless others under the oceans. They produce billions of tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other gases that are identified as “greenhouse gas emissions.” The human contribution pales in comparison to natural sources such as the warming ocean surface which releases CO2.

Even so, CO2 constitutes a mere 0.04% of the atmosphere. There is no evidence CO2 plays any role in the Earth’s global temperature.

Do these “greenhouse gas emissions” trap heat? Apparently not because the Earth has been in a natural cooling cycle for the past eighteen years breaking and making records for snow and ice. In the 1970s scientists were predicting a new Ice Age. Ten years later they were predicting “global warming.”

Why then is the President intent on slashing “greenhouse gas emissions” when (1) the Earth is not a greenhouse and (2) doing so would harm our economy for decades to come?

The answer lies in his promise to “fundamentally transform” a nation that does not need transformation except for the reduction of the size and scope of the federal government. Its economic system is the best in the world. Its military is the strongest. Its agriculture feeds Americans and is exported to other nations.

As David Rothbard, the president and co-founder of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), a free market think tank, noted in the wake of Obama’s announcement, “The President will have to bypass the law-making process and use executive orders and regulations” to achieve his goal of slashing emissions. “To do so requires tortured readings of the Clean Air Act and other current laws.”

Significantly, “the President offers no suitable replacement for the lost generating capacity beyond pointing toward wind and solar which is not up to the task.” When Obama took office, coal-fired plants provided 50% of U.S. electricity. It is now down to 40% and headed lower if Obama has his way.

Rothbard warns that “Global warming campaigners see this presidency and the Paris U.N. Summit as the best chance they are likely to see to take control of American energy. The ramifications are disastrous for American freedom and prosperity.”

This brings us to the what John L. Casey, founder of the Space and Science Research Corporation, (SSRC), an independent scientific research organization in Orlando, says about the forthcoming November 30 to December 15 U.N. climate conference in Paris which he describes as “doomed” and that’s the good news.

Its announced goal of imposing global limits on greenhouse gas emissions will not be mandatory and “President Obama has effectively gutted any meaningful agreement among the major industrialized nations, by having granted to the planet’s largest CO2 producer, China, free license to build as many coal power plants as they wish, and emit as many gigatons of greenhouse gases as they wish until 2030.”

This is, in fact, a global trend as many developing nations such as India do the same thing. Nor will they suddenly shut down electricity production fifteen years from now.

This huge, international farce formerly known as the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, began as an international treaty created in 1992. The U.S. Senate refused to ratify the Kyoto Treaty, but pledges to reduce greenhouse gases were made by 33 out of 195 countries, called their “Intended National Determined Contribution” are the main feature at the forthcoming Paris conference.

For all the media attention the President will try to generate for this idiocy, Ken Haapala, president of the Science and Environmental Policy Project, says “It is unlikely that the current Senate would approve a binding agreement.”  Haapala notes that lawmakers that include the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK)m and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), “have all insisted that the international agreement the U.N. is working on is a treaty and cannot be enforced without Senate approval.”

Sen. McConnell warned, “Considering that two-thirds of the U.S. Federal government hasn’t even signed off on the Clean Power Plan and 13 states have already pledged to fight it, our international partners should proceed with caution before entering into a binding, unattainable deal.”

While most Americans have concluded that “global warming” or “climate change” are low on their list of fears President Obama has elevated this hoax to the top of his agenda for his last two years in office, along with the deal that would give Iran the opportunity to build a nuclear arsenal of weapons.

He doesn’t want to “transform” America. He wants to destroy it.


The whales are OK

From the IWC

It is well known that overexploitation by the whaling industry led to serious declines in many of the world’s populations of whales, although thankfully no species was brought to extinction and many are now in the process of recovering, although not all.

One reason for this is the improved management of whaling that began in the mid-1970s, when management by population or stock was introduced. This led to the development of the present highly precautionary scientific ‘management procedure’ approaches developed by the IWC’s Scientific Committee for commercial and aboriginal subsistence whaling in order to ensure that past mistakes will not be repeated.

What is status?

Normally when considering ‘status’, one is interested in (a) where a population is now compared to where it was originally and (b) where it is going in the future. In other words one does not only need information on present abundance but also on trends in abundance. The importance of long-term monitoring cannot be over-emphasised and further details of monitoring and how we can achieve it for cetaceans can be found here.

Concurrent with improved management procedures, our ability to estimate the number of whales directly, using a range of techniques, has greatly improved (see summary on pages 166-171 in this paper). Below, we provide a general (and necessarily simplified) overview of the status of large whales by species and ocean basin.

For some species/stocks there is sufficient information to assess the present abundance against unexploited population size. For others we have good estimates of present population size but not of past abundance, or of abundance estimates for only part of their range or, in a few cases, no estimates of present abundance.

Estimating the number of whales in an area is not an exact science and, of course, estimates come with confidence intervals that reflect uncertainty. For the purposes of this very general overview, we have used what in common parlance is called the ‘best’ estimate by broad geographical areas. It is important to note that any scientific work associated with management and conservation must use rigorous abundance estimates and take fully into account any uncertainty surrounding abundance estimates and population structure.


Knowledge of status is important in terms of evaluating threats to populations, assigning priorities to mitigating those threats and evaluating the success of those mitigation measures. Threats to cetaceans can be said to incorporate two broad categories. The first are those that result in death in the short-term such as direct hunting (e.g. whaling) and accidental/incidental mortality (e.g. by catches in fishing gear, ship strikes). At the level of the individual animal, this is of course always a problem; however, when considering conservation at the population level, this is not necessarily so (depending on the conservation objective chosen), provided that the level of mortality is sustainable.

The other category of threats is more difficult to identify and especially quantify – those that can be said to affect the ‘overall fitness’ of the population with respect to reproductive success and/or survivorship and that are generally related to environmental degradation. These include such factors as chemical pollution, noise pollution, overexploitation of prey, disturbance, climate change, etc.

At the level of the individual animal these may not always appear to be a problem (for example a female whose reproductive ability has been impaired may seem perfectly healthy), but at the population level they may represent a serious threat. These environmental factors can affect populations of all species; indeed the most vulnerable populations to such threats may be those for which direct exploitation would not be allowed.

Species or population

Although often people request information on status at the species level, biologically it is more sensible to consider status at the population level (although determining stock structure, particularly for populations where the breeding grounds are unknown, is difficult). A perfect example of why this is the case is the gray whale; there is one healthy population (and thus the species is not endangered) but also one critically endangered population that therefore requires immediate conservation action (see below).

In fact only two species of large whales can be considered in danger of extinction, the North Pacific right whale and the North Atlantic right whale, both of which were severely depleted by pre-20th century whaling.


Also note that all right whales are very similar and that the Southern right whale (E. australis) is not considered to be endangered


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.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


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