Monday, May 25, 2015

Cannes festival film aimed at saving the planet

Saving the planet gives you SUCH a warm feeling!  But it's a feeling bought at the expense of critical thinking.

The idea that something crushed for thousands of years beneath a great weight of glacial ice would remain pristine and unchanged despite such pressure is ludicrous on the face of it -- but that is the assumption underlying the work of the galoot celebrated below. He assumes that air bubbles trapped in glacial ice thousands of years ago have remained unchanged for all that time and that the ice cores used to extract them have also not altered them in any way:  Heroic assumptions.  And a very experienced (40 years studying Arctic ice cores) Arctic glaciologist, the late Zbigniew Jawaworski, questioned those assumptions forcefully

The initial stage of "trapping" air bubbles is also one where much could happen -- as the layers of snow slowly compress into at first firn and then ice.  Much could be lost even at that early stage.

And note this recent comment:

"Sometimes they don’t really KNOW what the evidence means, like in the O18 graphs from the GISP2 and GRIP ice cores that show the really big swings in O18, which is universally interpreted as a valid proxy for temperatures. I don’t have anything better to replace that with, but let’s just say that if it some day turns out to not be true, I won’t be surprised. YES, the O18 went up and down. Does that REALLY mean that temps swung up and down by 13°C or 14°C? As a catastrophist thinker, I’d WANT it to be, but as a realist, I have to wonder."

But perhaps the most graphic evidence for ice-core unreliability comes from the work of German chemistry professor E.G. Beck.  He showed that actual measurements of CO2 in the atmosphere that were taken over the last 180 years gave a very different result from what was inferred from ice cores.  So sad to wreck a lovely time-travel story.  But I am sure Claude Lorius is SUCH a nice man.  And so CARING!

The Cannes Film Festival's closing film on Saturday was a call to arms to tackle climate change featuring the scientific pioneer who spent decades in Antarctica proving the existence of global warming.

"I used to be pessimistic, but I think people are changing," said Claude Lorius, the 91-year-old French scientist whose groundbreaking research on ice cores proved the link between greenhouse gases and global temperatures.

His story is told in the documentary "Ice and the Sky", featuring footage from his earliest missions in the 1950s through to the present day.

Lorius carried out 22 expeditions -- some lasting as long as a year -- in Antarctica, where he helped pioneer the drilling and examining of ice cores, gathering climatic data going back more than 400,000 years.

One of his key insights, described in the film, came from drinking whisky one day with colleagues. Watching ice crack in the glass made him realise he could extract ancient air bubbles from the ice samples they were collecting.

"I'd already had a bit to drink, otherwise I wouldn't have had this brilliant idea, this brainstorm," Lorius told reporters after the screening. "It took many years to put the ideas into practice."

Director Luc Jacquet said the world had made "fundamental progress" in understanding the problem of climate change.

"When Claude published his paper 30 years ago, the concept didn't even exist, it was hard to drum this idea into people's minds," said Jacquet.  "But people are now aware of the problem and impatient to see results."

Lorius said he was looking forward to progress at the next global climate conference being held in Paris in December.  "We expect a lot from the conference, it could really change things," he said.

"I deeply believe that if everyone tackles these issues, they will cease to be problems. They can be a source of tremendous creativity."


UK: With David Cameron and Amber Rudd, Britain is looking at a long, cold future

The Government's policy on decarbonising our economy remains a complete and utter fantasy

Two events last week confirmed that, in appointing his new Government, David Cameron made a catastrophic misjudgment by putting our energy policy in the charge of a minister who believes that only by “decarbonising” our economy can we avert the awful disaster of global warming. Our new Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Amber Rudd, is wholly committed to both these beliefs, saying that her highest priority will be the signing of that proposed global “climate treaty” in Paris next December.

One of these events was the announcement that yet another of our large coal-fired power stations, Ferrybridge in Yorkshire, is shortly to close, thanks to the way George Osborne’s “carbon tax” – five times higher than any other in Europe – is making coal, otherwise by far the cheapest source of electricity, wholly uncompetitive.

This follows the other recently announced, equally premature closure of the giant 2.4-gigawatts (GW) coal-fired power station at Longannet, the only one left in Scotland.

Last winter we could still rely on coal for a third of all the electricity we needed to keep our lights on: averaging 12.7 gigawatts, far more than any other power source. But we are now losing our coal-fired power stations so fast – seven will soon have closed since 2013, with only eight remaining – that in just three years our total capacity will have fallen from 24GW to just 15GW, with more closures to come.

This may be in line with Mr Cameron’s “tweet” in New York last September that he wants all Britain’s coal-fired plants to have closed “within 10 or 15 years”. So here at least is one policy, doubtless fully supported by Ms Rudd, on which he is not only “delivering” but well ahead of schedule. And all this in the name of “decarbonising” our economy, as we head for that binding global treaty Ms Rudd wants to see in December.

But what was also made clearer than ever last week is that this treaty simply isn’t going to happen. China and India, already the first and third largest CO2 emitters in the world, haven’t the faintest intention of agreeing to it. In a recent joint statement, their prime ministers said they would be happy to build lots more “renewable” energy sources, so long as developed nations such as Britain keep their promise by 2020 to pay $100 billion a year to help them to do it.

David Cameron with huskies in 2006
But at the same time, to help raise their people out of poverty, they plan within five years to build 300 more coal-fired power plants, adding far more CO2 to the atmosphere every year than the total annually emitted by the UK. India alone plans to add 124GW of coal-fired capacity by 2020, more than eight times the entire capacity left in Britain.

So nothing our new Energy and Climate Change Secretary can do will make the slightest difference to the world’s output of CO2. She is so totally obsessed with the second part of her job description that she seems quite oblivious to the first. She fantasises that, without those horrid, polluting fossil fuels, we can somehow keep our now almost wholly computer-dependent economy running just by building thousands more grotesquely subsidised offshore windmills and solar panels and that solitary, equally expensive new nuclear power station we hope the French and the Chinese might be kind enough to build for us by 2024.

Last Tuesday afternoon we were still able to depend for nearly 25 per cent of all the electricity we were using on coal, while only a mere 1 per cent was coming from our 4,500 windmills.
Take away the coal, and – if that is the future Ms Rudd and Mr Cameron are holding out to us – before long both they and the rest of us are in for a very rude and nasty confrontation with reality.


New York Times: Eating food aggravates drought

For a long time now, the liberal media has waged a propaganda campaign to make you feel guilty for using electricity, claiming that the planet is melting because of imaginary global warming.  Now we are moving on to phase 2: since much of our food is grown in California, and since California is experiencing a drought (which has happened repeatedly over thousands of years), and since growing food uses a lot of water, by eating food, the New York Times wants you to feel guilty for causing the drought in California.


"California farmers produce more than a third of the nation’s vegetables and two-thirds of its fruits and nuts. To do that, they use nearly 80 percent of all the water consumed in the state. It is the most stubborn part of the crisis: To fundamentally alter how much water the state uses, all Americans may have to give something up."

You see?  That's what's it's all about.  You have to "give up" your lifestyle, your standard of living.  You are now evil if you consume foods that take a lot of water to create.  To help you with your new self-imposed guilt, the Times produced a colorful chart showing how much water different kinds of food require.  It even labels food groups "guzzlers," to hammer in the point that if you dare to eat them, you are selfishly wasting global resources.

Two ounces of rice require 15 gallons of water.  A single egg is 18 gallons.  Three mandarin oranges require 42 gallons.  A glass of milk, 55 gallons.  Less than two ounces of beef require 86 gallons of water!  How selfish you are if you eat meat!

Now, responsible people eat things like garlic cloves.  Six garlic cloves require only a single gallon of water.  The same for six celery sticks.  Eight artichoke leaves are also only a gallon.

This is what the lib media is all about.  They want to control everything you do, and that includes eating and drinking.  There are only a couple of things missing from this analysis:

1) How much water does an illegal alien use?  There is a stunning disconnect between welcoming illegal aliens by the millions and ignoring the costs, only one of which is additional water use.

2) How much water do protected fish use?  Water in California is used to protect certain kinds of fish while leaving farms dry.  I don't have figures, but common sense indicates that it must be millions of gallons of water.  That's a lot more than a few strip steaks.

3) How much water does government use?  Again, there are no figures, but when they still keep watering vegetation on the side of highways, even in the rain, it suggests a lot of waste.

4) How much water is available globally?  There may be a shortage in California, but there is plenty in other places, places that can also grow food.

5) How much water would be created if we built new dams, which we haven't done for decades because of wacko environmentalists?

6) How much water does it take to create newspapers, which are created from tree farms?  No answer to that question, either?

I have a routine when I blog in the evening – before I start writing, I eat a thick steak nearly every night (cost: 600 gallons of water) with rice (15 gallons or more!), and I usually have a big, a supersized orange with it (cost: 20 gallons).  Then, after I finish writing my articles for the evening, sometimes I have ice cream (50 gallons of water or more!).

It's a very satisfying lifestyle, and I have no plans to change it.


EPA Violates the Law, Lobbies for More Power

President Obama and the cronies in his administration (with his tacit support) continue to violate laws, rules and regulations. Obama and his friends evidently believe the rules don’t apply to them.

Let’s review just a few examples:

* President Obama, who promised to run the most transparent presidential administration in history has instead arguably run the most secretive and opaque administrations. In March, the White House announced it was removing a regulation subjecting its office to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests – in other words the White House was exempting itself from public scrutiny and oversight. An Associated Press investigation showed that secrecy had increased dramatically under the Obama administration. The AP analysis showed the government censored or denied outright 244,675 of the 704,394 requests made, that’s 36 percent of the time, more than any previous President. On another 196,034 other occasions, the government said it couldn’t find records or the government determined the request to be unreasonable or improper. Requests for NSA records were censored or denied 98 percent of the time. In addition the administration has prosecuted more government whistleblowers for leaks and reporters for not revealing their sources than any administration in history.

* Obama’s Justice Department, against the recommendation of its career prosecutors, dropped charges against and refused to prosecute members of the New Black Panther Party for intimidating white voters at a Philadelphia polling station.

It has steadfastly refused to uphold the nation’s immigration laws by prosecuting and deporting illegal immigrants arrested in the U.S. Regardless of how one feels about current immigration laws, the Justice department’s job is to enforce the laws we have not ignore them until the President gets a law more to his liking – the Attorney General is the peoples prosecutor, not the President’s private attorney.

The same justice department, under former Attorney General Eric Holder, aided and abetted gun runners in delivering firearms to Mexican drug cartels and then tried to use the fact that Mexican drug lords got firearms from the U.S. to call for stricter gun laws that it had been pushing for before the ATF let the guns walk, and implement new firearm sales reporting requirements. A number of the agents at the ATF that reported their agency’s wrongdoing were transferred, demoted or forced out, while those in charge of the pernicious program dubbed “Fast and Furious,” were promoted. When Congress wanted to know more botched law enforcement effort, Holder stonewalled, fighting in court Congress’ attempts to obtain e-mails and documents relating to the program to determine, who knew what and when.

* The administration used the IRS as its own personal partisan attack dog, denying or delaying non-profit status for conservative foundations and tea party related groups, and launching tax investigations into critics of the administration that already had non-profit status. When caught out on this, the executive in charge of the IRS office that administers non-profit applications, Lois Lerner, denied targeting the groups, then later admitted the groups were targeted. Lerner was found in contempt of Congress for refusing a subpoena to testify. But, the Obama justice department came to her rescue by refusing to prosecute her for contempt of Congress. Lerner later claimed that her computer crashed resulting in the loss of her e-mails, and remarkably, for a government computer linked to the IRS server, there were no backups. In the months since Lerner was relieved of duty, tens of thousands of these missing e-mails have been found and released; 6,400 of them just last month (more than five years after Lerner’s wrongdoing).

* And then there is the State Department. Under former Secretary of State, now presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, it ignored requests from the diplomatic compound in Benghazi to beef up security, it ignored warnings that an attack was planned, and then after the attack took place and Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other U.S. personnel were killed, blamed the attack on riots in response to a film that almost no one had seen or heard of. Subsequent investigations showed the attacks were planned, coordinated acts of terrorism, having nothing to do with a movie and the State Department knew this fact, when it falsely claimed the film was the instigating factor. In the aftermath, it has been revealed that in violation of State Department rules (and federal policies for conducting official business in general) Secretary Clinton conducted official business through a private e-mail account (all official business is supposed to be conducted through an department employees’ government accounts) and rather than preserving those e-mails for the public record, once again as required by department policy, she destroyed them.

I have rehashed these myriad instances of malfeasance, to show a pattern, and by way of revealing how unsurprised and not-shocked I am by the revelation that one more agency in the Obama administration has been found violating the rules that are meant to keep it honest.

The New York Times has revealed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ginned up support for its proposal to expand its control from navigable waters in the United States to basically all waters of the U.S. through grassroots lobbying, in violation of federal law but with the full support of the Obama administration.

The controversial WOTUS rule intended to skirt limits the Supreme Court has placed on the EPA’s control over wetlands, has many critics, but you wouldn’t know if from the comments received by the EPA. Gina McCarthy, the agency’s administrator, told a Senate committee in March that the agency had received more than one million comments, and more than 87 percent favoring the agency’s proposal.

Why so popular? As the Times reports:

"The Obama administration is the first to give the E.P.A. a mandate to create broad public outreach campaigns, using the tactics of elections, in support of federal environmental regulations before they are final. Test[ing] the limits of federal lobbying law, the agency orchestrated a drive to … enlist public support in concert with liberal environmental groups and a grass-roots organization aligned with President Obama.

While federal law permits the president and political appointees, like the E.P.A. administrator, to promote government policy, or to support or oppose pending legislation, the Justice Department, in a series of legal opinions going back nearly three decades, has told federal agencies that they should not engage in substantial “grass-roots” lobbying, defined as “communications by executive officials directed to members of the public at large, or particular segments of the general public, intended to persuade them in turn to communicate with their elected representatives on some issue of concern to the executive.”

Late last year, the E.P.A. sponsored a drive on Facebook and Twitter to promote its proposed clean water rule in conjunction with the Sierra Club. At the same time, Organizing for Action, a grass-roots group with deep ties to Mr. Obama, was also pushing the rule. They urged the public to flood the agency with positive comments to counter opposition from farming and industry groups.

The results were then offered as proof that the proposal was popular.

At minimum, the actions of the agency are highly unusual. “The agency is supposed to be more of an honest broker, not a partisan advocate in this process,” said Jeffrey W. Lubbers, a professor of practice in administrative law at the American University Washington College of Law and the author of the book “A Guide to Federal Agency Rulemaking.”

“I have not seen before from a federal agency this stark of an effort to generate endorsements of a proposal during the open comment period,” he said."

Obama’s EPA has a long history of pushing ethical boundaries and skirting the edges of the law.

In January of this year I reported on a PR move the EPA tried to hide that was discovered through a FOIA request. Recognizing public opinion polls consistently showed the public was not buying the administration’s global warming hype, a memo discovered through a FOIA showed the EPA convince the public that children and minorities faced special health risk due to human caused climate change. As I wrote at the time:

"EPA’s decision to shift the debate from concerns about melting ice caps and declining caribou and polar bear populations, to promoting the idea global warming poses a direct threat to public health, especially children’s health, and air and water quality.

Most Americans will never see a polar ice cap, nor will [they] ever have a chance to see a polar bear in its natural habitat. Therefore, it is easy to detach from the seriousness of the issue. Unfortunately, climate change in the abstract is an increasingly – and consistently – unpersuasive argument to make. However, if we shift from making this issue about polar caps [to being] about our neighbor with respiratory illness we can potentially bring this issue home to many Americans

The problem for EPA is, there has been no serious research linking global warming or greenhouse gas emissions to human health problems or air or water pollution."

More recently, as detailed in story in the forthcoming July Environment & Climate News, on March 2, Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia blasted EPA for first saying it had conducted a thorough search for the requested documents and then retracting its claim years later in a footnote to another document. Lamberth wrote, “[T]he recurrent instances of disregard that EPA employees display for FOIA obligations should not be tolerated by the agency at large.”

Lamberth accused EPA of foot-dragging on the FOIA requests until after the 2012 presidential election. A February 2014 Environment & Climate News article reported the Energy & Environment Legal Institute had obtained emails showing the Starbucks located in the J.W. Marriott Hotel near EPA’s Washington, DC headquarters served as a an “off campus” meeting place where EPA officials and environmental activists regularly met to plot strategy. By not meeting at EPA headquarters, the activists avoided signing in at the agency. Absent the FOIA request, their meetings would have remained secret.

“Either EPA sought to evade Landmark’s lawful FOIA request so the agency could destroy responsive documents, or EPA demonstrated apathy and carelessness toward Landmark’s request,” Lamberth said. “Either scenario reflects poorly on EPA and surely serves to diminish the public’s trust in the agency.”

With those two scandals as background, and new Obama administration misdeeds being discovered almost daily, I was frankly more surprised the New York Times reported on the EPA’s illicit lobbying efforts than I was by the EPA’s acts.

Sometimes the paper whose motto is “All the News That’s Fit to Print,” actually publishes news fit to print.


Climate activists targeting children with range of 'cli-fi' novels

I do know of one anti-warming novel:  "To Kill an Error" by Jed B van de Poll

Climate activists are targeting children through a new range of 'cli-fi' – climate fiction - novels which seek to highlight the dangers of global warming.

David Thorpe, author of the book Stormteller, said that children were more open minded and claimed that writers could 'infect' their minds with 'seriously subversive viral ideas'.

He was speaking at the Hay Festival alongside 'cli-fi' authors George Marshall and Saci Lloyd.

"I like writing for children because their minds are still forming," said Mr Thorpe whose novel is set in a coastal Wales ravaged by climate change and rising sea levels.

"They are asking all sorts of questions about how the world is working. Their minds haven't been tainted by ideological bias, they are still open minded about it.

"You can try to be seriously subversive and try to infect their minds with these viral ideas that they can explore on their own to make it exciting. When I was that age I loved having my mind boggled."

Saci Lloyd, author of the children’s book, The Carbon Diaries, said it was important to write engaging stories for children while keeping climate change as an underlying theme, so it was not obvious that it was a central topic.

The book chronicles a year of the life of Laura, a sixteen-year-old student in London, as the UK imposes carbon rationing in the wake of weather-related disasters.

George Marshall, founder of the Climate Ourtreach Information Network and author of Don't Even Think About It: Why our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change, also argued that it was important to appeal to people on an emotional level because they were bored by the science.

“We need to get climate change out of the rational side of our brain and into the emotional part because that is where attitudes are formed on the basis of our values,” he said.

However Mr Thorpe said that too many recent novels had shown dystopian future and warned it was important to offer children a message of hope.

"Over the last 10 years (children) have been reading nothing but dystopian of ... Fiction. If we make them think the future is terrible what are we doing to them.

“Climate fiction has only just begun. Any book from now on will have to have something about climate change in it.”

Jane Davidson, the former minister for environment and sustainability in Wales who chaired the talk, said that 'cli-fi' was 'taking off in a big way.'


Bjorn Lomborg confident of finding Australian university partner after UWA pull-out

Controversial Danish academic Bjorn Lomborg says he is confident he will find another Australian university to host his 'Consensus Centre' despite a fierce backlash in Western Australia.

A self-described 'sceptical environmentalist', Dr Lomborg's planned Australian Consensus Centre was allocated $4 million in this month's federal budget, but plans to host it at the University of Western Australia (UWA) were abandoned after protests from students and staff.

"I'm sure we'll find somewhere in Australia to do that but I'm not sure [where] just yet," Dr Lomborg said.

Dr Lomborg was speaking from Nairobi, Kenya, where he is addressing an aid conference on new United Nations development goals.

Dr Lomborg declined to say which institutions he was negotiating with but said he was confident he would get the go ahead.

"I can understand that, given what happened at the UWA, some people are going to be a bit more reluctant," he said.

Bjorn Lomborg's history of controversy

Lomborg is an author and director of the Copenhagen Consensus Centre, a non-profit think tank addressing global issues. In his 1998 book The Skeptical Environmentalist (English 2001), he said he accepted manmade global warming, but used statistics to argue the global environment had actually improved.

He was found to have been objectively scientifically dishonest in his book by the Danish Committee on Scientific Dishonesty, but had the finding rescinded by the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.

On his website, Lomborg says reducing carbon emissions is prohibitively expensive, and that investment non-carbon emitting technologies is the "smartest solution" to global warming.

Papers published by the Copenhagen Consensus Centre say climate change from 1900 to 2025 has mostly been a net benefit and has improved global welfare.

The Copenhagen Consensus Centre advocates a value-for-money approach to global problems and engages economists to perform a cost-benefit analysis proposed development goals.

"Do they want to engage in this? But again, I think it's a big shame in the sense of saying we work with more than 100 of the world's top economists, seven Nobel laureates, lots of interesting people."

Dr Lomborg accepts the science on climate change but has argued poverty and disease are more pressing problems.  He argues the UN should scale back its goals to ensure money is spent effectively.

"Basically they're promising everything to everyone and we need to find a way to make sure we focus on the very smartest targets," he said.

"That's what I'm here in Kenya to talk about and that's where we could also talk about... where Australia would spend its $5 billion to do a lot more good, potentially four times as much good."

Dr Lomborg is frustrated his views on climate change have hijacked the debate on his new centre in Australia.  "The decision from UWA was very clearly a very emotional one," he said.  "A lot of people got very involved and talked about, oh, this is a climate centre and Bjorn is a climate denier and all that, which is just not true."  "I think if they had given it a chance they would've seen this would actually be a real opportunity for Australia."



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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