Friday, May 01, 2015

Surprise admission on CBS: Earth 'Not As Warm...As the Climate Models Predicted'

On Friday's CBS Evening News, a NASA scientist made a surprising admission about climate change during a report about an erupting volcano in South America. Correspondent Michelle Miller turned to Dr. Allegra LeGrande, who detailed how the gases from a volcanic eruption can lead to a reduction in the amount of sunlight that reaches the Earth. Le Grande added that "this is a small component of why we're not as warm today as the climate models predicted we would be seven years ago." [video below]

All three broadcast network evening newscasts aired full reports on the back-to-back eruptions from the Calbuco volcano in Chile. However, only CBS Evening News mentioned the possible impact on the climate. Miguel Almaguer zeroed in on the disruption of airliner traffic on NBC Nightly News. On ABC's World News Tonight, Matt Gutman spotlighted how the ash fall is impacting the region's inhabitants.

Weeks earlier, ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts all hyped NASA and NOAA's reports that 2014 was the warmest year on record. As the MRC's Julia Seymour pointed out, this was "despite scientists who showed it was 'statistically meaningless.'...there was only a 48 percent chance 2014 was actually the warmest on record, based on NOAA's own data. NASA's probability was even less: just 38 percent."


Vatican Burns with Global Warming Enthusiasm

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences had its one-day global warming conference yesterday. Not unlike a certain synod, it ended with the issuing of an anticlimactic pre-prepared climatic document “Climate Change and The Common Good: A Statement Of The Problem And The Demand For Transformative Solutions.”

Gist: we are soon doomed unless we “do something.”

More on that in a moment. First, the Big Question. Why? Why is the Catholic Church entering into the fray of doubtful global warming science? Why now and why with such shrill apocalyptic exaggerated rhetoric?  Why strident calls for supranational government control at the same time the actual evidence for doom grows weaker and weaker?

Consider this. Used to be in the West when the Catholic Church spoke, people listened. Reporters and politicians would come calling before writing articles or making decisions and ask, “What say you, Mr. Bishop?”  And the people, when they heard what the Church had to say, listened. They considered. Sure, they sometimes rejected, perhaps even more often than they heeded. But the Church was an influence. And it liked being one.

Not so now. The West has these past fifty or so years assumed an adversarial stance towards our ancient and venerable institution. The press, politicians, and people no longer care what the clergy has to say on designer babies (i.e. eugenics), abortion, homosexual acts, same-sex “marriage”, you name it. Not when a recalcitrant Church disallows female priests, divorce, and every other thing the secular salivate over.

This volte-face must sting, particularly for the old timers who lived during the Good Old Days of deference. The longing they feel probably accounts for why certain of our more mature clergy (and their recruits) work vigorously to steer the Church towards political shoals and away from deep spiritual water (who doesn’t love nautical metaphors?).

Now to the global warming conference. The reader should understand Yours Truly is a certified expert in these areas, a genuine climate scientist, with a specialty in the goodness and usefulness of models, the very kinds of models which predict our doom.

The models are wrong. And have been for decades.

How do I know this? Here’s a sentence from an open letter skeptics presented to the PAS (to hand to Pope Francis) at its conference (I am a signer of this letter):

"There has been a growing divergence between real-world temperature observations and model simulations. On average, models simulate more than twice the observed warming over the relevant period. Over 95% of the models simulate greater warming than has been observed, and only a tiny percentage come tolerably close."

It is a logical truth, and a fact once known to all scientists, that models which make consistently lousy predictions imply the theories underlying them are false. Since the models make lousy forecasts, we know the theories upon which the models are based are wrong. And since these theories are wrong, they should not be believed. And since they should not be believed, we should not base decisions on them.

Now you’d think these happy deductions would be welcome news to our political and spiritual betters. But they aren’t, because why? Because if there is no problem, there is no problem to solve. And if there is no problem to solve, there is no need to seek political power to solve the nonexistent problem.

But some in the Church and most politicians want something to solve. We’re reached the point where politics dictate science. This explains why Senator Barbara Boxer recently attacked scientists like Yours Truly for (her words) disseminating research designed to “confuse the public.”

Finally to the PAS document itself. There is scarcely anything in it that is scientifically accurate. Everywhere, it assumes what it seeks to prove, and uses model-based predictions of doom as proof the models are correct. The document is a dismal exercise in special pleading and is painful to read. It would take a small book to detail every mistake, so we’ll have to stick to the most curious.

The opening sentences of its “Declaration”:

"Unsustainable consumption coupled with a record human population and the uses of inappropriate technologies are causally linked with the destruction of the world’s sustainability and resilience. Widening inequalities of wealth and income, the world-wide disruption of the physical climate system and the loss of millions of species that sustain life are the grossest manifestations of unsustainability."

Causally linked are powerful words in science. It means we know why things happen. But we do not. If we did, our models would make good predictions. Wealth and income are growing more inequitable, but is that caused by blundering governments or a “world-wide disruption of the physical climate system”?  Answer: there is no disruption. The claim that millions of species will turn in their dinner pails doesn’t even border on scientific malfeasance. It crosses over and enters into the sorrowful land of Deliberate Exaggeration.

It is a well trodden realm. PAS says “Global warming is already having major impacts on extreme weather and climate events.” This is false. Unless by “impact” they mean the observed diminution of extreme events? “Collectively, this warming and the extreme events it has brought in its wake, such as heat waves, intense storms, and forest fires….” Ah. They do not. What else can I tell you except that this statement is demonstrably false? The document contains many of its brothers.

Twenty years ago we were told there was still time, but only just. Action had to happen now, else the tipping point would be breached. We survived. But the PAS again says there is still time. If we act now. The call for action is proof of the theory bruited above: “The Catholic church, working with the leadership of other religions, can take a decisive role by mobilizing public opinion and public funds….”

How? By “reorient[ing] our attitude toward nature and, thereby, toward ourselves” and by recognizing “religious institutions are in a special position to promote” sustainability. As I wrote elsewhere, if you think global warming’s bad, wait till you meet sustainability. Sustainability is the fundamentalism that will replace all other environmental causes.  Global warming made itself vulnerable by exposing itself to verification. Sustainability is immune to testing. It is taken on faith.

As I wrote, “True Sustainability is a goal ever disappearing into the distance, one which can never be reached, but which must be pursued with ever increasing vigor.” The PAS document is suffused with sustainability; the word or its variants appears dozens of times. They say we are engaged in “unsustainable consumption,” that climate change will “seriously threaten global sustainability,” that we must “save as much of the sustainable fabric of the world as possible,” that we must celebrate “living together in comfort and sustainably,” that we must “develop a sustainable relationship with our planet.”

And what is the Pontifical Academy’s definition of sustainable?  You guessed it. They never give one.


It is a bad time to be in the renewable energy industry

By Marita Noon

windmill kit2015 may go down in the books as the year support for renewable energy died — and we are only a few months in. Policy adjustments — whether for electricity generation or transportation fuels — are in the works on both the state and federal levels.

While the public is generally positive about the idea of renewable energy, the reality of years-long policy implementation that offers it special favors has changed public opinions. An October 2014 report in Oklahoma’s Enid News titled: “Wind worries?: A decade after welcoming wind farms, states reconsider,” offers this insightful summary:

“A decade ago, states offered wind-energy developers an open-armed embrace, envisioning a bright future for an industry that would offer cheap electricity, new jobs and steady income for large landowners, especially in rural areas with few other economic prospects. To ensure the opportunity didn’t slip away, lawmakers promised little or no regulation and generous tax breaks. But now that wind turbines stand tall across many parts of the nation’s windy heartland, some leaders in Oklahoma and other states fear their efforts succeeded too well, attracting an industry that gobbles up huge subsidies, draws frequent complaints and uses its powerful lobby to resist any reforms.”

But, it isn’t just wind energy that has fallen from favor. 2015 state and federal legislation reflects the “reconsider” prediction. Likewise “powerful” lobbyists are resisting the proposed reforms.

Oklahoma is just one state in what has become a new trend.

About a decade ago, when more than half of the states enacted strict Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS), Oklahoma, and a few other states, agreed to voluntary targets. Now, nearly one-third of those states are reconsidering the legislation that sounded so good in a different energy era. Back then, it was widely believed that there was an energy shortage and “dealing with global warming” was a higher public priority.

“Roughly 30 bills relating to the Oklahoma wind industry have been filed in the state legislature in the 2015 session, including at least one targeting the tax breaks and others attempting to alter regulatory policies,” reports Fox News. On April 16, the Oklahoma House voted, 78-3, to eliminate the wind energy tax credit. The measure now moves to the Senate, which will review a companion bill introduced by Senator Mike Mazzei — it is expected to pass and will likely be headed to Governor Mary Fallin soon.

Oklahoma isn’t the first state to reconsider its renewable energy policies. That distinction goes to Ohio, which in May 2014, passed legislation that paused the state’s RPS for two years. Governor Kasich signed it in June. Meanwhile, according to Eli Miller, the Ohio State Director for Americans for Prosperity, “The economic well-being of our working families and businesses can be factored in before moving forward.” The International Business Times projects that the two years a commission has to study will lead to a “permanent reduction.”

Earlier this year, West Virginia became the first state to repeal its RPS. With unanimous support in the Senate and a 95-4 vote in the House, renewable energy supporters are dismayed. Calling it “pure political theater and probably a flop,” Nick Lawton, Staff Attorney at the Green Energy Institute dismisses the move: “West Virginia’s withdrawal of its weak renewable energy policy is unlikely to significantly change that state’s energy markets.” Nancy Guthrie, one of the four Democrats who voted “no,” did so because she believes “we are running out of coal, it’s that simple” — which is, of course, totally incorrect.

Last month the Texas Senate voted to end its RPS and another program that, according to the Star Telegram, “helped fuel the state’s years-long surge in wind energy production.” The bill now moves to the House State Affairs Committee. It is expected to pass the House and be signed by Governor Greg Abbott. While Texas is known for its leadership in wind energy, the termination of the RPS will impact the solar industry as well. Charlie Hemmeline, executive director of the Texas Solar Power Association, states, “Increasing uncertainty for our industry raises the cost of doing business in the state.”

Coming up, Kansas, North Carolina, and Michigan have legislation that revisits the states’ favorable renewable energy policies.

New Mexico and Colorado had bills to repeal or revise the RPS that passed in one chamber, but not in the other.

While Louisiana doesn’t have an RPS, it does have generous tax credits for solar panel installations that have exploded the cost to the state’s taxpayers. The credits were originally expected to cost the state $500,000 a year. In 2014, the payouts ballooned to $63.5 million according to the Baton Rouge Advocate. Repealing or revising the policy is a key priority in the current legislative session.

“Taxpayer support for wind energy is also losing momentum in Congress,” says Fox News. It points out: “Capitol Hill lawmakers at the end of last year did not extend the Federal Production Tax Credit (PTC). And in March, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), failed to rally support behind an amendment that would have put a five-year extension on the PTC.”

It is not just wind energy that has lost favor in Congress. The ethanol mandates — known as the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) — are being re-examined, too.

On January 16, 2015, Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) introduced the “Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2015.”

More recently, a “former Obama economic adviser” issued a report that calls for changes to the 10-year-old RFS. Harvard University Professor Jim Stock served on the Council of Economic Advisers in 2013 and 2014. The Hill states, “His report comes at a time of growing angst among lawmakers, regulators and the industry over the future of the RFS, which mandates fuel refiners blend a certain volume of ethanol and biodiesel into their traditional gasoline and diesel supplies.” The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) supports the sentiment calling Stock’s report “a key voice to a growing chorus of people who say the policy isn’t working.” It continues, “The report adds to a growing body of politicians and experts who are questioning the law’s effectiveness amid regulatory uncertainty and lower prices.”

Hawaii, uniquely, has its own ethanol mandate, but it, too, is coming under attack. KHON states, “Nine years after a major change at the gas pump was forced on Hawaii drivers, many are now calling it a failed experiment and want it gone.”

In both the case of Hawaii and the federal government, lawmakers are looking toward advanced biofuels that don’t raise food costs. However, the Environmental Protection Agency — tasked with implementing the RFS — has repeatedly waived or reduced the cellulosic biofuel requirements because, despite more than $126 billion invested since 2003, the industry has yet to produce commercially-viable quantities of fuel.

Addressing dwindling investment in biofuels and growing skepticism, The Economist, on April 18, says, “Campaigners generally find it easier to fulminate against those which damage the environment or food security than to explain exactly how they ought to be grown.” It concludes, “Whether such bright ideas can be commercialised at scale is a different question. Some companies, indeed, are starting to give up. Several algae-to-fuel ventures in America are switching to the manufacture of high-value chemicals instead. Sunlight is a great source of energy. Biology may not be the best way of storing it.”

And this doesn’t include the public’s failure to embrace higher-priced electric cars — even with tens of thousands of dollars of subsidies and tax credits.

Looking at all the policy reviews, the trend is clear. As, in a report titled “Why repealing the renewable energy mandates is good for the economy” concludes, “The best policy for the states is to leave energy consumption decisions to consumers in the market rather than legislate them.”


‘Denier’ Delingpole Immortalised on Climate Change Wall of Infamy

by James Delingpole

I’m proud to announce that I have won a major art competition.  Oh all right. (Modesty, James. Modesty!). I am one of several climate change sceptics to have been celebrated and immortalised in an exciting new, prizewinning art installation at Anglia Ruskin, one of Britain’s largest universities. (h/t Liam Deacon)

It comprises a faux-stone slab (made out of plywood) engraved with my own name and that of five other British climate sceptics – Christopher Booker, Nigel Lawson, Christopher Monckton, Melanie Phillips, Owen Paterson – beneath the legend “Lest We Forget Those Who Denied.” The sculpture has been described as an “oil painting with a difference” because a continuous stream of engine oil drools symbolically over the “deniers'” names, like tragic sea otters after an Exxon spill.

The piece, which won the university’s 2015 Sustainability Art Prize, was the creation of third year fine art student Ian Wolter.

Wolter has explained his meisterwerk thus:  “With this work I envisage a time when the deliberate denial of climate change will be seen as a crime because it hinders progress towards a low carbon future.”

The prize – £250 and a certificate – was presented to him by the head of the university’s art department.

Among those who have praised the work is the director of the university’s Global Sustainability Institute, Dr Aled Jones.

Dr Jones told me:  “It’s a very impressive installation, complex and very political.”

I quite agree and am hugely proud to find myself in the distinguished company of some of Britain’s finest journalists and most brave and outspoken politicians, including a former Chancellor of the Exchequer and the former Secretary of State for the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Jolly well done, young Ian! And thank you for caring.


Sec. Vilsack: ‘We Have To Get Ahead’ of Climate Change by Reducing CO2

“In order to address climate change, we have to get ahead of it,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Thursday during a speech at Michigan State University in East Lansing – where the late-April temperature averaged a chilly 35 degrees Fahrenheit.
Vilsack was in Michigan to announce a “voluntary strategy” between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and America’s farmers and ranchers to address climate change by reducing agricultural carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 120 million metric tons over the next decade.

“This strategy accomplishes three major goals,” Vilsack said. “First, it recognizes and rewards what farmers, ranchers and foresters are already doing. It gives them access to the resources and assistance they need to do even more to adapt to climate change, increase carbon sequestration and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“Second, through these voluntary actions by the agriculture and forestry sectors, we expect to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions and enhance carbon sequestration by over 120 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent per year by the year 2025," the agriculture secretary said.

”Third, it further positions the United States and our producers as global leaders in climate smart agriculture and forestry. It demonstrates to the world these sectors can provide solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while simultaneously boosting productivity to meet growing demands for food and fiber.”

Vilsacks’ targeted goal of 120 million metric tons of CO2 is equivalent to “about 2% of economy-wide net greenhouse emissions,” according to a fact sheet issued by the USDA.

The strategy includes “10 building blocks ranging from improving soil health and nutrient management, to enhancing stewardship of federal forests, to working with utilities to improve energy efficiency in rural America,” Vilsack noted.

Other goals include increasing the number of “no-till” acres from 67 million to over 100 million by 2025, and providing financial incentives for farmers and ranchers to invest in 500 new anaerobic digesters that convert methane from cow and pig manure into heat and electricity.

The USDA also plans to encourage the planting of 9,000 trees per year in urban areas to “reduce energy costs, storm water runoff, and urban heat island effects while increasing carbon sequestration, curb appeal and property values.”

Vilsack was joined at the nation’s oldest agricultural college by senior White House Advisor Brian Deese and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), who said in a statement that “as our climate changes, (farmers, ranchers and foresters’) ability to produce our food, timber and fiber will become increasingly strained and uncertain. That’s why it’s important we begin to address the issues of climate change in a serious way.”

However, the widely-held belief that atmospheric CO2, which plants utilize during photosynthesis, is the main driver of global warming has been challenged by a number of scientific papers in recent years.

“The observational evidence strongly suggest that climate models display too much sensitivity to carbon dioxide concentrations and in almost all cases exaggerate the likely path of global warming,” independent UK climate scientist Nic Lewis and Danish science writer Marcel Crok noted in a 2014 report.

Both authors were expert reviewers of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) report warning that rising CO2 emissions were the main cause of potentially catastrophic global warming.

According to another UN report, worldwide crop production is at record levels despite a 14 percent increase in atmospheric CO2 between 1982 and 2010.

A June 2013 study published in Geophysical Research Letters, a peer-reviewed journal, also stated that the CO2 “fertilization effect is now a significant land surface process” that has created “a greening of the globe over recent decades.”


How the Sierra Club’s Lexus Liberals’ Agenda Hurts Poor Americans

Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren and the whole gang of Democratic leaders claim that one of their highest priorities is to lift up the middle class and reduce the income gap between rich and poor.

That goal collides with what they admit is their very highest priority: stopping climate change. Their agenda is driven by the millionaire and billionaire Democratic donors who make the party possible. But the agenda also involves making energy, home heating, transportation and just about everything else less efficient and more expensive to the middle class and poor. The people who lose their jobs when the climate-change Stalinists prevail are the people at the bottom and the middle of the income ladder.

The billionaire club members don’t seem to mind this collateral damage. Last week billionaire Tom Steyer convened the uber-rich liberal donor base at the Four Seasons Hotel in Seattle — nice — to pontificate about how much they care about polar bears, the Arctic ice caps and rising sea levels.

As Politico reported earlier this week, Steyer had “his fingerprints are all over this week’s spring meeting of the Democracy Alliance — an indication that the influential coalition of liberal donors intends to spend big to elevate climate change, and that Steyer plans to be at the forefront.”

All of the major action items will hurt unions, reduce wages, drive up unemployment, and make the poor poorer. Steyer may as well be saying of America’s working class: Let them eat cake.

For several years now, the environmental conferences in posh places like Aspen, Sun Valley and Rio become parking lots for private jets. Hillary Clinton requires a private plane when she gives her $200,000 speeches. She and her jolly green friends then opine about why the poor should do their part to help save the planet by giving up coal mining, trucking, welding, construction, pipe-fitting, drilling and other jobs that are vital to their very livelihoods.

Farmers in California have to watch the browning of their state and the loss of their property to save salmon and trout. Some 42,000 fewer Americans have jobs thanks to Obama’s decision at the behest of the Environmental Defense Fund to kill the Keystone XL pipeline.

What humanitarians these people are. I had much more respect for this crowd when they were bleeding hearts. Though their policy ideas were often misguided, at least they cared about the less fortunate. Now they are willing to nail the poor to a cross of green.

Steyer and his pals like President Obama have been running around the country telling Americans that the greatest crisis in America today is global warming. But working-class people universally reject that notion. Nearly every poll of voters over the last several years consistently finds Americans rank jobs, incomes, terrorism, the national debt, schools and other such daily concerns at the top of the list of policy priorities. Global warming almost always ranks last or very near the bottom — which is amazing, given the billions that have been spent on this propaganda campaign.

A Gallup poll found in March 2015 that only 2 percent of Americans perceive the “environment/pollution” as the nation’s “most important problem.” And a Bloomberg poll last year specifically listing climate as a candidate for “most important issue” found only 5 percent of Americans concurring.

Polls also show the richer Democrats are, the more they care about climate change. Maybe that’s because green policies hurt the poor and working class — starting most obviously with opposition to modern drilling techniques such as fracking, and with blocking infrastructure projects that would create tens of thousands of high-paying union jobs.

A recent Brookings study entitled “Welfare and Distributional Implications of Shale Gas,” finds that the 47 percent decline in natural gas prices due to the shale gas “fracking revolution” has meant the “residential consumer gas bills have dropped $13 billion per year from 2007-2013.” This has saved gas-consuming middle-class families an average of $200 per year, with some families saving nearly $500 a year.

Another study by John Harpole, president of Mercator Energy in Colorado, finds that because the poor spend far more on utility bills than do the rich as a share of their incomes, “the poor benefit far more than the rich from the shale oil and gas boom.” The savings to the poor have been multiple times larger than the value of the $1 billion a year the feds throw at the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

Last month Obama pledged to cut America’s carbon dioxide emissions up to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 and 80 percent by 2050. Paul Driessen of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow calculates this would end up “taking us back to Civil War-era emission levels, 150 years ago.” He adds: “Poor, minority and blue-collar families will have to find thousands of dollars a year for soaring electricity, vehicle and appliance costs. Small businesses will have to find tens of thousands of dollars to keep the heat and lights on. Factories, malls, school districts, hospitals and cities will have to pay millions more.”

Remember that when Democrats start playing the class warfare card. No one on the left, least of all the donors who are funding the climate change scare campaign, seem to care about how the poor will cope with slow growth and higher costs. The Sierra Club’s Lexus liberals can afford a future with less growth, fewer jobs and higher costs for everything. The middle class can’t. Democrats have abandoned the financial interests of these Americans. Republicans really are the stupid party if they can’t win these disenchanted voters.



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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