Thursday, June 25, 2015

Doctors: We were wrong

Below is an excerpt from the latest issue of the "Journal of the American Medical Association".  It is about as close as you can get to an official admission that the official diet advice given to Americans for many decades was totally wrong and probably harmful.

The message from that is a hard one:  Don't rely on official science about anything. You have to look at the evidence for yourself.  I have been reading health and diet advice from the early days of Lelord Kordell (he recommended lots of protein) and my response has always been to eat whatever I like whenever I like it.  So at age 71 I have had a lifetime of good dinners and only iatrogenic health problems.

On my reading of the evidence, I doubt very much that it makes much difference what you put into your mouth. The small differences that medical researchers find in their research results are almost certainly as trivial in their importance as they are trivial in their size. The lessons for global warming believers are obvious. Long live good dinners!  The planet won't notice one way or the other


Air pollution not so bad for you

Ozone in the lower astmosphere has been demonized for a long time as a dangerous polluter.  And one of its supposed effects is to worsen asthma. The study below, however, demonstrates that when proper statistical controls are applied to the data, high levels of ozone do NOT worsen asthma.

Aerosol Optical Depth As a Measure of Particulate Exposure Using Imputed Censored Data, and Relationship with Childhood Asthma Hospital Admissions for 2004 in Athens, Greece

Gary Higgs et al.


An understanding of human health implications from atmosphere exposure is a priority in both the geographic and the public health domains. The unique properties of geographic tools for remote sensing of the atmosphere offer a distinct ability to characterize and model aerosols in the urban atmosphere for evaluation of impacts on health. Asthma, as a manifestation of upper respiratory disease prevalence, is a good example of the potential interface of geographic and public health interests. The current study focused on Athens, Greece during the year of 2004 and (1) demonstrates a systemized process for aligning data obtained from satellite aerosol optical depth (AOD) with geographic location and time, (2) evaluates the ability to apply imputation methods to censored data, and (3) explores whether AOD data can be used satisfactorily to investigate the association between AOD and health impacts using an example of hospital admission for childhood asthma. This work demonstrates the ability to apply remote sensing data in the evaluation of health outcomes, that the alignment process for remote sensing data is readily feasible, and that missing data can be imputed with a sufficient degree of reliability to develop complete datasets. Individual variables demonstrated small but significant effect levels on hospital admission of children for AOD, nitrogen oxides (NOx), relative humidity (rH), temperature, smoke, and inversely for ozone. However, when applying a multivariable model, an association with asthma hospital admissions and air quality could not be demonstrated. This work is promising and will be expanded to include additional years.


Published measurements of climate sensitivity declining

CO2 not so bad after all

The climate sensitivity due to CO2 is expressed as the temperature change in °C associated with a doubling of the concentration of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere. The equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) refers to the equilibrium change in global mean near-surface air temperature that would result from a sustained doubling of the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration.  The transient climate response (TCR) is defined as the average temperature response over a twenty-year period centered at CO2 doubling in a transient simulation with CO2 increasing at 1% per year. The transient response is lower than the equilibrium sensitivity, due to the “inertia” of ocean heat uptake.

Scientists made numerous estimates of climate sensitivity over the last few decades and have yet to determine the correct value.  The figure shows the change in published climate sensitivity measurements over the past 15 years (from here).  The ECS and TCR estimates have both declined in the last 15 years, with the ECS declining from 6C to less than 2C.  While one cannot extrapolate from past results, it is likely that the true figure is below 2C, and may continue to decline.  Based on this historic pattern we should reject the studies that falsely exaggerated the climate sensitivity in the past and remember that global warming is not the most serious issue facing the world today.


Mini Ice Age may be heading our way! Met Office issues warning that temperatures could plummet as Sun enters cooler phase

Britain could be on the verge of a mini Ice Age as the Sun enters a cooler phase, the Met Office warned yesterday.

The last big chill was felt hundreds of years ago when Frost Fairs were held on the frozen River Thames.

Met Office’s Hadley Centre, which looks at long term forecasts, said there was a 15-20 per cent chance that we could match the temperatures last seen in 1645-1715 – sometimes called the Little Ice Age - when the River Thames froze over. This could take place at some point within the next 40 years.

The prediction is based on counting sun spots – dark patches on the sun – that are hot spots and signs of increased solar activity.

The decrease in the sun’s heat is known as a ‘Maunder minimum’ after Walter Maunder - the astronomer who first noted sunspots were at their lowest during the cold period between 1645 and 1715.

Studies by the Met Office and others have found a decrease in sun spots - suggesting the sun may be going through a cooler phase.

The cooling effect is expected to be strongest in northern Europe, the UK and eastern parts of North America - particularly during winter. For example, for northern Europe the cooling is in the range -0.4 to -0.8 °C.

This is because computer simulations predict a big fall in solar activity would disrupt winds and suck cold air southwards from the Arctic.

Worst case scenarios for global warming are a 6 degree increase by 2100 – although campaigners hoping to limit on greenhouse gases hope that temperature rises will be limited to two degrees.

Sarah Ineson, a Met Office scientist and lead author of the research, said the impact of a grand solar minimum would only temporarily moderate the future warming we expect from climate change.

‘This research shows that the regional impacts of a grand solar minimum are likely to be larger than the global effect, but it’s still nowhere near big enough to override the expected global warming trend due to man-made change.

‘This means that even if we were to see a return to levels of solar activity not seen since the Maunder Minimum, our winters would likely still be getting milder overall.’  [Rubbish! Since warming has stopped, the result would be COLDER winters]


EPA Thinks Regulation Leads to Economic Growth

In the early days, fighting “global warming” was environmentally responsible; fast-forward a few years, and addressing “climate change” was socially just. Now, with only so much rhetoric left in the eco-friendly arsenal, battling supposed anthropogenic climate change has become economically advantageous.

At least, that’s what EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy argues in a piece published this week on Medium, in which she claims the administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) — a pleasant sounding name for sweeping additional government regulations of carbon emissions — is important to America’s economic strength. Notwithstanding the fact this administration doesn’t have the best track record on policies leading to economic robustness, McCarthy points to a study by the liberal Economic Policy Institute that found “the CPP is likely to lead to a net increase of roughly 360,000 jobs in 2020, but that the net job creation falls relatively rapidly thereafter, with net employment gains of roughly 15,000 jobs in 2030.”

Those jobs are the new regulators who will be hired to enforce the new regulations, nothing more.

In other words, forget hoping a free market will drive economic growth; what’s really needed is new regulations on carbon emissions! As McCarthy writes, “When we set ground rules to limit carbon pollution, we send a long-term market signal that propels innovation and investment in cleaner energy technologies, expanding new industries and creating good-paying jobs.” She’s right that the administration is sending a market signal, but it’s not the one she claims.

Indeed, according to labor union leader Cecil Roberts, president of United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), “The proposed rule … will lead to long-term and irreversible job losses for thousands of coal miners, electrical workers, utility workers, boilermakers, railroad workers and others without achieving any significant reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions.” The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers echoed this concern, cautioning against “focus[ing] solely on the environmental aspect of public policy at the expense of balancing our nation’s economic and energy needs” and noting, “The jobs of thousands of working men and women and the well-being of their communities are also worthy of saving.”

Furthermore, per a study commissioned by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, CPP’s regulations “threaten to suppress average annual U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by $51 billion and lead to an average of 224,000 fewer U.S. jobs every year through 2030, relative to baseline economic forecasts.” And according to The Heritage Foundation, the economic impact would be even worse, with EPA regulations eliminating an average of $155 billion annually in GDP through 2030.

Of course, before the EPA rams regulations down the nation’s throat, the administration wants to hear from Americans — sort of. When the public comment period opened regarding the then-proposed regulations on coal power plants last year, McCarthy wrote, “We expect great feedback at these sessions. And unfortunately, we also expect a healthy dose of the same tired, false and worn out criticism that commonsense EPA action is bad for the economy.” Ah, yes, agree with us or else you’re wrong.

But as Brooking Institution Fellow Phil Wallach wrote in Newsweek, by the time the comment period closed in December 2014 more than four million comments had been submitted. By comparison, Clean Air Act regulations usually garner a few dozen to a hundred. Instead of ceding that millions of Americans may have serious concerns with CPP, however, Wallach proposed that the “barriers to ‘participating’” in commenting might be a “bit higher, thereby saving our public servants a great deal of unnecessary work.” Yes, nothing like wasting the government’s time addressing the people’s tired, false and worn out petitions.

Public concern notwithstanding, the administration is plowing ahead with CPP, effectively claiming that by picking winners (solar and wind energy) and losers (fossil fuels, including petroleum, coal and natural gas) Washington regulators can create a strong economy. Because, you know, this approach has worked oh so well before.


To win, Republican candidates must be strong on energy

By Marita Noon

two oil wellsNew polling emphasizes support for traditional energy concerns has become a partisan issue. Large majorities of Republicans favor key energy issues — but voters of every ideological stripe say energy will be an important part of their voting decisions.

Hickman Analytics Inc., for the Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA), has done polling on energy issues in several key states: Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. While the exact questions asked are not identical in each of the six states, the responses are so similar that assumptions can be made.

For the 2016 presidential candidates, lessons should be learned — to win, Republican candidates must be strong on energy.

In all states polled, the majority of respondents indicated that energy issues will be at or near the top when asked, “Looking ahead, how important are energy issues in terms of how you will vote in the Presidential election next year?” In each state, except West Virginia, 80 percent or more answered “very important” or “somewhat important.” In West Virginia, while still a majority, the percentage is only 54 — though a smaller percentage of West Virginians, 10 percent, claim energy issues will be “not very important” or “not important at all.”

The polling took place in Iowa and New Hampshire in April, South Carolina in May, and in Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina in June.

In Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, Hickman asked how they feel about “allowing offshore oil and natural gas drilling north of Alaska, in U.S. waters inside the Arctic Circle.” Overall, a majority of registered voters support it, but opposition is higher among Democrats.

In Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina, Hickman asked about the Atlantic Coast pipeline project — a 550-mile pipeline that will bring natural gas from West Virginia through Virginia and North Carolina—and found that support is strong and extends across almost every group. As with Arctic drilling, Hickman found that support for this important energy infrastructure project is stronger among Republicans, but even among those who self-identify as liberal, more support than oppose it.

When asked why they support the Atlantic Coast pipeline project, “jobs” was mentioned most frequently with “a positive impact on the economy” being next. “Contribution to energy independence” was also mentioned.

Presidential candidates can learn from the Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina numbers and a similar response could be assumed in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina — though they were not asked a parallel question on Arctic drilling.

The lesson? Republican and Independent voters understand that energy projects create jobs and help the economy and energy security.

In Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina, Hickman asked about other energy issues, such as coal-fueled power plants, the Keystone pipeline, offshore drilling, and hydraulic fracturing. Again, support among Republicans and Independents — even many Democrats — is strong on a wide range of energy issues.

“As the primary season approaches, presidential candidates will need to take a strong stance on energy issues for the 2016 election,” CEA President David Holt said. “As we have seen in the past, the success of candidates in 2016 will hinge on their ability to promote issues that foster economic and job growth, while ensuring safety and the protection of our environment. This can be achieved through the promotion of energy infrastructure and production, which will contribute to U.S. self-sufficiency, stimulate the economy, and create jobs.”

Energy provides Republican candidates with an opportunity to stand with voters and offer contrast to Hillary Clinton — whose previous speeches indicate that she will continue President Obama’s energy policies. At her Roosevelt Island rally, she repeated one of Obama’s reoccurring themes: “climate change, one of the defining threats of our time.”

As the Hickman/CEA polling shows, the frequently touted fixes for climate change — opposing coal-fueled power plants and blocking fossil-fuel development and infrastructure — are in direct conflict with what most Americans, especially Republicans and Independents, want.

The Hickman/CEA conclusions are supported by previous polls.

Earlier this year, Pew Research Center did its annual Public Policy Priorities Survey, “Dealing with global warming” remained a low priority — with only “Dealing with global trade issues” being lower. However, when looking at the issues to discern the partisan differences, the message is obvious. A slight majority of Democrats, 54 percent, view global warming as a top priority, compared to 15 percent of Republicans (an 8 point drop from 2007) and 39 percent of Independents (a 1 point drop from 2007).

Similarly, a March 2015 Gallup poll on “U.S. concern about environmental threats” found that “Americans worry least about global warming.” Again the partisan divide is telling. In 2000, 29 percent of Republicans/Republican leaners worried about “global warming or climate change”; in 2015, 13 percent — a 16 percent drop. For Democrats/Democrat leaners: 2000, 48 percent; in 2015, 52 percent — a 4-point increase.

“It is clear from the Hickman/CEA polling,” Holt added, “that energy policy will be top of mind when voters cast their ballots in this upcoming election. Voters clearly support the development of energy infrastructure, such as the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project. In order to win, candidates will have to make clear to voters that they understand and support the issues voters care about.”

As we head into the important 2016 election, it is imperative that whoever becomes the 45th president understands energy. Gratefully, as the Hickman/CEA polling indicates, the American public understands the importance of energy and is prepared to vote accordingly.



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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