Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Warmists have no shame

They utter the most transparent lies.  Every hospital administrator knows that it is colder weather -- winter -- that brings on illness and death -- not warmer weather.  But Warmists still claim the opposite.

In the best Leftist tradition, theory trumps evidence every time.  So I suppose it's no good quoting evidence to show that warm years are on balance better for you.

And the claim of rising extreme weather is simply false.  Climatologist Dr. John Christy who has looked back to the 1850s told the MRC in 2013 “there is no trend in hurricanes.” He said, “[I]f you look at the last seven years, there has not been single major hurricane hit the United States. This is the longest period of such a dearth of hurricanes in that entire record.”

In early 2014, when the networks hyped a drought in California as the “worst drought on record,” Dr. Martin Hoerling, a federal climate researcher, disagreed and told the MRC it was consistent with previous California droughts. California would have NO water shortage right now except for its Greenie policies -- sending dam water straight out to sea, for instance.  See also here and here

 And poor nutrition in a warmer climate?  Give us a break!  A warmer world would open up Northern Canada and Siberia to farming and food production.  Warming would most probably produce a GLUT of food!

These guys are utter crooks.  But British medical journals have long been laden with Green/Left propaganda.  "Lancet" even opposed George Bush's Iraq intervention.

The threat to human health from climate change is so great that it could undermine the last 50 years of gains in development and global health, experts warned on Tuesday.

Extreme weather events such as floods and heat waves bring rising risks of infectious diseases, poor nutrition and stress, the specialists said, while polluted cities where people work long hours and have no time or space to walk, cycle or relax are bad for the heart as well as respiratory and mental health.

Almost 200 countries have set a 2 degrees C global average temperature rise above pre-industrial times as a ceiling to limit climate change, but scientists say the current trajectory could lead to around a 4 degrees C rise in average temperatures, risking droughts, floods, storms and rising sea levels.

"That has very serious and potentially catastrophic effects for human health and human survival," said Anthony Costello, director of University College London's (UCL) Institute for Global Health, who co-led the report.

"We see climate change as a major health issue, and that's often neglected in policy debates," he told reporters at a briefing in London.

The report, commissioned and published by The Lancet medical journal, was compiled by a panel of specialists including European and Chinese climate scientists and geographers, social, environmental and energy scientists, biodiversity experts and health professionals. {And uncle Tom Cobley and all]


EPA proposes tougher fuel-efficiency standards for trucks

The Obama administration on Friday proposed tough new standards to improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon dioxide pollution from trucks and vans, the latest move by President Barack Obama to address global warming.

The new rules are designed to slash heat-trapping carbon emissions by 24 percent by 2027 while reducing oil consumption by up to 1.8 billion barrels over the lifetime of the vehicles sold under the rule.

Medium and heavy-duty vehicles account for about 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and oil use in the U.S. transportation sector, polluting the air and contributing to climate change. The trucks and vans comprise only 5 percent of vehicles on the road.

The proposal comes amid a flurry of recent actions by Obama on the environment, including a new federal rule regulating small streams and wetlands and a separate rule to restrict greenhouse gas emissions from airplanes.

The administration also is expected to move forward this summer on its plan to curb carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants, a rule Republicans in Congress have vowed to stop.

The long-expected trucks rule comes one day after Pope Francis issued a teaching document calling for the world to take action to slow climate change.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the new rules would help the environment and the economy, as trucks use less fuel and shipping costs go down. Foxx called the rules “good news all around.”

Gina McCarthy, chief of the Environmental Protection Agency, said the plan would deliver “big time” on Obama’s call to cut carbon pollution.

“With emission reductions weighing in at 1 billion tons, this proposal will save consumers, businesses and truck owners money,” McCarthy said. At the same time, the rules will “spur technology innovation and job-growth, while protecting Americans’ health and our environment over the long haul,” she said.

Under the new rule, a best-in-class, long-haul truck carrying 68,000 pounds of cargo is expected to get at least 10 miles per gallon, up from a range of 5 to 7 miles per gallon today, the EPA said. Vehicle owners would recoup costs associated with the rule within two years because of reduced fuel consumption, officials said.

Partly because of those expected savings, the truck rule appeared to generate less controversy than some of the previous regulations the EPA has issued on climate change, although the industry was still reviewing the proposal.

The American Trucking Association said industry generally supports the new rules, but remains concerned that it may result in use of technologies on vehicles before they can be fully tested. Trucks carry goods from produce to timber and oil, as well as packages from major companies such as Amazon, on highways across the country.

“Fuel is an enormous expense for our industry - and carbon emissions carry an enormous cost for our planet,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. “That’s why our industry supported the Obama administration’s historic first round of greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards for medium and large trucks and why we support the aims of this second round of standards.”

Still, Graves and other officials said truck and engine manufacturers need time to develop solutions to meet the new standards.

The proposed standards would cover model years 2021-2027 and apply to semi-trucks, large pickup trucks and vans, and all types and sizes of buses and work trucks, officials said.

The National Automobile Dealers Association and American Truck Dealers blasted the rule, saying it would add an average of nearly $12,000 to the cost of a new truck.

“Recent history has shown that mandates with underestimated compliance costs result in substantially higher prices for commercial vehicles, and force fleet owners and operators to seek out less-expensive and less fuel-efficient alternatives in the marketplace,” the groups said in a statement.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association of Grain Valley, Missouri, which counts 150,000 members, said it was concerned that the rules would “push truckers to purchase technology that is not fully tested and may lead to costs such as increased maintenance and down time that will eclipse the potential savings estimated in the proposal.”

Once completed, the rules are expected to lower carbon dioxide emissions by about 1 billion metric tons.

The rule builds on fuel efficiency and carbon pollution standards already in place for model years 2014-2018. Those rules are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 270 million metric tons and save vehicle owners more than $50 billion in fuel costs, compared to previous standards.

Environmental groups cheered the new rule.

“Anyone who’s ever been stuck behind a truck or bus knows how much they pollute,” said Travis Madsen of Environment America, an advocacy group. “Making trucks go farther on a gallon of fuel can curb pollution, help save the planet and save money,” he said.

The proposed rules will be open to public comment for at least two months and would be completed next year.


Greenpeace co-founder: No proof that carbon dioxide is causing global warming

While he was in Toronto to speak at IdeaCity, Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore talked to me about the Pope's climate change encyclical, and other timely topics.

Moore, who has a Ph.D. in ecology, says it's vital to challenge the so-called "scientific consensus" on global warming.

He says that while we have no proof that carbon dioxide is causing climate change, we do know for certain that Co2 "is the most important food for all life on earth."

On the topic of food, Moore told me about his new campaign:

Getting nutritionally enhanced, genetically modified (GM) "golden rice" into the hands of those who need it most, in developing countries like India.

Moore says India's PM Modi has "basically censored [anti-GM activists] Greenpeace and said, 'Get out of the country.'" Greenpeace India has been "deeply discredited" further following sexual harassment and rape allegations from within its ranks.

Moore explains that his former colleagues at Greenpeace are driven to stop the adoption of GM foods by a combination of greed and stupidity. However, he's noticed a "sea change" in the conversation about genetically modified foods, and adds that there is "no actual documented evidence that genetically modified foods are harmful, especially 'golden rice,' which is just rice with extra Vitamin A in it.


Updated NASA Data: Global Warming Not Causing Any Polar Ice Retreat

Updated data from NASA satellite instruments reveal the Earth’s polar ice caps have not receded at all since the satellite instruments began measuring the ice caps in 1979. Since the end of 2012, moreover, total polar ice extent has largely remained above the post-1979 average. The updated data contradict one of the most frequently asserted global warming claims – that global warming is causing the polar ice caps to recede.

The timing of the 1979 NASA satellite instrument launch could not have been better for global warming alarmists. The late 1970s marked the end of a 30-year cooling trend. As a result, the polar ice caps were quite likely more extensive than they had been since at least the 1920s. Nevertheless, this abnormally extensive 1979 polar ice extent would appear to be the “normal” baseline when comparing post-1979 polar ice extent.

Updated NASA satellite data show the polar ice caps remained at approximately their 1979 extent until the middle of the last decade. Beginning in 2005, however, polar ice modestly receded for several years. By 2012, polar sea ice had receded by approximately 10 percent from 1979 measurements. (Total polar ice area – factoring in both sea and land ice – had receded by much less than 10 percent, but alarmists focused on the sea ice loss as “proof” of a global warming crisis.)

NASA satellite measurements show the polar ice caps have not retreated at all.
NASA satellite measurements show the polar ice caps have not retreated at all.

A 10-percent decline in polar sea ice is not very remarkable, especially considering the 1979 baseline was abnormally high anyway. Regardless, global warming activists and a compliant news media frequently and vociferously claimed the modest polar ice cap retreat was a sign of impending catastrophe. Al Gore even predicted the Arctic ice cap could completely disappear by 2014.

In late 2012, however, polar ice dramatically rebounded and quickly surpassed the post-1979 average. Ever since, the polar ice caps have been at a greater average extent than the post-1979 mean.

Now, in May 2015, the updated NASA data show polar sea ice is approximately 5 percent above the post-1979 average.

During the modest decline in 2005 through 2012, the media presented a daily barrage of melting ice cap stories. Since the ice caps rebounded – and then some – how have the media reported the issue?

The frequency of polar ice cap stories may have abated, but the tone and content has not changed at all. Here are some of the titles of news items I pulled yesterday from the front two pages of a Google News search for “polar ice caps”:

“Climate change is melting more than just the polar ice caps”

“2020: Antarctic ice shelf could collapse”

“An Arctic ice cap’s shockingly rapid slide into the sea”

“New satellite maps show polar ice caps melting at ‘unprecedented rate’”

The only Google News items even hinting that the polar ice caps may not have melted so much (indeed not at all) came from overtly conservative websites. The “mainstream” media is alternating between maintaining radio silence on the extended run of above-average polar ice and falsely asserting the polar ice caps are receding at an alarming rate.

To be sure, receding polar ice caps are an expected result of the modest global warming we can expect in the years ahead. In and of themselves, receding polar ice caps have little if any negative impact on human health and welfare, and likely a positive benefit by opening up previously ice-entombed land to human, animal, and plant life. Nevertheless, polar ice cap extent will likely be a measuring stick for how much the planet is or is not warming.

The Earth has warmed modestly since the Little Ice Age ended a little over 100 years ago, and the Earth will likely continue to warm modestly as a result of natural and human factors. As a result, at some point in time, NASA satellite instruments should begin to report a modest retreat of polar ice caps. The modest retreat – like that which happened briefly from 2005 through 2012 – would not be proof or evidence of a global warming crisis. Such a retreat would merely illustrate that global temperatures are continuing their gradual recovery from the Little Ice Age. Such a recovery – despite alarmist claims to the contrary – would not be uniformly or even on balance detrimental to human health and welfare. Instead, an avalanche of scientific evidence indicates recently warming temperatures have significantly improved human health and welfare, just as warming temperatures have always done.


Is EPA Helping Green Groups Raise Funds in Exchange for Favorable Research?

On first glance, this is a rather routine story in the environmental policy wars.

A study published in the journal Nature Climate Change said researchers had found that if rules being considered by the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce carbon emissions were enacted, it would mean 3,500 fewer premature deaths per year.

This was a necessary piece of the puzzle for the EPA as it works to implement regulations it says would, by 2030, reduce carbon emissions to 30 percent below their levels in 2005. Industry experts say these regulations would drive a final nail into the coal industry, which currently supplies almost half the nation’s electricity. So, to justify the regulations, significant health benefits must be demonstrated.

Such stories have become expected in environmental policy. The government announces an aim or policy change, and the research community gets together, using taxpayer dollars, to confirm the government’s approach is the best option. Those who support it post it to their Facebook pages; those who don’t ignore it.

Researchers from Harvard University, Syracuse University and four other institutions used climate models to predict the impact the EPA’s proposed carbon emissions reductions would have on human health. And not surprisingly, it turned out the government’s plan was not just among the options that would produce positive results but was, in fact, the best way to achieve the goals.

But there was a line in this story that sets it apart. Jonathan Buonocore, a research fellow at Harvard’s Center for Health and the Global Environment, told U.S. News the EPA did not participate in the study or interact with its authors.

But it seems the agency did participate and did interact with the authors.

Emails discovered through a Freedom of Information Act request by Steve Milloy, a former editor at, found a string of correspondence to set up meetings and conference calls to, in the words of one such email, “discuss methods for our next set of analyses.”

The chain of emails went back and forth as the researchers and the agency both sought to add participants to the call. The fact the research showed precisely what the government wanted it to and that the government’s own proposal, when mimicked by researchers, produced the best results further raise suspicion.

Driscoll seemed to grasp this when he told the New York Times it was “a coincidence” that one of the models so closely resembled the federal proposal.

Milloy does not buy that explanation, and he doesn’t buy that this research was not coordinated with the agency to maximize effectiveness in promoting the coal regulations.

Despite the fact the study’s authors “received or were involved in $45 million worth of research grants from the EPA,” The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Associated Press described the researchers “simply and innocuously” as researchers and scientists, Milloy lamented in a recent post at

“Absent some unimagined explanation, these emails flatly contradict the claims [of independence] made in the Harvard and Syracuse media releases and in statements to media [by the researchers themselves].”

The Daily Signal asked both the Harvard School of Public Health and Syracuse University if they stand by their characterization of the researchers as “independent” in press releases on the study. Neither responded.

The scientists who produce this government-favored research not only have begun to cash in at taxpayers’ expense, but they’ve also begun to ask the agency for help with fundraising.

Milloy uncovered an email in which Driscoll asks Ellen Kurlansky, an agency staffer, for her assistance and advice on raising money for another project.

“I wanted to see if I could arrange a short call with you to discuss fundraising [on a meeting related to mercury poisoning]. We are making some progress on the planning for this meeting, but it would help if I could raise a little a money to help pay for some initial expenses.”

This coziness is not healthy, said David Kreutzer, an energy economics and climate change policy analyst for The Heritage Foundation.

“The science can be judged on its own, but the independence of the researchers is undermined when emails show they were soliciting funds from the EPA even as they were writing up their study reviewing the impact of significant EPA rules.”

The government is not nearly so accommodating for scientists who don’t toe its preferred line.

Willie Soon, an astrophysicist with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, co-authored a paper published in January that found the models used in the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are laced with mathematical errors. Soon then endured an avalanche of criticism of his funding sources and implications he had shaped his findings to please them.

It mattered not that he got only about $60,000 per year from the one “compromised” source or that the compromised source was the Smithsonian or that he had not known where the Smithsonian got the money it paid him.

Then, a few days after the New York Times piece on Soon appeared, Congress got into the act. Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., ranking minority member on the House Natural Resources Committee, sent letters to seven universities asking for documents on climate change research connected with scientific skeptics who have questioned the premise of anthropogenic (man-made) global warming.

This was followed by a letter from Sens. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., to 100 fossil fuel companies, trade groups, and other outfits “to determine whether they are funding scientific studies designed to confuse the public and avoid taking action to cut carbon pollution, and whether the funded scientists fail to disclose the sources of their funding in scientific publications or in testimony to legislators.”

Indeed, the deck remains stacked against those who dare to stray from the government message on global warming, and the conflicts of interest seem concentrated on the researchers and scientists who accept government money, according to William Happer, a professor of physics at Princeton University.

“Unless you accept the alarmist position and the dictates of the [Obama] administration, you cannot typically receive government funding,” said Happer.


Britain's Tories must seize the chance to rethink climate change policy

David Cameron and George Osborne have just defeated Ed Miliband electorally; now they have to defeat him intellectually

When Benedictine monks first arrived to restore Pluscarden Abbey, a beautiful ruin in northeast Scotland, they faced a battle against the elements. It had no roof, let alone heating, and even when restored to its medieval glory it cost a fortune to keep warm. But when I visited last month, I learned that a miracle has happened. A biomass boiler has arrived, tucked away next to the organ, with a subsidy scheme that turns cost into profit. For every £1 spent in woodchip, the monks receive £4 in subsidy. The Lord works in mysterious ways, but nothing is more mysterious than the financing of green energy.

The economics will be familiar to any wily aristocrat with a ballroom to heat. The boiler is expensive, but the cost is recovered in about five years; and subsidies are guaranteed for 20 years. Owning an eco-boiler is as close as you get to a licence to print money. “Every stately home I know is now like a sauna in winter, with windows wide open,” one Conservative peer tells me. Little wonder the Pope is so enthusiastic about the environmental agenda; it's saving monasteries. But for George Osborne, all this makes less sense. The Chancellor senses an expensive problem, in need of a conservative solution.

Just two months ago, the Tories could not have hoped to do much. They expected to either lose the election, or be forced into another coalition with the Liberal Democrats, whose enthusiasm for the green agenda precluded serious Tory reform in the last parliament. So they didn’t bother coming up with a modern environmental policy, given the negligible chance of being able to implement one.

Lord Cooper, Cameron’s former chief strategist, put the chances of outright Tory victory at 0.5 per cent, which gives a sense of how little they prepared for one. Now, majority has emerged - but a proper Conservative agenda has not.
We heard some rumblings yesterday: Amber Rudd, the new Climate Change Secretary, has decided to stop subsidising new onshore wind farms from next year. She is in a position to apply a common sense test to much of what was signed off by Ed Davey, her Lib Dem predecessor. But like so many Tory ministers she has not, yet, worked out what she will do instead. She intends to take the summer to come up with a proper Tory plan, after taking stock of what we have learned in the last five years.

Plenty has changed. The climate debate, so long polarised between zealots and deniers, has cooled. It is now (just about) possible to question the wisdom of an environmentalist policy without being denounced as a global warming denier. This applies to scientists, too: global temperatures have not been warming significantly for about 17 years now, encouraging a closer look at climate variability. The fracking revolution in the United States mean its natural gas prices have fallen to less then the average in Europe. As a result, heavy industry (and jobs) are flooding back to former rustbelt states. The scientific consensus has not changed: the planet is warming and mankind is, at least in part, responsible. Action is certainly needed. But how to help, without hurting too much?

There is another climate problem: the fact that at least 15,000 British pensioners die of the cold each winter. It’s a staggering death toll, which has been greeted with a shrug for far too long. But this, too, is ending. The notion of “fuel poverty” is being more widely recognised – and green subsidy is compounding the problem. Much of it is raised by slapping an invisible tax on energy bills, costing the average household some £150 a year – a figure that is only set to rise.

The Renewable Energy Foundation has found that, since green levies first started fattening energy bills, some £13 billion has been raised in hidden bills. And for what? Emily Gosden, this newspaper’s energy editor, recently revealed that on January 19, the coldest day of the year, wind accounted for just 1 per cent of our electricity. The need for energy was there, but if the winds don’t blow the turbines are useless. As she put it, for all the expense, wind farms “cannot be relied upon to keep the lights on when they are needed the most.” This is not just about the cost of living, but basic energy security.

The last five years have also allowed us to see, in far greater detail, what harm green levies can inflict on a nation’s economy. Germany stands as a salutary lesson in what not to do. As Der Spiegel magazine once put it, green levies are so high that energy there has become a “luxury item”. BASF, the German chemicals giant, is one of many to have admitted it is mulling a move somewhere else. SGL, which makes carbon fibre for cars, is now investing in the US rather than its native Germany because American electricity is a third of the price. If Britain is engaged in a “global race”, energy costs are very much part of it.

The Chancellor is all too aware of this. When he was asked about British shale in Prime Minister’s questions this week, he spoke of two considerations: to respect “environmental standards” while making sure not to “condemn our country to higher energy bills and not as many jobs”. This is a crucial caveat, and could be the basis for a new Conservative environmental policy. Insisting upon proper care for the environment, while taking care not to inflict too much financial pain on employers, or on households. It would be a sensible, conservative compromise.

The obvious opening for new British energy policy is after the United Nations climate conference in Paris in November. It’s likely to be a fiasco: India and China are highly unlikely to sign up to any legally binding target to cut down on emissions. And why should they? Millions remain in abject poverty in those countries; why slow down growth? Advances in technology mean that energy is becoming greener all the time. The United States was condemned by environmentalists for refusing to ratify the Kyoto Treaty, yet ended up yet ended up lowering its carbon emissions more than any other country. Not by taxing its poor out of the sky, but by leading the world in the development of shale gas.

There is little chance of a new Kyoto Treaty, given the abject failure of the last one. So it will be time for a new conversation – and George Osborne has already started it. In his 2011 Tory conference speech he suggested that Britain would cut carbon emissions “no slower but also no faster than our fellow countries in Europe”. This can be seen as an Osborne Doctrine; a sensible idea, but strikingly different to the 2008 Climate Change Act, which committed Britain to eye-wateringly carbon reduction target no matter what happened overseas.

The Act was written by Ed Miliband; we’ve been playing by his rules ever since. Yet it gives the government the power to set a new target, if there have been “significant developments” in scientific knowledge or European policy. There have been developments aplenty: the shale revolution means that global energy market has changed almost beyond recognition. As Germany realises, to its cost. Several pieces of research have questioned whether climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide emissions is quite as tight as the government originally assumed.

It’s time, in short, for a rethink – and for the Conservatives to come up with their own ideas on energy. David Cameron and George Osborne have just defeated Ed Miliband electorally; now they have to defeat him intellectually. It should be a far easier task.



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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