Wednesday, December 16, 2015

John Kerry gets something right

Although he probably didn’t mean to, Secretary of State John Kerry made a compelling case for why the U.S. and other countries should not go down the path of shutting down coal-fired plants, raising energy prices and stunting economic growth to combat global warming.

Speaking in Paris, Kerry said:

    “The fact is that even if every American citizen biked to work, carpooled to school, used only solar panels to power their homes, if we each planted a dozen trees, if we somehow eliminated all of our domestic greenhouse gas emissions, guess what – that still wouldn’t be enough to offset the carbon pollution coming from the rest of the world.

    “If all the industrial nations went down to zero emissions – remember what I just said, all the industrial emissions went down to zero emissions – it wouldn’t be enough, not when more than 65 percent of the world’s carbon pollution comes from the developing world.”

He’s exactly right. Paul Knappenberger and Patrick Michaels estimate that the climate regulations the Obama administration are imposing on the energy sector – costs that will be passed down to households – will avert a meager 0.018 degree Celsius of warming by the year 2100.

In fact, the U.S. could cut 100 percent of its CO2 emissions and it would not make a difference in global warming.

Using the same climate sensitivity modeling as the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world would only be 0.137 degree C cooler by 2100. What’s worse is that if you included 100 percent cuts from the entire industrialized world in their modeling, then you would only avert warming by 0.278 degree C by the turn of the century.

If Kerry got his wish, developing countries like India and China would play ball. But they’re not going to and quite frankly, neither is the rest of the developing world and some parts of the developed world.

According to the Climate Action Tracker, there are plans to build more than 2,400 coal-fired power plants over the next 15 years. That includes plants that have been announced, in the pre-permit stage, permitted or under construction. These countries want access to cheap and abundant energy, in order to provide their citizens with a stable current of electricity and to keep their economy growing.

Kerry got one point very wrong, however. We’re talking about carbon dioxide emissions, not carbon pollution. The administration has evolved their message on this issue, from global warming, to climate change, to carbon pollution.

Carbon dioxide is a colorless, non-toxic gas that does not have adverse impacts on human health. Calling CO2, carbon pollution, is deceiving the public. But at least Kerry spoke clearly about the futility of any unilateral or multilateral plans to address global warming.


Paris Climate Deal Calls for America to Transfer Wealth to 'Developing' Countries

 The draft of the international agreement to deal with climate change, which is being considered today in Paris by representatives from 195 countries, calls for the developed nations of the world (which include the United States) to transfer wealth to developing nations, including through “public funds.”

“Developed country Parties shall provide financial resources to assist developing country Parties with respect to both mitigation and adaptation in continuation of their existing obligations under the Convention,” says Article 9 of the draft agreement.

“As part of a global effort, developed country Parties should continue to take the lead in mobilizing climate finance from a wide variety of sources, instruments and channels, noting the significant role of public funds,” says the draft.

The draft agreement sets a goal for developed countries to dole out at least $100 billion per year by 2020.

The agreement at one point says: “Resolves to enhance the provision of urgent and adequate finance, technology and capacity-building support by developed country Parties in order to enhance the level of ambition of pre-2020 action by Parties, and in this regard strongly urges developed country Parties to scale up their level of financial support, with a concrete roadmap to achieve the goal of jointly providing USD 100 billion annually by 2020 for mitigation and adaptation while significantly increasing adaptation finance from current levels and to further provide appropriate technology and capacity-building support.”

The text of Article 9 of the agreement states:

Article 9

    1. Developed country Parties shall provide financial resources to assist developing country Parties with respect to both mitigation and adaptation in continuation of their existing obligations under the Convention.

    2. Other Parties are encouraged to provide or continue to provide such support voluntarily.

    3. As part of a global effort, developed country Parties should continue to take the lead in mobilizing climate finance from a wide variety of sources, instruments and channels, noting the significant role of public funds, through a variety of actions, including supporting country-driven strategies, and taking into account the needs and priorities of developing country Parties. Such mobilization of climate finance should represent a progression beyond previous efforts.

    4. The provision of scaled-up financial resources should aim to achieve a balance between adaptation and mitigation, taking into account country-driven strategies, and the priorities and needs of developing country Parties, especially those that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change and have significant capacity constraints, such as the least developed countries and small island developing States, considering the need for public and grant-based resources for adaptation.

    5. Developed country Parties shall biennially communicate indicative quantitative and qualitative information related to paragraphs 1 and 3 of this Article, as applicable, including, as available, projected levels of public financial resources to be provided to developing country Parties. Other Parties providing resources are encouraged to communicate biennially such information on a voluntary basis.

    6. The global stocktake referred to in Article 14 shall take into account the relevant information provided by developed country Parties and/or Agreement bodies on efforts related to climate finance.

    7. Developed country Parties shall provide transparent and consistent information on support for developing country Parties provided and mobilized through public interventions biennially in accordance with the modalities, procedures and guidelines to be adopted by the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement, at its first session, as stipulated in Article 13, paragraph 13. Other Parties are encouraged to do so.

    8. The Financial Mechanism of the Convention, including its operating entities, shall serve as the financial mechanism of this Agreement.

    9. The institutions serving this Agreement, including the operating entities of the Financial Mechanism of the Convention, shall aim to ensure efficient access to financial resources through simplified approval procedures and enhanced readiness support for developing country Parties, in particular for the least developed countries and small island developing States, in the context of their national climate strategies and plans.


The BBC drops climate criticism down the memory hole

This week climate fanatics have given us more conclusive proof – if we ever needed it – that they have no interest in debate, or even allowing anyone to question their crushing ‘consensus’. In fact, debate was off the agenda entirely this week, after the BBC was reprimanded for having the audacity to spend taxpayers’ money questioning the climate orthodoxy.

What’s the Point of the Met Office? aired in August, as part of a light-hearted Radio 4 series that takes on British institutions. It featured a number of climate-change sceptics, including two MPs, who criticised the eco-establishment – one going so far as to call climate change a ‘fiction’. Naturally, this sparked a backlash among climate scientists and members of the public who couldn’t deal with the thought of people, in the free world, questioning conventional opinion.

A BBC Trust review, which published its findings this week, deemed the programme a serious breach of BBC rules on impartiality and accuracy. The BBC officially apologised in October, admitting that the show failed to make clear that sceptics represent a ‘minority’ that is ‘out-of-step with scientific consensus’. Now, in an alarming development, the BBC has deleted the programme from its internet archive.

The implications of this are startling. Just because a few sceptics dared to question the consensus, their contributions have been scrubbed from the internet. It puts one in mind of Orwell’s memory holes, in which documents can be dropped and thus wiped from the history books.

Even if you have little time for climate sceptics, this should concern you. One day it could be you who finds yourself in the intellectual ‘minority’. By turning a blind eye to censorship you make a rod for your own back. What’s more, you stifle the pursuit of scientific truth. Indeed, if the establishments of past eras had succeeded in purging all scientific dissent, we’d all still think that the Sun orbits our flat Earth.

Cracking down on dissenting opinions benefits no one. If this is how the BBC and the climate fanatics treat scientific inquiry – with utter contempt – we should all fear for the progression of scientific knowledge, and, for that matter, the progression of the human race.

SOURCE.  Quentin Letts has more detail on this story

Vermont State Arrogance…Vows Windparks Despite Residents’ Huge "Stinging Rebuke" Against 500-Foot Turbines!

TV station WPTZ reports that developers planned to build seven 500-foot-tall wind turbines near the town of Swanton, Vermont, near Lake Champlain. However the industrial colossuses are no longer welcome in a state that proudly views itself as green.

Vermonters are finding out quickly that wind parks are massively industrial, not environmentally friendly, pose a serious threat to human health and birdlife, and that they are eyesores that ruin the state’s idyllic landscape.

Wind parks installed in Lowell and Sheffield have clearly demonstrated that such projects are in fact far more environmental vandalism than they are "protection".

The latest proposed Swanton wind park went up for a straight up or down vote among the local residents. The Result? "Residents voted 744-142 to support legislation giving towns the ability to oppose future projects." That’s 83% to just 17%!

Residents be damned

So is this going to impress state officials, led by Governor Peter Shumlin? WPTZ reports:

State officials warned that the results of the two proposals are not binding. […] Townspeople currently don’t have a say in area wind development. […] Even with voting results, the state can still move forward with the development plan."

In other words: Votes (democracy) are apparently no longer binding in Governor Peter Shumlin’s the kingdom of Vermont. Has he lost it?

Moreover, developers cried that the wording made it difficult to get a fair vote because it focused on the negatives of wind energy and not the positives. However many residents argue that there aren’t really any positive points and that the "clean energy" claim is only a feel-good argument.

Wind energy is unpredictable, wildly fluctuating, severely stresses the power grid, and it is NOT cheap.

One resident in Vermont informed me by e-mail that the vote will not impress the state and that it will take a voters-be damned-view and simply steamroll the project through.

Irasburg residents reject wind park 274 – 9!

Meanwhile the VermontWatchdog here reports that the residents of Irasburg, located in rural, scenic northern Vermont, just a stone throw away from the now infamous Lowell windpark, also recently voted on a proposed wind park, rejecting it by a vote of 274 to 9 (97% to 3%)! That vote result was so lopsided that the 9 votes probably came exclusively from the landowner and a few of his buddies. The VermontWatchdog called the result "a stinging rebuke".

The spirit of Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys is alive again in Vermont it seems. Vermonters must keep up the fight. The VermontWatchdog quotes citizen Paul Drayman:

There are big companies that are right now buying up some very large plots of land, and they’re targeting areas like this. … If we do not stop this, in 20 years you will not recognize this area. It will look very different." The "ruralness" that characterizes Vermont will be lost at least for a generation.


Study: Acid in Oceans Not Harmful to Coral

Scientist have described the process that allows corals to form skeletons, and they say water acidity doesn’t affect the process.

Those skeletons—destined to become limestones—form massive and ecologically vital coral reefs in the world’s oceans.

In a publication in Current Biology, Tali Mass and colleagues at the Rutgers Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences show that specific proteins produced by corals can form limestones in test tubes.

These proteins, secreted by corals, precipitate carbonate that forms the corals’ characteristic skeleton.

"This is a first step toward understanding how coral build their skeleton," says Mass, a postdoctoral researcher and lead author of the study.

Water acidity does not affect the process, which suggests that these organisms will survive in coming centuries when the world’s oceans are predicted to become more acidic. That also potentially bodes well for the health of the world’s coral reefs, which support ecosystems essential to marine diversity that in turn support fisheries.

"The good news is that the change in acidity will not stop the function of these proteins," says Mass.

But she is quick to warn that her work shouldn’t make people complacent. "Pollution and rising water temperatures also pose major threats to these essential marine organisms."

Limestone rocks are all around us and have been central human history. The Egyptians used them to build pyramids and today they are still used to build monuments.

Surprisingly, all limestones are created by living organisms. The rocks are everywhere, it seems, but how they form has not been answered until now.

Scientists have long known that corals made their external skeletons from a matrix of secreted proteins, but didn’t understand the mechanism.

Draft genome

Mass and colleagues began by asking which proteins might be responsible for the process. They identified over 30 proteins from coral skeleton that could be involved. They described that work earlier this year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

At the same time they searched for genes in the coral genome for proteins that could potentially assist with production of the skeletal mineral calcium carbonate.

For this, the scientists went to Debashish Bhattacharya, professor of ecology, evolution, and natural resources, director of the Rutgers Genome Cooperative, and a co-author of the paper. A genome is the entirety of an organism’s genetic information (DNA)—in this case, of the particular coral that the researchers were studying.

"We produced a ‘draft’ genome," Bhattacharya says. "Basically, that’s a genome that is not yet fully assembled into chromosomes. So, you don’t have the DNA puzzle completely put together, but you have all of the pieces of that puzzle and can figure out what the many pieces—for example, the genes—do in the coral."

The genome analysis, done by Ehud Zelzion, bioinformaticist at the Genome Cooperative, led the researchers to four particular proteins. The genes encoding these proteins were cloned and expressed in bacteria, then isolated and placed in solutions representing the current acidity of seawater and the more acidic levels scientists predict for the end of the century.

Acidic oceans

On the commonly used pH scale, where lower numbers are more acidic, today’s seas are a moderately alkaline 8.2. But they are expected to creep toward 7.6 as carbon dioxide concentration increases in the air.

Using a scanning electron microscope and other measurement devices, the scientists examined the proteins and found that all had begun to precipitate calcium carbonate crystals in the test tube at both pH levels.

"This work goes a long way toward explaining how corals precipitate calcium carbonate skeletons and clearly shows that the reaction can work at more acidic pH levels," says Paul Falkowski, also a co-author of the study and professor of geological and marine sciences. "It doesn’t mean that ocean acidification is not a concern, but it does suggest that corals will still be able to form skeletons, and coral reefs will continue to exist."


Change in Australia's plankton population, as climate changes, threatens human food chain

Amusing that 30 years was chosen below as the start of the period under examination.  Carefully choosing your starting and ending points for a sequence is one of the classic ways of lying with statistics.  Had they chosen to study the last 18 years -- when there has been NO global warming, the results might have been very different.  So it is entirely possible that the effects they have reported originated ENTIRELY in the late 20th century, when there was some slight warming.  Is that the case?  They do not say.  If it is the case, the alarm they are trying to generate is a hoax

Just by the by, there is a bit of a puzzle in the report below. Plankton are much more plentiful in temperate seas than tropical ones so what is meant by saying that plankton have "moved" into cooler (more Southerly) seas? Weren't they there already? Are they saying that tropical plankton are dying out? That could conceivably be but if so, why not say so? The idea of plankton "moving" seems very odd

If we leave aside silly talk about "moving", is their basic finding that plankton are becoming more abundant in cooler seas? If so, that CONTRADICTS global warming -- as warmer seas should have LESS plankton. What a mess of a report!

Australia's plankton population, a vital key in the human food chain, has moved 300 kilometres south in 30 years, new research has found.

Scientists attributed the shift to the warming oceans caused by climate change.

In some regions there was also a shift from cold-water to warm-water plankton species.

The Plankton 2015 report from the CSIRO is based on data from the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS), which looks at why plankton is important to ocean health.

The report's lead author, Dr Anthony Richardson, said how much plankton there is, and where it is, determines how many fish, marine mammals and turtles are in the sea.

"The key findings are that plankton, which are really important to people, are changing and changing really in response to climate change," he said.

"Plankton are responsible for about half the oxygen we breathe, and are critical to the marine food web. "They can impact human life."

The report compiles information from plankton studies and data sets from across Australia giving a snapshot of the climate, the state of global fisheries and marine ecosystem health and biodiversity.



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