Thursday, January 21, 2016

World's hottest year declaration expected amid dangerous winter weather

Just a passing mention of El Nino towards the end.  No acknowledgement that it will be El Nino, not CO2, that is responsible for the recent high temperatures.  How do we know that?  We know it because previous El Ninos have been accompanied by big temperature jumps followed by much lower temperatures afterward.

And CO2 levels have not suddenly leapt. They cannot account for a temperature jump.  The following ppm figures from Cape Grim are for the recent November averages: 388.94 2011; 391.17 2012; 393.86 2013; 395.78 2014; 398.45 2015.  As you can see, each year brings an increase of around 2 to 3 ppm in CO2 and the increase for 2015 was of that ilk.  In percentage terms, the change from 2014 to 2015 was only six tenths of one percent! Hardly a change at all. Certainly no leap.

Warmists will of course seize on any rise as explanatory but to complete the argument they will have to give a figure for the climate sensitivity to CO2.  And at that point they will be in difficulties

Technical note:  I have used Cape Grim figures rather than Mauna Loa.  It seems so insane to situate an atmospheric measuring station beside an active volcano that I never even look at Mauna Loa figures.  Cape Grim is, by contrast, in a very isolated position at the Northwest of Tasmania -- JR

While the region braces for its first unofficial snow panic of the season, the government is about to announce that 2015 was the warmest year on record worldwide - probably by a comfortable margin.

Officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies say they will release their annual reports on Wednesday.

While the final piece - official December climate data - has not yet been made public, the first 11 months of the year were so historically balmy that the declaration of 2015 as the world's warmest year, surpassing 2014, is all but a certainty, weather watchers agree.

The average annual temperature last year was at least 1.5 degrees higher than those during the 20th Century. And scientists at both agencies are expected to indict man-made greenhouse gases for the trend.

The announcement will come as a potential mega-snowstorm takes aim on the Northeast Corridor. Meteorologists on Tuesday warned of the potential for 1 to 2 feet of snow to pile up Friday and Saturday. Jersey beaches are likely to take a pounding from potent onshore winds, with major flooding possible.

But the weekend forecasts are still evolving. In fact, on Tuesday the respected European computer model appeared to cut back on its initial projections of double-digit snowfall accumulations for the Philadelphia region.

While the juxtaposition between the snow threat and the global-temperature report might appear ironic, climate experts have long emphasized that climate trends transcend local, short-term events - the hurricanes, heat waves, cold spells and blizzards that often get so much attention.

It is impossible, they say, to determine how a subtle increase in world temperatures could affect an individual storm. But the warming, they say, is very real.

NOAA and NASA maintain separate databases using slightly different - and quite complicated - methods. But their readings track closely.

The official database maintained by NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, in Asheville, N.C., dates to 1880.

Taking the world's temperature isn't as simple as sticking a thermometer under the planetary armpit.

Daily high-low average temperatures at about 2,500 stations worldwide are taken on a month-by-month basis, explains government climate specialist Deke Arndt. The temperature is expressed relative to 20th Century averages, rather than an absolute reading. The planet's thermometers do not constitute a homogeneous set. They are located at different elevations and above different terrains.

So, rather than attempting to average temperatures in different environments, Arndt has said, it is tidier to measure how readings at a given site deviate from average readings at the same site.

For 2014, the center's globally averaged temperature was 1.32 degrees Fahrenheit [i.e. less than one degree Celsius] above the 20th Century average, the warmest on record. NASA compares its annual temperature with that of the 1951-80 "base period." The 2014 temperature was about 1.2 degrees above the base period's.

In all likelihood, the 2015 NOAA number will exceed 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit, which would beat the margin of error.

The December 2015 report isn't available yet, but from Jan. 1 through Nov. 30, the combined land-and-sea temperature was 1.57 degrees above the 20th Century average.

And evidently December was quite warm globally, with abnormally high surface temperatures over a vast expanse of the Pacific, the result of the ongoing El Nino event.


Professor Bob Carter (1941 – 2016)

A good tribute to the late Bob Carter from Jo Nova below.  Knowing his steady good sense it is hard to feel that he is gone.  He joins other lively skeptics that are no longer with us. Reid Bryson, Augie Auer and John Daly are particularly remembered.  Many skeptics are elderly.  It has to be that way.  A young scholar who came out against the ecoFascists would ruin his career. But we old guys are mostly retired so cannot so easily be got at.  It makes me wonder how much longer I have got.  As Bob was, I am in my 70s.  My blood pressure is good for my age, however (130/70 at last reading), so a cardiovascular event is not likely to carry me off  -- JR

One of the best things about being a skeptic are the people I’ve got to know, and Bob Carter was one of the best of them, sadly taken far too soon. He was outstanding, a true gem, a good soul, and an implacably rational thinker. A softly spoken man of conscience and good humour.

So it is dreadful news that he suffered a heart attack last week in Townsville. For the last few days I have been hoping that he would return to us, but alas, tonight he passed away peacefully, surrounded by family.

We shall miss you Bob.

Professor Bob Carter (74) has been a key figure in the Global Warming debate, doing exactly what good professors ought to do — challenging paradigms, speaking internationally, writing books, newspaper articles, and being invited to give special briefings with Ministers in Parliament. He started work at James Cook University in 1981, served as Head of the Geology Department until 1998, and sometime after that he retired. Since then he’d been an honorary Adjunct Professor. [Bob was a founding member of the GWPF's Academic Advisory Council]

He was a man who followed the scientific path, no matter where it took him, and even if it cost him, career-wise, every last bell and whistle that the industry of science bestowed, right down to his very email address. After decades of excellent work, he continued on as an emeritus professor, speaking out in a calm and good natured way against poor reasoning and bad science.

But the high road is the hard road and the university management tired of dealing with the awkward questions and the flack that comes with speaking truths that upset the gravy train. First James Cook University (JCU) took away his office, then they took his title. In protest at that, another professor hired Bob immediately for an hour a week so Bob could continue supervising students and keep his library access. But that was blocked as well, even the library pass and his email account were taken away, though they cost the University almost nothing.

It says a lot about the man that, despite the obstacles, he didn’t seem bitter and rarely complained. He dealt with it all with calm equanimity. Somehow he didn’t carry the bad treatment as excess baggage.

Probably the saddest aspect of the whole petty saga of the Blackballing of Bob Carter was that JCU felt it was fine to explain that Bob’s mistake was that he had come to an inconvenient conclusion on climate change. It wasn’t that he got the facts wrong, instead his "views on climate change did not fit well within the School’s own teaching and research activities."

So much for academic freedom. Apparently it took up too much time to defend Carter against outside complaints about his public writings and lectures on climate change.

Such is the state of intellectual rigor in Australian universities. As I said at the time: "… every person in the chain of command tacitly, or in at least one case, actively endorsed the blackballing. Each one failed to stand for free speech and rigorous debate"

The only one in that chain at JCU who would always put science before politics was Professor Robert Carter. He was a rare and remarkable man, and I will keenly miss his wisdom and philosophical good nature.



Leftism is intrinsically authoritarian.  Even Friedrich Engels thought so. Whether by revolution or by legislation, Leftists aim to change what people can and must do. They are natural-born dictators

Professor Nico Stehr, founding director of the European Center for Sustainability Research, notes there are many threats to democracy – including the widespread, growing feeling of not being heard or represented by the political class.

Some climatologists, including many who believe human-caused global warming poses a catastrophic threat to the planet, say democracy itself is a hindrance to sound climate policy. They say democracies are increasingly proving themselves incapable of delivering strong and timely policy responses to exceptional global threats. Stehr quotes Australians David Shearman and Joseph Wayne Smith, who write in The Climate Change Challenge and the Failure of Democracy, "We need an authoritarian form of government to implement the scientific consensus on greenhouse gas emissions."

James Hansen, James Lovelock, and Eric Hobsbawn have all written the democratic process is not working when it comes to climate change. In his book The Vanishing Face of Gaia, Lovelock went so far as to demand democracy be abandoned to meet the challenges of climate change, which he deemed "a state of war."

Stehr notes this is not the first time intellectuals have called for rule by educated elites. Economist and social philosopher Friedrich Hayek remarked on the paradoxical development, noting as "ignorance" of science falls, "people who are intoxicated by the progress of knowledge, so often become enemies of freedom."

Stehr also observes climate alarmists’ pessimistic assessment of the ability of democracies to cope with climate change, as with other purported instances of exceptional circumstances, is linked with an optimistic assessment of the potential of central planning.

And really, is it any surprise that as the public becomes less supportive of their cause, the climate alarmists become less interested in the opinions of the public?


Majority of Americans Don't Buy Climate Change Threat; State Dept Blames Polling

The State Department special envoy on climate change said on Friday that although a recent poll shows that 62 percent of Americans don’t think climate change will pose a threat in their lifetime, a sampling of "good polling" would reveal increasing public concern. asked Todd Stern: "In March of 2015, Gallup took a poll, and 55 percent of Americans were concerned about climate change, and also they asked a specific question: Do you think that global warming will pose a serious threat to you or your way of life in your lifetime, and in 2015, 62 percent of Americans said, ‘No.’ How do those numbers jibe with what you’re saying about an increasing number of people believing in climate change and its effects?"

"I’m not armed with poll numbers that I’ve look at recently," Stern said at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in Washington, D.C. "Look, I think a lot of  -- here and everywhere else – questions like this depend enormously on what the nature of the question is and how it’s phrased, and then for people to say they don’t think it’s a serious threat within their lifetime is completely understandable given what – the way the issue is commonly talked about and understood in the press.

"So I think if we were – if you’re an election buff and you look at Real Clear Politics every day like I do, you’ll see that there’s a whole bunch of polls in New Hampshire, Iowa, this place, that place, and the line that’s at the top of Real Clear is an average of a bunch of polls," said Stern, who was appointed to the post by Hillary Clinton in 2009.

"So I think if we did a sampling of good polling and a range of the way the question is asked, you would see that there is, in fact, a real movement up in the level of U.S. public concern," Stern said.

Stern was speaking at CFR about the recent United Nations climate change agreement that the Obama administration signed onto in Paris late last year. The agreement includes the U.S. providing funding to developing nations to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.


Democratic Governor Slams Obama’s Moratorium on Coal Production Leases on Federal Lands

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, issued an audio statement over the weekend reacting to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell’s announcement Friday that the Obama administration will halt issuing leases for coal production on federal lands.

"President Obama is wrong," Bullock said in an audio statement posted on the local public radio station, "and once again Montana’s working families are left bearing the brunt of his unilateral action.

"Of course American taxpayers should get their fair value from coal leases, and of course, there should be transparency in the process," Bullock said, "but you don’t shut down a program just to tinker with it. You fix as you go.

"As this process moves forward, I am going to demand Montana has a seat at the table," Bullock said.

"Even as our nation transitions to cleaner energy sources, building on smart policies and progress already underway, we know that coal will continue to be an important domestic energy source in the years ahead," Jewell said in a press release issued on Friday about the review of coal operations on federal land.

"We haven’t undertaken a comprehensive review of the program in more than 30 years, and we have an obligation to current and future generations to ensure the federal coal program delivers a fair return to American taxpayers and takes into account its impacts on climate change," she added.

"Given serious concerns raised about the federal coal program, we’re taking the prudent step to hit pause on approving significant new leases so that decisions about those leases can benefit from the recommendations that come out of the review," Jewell said.

The New West website posted on Saturday reaction from other stakeholders in Montana.

"This announcement comes as no surprise from an administration that seems hell-bent on forcing the coal industry to come to a screeching halt," Bud Clinch, executive director of the Montana Coal Council, said in the article. "This is devastating news for Montana.

"About half the coal we mine is federal coal," Clinch said. "The president is trying to stop all of that coal from being mined.

"It could also make it unfeasible to mine some tribal, private, or state-owned coal on parcels adjacent to federal parcels," Clinch said. "The president and environmental groups have put in jeopardy thousands of good-paying Montana jobs and one of our most important economic sectors."

"Federal coal royalties total between $40 and $50 million in biennial revenue to our state," said Glenn Oppel, government relations director for the Montana Chamber of Commerce.  "Losing that would leave a gaping hole in our state budget and represents a huge tax shift to Montana homeowners and small businesses.

"The economic impact of coal in our state cannot be understated, a moratorium on federal coal mining would be a catastrophe," Oppel said.

"As I stated last week when I attended Obama’s state of the union where he hinted at further action against federal coal leasing: Washington, D.C.’s out of touch regulations are hurting Montana families, and they need to be stopped," said Jason Small, president of International Boilermakers Local 11 in East Helena, Mont.

Bullock also opposes the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, aimed to regulate carbon emissions from U.S. power plants.


West Australian minister calls on anti-uranium lobby to 'accept WA mines'

Western Australia's Minister from Mines is calling on the anti uranium lobby to accept WA mines in the wake of last month's climate change agreement in Paris.

Bill Marmion said there were currently four uranium mines on the cards for WA and nuclear energy could be the solution to the current fossil fuel problem.

And he believes that Western Australia is well placed to take advantage of the current and future demand for non fossil fuels, given that one of the world's largest uranium supplies is sitting just under the surface in some rather remote regions of the state.  "We could be a leading exporter of uranium on the world scene if these mines get up and running and that could actually help carbon emissions worldwide," he said.

"So I think now it's timely that everybody takes another look at uranium and nuclear energy."

Mia Pepper from the Conservation council said she and Mr Marmion must have been tuned into two different conferences, because her take on Paris was quite different.

She said the minister was overly optimistic in his hopes for a West Australian uranium mining future.

"The outcomes of the Paris conference were actually very not supportive of the nuclear industry," she said.  "The nuclear industry has for a very long time, tried to capitalise on climate change as a foothold for the nuclear industry and I think now more than ever, because of Paris, those dreams are very much dashed.  "It's becoming clearer and clearer that renewable energy is very much the solution to the climate change problem that we face."

West Australian uranium miner Vimy Resources has welcomed the Minister's call for the anti-uranium lobby to accept to accept WA mines.

The company is currently undertaking its public environmental review and Mike Young said it was inevitable that uranium mining would eventually become part of the West Australian economy.

"If we all work together, we can all ensure that uranium mining in Western Australia is done to world's best practice and considering that the nuclear power industry is not going to disappear, that's probably the best outcome for everybody," he said.


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