Sunday, February 28, 2016

The causality of CO2 and global warming

I have no idea who Adolf Stips is but I wish him well. He seems to have something to do with the EU and is clearly a keen Warmist but I can find no other information about him.  I suspect he is Belgian.  You would have to be Belgian to call your kid Adolf these days.  Anyway, he appears to believe that  mathematical methods can detect causality, which is amusing. I reproduce below the abstract of an article under his authorship which makes that claim. It is an article that does seem to have attracted some attention, as one would expect.

During my student days I took three full-year courses in analytical philosophy, meaning that I did a "major" in that subject.  And that bore fruit in that I had a few articles on analytical philosophy topics published in the academic journals, one of which was well received.  And among those articles was included a look at the topic of causality:  What is cause?

For present purposes, however, I will stick with the minimalist approach of David Hume to that topic -- who -- as is well known -- specified temporal priority and constant conjunction as the sole nature of causation.

But Stips and his merry men note that temperature rises used to cause CO2 rises but they "flipped" recently so that CO2 rises now cause temperature rises. To a Humean and, in fact, anyone with half a brain, that would indicate no causal connection between the two. Constant conjunction is shown but not invariant temporal priority.  So Stips is talking nonsense. How  sad!

In addition to the abstract I reproduce below an excerpt from a  plain English summary of the work in  I have verified  the accuracy of the summary in the original article but the summary is easier to follow.

The whole point of the Stips effort is to address the well-known fact that, in paleoclimatological history, temperature rises preceded CO2 rises, which blows Warmist theory out of the water, which asserts the opposite.  Warmists normally ignore that but Stips has bravely taken it on and attempted to circumvent it.

I have zero interest in unravelling Stips's mathematics in order to isolate where his faulty assumptions lie but that he does make faulty assumptions is obvious

On the causal structure between CO2 and global temperature

Adolf Stips, Diego Macias, Clare Coughlan, Elisa Garcia-Gorriz & X. San Liang


We use a newly developed technique that is based on the information flow concept to investigate the causal structure between the global radiative forcing and the annual global mean surface temperature anomalies (GMTA) since 1850. Our study unambiguously shows one-way causality between the total Greenhouse Gases and GMTA. Specifically, it is confirmed that the former, especially CO2, are the main causal drivers of the recent warming. A significant but smaller information flow comes from aerosol direct and indirect forcing, and on short time periods, volcanic forcings. In contrast the causality contribution from natural forcings (solar irradiance and volcanic forcing) to the long term trend is not significant. The spatial explicit analysis reveals that the anthropogenic forcing fingerprint is significantly regionally varying in both hemispheres. On paleoclimate time scales, however, the cause-effect direction is reversed: temperature changes cause subsequent CO2/CH4 changes.

Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 21691 (2016) doi:10.1038/srep21691

An excerpt from the summary in

"The authors applied the same technique to analyse historical air temperatures and CO2/CH4 data from the past 800,000 years, available thanks to the 3,000 meter deep ice core drilled in Antarctica more than a decade ago, which offers scientists a clue on a time scale of 800 millennia. They found a causal relationship between temperature increase and rising CO2/CH4 levels, which is the exact opposite of the results for the last 150 years. This also confirms the validity of the technique, as it is well known from the ice core data that in historical times, increase of temperatures had been followed by higher CO2/CH4 emissions. The causality relationship appears to have started reversing around 5000 years ago. The analysis confirms this opposite trend for the last 150 years, when unprecedented amounts of CO2 started being pumped into the atmosphere in the industrial age"

Warming and high CO2 are good for life

Recently when I was looking at this temperature reconstruction, I noticed something that I found amusing, and should have noted much earlier.

During the Pre-Cambrian, temps were about the same as today, between 12 and 15 degrees C, for roughly half of that period.  Then they begin to climb, rising to about 22 deg C prior to the Cambrian, and remaining so all the way through and into the Ordovician. Also, CO2 concentration was more than 10 times as great as today for that entire period, the highest it's ever been on Earth.

The amusing thing is that, far from the great damage that elevated CO2 and temperature are alleged to cause, that did nothing to stop the Cambrian Explosion; the first ever appearance of complex animals, including all or nearly all of the phyla extant today.

Solar power corruption in Massachusetts?

The big beast himself

Federal prosecutors are looking at state Senator Brian A. Joyce’s involvement in a massive solar project at Stonehill College in Easton as part of a wide-ranging investigation into possible criminal wrongdoing by the Milton Democrat, according to two people with direct knowledge of the probe.

Joyce, whose law office was raided by FBI agents last week, represented Stonehill and the company that recently installed about 9,000 solar panels at the college, according to legal documents filed with state regulators. Meanwhile, as a state senator, Joyce pushed legislation to make it easier for clean energy projects like Stonehill’s to connect to electric utilities’ power lines.
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US Attorney Carmen Ortiz’s office convened a grand jury to hear evidence about Joyce’s conduct, according to four people who received subpoenas to appear before or bring documents to the panel.

Joyce, who this week announced he would not run for reelection, has denied he ever used his public position for personal gain or did anything wrong. On Wednesday, his attorney declined to answer questions about the Stonehill project, saying that Joyce is a victim of a “media circus” that is airing unproven charges.

“The apparent improper leak by law enforcement of what is supposed to be a secret investigation has resulted in a media circus which has included unasserted, let alone unproven, allegations of wrongdoing,” said Howard M. Cooper in a statement. “Senator Joyce has not been charged with any violation of any law, by any authority, in any court or any forum, and he will not participate in this media circus except to repeat that he believes he has done nothing wrong.”

A spokesman for Stonehill College did not return several phone calls and messages seeking comment.

Joyce has repeatedly drawn scrutiny for blurring the lines between his public duties and his private affairs. The state Ethics Commission is investigating whether Joyce improperly lobbied state insurance regulators on behalf of another private law client, Energi of Peabody, according to Joyce’s Senate colleagues.

Earlier this year, Joyce agreed to pay nearly $5,000 to settle issues related to his use of $3,367 in campaign funds to pay for his son’s high school graduation party in 2014.

At Stonehill College, Joyce represented both the school and the solar power developer, a Hopkinton-based company called Solect, in sometimes-testy negotiations with National Grid to connect a planned 15-acre field of solar panels to National Grid’s power system. Stonehill estimated the project could save the school an estimated $3.2 million over 15 years, according to information on Joyce Law Firm’s website.

But, to get those savings, Stonehill wanted to wire the electricity directly to the school instead of distributing it across the power grid, something that National Grid opposed. The utility said the approach would require the construction of costly power lines from the solar panels, across a road, to the school.

Faced with the opposition, Joyce Law Group “had to take a more aggressive approach with National Grid,” according to the firm’s website.

Joyce filed a brief with the state Department of Public Utilities in March 2013, arguing that it was not a significant problem to connect panels on one side of Route 138 to Stonehill College on the other side.

State regulators ultimately did not make a ruling, urging the two sides to negotiate a deal.

But, as Joyce was sparring with National Grid, in his other job as a state senator, he filed legislation that would have weakened utilities’ exclusive rights to supply power in their service areas. A measure, filed in January 2013, would have allowed clean energy producers such as Stonehill easier access to the power system even if the utility objected. He filed similar legislation in 2014.

The state’s utilities, including National Grid, opposed the measure and it never advanced in the Legislature.

One state official said the bills filed by Joyce appeared to give him leverage in his negotiations over the Stonehill project by threatening National Grid’s control over its service area, known as franchise rights.

“Franchise rights are the gold standard,” said one state official. Electric utilities “will do anything not to give them up.”

In the end, National Grid agreed to connect the solar project directly to Stonehill College as the school had requested, according to documents filed with the Department of Public Utilities.


How are working Americans supposed to pay for a carbon tax?

In the State of the Union Address last month, President Obama renewed his call for a carbon tax. He called to “change the way we manage our oil and coal resources, so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers, and the earth.” The President’s proposals are purportedly advanced in the name of the people, but what do the people think?

About a month ago, a poll was conducted by YouGov to ask the world about their concern about climate change. Nine percent of Americans expressed they were concerned. Another poll conducted in November by Fox News found the number to be at three percent.

What do you suppose matters the most? According to the most recent Gallup poll, 39 percent were concerned about the economy. In the same poll, while those concerned about the environment came to an underwhelming 1 percent, so-called climate change specifically didn’t even appear on the chart. Why are we pretending?

Polling is not truly exact, but Americans care more about paying bills than carbon emissions. We have negative indicators about economic growth all around us, so a carbon tax wouldn’t come out of the large increase of economic output tomorrow, but out of the stagnant output of today, when the lack of recovery is already keeping the cupboards bare. Working people who are already on the edge can’t afford that.

Wages remain flat, according to data compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau, and haven’t seen significant growth in over a decade. It is a cruel irony indeed that the same people who claim the mantle of protecting the poor can pass a regressive tax onto them for their most basic needs. Are Washington, D.C. politicians really going to make it more expensive to buy groceries, heat homes and engage in productive activity? This is yet another way to steal money from working Americans without calling it a tax. Consumers end up paying more, but don’t know why.

Think about that. An economy where so much has been spent on creating jobs and growth, the proponents of the carbon tax would make it harder still to grow out of the doldrums that have defined this decade. What are they thinking?

In the meantime, friends of the Obama administration like venture socialist Elon Musk, who supports a carbon tax, add to their competitive advantage by increasing the costs of competitors’ fuel sources to subsidize their business models. The implication is that the average family making around $50,000 a year is paying more to lower the prices of the people who buy $100,000 cars like the Tesla Model S.

Rick Manning, President of Americans for Limited Government inveighed against the carbon tax, joining with 21 other free market groups on Feb. 24, saying “Americans for Limited Government is proud to join free market and limited government leaders from across the country in opposing the imposition of any carbon tax on the U.S. economy, whether by law or regulatory fiat. Taxing carbon-based energy increases the cost of doing business in the U.S. by increasing the cost of electricity, ships jobs overseas and punishes the American people with higher consumer costs. Low energy costs for the future is the key to America emerging from Obama’s economic malaise and reviving our job producing manufacturing sector.”

Manning urged the House to adopt House Concurrent Resolution 89 to express its sense that it Congress opposes a carbon tax.

That is a good start, but more needs to be done. The carbon tax is already being implemented via regulatory fiat via the Environmental Protection Agency’s Carbon Endangerment Finding defining carbon dioxide as a harmful pollutant under the Clean Air Act, as well as its new and existing power plant rules, the costs of which get passed on to consumers, necessarily making electricity more expensive, just as then-candidate for president Barack Obama promised they would back in 2008.

Creating more hidden taxes that increase the burden on struggling Americans to fix things beyond government control, is truly emblematic, and is yet one more reason why voters are angry with Washington.

Congress alone has the power to stop this insidious theft from working America.

There are two immediate solutions: First, firing a warning shot to the Obama administration that this tax will never pass Congress. Second, passing legislation that rolls back some of these regulations. Rep. Ken Buck’s (R-Colo.) Article I supplemental is one such next logical step to do just that, as it specifically defunds the new and existing power plant rules.

Every American has been raised with the idea that Democrats are the party of the little guy. Instead, the party under Obama is apparently more concerned with fundamentally transforming America than it is with helping the poor and Americans who work for a living — the ones who truly pay for his onerous and growing carbon tax.


Biden ‘stimulus’ anniversary tour avoids Obama’s hand-picked green energy project, now in bankruptcy proceedings

In a week of big news stories, few noticed the seven-year anniversary of Obama’s $800 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — signed into law on February 17, 2009. Commonly known as the “Stimulus Bill,” Politico calls it “one of the administration’s most consequential and least popular initiatives.” In fact, according to Politico, “the package of tax cuts and government spending…became so unpopular that the word ‘stimulus’ disappeared from the administration’s rhetoric.”

Despite the bill’s reputation, on Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden embarked on a three-city victory tour to celebrate the anniversary of the act for which he oversaw the implementation.

His first stop was New Orleans. There he “toured a new rail container facility paid for through the 2009 stimulus,” reports the New Orleans Advocate. Outside of Memphis, he “viewed progress on an upgrade to the Mississippi River Intermodal Terminal and yard,” that, according to Politico, had “modest crowds of government and corporate officials.” Though the audience was “pre-selected,” their response to Biden’s zest for the program was “politely supportive but not wildly enthusiastic.” Politico adds: “they didn’t seem too excited by his stay-the-course-but-build-more message.”

The next day, at his third stop, he spoke to an “invitation-only crowd of more than 100 guests” at the stimulus-funded renovated Union Depot in St. Paul, MN. There, Biden was unapologetic about the stimulus, saying: “We have created more jobs in this country, because of projects like this.” The Twin Cities Pioneer Press states: “The vice president did not address criticisms of Union Depot, which last year brought in $1.7 million in revenues but cost $7.7 million in costs.”

During his trip, Biden gushed that the stimulus was “the most ambitious energy bill in history.” Politico cites the $90 billion it “pumped into renewable power, advanced biofuels, electric vehicles and other green stuff” as helping to “triple U.S. wind capacity and increase U.S. solar capacity more than 20-fold.” Yet, probably because he, obviously, wanted to focus on the positives, Biden didn’t visit any of the “green stuff” projects.

On the same days the Vice President was crowing about the success of the stimulus, the Spanish company that received more than $3.67 billion of taxpayer funds — the majority (thanks to connections with high-ranking Democrats) through the 2009 stimulus bill — released its Industrial Viability Plan that laid out its plans for survival. The Financial Times reports: “The company is trying to avoid collapse as it restructures its debts and raises cash. Abengoa sought creditor protection in November, and if it were to default it would count as the largest bankruptcy in Spanish history.”

Everybody knows about Solyndra’s brief history, costing taxpayers over $500 million, but Abengoa has managed to use tricks and reported illegal practices to stay alive — until now.

I first became aware of Abengoa, through a series of green energy reports I wrote with researcher Christine Lakatos — known as the Green Corruption blogger — in the summer of 2012. After my piece, How Democrats Say “Crony Corruption” in Spanish: Abengoa, was published, a whistleblower contacted me. After being contacted by several others that corroborated what I’d heard from the first, we dug deeper into the company. In January of 2013, I met with House Oversight Committee staffers who were investigating Abengoa and we shared what we’d learned. Since October 2013, Abengoa has been under investigation for a variety of violations including immigration, employment, and insurance fraud. In addition to several columns on the atrocities at Abengoa, I wrote a comprehensive report on the company that was published by the Daily Caller in March 2014.

Now, it appears that the second largest recipient of taxpayer dollars from Obama’s clean-energy stimulus funds is nearly bankrupt — with the U.S. government being the largest creditor. In November, after Abengoa started insolvency proceedings, the Washington Times wrote: “Abengoa is a Spanish company that was another of President Obama’s personally picked green energy projects, and it’s now on the verge of bankruptcy, too, potentially saddling taxpayers with a multi-billion-dollar tab and fueling the notion that the administration repeatedly gambles on losers in the energy sector.”

Abengoa could be bankrupt by this time next month, as Spanish law gives it four months from the initial filing to try to restructure its debt. Last week, ratings agency Moody’s declared that Abengoa’s underlying operating business is still “viable.” Yet, according to the Financial Times, Moody’s is “maintaining a negative outlook…given that discussions on debt restructuring might not be successful and the company might end up in a formal insolvency process.”

While “discussions” are going on in Spain, the trouble continues here in the U.S. In December, citing “financial difficulties,” Abengoa shut down seven bioenergy plants — including its Hugoton, KS, cellulosic ethanol plant after it sold, according to Biomass Magazine, just one railcar of product. Watchdog reports that the Hugoton plant received a $132.4 million loan guarantee and a $97 million grant. The cellulosic ethanol plant — which was designed to produce fuel from leftover, post-harvest, crops — opened just a little more than a year ago with dignitaries such as U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, former Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, and former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar participating in the “Ceremonial start-up.” The Garden City Telegram states: “Despite the initial fanfare, the plant never lived up to its billing.” It continues: “At opening, the plant was billed as the first commercial-scale, next-generation biofuel plant.” According to Watchdog, the closure could be a “signal of problems that run much deeper for the industry.” Charlie Drevna, distinguished senior fellow at the Institute for Energy Research, says: “This is just another example of the technology not being there, at least as a competitive commercial technology.”

And there’s more. On February 10, the California Energy Commission finally rejected a new plan for the Palen solar farm Abengoa had been developing. The Desert Sun, which has been following developments with the project, reports: The company missed a construction deadline “after entering into pre-bankruptcy proceedings in November.” Though Abengoa is known for energy projects like solar farms and ethanol plants, a water pipeline project it’s been preparing to build near San Antonio, Texas, is now seeking a buyer.

Then, on the very day Biden was touting stimulus successes, a group of grain sellers, who had not been paid by Abengoa Bioenergy, filed an involuntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition in Kansas. Another suit was previously filed in Nebraska. American companies that haven’t been paid for deliveries, dating back to early August, are owed more than $10 million. They hope the suit will require U.S. creditors be paid before funds from any asset sales are retained by the parent company in Spain — which was just granted by the court.

Abengoa has also been sued by shareholders, who say that the company misled them about its financial plans. Stock prices have been declining throughout late 2015 and plunged after the November bankruptcy announcement. After a 2014 high of $28, the company’s stock is currently trading at $.81.

In Spain, former Abengoa executives have been accused of insider trading and mismanagement. Their assets have been frozen and seized. On February 17, former chairman Felipe Benjumea’s passport was revoked to prevent him from leaving the country.

Drevna, in Watchdog, points out if the plants “can’t even compete in a mandated market. How can they compete in a free market?”

With Abengoa in the news while Biden was on his victory tour, it is clear why he chose to stick to infrastructure projects and avoid the “green” disasters created by, as he called it, “the most ambitious energy bill in history.” Politico suggests that the lack of popularity for his projects is “surely one reason” he decided not to run for president.

While Biden isn’t currently on any ballot, Senator Bernie Sanders and Secretary Hillary Clinton are. (Since Abengoa is a foreign company that received U.S. taxpayer dollars, I wonder if the State Department was involved.) Both Sanders and Clinton will double down on Obama’s green energy policies like those that created the embarrassing Abenoga debacle — and many others.

Addressing Abengoa, Biomass Magazine’s senior editor Anna Simet, said: “People have a problem when government money is given to projects like these, and they experience failure. We all know that.” Ya think?


Only the 5th Warmest.  How disappointing!

Australia's Warmists are spinning like a top in the article excerpted below.  The official figures show that 2015 was only the 5th warmest year for Australia:  There were 4 previous years that were hotter -- not moving in the right direction at all! And  temperatures have been reducing, coming off a record peak in 2013 -- all of which is not NEARLY as much fun as NOAA's global figures.

So what to do?  How to keep the scare up?  They have gratefully seized on the latest bit of modelling, with its dire predictions: "climate scientists are predicting". Never mind that the climate models have never made an accurate prediction yet!

IT’S been a sticky old week across southern Australia with the mercury topping 41C in the west of Sydney and severe heatwaves in parts of New South Wales and northern Western Australia.

But far from being an unusual occurrence, climate scientists are predicting heatwaves globally are on the rise with extreme heat events, which previously only occurred "once in a generation", could happen every year.

And that means more than just some extra days at the beach, with predictions of more bushfires, stretched emergency services and severe impacts to farmers and food production.

In a paper published in the journal Climatic Change, researchers found heatwaves only experienced once in every 20 years could, in years to come, happen every year in some places. By 2075, 60 per cent of the Earth’s land mass could see these extreme heat events annually or even more frequently.

By 2050, heatwaves could be three degrees warmer across half the world and across 10 per cent of the Earth’s surface a scorching five degrees hotter.

According to the BoM’s annual climate statement, 2015 was Australia’s fifth warmest year on record with temperatures 0.83C above average and exceptionally warm spells including heatwaves across north and central Australia in March and south and south eastern Australia in the latter part of the year.

Heatwave conditions in Australia are defined by three days of unusually hot minimum and maximum temperatures for any given area.

However, the pattern of heatwaves wasn’t uniform, said Dr Perkins-Kirkpatrick. Sydney had seen its heatwave season kicking in three weeks earlier, as had Melbourne — although the latter hadn’t seen an overall increase in the number of days experiencing extreme heat.

While 2015 was one of Australia’s hottest years on record, overall temperatures have been reducing, coming off a record peak in 2013. Aren’t things going in the right direction already?



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