Thursday, March 03, 2016

MIT fossil fuel protesters settle in for long haul

This is just a self-righteousness display entered into to get praise from their equally ignorant peers.  It's a sort of party.  There is of course no way that getting their demands met would affect climate.  What it would affect is the funding of their college.  The price of coal sttocks on the stockmarket is way down so MIT would get only pennies if they sold up.  If they hang on to their stocks, however, they will at least get some dividends.  And energy companies could well be miffed enough to cease coming to MIT with research grants for projects that interest them.  So MIT is resisting a sell-off for good budgetary reasons. But the Green/Left like to impoverish anyone they can so it all fits.  Students who attack their own college should have their enrollment cancelled

They have become a familiar sight lining the wide hallway outside the stately second-floor offices of MIT president L. Rafael Reif.

For the past 116 days, students, professors, and alumni who are pressing the college to shed fossil fuels from its investment holdings have been calmly occupying this slick, hard stretch of the Infinite Corridor.

By all accounts, it is a very MIT protest. Students coordinate shifts with a shared spreadsheet; they bring textbooks and doctoral theses; and a computer program reminds them to stand and stretch every 30 minutes.

Oh, and they don’t plan to give up.

For 116 days, students, professors, and alumni have been holding a sit-in to press MIT to shed fossil fuels from its investment holdings.

“When we do something at MIT, we do it thoroughly,” said Nina Lytton, a 1984 graduate of the MIT Sloan School of Management who comes every day and passes the time knitting. She has finished 62 furry Hawaiian leis so far.

Organizers believe this is the longest-running divestment sit-in for a college, breaking Swarthmore College students’ 32-day record several months ago. That Pennsylvania protest was one of the many divestment campaigns that erupted across the world last year, including at Harvard University.

The group organizing the protest at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Fossil Free MIT, has asked that the school divest its endowment from coal and tar sands and make the campus carbon neutral by 2040. It is also pressing for the institute to create an ethics advisory council to combat “disinformation” about climate change.

The school in October released its five-year plan to confront climate change, which did not include divestment. Reif said maintaining the institute’s ties with oil and energy companies, who fund research at MIT, is a more effective way to tackle the problem.

Fossil Free MIT members began meeting with administrators just a few days after the sit-in began Oct. 22 and think they might be close to an agreement for more action by the college.

Until then, they’re enjoying camaraderie and the quiet exhilaration that has come from making a stir.

By now, administrators and secretaries know them well.

“Hey Karla,” one student said Friday as Karla Casey, Reif’s executive assistant, passed by. Casey waved back and smiled. One day, an administrator brought them scones.

Across from the door Casey carefully shut behind her, graduate student Michael DeMarco sat on a yoga mat as yellow pieces of paper, dotted with equations, escaped his stack of legal pads.

“You sort of wish that you didn’t need to be here,” said DeMarco, who studies physics. He brought along a computer, two textbooks, and a binder.

Usually, DeMarco sits the night shift, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. In the evening, employees are relaxed, he said.They ask how his day was, he asks what they’re doing with their kids that weekend. It’s all genuine, but it’s also part of the strategy.

“We develop the more mundane relationships that are crucial for bridging the gaps,” DeMarco said.

The administration did not respond to a request for comment about the negotiations.


OBL believed in global warming

Worried about "harmful gases"

Osama bin Laden wrote a letter calling on the American people to help President Barack Obama fight 'catastrophic' climate change and 'save humanity', newly released documents show.

The letter was among materials that were seized in the May 2, 2011, U.S. raid on bin Laden's hideout in Pakistan that killed the al Qaeda chief and which were released on Tuesday by the Obama administration.

The undated, unsigned letter 'to the American people,' which U.S. intelligence officials attributed to bin Laden, appeared to have been written shortly after Obama began his first term in 2009, based on the letter's references to events.

Bin Laden's preoccupation with climate change also emerged as a theme in the first tranche of documents from the raid that was declassified in May 2015, as well as in an audio recording released via the al Jazeera network in January 2010.

In the rambling letter made public Tuesday, bin Laden blamed the 2007-8 U.S. financial crisis on corporate control of capital and corporate lobbyists, and the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He called on Americans to launch 'a great revolution for freedom' to liberate the U.S. president from those influences.

That would enable Obama to make 'a rational decision to save humanity from the harmful gases that threaten its destiny,' bin Laden continued.

In a separate letter, bin Laden urged a close aide to launch a media campaign for the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks that included a call for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.


Mr. President, you owe America an apology. We did drill our way to $2 gas

“We can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices,” President Obama told an audience four years ago at the University of Miami.

Like this year, it was an election year and Obama was running for re-election. Later in his speech, he added: “anybody who tells you that we can drill our way out of this problem doesn’t know what they’re talking about, or just isn’t telling you the truth.” He scoffed at the Republicans for believing that drilling would result in $2 gasoline — remember this was when prices at the pump, in many places, spiked to more than $4 a gallon: “You can bet that since it is an election year, they’re already dusting off their three-point plans for $2 gas. I’ll save you the suspense: Step one is drill, step two is drill, step three is drill.”

Well, Mr. President, you owe America, and the Republicans, an apology. Your snarky comments were wrong. The Republican’s supposed three-point plan, which you mocked, was correct.

I don’t expect our presidents to be energy experts, but they should be advised by the brightest minds in the business. Obviously, Obama surrounds himself with ideologues.

Today, on the four-year anniversary of another of Obama’s inaccurate predictions, we have drilled our way to $2 gas — despite the fact that he has supported the anti-fossil-fuel movement’s efforts to impede and block oil production. In fact, due to American ingenuity and initiative that successfully combined horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, we are producing so much it has resulted in a global glut of oil and a national average gasoline price of $1.70. According to AAA, the cost per gallon has been below $2 for 25 days.

In his message in Miami, he bragged: “under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years.” Yes, that is true. But it is not because of Obama’s support. A Congressional Research Service report released last year found that since fiscal year 2010 oil production on federal lands is down by 10 percent, while it up 89 percent on state and private lands. Obama aligns himself with those who want to “keep it in the ground” — who count his “no” decision on the Keystone pipeline as their biggest victory to date.

Funny, in the 2012 speech he said: “Over the last three years, my administration has approved dozens of new pipelines, including from Canada.” That was then.

He then launched into his requisite rhetoric on renewables: “The United States consumes more than a fifth of the world’s oil. But we only have 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves. That means we can’t just rely on fossil fuels from the last century. … Because of investments we’ve made, the use of clean renewable energy in this country has nearly doubled. … As long as I’m President, I will not walk away from the promise of clean energy. I will not cede the wind or solar or battery industry to China.”

Wait! Wind and solar do not reduce our need for foreign oil. Wind turbines and solar panels do produce electricity — albeit ineffectively, inefficiently and uneconomically. But we do not have an electricity shortage. We do not import electricity. We do not make electricity from oil. Automobiles run on gasoline made from oil — for which the president’s new budget includes a $10 a barrel tax that translates to about 24 cents per gallon.

Four years ago, in Miami, he said: “…high gas prices are like a tax” straight out everyone’s paycheck. Yet today, he wants to increase the nearly $.45 a gallon we currently pay in taxes to $.69.

Obama’s false “We can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices” prediction was made during an election year. During this election year, is a good time to be reminded that, without government “investment,” we did drill our way to lower gas prices. At the same time, taxpayer-supported renewable projects continue to go bankrupt and be shuttered — taking with them our money and the jobs they promised to create.

Yes, Mr. President, you owe America an apology.


What the Defeat of a Wind Energy Project Means for Harry Reid’s Hometown

Grassroots conservationists and property rights activists in Nevada stand poised to secure an unprecedented legal victory over government-backed wind energy proponents that could reverberate across state lines.

If they prevail, they will have handed a rare defeat to the U.S. Senate’s top Democrat, Harry Reid, in his hometown.

A federal District Court judge ruled against the development of an 87-turbine, 200-megawatt wind farm in tiny Searchlight, Nev., and the company behind the project joined with the U.S. Interior Department to file an appeal.

The case, which now sits before the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, could stretch out for at least another year.

Even so, the Searchlight Wind Energy Project, as it is officially known, appears to be stalled permanently.

If the court decision in October had gone the other way, it would have provided the federal government with the legal “right of way” to press ahead with installing wind turbines that would cut across almost 19,000 acres of public lands.

“For at least the time being, the District Court ruling means that people in Searchlight can continue to enjoy the spectacular mountain views they presently have, and can avoid the dust storms that follow when large areas of the desert are stripped of vegetation,” Judy Bundorf, one of the town residents who filed suit against the project, says.

Searchlight, a former gold mining center in Clark County, is perhaps best known today as the birthplace of Reid, now Senate minority leader and one of the Democrats’ leading national advocates of green energy.

Searchlight is part of the southern tip of Nevada, about 58 miles south of Las Vegas.

Bundorf and others filed suit to halt the Searchlight Wind Energy Project in an effort to preserve the bucolic desert regions in and around their community.

Bundorf’s home in the town of under 600 residents is about a mile from where wind turbines as tall as 428 feet were to be located. But the court ruling is a much bigger victory, she says in an interview with The Daily Signal.

Americans across the country, Bundorf says, confront “well-connected special interests and their allies in government” such as Reid, who favor “inefficient and expensive renewable energy plans” that “degrade and burden the environment.”

The fact that District Judge Miranda Du decisively vacated the Interior Department’s March 2013 “record of decision” on the Searchlight wind project while also rejecting Interior’s environmental impact and biological conclusions could set a legal precedent for future renewable energy initiatives, Bundorf and other plaintiffs suggest.

In her ruling, Du concluded that the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, both divisions of the Interior Department, produced a flawed analysis of the likely impact of the wind turbines on wildlife such as golden eagles, desert tortoises, and bats.

Du found “analytical gaps” in the Final Environmental Impact Statement and Biological Opinion that she said the agencies must rectify.

“One issue that was never addressed was the potential for people getting valley fever, or coccidioidomycosis,” Bundorf tells The Daily Signal. “This is a fungal infection that is not uncommon when the desert crust is destroyed by grading. The spores are carried by the wind, and the infection can be fatal to elderly people or people with compromised immune systems.”

Bundorf, who is married but has no children, cites the “thousands of boaters, fishermen, hikers, and campers” who visit the area, particularly those who travel in and around Cottonwood Cove on Lake Mohave, just 14 miles east of Searchlight.

The turbines were set to be erected on both sides of the road for much of the distance to the lake, she says. In addition, a large electrical substation would have to be built adjacent to the entrance to Lake Mead National Recreation Area and, along the road, an operations and maintenance building with laydown yard for storing heavy equipment.

“People come to the desert to enjoy the solitude, not to drive through a heavy industrial zone to get to their destination,” Bundorf says.

Reid, the Searchlight native who had been a vocal supporter of the wind energy project, has gone silent on it since the October court ruling.


Be Like the Beaver - BUILD MORE DAMS

Viv Forbes

Water is essential for all life, and happily it is abundant on our blue watery planet.

However, salty oceans cover 70% of Earth’s surface and contain 97% of Earth’s water. Salt water is great for ocean dwellers but not directly useful for most life on land. Another 2% of Earth’s water is tied up in ice caps, glaciers and permanent snow, leaving just 1% as land-based fresh water.

To sustain life on land, we need to conserve and make good use of this rare and elusive resource.

Luckily, our sun is a powerful nuclear-powered desalinisation plant. Every day, solar energy evaporates huge quantities of fresh water from the oceans. After a stop-off in the atmosphere, most of this water vapour is soon returned to earth as dew, rain, hail and snow – this is the great water cycle. Unfortunately about 70% of this precipitation falls directly back into the oceans and some is captured in frozen wastelands.

Much of the water that falls on land is collected in gullies, creeks and rivers and driven relentlessly by gravity back to the sea by the shortest possible route. Allowing this loss to happen is poor water management. The oceans are not short of water.

Some animals and plants have evolved techniques to maximise conservation of precious fresh water.

Some Australian frogs, on finding their water holes evaporating, will inflate their stomachs with water then bury themselves in a moist mud-walled cocoon to wait for the drought to break. Water buffalo and wild pigs make mud wallows to retain water in their private mud-baths, camels carry their own water supply and beavers build lots of dams.

Some plants have also evolved water saving techniques – bottle trees and desert cacti are filled with water, thirsty humans can even get a drink from the roots and trunks of some eucalypts and many plants produce drought/fire resistant seeds.

Every such natural water conservation or drought-proofing behaviour brings benefits for all surrounding plants and animals.

People have long recognised the importance of conserving fresh water – early settlers built their homes near the best waterholes on the creek and every homestead and shed had its corrugated iron tanks. Graziers built dams and weirs to retain surface water for stock (and fence-crashing wildlife), used contour ripping and good pasture management to retain moisture in soils, and drilled bores to get underground water. And sensible rules have evolved to protect the water rights of down-stream residents.

Rainfall is often a boom and bust affair. Much fresh water is delivered to the land surface suddenly in cyclones, storms and rain depressions. But “The Wet” is always followed by “The Dry”, and droughts and floods are normal climatic events. People who fail to store some of the flood must put up with the drought.

Greens should learn from the beavers. Strings of dams can moderate flood risk, as well as creating drought sanctuaries and secure water for graziers, towns, irrigators and wildlife. Modern cities could not survive without large water storages for drinking water, sanitation, gardens and factories.

Fresh water is also necessary to produce fresh food. We can have fresh milk, butter, cheese, meat, vegetables, nuts and fruit; or we can irrigate the oceans and import fresh food from more sensible countries. And without fresh water and fresh food, there will be no local food processing.

Those infected with the green religion believe we should waste our fresh water by allowing it all to return as quickly as possible to the salty seas. They fight to protect beaver dams and natural lakes, but persistently oppose human dams and lakes. Some even want existing dams destroyed, while wasting billions on energy-hungry desalination and sewerage re-treated plants, pumps and pipelines.

They also want to prohibit man’s production of two drought-defying atmospheric gases, both released by the burning of hydrocarbons – carbon dioxide which makes plants more drought tolerant, and water vapour which feeds the clouds and the rain.

Green water policies are un-sustainable, even suicidal.

Humans must copy the beavers and “Build more Dams”. And help the biosphere by burning more hydrocarbons.


Australia: Great Barrier Reef suffers 'tragic' coral bleaching event

This is utter rubbish.  Bleaching events are poorly understood but one thing we know is that they are NOT a response to warmer water.  Corals are at their most prolific in Torres strait, the part of Australia nearest to the equator, and hence the warmest East coast waters.  And in any case even NOAA's "adjusted" figures showed only 13 hundredths of one degree global  temperature rise in 2015

Fears of a mass coral bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef have prompted federal authorities to issue an urgent warning on the natural wonder, which is *under threat from climate change*.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority on Tuesday said patchy bleaching had been detected on multiple reefs in mainly shallow areas, and weather forecasts of upcoming hot conditions posed a dangerous threat over the next few weeks.

In a statement, the authority said the conditions had triggered "level one incident response" involving more in-water field surveys and monitoring by authorities and researchers.

Climate action advocacy group said the bleaching was "tragic" and the Turnbull government should block what would be Australia's largest coal mine, by Indian mining giant Adani, and commit to halting new fossil fuel projects nationally.

The authority said the bleaching had occurred in mainly shallow areas where corals are often exposed to high levels of sunlight.
Chairman Russell Reichelt said February and March were the highest risk periods for mass coral bleaching on the reef because of hot, dry El Nino conditions and high sea surface temperatures, adding "the next few weeks will be critical".

"Bleaching is a clear signal that living corals are under physiological stress. If that stress is bad enough for long enough, the corals can die. Corals generally have a temperature limit, and the bleaching indicates they're outside of their comfort zone," Dr Reichelt said.

"At this stage, there appears to be low rates of coral mortality restricted to a small number of reefs, and most of the corals affected by bleaching are those that are particularly vulnerable to this type of event such as plate and branching corals."

The authority says the most common cause of coral bleaching is sustained heat stress, which is occurring more frequently as the climate changes.

Dr Reichelt said the Bureau of Meteorology and the United States' National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had forecast a high probability of heat stress that would cause further bleaching.

While sea surface temperatures were fluctuating across the 345,000 square kilometre marine park, in some areas they had reached 2.5 degrees above the summer average, which was exacerbated by lack of cloud cover, he said.

"What happens now will be entirely dependent on local weather conditions. If we're fortunate enough to receive plenty of cloud cover, which will effectively provide shade, it will go a long way to reducing heat absorption by the ocean and alleviating thermal stress on corals," he said.

Dr Reichelt said the bleaching event was less severe than that which has occurred across the Pacific during the current global bleaching event. The authority says past bleaching events show coral reefs can recover if thermal stress does not last for prolonged periods.

If mass bleaching does occur, the authority would study its extent and impacts, alongside coral reef scientists from the Australian Institute of Marine Science, James Cook University, the University of Queensland and the CSIRO.

Blair Palese, chief executive of said the "tragic coral bleaching" showed coal and gas were "warming the planet and destroying the places we love most".

The authority says bleaching occurs when stress causes corals to expel tiny marine algae called zooxanthellae, which live inside their tissue and provide corals with much of their food and colour.
Without zooxanthellae, the coral tissue appears transparent, revealing the coral's bright white skeleton.



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.  

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