Sunday, April 17, 2016

They're finally listening!

Skeptics have been pointing out for years that the ice cores from past geological eras show CO2 increases lagging BEHIND  temperature rises, disproving the alleged link to global warming.  Heretofore the Warmists have just ignored that in their high and mighty way.  But as the temperature "hiatus" gets longer and longer -- broken only by El Nino -- they are definitely getting more defensive.  So in the latest edition of "New Scientist" (the Warmist house magazine) Catherine Brahic and Michael Le Page try  to wriggle out of the pesky timing of past CO2 spikes.  See below.

Their argument is not totally illogical, just very implausible.  They say that past temperature rises were caused by "other things", not by CO2.  It is only recent temperature rises that were caused by CO2.  They realize however that a lot of people are going to say "Hee Haw" to that profoundly silly argument so end up saying:

"To repeat, the evidence that CO2 is a greenhouse gas depends mainly on physics, not on the correlation with past temperature, which tells us nothing about cause and effect"

But the physics is a weak reed to lean on as well.  Their theories regularly seem to overlook that a heated atmospheric molecule will radiate its heat in all directions -- so only a small percentage of the emitted radiation will hit the earth.  But CO2 is also small percentage of the atmosphere so only a small percentage of a small percentage of radiation will impact the earth.  So on theory as well as on observed fact, CO2 will have negligible effect on terrestrial temperature.

So every point of their argument is feeble and improbable -- far too feeble and improbable to support policy prescriptions

And their claim that "the correlation with past temperature tells us nothing about cause and effect" is very contentious.  David Hume held that regular temporal priority was the WHOLE of cause.  So there are respectable philosophical grounds for saying that warming DOES cause CO2 emissions, not vice versa.

Over to Catherine Brahic and Michael Le Page

That's Catherine, a New Scientist editor. Her research background is in neuroanatomy

And that's Michael Le Page.  Isn't he a handsome devil?

Sometimes a house gets warmer even when the central heating is turned off. Does this prove that its central heating does not work? Of course not. Perhaps it’s a hot day outside, or the oven’s been left on for hours.

Just as there’s more than one way to heat a house, so there’s more than one way to heat a planet.

Ice cores from Antarctica show that at the end of recent ice ages, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere usually started to rise only after temperatures had begun to climb. There is uncertainty about the timings, partly because the air trapped in the cores is younger than the ice, but it appears the lags might sometimes have been 800 years or more.

Initial warming

This proves that rising CO2 was not the trigger that caused the initial warming at the end of these ice ages – but no climate scientist has ever made this claim. It certainly does not challenge the idea that more CO2 heats the planet.

We know that CO2 is a greenhouse gas because it absorbs and emits certain frequencies of infrared radiation. Basic physics tells us that gases with this property trap heat radiating from the Earth, that the planet would be a lot colder if this effect was not real and that adding more CO2 to the atmosphere will trap even more heat.

What is more, CO2 is just one of several greenhouses gases, and greenhouse gases are just one of many factors affecting the climate. There is no reason to expect a perfect correlation between CO2 levels and temperature in the past: if there is a big change in another climate "forcing", the correlation will be obscured.

Orbital variations

So why has Earth regularly switched between ice ages and warmer interglacial periods in the past million years? It has long been thought that this is due to variations in Earth’s orbit, known as Milankovitch cycles. These change the amount and location of solar energy reaching Earth. However, the correlation is not perfect and the heating or cooling effect of these orbital variations is small. It has also long been recognised that they cannot fully explain the dramatic temperature switches between ice ages and interglacials.

So if orbital changes did cause the recent ice ages to come and go, there must also have been some kind of feedback effect that amplified the changes in temperatures they produced. Ice is one contender: as the great ice sheets that covered large areas of the planet during the ice ages melted, less of the Sun’s energy would have been reflected back into space, accelerating the warming. But the melting of ice lags behind the beginning of interglacial periods by far more than the rises in CO2.

Another feedback contender, suggested over a century ago, is CO2. In the past decade, detailed studies of ice cores have shown there is a remarkable correlation between CO2 levels and temperature over the past half million years (see Vostok ice cores show constant CO2 as temperatures fell).

Rising together

It takes about 5000 years for an ice age to end and, after the initial 800 year lag, temperature and CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere rise together for a further 4200 years.

What seems to have happened at the end of the recent ice ages is that some factor – most probably orbital changes – caused a rise in temperature. This led to an increase in CO2, resulting in further warming that caused more CO2 to be released and so on: a positive feedback that amplified a small change in temperature. At some point, the shrinking of the ice sheets further amplified the warming.

Models suggest that rising greenhouse gases, including CO2, explain about 40% of the warming as the ice ages ended. The figure is uncertain because it depends on how the extent of ice coverage changed over time, and there is no way to pin this down precisely.

Biological activity

The source of this extra carbon was the oceans, but why did they release CO2 as the planet began to warm? Many factors played a role and the details are still far from clear.

CO2 is less soluble in warmer water, but its release as a result of warming seawater can explain only part of the increase in CO2. And the reduction in salinity as ice melted would have partly counteracted this effect.

A reduction in biological activity may have played a bigger role. Tropical oceans tend to release CO2, while cooler seas soak up CO2 from the atmosphere as phytoplankton grow and fall to the ocean floor. Changes in factors such as winds, ice cover and salinity would have cut productivity, leading to a rise in CO2.

Runaway prevention

The ice ages show that temperature can determine CO2 as well as CO2 driving temperature. Some sceptics – not scientists – have seized upon this idea and are claiming that the relation is one way, that temperature determines CO2 levels but CO2 levels do not affect temperature.

To repeat, the evidence that CO2 is a greenhouse gas depends mainly on physics, not on the correlation with past temperature, which tells us nothing about cause and effect. And while the rises in CO2 a few hundred years after the start of interglacials can only be explained by rising temperatures, the full extent of the temperature increases over the following 4000 years can only be explained by the rise in CO2 levels.

What is more, further back in past there are examples of warmings triggered by rises in greenhouse gases, such as the Palaeo-Eocene Thermal Maximum 55 millions years ago (see Climate myths: It’s been far warmer in the past, what’s the big deal?).

Finally, if higher temperatures lead to more CO2 and more CO2 leads to higher temperatures, why doesn’t this positive feedback lead to a runaway greenhouse effect? There are various limiting factors that kick in, the most important being that infrared radiation emitted by Earth increases exponentially with temperature, so as long as some infrared can escape from the atmosphere, at some point heat loss catches up with heat retention.


Fascist Bill Nye

Bill Nye, "the science guy", revealed he is openly favorable to the idea of jailing ‘global warming’ skeptics at the Hague  as "war criminals." Nye was confronted with environmental activists Robert F. Kennedy’s call to jail climate skeptics for treason and lock them up at the Hague.

Nye openly pondered the idea that climate skeptics deserve jail. Climate Hustle’s Marc Morano asked Nye in an exclusive interview, "What is your thought on jailing skeptics as war criminals?"
Nye responded: "Well, we’ll see what happens. Was it appropriate to jail the guys from ENRON?"

Nye added, "For me as a taxpayer and voter — the introduction of this extreme doubt about climate change is affecting my quality of life as a public citizen."

Nye was interviewed in New York City’s Central Park for the upcoming May 2 nationwide theatrical release of the global warming skeptic film "Climate Hustle" which has its Washington DC Capitol Hill premiere on April 14 at the House Science Committee.

Climate Hustle‘s Marc Morano, asked Nye:

Morano: "We interviewed Robert F. Kennedy Jr. RJK Jr., the environmentalists. He said climate ‘deniers’, his words, Energy CEO’s belong at the Hague with three square meals and a cot with all of the other war criminals. What is your thought on that and do you think some of the rhetoric on your side — as I am sure both sides — gets too carried away. What is your thought on jailing skeptics as war criminals?"

Nye: "Well, we’ll see what happens. Was it appropriate to jail the guys from ENRON?"

Morano: "Interesting."

Nye: "So, we will see what happens. Was it appropriate to jail people from the cigarette industry who insisted that this addictive product was not addictive and so on?

And you think about in these cases — for me as a taxpayer and voter — the introduction of this extreme doubt about climate change is affecting my quality of life as a public citizen. So I can see where people are very concerned about this and are pursuing criminal investigations as well as engaging in discussion like this."

Morano also asked Nye about the "chilling effect" of threatening investigations and jail to scientists who dissent on man-made global warming claims.

Nye responded: "That there is a chilling effect on scientists who are in extreme doubt about climate change — I think is good. The extreme doubt about climate change people – without going too far afield here – are leaving the world worse than they found it because they are keeping us from getting to work. They are holding us back."


Pissing into the wind:  Telling people to give up red meat

What we put on our plates has a much greater effect on the emissions driving climate change than most people are aware of.

"The unsung contributor to climate change is the meat industry, which adds as much CO2 as the entire transport industry combined," said Pershin.

Total emissions from the livestock industry account for half of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, and a third worldwide once land-clearing is factored in.

If worldwide meat consumption continues to increase at current rates, we can expect a 76 per cent increase in agricultural emissions by 2050. This would neutralise the positive impacts of any other mitigation strategies, if and when they’re actually implemented.

Reducing per capita meat consumption by 25 per cent could, on the other hand, result in a 51 per cent decline in agricultural emissions over the same period. Such reductions in meat consumption are well within recommended nutritional guidelines.

By far the biggest footprint comes from beef and lamb, thanks largely to the land-clearing required for pasture. Reducing red meat consumption would result in savings not only for our overall carbon budget, but also the budget required to tackle climate change.

"If the average daily consumption of meat were to be reduced by 22 per cent, the cost of staying within the worldwide target of two degrees warming could be halved," said Pershin.

Saving emissions-intensive red meat for special occasions is one action that can keep us within our carbon budget without sacrificing the things we love.

The Climatarian Challenge

The Climatarian Challenge is a month-long challenge that begins with an allocation of points representing the individual’s ‘carbon budget’ – referred to as the ‘carbon foodprint.’

The app allows users to input the portion size and type for any meat included in a meal, and deducts points from the budget accordingly.

The higher the carbon footprint of a food item, the more points are deducted. Eating beef and lamb will quickly deplete a user’s budget while chicken is a relatively low-budget option. Meat-free meals keep the budget afloat the longest.

To survive the Climatarian Challenge, the user must reach the end of the month with at least a few points remaining in their carbon budget.


Former Army General Completely Dismantles Claim Global Warming Causes War

Former U.S. Army Gen. Robert Scales took on claims by the Obama administration that global warming is America’s biggest national security threat and that rising temperatures will cause more violent conflict to break out around the world.

"The administration’s new-found passion to connect climate change to war is an example of faulty theories that rely for relevance on politically-correct imaginings rather than established historical precedent," Scales told senators during a Wednesday hearing on environmental policy. "The point is that in today’s wars, politically-correct theories inserted into a battle plan might well extend war needlessly and get soldiers killed."

Scales is a decorated Vietnam War veteran who served in the U.S. Army for 34 years before retiring in 2000. While in the military, he commanded artillery and was eventually tapped to head the Army Training and Doctrine Command. Scales became the commandant of the U.S. Army War College in the late 1990s, just before he retired.

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Now, Scales is an author, historian and news commentator who’s been highly critical of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy, and appeared before Congress this week to debunk claims that global warming would cause more wars.

"The theories linking climate change to war come from a larger body of political thought that ascribes human conflict to what we call the ‘global trends’ school," Scales said.

Acolytes "global trends" school argue environmental factors — like drought urbanization and disease — ultimately drive violent conflicts. Democrats and environmentalists, for example, have blamed global warming for causing the Syrian Civil War and rise of Islamic State.

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Obama himself has argued global warming will give rise to "dangerous ideologies."

"What we know is that — as human beings are placed under strain, then bad things happen," Obama told CBS News in 2015. "And, you know, if you look at world history, whenever people are desperate, when people start lacking food, when people — are not able to make a living or take care of their families — that’s when ideologies arise that are dangerous."

Earlier in 2015, Obama told the U.S. Coast Guard Academy the biggest threat America faces is global warming.

"You are part of the first generation of officers to begin your service in a world where the effects of climate change are so clearly upon us," Obama told Coast Guard graduates in May 2015. "Climate change will shape how every one of our services plan, operate, train, equip, and protect their infrastructure, today and for the long-term."

Scales disagrees and gave a lengthy rebuttal of the claim global warming would drive more people to desperation and warfare.

"Never in the written history of warfare — from Megiddo in 1,500 B.C. to the Syrian Civil War today — is there any evidence that wars are caused by warmer air," Scales said.

"At best, climate change might over centuries contribute minutely to the course of warfare — the key word is ‘contributed,’" he said. "Climate change will never cause wars, thus it can never actually be a threat to national security."

"Where does the administration get their facts about climate change and war? Well, first they contend that a warming planet causes draught, which leads to mass migration away from areas creeping desertification," Scales continued.

"To be sure, rising temperatures combined with overgrazing in places such as Central Africa have caused displacement of peoples, but the misery of these peoples leads to, well, misery, not war," he added. "Tribes striving to exert to exist in these often horrific environmental conditions have little energy left to declare war against their neighbor."

"The nations of Central Africa are gripped in conflict started by Boko Haram in Nigeria Al Shabaab in Somalia, but these transnational terrorists are motivated to kill by the factors that have always caused nations or entities masquerading as nations to start wars," Scales said, referring to things like hatreds based on ethnicity, culture and religion.

Scales also took aim at what he called the "hypocrisy" within the scientific community.

"It’s interesting to note the hypocrisy within the scientific communities that argue for a connection between climate change and national security," he said. "Scientists generally agree on the long-term consequences of global warming. Radical environmentalists delight in excoriating in the so-called ‘junk science’ espoused by ‘climate change deniers,’ but they’re less than enthusiastic in questioning the ‘junk social science’ that environmentalists and their beltway fellow travelers use to connect climate change to war."


Now Euro meddlers want a ban on garden weedkiller

Gardeners may have to dig out those nuisance nettles by hand after MEPs voted to ban a key chemical in weedkiller. They want the herbicide glyphosate outlawed after the World Health Organisation last year said it was 'probably carcinogenic'.

However, scientific opinion on the substance is divided, with the European Food Safety Authority insisting it is unlikely to cause tumours.

Britain also supports the continued use of the chemical, which is found in popular brands of weedkiller including Roundup.

The existing licence for glyphosate expires in June and the European Commission is set to decide whether to approve its use for another 15 years.

MEPs want the EC to allow farmers to use the chemical for another seven years, while banning it for 'non-professionals'.

Gardeners fear the proposals will force shops to stop selling most common weedkillers and force them to use manual methods.

Raoul Curtis-Machin, of the Horticultural Trades Association, told the Daily Telegraph that alternatives to glyphosate were 'not as effective'.

But organic food charity The Soil Association backed the vote by MEPs and urged gardeners to weed by hand instead.

The group, which has been campaigning against glyphosate, also suggested gardeners use 'livestock, such as pigs, chicken, geese' or weeding techniques using flames or hot water.

The Soil Association also proposed covering the ground with a mulch or designing gardens in a way that 'limit areas where weeds can become a problem'.

A spokesman for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: 'We recognise the importance of effective pesticides to farmers and we remain entirely committed to making them available where the regulators are satisfied and scientific evidence shows they do not pose unacceptable risks to human health or the environment.

'The European Food Safety Authority did not find that glyphosate posed a risk to human health and UK experts agree. We now await the decision by the European Commission on the renewal of its approval.'

Monsanto, which manufacturers Roundup, said there was 'no scientific reason why glyphosate should not continue to be available for gardeners'.


Promise Kept: Barack Obama Breaks the Coal Industry

President Obama’s war on coal has bagged its biggest trophy to date: the bankruptcy filing by the largest U.S. coal company, Peabody Energy.

Make no mistake about it, though, Peabody’s management and that of the rest of coal industry bears much of the blame for its own demise. It ought to serve as a lesson for everyone else targeted by take-no-prisoners progressives.

Peabody’s bankruptcy filing follows that of other major coal companies including, Alpha Natural Resources, Arch Coal, and Patriot Coal. The irony is that coal is actually the world’s fastest growing source of energy, according to the International Energy Agency. So what happened?

Even before Obama vowed to "bankrupt" the coal industry in a 2008 interview with the editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle, the coal industry had already allowed the seeds of its destruction to take root. It had failed to believe global warming hysteria was an existential threat. The industry thought the demand for cheap and reliable electricity combined with the power of politicians representing coal states would suffice as a defense against attack. But contrary to the myths propagated by global warming activists, the coal industry was never a serious funder of climate skeptics.

This strategy was completely upended when decidedly anti-coal Obama became president and Republicans lost control of Congress. Not only did an unprecedented coal industry-hating "progressive" government come to power, but also an up-and-coming new technology for producing natural gas was coming into its own. Hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, commonly referred to as "fracking," began to change the U.S. energy market.

With respect to the anti-coal Obama administration and Congress, the coal industry thought that problem could be managed. Maybe even a deal could get cut. A senior Peabody executive told me in the spring of 2009 that it supported the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill because it would settle the issue and provide a path forward for the industry. At this time, much of the coal industry was operating under the illusion that carbon dioxide emissions could be affordably captured and stored underground, so the modest emissions cuts contemplated by the bill could be achieved.

Although Waxman-Markey squeaked by in a 219-212 House vote, it was never brought up in the Senate and other Senate efforts to pass a cap-and-trade bill faltered — thanks largely to the coincidental rise of the tea party. With the failure of cap-and-trade in Congress, Obama turned to the regulatory agencies he controlled to wage war on the coal industry, the most powerful of which was the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA began issuing a series of devastating anti-coal regulations.

The coal industry was ill-prepared to fight the EPA — an aggressively arrogant, if not entirely rogue, activist agency. The EPA took advantage of the fact that its rules didn’t target the coal industry directly, but instead pressured the coal industry’s customers — coal-burning electric utilities. The EPA’s regulations forced the utilities to reduce emissions from their coal plants.

The EPA regulation known as the Mercury Air Transport Standard was so expensive for utilities to implement that it made more economic sense just to shutter many of their coal-burning power plants — a task made easier by the surge in cheap natural gas and the fact that the moribund Obama economy has not expanded in such a way as to necessitate an meaningful increases in electricity generation.

It’s not that natural gas is necessarily a less expensive way to generate electricity, but it became cost-competitive with coal. And given the regulatory and political pressure on utilities to not burn coal, utilities began switching from coal to gas wherever possible. The natural gas glut has also placed a price ceiling on coal that dramatically thinned the profit margin from coal mining. As the Obama administration has slow-walked the approval of natural gas export terminals, the gas glut is here to stay.

What about exporting U.S. coal to the rest of world, which is in the process of building 2,440 new coal plants? The coal industry does export some coal, but that has been made difficult by environmental activists who have blocked new rail lines and coal export terminals. And while China and, especially, India are burning more and more coal, they are increasing exploiting their own domestic supplies for economic reasons. So global coal prices are way down, again, pressuring export profit margins.

While the entire story of the U.S. coal industry’s demise is worthy of much more discussion, it can be summarized as follows: The coal industry’s political enemies have successfully used expensive, heavy-handed, junk science-fueled regulation which, in combination with an unforeseeable coincidental glut of cheap natural gas, has virtually broken the coal industry’s back.

What is the future of the coal industry? About one-third of our electricity still comes from coal, though that may shrink further. Under current conditions — a natural gas glut, constrained energy demand and heavy EPA regulation — there will not be much profit in coal for the foreseeable future even though we will still rely on it for much electricity.

The best scenario for what’s left of the coal industry is if Republicans win the White House and maintain control of Congress. That would likely relieve the regulatory pressure on the industry and some of the natural gas glut since Republicans would greenlight natural gas exports.

Even if Democrats win, the coal industry is not likely going away, although its management will change dramatically. As I forecast here last year, no one will leave trillions of dollars worth of coal in the ground, especially since future governments will need cash to run the welfare state. So instead, Democrat-friendly billionaires will buy coal companies for a song, politically rehabilitate the fuel, donate to their political allies, and profit.



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