Thursday, May 26, 2016
Trump executive proposes a wall to protect Irish golf resort from coastal erosion
This has got nothing to do with global warming. Sea level rises in Ireland are in fact on the low side. What IS true is that Western Ireland is exposed to the full force of big Atlantic storms -- and they do cause coastal erosion. And it is common to put in place structures designed to halt such erosion.
To do so in politically correct Ireland does however require a permit and that permit is required under legislation enacted out of global warming fears. It is not Trump who fears the effects of global warming in Western Ireland. It is the Dáil Éireann (Irish Parliament)
That Trump seeks a permit to build a wall does not mean that he agrees with being required to seek such a permit
Donald Trump wants to build another huge wall, this time to keep out the rising seas threatening to swamp his luxury golf resort in Ireland.
The Republican presidential candidate has called climate change a "con job" and a "hoax." But in an application filed this month in County Clare, Ireland, the Trump International Golf Links and Hotel cites the threat of global warming in seeking a permit to build a nearly two-mile-long stone wall between it and the Atlantic Ocean. The beach in front of the 18th green is disappearing at a rate of about a yard each year.
Trump's application, first reported Monday by Politico, cites local regulations pertaining to "rising sea levels and increased storm frequency and wave energy associated with global warming." An attached environmental impact statement says that almost all the dunes in western Ireland are retreating "due to sea level rise and increased Atlantic storminess."
Trump campaign spokesman Alan Garten did not respond Monday to messages from The Associated Press seeking comment.
Trump, who has roiled the immigration debate by proposing to build a massive wall along the Mexican border, has repeatedly taken to Twitter to express skepticism that human activity is causing the world to warm, raising sea levels as the polar ice caps melt. He has also said he would seek to "renegotiate" the global accord to cut climate-warming carbon emissions agreed to by President Barack Obama in December.
"The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive," Trump tweeted in 2012.
"The entire country is FREEZING - we desperately need a heavy dose of global warming, and fast! Ice caps size reaches all time high," Trump tweeted in 2014.
Environmental groups pounced on the application as evidence of hypocrisy.
"Donald Trump clearly cares more about the fate of his golf courses than the health of the millions of families already affected by the climate crisis," said Adam Beitman, a spokesman for the Sierra Club.
Study finds that warming INCREASES Greenland snowfall
They think their models can explain it but models can explain anything. The truth is that nobody knows exactly how or why. The 2 degrees of Global Warming predicted may not, on balance, melt ANY Greenland ice -- so no sea level rise! Tragic!
The history of Greenland’s snowfall is chronicled in an unlikely place: the remains of aquatic plants that died long ago, collecting at the bottom of lakes in horizontal layers that document the passing years.
Using this ancient record, scientists are attempting to reconstruct how Arctic precipitation fluctuated over the past several millennia, potentially influencing the size of the Greenland Ice Sheet as the Earth warmed and cooled.
An early study in this field finds that snowfall at one key location in western Greenland may have intensified from 6,000 to 4,000 years ago, a period when the planet’s Northern Hemisphere was warmer than it is today.
While more research needs to be done to draw conclusions about ancient precipitation patterns across Greenland, the new results are consistent with the hypothesis that global warming could drive increasing Arctic snowfall — a trend that would slow the shrinkage of the Greenland Ice Sheet and, ultimately, affect the pace at which sea levels rise.
“As the Arctic gets warmer, there is a vigorous scientific debate about how stable the Greenland Ice Sheet will be. How quickly will it lose mass?” says lead researcher Elizabeth Thomas, PhD, an assistant professor of geology in the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences who completed much of the study as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Precipitation is predicted to increase in the Arctic as temperature increases and sea ice retreats. Yet the mechanisms controlling precipitation in the Arctic are poorly understood and quantified only by the short, sparse instrumental record. We use hydrogen isotope ratios (δ2H) of lipid biomarkers in lake sediments from western Greenland to reconstruct precipitation seasonality and summer temperature during the past 8 kyr. Aquatic biomarker δ2H was 100‰ more negative from 6 to 4 ka than during the early and late Holocene, which we interpret to reflect increased winter snowfall. The middle Holocene also had high summer air temperature, decreased early winter sea ice in Baffin Bay and the Labrador Sea, and a strong, warm West Greenland Current. These results corroborate model predictions of winter snowfall increases caused by sea ice retreat and furthermore suggest that warm currents advecting more heat into the polar seas may enhance Arctic evaporation and snowfall.
Thomas, E. K., J. P. Briner, J. J. Ryan-Henry, and Y. Huang (2016); A major increase in winter snowfall during the middle Holocene on western Greenland caused by reduced sea ice in Baffin Bay and the Labrador Sea; Geophysical Research Letters, 43, doi:10.1002/2016GL068513.
More Greenie greed
A French logging company and official partner of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is deforesting a huge area of rainforest in southeast Cameroon without the consent of local Baka “Pygmies” who have lived there and managed the land for generations, Survival International has learned.
Rougier is described as an “integrated forest & trade company” and a large “forest operator” in a WWF press release and report. It is felling trees in an estimated 600,000 hectare area, which is more than is permitted under Cameroonian law.
Rougier has also been denounced by Friends of the Earth for its activities in Cameroon, which have included illegal price-fixing, illegal logging outside a concession, felling more trees than authorized, and illegally exporting rare timber.
WWF has stated that it would never partner with a company operating on indigenous land without the consent of the indigenous people. In entering this partnership with Rougier, it has violated its own policies on indigenous peoples.
Survival recently wrote to the CEO of Rougier asking whether he believed his company had acquired the Baka’s consent for the logging. In response Rougier simply said that: “Baka communities are aware of our existence and operation.”
Under Cameroonian law, the Baka are often criminalized as “poachers” when they hunt to feed their families. In a map produced by Rougier, all Baka forest camps within one concession are labelled as “poachers’ camps.”
In February, Survival filed an OECD complaint against WWF for funding abusive anti-poaching squads in Cameroon, who have used violence and intimidation to deny tribespeople access to their land.
According to a recent report produced by the EU, not a single logging company is operating legally in Cameroon. Experts say that no logging activities are being carried out at sustainable levels.
Evidence shows that tribal peoples are the best conservationists and guardians of the natural world. Despite this, WWF has preferred to partner with international corporations that destroy the environment’s best allies – tribal peoples.
Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said: “If further proof were needed that WWF is more interested in securing corporate cash than really looking out for the environment, here it is. The absurd language it has used to try and hide this partnership with a logging firm – calling Rougier a “leading producer of certified African tropical timber” – should fool no-one, and reveals a lot about the nature of this partnership. It’s a con. And it’s harming conservation. Survival is fighting these abuses, for tribes, for nature, for all humanity. Conservation organizations should be partnering with tribal peoples to protect the environment, not the companies destroying it to make a quick buck.”
EPA Conducts Two Secret Meetings A Year To Decide How To Dole Out BILLIONS In Slush Fund Money
Two internal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) committees secretly control how billions of dollars are spent, a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation has found.
Congress appropriates about $1 billion annually for EPA’s Superfund program, and the agency has accumulated nearly $6.8 billion in more than 1,300 slush fund-like accounts since 1990.
Two committees consisting entirely of EPA officials meet behind closed doors twice annually to decide how the agency spends those funds on highly polluted – and often dangerous – Superfund sites. All reports to and from the groups, as well as the minutes of their meetings and all other details, are kept behind closed doors.
“The National Risk-Based Priority Panel and the Superfund Special Accounts Senior Management Committee engage in pre-decisional deliberations which are internal to the agency and not open to the public,” an EPA spokeswoman who requested anonymity told TheDCNF.
She was referring to Exemption Five of the Freedom of Information Act, which is the most often abused exemption federal officials cite to justify withholding information about government activities and programs.
“The public is given ample time to weigh in on during the public comment period once the site is proposed for [National Priorities List (NPL)] addition,” the spokeswoman continued. “EPA considers those comments before making a final decision.” (RELATED: Colorado Town Finally Succumbs To EPA Control After Resisting For Decades)
These committees, however, are involved in financial decisions, rather than adding a site to the NPL – how the EPA finalizes a Superfund designation, so the comment period does nothing to advance public understanding of how the two committees spend billions of tax dollars every year.
“Established in January 2009, the Special Accounts Senior Management Committee … is responsible for EPA’s national oversight and management of special accounts,” the agency’s website says. The committee “ensures appropriate management, transparency, and accountability … with special accounts.”
Meanwhile, the agency has collected $6.3 billion in approximately 1,308 special accounts from lawsuits and settlements with parties responsible for polluting superfund sites, but details beyond regional balances are withheld from the public, TheDCNF previously reported.
It’s nearly impossible to determine where the estimated $3.3 billion spent so far went, or who will get the remaining $3.5 billion (after adding interest). The EPA will also continue collecting funds from new superfund sites, such as the recently proposed Gold King Mine, where the agency spilled 880,000 pounds of dangerous metals into drinking water.
Additionally, the EPA’s Inspector General has criticized numerous aspects of the special accounts, including the agency’s overall bookkeeping. The watchdog previously recommended transferring $65 million out of special accounts, for example.
The second group – the Superfund National Risk-Based Priority Panel – determines which unfunded sites require immediate attention based on several factors, such as the risk to the nearby community.
But the panel’s secrecy prevents residents from knowing where nearby hazardous places stand as an agency priority. This is particularly important, since 329 Superfund sites could expose dangerous contaminants to humans, according to EPA.
This confidentiality is necessary “to prevent polluters from taking advantage of the EPA’s funding decisions,” the EPA told the Center for Public Integrity in 2007. “Agency insiders,” however, told the center the real reason was to avoid congressional scrutiny.
That revelation is crucial, considering EPA withholds details about the special accounts, as well as sites endangering humans, from Congress. Not having such information effectively prevents Congress from exercising its constitutionally mandated oversight of executive branch agencies like EPA.
The EPA, for example, refused to divulge information about the sites exposing humans to dangerous contaminants to Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works democrats – including then-Sen. Barack Obama and Ranking Member Barbara Boxer of California, CPI reported. Some of the documents were eventually obtained, but were marked “privileged,” and could only be reviewed under EPA supervision.
Boxer’s spokeswoman did not respond to repeated DCNF requests for comment.
EPA’s move to raise ethanol mix in gasoline fuels alarm over engine damage
The Environmental Protection Agency’s move to add more ethanol to gasoline will wreak havoc on lawn mowers, snow blowers, boats and even cars, say critics.
Mixing an additional 700 million gallons of ethanol and other biofuels into the nation’s fuel supply to meet a goal of 18.8 billion gallons in 2017 will raise the biofuel percentage to 10.44 percent, or past the “blend wall” after which car engines can be damaged, said Heartland Institute research fellow Isaac Orr.
“It’s hard for anyone to argue that the renewable fuel standard has been a good policy, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to increase the amount of ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply means this train wreck of a policy will continue for at least another year,” Mr. Orr said in a Thursday statement.
“Owners of small engines like lawn mowers, snow blowers, and boats are hurt by ethanol mandates because ethanol is hard on these engines,” he said.
Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, called the 2005 Renewable Fuel Standard “a success story that has driven biofuel production and use in the U.S. to levels higher than any other nation.”
“This administration is committed to keeping the RFS program on track, spurring continued growth in biofuel production and use, and achieving the climate and energy independence benefits that Congress envisioned from this program,” she said in a Wednesday statement.
Ethanol is popular with lawmakers in farming states like Iowa, but the mandate faces increasing opposition from others, including some environmentalists, who object to clearing more land for farming in order to grow the corn-based fuel.
Free-market champions say the standard no longer makes sense because oil and natural gas have become so plentiful thanks to advances in extraction technology, starting with hydraulic fracturing. The ethanol mandate also raises the cost of fuel.
At the time, Congress was attempting to reduce emissions as well as U.S. dependence on foreign oil. Since then, the United States has become the world’s largest producer of natural gas and doubled its oil production, sending prices plummeting.
The EPA’s proposed increase is lower than the statutory volume imposed by Congress in 2007, but the amount is still too high
Don’t blame global warming for sizzling temperature, it’s your fault
A message from India to Indians
Sizzling at 51 degrees celsius, Phalodi, a small town in Rajasthan, has set the country’s new all-time record for hottest temperature. In any case April turns out to be the hottest month ever, 7th month in a row when temperatures have exceeded what had been the highest recorded so far. This is not a record to be proud of but is an indication of how economic growth has created an atmosphere where chopping a tree does not evoke any concern.
The rise in temperatures is indirectly proportionate to the decimation of green cover. The more the chopping of trees, the higher is the temperature.
I have never felt what it is like to be in 51 degrees but have lived in northwest areas which have often exceeded temperature hikes of 47 degrees. Even in such temperature extremes, the moment I pass through a cluster of trees a wave of relatively cold breeze is such a great feeling. The temperature difference is striking. At least, a difference of 2 to 3 degrees between a dense tree shade and what you feel when you are on a highway. Even in a concrete jungle like New Delhi, where the scorching temperature exceeding 47 degrees is biting enough, imagine the soothing effect if an increased green cover had brought the average temperature down by 3 to 4 degrees.
Don’t blame it on global warming; blame yourself for the rising heat. You kept quiet when trees were being chopped mercilessly.
In a desperate race to achieve a higher growth rate, chopping a tree does not anymore evoke any reaction. It is considered an inevitable price that has to be paid for development. Ruthless chopping of trees in metros and elsewhere to pave way for infrastructure projects, expansion of highways from two-lane to four lane, and from four-lane to six-lane, and the disappearing of water bodies and cutting down of trees for residential complexes has led to what is called as urban ‘heat island’ effect. Cities and towns are increasingly becoming ‘heat islands’. The higher the concentration of concrete buildings/structures, the more is the ability to absorb solar radiation.
The National Green Tribunal has recently served a notice to Punjab government for the axing of 96,000 trees to widen a 200-km long road stretch between Zirakpur and Bathinda. But to my dismay I haven’t seen any form of public protests or citizens’ reaction to such a large scale chopping of trees. We have quietly accepted that trees have to be axed for the sake of development. As I have often said that if a tree is standing, the GDP does not go up but if you chop down a tree, the GDP goes up. Now it is our choice whether you want a higher GDP by cutting down trees or you want a kind of development where trees become part of sustainable living.
The Neem Foundation tells us that temperature below a fully grown neem tree is often 10 degrees less. I read an interesting article in The New Indian Express (April 24, 2016) where the author tells us the difference in temperature between green patches and the city centre in several cities. In Bangalore for instance the difference in temperature prevailing at the GKVK Agricultural University and just outside the campus is four degrees. Even when the temperature in the Majestic bus stand was 35 to 36 degrees, it was around 32 degrees in a nearby park.
According to a study by Prof T V Ramchandra and his team of the Energy & Wetlands Research Group Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore city has seen a rapid expansion in urban growth. In 2012, the researchers estimated that the built-up area had grown by a whopping 584 per cent over the preceding four decades. This obviously came at a heavy price. Vegetation cover declined by 66 per cent and 74 per cent of the water bodies disappeared. Bangalore no longer carries the same charm as it used to earlier. I have heard many residents complain of the haphazard growth. But then who cares. After all, it is urbanization that the mainline economists and planners are always pushing for. People are being made to believe that concrete jungles are the future, if they have to develop.
IndiaSpend, a data-driven and public-interest journalism group, has analysed the IISc study in a form that can be easily understood. Accordingly, four major cities in the country have seen a rapid decimation of its green cover. Bhopal tree cover fell from 66 per cent to 22 per cent in the past 22 years. Now this is something too serious to worry about. Instead, by 2018, which means another three years, the green cover in Bhopal will come down to 11 per cent. You can surely call it a sign of growth but don’t complain when the temperatures soar to record breaking levels.
Ahmedabad has only 24 per cent of its green cover left, coming down from 46 per cent in the past two decades. But hold your breath. If you are living in Ahmedabad or plan to translocate to this city, think again. By 2030, Ahmedabad will be left with only 3 per cent of its green cover. Kolkata too will be left with a green cover of 3.7 per cent by the year 2030, and Hyderabad will have only 1.84 per cent of its tree cover left by the year 2024, which is not far away. The rate of speedy urbanization is clearly leading to a massive erosion of what is called as green lungs of a city. The rise in temperature is therefore a natural outcome.
The combined effect of urbanization is what is leading to soaring temperatures. Considering that urbanization is the easiest way to enhance GDP growth, I see no reason why people should be complaining. You asked for it.
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Posted by JR at 12:27 AM