Sunday, September 18, 2016

No logic in claim that Arctic sea ice shows global warming

Doesn't the fact that 2016 levels of Arctic ice are HIGHER than in 2012 indicate RECOVERY from melting?  And doesn't the fact that 2016 levels were the same as 2007 simply indicate erratic natural fluctuations from year to year?  It certainly does not indicate a steady warming trend

Paul Homewood additionally notes:  "2016 ice was the earliest minimum since 1997;  This year's extent was 22% above 2012, despite two massive storms; Thickness is way up on 2010 and 2011;  We are looking at one of the fastest ice growths in September on record".  That too certainly does not indicate a steady warming trend

Arctic sea ice this summer shrank to its second lowest level since scientists started to monitor it by satellite, with scientists saying it is another ominous signal of global warming.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado said the sea ice reached its summer low point on Saturday, extending 1.6 million square miles (4.14 million square kilometers).

That's behind only the mark set in 2012, 1.31 million square miles (3.39 million square kilometers).

Center director Mark Serreze said this year's level technically was 3,800 square miles (10,000 square kilometers) less than 2007, but that's so close the two years are essentially tied.

Even though this year didn't set a record, 'we have reinforced the overall downward trend. There is no evidence of recovery here,' Serreze said.

Serreze said he wouldn't be surprised if the Arctic was essentially ice free in the summer by 2030, something that will affect international security.


Climate change 'significant and direct' threat to U.S. military

You can see how absurd the prophecies of this small clique of officials are if you note their statement:  "the current trajectory of climatic change presents a strategically-significant risk".  What trajectory?  There is none.  Until last year's El Nino, the global temperature was plateaued,  just bobbing up and down by hundredths of one degree only. What we read below is just a statement of faith, not a reasonable projection

The effects of climate change endanger U.S. military operations and could increase the danger of international conflict, according to three new documents endorsed by retired top U.S. military officers and former national security officials.

"There are few easy answers, but one thing is clear: the current trajectory of climatic change presents a strategically-significant risk to U.S. national security, and inaction is not a viable option," said a statement published on Wednesday by the Center for Climate and Security, a Washington-based think tank.

It was signed by more than a dozen former senior military and national security officials, including retired General Anthony Zinni, former commander of the U.S. Central Command, and retired Admiral Samuel Locklear, head of the Pacific Command until last year.

They called on the next U.S. president to create a cabinet level position to deal with climate change and its impact on national security.

A separate report by a panel of retired military officials, also published on Wednesday by the Center for Climate and Security, said more frequent extreme weather is a threat to U.S. coastal military installations.

"The complex relationship between sea level rise, storm surge and global readiness and responsiveness must be explored down to the operational level, across the Services and Joint forces, and up to a strategic level as well," the report said.

Earlier this year, another report said faster sea level rises in the second half of this century could make tidal flooding a daily occurrence for some installations.

Francesco Femia, co-founder and president of the Center for Climate and Security, said the reports show bipartisan national security and military officials think the existing U.S. response to climate change "is not commensurate to the threat".

The fact that a large and bipartisan number of former officials signed the reports could increase pressure on future U.S. administrations to place greater emphasis and dedicate more resources to combat climate change.


The science deniers’ greatest hits

Science is a process, not a destination, and must not be immune to falsification by experiment -- Bill Frezza

“And yet, it moves.”  Thus muttered Galileo Galilei under his breath, after being forced by the Inquisition to recant his claim that the Earth moved around the Sun, rather than the other way round. The public vindication of Copernican heliocentrism would have to wait another day.

Today, Galileo’s story is a well-known illustration of the dangers of both unchecked power and declaring scientific matters “settled.” Yet, throughout history, Galileo wasn’t alone.

Scientists once knew that light moved through space via the luminiferous aether – how else could its waves travel? In 1887 Albert Michelson and Edward Morley proved that it wasn’t so, thanks to a “failed” experiment that was actually designed to conclusively demonstrate the existence of this invisible medium. Poor Michelson suffered a nervous breakdown when faced with such unexpected results.

In 1931 a book published in Germany, One Hundred Authors against Einstein, defended the “settled science” of Newtonian physics and proclaimed that Einstein’s theory of relativity was a fraud. Einstein was reported to have replied, “Why one hundred? If I were wrong, one would have been enough.”

On these pages I recently recounted the story of the early twentieth century belief in Eugenics, a “science” widely adopted by governments around the world as a basis for social policy – with horrifying results.

Australian physicians Barry Marshall and Robin Warrens were ridiculed when they hypothesized that ulcers were caused by microbes, which “every scientist knew” couldn’t survive in stomach acid. Doctors were sure that peptic ulcers were caused by stress and spicy foods. In frustration, Marshall drank a Petri dish full of cultured H. pylori, proving the “settled science” wrong.

Hopefully, the Nobel Prize he and Warrens received compensated for the illness that resulted.

And remember the government’s dietary guidelines, including the warnings against salt and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Pyramid urging Americans to eat more carbs and fewer fats? That didn’t work out so well, did it?

We all grew up knowing that life began in the “primordial soup” of the seas, sparked by lightning. A recent paper in Nature casts doubt on that theory, producing evidence that life may have begun in hydrothermal vents in the ocean floor. The jury is still out on this one.

And that’s the point.

It’s worth keeping the above examples in mind, when someone proclaims that surely we are much smarter today than we were in the past. That we can finally put our faith in scientific certainty, especially when journalists and politicians and subsidized scientists tell us that 97 percent of scientists agree on something. That once consensus is reached among experts, it’s important to stop listening to criticism.

If you have any doubts, just Google up the phrase “Science Says,” and view the parade of claims that carry that new and improved Good Housekeeping Seal of Infallibility.

Yes, reactionaries on the payroll of nefarious forces insist on reminding us that science is a process, not a destination. What difference does it make if a hypothesis has been artfully constructed to render itself immune to falsification by experiment?

Who cares if computer simulations enshrined at the heart of public policy have never made a correct forecast? How dare anyone imply that billions of dollars in government grant funding create perverse incentives for researchers to support the party line?

The important thing is that “settled science” can be used to spur the public to act.

And exactly what has the “settled science” of cataclysmic anthropogenic global warming convinced us to do? One thing above all: Deliver unprecedented power to politicians, activists and bureaucrats.

Power to commandeer entire industries. Power to pump billions of taxpayer dollars into half-baked schemes cooked up by crony corporatists. Power to redistribute income on a global scale.

And to maintain this power, when cracks begin to show in the narrative, power to criminalize dissent, much as the Inquisition did to Galileo.

Real science is characterized by healthy skepticism, relentless questioning, and a constant testing and re-testing of theories, systems and models. Casting dogma in stone – and then stoning non-believers – is a hallmark of intolerant religion, not science.

And when we finally wake up from our global warming-inspired public hysteria, our progeny will pat themselves on the back for being so much more advanced than we were. Before, alas, the cycle repeats again.

Via email

“Toxic chromium” fear-mongering

Detecting Cr-6 droplets in Olympic-sized swimming pool doesn’t equal health or cancer risks

Paul Driessen

Erin Brockovich became rich and famous by promoting the notion that people in Hinkley, CA got cancer because of hexavalent chromium (Chromium-6) in drinking water. Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) settled a 1993 lawsuit for $333 million, rather than risk trial by a jury frightened by a steady drumbeat of horror stories from lawyers, activists, celebrities, “journalists” and hired “experts.” The lawyers got $134 million in fees, and Ms. Brockovich pocketed a cool $2-million bonus – plus movie royalties and other cash.

Now Ms. B is trying to reprise her California success, by bringing the Cr-6 saga to North Carolina. She and the eco-activist organization Environmental Working Group have sent a well-publicized letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, urging it to set tougher standards for Cr-6. They and certain NC health officials claim as few as 0.07 parts per billion of chromium-6 in drinking water may cause cancer.

Not long ago, scientific instruments couldn’t even detect parts per billion (ppb). That’s not surprising, since 1 ppb is equivalent to 1 second in 33 years or 50 drops of water in an official Olympic-sized swimming pool (50 by 25 by 2 meters – 2 teaspoons in 660,000 gallons).

Many fruits and vegetables carry carcinogenic toxins to help them combat viruses and insect pests, Oakland Research Institute senior scientist Bruce Ames points out. Apple seeds and juice contain arsenic (about 8 ppb in juice), coffee and tea also contain carcinogens, and numerous chemicals associated with industrial processes (lead, zinc, mercury, chromium and others) are also found naturally in the soils, rocks and waters around us. Those toxins can cause cancer in rodents, when fed in large enough doses.

We also know 80 milligrams (mg) of aspirin can help prevent strokes, and 650 mg can relieve headaches. But 4,000 mg in 24 hours can be toxic, and 100 regular strength tablets can kill a 150-pound adult. Even swallowing seawater can be deadly. So can guzzling 1.6 gallons of pure water.

For all of us, the relevant questions are: What level of chromium-6 is safe in drinking water? And is Cr-6 in water really a concern at all, since any real risk that may exist appears to be from the airborne variety?

North Carolina state toxicologist Kenneth Rudo says levels detected in state waters represent risks higher than what he and some other public health experts consider safe. Some say there is “no safe level” for exposure to “geotoxic carcinogens” like Cr-6. Dr. Rudo wants the state to retain a 0.07 ppb threshold level, which he says represents a maximum acceptable adult lifetime cancer risk of one in one million.

He persuaded the state to issue “do not drink” letters for people who were using water from wells near Duke Energy coal ash disposal sites. Other state and national experts disagreed, noting that there clearly are safe levels for most chemicals and radiation. Indeed, many actually improve human health.

It is now well known that improved health, stress tolerance and resistance to cancer and other diseases often results from exposure to low doses of chemicals or radiation that would be toxic or lethal at higher levels. This phenomenon is known as hormesis. Similarly, multivitamins often include chromium and other metals that are toxic at high doses, but essential for good bodily health.

Many peer-reviewed studies support chromium-6 levels at least as high as North Carolina’s puzzling dual standard of 10 ppb for well water and 100 ppb for drinking water. The EPA itself sets 100 ppb for drinking water and says airborne Cr-6 is much more worrisome than waterborne varieties.

No one else uses a 0.07 standard, which is equal to 3.5 drops in an Olympic pool or 1 second in 467 years. Even ultra-cautious California sets its standard at 10 ppb, though some want it reduced to 0.06 ppb.

Equally important, ability to detect a substance does not mean it poses a risk. Cancer is certainly scary, but the risk of getting cancer is not the same as dying from it. And people routinely accept risks of dying from activities they happily engage in daily.

The National Safety Council puts the lifetime risk of dying in a motor vehicle crash at 1 in 113 – 8,850 times greater than Dr. Rudo’s lifetime risk of contracting cancer from Cr-6. The lifetime risk of dying from a lightning strike is 1 in 136,011 – while the risk of dying next year from accidental drowning is roughly equal to the Rudo lifetime risk of getting cancer from chromium in water. See this chart.

That brings us back to the 1993 Brockovich case. It blamed Chromium-6 for an entire smorgasbord of diseases afflicting Hinkley residents, but never linked to this chemical. Indeed, Cr-6 has actually been linked only to lung and nasal cancer, and only when inhaled in high doses over many years. Ingestion via drinking water has not resulted in ill effects among study subjects, according to EPA and other experts.

In fact, as investigative reporter Michael Fumento learned, no ill effects were found even in rodents given Cr-6 at 25 parts per million – 250 times higher than EPA’s 100 ppb safety standard, and 357,000 times higher than the 0.07 parts per billion that Dr. Rudo wants for North Carolina. Other studies evaluated people living next to landfills that had very high Cr-6 concentrations, and likewise found no ill effects.

Perhaps most telling, a Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine study evaluated 52,000 workers employed for up to 25 years at several PG&E plants, including the Hinkley facility. Not only was their incidence of cancer no higher than for California residents in general; the PG&E workers’ death rates were actually much lower than for California’s population at large. Hormesis, perhaps?

Equally relevant: In 2015, the NC Department of Environmental Quality tested 24 wells located two to five miles away from the nearest coal plant or coal ash deposit. Twenty of those wells received “do not drink” advisories, because their Cr-6 levels exceeded Rudo-recommended thresholds.

Citing those tests and further examination of relevant scientific studies, state Health Director Randall Williams, MD later decided the advisories should be rescinded. Cr-6 levels in wells far away from coal facilities mean naturally occurring chromium affects water all around North Carolina, he noted, and risks associated with drinking the water are actually extremely low.

Williams also pointed out that chromium-6 is found in some 70% to 90% of all water supplies in the United States. Telling tens of millions of people not to drink their water makes little sense. Neither does holding several hundred North Carolina well owners to a standard that applies virtually nowhere else; nor does holding NC well water to a much stricter standard than the state applies to its drinking water.

Many activist groups use climate, chemical and cancer scares to advance campaigns to shut down coal-fired power plants. Forcing utility companies to spend billions of dollars relocating millions of tons of coal ash is a good tactic, especially when it involves the “precautionary principle,” which essentially says:

We must avoid any risks of using chemicals, fossil fuels and other technologies – but not even discuss the risks of not using them. We must emphasize minor, alleged, manageable, exaggerated and even fabricated risks that a technology might cause – but ignore the risks the technology would reduce or prevent.

That double standard helps advance activist agendas – at high costs. Forcing utility companies to spend billions relocating coal ash would shut down many coal-fired power plants, causing electricity prices to soar, severely impacting factories, businesses, hospitals, schools, minorities and blue-collar families.

Numerous workers would be laid off or forced to take multiple lower-paying part-time jobs, with few or no healthcare or other benefits. Medical experts say this would bring greater stress and depression, reduced nutrition, sleep deprivation, greater alcohol, drug, spousal and child abuse, and higher suicide, stroke, heart attack and cancer rates. It would mean every life supposedly saved by shutting down power plants would be offset by impaired health and real lives lost as a result.

Simply put, chromium risks are not as dire as Dr. Rudo and Ms. Brockovich have been saying. Indeed, eliminating coal-based electricity is likely to cause far more serious and widespread problems.

Via email

Australia: Huge cost of electricity self-sufficiency

WHILE some people are contemplating investing $13,500 for a Tesla Powerwall, one man has decided to go all in and create the largest residential battery storage system in Australia. Gold Coast local Clayton Lyndon recently invested $80,000 to have six residential Tesla Powerwalls installed, essentially making a mini battery power station in his home.

“I had Natural Solar look at my energy usage and they told me it was very high and I would need six Tesla Powerwalls to offset the amount we were consuming,” he told  “I knew it was going to be a large investment, but I also knew it would make financial sense in the long run.”

When operating at full efficiency, Mr Lyndon’s installation could produce 36,355 kWh each year, while also reducing carbon emissions and offset coal fired power by 34,173.7kg annually.

“At the moment we have been producing around 674 kWh of energy and using about 428 kWh of electricity at home and exporting the rest back into the grid,” he said. “I expect over time I will no longer be paying an electricity bill and will pick up more money selling the excess back to the wholesale grid.”

When asked how it felt to have the first mini power station in Australia, Mr Lyndon has mixed emotions. “It’s a little embarrassing our household power consumption is so high, although I do feel positive the financial risk will pan out and it’s nice to be doing our part for the environment.

“I would recommend people to make the switch, I already have some of my mates considering after checking out my monitoring system.”

Natural Solar managing director Chris Williams said the installation signified an evolution of the industry.  “Multiple batteries are becoming more common with people from high energy consuming households,” he said.  “In the case of this installation, the household now has storage for 99 per cent of their consumption.”

Mr Williams said he expected Mr Lyndon will break even in four to five years based on full consumption.



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.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


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