Thursday, December 22, 2016
Earth's temperatures have always bounced up and down
Temperature reconstructions for the last 10,000 years based on a wide range of proxy data are reported below. They show that it has in the past been both warmer and cooler than it is today. Present temperatures are nothing unusual in Earth's history. Nothing manmade is needed to explain the current temperature averages. And note that this data concerns the Arctic, the favourite area of the Warmists
Holocene climate change in Arctic Canada and Greenland
Jason P. Briner et al.
This synthesis paper summarizes published proxy climate evidence showing the spatial and temporal pattern of climate change through the Holocene in Arctic Canada and Greenland. Our synthesis includes 47 records from a recently published database of highly resolved Holocene paleoclimate time series from the Arctic (Sundqvist et al., 2014). We analyze the temperature histories represented by the database and compare them with paleoclimate and environmental information from 54 additional published records, mostly from datasets that did not fit the selection criteria for the Arctic Holocene database. Combined, we review evidence from a variety of proxy archives including glaciers (ice cores and glacial geomorphology), lake sediments, peat sequences, and coastal and deep-marine sediments. The temperature-sensitive records indicate more consistent and earlier Holocene warmth in the north and east, and a more diffuse and later Holocene thermal maximum in the south and west. Principal components analysis reveals two dominant Holocene trends, one with early Holocene warmth followed by cooling in the middle Holocene, the other with a broader period of warmth in the middle Holocene followed by cooling in the late Holocene. The temperature decrease from the warmest to the coolest portions of the Holocene is 3.0 ± 1.0 °C on average (n = 11 sites). The Greenland Ice Sheet retracted to its minimum extent between 5 and 3 ka, consistent with many sites from around Greenland depicting a switch from warm to cool conditions around that time. The spatial pattern of temperature change through the Holocene was likely driven by the decrease in northern latitude summer insolation through the Holocene, the varied influence of waning ice sheets in the early Holocene, and the variable influx of Atlantic Water into the study region.
Quaternary Science Reviews. Volume 147, 1 September 2016, Pages 340–364
Congress: Obama Admin Fired Top Scientist to Advance Climate Change Plans
Investigation claims Obama admin retaliated against scientists, politicized DoE
A new congressional investigation has determined that the Obama administration fired a top scientist and intimidated staff at the Department of Energy in order to further its climate change agenda, according to a new report that alleges the administration ordered top officials to obstruct Congress in order to forward this agenda.
Rep. Lamar Smith (R., Texas), chair of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, released a wide-ranging report on Tuesday that shows how senior Obama administration officials retaliated against a leading scientist and plotted ways to block a congressional inquiry surrounding key research into the impact of radiation.
A top DoE scientist who liaised with Congress on the matter was fired by the Obama administration for being too forthright with lawmakers, according to the report, which provides an in-depth look at the White House’s efforts to ensure senior staffers toe the administration’s line.
The report also provides evidence that the Obama administration worked to kill legislation in order to ensure that it could receive full funding for its own hotly contested climate change agenda.
The report additionally discovered efforts by the Obama administration to censor the information given to Congress, interfering with the body’s ability to perform critical oversight work.
“Instead of providing the type of scientific information needed by Congress to legislate effectively, senior departmental officials sought to hide information, lobbied against legislation, and retaliated against a scientist for being forthcoming,” Smith said in a statement. “In this staff report based on lengthy record before the committee, much has been revealed about how senior level agency officials under the Obama administration retaliated against a scientist who did not follow the party line.”
“Moving forward, the department needs to overhaul its management practices to ensure that Congress is provided the information it requires to legislate and that federal employees and scientists who provide that information do so without fear of retribution,” Smith said.
The report goes into Congress’ efforts to regulate the Low Dose Radiation Research Program, or LDRRP, which sought to test the impact of radiation on human beings. The program, started in the 1990s, was meant to support research into waste cleanup and the impact of nuclear weapons.
In mid-2014, lawmakers introduced legislation, the Low Dose Radiation Act of 2014, to help regulate the program and minimize harmful side effects.
During an October 2014 briefing with senior DoE staff on the matter, lawmakers heard testimony from Dr. Noelle Metting, the radiation research program’s manager.
Less than a month later, lawmakers discovered that Obama administration officials had “removed Dr. Metting from federal service for allegedly providing too much information in response to questions posed by” Congress during the briefing, the report states.
Congressional investigators later determined that the administration’s “actions to remove Dr. Metting were, in part, retaliation against Dr. Metting because she refused to conform to the predetermined remarks and talking points designed by Management to undermine the advancement of” the 2014 radiation act.
Emails unearthed during the investigation “show a sequence of events leading to a premeditated scheme by senior DoE employees ‘to squash the prospects of Senate support'” for the radiation act, a move that lawmakers claim was meant to help advance President Obama’s own climate change goals.
“The committee has learned that one of DoE’s stated purposes for Dr. Metting’s removal from federal service was her failure to confine the discussion at the briefing to pre-approved talking points,” according to the report. “The committee has also established that DoE management … failed to exercise even a minimal standard of care to avoid chilling other agency scientists as a result of the retaliation against Dr. Metting for her refusal to censor information from Congress.”
The investigation concluded that “DoE placed its own priorities to further the president’s Climate Action Plan before its constitutional obligations to be candid with Congress,” the report states. “The DoE’s actions constitute a reckless and calculated attack on the legislative process itself, which undermines the power of Congress to legislate. The committee further concludes that DoE’s disregard for separation of powers is not limited to a small group of employees, but rather is an institutional problem that must be corrected by overhauling its management practices with respect to its relationship with the Congress.”
These moves by the administration were part of an effort to secure full funding for the president’s climate change agenda, the report claims.
“Instead of working to understand the value of the LDRRP for emergency situations, DoE Management engaged in a campaign to terminate research programs that could divert funds from the president’s Climate Action Plan,” the report states.
Congress is recommending a full overhaul of the DoE’s management structure in order to ensure this type of situation does not occur again.
It’s climate regulations that threaten us
H. Sterling Burnett
Here are some climate actions President Trump could take to Make America Great Again
In President-Elect Donald Trump’s Contract with the American Voter, a “100-day action plan to Make America Great Again,” Mr. Trump outlines several measures he says he will undertake to create jobs and spur economic growth.
While much of his proposed agenda will help to improve the economy while also leaving reasonable environmental protections in place, I believe there are two additional environment-related policy changes that he could take to jump-start the economy.
In a September 21, 2015, appearance on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, Mr. Trump said, “I’m not a believer in man-made global warming. I mean, Obama thinks it’s the number-one problem in the world today. I think it’s very low on the list.… We have much bigger problems.”
If these comments accurately reflect Trump’s views, a first important step he could take to undo the damage done by the Obama administration’s vainglorious attempt to control climate and weather would be to reverse the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) determination that carbon dioxide (CO2) is a pollutant endangering public and environmental health.
This “endangerment finding” came about in response to EPA following a narrow 5-4 Supreme Court decision in the 2007 case Massachusetts v. EPA. In that case, a majority of the justices ruled that, if EPA determines carbon-dioxide emissions are causing global warming – and global warming may reasonably be expected to endanger public health or welfare – then EPA has the authority to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant.
In fact, the justices ruled, EPA would be required to regulate carbon dioxide under such a finding, unless it can provide a reasonable basis for not choosing to regulate this vitally important, plant-fertilizing gas.
Relying on unsubstantiated projections produced by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, EPA did determine that CO2 emissions from cars and industry do threaten human welfare. That led directly to the agency’s decision to limit those emissions.
For instance, the endangerment finding was the basis for ratcheting up automobile fuel-economy standards to 54.5 mpg by 2025. That could soon mean consumers no longer have the right or ability to choose the vehicles they drive – based on safety, passenger or cargo considerations, for example – by either forcing all but the smallest cars off the roads or, at the very least, making larger cars and trucks too expensive for all but the relatively wealthy to drive.
Additionally, the endangerment finding serves as the foundation for various Obama administration regulations requiring utilities, oil and gas producers, and other entities to cut their greenhouse gas emissions. If these draconian rules are not overturned by the Trump Administration, Americans will pay much more for energy and their energy supplies will be less reliable.
Mr. Trump cannot undo the endangerment finding with the stroke of a pen. To reverse it, he must instead charge EPA to demonstrate, through independent, validated research, that carbon-dioxide emissions are “toxic” (which they are not at any levels that might occur in Earth’s atmosphere) – or that global warming is causing measurable amounts of sea-level rise, increased hurricane numbers or intensity, the spread of diseases, or other harms directly attributable to carbon-dioxide emissions in the United States.
If EPA cannot directly link such problems to U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions – and it can’t – or cannot show such problems can be dramatically reduced by cutting U.S. carbon dioxide emissions – and again it can’t – then EPA should withdraw the endangerment finding.
Withdrawing the endangerment finding would end the legal justification for a range of burdensome climate regulations. In the process, it would also end radical environmental activists’ ability to use courts to impose climate policies on an unwilling public whose elected representatives have repeatedly rejected climate policies.
Second, President-Elect Trump also recognizes that, to fully reverse Barack Obama’s harmful climate policies, the United States must withdraw from international climate agreements that drive and justify many domestic climate actions – and must stop diverting billions of dollars of taxpayer money from important domestic and defense concerns to U.N. climate programs.
In his Contract with the American Voter, Mr. Trump pledges to “cancel billions in payments to U.N. climate change programs, and use the money to fix America’s water and environmental infrastructure.”
Trump can accomplish this unilaterally by halting the Obama administration’s illegal shift of State Department funds – funds that Congress directed would be used in other diplomatic programs, such as combating virulent diseases – to the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund.
The easiest way for President Trump to end the United States’ participation in all international climate agreements would be for him, on day one, to remove America’s signature from the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), signed by President George H.W. Bush in 1992.
Article 25 of the UNFCCC allows any state party to that convention to withdraw upon giving one year’s notice, without incurring any further obligation
In fact, withdrawing from the UNFCCC would cancel United States obligations to all other U.N.-brokered climate agreements subsequent to it, including the Paris “agreement” that President Obama signed, because all subsequent agreements were built upon UNFCCC.
Our nation is not threatened by manmade climate change. It is threatened by regulations implemented in the name of protecting us from dangerous manmade climate and weather.
These two actions would be a great first step toward “putting America first” during President Trump’s first 100 days in office.
A Chance for Congress to Kill Some Cronyism
President-elect Donald Trump ran in part against the business-as-usual cronyism that has for decades been rampant in Washington, D.C. His pledge to “Drain the Swamp” resoundingly resonated – and helped propel him to the presidency.
Congress has been a chronic, consistent swamp filler. Now, headed into the Trump presidency, Congress has an opportunity to reverse course and start draining. They absolutely should avail themselves.
The prospective cronyism in question revolves around the West Lake Landfill in Bridgetown, Missouri (located near Saint Louis’ Lambert Airport). A limestone quarry in the 1930s, it during World War II and into the 1960s became a dumping ground for, amongst other things, processed uranium.
Thankfully, a 2015 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study concluded that the site actually poses no health risk. Nevertheless, the Agency had in 1990 declared West Lake a Superfund site designated for cleanup – so a cleanup we will have.
But this is government – and government moves…s l o w l y. The EPA didn’t get around to hiring anyone to do the work until…2015. At which point the speed of the private sector would have kicked in. The cleanup company retained would have had the gig finished by the end of this year. One year – and done. No fuss – no more muss.
Great news, right? Well, not for the Teamsters Union. The Teamsters haven’t unionized the landfill cleanup company – so they had no hand in the job. So they began methodically working to kill the cleanup. Because they are, first and foremost, environmentalists concerned about the Earth. I kid. They want the deal cancelled – and redone involving them.
But the Teamsters alone leading the charge isn’t so pretty a messaging face. Like everyone else on the Left, the Teamsters love touchy-feely front groups. These gaggles are the smiley-face masks over the Left’s snarling visage.
For the radical environmentalists opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline – it’s the Standing Rock Sioux Indian tribe. For the Teamsters, on Westlake – it’s Just Moms Saint Louis: “(F)ounded…in 2013 ‘to educate the community about the potential hazards and health risks surrounding the West Lake Landfill.’ The group has hosted town hall meetings, amassed 18,000 members to its Facebook page, lobbied members of Congress and been described as ‘a surprisingly powerful force.’”
Their “surprisingly powerful” lobbying is a little less surprising – when you remember they are backed by and teamed with the Teamsters: “The Teamsters Union mentions Just Mom STL in numerous press releases and other communications materials on its website. Moreover, the Teamsters Union has hosted press conferences and educational events with Just Moms STL.”
Remember, Just Moms StL claims to just and only want the Westlake landfill cleaned up. They were founded in 2013 – when they had a prospectively legitimate gripe. But they succeeded – the EPA in 2015 got off its duff and hired a company to do the job. Which would by now be totally finished – were it not for Just Moms StL (and their Teamsters teammates) continuing to agitate.
Which means this isn’t about a landfill cleanup. It’s about the Teamsters cleaning up – at our exorbitant expense.
Which leads us to Washington D.C. – and yet another raft of Congressional cronyism: “In February 2016…the Senate passed a bill to transfer the clean up (from the EPA) to the Army Corps of Engineers. (Missouri) Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill introduced the legislation.”
Get that? A Missouri Democrat – gumming up the works to assist the Teamsters in getting a government gig in Missouri. And lest we forget: “About 20 percent of Teamsters workers are employed by the federal government.” I’m sure that stat has nothing to do with anything here.
If the Army Corps of Engineers takes over, we’ll undoubtedly be subjected to years of additional delay and hundreds of millions of dollars of additional waste.
All to clean up a site that isn’t hurting anyone. And which would already be cleaned up and forgotten – had Just Moms StL taken for an answer the “Yes” they claimed all along to have wanted.
But the Army Corps of Engineers will likely absurdly overpay the Teamsters to do the job – and that’s all that really matters in Crony Town.
The ridiculous McCaskill Senate-passed bill – now sits in the House: “(W)here supporters with ties to big labor unions are pushing to get it passed without scrutiny.”
The bill should proceed – absolutely nowhere. It should suffer death by Congressional inattentiveness. It’s pointless – it’s wasteful – it’s cronyism. It’s everything pre-Trump Washington was.
It’s time to put that past behind us.
Obama Said to Use 1953 Law to Restrict Offshore Oil Drilling
President Barack Obama is preparing to block the sale of new offshore drilling rights in most of the U.S. Arctic and parts of the Atlantic, a move that could indefinitely restrict oil production there, according to people familiar with the decision.
Obama will invoke a provision in a 1953 law that gives him wide latitude to withdraw U.S. waters from future oil and gas leasing, said the people who spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision had not been announced. Until now the law has been used mostly to permanently preserve coral reefs, walrus feeding grounds and marine sanctuaries.
Related actions by Canada, including a possible five-year pause on some activity in its share of the Beaufort Sea north of Canada’s Northwest Territories, will be announced at the same time as the U.S. action, the people said.
"If the reports are right, then this is a gift to the public and to our kids that will rank with any in the history of American conservation," said Niel Lawrence, Alaska director of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Coming in the waning days of his administration, Obama’s move -- set to be announced Tuesday -- responds to a clamor from environmental activists who have looked for a way to lock in protections before President-elect Donald Trump takes office.
Environmentalists said the action would further bolster Obama’s legacy as the president who has done more than any other to combat climate change, because it would illustrate he believes the warming Earth can’t afford the oil and gas locked under the Arctic and Atlantic waters targeted for protection.
“If President Obama acts to permanently protect important areas of the Atlantic Ocean from offshore drilling, he will be making a good decision -- a smart business decision -- based on science and facts," said Jacqueline Savitz, a senior vice president with the conservation group Oceana. "This decision would help to protect existing lucrative coastal tourism and fishing businesses from offshore drilling, which promises smaller, short-lived returns and threatens coastal livelihoods."
Spokesmen for the White House and the Canadian prime minister’s office declined to comment.
Using the so-called 12(a) provision of Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to keep drilling out of big chunks of the nation’s territorial oceans is sure to draw a legal challenge, and there is scant legal precedent on the matter. Trump may rescind Obama’s order, but the statute doesn’t include a provision for reversal and that action may take years to work its way through court.
"I see no evidence that Congress ever intended for these withdrawals to be reversible; courts should respect that," Lawrence said.
The Republican-led Congress could advance legislation to undo the ocean withdrawals and eliminate the underlying provision empowering Obama’s move.
Although oil companies have struggled to tap resources at the top of the globe, industry leaders say they will be needed to meet the world’s energy needs. The industry’s top trade group, the American Petroleum Institute, cast the idea of permanently withdrawing offshore waters as detrimental to national security.
"Blocking offshore exploration would weaken our national security, destroy good-paying jobs and could make energy less affordable for consumers," said Erik Milito, an upstream director for the group. "Fortunately, there is no such thing as a permanent ban, and we look forward to working with the new administration on fulfilling the will of American voters on energy production."
Lucas Frances, spokesperson for the oil industry-supported Arctic Energy Center, said company bidding in recent sales of Alaska and federal territory -- including $870,000 for state waters hugging the coastline -- illustrate there is continued interest in exploring the area.
“The administration has always justified a ban on Arctic development because of an alleged lack of local support or industry interest," Frances said, adding that polling of Native Alaskans shows that is unfounded.
“If reports are true, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the Obama administration is playing politics with the future of Alaska,” Francis said.
Obama’s withdrawals would block the sale of new oil and gas leases in portions of the U.S. Atlantic and most of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas north of Alaska. They are not expected to affect drilling or production under existing leases, including 42 parcels that Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Hilcorp Energy Co., Eni Spa, Repsol Sa and other companies own in the Beaufort, according to a government registry last updated in June.
The action also doesn’t affect waters under state jurisdiction, including part of the Beaufort Sea where a Texas company recently trumpeted a potential 6 billion barrel discovery.
Obama had already ruled out selling new leases in the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific from 2017 to 2022. This is different: It would explicitly put certain areas off limits for oil exploration and production.
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Posted by JR at 1:31 AM