Friday, September 30, 2016

The whole State of South Australia blacked out during storm

This was expected.  The storm just pushed S.A. over the edge it was balanced on.  Their triumphant boast that they now rely on "green" power only had to lead to power loss. Green power only works under very favourable circumstances.  That the storm knocked down a few poles in one area should not have taken the whole State down.  Wind turbines have to be switched off during high winds so that was the most likely cause of the problem.  And once they were down, the lowered voltage would have hit hard the interconnector to Victoria and tripped it off

A “CATASTROPHIC” superstorm that left an entire state without power is far from over with warnings the worst of the wild weather is yet to come.

As the nation’s leaders stuggle to work out how South Australia was left in total blackout — causing travel chaos, hospital terror and reported looting of homes — forecasters say more is on the way.

The once-in-50-year storm is expected to move east through the south coast of Australia in the next 24 hours, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

Expect havoc across the country as the storm unleashes again, with flood warnings in place for five states as well as for the ACT.

It has already hit parts of Victoria and will move into NSW and Tasmania today. BoM senior meteorologist Craig Burke said a weather event of this size and intensity was unusual, especially when it affected so many locations.

“It’s extremely rare to see a low of this much pressure and intensity,” he said. “It’s fair to say it’s going to get extremely nasty again.”

The extreme weather saw gale-force winds, heavy rain and thunderstorms lash South Australia and parts of Victoria last night.

As the “worst storm in decades” struck the country with force, South Australia was plunged into darkness and triple-0 was down in isolated parts of the state.

SA Premier Jay Weatherill insisted it was not South Australia’s reliance on renewable energy that led to the blackout, as some have suggested.

“This was a weather event, this was not a renewable energy event,” he said, saying the whole electricity network was forced to shut down after a “catastrophic weather event” damaged infrastructure near Port Augusta at 3.48pm yesterday.

The Premier said powerful wind gusts and thunderstorms smashed 22 electricity transmission stations in the area, and the toppled towers were followed by a lightning strike, which triggered a shutdown for safety reasons.

“This is a catastrophic natural event which has destroyed our infrastructure,” he said in a press conference this afternoon. “These are events the Director of the Bureau of Meteorology has never seen in his whole career.

“There is no infrastructure that can be developed that can protected you against catastrophic events that take out three pieces of infrastructure.

He praised the rapid response of the Australian Energy Market Operator, SA Power and emergency services, as well as the “community spirit” among South Australians.

“This is certainly a system that was designed to get the system back up as quickly as possible. In a few hours we were beginning to restore power and now the lion’s share of the system has been restored.”

Ninety per cent of the power has been restored in the 38 hours after the blackout, with 75,000 still without power this morning.

Mr Weatherill warned about 40,000 households could be without power for the next two days. Large industrial users are among the last waiting to begin operating again.

“It’s not simply a storm, it’s an unprecedented weather event, the likes of which the bureau has not seen here,” he added. “There are things we have to reflect upon, but our present advice is this was an event which could not have been predicted, it was an extreme event.”

He said there would be a three-pronged inquiry into what went wrong, but said the priority now was to deal with people still suffering, particularly in the north of the state.

On reports of looting, he said: “There’s some isolated incidents the police commission might want to concern themselves with. If that’s happened, it’s disgusting.

“An isolated incident is disgusting and regrettable but I done think it reflects the overwhelming evidence of community spirit.”


Hospitals came under serious pressure as they switched to back-up power generators to assist people on life support. Handheld battery packs and hand-operated respirators were used as 17 patients had to be moved.

People using life-support devices at home headed to hospitals for extra power, with the wards focusing solely on those in life-threatening situations.

By 7pm (local time) yesterday power had started to be restored to some suburbs, mostly in the metropolitan area’s eastern districts.

Adelaide Hills and northern suburbs were among the worst affected.

Hail, winds and wild weather made travel impossible with traffic lights out of action and trams and trains cancelled.

The BoM has warned that gale-force winds of up to 120km/h and plenty more rain is expected across the state today.


First shipment of American shale gas arrives in Britain to open 'virtual pipeline' despite fierce protests from environmentalists

The first shipment of American shale gas arrived in Britain this morning amid fierce protest over the future of the controversial fracking process.

The tanker Ineos Insight passed beneath the Forth Bridge with 27,5000 cubic metres of ethane produced by fracking shale fields in the eastern United States.

It then docked at Grangemouth - the Scottish refinery and petrochemicals plant owned by global chemical giant Ineos.

Ineos bosses said the shipment represents the culmination of a £1.6billion ($2billion) investment, with eight tankers creating a virtual pipeline from America.

They hope shale gas will replace dwindling supplies of natural gas from the North Sea - where production has fallen by 60 per cent over the past decade - supporting 10,000 jobs.

The decline has forced petrochemical companies to source basic raw materials, such as ethane, from outside the UK.

Jim Ratcliffe, Ineos founder and chairman, said: 'This is a hugely important day for Ineos and the UK. Shale gas can help stop the decline of British manufacturing and today is a first step in that direction.'

But environmental campaigners have warned about the climate consequences associated with fracking.

Friends of the Earth Scotland's Head of Campaigns, Mary Church, said: 'It is completely unacceptable to attempt to prop up INEOS's petrochemicals plants on the back of human suffering and environmental destruction across the Atlantic.


Fake Nobel Laureate Uses Super PAC To Attack Trump On Global Warming

A handful of scientists are using a super PAC to get their colleagues to align against Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump over his “embrace of conspiracy theories, anti-science attitudes, and disregard for experts.”

“We urge our peers to join us in making it clear that Mr. Trump’s statements are not only at odds with scientific reality, but represent a dangerous rejection of scientific thinking,” reads an online petition started by anthropologist Eugenie Scott on the website of Not Who We Are PAC.

Scott, who made her name fighting against teaching creationism in schools, joined up with Penn State University climate scientist Michael Mann and three others to attack Trump for his beliefs on issues, like global warming, vaccines and evolution.

“Vaccines save lives every day, but Mr. Trump has stoked discredited fears about vaccines and autism and accused doctors of lying to people about them,” reads Scott’s petition.

“Every major country on Earth is adapting to a changing climate and reducing emissions from fossil fuels, but Mr. Trump has claimed it is a hoax, a statement that prompted a response from hundreds of members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the country’s leading scientific advisory body,” she wrote.

Scott also attacked Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, for giving “a speech to the House of Representatives challenging the teaching of evolutionary science in classrooms based on a misreading of how evolution works.”

Trump was recently criticized for trying to hide the fact he’s called global warming a “hoax.” Trump denied ever saying such a thing while debating Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on network television Monday night.

“Donald thinks that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese,” Clinton said during the debate. “I think it’s real.”

“I did not. I did not. I do not say that,” Trump responded.

The Trump campaign was quick to rebuff arguments Trump thought global warming was a hoax in the hours after the debate. Pence told CNN “the reality is that this climate change agenda that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton want to continue to expand is killing jobs in this country.”

This isn’t the first group of scientists to come out against Trump. Some 37 scientists affiliated with the National Academy of Sciences signed an open letter decrying Trump’s intention to pull out of a United Nations global warming treaty.

“People who embrace conspiracy theories, spread misinformation, and dismiss science should have no place in our government,” Scott wrote in her petition.

“We all have different political backgrounds and this isn’t about partisan politics for us. As Americans – and as members of the scientific community – Donald Trump is simply not who we are,” she wrote.

Not Who We Are PAC hasn’t done much this election, compared to the tens of millions spent by other super PACs. The group has only spent 23,000 on ads targeting Trump, according to federal filings.

So far, only five scientists have signed Scott’s petition, including Mann, the climate scientist who gained fame for his “hockey stick” graph showing global temperature rise. Mann was also involved in the “Climategate” email scandal, and he’s been repeatedly called out for falsely claiming to have been a “co-winner” of the Nobel Prize.

The Nobel committee has consistently gone on record that Mann and other climate scientists were not awarded the prize in 2007. That year, the Nobel Prize was awarded the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and former Vice President Al Gore for their “efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change”


Sen Dem Report Blasting EPA’s Critics Has Ties To Enviro-Group

EPA’s critics are in cahoots with shadowy figures in the fossil fuel industry, a report posted Monday on Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s website claimed.

The document appears to have been created by an attorney in conjuction with EarthJustice, a green legal group currently defending the EPA in the courts, according to data obtained by The Washington Free Beacon.

After reporters reached out to Whitehouse and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, a new version of the report materialized online, scrubbed of digital fingerprints and linked to David Baron, an EarthJustice attorney working on behalf of the Sierra Club.

The original report was released Monday by Whitehouse, Reid, and Sens. Barbara Boxer of California, and Ed Markey of Massachusetts, and is crafted to resemble a lawsuit challenging environmental regulations on carbon emissions.

Metadata of the report indicates that Baron assisted the Democratic senators in putting together the report. Baron is listed as the “author” of the report in the metadata.

The updated version of the report was submitted to the website at 9:42 a.m. Wednesday, according to the document’s metadata, and lists a White House staffer as its author.

While Baron is slated as the “author” of the initial report, there is clear evidence that he or EarthJustice explicitly had a hand in writing the report.

The report “demonstrates that the state officials, trade associations, front groups, and industry-funded scientists participating in the [EPA regulation legal] challenge actually represent the interests of the fossil fuel industry,” a press statement on Whitehouse’s website states.

Ironically, many of the same senators involved in Whitehouse’s report were also instrumental in carrying out a clandestine effort to publicly shame on the senate floor non-profit groups they considered global warming “denialists.”

Whitehouse directed 19 of his fellow Democratic senators July 11 to attack conservative and libertarian organizations such as Americans for Prosperity and the Cato Institute on the chamber floors for engaging in what the senators call a “web of denial.”

Democratic Sens. Al Franken of Minnesota, Boxer and Whitehouse needled various groups – the Heritage Foundation, the Reason Foundation, and the Hoover Institute among the various groups targeted.

Whitehouse is also known for browbeating groups into divorcing from the fossil fuel industry, in addition to those refusing to fall in line with environmental political narratives.

The American Geophysical Union (AGU), which boasts more than 62,000 members worldwide, announced in May, for instance, that it would review and possibly reconsider a decision it made in April to continue its relationship with Exxon after Whitehouse and California Rep. Ted Lieu, a Democrat, harassed the group into separating from the oil company.


Are The Promoters Of Global Warming 'Catastrophe' The True Deniers?

In a recent column for USA Today, climate writer Gregg Zoroya breathlessly asserted that the clock is ticking when it comes to saving the world from a climate-induced disaster.  Zoroya referenced interviews he’s conducted with climate scientists that have led him to the conclusion that even if world leaders follow every recommendation laid out in the Paris Agreement such that “global warming is slowed,” it’s not certain at this point that what he foresees as a climate “catastrophe” will be “averted.”

Zoroya concludes that “Tough love is needed on climate change,” but political and global realities make it certain that no substantial legislative action meant to slow so-called “global warming” is going to happen anytime soon.  This is certainly true if it’s expected that the U.S. will take the lead.

We know this simply because whatever readers think of Donald Trump, he’s on record as saying that all the talk of global warming is a “hoax.”  Market signals so far reveal Trump as correct, but that’s really not the point.  If Trump is elected, even he’s not so arrogant as to believe that he can centrally plan nature.  This will not be a legislative priority for him, but even if so, his polarizing countenance ensures that he’ll not be able to do much of anything about anything.  Amen.

Ok, but what if Hillary Clinton beats Trump? Polls show her as the likely victor in November. Yet if Clinton wins, she, like Trump, will happily have no legislative mandate.  With both candidates we’re talking about intensely weak competitors for the world’s top policy job such that either one will reach office as the least popular entering president in the history of the United States.  It’s worth rejoicing yet again that neither will have backing to do much of anything legislatively, not to mention that Democrats will raise billions to regain control of the House and Senate if Trump is elected, and Republicans will raise billions to maintain control of the House and Senate if Clinton wins.  The future is gridlock, not climate legislation.

As for other major economic powers not the U.S., lots of luck there.  The economically-sagging electorate in Europe is not about to vote for economy-crushing legislation meant to combat what remains a theory about catastrophe, and then countries that are new to prosperity like China are not about to anger their citizens with economy-sapping anti-carbon rules that are once again rooted in what is a scientific assumption.

In that case, let’s assume that Zoroya, along with warming alarmists like Nick Nuttall, Katherine Hayhoe, and Michael Mann are correct that failure to act ensures what Mann describes as a “dystopian” global scenario not unlike Hollywood depictions of the Soylent Green and The Hunger Games variety.  Well, if they’re right, market signals indicate that almost no one believes them.  In particular, those with the means to convince a President Clinton or Trump about the need for climate action truly don’t believe the apocalyptic scenarios imagined by the alarmists just mentioned.

How we know this concerns Clinton’s recent cancellation of fundraisers due to health reasons.  Two weeks ago she cancelled a few in California.  As is the case with every presidential election, while candidates stump for votes in the non-coastal states, they raise money on the coasts: Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York most notably.  This all rates mention because the climate alarmists have repeatedly stressed that coastal cities and states will be harmed most profoundly by any supposed climate catastrophe as sea levels put those locales under water.

Where presidential candidates raise money, and in particular where Democratic candidates raise money (the coasts), signals that while Clinton partisans may support candidates who spew rhetoric about the alleged horrors of global warming, their own belief level in looming climate catastrophe relating to warming is rather shallow.  We know this because if they at all bought into the hysteria being promoted by Mann et al, they wouldn’t have so much of their wealth – commercial and residential – located right where the alleged horrors of climate change are projected to have the greatest impact.

National Republican candidates similarly raise a lot of money on the coasts, and that’s once again because the biggest donors live and work in coastal cities and states.  Republicans are less prone to buy into the prevailing warming wisdom, at which point we can say that the smart money in the U.S. at least subconsciously thinks as Trump does, that the warming alarmism is a major hoax.  Lefties like to say that the rich are “greedy,” but if so their alleged greed doesn’t have them shielding their life’s work from climate change that, according to the climate alarmists, is soon to erase their wealth.

What about insurance companies? They’re supposedly greedy too, their profits spring from pricing risk of all kinds, including existential risks to houses and businesses, but no less an investor than Warren Buffett (no warming “denier” himself) has observed that the threat of so-called climate change hasn’t driven up the cost of insurance premiums.  As an owner of Geico, Buffett would know.

Are global investors fearful of the catastrophe scenarios offered up by certain members of the scientific community? Apparently not.  New York and Miami are seemingly overrun with foreign buyers of property; property that in Miami is very much on the water.  And then a recent article in the Los Angeles Times revealed abundant investment from China in Los Angeles’s booming downtown; the latter seemingly a sitting duck should the predictions of Zoroya and the rest come true.  Interesting there is that the Chinese investors, if the article is to be believed, view Los Angeles as a long-term play; this despite the near certainty that the Paris Agreement recommendations will not be acted on.

So while scientists are aggressively promoting their theories about a horrid future thanks to no serious global response to what has them alarmed, the smartest investors in the world are plainly ignoring them as though their theories are bogus.  Just once it would be nice if the scientific community might address why the very people who have the most to lose from so-called “global warming” work, invest and live as though its impact will prove a non-factor.

Barring that, Michael Mann and the rest of the climate alarmists at the very least owe the rest of us a date in the future (whether tomorrow, next year, or fifty years from now) when, if their predictions don’t materialize, they’ll admit to having been hysterical about something that was never really a problem.  For now, market signals are indicating that they’re embarrassingly wrong.  Unknown is if the catastrophe religion will ever admit what markets have long known.



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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Greenie bank tottering

Germans are the original environmentalists.  They have been walking around naked in their forests -- and feeling good about it -- for over 100 years.  Even Hitler adopted Greenie ultimate goals of primitive bliss.  So modern environmentalism could well be said to be a German invention.

It is therefore no surprise that a major German bank, Deutsche Bank,  has been active in promoting environmentalism. They frequently proclaim the truth of Warmism, for instance.  And their investments must be "ecologically responsible", of course.  No building of dams to benefit poor people in India and Africa. Below is an excerpt from the front page blurb on their site:

Environmental and climate protection are among the most pressing global challenges of our time. We take these concerns into account in all aspects of our business, including minimising our own ecological footprint. Using our expertise in the areas of energy and climate change, we support the development of a more sustainable world economy

Pretty clear.  But it is an an old adage that if your theories are wrong, you won't get the results you expect.  And that seems to have happened to this group of cabbage-heads. We read:

"Deutsche Bank shares have finally climbed today after falling to a historic low amid mounting fears for the future of Germany's top bank.

Companies in the FTSE 100 index saw £23billion wiped off their value yesterday as investors dumped financial stocks.

The sell-off was triggered by reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel had ruled out a government rescue of troubled lender Deutsche Bank.

The bank has lost more than half its value in the past year as it struggles to cope with low interest rates and sluggish growth.

Deutsche Bank shares fell another 7.5 per cent to a record low yesterday, dragging other finance stocks down with it.

This morning they fell to €10.25 amid warnings that a dip below €10 per share would take the bank into the realm of a risky investment. However, by this afternoon, shares had risen to €10.63 before the market closed at €10.51 - down 0.4%.

The FTSE 100 Index was down 10.37 points to 6,807.67, as London-listed lenders were dragged lower by the negative sentiment surrounding the German bank"

Instead of lending money to foster "Green" projects, they should have lent to the most promising commercial projects.  And instead of worrying about the environment, they should have been worrying about cyclic downturns in the economy.  But they did not do that so they got results they did not expect.  Their theories about what was important were wrong.

Deutsche could have learned from Australian banks. Australian banks are the world's soundest banks.  In 2008 when banks worldwide were falling over and being rescued by their governments, Australian banks just kept on making profits as usual.  I know.  I had and have shares in most of them.

So how did the Oz banks do it?  By sticking to their knitting.  They just concentrated on lending to people who were most likely to pay it back.  No political lending. No Greenie activism.  Pretty simple!

Will lobster soon be off the menu for good? Scientists warn warmer waters could kill off crustaceans

Yet another stupid food shortage scare. In a warmer world, heat intolerant organisms would simply move polewards.  And lobsters can swim, you know, so that would not challenge them.  The lobsters studied below could not swim North because scientists had them trapped in tanks.  It was a totally unnatural environment of zero generalizability

Baby lobsters might not be able to survive in the ocean's waters if the ocean continues to warm at the expected rate.

That is the key finding of a study performed by scientists in Maine, the state most closely associated with lobster.

The scientists, who are affiliated with the University of Maine Darling Marine Center and Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, said the discovery could mean bad news for the future of one of America's most beloved seafood treats, as well as the industry lobsters support.

The scientists found that lobster larvae struggled to survive when they were reared in water 5 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the temperatures that are currently typical of the western Gulf of Maine, a key lobster fishing area off of New England.

Five degrees is how much the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change expects the Gulf of Maine's temperature to warm by the year 2100.

The paper appears this month in the scientific journal ICES Journal of Marine Science.

According to a new study in Maine, lobster larvae struggle to survive in waters just 5 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than current temperatures in the western Gulf of Maine.

And, this is just how much these waters are expected to warm by the year 2100.

The study's authors found higher temperatures caused baby lobsters to develop faster — something that could help them avoid predators in the wild — but few survived.

But, acidification had almost no effect on young lobsters' survival.

It could serve as a wake-up call that the lobster fishery faces a looming climate crisis that is already visible in southern New England, said Jesica Waller, one of the study's authors.

'There has been a near total collapse in Rhode Island, the southern end of the fishery, and we know our waters are getting warmer,' Waller said.

'We are hoping this research can be a jumping off point for more research into how lobsters might do over the next century.'

Right now, the country's lobster catch is strong, prices are high and steady and the industry is opening up new markets in Asia, where a growing middle class is hungry for one of America's seafood status symbols.

U.S. fishermen have topped 100 million pounds of lobster for seven years in a row after having never previously reached that mark, and their catch topped a half billion dollars in value at the docks for the first time in 2014.

But signs of the toll warming waters can do to the fishery are noticeable in its southern reaches, where scientists have said rising temperatures are contributing to the lobsters' decline.

The lobster catch south of Cape Cod fell to about 3.3 million pounds in 2013, 16 years have it peaked at about 22 million in 1997.

The study's authors found higher temperatures caused baby lobsters to develop faster — something that could help them avoid predators in the wild — but few survived.

They performed the work by raising more than 3,000 baby lobsters from the moment they hatched.

The authors said the study is the first of its kind to focus on how American lobsters will be impacted by warming waters and the increasing acidification of the ocean in tandem.

The study found that acidification had almost no effect on young lobsters' survival, Waller said.

Michael Tlusty, an ocean scientist with the Anderson Cabot Center at the New England Aquarium, said the study is especially important because it considered both warming and changing ocean chemistry.

'This is the type of work that really needs to be done,' said Tlusty, who was not affiliated with the study.

'The oceans are not changing one parameter at a time.'


Who is guarding the (dictatorial) guards?

Regulators mete out fines and stymie growth, but are rarely punished for their own misconduct

Paul Driessen

Several years ago, Wells Fargo Bank discovered that employees had boosted sales, by opening some 2 million deposit and credit card accounts without customer knowledge or authorization. Over the next few years, the bank fired more than 5,000 employees for misconduct and reimbursed customers $2.6 million in fees that they may have incurred on the bogus accounts.

Insufficient response and retribution, regulators and politicians howled. They played no role in uncovering the fraud, but they are hounding bank officials and demanding $185 million in fines.

In another action, the Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Trade Commission and State of California agreed to a $14.7 billion settlement with Volkswagen, to compensate 482,000 buyers who bought diesel cars that the company illegally made appear less polluting than they actually were.

“This settlement shows that EPA is committed to upholding standards to protect public health, enforce the law and protect clean air,” said Administrator Gina McCarthy. But it’s just a “partial settlement,” a “first step” in holding VW accountable for breaching “the public’s trust,” added DOJ Deputy AG Sally Yates.

Meanwhile, Ms. Yates wants prosecutors to employ the Responsible Corporate Officers Doctrine (or Park Doctrine) more often, to hold executives individually accountable for the actions of company employees, without requiring that the government prove the execs intended to break any laws – or even that senior managers were negligent or didn’t even know someone in the company was violating a law.

Hillary Clinton is incredibly lucky the Park Doctrine doesn’t apply to her. Just imagine FBI Director James Comey’s dilemma if he couldn’t use the “no intent to violate the law” excuse. In fact, countless government officials – including Ms. McCarthy and IRS Commissioner John Koskinen – are blessed beyond measure that standards they routinely use against American citizens don’t apply to them. In fact, very few laws or regulations apply to the lawmakers and regulators who concoct and impose them.

No one should be victimized by corporate fraud, negligence or incompetence. But neither should they be victimized by negligent, incompetent or criminal actions of government agencies and bureaucrats, or of third parties they hire to validate their policies and agendas. Those actions also breach the public trust.

Equally fundamental and essential, policies and rules that affect our livelihoods, living standards and liberties must be based on honesty, accountability, evenhanded application, and verifiable evidence.

Those basic guidelines are patently ignored today, as countless examples demonstrate beyond doubt.

The IRS repeatedly abused its power in targeting conservative groups. But then Lois Lerner’s emails mysteriously disappeared, she took the Fifth and retired with full pension, “two employees on the night shift” deleted the email backup tapes (with no repercussions) and Mr. Koskinen steadfastly refuses to cooperate with congressional investigators. No Park Doctrine for any of them.

Abuses are rampant throughout federal, state and local governments, as news accounts constantly attest. Incompetence, fraud and public trust violations just in the environmental arena are mind-numbing.

On August 5, 2015, an EPA-hired crew negligently reopened the Gold King Mine above Silverton, Colorado and unleashed a 3,000,000-gallon toxic flashflood that contaminated rivers all the way to Lake Powell in Utah. EPA waited an entire day before notifying the public, offered apologies but only minimal compensation, refused to fire, fine or demote anyone – and issued a report that whitewashed the agency’s incompetence and even scrubbed the names of EPA on-site coordinator Hayes Griswold and his team.

But it’s on the regulatory front that the duplicity, exaggeration, fabrication and betrayal of our public trust are really outrageous – and used to amass more power and control over our energy, economy, job creation and living standards, close down companies and industries that regulators detest, and advance crony corporatist deals with favored entities, regardless of costs or impacts on jobs, health and welfare.

EPA is determined to make our air not merely safe or healthy, but pristine, with no human pollutants. Since 1970, US cars have reduced tailpipe pollutants by 99% and coal-fired power plants have eliminated 92% of their particulate, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions. That’s still not enough, says EPA.

To promote its claim that any soot and dust particles are deadly, the agency employs “epidemiological” studies that attempt to link slightly higher death and pollution rates in different locales – and attribute the difference to manmade particulates. However, it is impossible to distinguish health effects due to vehicle, refinery or power plant pollutants from scores of natural pollutants, or to tell whether a death was caused by pollution or by bacteria, obesity, smoking, diabetes or countless other factors.

So to augment its baseless claims, EPA employed illegal experiments on people. But even when its human guinea pigs breathed up to 30 times more particulates than the agency insists are lethal, no one died. Apparently, air pollutants are a health hazard when they come from cars, refineries or coal-fired power plants – but not when they are administered in massive quantities by researchers hired by EPA.

EPA gets away with this by having activist groups posing as scientific bodies rubberstamp its pseudo-science. Since 2000, it has paid the American Lung Association more than $25 million, given its “independent” Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee members over $181 million, and let CASAC deny membership to industry or other experts who might question EPA findings.

EPA also wants to regulate all ponds, puddles, creeks, ditches and other “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) that are even remotely connected to a navigable waterway. That way it can control nearly all land uses and family, farm and industrial activities in the USA – based on equally specious “science” regarding supposedly dangerous pollutants that might get into drinking water or wildlife habitats.

The junk science really goes into hyperdrive on climate change. Of course, it’s not just EPA. Virtually every Executive Branch agency has been enlisted in President Obama’s campaign to use “dangerous manmade climate change” to justify fundamentally transforming our nation’s energy, economic, legal and constitutional systems: from NASA and NOAA, to Agriculture and Interior, and even the Defense Department and Securities and Exchange Commission. The agenda overrides science and ethics.

EPA’s 54.5 mpg dictate for vehicles will force millions into smaller, lighter, plasticized cars that will not survive collisions with walls, trees, trucks and buses – causing thousands more serious injuries and deaths every year. That human toll is ignored in the agency’s “social cost of carbon” reports. So are the absence of hurricanes hitting the US mainland for 11 years, no rise in average global temperatures for 18 years, followed by a couple tenths of a degree since then, and the barely seven inches per century in Real World sea level rise, contrary to climate models and White House, EPA, IPCC and Al Gore assertions.

Equally absurd, these regulators are hobbling the US economy, while China, India and other developing nations produce and use increasing amounts of oil, natural gas and coal every year. Perhaps worse:

Federal regulations cost US businesses and families $1.9 trillion per year – with EPA alone accounting for $353 billion of that. This is a major reason for America’s anemic 1.1% annual economic growth and its worst labor participation rate in decades. As always, poor and minority families are hit hardest. And far too many of these regulations and costs are based on questionable, fabricated, even fraudulent science.

To top it off, illegal, unethical collusion has also become rampant at EPA: in sue and settle lawsuits, Alaska’s Pebble Mine permits, the Clean Power Plan, and helping climate activists with fund raising.

If these actions were committed by a private corporation, EPA and Justice Department SWAT teams would come after its executives, with no intent, negligence or knowledge required. But Ms. McCarthy and her staff have not been held to any such Park Doctrine standards – at least not yet.

Perhaps that explains why so many DC insiders are outraged (and maybe quaking in their boots) over the prospect that an unpredictable Washington outsider might become the next US sheriff.

Via email

Political Science: A Reply to the 375 Concerned Members of the National Academy of Sciences


Some 375 political activists attached to the National Academy of Sciences, supporting the totalitarian view on the climate question, have recently issued an open letter saying we “caused most of the historical increase in atmospheric levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.”

In fact, the extent of our influence on climate is not “settled science.” Only 0.3% of twelve thousand papers published in learned journals claimed that recent warming was mostly manmade. The 375 activists are entitled to their opinion, but the scientific community’s peer-reviewed results overwhelmingly fail to endorse their narrow view that recent warming was predominately manmade.

True, we influence climate, by returning to the air some of the carbon dioxide that was there before. But so do termites, by emitting more methane than all the world’s farm animals combined. So do plants, by taking carbon dioxide; storing the carbon in leaves, stems, and trunks; and returning the oxygen to the air. So does the Sun, by supplying nearly all the Earth’s radiant energy. So do volcanoes, by emitting hot rocks that warm the air and ejecta that shade the Earth from the Sun and cause cooling. So do the oceans, by helping to keep the Earth’s temperature within a few degrees either side of the period mean for more than 800,000 years.

The activists say we are warming the oceans. But in the first 11 full years of the least ill-resolved dataset we have, the 3500+ Argo bathythermograph buoys, the upper mile and a quarter of the world’s oceans warmed at a rate equivalent to just 1 Celsius degree every 430 years, and the warming rate, negligible at the surface, rises faster the deeper the measurements are taken. The oceans are warming not from above, which they would if we were warming the air and the air was warming the oceans, but from below.

The activists say we are warming the lower atmosphere. Yet on all datasets, the atmosphere is warming at less than half the rate originally predicted by their fellow-activists at the error-prone Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — who have a vested interest in overstating the supposed extent of our influence on climate. For, otherwise, the Panel would be – as it should now be – abolished. The Panel is political, but science is not science unless it is scientific, and unless it is free, in particular, from the political totalitarianism that sullenly insists that only one opinion – the Party Line – may be uttered.

The activists say the oceans are “acidifying.” The truth is that, aside from a few transects and a few local studies, science has no idea whether or at what rate the oceans are “acidifying.” What is known, however, is that the oceans are not acid (as rainwater is): they are pronouncedly alkaline. It is also known that, under anything like modern conditions, they are so powerfully buffered that alkaline they must remain.

The activists say our influence on climate is evident in “altered rainfall patterns,” but in this they are at odds with their fellow-activists at the ill-fated Intergovernmental Panel, whose special report on extreme weather (2012) and whose fifth and most recent (2013) Assessment Report on the climate question find little or no evidence of a link between our industries and enterprises on the one hand and global rainfall patterns on the other.

The activists say we are to blame for retreating Arctic sea ice. But Arctic sea ice variations, if objectively quantified with proper error estimates, are fully within the large natural range of changes that have no need of any unique explanation by rising atmospheric carbon dioxide. In addition, Antarctic sea ice, which they somehow do not mention, has largely offset the loss of Arctic ice.

True scientists, like any other citizens, are entitled and even encouraged to take part in the political process, and to state their opinions. This applies to non-USA-citizens, which many of the 375 are. What true scientists must not do, however, is pretend, as the activists did, that their totalitarian point of view is unchallengeable. In all material respects, unfolding events have proven their extremist viewpoint prodigiously exaggerated at best, plain wrong at worst.

Specifically, the activists complain that, during the presidential primary campaign, “claims were made that the Earth is not warming.” Yet early in the primary campaign it was correct to say the Earth had not been warming for almost 19 years. More recently there has been a naturally-occurring El Niño event, which has raised the trend a little, but it remains true that the early predictions of medium-term warming were badly exaggerated.

The activists declare their faith in the doctrine “that the problem of human-caused climate change is real, serious and immediate, and that this problem poses significant risks” to everything from national security via health and agriculture to biodiversity. But this statement is based wholly on faith and is unsupported by reality. We know this because of the serially failed predictions made by alarmists.

The activists say, “We know that the climate system has tipping points.” Yet, revealingly, “Tipping point” is not a scientific but a political term. The activists say that “rapid warming of the planet increases the risk of crossing climatic points of no return,” but there is no evidence for rapid warming of the planet today. At the end of the Maunder Minimum, the Earth’s atmosphere warmed more rapidly in response to the naturally-occurring recovery of solar activity from 1695-1735 than it has warmed in any subsequent 40-year period. There is nothing unprecedented either about today’s global temperatures or about the rate at which those temperatures have been changing.

The activists say warmer weather will “possibly” set in motion “large-scale ocean circulation changes.” The scientific truth is that, while the wind blows, the Earth rotates and its land-masses are approximately where they are, the ocean circulation must remain much as it is now. To suggest otherwise is mere rodomontade.

The activists say warmer weather will cause “the loss of major ice sheets.” But if the great ice sheet that covered most of North America to a depth of two miles had not melted owing to naturally-occurring global warming 10,000 years ago, where would the United States be today? Antarctic snowfall accumulation has not exhibited a massive meltdown over the past 40 to 60 years, and there has been no change to speak of in northern-hemisphere snow cover. There is little evidence that the tiny global warming that has occurred is at all likely to have major effects, whether on the cryosphere or on anything else, and still less evidence that those effects would be deleterious, and still less that, even if they were deleterious, the proposed measures to prevent them would make any detectable difference, and still less that, even if proposed measures might work, the imagined benefits would exceed the extravagant cost of their implementation.

The activists are also wrong in their assertion that any appreciable human influence on the climate will be detectable for many thousands of years. Their fellow activists on the Panel say that very nearly all of the feedbacks from the small warming that may be caused by our enriching the atmosphere with plant food act over timescales of hours to – at most – decades.

The activists are wrong to state that “it is of great concern that the Republican nominee for President has advocated U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Accord.” On the scientific evidence to date, it is abundantly clear that the original predictions made by the totalitarians were extreme exaggerations; that, though the world may warm a little, it will not warm a lot; that adding CO2 to the air will be of benefit to plants in reducing their need for water, which is why the world’s desert regions are beginning to green; and that the cost of futilely playing Canute with the climate is 10-100 times greater than the cost of any realistically foreseeable net disbenefit from warmer weather.

It would, therefore, be entirely proper for a presidential candidate to argue that the United States should withdraw from the Paris climate treaty, except for one inconvenient truth. The United States has not ratified the treaty. Any such ratification requires a two-thirds majority of the Senate, and the collapse of the totalitarians’ scientific case for “climate action” now renders any such two-thirds majority impossible to achieve.

Though the activists have attempted – falsely and improperly – to convey the impression that it is somehow illegal, immoral or damaging to the planet to vote for the Republican party’s candidate in the forthcoming presidential election because he disagrees with the totalitarian position on the climate question that they espouse with such religious fervor and such disregard for science, in truth it is not the business of scientists to abuse the authority of their white lab-coats by collectively suggesting that “Science” demands the voters should or should not cast their vote in any particular direction.

Therefore, the signatories hereto repudiate the letter issued by the 375 activists as reflecting not scientific truth but quasi-religious dogma and totalitarian error; we urge the voters to disregard that regrettable and anti-scientific letter; and we invite every citizen to make up his or her own mind whom to elect to the nation’s highest office without fear of the multifarious bugaboos conjured into terrifying but scientifically unjustifiable existence by the totalitarian activists who have for decades so disrespected, disgraced and disfigured climate science.


Comunity organizer and high school dropout meet to discuss the weather

President Obama will meet with actor Leonardo DiCaprio at an upcoming White House-sponsored arts festival to discuss the dangers posed by climate change.

The two will meet at South by South Lawn (a play on the media and music festival South by Southwest) on Oct. 3 to talk about "the importance of protecting the one planet we've got for future generations," according to the White House website.

Joining them will be climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe. The festival also will include the U.S. premiere screening of "Before the Flood," DiCaprio's National Geographic documentary about his time raising climate change awareness around the globe as a U.N. ambassador of peace. Many scientists blame greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels for driving manmade climate change.

DiCaprio has made combating climate change his pet project, which he made abundantly clear last year when he dedicated his Oscar acceptance speech to the issue.

South by South Lawn also will feature appearances from the young cast of Netflix's "Stranger Things" and folk group the Lumineers, among others.



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


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Earth is warmer that it has been in 120,000 years - and is 'locked in' to hit its hottest mark in more than 2 million years, study claims

Amusing stuff.  The paper I led with yesterday sets out why it is too difficult to get accurate parameter estimates from paleoclimate data.  So this study is basically just a huge exercise in guesswork.  I have always been critical of paleoclimte estimates derived from ice-cores, tree rings etc. so would always have rubbished this study.  As it happens however, even some prominent Warmists have dismissed the study as incapable of giving accurate estimates of anything.  See the next article below this one

A new study paints a picture of an Earth that is warmer than it has been in about 120,000 years, and is locked into eventually hitting its hottest mark in more than 2 million years.

As part of her doctoral dissertation at Stanford University, Carolyn Snyder , now a climate policy official at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, created a continuous 2 million year temperature record, much longer than a previous 22,000 year record.

Snyder's temperature reconstruction, published Monday in the journal Nature , doesn't estimate temperature for a single year, but averages 5,000-year time periods going back a couple million years.

Carolyn Snyder uses a network of over 20,000 sea surface temperature reconstructions from 59 ocean sediment cores to reconstruct GAST for the past two million years at 1,000-year intervals.

Snyder based her reconstruction on 61 different sea surface temperature proxies from across the globe, such as ratios between magnesium and calcium, species makeup and acidity.

But the further the study goes back in time, especially after half a million years, the fewer of those proxies are available, making the estimates less certain, she said.

These are rough estimates with large margins of errors, she said.

But she also found that the temperature changes correlated well to carbon dioxide levels.

Temperatures averaged out over the most recent 5,000 years — which includes the last 125 years or so of industrial emissions of heat-trapping gases — are generally warmer than they have been since about 120,000 years ago or so, Snyder found.

And two interglacial time periods, the one 120,000 years ago and another just about 2 million years ago, were the warmest Snyder tracked.

They were about 3.6 degrees (2 degrees Celsius) warmer than the current 5,000-year average.

With the link to carbon dioxide levels and taking into account other factors and past trends, Snyder calculated how much warming can be expected in the future.

Snyder said if climate factors are the same as in the past — and that's a big if — Earth is already committed to another 7 degrees or so (about 4 degrees Celsius) of warming over the next few thousand years.

'This is based on what happened in the past,' Snyder said. 'In the past it wasn't humans messing with the atmosphere.'

Scientists give various reasons for past changes in carbon dioxide and heat levels, including regular slight shifts in Earth's orbital tilt.


Mann and Schmidt on Snyder's 2 million year study

The study estimates what is known as the "Earth system sensitivity," which encompasses a variety of feedbacks within the climate system, from the response of the atmosphere and oceans to fluctuations in greenhouse gases to the ways that ice sheet expansion or melting can alter global temperatures.

However, this metric is a correlation between events, and doesn't pinpoint whether one event caused another. Still, the study estimates an Earth system sensitivity of 9 degrees Celsius, or 16.2 degrees Fahrenheit, per a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels over millennium timescales.

In more simple terms, this means that over the long, long-term, our planet will see its global average surface temperature increase by up to 9 degrees Celsius if greenhouse gases in the atmosphere were to double, which they are currently on course to do.

The study found that if all greenhouse gas emissions were to cease today, the climate would still warm by about 5 degrees Celsius, or 9 degrees Fahrenheit, during the next several centuries.

However, the Earth system sensitivity metric is not the same as the similarly named, but altogether different, scientific metric known as climate sensitivity. That metric is defined as how much the globe would warm if greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere were to double.

Climate sensitivity considers the influence of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, alone, while Earth system sensitivity involves a variety of feedbacks between the land, oceans and atmosphere, some of which are not well understood.

With climate sensitivity, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are in the driver’s seat, whereas with Earth system sensitivity, there are many drivers, with cars going in different directions and sometimes colliding head on.

Estimates of climate sensitivity tend to be much lower than 9 degrees Celsius, closer to about 3 degrees Celsius.

The problem, Snyder as well as several outside scientists told Mashable, is that it's not clear exactly what was driving temperature changes during some time periods in the past.

"[Earth system sensitivity] is a useful metric that summarizes a combination of interactive feedbacks in the climate system (including temperature, greenhouse gases, ice sheets, vegetation, and dust)," Snyder said in an email.

"But it is a correlation observed in the past, not a test of causation," she said.

Michael Mann, a climate researcher at Penn State University who has published influential studies on the planet's climate history, said he views the new study as "somewhat of an outlier." Mann was not involved in the new research.

"The estimate of earth system sensitivity (9C for CO2 doubling) is so much higher than the prevailing estimates (5-6C) that one has to consider it somewhat of an outlier, and treat it with an appropriate level of skepticism," he told Mashable in an email.

One major problem with the study, Mann said, is that the sensitivity estimate is dominated by glacial and interglacial cycles during the past 800,000 years, and it's tough to untangle the roles played by carbon dioxide in such variations.

This is because carbon dioxide both causes and responds to temperature changes that are driven by other factors, such as variations in Earth's orbit around the sun.

"It is unclear that an estimate of the relationship between global temperature and carbon dioxide under those circumstances is an appropriate measure of the response of temperature when carbon dioxide alone is the major driving force, as it true today," Mann said.

"So I regard the study as provocative and interesting, but the quantitative findings must be viewed rather skeptically until the analysis has been thoroughly vetted by the scientific community."

Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist who directs NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, was more blunt in his views on the new publication.

"The temperature reconstruction is great, but the claims about sensitivity are just wrong," Schmidt, who was not involved in the new research, said in an email. "This is not an argument about methods or what to present in public or whether you like models or observations, it is just wrong."


Where is Earth's oxygen going? Vital gas has vanished from the atmosphere over the past 800,000 years leaving experts baffled

There is no puzzle here.  The only puzzle is why some people think they can use paleoclimate data to make such precise estimates

Something strange is going on with the planet’s oxygen levels, which has left researchers scratching their heads as to the cause.

Scientists testing the concentration of oxygen in the atmosphere have found that levels have dropped by almost 0.7 per cent over the past 800,000 years, compared to modern levels.

What’s more, the rate of this decline has sped up over the last century, dropping by a further 0.1 per cent.

Oxygen levels currently stand at around 21 per cent, but have fluctuated greatly over the planet’s 4.3 billion-year history, with two major spikes linked with the explosion of life.

To sample the ancient atmosphere, a team led by researchers at Princeton University in New Jersey, studied bubbles of gas frozen in the ice of Greenland and Antarctica thousands of years ago.

By measuring changes in the atmospheric concentrations of oxygen and nitrogen, they showed a subtle declining trend over thousands of years.

The researchers believe that burning fossil fuels has led to the rapid increase seen over the last century – by consuming oxygen and releasing large quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere – but the cause of the longer term decline has been trickier to pin down.

One potential explanation put forward by the scientists for the declining oxygen in the recent geological past is an increase in erosion, which would lead to freshly exposed sediment being oxidised by the atmosphere, reducing atmospheric oxygen levels.

Another long term process which is interaction with the oceans. With lower average global temperatures in the past, the world’s oceans would have been able to absorb more oxygen, with cooler waters able to soak up more gas.

The researchers believe a series of slow chemical reactions between the atmosphere and rocks, known as silicate weathering, could explain the apparent lack of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Unlike the recent decline, there is no evidence to suggest carbon dioxide levels increased substantially during the period.

But the researchers believe a series of slow chemical reactions between the atmosphere and rocks, known as silicate weathering, could explain this lack of carbon dioxide.

‘The planet has various processes that can keep carbon dioxide levels in check,’ said Dr Daniel Stolper, a geoscientist at Princeton.

Over thousands of years, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reacts with exposed rock to form calcium carbonate minerals, trapping the carbon in a solid form. In geological timescales, this process soaks up atmospheric carbon, locking it away in rock.

Scientists believe that as more carbon dioxide has been released into atmosphere from burning fossil fuels, the increasing temperature has led to the weathering process occurring more rapidly.

But human activity is releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere so quickly that we may cause this slow, long-term geological process to ‘short-circuit’, and so they cannot keep up.

One potential explanation put forward for the declining oxygen in the recent geological past is an increase in erosion, which would lead to freshly exposed sediment being oxidised by the atmosphere, reducing atmospheric oxygen levels.

Another long term process to factor in is interaction with the oceans.

With lower average global temperatures in the past, the world’s oceans would have been able to absorb more oxygen, as cooler waters able to soak up more gas.

‘This record represents an important benchmark for the study of the history of atmospheric oxygen,’ said Dr John Higgins, co-author of the study.

‘Understanding the history of oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere is intimately connected to understanding the evolution of complex life. It’s one of these big, fundamental ongoing questions in Earth science’

The findings were published recently in the journal Science.


Could you really catch a tropical disease on UK SHORES? Experts warn global warming may create ideal conditions for deadly diseases on our very doorsteps

I can see no chance of Britain ever being warm enough for tropical diseases to flourish there but let's play the game and see what a warmer Britain would imply.  It would imply very little.  I was born and bred in the tropics amid a population derived overwhelmingly from the British Isles.  So did we all die of disease?  Far from it.  As far as I can see were as healthy as anyone else.

We did have such tropical nasties as Ross River fever and Dengue fever endemic among us but for most of us attacks of them were just another cold or flu.  And when the kids in my class at school were given the Mantoux skin test all but one of us tested positive -- meaning we had all had TB without realizing but had thrown it off.  Reality sure beats theory, doesn't it?

Cold is the big health hazard so our warm environment presumably  kept us healthy despite bacterial and viral challenges.  A tropical Britain should fare similarly

Britain may be chilly, but at least a trip to the seaside here is unlikely to leave you with anything more serious than an ear infection.

But could that change? Last week it was reported that some experts fear Britain is on course to be warmer and wetter as global temperatures rise.

According to a report from the Department of Health, Health Effects Of Climate Change In The UK, British winters will become less cold but wetter, whereas summers will become warmer and probably drier in some places.

Some warn that these changes could create ideal conditions for some of the world’s most unpleasant and deadlier diseases to get a hold in the Mediterranean and even the UK.

These include cholera and zika, which is linked to microcephaly (a devastating brain defect) in babies.

And a study, Explaining Ocean Warming, published this month by the International Union for Conservation of Nature suggested that a form of tropical food poisoning known as ciguatera — caused by eating fish that have consumed toxins released in seawater by algae — could soon be common around the UK’s coastline.

Water temperatures on the South Coast in July and August are already edging up to the 15c needed to support a bloom of the algae.

Warmer temperatures ‘will have far reaching effects on a whole range of public health in the UK’, says Dr Nick Watts, director of the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change.

‘This includes increased risk of water-borne diseases across Europe such as cholera, as well as those that are carried by insects that thrive in warmer temperatures.’


The real lesson from South Australia’s electricity ‘crisis’: we need better climate policy

The guy below is certainly right about that  but he waffles a lot and is very timid about saying exactly what policy is needed.  He knows perfectly well what is needed if big spikes in power prices are to be avoided:  Backup generators fired by coal (cheapest) or natural gas (dearest). And only government subsidies will keep them available.  Once you distort the market by subsidizing one source of power, you have to subsidize the rest of the market too.  Otherwise your backup generators will go out of business, which is what happened in South Australia

Australia’s energy markets got a big shock in July this year, when wholesale electricity prices spiked in South Australia, alarming the state government and major industrial customers. Commentators rushed to find the immediate culprits. But the real issues lie elsewhere.

As shown by the Grattan Institute’s latest report the market worked. Having soared, prices fell back to more manageable levels. The lights stayed on.

Yet South Australia’s power shock exposed a looming problem in Australia’s electricity system – not high prices or the threat of blackouts, but an emerging conflict between Australia’s climate change policies and the demands of our energy market.
A perfect storm

On the evening of July 7, the wind wasn’t blowing, the sun wasn’t shining, and the electricity connector that supplies power from Victoria was down for maintenance. This meant gas set the wholesale price, and gas is expensive these days, especially during a cold winter. At 7.30pm wholesale spot prices soared close to A$9,000 per megawatt hour. For the whole month they averaged A$230 a megawatt hour. They were closer to A$65 in the rest of the country.

Australia has committed to a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030. Despite this well known and significant target, the national debate on climate change has been so toxic and so destructive that almost no policy remains to reduce emissions from the power sector in line with that target.

By 2014 the much maligned renewable energy target (RET), a Howard government industry policy to support renewable energy, remained as the only policy with any real impact on the sector’s emissions.

Wind power has been the winning technology from the RET, and South Australia has been the winning state. Wind now supplies 40% of electricity in South Australia due to highly favourable local conditions. Because wind has no fuel costs it suppressed wholesale prices in the state and forced the shutdown of all coal plants and the mothballing of some gas plants. But wind is intermittent – it generates power only when it is blowing, and the night of July 7 it barely was.

A report by the Australian Energy Market Operator noted that the market did deliver on reliability and security of supply in July. It reviewed the behaviour of market participants and concluded there were “no departures from normal market rules and procedures”.

The events of July do not expose an immediate crisis, but they have exposed the potential consequences of a disconnection between climate change policy and energy markets. If it is not addressed, the goals of reliable, affordable and sustainable energy may not be achieved.
The bigger problem

Climate change policy should work with and not outside the electricity market. With a fixed generation target of 33,000 gigawatt hours of renewable electricity by 2020 and a market for renewable energy credits outside the wholesale spot market under the RET, the conditions for problems were established some time ago.

The specific issues that arose from the design of the RET would have been far less problematic if one of the attempts over the last ten years to implement a national climate policy had been successful. A rising carbon price would have steadily changed the relative competitiveness of high and low emissions electricity sources and the RET would have quietly faded.

The first lesson for governments is that we need to establish a credible, scalable and predictable national climate change policy to have a chance of achieving emissions reduction targets without compromising power reliability or security of supply. A national emissions trading scheme would be best, but pragmatism and urgency mean we need to consider second best.

While such an outcome is the first priority, it will not provide all the answers. The rapid introduction of a very large proportion of new intermittent electricity supply creates problems that were not foreseen when traditional generation from coal and gas supplied the bulk of Australia’s power needs.

All of the wind farms in one state could be offline at the same time – a far less likely event with traditional generation. The problem can be solved by investment in storage and in flexible responses such as gas and other fast-start generators. Commercial deals with consumers paid to reduce demand could also contribute.

Lower average prices combined with infrequent big price spikes are not an obvious way to encourage long-term investors. The market may find solutions with new forms of contracts for flexibility or the market operator could introduce new structures or regulations to complement the existing wholesale spot market.

Much uncertainty exists, no easy fixes are in sight and the consequences of failure are high. Getting it right will provide clear signals for new investment or for withdrawal of coal plants as flagged by speculation over the future of the Hazelwood power station in Victoria.

Josh Frydenberg, as the new minister for the environment and energy, and his fellow ministers on the COAG Energy Council would be unwise to waste a near crisis.



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


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Why correlations of CO2 and Temperature over ice age cycles don’t define climate sensitivity

This paper from a great headquarters of Warmism is something of a mess.  Its conclusion -- that there are so many unknowns in the paleoclimate record that it should not be used as a basis for generalizations -- most skeptics would wildly applaud.  The authors  limit themselves to talking about only one type of generalization but the same considerations surely throw all paleoclimate generalizations into doubt.

The other thing of interest is their comment on the long-term correlation beteween CO2 levels and temperature.  Skeptics have never questioned that.  Instead they point to the time lag involved:  Temperature rises PRECEDED CO2 rises -- exactly the opposite of what Warmist theory prescribes but fully understandable as warming oceans outgassing CO2 -- a normal physical effect

We’ve all seen how well temperature proxies and CO2 concentrations are correlated in the Antarctic ice cores – this has been known since the early 1990’s and has featured in many high-profile discussions of climate change.

For obvious reasons, we are interested in how the climate system will respond to an increase in CO2 and that depends on time-scale and what feedbacks we consider:

The “Charney” sensitivity is generally thought of as the medium-term response of the system, including all the fast feedbacks and some of the longer term ones (like the ocean). This is usually what is meant by climate sensitivity in normal conversation. On longer (multi-millennial) timescales we expect changes in vegetation and ice-sheets to occur and alter the response and that sensitivity is often described as the Earth System Sensitivity (ESS).

But let’s go back to the correlation from EPICA Dome C:

Using local temperatures, the straight line regression is ~3.9 ºC/(W/m2). Assuming that global temperature changes on these timescales are roughly half as large, that implies ~2 ºC/(W/m2) at the global scale, and given that 2xCO2 forcing is about 4 W/m2, that means a ‘sensitivity’ of ~8ºC for a doubling of CO2. This is very much larger than any of the standard numbers that are usually discussed. So what is going on?

The first point to recognize is that the ice age/interglacial variations are being driven by Milankovitch forcings (“orbital wobbles”). These have an almost zero effect in the global mean radiative forcing but make huge differences to the seasonal and regional solar fluxes. This makes these drivers almost uniquely effective at impacting ice sheets, hence temperature, the circulation, the biosphere, and therefore the carbon cycle. Notably, these drivers don’t fit neatly into a global forcing/global response paradigm.

Second, the relationship we are seeing in the ice cores is made up of two independent factors: the sensitivity of the CO2 to temperature over the ice age cycle – roughly ~100 ppmv/4ºC or ~25 ppmv/ºC – and the sensitivity of the climate to CO2, which we’d like to know.

The problem is perhaps made clearer with two thought experiments. Imagine a world where the sensitivity of the climate system to carbon dioxide was zero (note this is not Planet Earth!). Then the records discussed above would show a reduced amplitude cycle, but a strong correlation between CO2 radiative forcing and temperature. This relationship would be exactly the T to CO2 function. To take another extreme case, assume that that carbon cycle was insensitive to climate, but climate still responded to CO22, then we’d see no CO2 change and zero regression. In neither case would the raw T/CO2 regression tell you what the sensitivity to CO2 alone was.

Instead, to constrain the Charney sensitivity from the ice age cycle you need to specifically extract out those long term changes (in ice sheets, vegetation, sea level etc.) and then estimate the total radiative forcing including these changes as forcing, not responses. In most assessments of this, you end up with 2.5ºC to 3ºC in response to 2xCO2. To estimate the ESS from these cycles you’d need to know what the separate impacts the CO2 and the orbital forcing had on the ice sheets, and that is not possible just from these data. Constraints on ESS have thus come from the Pliocene (3 million years ago) or even longer Cenezoic time scales – giving a range roughly 4.5ºC to 6ºC. Lunt et al (2010) and Hansen et al (2008) have good discussions of this and we discussed it here too.

The bottom line is that you can’t estimate Earth System Sensitivity solely from correlations over ice age cycles, no matter how well put together the temperature data set is.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)


As I discussed in the last post, a new paper titled, "The ‘Alice in Wonderland’ mechanics of the rejection of (climate) science: simulating coherence by conspiracism" with John Cook and Stephan Lewandowsky has a number of problems, including the one where Cook falsely claimed his own work and the work of others shows there is a consensus global warming is a "global problem." Cook and his co-authors know fully well none of the work they cite shows anything of the sort.

Another issue I commented on is how the paper claims global warming "contrarians" have incoherent belief systems in which they are content to believe contradictory things. This concept is founded on a paper by Michael Wood in which he misused basic statistical tests to draw conclusions about groups of people he had 0 data for. Lewandowsky has also used this same bogus approach to statistics in papers to portray global warming skeptics are conspiracy nuts even when his subjects overwhelmingly said they didn't believe in the conspiracies he smeared them with.

A related issue to this is how these authors give specific examples of how "contrarians" supposedly contradict themselves. In the previous post, I pointed out one key problem to this - the paper cites arguments from different people. That two different "contrarians" might hold contradictory beliefs is completely uninformative. Even climate scientists hold contradictory beliefs. It's called disagreement. It's a normal part of life.

Given that, the only real basis for this paper's headline is the set of examples where an individual supposedly contradicts himself. I discussed the headline example used in the paper in that last post, but today, I'm going to discuss a few of the other ones the authors offer.

In addition to the headline example, the paper lists nine supposed contradictions in its Table 2. Three are attributed to Ian Plimer, the same person the headline example comes from. Two more are attributed to Anthony Watts and the last is attributed to John Christy. All told, there are four people said to contradict themselves. That is not an impressive sample.

It gets worse when you look at the actual examples. For instance, Monckton is said to contradict himself because one time he said this:

Warming at the very much reduced rate that measured (as opposed to merely modeled) results suggest would be 0.7-00.8 K CO2 doubling. That would be harmless and beneficial

Before showing what that supposedly contradicts, I should point out looking at the source of the quote shows that typo was added by the authors of the paper. The source correctly writes "0.7-0.8 K" not "0.7-00.8 K." That doesn't matter for the idea the quote contradicts this:

Throughout most of the past half billion years, global temperatures were 7∘ C ...warmer than the present

The authors offer no explanation for how these two quotes contradict one another. Perhaps a reader could guess at what the authors were thinking, but the simple reality is believing past temperatures were significantly higher than they are now does not contradict the idea the planet would warm by less than a degree if CO2 levels in the atmosphere would double. A person who things other than CO2 have a far greater influence on temperatures may believe this without there being any contradiction.

Similarly, the authors say Monckton contradicts himself because he said:

Since late in 2001, when a naturally-occurring reduction in cloud cover that had caused rapid warming over the previous 18 years came to an end, there has been nearly a decade with virtually no change in temperature

Showing in 2010 Monckton believed there had been virtually no warming for nearly a decade. The authors claim this contradicts what he said the next year:

His GISS surface-temperature dataset, on which he bases his claims, not only suffers from insufficient adjustment for the artificial warmth given off by cities (the urban heat-island effect), but also from evidence of repeated, successive tamperings with the data from earlier decades this century so as artificially to increase the apparent overall rate of “global warming”

Again, the authors do nothing to explain how these ideas are contradictory. They are not. Believing there has been virtually no warming for about ten years in no way contradicts the idea a particular data set (GISS) suffers from data problems and inappropriate adjustments which increase the apparent rate of global warming.

The only "contradiction" is Monckton said there had been virtually no warming for about 10 years and GISS has inflated the rate of warming. That's not a contradiction though. The GISS record extends over 100 years. The rate of warming in it could be inflated even if a particular 10 year period didn't show any warming at all.

The final supposed contradiction by Monckton is he said:

...the Greenland ice sheet rests in a depression in the bedrock created by its own weight, wherefore “dynamical ice flow” is impossible, and the IPCC says that temperature would have to be sustained at more than 5.5 C above its present level for several millennia before half the Greenland ice sheet could melt


Since the warming itself has not yet brought global temperatures to the levels seen in the mediaeval warm period, when we were growing wine-grapes in Scotland and our Viking cousins were farming parts of south-western Greenland that remain under permafrost today, and since the warming has now ceased, it is nonsensical to suggest that the effects of that warming are anything other than insignificant and generally beneficial

I cannot begin to guess what the supposed contradiction here is supposed to be. Monckton says there were parts of Greenland which were used for farmland hundreds of years ago that are now covered in ice. He also says "dynamical ice flow" is impossible and it would take extreme circumstances for half of Greenland's ice sheet to melt.

None of that is contradictory. According to Monckton, hundreds of years ago when it was warmer a small part of the Greenland ice sheet (far less than the half he says would take enormous warming to melt) wasn't there, either because it had melted or hadn't existed in the first place. Colder temperature since then have caused the ice sheet to grow and cover those areas. That's not contradictory at all.

Neither is it contradictory for Anthony Watts to say:

The reality is that the Earth’s climate system is far more complex than that: It isn’t just a linear relationship between CO2 and temperature, it is a dynamic ever-changing one, and climate is tremendously complex with hundreds of interactive variables and feedbacks


“Global warming” suggests a steady linear increase in temperature, but since that isn’t happening, proponents have shifted to the more universal term “climate change,” which can be liberally applied to just about anything observable in the atmosphere

Saying the earth's climate system is extremely complex cannot possibly contradict beliefs about semantic meanings and choices. What words means and which words people use cannot possibly contradict the idea our planet's climate is complex. The quotes simply have nothing to do with one another.

The next "contradiction" by Watts at least involves two quotes dealing with the same general subject. First:

As attested by a number of studies, near-surface temperature records are often affected by time-varying biases ...To address such problems, climatologists have developed various methods for detecting discontinuities in time series, characterizing and/or removing various nonclimatic biases that affect temperature records in order to obtain homogeneous data and create reliable long-term time series


In the business and trading world, people go to jail for such manipulations of data

Interestingly, the authors provide a faulty reference for the second of these quotes. I've provided the correct link just above, but this is the one the authors gave. A hyphen is missing in it.

The URL given by the authors does not have a hyphen between "hottest" and "year" like it should have. Anyone who tried to check this reference would have found it didn't work. That's a bit weird.

Anyway, there is simply no contradiction here. Simply stating climatologists have developed methods of adjusting data to "create reliable long-term time series" does not mean you believe that is okay or that in the business or trading world a person could do such without going to jail. A person can describe what other people do without endorsing it as okay. On their face, these quotes simply cannot contradict one another.

The real problem, however, is these quotes are not discussing the same thing. The authors of this paper left out important context for the interview they quoted. Here is an expanded quote:

"Is history malleable? Can temperature data of the past be molded to fit a purpose? It certainly seems to be the case here, where the temperature for July 1936 reported ... changes with the moment," Watts told

"In the business and trading world, people go to jail for such manipulations of data."

This is a reference to the fact past temperature data continuously changes. That is, rather than just look at past data for problems and fix them, the methodologies used may look at past data for problems to fix, adjust the data, then re-visit the next day and adjust it in a different way. A person can easily believe it is okay to adjust past data for problems without believing it is okay to keep adjusting that data in different ways every month, week or day.

This post is running long. I hope you'll forgive me for that. However, nearly every single "contradiction" the authors list in this table is fake, and I feel it is worth demonstrating this. People need to understand just because two quotes are placed side-by-side and labeled, "Contradictory and incoherent arguments advanced by the same individuals" does not mean the quotes are actually contradictory. For instance, when Ian Plimer is quoted as saying:

Replacement of high altitude forests by mixing with low altitude forests to create greater species diversity has happened in previous times of warming and would be expected in another warming event

This is a simple claim. If the planet warms, the habitable range for forests will increase. That would cause trees to spread into areas they hadn't been before and mixing with the trees of those areas. Because I wasted $15 on the quoted book by Plimer, I can tell you the reason he brought this up is the increase in number of species he believes this mixing would cause. His idea in no way contradicts:

Even if the planet warms due to increased atmospheric CO2, it is clear that plants will not feel the need to migrate to cooler parts of our planet

Even though the authors claim it does. Migration involves leaving one area and moving to another. That is not what happens when plants' or even animals' habitable range increases. Trees spreading to other areas while still also existing in the original area have spread out and expanded, but they haven't migrated.

That these quotes don't contradict one another should have been obvious to the editor and reviewers of this paper. For instance, this quote by Plimer:

The proof that CO2 does not drive climate is shown by previous glaciations

Cannot possibly contradict:

The global warmth of the Cretaceous has been attributed to elevated levels of CO2 in the atmosphere

That Plimer says past warmth "has been attributed to elevated levels of CO2" in no way means he believes that attribution is correct. In fact, anyone who is unfortunate enough to waste money buying this terrible book will find Plimer followed that statement by saying:

However, there are some suggestions that the Cretaceous climate was decoupled from the CO2 content of the atmosphere.

The authors of this paper conveniently leave that out though. Because they do, their readers won't know Plimer said some people have attributed past warmth to CO2 levels while other people disagree. They'll just think he said some people have attributed past warmth to CO2 levels.

There are still two more entries in this table, and I don't think either constitutes an actual contradiction. I think this post has ran on long enough though, and the last two examples are a bit murkier. I'll let you readers examine them for yourselves. Before I go though, I want to highlight a remarkable detail of what the source of one of the remaining quotes used is. You can find it here:

Based on emails from both Steven Sherwood and John Christy, and based on Carl Mears’ blogpost, I can report that all three agree that

1) Yes, amplified warming in the tropical troposphere is expected.

And that

2) No, the hot spot in the tropics is not specific to a greenhouse mechanism.

Notice that I changed the wording of question/statement 2 here, because the word “fingerprint” was interpreted differently by John Christy than how we meant it.

In his email to us, John Christy wrote regarding Q1: “Yes, the hot spot is expected via the traditional view that the lapse rate feedback operates on both short and long time scales.” Regarding Q2 he wrote: “it [the hot spot] is broader than just the enhanced greenhouse effect because any thermal forcing should elicit a response such as the “expected” hot spot.” Further elaborations in the email exchange, e.g. regarding whether to call this a fingerprint, involved interpretations as to the meaning of (a lack of) a hot spot, which we will defer for the moment.

The next issue that we’ll take up is encapsulated in Q3:

3) Is there a significant difference between modelled and observed amplification of surface trends in the tropical troposphere (i.e. between the modelled and the observed hot spot)?

That is a comment on a blog post by one Bart Verheggen. Verheggen has not been mentioned in this post. The reason is this "contradiction" is supposedly by John Christy. Verheggen's quote is used as a source because his comment says, "In his email to us, John Christy wrote...."

Yes, that's right. John Cook and Stephan Lewandowsky published a paper claiming global warming "contrarians" contradict themselves in which they rely on sources like secondhand quotes from people provided by commenters on blog sites. In any realm other than science, that would be considered hearsay.


The Media Was Totally WRONG Predicting Global Warming Would Cause This Island ‘To Vanish’

Rolling Stone Magazine published a lengthy write-up of the national security dangers of global warming in 2015, and claimed the strategically located Diego Garcia atoll was “sure to vanish” as sea levels rose.

A recent study, however, completely contradicts that claim and casts doubt on other predictions global warming-induced sea level rise will swallow up whole islands and force thousands to  leave their homes.

“If rising oceans are indeed linked to global warming and are a force to be reckoned with, then the oft-described (by climate alarmists) unprecedented global warming and sea level rise of the past few decades should surely have made their mark on these low-lying land areas by now,” reads a blog post on science site CO2 Science.

“But is this really the case?” asks the blog run by the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, a group chaired by climate researcher Dr. Craig Idso.

CO2 Science cited a recent study spearheaded by scientists with the National Coral Reef Institute in Dania Beach, Fla. Their study found that while Diego Garcia’s physical coastline has changed over the past five decades, the island’s net area has not.

Researchers found, “the amount of erosion on Diego Garcia over the last 50 years is almost exactly balanced by the amount of accretion, suggesting the island to be in a state of equilibrium.”

“[T]he areas of shoreline erosion and extension bear little relationship to prevailing ocean climate, a finding which should guard against attempts to predict sites of future land loss through natural processes.”

In other words, the island hasn’t really shrunk, despite a reported sea level rise of five millimeters per year. The study comes more than a year after Rolling Stone said the Indian Ocean atoll was “sure to vanish.”

“The U.S. naval base on Diego Garcia, a small coral atoll in the Indian Ocean, like the nearby Maldives, is sure to vanish,” Rolling Stone reported in 2015 in a lengthy article on how global warming will overwhelm U.S. military bases.

Diego Garcia still has a military installation and played a key role during the Cold War in keeping a U.S. presence in the region. It also protected shipping lanes coming out of the Middle East.

Rolling Stone put Diego Garcia on a long list of military bases vulnerable to global warming. The magazine published the article just one month after President Barack Obama linked global warming to national security in his State of the Union address.

“The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security,” Obama said. “We should act like it.”

Obama has been sounding the alarm on global warming and national security for years. His Pentagon has called it a “threat multiplier,” warning that extreme weather could help topple unstable governments and spur refugee crises.

Indeed, scientists and environmentalists often point to island nations some of the world’s first “climate refugees.” Fiji, Kiribati and other islands are begging rich countries for aid and even a place to resettle should sea levels overwhelm them.

But Rolling Stone’s prediction Diego Garcia will “vanish” may be overblown, if recent research holds.

“It delivers is a damming indictment of alarmist projections of low-lying island demise in response to CO2-induced global warming,” CO2 science reported.

Studies are mixed on the fate of low-lying island nations.

A study by scientists from Australia and New Zealand found that despite the 33-island Funafuti Atoll seeing “some of the highest rates of sea-level rise… over the past 60 [years],” the island chain has actually grown in size.

“Despite the magnitude of this rise, no islands have been lost, the majority have enlarged, and there has been a 7.3% increase in net island area over the past century (A.D. 1897–2013),” reads the study on the South Pacific islands. “There is no evidence of heightened erosion over the past half-century as sea-level rise accelerated.”

The Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands saw accelerated sea level rise since 2000, sparking concerns the island would soon be swallowed up by the seas.

Sea level rise rapidly decelerated in recent years, and the atoll seemed to be going through an El Nino-sparked trend — as opposed to an accelerating trend from global warming.

“It’s obvious that the apparent acceleration in sea-level at Kwajalein was transient, and did not indicate the beginning of an accelerating trend in sea-level rise,” Anthony Watts, a veteran meteorologist, wrote in March.

“To me, it looks like sea-level at Kwajalein is inversely correlated with ENSO. When the current El Niño ends, so will the current dip in sea-level at Kwajalein, probably,” Watts wrote.


Germany’s All-Time Record High Set In 2015 Looks Dubious …Likely Due To UHI / Instrumentation Error

At the Germany-based European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE), Helmut Kuntz writes that Germany’s all-time record high temperature recorded last year, 2015, is likely an artifact of the urban heat island effect (UHI) and instrumentation error margins.

In 2015 the Kitzingen weather station located in southern Germany set a new all-time high when it reached 40.3°C — twice: on July 5 and August 7 — breaking the earlier record of 40.2°C set on 27 July 1983 in Gärmersdorf. The whopping margin: a whole 0.1°C! Photo right: Kitzingen station.

So why is Kitzingen suddenly so hot?

EIKE guest writer Josef Kowatsch has often claimed that the UHI has played a major role in producing the warming effect over the past decades. Recently that claim got a boost of support from University of Wurzburg climate researcher Prof. Heiko Paeth, who in an interview with MAIN POST daily here on September 7, 2016, stated that it likely has more to do with station siting then it does with a climate trend.

According to Prof. Paeth, the high reading can be traced back to Kitzingen having certain special features.

First the town of Kitzingen is located at a relatively low elevation some 20 km east of Wurzburg — situated in the Main Valley at the bottom of a sort of a bowl where heat can collect.

Secondly, he tells the MAIN POST that fresh, westerly winds that normally act to cool Germany in the summertime have been obstructed by a commercial district built not long ago where once a US base had been located. The Main Post writes:

What remains is an obstacle for the air flow from the west. The town has blocked off its fresh air feed-in duct, says Paeth. ‘That could be an explanation for the heat.'”


Grinding westerners under the federal boot

The federal government owns an estimated one-third of all the land in the United States. But this is only a rough estimate, because even the federal government does not actually know how much land it controls.

For those living on the East Coast who rarely encounter federal land, this may not seem like an important issue, but in western states, the vast amounts of land owned or controlled by the federal government are among the most important issues that states must face.

And the Obama administration is using the power of that land ownership to grind westerners under the federal boot, a kind of neo-feudalism where an absentee landlord federal government keeps western states and the citizens who live there as vassals and serfs.

Federal land ownership is heavily concentrated in the western states: in the 13 states west of Texas, the federal government owns or administers more than half of all land. In San Juan County, Utah, for example, only 8 percent of the land is privately owned, with only another 8 percent owned by the state of Utah.

And this land is overwhelmingly not used for national parks or military bases, which only amount to about 12 percent of federal land nationwide, and just 10 percent in San Juan County.

Federal lands are administered by a constellation of federal bureaus and agencies — with sometimes overlapping ownership and regulatory responsibilities — which compete to restrict and harass the people who live on or near federally controlled land.

Often already poor, western counties that contain federal land are deprived of tax revenues from those lands, leaving even less revenue to provide basic services to their citizens. Life in much of the West is a constant struggle with the federal bureaucracy simply to live and work.

While the oppressive burden of federal land is not a new issue in the West, the Obama administration — often in service to its far-left environmentalist allies — has taken a particularly aggressive and destructive attitude toward life in the West.

The Interior Department, in particular, has repeatedly sought to restrict or eliminate agricultural activities and energy development on federally administered land. In rural western counties like San Juan County, these industries often are the only sources of decent-paying jobs.

These federal efforts have frequently been stymied by litigation or the intervention of western members of Congress seeking to protect their constituents.

Rather than be deterred, however, the Obama administration has reached for a tool beyond the power of the courts or Congress known as the Antiquities Act. This act, passed in 1906, allows the president to unilaterally designate so-called national monuments to protect antiquities or historic sites.

In areas designated national monuments, productive activities are heavily restricted or even banned. These are precisely the sorts of restrictions that federal agencies have been prevented from imposing through traditional means.

Last year, Garfield County, Utah, declared a state of emergency owing to restrictive federal land-management policies, particularly stemming from the Grand Staircase National Monument designation declared by President Clinton in 1996, which was done without consultation or notification of local Utahans.

Twenty years later, timber harvesting has been eliminated, livestock are being pushed off the range, and mineral development has ceased. In an ominous sign for the future health of the community, the county has seen school enrollment plunge by 67 percent since the monument designation, leaving the county struggling to afford to keep schools open.

San Juan County, one of the poorest counties in the country and adjacent to Garfield County, is the next target of these anti-development monument-makers. Not content with the economic damage to southern Utah that resulted from the previous monument designation, radical environmentalists are lobbying for the creation of another massive monument in San Juan County to be called Bears Ears.

The Antiquities Act specifically notes that designated monuments should be confined to the smallest possible area to protect the targeted antiquities. The proposed Bear Ears monument would cover nearly 2 million acres, about the size of Delaware and Rhode Island combined.

It is laughable to pretend that this huge area is needed to protect antiquities. Rather it’s yet another step in the crusade by radical environmentalists to put as much land off limits to productive use as possible, a pattern that is repeated all across the western states.

These national monument designations are just regulation by another means. Though couched in the flowery language of conservation, monument designations are about the raw exercise of presidential power, seizing control of land without regard to the impact on the affected states and citizens.

Feudalism was abolished in Europe hundreds of years ago. The Obama administration should learn from history and abandon its neo-feudalism in the West.



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