Monday, August 21, 2017




Would global warming reduce sorghum yields?

While not terribly well-known around Western dinner tables, sorghum is actually an important crop that feeds about half a billion people worldwide. It can be used for almost anything that other grain crops can be used for.  It can be used to make syrup, to make bread and as livestock feed.

So it is mildly disappointing and quite surprising to hear that higher temperatures would be harmful to it.  It is normally known as a highly heat-resistant crop.  So what is going on in the report below?

There are several things that could be noted.  The simplest is that cultivars suitable for one area may not be suitable for others.  The authors take cultivars currently used in Kansas and show that they are not suitable for localities where the temperatures are higher than in Kansas.

That should surprise no-one.  Farmers optimize the cultivars they use to produce maximum output for their particular area.  And there are cultivars suitable for higher tempertures than are usual in Kansas.  All that the authors have shown is that if temperatures change your cultivars would have to change too.  And sorghum is particularly suitable for that.  It is already grown im many hot areas of Africa and India.

I could go on but I think it is already clear enough that the report below is a false alarm


Disaggregating sorghum yield reductions under warming scenarios exposes narrow genetic diversity in US breeding programs

Jesse Tacka et al.

Significance

Sorghum’s ability to withstand harsh environmental conditions has placed it in the forefront of discussions regarding potential adaptation paths under climate change. While sorghum may indeed be a good candidate to substitute for other major row crops as warming materializes in areas where it has not traditionally been grown, an equally important consideration is whether its production can be sustained in the warmer areas where it has traditionally been grown. Our findings suggest limited potential for climate change adaption using currently available cultivars but do not preclude the overall role of genetic innovation and enhanced decision making in adapting to climate change. Successful adaptation could perhaps best be facilitated by expanding the scope of genetic stock within sorghum breeding programs.

Abstract

Historical adaptation of sorghum production to arid and semiarid conditions has provided promise regarding its sustained productivity under future warming scenarios. Using Kansas field-trial sorghum data collected from 1985 to 2014 and spanning 408 hybrid cultivars, we show that sorghum productivity under increasing warming scenarios breaks down. Through extensive regression modeling, we identify a temperature threshold of 33 °C, beyond which yields start to decline. We show that this decline is robust across both field-trial and on-farm data. Moderate and higher warming scenarios of 2 °C and 4 °C resulted in roughly 17% and 44% yield reductions, respectively. The average reduction across warming scenarios from 1 to 5 °C is 10% per degree Celsius. Breeding efforts over the last few decades have developed high-yielding cultivars with considerable variability in heat resilience, but even the most tolerant cultivars did not offer much resilience to warming temperatures. This outcome points to two concerns regarding adaption to global warming, the first being that adaptation will not be as simple as producers’ switching among currently available cultivars and the second being that there is currently narrow genetic diversity for heat resilience in US breeding programs. Using observed flowering dates and disaggregating heat-stress impacts, both pre- and postflowering stages were identified to be equally important for overall yields. These findings suggest the adaptation potential for sorghum under climate change would be greatly facilitated by introducing wider genetic diversity for heat resilience into ongoing breeding programs, and that there should be additional efforts to improve resilience during the preflowering phase.

SOURCE





Sea ice a ‘handbrake on global warming’

Something else left out of the global warming "models"

Melting sea ice could help cool the planet by flooding the atmosphere with particles that deflect sunlight.

Australian research suggests climate modellers have under­estimated a natural “thermostat” that helps alleviate the rise in temperatures: immense quantities of reflective compounds, emitted by marine microbes, that act like a handbrake on global warming.

The study, published by the American Meteorological Society, suggests an overlooked source of these so-called aerosols — algae living in ice — could jam the handbrake on even harder. Lead author Albert Gabric said with the Arctic expected to see ice-free summers within a decade, far more of the aerosols would be emitted.

“Whether that can slow the rate of warming of the Arctic is the trillion-dollar question,” said Dr Gabric, a marine biogeo­chemist with Griffith University in Brisbane.

Climate scientists have long known that aerosols help mitigate global warming by bouncing sunrays back into space, and by altering clouds to make them more reflective. Experts believe half of the ­potential warming from greenhouse gases may be offset in this way.

Much research has focused on aerosols produced artificially, through the burning of fossil fuels and vegetation. Scientists worry that if China switched to renewable sources of energy overnight, it could trigger a massive surge in warming.

Aerosols are also produced naturally by volcanoes — such as the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in The Philippines, which is credited with cutting global temperatures by about 0.5C for two years — and by marine ecosystems.

Algae known as “phytoplankton” are a major contributor, with increasingly massive blooms of these marine creatures emerging in the warming Arctic waters.

The new study analysed terabytes of satellite data to track atmos­pheric aerosol concen­trations. For the first time, it identified sea ice as a “very strong source” of the airborne particles.

Dr Gabric said “ice algae” had evolved to tolerate the subzero temperatures of sea ice and the water that formed it. They used a compound called dimethyl sulfide as an “antifreeze” to survive the chill. “When the sea ice melts during spring, these algae don’t need that protection any more. They expel these compounds, which are degassed to the atmosphere and converted into sulfate aerosols very similar to what you get from burning sulphur-containing coal.

“This happens every year as the sea ice melts. The difference in recent decades is that the ice is melting a lot earlier. We now think that within 10 years there won’t be any ice in the Arctic during summer.”

He said the process had “absolutely not” been factored into the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change models of global warming. “The whole aerosol question and its relationship to warming is the biggest uncertainty to projecting what’s going to happen this century.

“This is a new area of ­research, primarily because people can’t get up there and measure it very easily. You need an ice­breaker and a big gun to shoot any polar bears that might want to eat you,” he said.

SOURCE




Fair trade for thee, but not for me/b>

Imagine what a Tesla or wind turbine would cost if the Left followed its own “principles”

Paul Driessen

“Nobody wants to buy something that was made by exploiting someone else,” Ben & Jerry’s and Fair Trade co-founder Jerry Greenfield likes to tell us. Let’s hope he doesn’t drive an electric vehicle, doesn’t use a laptop or cell phone, and doesn’t rely on wind or solar power.

We’re constantly confronted with slogans and lectures about fair trade, human rights, sustainability, environmental and social justice, little people versus Big Corporations. Most of these subjective terms reflect perspectives and agendas of the political left, and are intended to advance those worldviews and stifle any discussion about them. But most of their self-avowed adherents never look beneath the surface of their own purchases. Indeed, they would have no standards at all if they didn’t have double standards.

Just imagine what a $35,000 to $150,000 electric vehicle would cost if it were built using “fair trade” metals. How expensive already pricey wind and solar electricity would be if manufacturers had to follow fair trade standards, pay the full human and environmental costs associated with components, and pay workers the source-country equivalents of “Fight For $15” wages. Even more challenging:

What if wind, solar and EV systems had to adhere to the “precautionary principle” – which says products must be banned until promoters can prove their technologies will never harm people or the environment?

The fair trade, et cetera rules are already enforced with an iron fist against non-renewable products by regulators, politicians, the news media and angry college students. It’s mostly the Progressive Left’s favored, supposedly renewable and eco-friendly energy “alternatives” and toys that get exempted.

ExxonMobil was fined $600,000 in 2009 for the deaths of 85 migratory birds that landed in uncovered oilfield waste pits. Compare that $7,000 per bird assessment to the zero to minuscule fines imposed once or twice on Big Wind companies for 85,000 dead eagles and hawks, and 8.5 million sliced and diced other birds and bats, over recent years. (These are artistic license numbers, but very close to the mark.)

The Keep It In The Ground campaigns against oil, gas and coal, the fossil fuel divestment movement on campuses, the anti-Israel Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) rabble, the incessant EarthJustice, Greenpeace and World Wildlife Fund lawsuits and campaigns against mining ignore all this, and more.

Just beneath the surface of cell phone, EV, computer, wind, solar and other technologies are some shocking and inconvenient truths. These products are not made from pixie dust or raw materials beamed in from the Starship Enterprise. All require lithium, rare earth metals, iron, copper, silica, petroleum and many other materials that must be dug out of the Earth, using human labor or fossil fuels.

Petroleum alone is the foundation for some 6,000 products besides fuels: paints, plastics, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and much more. Lithium is essential in computer and EV batteries, neodymium in NdFeB wind turbine generator magnets, cadmium in PV solar panels, petroleum-based resins in turbine blades.

The vast majority of these minerals and metals could probably be found in economically recoverable or even world-class deposits in the United States. However, known deposits have been taxed, regulated and litigated into oblivion, while excellent prospects are mostly in western and Alaskan lands made inaccessible by Congress, courts, activists and Antiquities Act decrees. We’re not even allowed to look.

That has forced mining companies to go overseas. With few exceptions, American, Canadian, European and Australian companies pay good wages, abide by health and environmental rules, and invest heavily in local schools, libraries, hospitals, and water, sewage and electrical systems. But they are still pilloried, harassed and sued on a regular basis by radical groups in Peru, Guatemala and elsewhere.

The late Roy Innis, chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality, nailed it perfectly when he blasted the WWF for its callous campaign against a proposed mine in Madagascar.

“These enemies of the poor say they are ‘stakeholders,’ who want to ‘preserve’ indigenous people and villages,” Mr. Innis observed. “They never consider what the real stakeholders want – the people who actually live in these impoverished communities and must live with the consequences of harmful campaigns that are being waged all over the world,” blocking their opportunities, hopes and dreams.

These well-financed, self-righteous anti-mining assaults too often leave villagers jobless and the world dependent on shoddy state-run operations like the rare earth mines and processing facilities in Baotou, Inner Mongolia, and locally operated, often illegal “artisanal” mines in Africa and Asia. The environmental degradation and human health effects associated with these operations are horrendous.

Areas north of Baotou hold 70% of global proven reserves of rare earth minerals (REMs). The region was once productive farmland. But as Australia news, Business Insider, ABC News, Britain’s Guardian, BBC and Daily Mail, and others have documented, it is now a vast wasteland, where nothing grows.

Ores are extracted by pumping acid into the ground, then processed using more acids and chemicals. One ton of REMs releases up to 420,000 cubic feet of gases, 2,600 cubic feet of wastewater and 1 ton of other wastes – all of them acidic, toxic and radioactive. The resulting black sludge – laden with acids, heavy metals, carcinogens and other materials – is pipelined to what has become a foul, stinking, lifeless, six-mile-diameter “lake.” Its toxic contents are seeping into groundwater and creeping toward the Yellow (Huang He) River, an important source of drinking and irrigation water for much of northern China.

Miners and other workers labor up to 16 hours a day for a few yuan or dollars, under health, safety and environmental conditions that would likely have been intolerable in the US, UK and Europe a century ago. Dirty processing plants have few or no maintenance crews, little or no regular cleaning or repairs. Workers and local residents suffer from lung, heart and intestinal diseases, osteoporosis and cancer, at rates much higher than pre-mining days and well above those in other parts of the Middle Kingdom.

Meanwhile, Africa’s Congo region produces 60% of the world’s cobalt-lithium ore. Over 70,000 tons a year pass through the Congo DongFang International Mining Company to manufacturers in China. Entire families – including children as young as five – toil from dawn to dusk, for a dollar or two a day, so that cell phone, computer, EV and other buyers can enjoy cheap high-tech gadgets.

Generally without permits, health and safety standards or environmental rules, the parents and kids use picks, shovels, pails and bags to excavate deep holes and vast pits, in search of valuable ores. Cave-ins and mud slides are an ever-present risk. Depending on the weather, they work in dust or muck, getting dangerous levels of cobalt, lead, uranium and other heavy metals in their tissues, blood and organs.

Gloves, face masks, protective clothing and showers to wash the toxic dirt off bodies at the end of the day are also nonexistent. Broken bones, suffocation, blood and respiratory diseases, birth defects, cancer and paralysis are commonplace, the Guardian, Washington Post, NPR and human rights groups report.

Maybe those evils are better than prostitution for mothers and daughters, drug dealing and criminal gangs for fathers and sons, or starvation and death for entire families. But it certainly smells like exploitation.

Where are the Ben & Jerry’s and Fair Trade demands for justice? The Berkeley and Brown student protests, sit-ins and boycotts against Nokia, Samsung, Apple, Lenovo, Tesla, Vestas and Trina Solar? The demands that college endowment and teacher pension funds divest from these companies? The outraged US and EU student marchers in Baotou and Beijing, to support workers, Joshua Wong and Liu Xiaobo?

Where are the calls to replace state-run and artisanal mining operations with socially and environmentally responsible Western mining companies? Where is the WWF compensation to poor villagers for the wages, electricity, clean water and improved living standards they could have had?

Environmentalist policies don’t merely represent double standards. No matter how Greenpeace or the Sierra Club might disguise or sugarcoat them, radical green policies and campaigns are unjust, unethical, inhuman, imperialistic and racist.

It’s time to apply fair trade, living wage and environmental justice principles to the anti-mining, anti-people campaigners. Their real goal is keeping the Third World impoverished, and that is intolerable.

Via email




Bangladesh has drunk the Kool-aid

Bangladesh is set to impose its own carbon tax on fuel next month – despite the hugely climate-vulnerable country producing relatively tiny per capita emissions.

The tax is expected to be put in place on June 1 as part of the country's annual budget and will be part of a larger bundle of "green" measures, Nojibur Rahman, chair of the National Board of Revenue, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a telephone interview.

Many businesses and environmental groups have welcomed the plan, saying that Bangladesh – one of the countries considered most threatened by climate change impacts – needs to make a strong statement as governments like that in the United States pull back from action on climate change.

The new tax may not make any significant contribution to achieving the Paris Agreement's goal of keeping average global temperature increases below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, they said.

But "when a country pollutes, the other countries are also affected. So, we need to reduce carbon emission as much as possible and imposing a tax is only way to do it," said Abdul Matlub Ahmad, outgoing president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

He said the tax would not only raise the price of using fossil fuels but the added income could help push more use of renewable energy.

"If the government wants to cut the import duty on environment-friendly renewable energy products, it needs to charge taxes on polluters," he said in a telephone interview.

Bangladesh produces about 0.44 tonnes of carbon dioxide per person, much lower than the United States' 16.4 tonnes, Australia's 16.3 tonnes and Qatar's whopping 40.5 tonnes, according to World Bank figures.

Carbon taxes – which raise the cost of using fossil fuels by creating a charge for the climate damage they do – are one of the simplest, most market-friendly ways of driving climate action, experts say.

But they have proved politically tricky to put in place, and not just in poorer parts of the world where incomes are low and making fuel more expensive can be politically risky.

But low-lying Bangladesh, which faces huge risks from sea level rise, worsening storms, floods, droughts and other climate change impacts, has made a name for itself as an international leader in climate action, particularly in terms of innovative adaptation to climate change.

"Although our contribution to climate change is very nominal, we are one of the worst victims of climate change. Aware of the problem, we have the most successful and best climate change programmes the world has so far witnessed in any country," Finance Minister A.M.A. Muhith, said earlier this month at a Dhaka summit on climate change and disaster risk reduction.

While it seeks international finance to help with programmes to address climate change, Bangladesh also has paid for projects out of its own nationally funded climate change fund.

M.A. Matin, general secretary of the Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (Bangladesh Environment Movement), said in a telephone interview that any carbon tax would need to be accompanied a "long-term carbon reduction plan" from the government.

In the short term, higher taxes on industry can drive up production costs, with those costs passed on to consumers. That might mean "it's not a right method for reducing emissions," he said.

SOURCE





John Coleman’s Crusade: Battling 97% on ‘Global Warming Silliness’

They throw a lot at Colemen below but also give him reasonable opportunity to reply

John Coleman says Al Gore started it — the “global warming silliness.” But now the retired KUSI weatherman is “horrified” to see San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer channeling the ex-veep with a Climate Action Plan. It “just turns my stomach.”

“I think he saw money and power, and I don’t know what else he thought of it,” Coleman says of the Republican mayor. “I can’t believe he really [felt he] was going to save the city from some terrible fate.”

Coleman, 82, laughs during a lively phone chat from his home near Las Vegas.

“San Diego’s not going to go underwater. Period,” he says. “Not in my lifetime or yours or our kids’ lifetime. When the Earth ends in 4 1/2 billion years, it probably still won’t have flooded.”

He also mocks “the damn tsunami warning route signs that they put up all over the city,” which he calls “about as silly as anything I’ve ever saw in my life. The chance of a significant tsunami hitting Southern California is about as great as a flying saucer landing tonight at Lindbergh Field. It’s just sheer nonsense.”

Coleman also knows how many people regard his decade-old public arguments. As sheer nonsense.

He’s unapologetic. “I’m just a dumb old skeptic — a denier as they call me — who ought to be jailed or put to death,” he says. “I understand how they feel. But you know something? I know I’m right. So I don’t care.”

That’s clear from his Twitter feed, “climate frenzy” blog and occasional political activism — he made hundreds of phone calls (reading a script) urging votes for Donald Trump during the primaries.

“I went to the opening of the Trump campaign headquarters in Nevada, and that sort of thing,” he says of the man who labels climate change a hoax. “I went to one of his rallies.”
Coleman aims to expose what he calls “Algorian” scientists fudging data and taking billions in government research grants for the sake of career advancement and economic comfort.

At KUSI, with financial backing from the Republican McKinnon family, Coleman hosted two hour-long documentaries critical of the notion of manmade climate change. He did many news pieces.

Coleman calls global warming a scientific issue, not a political one. “But since it had become a political issue, [Michael D. McKinnon] strongly supported my skeptical position on global warming,” he says. “If it hadn’t been for that, I probably would have retired much sooner. [KUSI] gave me a great platform from which to work.”

How did Coleman go from the clowning meteorologist of ABC’s “Eyewitness News” in Chicago to the Kay-YOOOOOUUUU-Es-Eye crusader against “the greatest scam in history”?

Several stories are told.

Charles Homan of Columbia Journalism Review said Coleman “snapped” while watching an Eagles-Cowboys football game one Sunday night when TV studio lights were cut as a “green” gesture.

“I couldn’t take it anymore,” Coleman told Homan in that 2010 piece. “I did a Howard Beale.”

Coleman also points to Gore’s Oscar-winning “An Inconvenient Truth” of 2006. “I think the Al Gore movie probably stimulated me more than anything,” he now says. “I’m happy to see that his new movie seems to be less than spectacular success.”

But the seeds were planted decades before Coleman’s 2007 manifestos.

Coleman credits Joseph D’Aleo, his meteorological director at The Weather Channel and forecast assistant at “Good Morning America.”

“We started together in 1977, I guess,” he says. “He’s the one who has taught me about climate skepticism, about Algorian skepticism, and I learned it through him. And then I learned it through Willie Soon. It goes way, way back before 2007.”

In January 2010, responding to an “Other Side” broadcast on KUSI but not using Coleman’s name, research professor emeritus Richard Somerville of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography issued a 550-word, six-point “Response to Climate Change Denialism.”

In July 2014, John P. Reisman offered a line-by-line rebuttal to Coleman’s arguments in “The Amazing Story Behind the Global Warming Scam.”

On July 1, 2017, fact-checking site Snopes.com labeled as “False” the assertion — circulating after Trump pulled out of the Paris climate accords — that “Weather Channel co-founder John Coleman provided evidence that convincingly refutes the concept of anthropogenic global warming.”

Coleman went on several national shows after his April 2014 exit from KUSI, including Fox News (with Megyn Kelly) and CNN (with Brian Stelter), to make his case.

But Coleman confessed to Times of San Diego that his TV turns are drying up.

He says a CBS production company contacted him about an interview for an hourlong TV show. “And we talked and talked and everything was scheduled,” Coleman says. “And then two days before the shoot was to occur, they called and said, ‘Sorry, we have to cancel that. Thank you very much anyway.’

“Because?” Coleman asked. “Well, you know,” came the reply. Said Coleman: “That happens all the time.”

Coleman doubles down: “I understand that there are plenty of people who rip me to shreds, and you can find strong and powerful put-downs on every topic I’m talking about. … But the truth is that I know all about all that stuff, and I don’t give a rat’s ass, because I know I’m right.”

In the phone chat, Coleman was asked about “97 percent of climate scientists” citing manmade change.

Coleman shot back: “Do you believe that? That’s sheer nonsense.”  He called it a “totally contrived figure” that gained ultimate currency when it was “uttered by President Obama. … But it’s totally fabricated. The so-called research that came up with that 97 percent was done by people who were looking to produce that figure and had to manipulate everything they got.”

He directed me to wattsupwiththat.com to view “eight or nine well-done articles that debunk the 97 percent.”

So where did the 97 percent come from?

Coleman’s says it’s just the share of scientists who agree the earth is warming, which even Coleman concedes.

“You’ve had Ice Ages and glacial periods, warm spells, one after another, cycling back and forth,” he says. “And certainly man didn’t cause any of them. They’re all natural events.”

He says the American Meteorological Society, in its most recent survey, “came up with about 47 percent skeptical, so 53 percent support (manmade climate change). And that’s after the society did everything they can to promote it. The society has been totally politicized. And still they can’t get all their members aboard.”

But contacted this week, AMS spokesman Tom Champoux provided links to several reports and blogs, including its 2016 survey of members which found “only 5 percent [of survey respondents] said that climate change was ‘largely or entirely’ due to natural events.”

“Mr. Coleman’s assertion that the 97 percent figure is ‘totally contrived’ and was ‘uttered by President Obama’ is in no way accurate,” said Champoux, who pointed to a British science nonprofit’s conclusion that “amongst 1,381 papers self-rated by their authors as stating a position on human-caused global warming, 97.2 percent endorsed the consensus.”

The AMS survey did find a 53 percent figure, however: “A total of 4,092 AMS members participated, with participants coming from the United States and internationally. The participation rate in the survey was 53.3 percent.”

Another evergreen Coleman critique is that billions of dollars of research grants go only to scientists who support the global warming theory: “You MUST take the Algorian side or you’re dead meat.”

He cites “the great Judith Curry,” an accomplished climate scientist who left her job at Georgia Tech “because she couldn’t handle it anymore” — reaction to her skeptical positions. He noted “my great friend Willie Soon at the Smithsonian Institute, whose life has been turned to hell because of his position.”

He says the power of money — $20 billion a year — buys opinion. “But even THAT has not produced a 97 percent consensus, so that consensus figure is a dead-in-the-ringer lie.”

But what about that fact Republicans control the pursestrings?

Coleman is ready. “Have you heard the chant ‘Drain the swamp’? I don’t think the swamp is only Democrats and bureaucrats. … Lord help me, the Republican Congress is very unlikely to cut off funding projects of the Scripps Oceanographic Institute or Woods Hole or any of the others. The Republican Party, they’re a slimy fish swimming through the swamp.”

Coleman agrees that Trump would like to shut the spigot. But not because he has a strong position on climate science. It’s just for budget savings.

“But I’m also confident that his family … they’re going to have dinner with him at night: ‘Hey, Dad, we got to keep this money flowing.’ So I don’t know how successful it will be. But I know the two most powerful forces on earth are sex and money. And by God it’s really hard to shut off the money. And it’s really hard to not go for the sex.”

What about Sacramento’s cap-and-trade measure — passed with GOP help?

“Just pure and total embarrassing nonsense,” Coleman says, “And another darn good reason not to live in California. If I have to get a passport to come see my son in Palm Springs in the future, so be it. That state has gotten so silly. Oh my God, I’m so glad I don’t live there.”

He calls efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions “an insult to the average American family,” whose energy costs already rise $2,500 a year “because of the threat of so-called global warming. And that cap-and-trade will take it up to probably $4,800 a year.”

“That takes phones away from the kids, or they don’t get new tablets so they can do their homework right. Or the college fund is down. Or clothes or vacations. It hurts that family very deeply. And these politicians who live on the top edge don’t have any understanding or feeling for the average people. And it drives … me … nuts,” he says, pausing between words for emphasis.

Does Coleman regard La Jolla’s prestigious Scripps Institution of Oceanography — a groundbreaker in climate studies — as doing fake science?

“I think that they are dead wrong,” Coleman says. “I think the Keeling Curve is excellent science — the measurement of carbon [dioxide] in the atmosphere through the years and the development of that good steady flow of data. That’s a very good scientific piece of work.”

But the rest of Scripps’ studies?

“Just pathetic,” he says. “And it drives me nuts. A fine institution just went … where the money is. Without that money, hundreds of people would have to be let go.”

He asks: “Have you looked at my video where I tell about that dispute between [Scripps and UCSD legend] Roger Revelle and [his Harvard student] Al Gore? I gather it didn’t impress you. I’m convinced that it’s correct [that climate scientist Revelle didn’t urge action on human-caused global warming]. By the way, that has over a million views on YouTube.”

(Revelle’s daughter Carolyn said Coleman and others took his remarks out of context.)

A spokeswoman for Scripps — once ranked No. 1 in the nation for earth and environmental sciences by the journal Nature — said Somerville’s post still holds up seven years later, and she also noted that “while Mr. Coleman was at KUSI he was invited here many times to see the research in action and talk to scientists. He never came.”

Mayor Faulconer’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

But Masada Disenhouse did. The founder of climate action group SanDiego350 — who helped organize the downtown Climate March in April — defended the mayor and countered Coleman on other issues.

“I think that the mayor of San Diego took climate change seriously and has moved to address it is because it’s been clear from polling, elections, growing climate marches and activism, and other indicators, that the people of San Diego increasingly support moving to clean energy and addressing the climate crisis,” she said Wednesday via email. “And when the people lead, the elected officials who represent them follow.”

On Coleman’s rejection of a waterlogged San Diego: “While Mr. Coleman may be in denial about it, coastal flooding due to sea level rise is already a problem in our coastal areas like Imperial Beach, Mission Beach and Carlsbad, with some areas expected to flood regularly at high tide in the next few decades.”

Disenhouse says Miami and New Orleans are a preview — “facing flooding from high tides even on sunny days on a regular basis right now.”

In 2015, she noted, SanDiego350 drew a chalk line in Mission Beach’s retail area to show where high tide would reach if trends continue until 2050.

Disenhouse defended efforts to wean the economy from fossil fuels.

“California’s economy has been growing as it has reduced its energy use per person and begun to bring down greenhouse gas emissions,” she says. “In fact, the renewable energy sector has been hugely successful in California, one of the fastest growing job sectors.”

But here Coleman concurs. “I love solar power,” he says. “But what does that have to do with climate change? Not a dibble-dee-do-dot.”

He says people assume that that if he’s a climate skeptic or opposed to cap-and-trade that he’s against solar or wind power or environmentalism, “or I want to fill the oceans with plastic or something.”

Coleman insists: “I am an environmentalist through and through. So don’t give me any of that. My son has solar on his house. And pays $16 a month for power in Palm Springs, and I’m excited about the future of graphene.”

He says a day will come when homes are coated with graphene paint and homeowners “disconnect the power line.” Same with the car.

“The age of fossil fuels and the electric grid will come to an end,” Coleman says. “Not in my lifetime, but possibly in yours. Time will tell and it’s all wonderful. Our life is good today not because a bunch of politicians have made laws and regulations and try to tell us how to live. Our lives are good today because of science.”

SOURCE

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Sunday, August 20, 2017


A Warmist resorts to blatant lies

Below is the start of a recent article headed "How To Explain Climate Science To That Person Who Just Won't Listen" in the Puffington Host.  One expects unadulterated Leftism from HuffPo but their usual modus operandi is selective attention to the facts -- not outright and blatant lies.

There are many problems with the article but this is the key lie: "97 percent of climate scientists agree". And he explicitly claims that John Cook, an Australian psychologist, said that.  But John Cook said no such thing.  Cook found that only ONE THIRD (32.6%) of the climate papers he examined took a position on global warming.  That is a long way from 97%.  The 97% figure refers only to that one third:  97% of one third supported global warming

Even Cook saw that one third was less than a ringing endorsement and hypothesized that the pesky two thirds might have been secret supporters of global warming but were just too shy to say so.  He therefore sent them a questionnaire which gave them an opportunity to state their position.  But only 14% replied.  So that was an actual REFUSAL by the vast majority to state a position on global warming.  Again a long way from 97% endorsement.  It was in fact 98% of 14% who endorsed global warming the second time around.  Pathetic!

So the whole foundation of the article below is missing. The writer has a relaxed relationship with the truth and cannot be relied upon.  He misrepresents a scientific paper.  If you doubt that, read Cook's paper here.  It's not difficult. You only need to read the abstract to see what it says. Cook himself is normally cautious in stating exactly what he found but some people hear and report only what they want to hear.


We all know someone who is dismissive of climate science. We all have friends or family members who think they know more about global warming than trained climate scientists. So how to talk about climate change with those people?

John Cook can help. Cook is the person behind the famous 2013 paper which found that 97 percent of climate scientists agree with the theory of human-caused climate change.

That paper has been peer-reviewed, and reviewed again, in numerous studies since it was published. Always the results hold true. Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists still agree that humans are causing global warming.

That's despite the fact that there's very little money in researching warming. You should also know that scientists tend to advance their careers by discovering new stuff no one else has discovered -- and human-caused climate change hardly fits that category.

The science is real, the science is not conspiratorial, and the science is almost universally accepted (97 percent of scientists rarely agree on ANYTHING!). Yet some people still won't have a word of it. So then. What to do next?

SOURCE



EPA needs budget reform, less spending and better science

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has made a good start fulfilling President Trump's campaign promises to undo the Obama administration's regulatory onslaught. But preventing future outbreaks of regulatory overreach is going to require more fundamental reforms of the way the agency operates.

These reforms should include: requiring budget transparency; cutting spending by eliminating programs and offices; and radically improving the use of science in the regulatory process. Administrator Pruitt can make some of these changes administratively, but others are going to require action by Congress.

The EPA's budget, as our colleague William Yeatman has shown, is the most opaque and incomprehensible of any federal department. The agency spends huge sums of money without adequate congressional oversight.
EPA's opaque budget has allowed it to spend large sums on a wide variety of discretionary programs not mandated by Congress. To take only one example, Obama's EPA diverted $160 million from Clean Air Act programs to climate programs. This funding apparently wasn't necessary to carry out the agency's legal responsibilities for clean air, so can be eliminated. Forcing the agency to open its books to public scrutiny will make it more responsive to real environmental problems rather than green activist agendas.

The EPA budget requests for the next fiscal year submitted by the Trump administration are more transparent than previous budgets, but there is still a long way to go. In terms of spending, the Trump administration requested a 31 percent budget cut for EPA, but so far Congress is resisting to that high call for drastic cuts. The House appropriations bill makes just a six percent cut. Much deeper cuts need to be made.

Another way to make cuts is by evaluating the actual work the agency does to see where there may be redundancies. State environmental agencies have taken over many of the EPA's responsibilities for monitoring and enforcement. This means that the EPA's 10 regional offices, which employ six thousand people, have outlived their usefulness and can be shut down. Emergency response functions can be moved to the Federal Emergency Management Administration.

Administrator Pruitt can make significant improvements administratively. For example, he can ban the use of secret science, which is illegal but has been tolerated by Congress. The EPA is supposed to base its regulatory decisions on sound science. Over the decades, EPA has moved more and more from sound science to manipulated and secret science.

Steve Milloy in his recent book, "Scare Pollution," has provided a comprehensive and shocking expose of the EPA's worst misuse of science. He shows how secret and shoddy air pollutions studies have been used to justify regulations that cost workers and consumers tens of billions of dollars. But there are similar, if less outrageous and expensive, misuses of science throughout the agency.

In 1999, Congress did try to improve the use of science when it passed the Information Quality Act, but then allowed the Obama Administration to ignore it. Administrator Pruitt should require that the act be enforced rigorously. That will be a good start, but legislation is required to ensure that these reforms last beyond the Trump administration. The House has already passed legislation to ban secret science. The Senate needs to act on this and other important reforms passed by the House.

In sum, the EPA is a major part of the swamp that President Trump promised during the 2016 campaign that he was going to drain. Let's not miss this rare opportunity to make fundamental, long-lasting reforms at the EPA. The administration and Congress should work together to require budget transparency, cut spending by eliminating and offices, and end the use of secret and junk science.

SOURCE




Farmer Faces Multimillion-Dollar Fine for Plowing Fields Without Government’s Permission

This week, a federal judge will determine whether to levy a multimillion-dollar fine against John Duarte, as requested by the Department of Justice.

Duarte’s wrongdoing? Plowing fields without first asking the permission of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

In 2012, Duarte—a fourth-generation California farmer and owner of a large agricultural nursery—began plowing 450 acres of property in order to plant winter wheat.

This typical farming practice soon caught the attention of a local Corps project manager, who was horrified to see that the plowed land contained a smattering of vernal pools.

These generally dry, shallow land depressions temporarily collect excess rainwater, which quickly evaporates. Depending on weather variations, they may not fill with water at all.

The Corps claimed the authority to regulate these pools as “wetlands” under the Clean Water Act.

The Clean Water Act grants both it and the Environmental Protection Agency enforcement mechanisms to “restore and maintain the physical, biological, and chemical integrity of the nation’s waters.” It authorizes the Corps to issue permits for the discharge of dredged or fill material into “navigable waters.”

However, it also exempts from permit requirements “normal farming … activities such as plowing, seeding, [or] cultivating.”

Unfortunately for Duarte, the project manager determined the plowing did not fall under exempted farming practices. The Corps deemed his furrows “small mountain ranges” that discharged pollutants into the vernal pools without a permit.

The protection of America’s waterways is a legitimate government concern, and both the EPA and the Corps play a critical role in regulating, deterring, or punishing the intentional pollution of important waterways.

However, in a disturbing trend of regulatory overreach, these agencies have in recent years utilized irrationally broad interpretations of the Clean Water Act.

Most alarmingly, the EPA and the Corps determined in the 2015 Waters of the United States rule that the term “navigable waters” includes a whole host of places the average person would not reasonably consider to fall under the Clean Water Act’s purview, including vernal pools on grassland.

On Oct. 9, 2015, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stayed official implementation of the rule, pending further review of the court. The court “conclude[d] that petitioners have demonstrated a substantial possibility of success on the merits of their claims” that the rule lacks legal validity.

Federal administrative officials have also determined that the Clean Water Act applies to activities far removed from simply dumping pollutants into streams—activities such as Duarte’s plowing wheat fields a few inches deeper than usually necessary.

These broad interpretations resulted in Duarte receiving a cease-and-desist letter from the Corps. The agency alleged he “discharged dredged or fill material … into waters of the United States, without a [required] Department of the Army (DA) permit,” in violation of the Clean Water Act.

In short, the Corps determined Duarte destroyed a wetland without its permission, and that his plowing did not constitute exempted “normal farming practices.”

It did not offer him any opportunity to rebut these claims before demanding he cease all farming activities. Duarte would not be allowed to harvest his $50,000 worth of planted wheat.

More than four years later, he is facing $2.8 million in fines and an estimated minimum of $13 million in “mitigation credits” for his actions. Shockingly, although these fines could destroy his business and put more than 500 employees out of work, they are considered mere “civil penalties.”

Now, Duarte and his lawyers hope the Trump administration will step in to help.

Earlier this year, President Donald Trump directed relevant federal agencies to reconsider their broad interpretations of the Clean Water Act. He deemed the Waters of the United States rule a “massive power grab” and urged a much narrower understanding of “navigable waters” as those larger bodies directly affecting interstate commerce.

Although the sentencing phase of Duarte’s trial is still scheduled to begin Aug. 15, the discrepancy between the president’s directive and the continued pursuit of Duarte’s case by the Department of Justice has not gone unnoticed in Washington, D.C.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway, R-Texas, and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to review the Justice Department’s position on the matter.

Their May 26 letter conveyed their concern that “the congressional intent behind the farming exemptions in the statute is misunderstood,” and noted the Agriculture Committee’s view that Duarte’s actions were traditional farming activity exempted from permit requirements.

Recently, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue expressed his hopes the Justice Department would postpone any further action against Duarte until after the EPA completes its reassessment of the scope of the agency’s jurisdiction.

He further announced his intention to meet with Sessions and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt about the situation.

Duarte’s case is an unfortunate reminder of just how serious the consequences of regulatory overreach can be to unsuspecting citizens. A prominent fixture of American jurisprudence is the idea that laws should be adequately clear so as to give fair warning about which behaviors are prohibited.

James Madison eloquently summed up the notion in Federalist 62: “It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.”

As Paul Larkin of The Heritage Foundation recently observed, the current Waters of the United States rule is a complicated mess of over 2,300 words. It utilizes language without settled common-law or contemporary meaning, and requires a person of ordinary intelligence to decipher complex geographical terms.

Perhaps worst of all, it demands the average person do this with the unforeseeable risk of a multimillion-dollar fine looming over his or her head.

The Trump administration is admirably attempting to scale back the power of these federal agencies. But it still appears—for now, at least—Duarte will become the latest victim of an ever-growing list of federal regulations allowing for the imposition of devastating penalties with little notice.

SOURCE




Don’t Believe the Hysteria Over Carbon Dioxide

Rep. Lamar Smith

The way Americans perceive climate change is too often determined by their hearing just one side of the story.

The American people should be made aware of both the negative and positive impacts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Without the whole story, how can we expect an objective evaluation of the issues involving climate change?

While it is indisputable that the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is gradually increasing, this does not automatically justify all of the alarmists’ claims.

The benefits of a changing climate are often ignored and under-researched. Our climate is too complex and the consequences of misguided policies too harsh to discount the positive effects of carbon enrichment.

A higher concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere would aid photosynthesis, which in turn contributes to increased plant growth. This correlates to a greater volume of food production and better quality food. Studies indicate that crops would utilize water more efficiently, requiring less water. And colder areas along the farm belt will experience longer growing seasons.

While crops typically suffer from high heat and lack of rainfall, carbon enrichment helps produce more resilient food crops, such as maize, soybeans, wheat, and rice. In fact, atmospheric carbon dioxide is so important for plant health that greenhouses often use a carbon dioxide generator to increase production.

Besides food production, another benefit of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the lush vegetation that results. The world’s vegetated areas are becoming 25-50 percent greener, according to satellite images. Seventy percent of this greening is due to a rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Greater vegetation assists in controlling water runoff, provides more habitats for many animal species, and even aids in climate stabilization, as more vegetation absorbs more carbon dioxide. When plant diversity increases, these vegetated areas can better eliminate carbon from the atmosphere.

Also, as the Earth warms, we are seeing beneficial changes to the earth’s geography. For instance, Arctic sea ice is decreasing. This development will create new commercial shipping lanes that provide faster, more convenient, and less costly routes between ports in Asia, Europe, and eastern North America. This will increase international trade and strengthen the world economy.

Fossil fuels have helped raise the standard of living for billions of people. Furthermore, research has shown that regions that have enjoyed a major reduction in poverty achieved these gains by expanding the use of fossil fuels for energy sources.

For nations to progress, they need access to affordable energy. Fossil fuels provide the energy necessary to develop affordable food, safe drinking water, and reliable housing for those who have never had it before.

Studies indicate that in the U.S. alone, the natural gas industry is responsible for millions of jobs and has increased the wealth of Americans by an average of $1,337. Economic growth as well as greater food production and increased vegetation are just some of the benefits that can result from our changing climate.

The Obama administration planned to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on policies that would have a negligible impact on the environment. The Clean Power Plan would have reduced global temperatures by only three one-hundredths of 1 degree Celsius. If we stop over-reacting to climate change hysteria, we can allocate those funds to benefit Americans in such areas as educational opportunities, health care, and technological innovation.

The use of fossil fuels and the byproducts of carbon enrichment play a large role in advancing the quality of human life by increasing food production to feed our growing population, stimulating the economy, and alleviating poverty.

Bad deals like the Paris Agreement would cost the U.S. billions of dollars, a loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs, and have no discernible impact on global temperatures. Instead of succumbing to fear tactics and exaggerated predictions, we should instead invest in research and technology that can help us better understand the effects of climate change.

SOURCE




Australia: Fresh doubts over BoM records after thermometer read at wrong end

Fresh doubts over Bureau of Meteorology temperature records had arisen because a post office worker read the thermometer at the wrong end when the mercury plunged below freezing.

In a new twist, missing records of low temperatures have spread past automatic weather stations to those collected by hand in ­regional areas.

Taralga Post Office, north of Goulburn in NSW, is the latest unseasonal hotspot in an investi­gation in which several automatic weather stations have been declared “unfit for purpose”.

Human error is being blamed by postal staff at Taralga with a trainee “reading the thermometer on the wrong end”. Every day, a post office employee checks the visibility, wind speed, wind direction, cloud formation, rain gauge and minimum and maximum temperatures at the remote weather station. Staff have been going through a similar routine for 98 years — their oldest recorded measurements go back to 1919.

Julie Corby has been working at the post office for 12 years, and is one of three staff. They sort the mail, record the weather, and act as a community centre for the area. “It was an honest mistake. Everyone makes it once,” she said yesterday, adding that the young person had since been recording the temperatures accurately.

“She was reading the wrong end of the thermometer.” Ms Corby said BoM had alerted them to the problem and that “correct procedure had been put in place.”

But the list of missing temperatures is growing. “Quality assurance processes that apply to all temperature observations are being examined as part of the review currently under way,” a BoM spokesman said.

Hobby farmer Ken Seton provided evidence that temperature recordings of -10C on May 10 and -8C on May 16 had not been carried past the daily temperature recordings on to the official monthly record. As a result, the lowest monthly temperature reading for May at Taralga stands at -4.8C. Minus 10C would have been a ­record low for Taralga.

The minimum temperatures from Taralga are used to homogenise the ACORN-SAT national temperature records for Sydney, Richmond, Nowra and Canberra.

Mr Seton’s screen shots and meteorological interest predates the scandal that has engulfed weather records at Goulburn and Thredbo Top where temperature readings of below -10C went missing. BoM first claimed the low temperatures had been deleted and in one case at least reinstalled due to “quality control” procedures.

The bureau subsequently said equipment at some AWS network stations was “not fit for purpose”. A review is under way, led by senior BoM staff with outside experts.

Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg said when the review was complete “in coming weeks”, he would make its findings public.

Mr Seton’s screen-shot evidence from Taralga shifts the goalposts beyond the AWS network in terms of how complete is the BoM record. Mr Seton said he had spent 10 years with the CSIRO in a range of areas, including as an atmospheric physicist.

He said he had owned a property near Taralga for the past 40 years, about 16km from the Post Office where the temperature is still collected by hand.

Mr Seton monitors the BoM website for rainfall and major weather events and in May “happened to notice a -10 and a -8 temperature recording”. “When I looked again a week later they were gone,” he said.

Local farmer Daniel Walsh, who runs sheep and cattle on a property in Taralga, said it had been a cold winter.

“It should go down as a cold winter, and there have been consistently deep frosts overnight,” he said. “No cloud cover, that’s what does it. It’s been a good year though, overall.”

SOURCE

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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.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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

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Friday, August 18, 2017


It seems that the short summer melting season has already ended in Greenland



Top: The total daily contribution to the surface mass balance from the entire ice sheet (blue line, Gt/day). Bottom: The accumulated surface mass balance from September 1st to now (blue line, Gt) and the season 2011-12 (red) which had very high summer melt in Greenland. For comparison, the mean curve from the period 1981-2010 is shown (dark grey). The same calendar day in each of the 30 years (in the period 1981-2010) will have its own value. These differences from year to year are illustrated by the light grey band. For each calendar day, however, the lowest and highest values of the 30 years have been left out.

SOURCE



Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations At 400 PPM Are Still Dangerously Low For Life On Earth

With atmospheric CO2 concentrations reaching the 400 ppm level, the media and a number of alarmist scientists have set off the mega-alarm bells, claiming “record high levels” of CO2 had been reached, and that the planet is on the verge of an overdose. This is based purely on ignorance of the Earth’s history.

Worrying that 400 ppm is too high is like worrying about your fuel tank overflowing when it reaches the 1/8 mark during filling.

From a historical perspective, an atmospheric CO2 concentration of 400 ppm is actually almost scraping the bottom of the barrel. Over the Earth’s history, atmospheric CO2 concentrations have ranged from 180 ppm to 7000 ppm, see Figure 1 below. On that scale we are in fact today barely above the Earth’s record lows.

That 400 ppm is actually dangerously low is a fact the alarmists keep avoiding and suppressing. Below 150 ppm, plant-life dies off on a massive scale. The Earth actually came very close to that point many times over the last 2 million years during the ice ages. At the bottom of the last ice age just 20,000 years ago, life on the planet literally teetered on the brink when CO2 fell to a level of just 180 ppm. Do we really want to live on the brink of extinction?

It’s a fact that biologists have shown that once the atmospheric CO2 level falls below the 500 ppm level, plants really begin to suffer. Many of us have seen the video showing how plants grow faster under higher CO2 concentrations.

Note that at high CO2 concentrations, such as 800 ppm, plants thrive. But as CO2 levels fall off, growth rates really start to plummet once they fall below 500 ppm. History shows that the Earth sustains much more life, i.e. is much greener and fruitful, when CO2 levels are higher, i.e. in the vicinity of 1000 ppm.

No one disputes that man’s activities have helped to increase atmospheric CO2 concentration, and it should not be in dispute that plants and life on the planet are thankful that man has done so. At 400 ppm, the planet is a safer place to be and will be even safer at 1000 ppm.

SOURCE




Government’s Endless Energy Subsidies Must Stop

It’s no secret President Trump is working to create thousands more American energy jobs, reduce regulations on energy producers and restore parity to the tax code. Given these goals, it’s time for Congress to work with the president to end the unfair practice of granting tax incentives favoring one energy sector over another and give more promising American energy technologies a chance to flourish.

In addition, the U.S. solar power industry has fallen victim to government sponsored cyber-thieves operating in China. It has been well documented how an army of cyber-hackers in China raided hundreds of U.S. companies and hacked into intellectual property worth billions. Solar companies were particularly hard hit along with many tech firms, U.S. Steel and other businesses. Subsequently China is now overproducing solar power cells and flooding international markets with cut-rate solar panels.

American solar power companies Suniva and the U.S. division of SolarWorld have filed for bankruptcy due primarily to overproduction of solar cells from China and other foreign competitors. SunEdison and Sungevity have also declared bankruptcy. These failings follow Abengoa’s bankruptcy announcement in 2016, Abound Solar’s collapse in 2012 and Solyndra’s much publicized demise in 2011.

Despite significant problems for the solar industry and the unreliability of wind power, America is leading the way in the development of promising fuel cell technology. Fuel cells are powered by natural gas – something we have plenty of in the U.S. Even more noteworthy is how the fuel cell industry shows strong growth potential. Walmart and the huge mail-order fulfillment operation Amazon are already replacing their antiquated battery powered fork lifts and industrial vehicles with vehicles powered by natural gas fuel cells.

At the Toyota proving grounds in Arizona, hydrogen fuel fuel cells are being tested in 18 wheel trucks. These vehicles have no exhaust emissions. And companies like eBay, AT&T and Home Depot are installing stationary fuel cells to provide secure, onsite electricity for their facilities to ensure that they can remain operational in the event of an electric grid outage.

Natural gas fuel cells are clean, recharge more quickly than outdated electric batteries and are much less expensive to maintain. And because fuel cells are powered by our own abundant natural gas supplies, they don’t rely on environmentally disastrous cobalt and lithium mining operations around the world. Cobalt and lithium are needed to make battery powered vehicles for the U.S. Most of these mines in Africa, Russia and Asia are strip mines and are environmental tragedies. The mining operations have also become horrific examples of human rights abuses for the workers who labor in them – some mine workers are as young as four years old.

The United States is the undisputed leader in fuel cell technology which, if properly developed, would give America a global competitive advantage and would enhance our national energy security. But as with solar power, China hopes to gobble up this technology. So far, China isn’t producing fuel cells, but the question remains, will Congress allow this vital energy resource to be co-opted by China or other foreign competitors?    

Congress must change the arbitrary way it offers businesses tax credits. Such incentives should not be awarded in ways that allow lawmakers or bureaucrats to pick winners and losers. If we wish to continue developing and supporting our energy and manufacturing sectors, we must do so in ways that allow promising technologies a chance to flourish but also with established end-dates for such tax breaks. The days of endless government subsidies must stop.

The U.S. fuel cell industry is growing, it has an established business model and presents an opportunity for our country to create tens of thousands of new energy jobs. Temporary tax incentives can encourage innovation but must include mandates requiring businesses to stand on their own. American fuel cell technology has to be part of our nation’s energy mix, and Congress should work to find commonsense ways of embracing this promising energy resource.

SOURCE



     
REPORT: ‘Many Of The EPA’s Functions Could Be Abolished’

Many Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) programs are redundant and could be eliminated without hurting environmental quality, according to a new report on reforming the federal bureaucracy.

“The EPA needs to be made more transparent and efficient, a goal that can be achieved while continuing to protect the nation’s environment,” reads the report published by the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) on Wednesday.

CEI gave a series of recommendations on how to make EPA more transparent and accountable, including eliminating regional offices and changing science programs.

“Many of the EPA’s regional offices and grant programs are redundant and should be abolished,” reads the short report written by Myron Ebell, who headed President Donald Trump’s EPA transition team.

“Other reform priorities include improving data quality standards for new research and transferring emergency response duties to the Federal Emergency Management Agency,” Ebell wrote.

The group says EPA’s budget “is the most impenetrable of all federal department and agency budgets,” which makes it hard for Congress to know how taxpayer dollars are being spent. CEI wants EPA to do what other agencies do and put forward a budget that “clearly identifies the spender, how much they spend, and the legal basis for the spending.”

No doubt, CEI’s suggestions will be opposed by environmental groups. Activists opposed President Donald Trump’s proposed cuts to EPA’s budget and elimination of dozens of agency programs.

“There is no way to sugarcoat this, President Trump has taken a wrecking ball to environmental protection in the US,” Ken Kimmell, president of the Union for Concerned Scientists, told CNN in May. “Frankly I didn’t think this would happen with the severity with this is happening. We have had changes in powers before. Different presidents strike a different balance. But this is a severe attack that we didn’t expect.”

Environmentalists have filed dozens of lawsuits to stop Trump’s policy agenda from going through. Environmental activists even filed suit against the U.S.-Mexico border wall being planned by the Department of Homeland Security, arguing it would hurt endangered species.

Targeting EPA science programs has been on the Republican to-do list for years. Conservative groups and lawmakers worry EPA uses science to back pre-determined policy conclusions.

Republicans have also voiced concerns about the impartiality of outside EPA science advisers, most of whom take agency money to conduct research, creating a potential conflict of interest.

The House passed legislation in March to reform how EPA uses scientific research, but the bill hasn’t gotten much attention in the Senate.

SOURCE





Hot Air from Al Gore Is the Only Global Warming

The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation and spreading of peace congresses.” Two recent recipients were U.S. presidents, Democrats of course, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama. A U.S. vice-president also won the prize, Al Gore, another Democrat.

Jimmy Carter won his prize in 2002, long after his presidency, "for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development." Again, after his presidency and post presidential humanitarian efforts.

Barack Obama won his prize in 2009, just months into his presidency, "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." Other than a few speeches, he had not done anything of substance. Surprisingly, his prize was not rescinded after Benghazi, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, and ISIS, all highly successful efforts in international diplomacy.

Al Gore received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, "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."

As a quick aside, of 130 Peace Prize Laureates, only 16 were women. Eight percent. Forget chasing Google. Social justice warriors have a much better target with the Nobel committee. Start the protests and boycotts.

Obama’s prize was awarded “on the come,” a gambling term for betting on cards that may come in the future. Or in business, compensation based on future success. The Nobel prize committee was betting that the “hope and change” media creation would actually pan out in the future.

Similarly, Gore’s prize was a bet “on the come” that lower temperatures would be coming based on Al’s movies, speeches, and carbon credits. The Nobel prize didn’t bring peace but instead brought fabulous wealth to Gore, paving the way for him to potentially become the “world’s first carbon billionaire.”

I never thought I would be giving kudos to the Nobel prize committee for their wise and prescient award to Al Gore. Few American Thinker readers would expect such an acknowledgement either. But credit where credit’s due.

Meteorologist Joe Bastardi, looking at global temperatures over the past twelve years noted something interesting. Temperatures were warmer when Gore won his peace prize in 2007 than they are today. As you can see in the chart below:

Shazam! Al Gore is actually lowering global temperatures. The Nobel prize committee got it right, giving Gore the prize is responsible for lower temps now than the day he won the prize. Or not.

Instead the Nobel prize committee could have awarded the 2007 prize to Mother Nature, who is managing to lower temperatures without the need for books, movies, speeches, or carbon credits. A recently published German study concludes, “We can expect climate cooling for next 50 years!”

Al should be taking credit for lowering global temperatures rather than predicting doomsday. In 2006, a year before he received the famous prize, he predicted that unless we took “drastic measures” the world would reach “a point of no return” within ten years. Now eleven years later his predicted “true planetary emergency” has as much validity as predictions of Hillary Clinton winning the presidential election in a landslide.

If he had just kept quiet, he could now claim success given that global temperatures have dropped since the time he won the peace prize. But no. Instead he has a second movie, doubling down on the failed predictions of his first movie. The new one is called, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power. The only thing inconvenient will be more failed predictions:

“Stronger storms, worsening floods, deeper droughts, mega-fires, tropical diseases spreading through vulnerable populations in all parts of the earth, melting ice caps flooding coastal cities, unsurvivable [sic] heat extremes, and hundreds of millions of climate refugees.”

The left is missing a golden opportunity to bask in the success of Al Gore’s Nobel Peace Prize, taking full credit for lower temperatures today compared to when he won the prize. They could claim that their “green measures,” whatever they may be, are working.

Instead, they are snatching political defeat from the jaws a victory, in apparent imitation of the Republicans, beclowning themselves with silly headlines as recently in the New York Times, “North Korea aside, Guam faces another threat: Climate change.” If I lived on Guam, I would be far more worried about one of Kim Jung-un’s missiles landing on my head than being swallowed up by a rising ocean.

With all the hot air coming from Al Gore and the liberal media, it’s a wonder that all of the polar ice hasn’t yet melted with fish swimming in the streets of New York and Miami. The Nobel committee should give Gore another Nobel Peace Prize, secure in the belief that in ten years, global temperatures will again drop by a fraction of a degree, all due to his winning the prize.

SOURCE

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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.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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

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Thursday, August 17, 2017



Dangerous air pollution from coal-fired power stations  in Australia?

I am interested in the following claim made below:  "People who live within 50km of coal-fired power stations face a risk of premature death as much as three to four times that of people living further away."

I have read the large and glossy report from which that statistic is allegedly taken but can find no mention of it there.  It must be a very fleeting mention if it is there at all. There was certainly nothing like the formal research report that one would expect to underlie such a claim:  No details of sampling or control for demographic statistics, no table of results etc.

With all Green/Left writing the thing to identify is what they do NOT say.  They regularly just leave out information that would damage their case.  As it happens I have some research background in this field so I know what they have left out.  They did not do an attitude study.  They did not try to find out how bothered people were by the alleged pollution.  They put up a few anecdotes about that but anecdotes prove nothing. You can always find people dissatisfied with anything if you look hard for them.

My survey of the effect of living near a coal mine showed that people did NOT have elevated environmental concerns as a result of that proximity.  And my study was an orthodox and fully described one.  So there is no doubt in existence a degree of pollution associated with Australia's coal mines but it is at a level that is only a minor irritant to those affected by it.  My study was of coal mines in 1980 but, as the report below mentions, the power stations at the time were generally located just about on top of the mines

The report is a beat up. Just more Greenie deception. It was put out by Environmental Justice Australia so I had no real expectation that it would be a work of objective science.  It is just propaganda


AUSTRALIA is trailing behind places like China when it comes to pollution standards and those living near coal-fired power stations are three times more likely to die a premature death, according to a new report.

Environmental Justice Australia (EJA) found Australian power stations are allowed to emit far more pollution than those in the US, China and parts of the European Union, and they are not being regulated well enough to protect human health or the environment.

The toxins produced by coal-fired power stations can have a deadly impact on those living nearby. People who live within 50km are about three to four times more likely to die a premature death as those living further away.

The report looked at four pollutants that are extremely harmful to health and have been linked to asthma, respiratory problems, stroke, angina, heart attack and cancer.

It found coal-fired power stations emitted more than 30 toxic substances and are the biggest sources of fine particles PM2.5, sulfur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen.

“The mercury limits for some NSW power stations are 666 times higher than the US limits. This is unacceptable,” the report said.

“In almost all cases the emissions limits applied to Australian power stations are significantly less stringent than the standards in the European Union, United States and China.”

What controls that are in place are also not well monitored and rarely enforced.

The EJA has made eight recommendations including that the Federal Government commission an independent assessment of health impacts, develop national emission standards, ask for better monitoring and commit to not building, financing or approving any new coal-fired power stations.

When it comes to air pollution, the report suggested “ultra-supercritical” or “high efficiency low emission” (HELE) power stations were not very effective at reducing pollution.

“The best improvement ultra-supercritical technology can offer over subcritical is about a 14 per cent reduction in pollution emissions,” the report said.

NSW Central Coast resident Gary Blaschke OAM said a lot of the downside of living close to coal-fired power stations had been swept under the carpet.

“If pollution was purple, people would be up in arms. Because we often can’t see it — whether it’s in the air on in the ground — many people don’t even think about it.”

THE INVISIBLE KILLER

The report Toxic and terminal: How the regulation of coal-fired power stations fails Australian communities mainly looks at four pollutants. They are coarse particles called PM10, fine particles known as PM2.5, sulfur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen.

In particular PM2.5 has been linked directly to health risks including asthma, bronchitis, acute and chronic respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath and painful breathing, and premature deaths.

It’s been estimated that PM2.5 exposure has led to 1590 premature deaths each year in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.

These particles can travel long distances so Sydney residents may feel the impacts of pollution produced by Hunter Valley power stations, but local communities are the most at risk.

People who live within 50km of coal-fired power stations face a risk of premature death as much as three to four times that of people living further away.

It’s been estimated that 18 people living near the now-closed Hazelwood power station in Victoria died premature death due to air pollution in one year.

“The annual health costs of coal-fired power stations across Australia has been estimated at about $2.6 billion a year,” the report said.

“These costs are not factored into wholesale electricity prices or licence fees, and are therefore borne by the community rather than affecting the profits of the power station owners.”

SOURCE


UPDATE:

I received the following email from a reader:

I am a follower of your blog.  I saw that you picked up on the outrageous false claims made recently by Environmental Justice Australia.

You may be interested in the results of the Upper Hunter Valley Fine Particulate Matter Characterisation Study undertaken in 2012/2013 by the EPA and CSIRO.

The EPA found (much to their disappointment) the following things:

1.       The dominant source of fine particulate pollution in Muswellbrook is household wood heaters.  Other significant sources are sea salt and biomass smoke.

2.       There is no detectable sulphate particulate pollution from the power stations

3.       There is no detectable unique fingerprint for coal dust in the Upper Hunter Valley.

Indeed, the PM2.5 levels for the Upper Hunter are not too much different from those found in Antarctica (annual average of 4.3ug/m3) when adjusted for factors like wood smoke and biomass burning. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25167815)





Crookedness at the EPA -- and how to hit it

Washington D.C., the hub of the federal government, is notorious for extravagant spending and overpriced salaries. For this reason, President Trump ran on a campaign of “draining the swamp”, the swamp being Washington D.C. seemingly endless federal bureaucracy. Unfortunately, the swamp is much bigger than just D.C. A recent report from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Inspector General highlights the need for a nationwide swamp draining.

According to the EPA website, the mission of EPA is to protect human health and the environment. For the mission, the EPA has deployed employees and offices across the nation. The EPA has divided the nation into ten regions, each with its own regional director. Region 10 is known as the Seattle region, and serves Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and the 271 Native tribes therein. A recent inspector general’s report highlighted several disturbing pay related matters in the region.

Government employees are paid on a bi-weekly basis. The rate of pay depends on their General Service (GS) level. The levels go from GS-1 through GS-15, then on to Senior Executive Service (SES) levels. With each pay rate, there is a pay cap. However, the pay cap may be waived for GS employees while conducting work designated as emergency or mission-critical.

The EPA has given the authority to declare disasters or emergencies to management officials in the regions. If an emergency is located in one spot and not spread across two regions, the Regional Administrator will if the event is worthy of lifting the cap. The Regional Administrator may redelegate the authority to declare an emergency to the Assistant Regional Administrator or Deputy Regional Administrator. After the waiver is requested, it then goes to Human Resources Officer (HRO).

The OIG report showed 79 instances of employees exceeding the pay cap in FY15, FY16, and up to January 7, 2017. However, only one of the instances had a waiver request from the regional administrator or another designee, and the approval of the HRO.

There is also one more problem, what is the emergency? What is the emergency that has been going on for two years that no one has heard about? Have these federal employees been bilking taxpayers for two years? Clearly the system broke down, and taxpayers literally paid the price.

Clearly over payments were made, and several people within the chain of command failed to correct the mistake. Congress should immediately investigate the over payments. The funds do not belong to the federal employees, it belongs to the taxpayer’s and should be treated as such.

Firing a government employee is extremely difficult, but Congress does have two options. The first is impeachment. Congress could impeach the Human Resources Officer or the acting Region 10 Administrator for improper disbursement of funds. This would be a long drawn out process, and highly unlikely. The second option is the best.

This is a chance for Congress to implement the Holman rule. The rule allows Congress to reduce the pay of a specific federal employee, fire specific federal employee, and cut a specific program. This can happen because the rule allows amendments to appropriations legislation. It was reinstated earlier this year after being rescinded in 1983.

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning stated, “This is a perfect opportunity for the Congress to use the Holman rule to defund the salaries of whichever human resources officers failed to follow the rules in administering additional pay. Additionally, then-Deputy Regional Administrator of EPA region 10 Michelle Pirzadeh, now acting administrator, should be replaced and have her salary defunded if she was aware of the overpaying scheme and failed to take action. Federal rules governing pay to federal employees were not followed, resulting in the overpaying of EPA employees in region 10, and those responsible are not entitled to keep their jobs.”

Using the Holman rule would send a clear message to government employees bilking the system. Congress has often complained about improper disbursement of funds in committee hearings, and now they have a chance to act. If Congress truly wants to restore the first branch of government to its’ rightful place.

SOURCE





Global Ocean Cooling Continues

July Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) are now available, and we can see further ocean cooling led by plummeting temps in the  Tropics and the Southern Hemisphere, continuing the downward trajectory from the previous 12 months.

HadSST is generally regarded as the best of the global SST data sets, and so the temperature story here comes from that source, the latest version being HadSST3.

The chart below shows the last two years of SST monthly anomalies as reported in HadSST3 including July 2017.



In May despite a slight rise in the Tropics, declines in both hemispheres and globally caused SST cooling to resume after an upward bump in April.  Now in July a large drop is showing both in the Tropics and in SH, declining the last 4 months.  Meanwhile the NH is peaking in July as usual, but well down from the previous July.  The net of all this is a slightly lower Global anomaly but with likely additional future cooling led by the Tropics and also SH hitting new lows for this period.

Note that higher temps in 2015 and 2016 were first of all due to a sharp rise in Tropical SST, beginning in March 2015, peaking in January 2016, and steadily declining back to its beginning level. Secondly, the Northern Hemisphere added two bumps on the shoulders of Tropical warming, with peaks in August of each year. Also, note that the global release of heat was not dramatic, due to the Southern Hemisphere offsetting the Northern one. Note that Global anomaly for July 2017 matches closely to April 2015.  However,  SH and the Tropics are lower now and trending down compared to an upward trend in 2015.

We have seen lots of claims about the temperature records for 2016 and 2015 proving dangerous man made warming.  At least one senator stated that in a confirmation hearing.  Yet HadSST3 data for the last two years show how obvious is the ocean’s governing of global average temperatures.

SOURCE




Britain Suffers Coldest Summer Holidays In 35 YEARS

BRITAIN is in the grip of its coldest summer holidays for 35 years. Temperatures in London have failed to get any higher than 73F (23C) since schools broke up on July 19. It has been a similar story in Birmingham, while in Newcastle the thermometer has been stuck below a modest 68F (20C).

The depressing figures for July 19 to August 11 show it is the coolest start to the holidays since 1982. Met Office forecaster Charlie Powell said: “As soon as they started it took a bit of a turn for the worse.”

In 20 of the past 35 years, London has seen a temperature of 86F (30C) or more at least once in the first three weeks of the holidays.

Even last year, the top temperature recorded in the capital for the period was 84F (29C). But this year, the country has seen 43 per cent of its usual August rainfall inside the first ten days of the month. It follows the wettest July since 2012. Forecasters say rain will return today with storms later in the week.

SOURCE




 
Trump To Repeal Obama Executive Order On Sea Level Rise

President Donald Trump will rescind an Obama administration policy requiring government agencies to take into account global warming-induced flooding and sea level rise for federally-funded projects.

Trump will repeat the climate order that President Barack Obama signed in 2015 as part of a broader effort to streamline infrastructure permitting. Administration officials said the current process is long and cumbersome.

“For far too long, critical projects have been delayed by duplicative permitting and environmental requirements which added time and unnecessary expenses to much needed projects,” Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said in a statement obtained by Bloomberg.

Trump wants to push a $200 billion infrastructure spending bill through Congress this fall, which he hopes will mobilize $800 billion in state and private funding. A cumbersome permitting process could hold up infrastructure projects.

Furthermore, Obama’s executive order to “improve the resilience of communities and federal assets against the impacts of flooding” could increase the upfront costs or even eliminate projects in the pipeline.

Obama wrote sea level rise and flooding are “anticipated to increase over time due to the effects of climate change and other threats.”

Obama’s order required federally-funded projects to be two feet above the 100-year floodplain. Hospitals and other critical buildings must be three feet above the historic floodplain.

The Obama administration also issued a rule requiring federally-financed single family homes must be built two feet above the 100-year floodplain. The National Association of Home Builders worried this rule could increase construction costs and make it harder to build low-income affordable housing.

Environmentalists were critical of Trump’s plan to rollback the 2015 order, as was the right-leaning R Street Institute.

“Taxpayers have been made to shell out hundreds of billions of dollars in disaster-related spending over the past decade, including more than $136 billion for just the two years from 2011 to 2013,” senior fellow R.J. Lehmann said in a statement.

“By contrast, evidence shows that every $1 spent on disaster mitigation can save $4 in post-disaster recovery and rebuilding costs,” Lehmann said.

SOURCE

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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.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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

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