Sunday, December 31, 2017

Exhaustive study exonerates Roundup weedkiller

A couple of weeks ago, the EPA released their final version of an exhaustive examination of all the pieces of research that looked at the toxicity of Glyphosate (Roundup).  Roundup is the bete noir of many environmentalists.  Extensive attempts have been made to have it banned.  To Greenies there is no such thing as a good pesticide or a good weedicide. They just know that.  No evidence needed.

To those who have even a nodding acquaintance with the eviidence, it was no surprise what the EPA scientists found. Their report is a book-length document but below is their final summary paragraph:

"Conclusion for Glyphosate

The overall weight of evidence indicates that there is no convincing evidence that glyphosate induces mutations in vivo via the oral route. When administered by i.p. injection, the micronucleus studies were predominantly negative. In the two cases where an increase in micronuclei were reported via this route, the effects occurred above the reported i.p. LD50 for mice and were not observed in other i.p. injection studies at similar or higher doses. While there is limited evidence genotoxic for effects in some in vitro experiments, in vivo effects were given more weight than in vitro effects particularly when the same genetic endpoint was measured, which is consistent with current OECD guidance. The only positive findings reported in vivo were seen at relatively high doses that are not relevant for human health risk assessment"


Note:  "In vitro" means an experiment in laboratory glassware.  "In vivo" means "in rats and mice".

So news about such a controversial subject would have been splashed all over the media, right?  No. Crickets. We had censorship via omission. The title of the report was "Revised Glyphosate Issue Paper: Evaluation of Carcinogenic Potential".  Google that and see if you can find any mention of it in major media.

Ho hum! More assertions in search of evidence

The propaganda below is actually more cautious than many. For instance, it speaks of this year as being "ONE OF the worst years" for disasters, which may actually be true, depending how widely you look for disasters. But it of course proves nothing.  They offer in fact NO evidence that it was all caused by anthropogenic global warming.  All they offer is opinions and "The overwhelming consensus among scientists". Up until a couple of years ago, the overwhelming consensus among scientists was that dietary fat was bad for you.  Now it is said to be good.  So much for consensus proving anything

In the year that President Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris accord and downplayed global warming as a security threat, the U.S. received a harsh reminder of the perils of the rise in the planet’s temperature: a destructive rash of hurricanes, fires and floods.

The country recorded 15 weather events costing $1 billion or more each through early October, one short of the record 16 in 2011, according to the federal government’s National Centers for Environmental Information in Asheville, North Carolina. And the tally doesn’t include the recent wildfires in southern California.

In many cases, weather broke records. In others, it was just downright odd, like the February warm spell that sent temperatures to a record 72 Fahrenheit (22 Celsius) in Burlington, Vermont, and spawned a tornado in Massachusetts.

“When all is said and done, this year is going to be one of the worst years on record for U.S. damages,” said Antonio Busalacchi, president of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.

Among the most devastating events were hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and wildfires in northern California. The killer storms caused economic losses of more than $210 billion in the U.S. and across the Caribbean, and about $100 billion in insured damages, according to Mark Bove, a senior research scientist with Munich Reinsurance America in Princeton, New Jersey.

The list goes on -- ruinous hail in Colorado and Minnesota, tornado outbreaks across the Midwest and South, flooding that damaged a massive dam in California and triggered evacuations downstream. A lake-effect snowband off Lake Erie dumped 34 inches of snow at Pennsylvania’s Erie International Airport on Christmas Day, quadrupling the previous record from 2002, according to the Weather Channel. A warming climate can bring an increase in lake-effect snow, according to NOAA.

Many of the events can be explained by historical weather patterns. The most calamitous, though, showed signs of a warming climate, including Hurricane Harvey, which dropped as much as 60 inches of rain as it meandered around the Texas coast after coming ashore as the first of three Category 4 storms to strike the U.S. this year.

Warming worsened Harvey’s impacts by boosting moisture in the atmosphere and weakening high-altitude winds that would normally push such a system along, according to Kerry Emanuel, a professor of atmospheric science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. Harvey marked the third-straight year of major flooding in Houston.

In Texas and elsewhere, “there are certainly indications that these extreme rainfall events are occurring more frequently,” said Greg Carbin, branch chief at the U.S. Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.

Those who are skeptical that climate change is a phenomenon, or that human activity is to blame, contend that dramatic weather this year was happenstance or part of larger, regular meteorological swings. Trump, who has in the past dismissed the concept of man-made climate change as a hoax, announced in June that the U.S. would leave the Paris climate accord, saying it favors other nations at the expense of American workers.

The overwhelming consensus among scientists is that Earth’s climate is warming and that greenhouse gases are the prime reason. The American Meteorological Society linked changing climate and severe weather this month in a report that included contributions from researchers at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“When you see an extreme event that is breaking all records, it is more likely to have the fingerprints of human-induced climate change,” said Brenda Ekwurzel, senior climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists.


2017: turning the tide on green crap?

Ben Pile

Eco-miserabilism suffered some welcome setbacks this year

Nothing vexed greens across the world in 2017 more than Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Before Trump, climate change seemed to have been cemented into American and global political life. It was central to President Obama’s global outlook. But at the same time, it had become a symbol of decadence – part of the cosy consensus of political elites and tech and media billionaires, completely detached from ordinary Americans’ lives and interests. Obama’s seemingly powerful, presidential statements about the ‘overwhelming judgement of science’ failed to overcome that gulf.

Trump’s dismantling of the old climate-change agenda began with his transition team’s review of America’s bloated ecological bureaucracy: the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA’s mandate expanded under Obama; Trump’s team proposed slashing its budget by a third, sacking nearly a quarter of its staff, reducing its scope, and appointing former Oklahoma attorney general and longstanding critic of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, as its administrator. Environmental activists angrily dismissed Pruitt as a ‘climate science denier’. In truth, Pruitt had long urged continued debate and scientific research into climate change, not the complete dismissal of climate concerns from the public agenda.

Then came Trump’s announcement that he would pull the US out of the Paris climate-change agreement – a promise he had made in his election campaign. But that was not quite the abrupt end to America’s involvement with the global climate agenda that activists claimed it was. The exit would be conducted within the terms of the agreement itself. And it would take four years, meaning it wouldn’t be completed until after Trump’s first term had concluded. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process of annual meetings continues, with US participation. The latest meeting was held in Bonn, Germany, in November.

The meeting in Bonn reminded us that there is a frustration with the climate consensus in Germany, too. The losses suffered by Angela Merkel’s CDU in the federal election in September meant she was unable to form a government. That was significant because Germany and Merkel have been positioned as champions of green policy. But, as in America, ambitious climate policy in Germany has contributed to the weakening of the consensus on environmental issues, rather than being, as climate alarmists had hoped, the issue on which dwindling political authority might be re-established.

Germany’s flagship green policy – the half-trillion Euro experiment in renewable energy, Energiewende – looks like it will comprehensively fail to realise the country’s ambition of reducing its CO2 emissions by 40 per cent by 2020. This is a terrible failure for the host nation of a meeting intended to inflict the same policies on the rest of the world.

Environmentalism’s embarrassments – the endless recycling of failed prognostications, the weak deal at Paris, the scaling back of climate politics in the US, and ruinously expensive energy policy failures – have forced greens to seek new ground on which to do battle. There has been an increasing focus on regional rather than national and global government. Reflecting a growing scepticism with global politics, new media billionaire Michael Bloomberg and California governor Jerry Brown hoped to circumvent America’s position at the Bonn meeting by representing a coalition of US states, businesses and organisations that have pledged to ‘address climate change’ no matter what policies are decided in Washington.

But it’s not easy being green. Brown was interrupted at the Bonn climate talks by his fellow climate campaigners, who accused him of being complicit with fossil-fuel firms. ‘Let’s keep you in the ground’, he told the noisy protesters. Later in the year, as wildfires ripped through California, Brown claimed that climate change was the cause – a claim not supported by empirical evidence. Investigators found that the cause of one of the largest fires had been an accident with a cooking fire at an unofficial homeless camp. The governor of perhaps the richest region in the world does not appear to be competent enough to solve his own state’s problems, like homelessness, yet he jets off with his billionaires to ‘save the planet’.

This indifference to people and their problems is the signature of environmentalism. It also underlines greens’ preoccupation with weather as the root of all humanity’s problems. The end of the summer brought an unwelcome return of hurricanes to the US after an unusual 15-year absence. Much shrill green hysteria followed, inevitably leading to claims that the return of extreme weather showed things were getting worse thanks to manmade climate change – despite statistics showing the opposite of this. Climate-change alarmism is nothing if not repetitive and resistant to reason.

The new emphasis on regional politics also led to a shift away from talking about climate change in huge, abstract terms. Climate change is increasingly framed as an air-pollution issue, rather than in the distant language of computer simulations, minute fluctuations of atmospheric gasses, and polar bears. In January, following a concerted effort by UN agencies, London mayor Sadiq Khan joined other European mayors in pushing dodgy mortality statistics to punish poorer motorists and get them off London’s roads.

Though London’s air is cleaner than it has been for half a millennium or more, Khan claimed that ‘toxic smog’ had created a public-health crisis that is claiming the lives of thousands of Londoners every year. Khan has no more to offer Londoners than Brown has to offer Californians.

The air-pollution issue was then seized upon by UK environment secretary Michael Gove, who, using the same dodgy stats, announced that sales of petrol and diesel cars would be banned in 2040. In November, Gove announced a total ban on neonicotinoids – the insecticide which green NGOs, on highly questionable data, claim is responsible for a decline in bee populations. Writing in the Guardian, no less, Gove gave the basis for his decision: the precautionary principle, the central tenet of environmentalism.

2017, in short, was a year of green crap. But it was also a year in which the torrent of green crap that had become the norm started to encounter the obstacles of greens’ own making. Green crap has always been a desperate struggle to rescue politicians from their own political crises and democratic deficits. Now, in the post-Trump, post-Brexit and increasingly multi-polar world, global and domestic political landscapes are altogether different, and the green crap agenda doesn’t work like it used to. That’s something to celebrate.


Trump Pokes Fun At Global Warming Critics, Tells People To Bundle Up

President Donald Trump poked some fun at his climate change critics while warning New Years revelers to bundle up amid record low temperatures across the eastern seaboard in a Thursday tweet.

"In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!"

Trump appeared to reference his decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accords in June. The Paris agreement would have voluntarily committed the U.S. to environmental restrictions along with payments to developing country’s to offset emissions.

“Beyond the severe energy restrictions inflicted by the Paris Accord, it includes yet another scheme to redistribute wealth out of the United States through the so-called Green Climate Fund — nice name — which calls for developed countries to send $100 billion to developing countries all on top of America’s existing and massive foreign aid payments.  So we’re going to be paying billions and billions and billions of dollars, and we’re already way ahead of anybody else,” the president declared in his speech at the time.


Tesla’s giant lithium-ion battery in South Australia outperforms conventional Power Station

The quick response that a battery offers is useful in some ways but nobody seems to be mentioning that the battey concerned can deliver full capacity for only a matter of minutes.  It is no substitute for a real power source

GLADSTONE Power Station is making news across the world - but probably not in the way it would have preferred.

The 1,680MW coal-fired plant was outpaced by tech billionaire Elon Musk’s giant lithium-ion battery when Victoria’s Loy Yang A3 unit failed early on December 14, The Gladstone Observer reports.

While Gladstone’s number 1 unit was contracted to provide backup power – and did so four seconds later – the Hornsdale Power Reserve in South Australia beat it to the punch by injecting 7.3MW into the national electricity grid just 140 milliseconds after Loy Yang began to trip, according to data from the Australian Energy Market Operator compiled by energy analyst Dylan McConnell.

The speed at which the Tesla-made battery kicked in shocked national energy operators, according to the South Australian Government.

But Gladstone Power Station acting general manager Nigel Warrington said it had to be remembered that Gladstone was capable of generating 16 times as much power as Hornsdale.

“The total output of the Hornsdale battery storage is 70-100MW, whereas Gladstone generates up to 1,680MW, or 16 times more than the battery storage,” Mr Warrington said.

“Hornsdale could not, for example, support the Boyne aluminium smelter with that level of output.”

While the Hornsdale Power Reserve isn’t designed to provide large-scale, base load power - but rather to kick in quickly to stabilise the energy grid - the point is an important one.

It means the success of Mr Musk’s $50 million project - built as a result of a bet he made with the South Australian Government on Twitter - is unlikely to spell the end of Gladstone’s role as a contingency provider of backup power any time soon.

Even Romain Desrousseaux, the deputy chief executive of French renewables company Neoen which operates the Hornsdale battery site, believes it is too early to talk about a 100 per cent renewable energy mix - a sign plants like Gladstone will still have a significant role to play for some time to come.

“You need to be able to bring peaking capacity and firming capacity,” Mr Desrousseaux told the Financial Review.

Mr Warrington said Gladstone was recognised as one of the most responsive coal-fired power stations in Australia in terms of its ramp rate - or its ability to scale up and down quickly.

“We don’t see the move to renewables as an ‘us and them’ argument, it is about working hand in hand and last week was a good example of that,” he said.

NRG would not confirm whether Gladstone Power Station’s number 1 unit - the same unit contracted to provide back-up on the night of the Loy Yang failure - had itself tripped on Tuesday.

“There are no current issues at Gladstone and in fact all six units are operating at high load,” Mr Warrington said yesterday.




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


Friday, December 29, 2017

Trans fats:  A failure of logic?

Trans fats in food have long been a whipping boy for food faddists, Greenies and assorted attention-seekers. So the study below has been widely greeted with gladsome hearts.  It has been much-cited in the six months since it first appeared and seems to have won universal approval

And for once I don't think there is any obvious problems with the statistics.  It does however have the logical problem that seems to bedevil most epidemiological research.  Despite all the warnings from logicians, it decides that correlation is causation.  It assumes that because the data was segregated according to its exposure to trans fats that thereore the effects observed reflected exposure to trans fats.  What else could you conclude? I can hear some angry epidemiologist ask.  Well, I will answer that.

You need some history.  Why did dietary trans-fats come into use in the first place?  Answer:  To replace saturated fats, which, courtesy of Ancel Keys, were for decades demonized as bad for your heart.  But a couple of years ago there was one of those big backflips that occur far too often in medical "wisdom". Saturated fats are now good for you!  So did the ban on transfats cause a mass reversion to saturated fats?    It is certainly possible but a more likely outcome is that transfats were replaced by some combination of [good] saturated fats and palm oil.  So it's perfectly possible that the decline heart attacks described below was not due to transfats being bad for you but rather because what replaced them is good for you.  The authors of the article have not pinpointed the cause of what they observed at all.

Hospital Admissions for Myocardial Infarction and Stroke Before and After the Trans-Fatty Acid Restrictions in New York


Importance:  Trans-fatty acids (TFAs) have deleterious cardiovascular effects. Restrictions on their use were initiated in 11 New York State (NYS) counties between 2007 and 2011. The US Food and Drug Administration plans a nationwide restriction in 2018. Public health implications of TFA restrictions are not well understood.

Objective:  To determine whether TFA restrictions in NYS counties were associated with fewer hospital admissions for myocardial infarction (MI) and stroke compared with NYS counties without restrictions.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  We conducted a retrospective observational pre-post study of residents in counties with TFA restrictions vs counties without restrictions from 2002 to 2013 using NYS Department of Health’s Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System and census population estimates. In this natural experiment, we included those residents who were hospitalized for MI or stroke. The data analysis was conducted from December 2014 through July 2016.

Exposure:  Residing in a county where TFAs were restricted.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  The primary outcome was a composite of MI and stroke events based on primary discharge diagnostic codes from hospital admissions in NYS. Admission rates were calculated by year, age, sex, and county of residence. A difference-in-differences regression design was used to compare admission rates in populations with and without TFA restrictions. Restrictions were only implemented in highly urban counties, based on US Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service Urban Influence Codes. Nonrestriction counties of similar urbanicity were chosen to make a comparison population. Temporal trends and county characteristics were accounted for using fixed effects by county and year, as well as linear time trends by county. We adjusted for age, sex, and commuting between restriction and nonrestriction counties.

Results:  In 2006, the year before the first restrictions were implemented, there were 8.4 million adults (53.6% female) in highly urban counties with TFA restrictions and 3.3 million adults (52.3% female) in highly urban counties without restrictions. Twenty-five counties were included in the nonrestriction population and 11 in the restriction population.

Three or more years after restriction implementation, the population with TFA restrictions experienced significant additional decline beyond temporal trends in MI and stroke events combined (−6.2%; 95% CI, −9.2% to −3.2%; P < .001) and MI (−7.8%; 95% CI, −12.7% to −2.8%; P = .002) and a nonsignificant decline in stroke (−3.6%; 95% CI, −7.6% to 0.4%; P = .08) compared with the nonrestriction populations.

Conclusions and Relevance:  The NYS populations with TFA restrictions experienced fewer cardiovascular events, beyond temporal trends, compared with those without restrictions.

JAMA Cardiol. 2017;2(6):627-634. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2017.0491

UK: 1,000 jobs at risk as Swansea Bay tidal power project is stranded

A thousand high-value manufacturing jobs are set to be lost in the Midlands because of the government’s continuing failure to decide whether to support tidal lagoon marine power.

Two of GE’s British plants, at Rugby and at Stafford, had been designated to construct the underwater turbines and to provide the complex electrical power systems needed for the pioneering Swansea Bay tidal lagoon and similar marine energy projects around the coast of Britain.

However, with the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy showing no sign of making a decision on whether to go ahead with the £1.3 billion project in south Wales, it has emerged that the American industrial giant is likely to decide that the plants have little future


How the Ethanol Mandate Is Killing the American Prairie

America's long war on fossil fuels is destroying the famed American prairie.

According to a report by the Organic Consumers Association, 95% of the 240 million acres of prairie land that once blanketed the middle of our country, from Texas to North Dakota, already is gone. Only isolated pockets of prairie tall grass, some 35 million acres set aside for soil and wildlife conservation, remain. And that — largely in the Great Plains — is at risk of being destroyed.

Among the factors most responsible for this tragic loss of our prairie heritage is the federal renewable fuel standard, a congressional mandate requiring refiners to mix renewable fuel (mostly corn-based ethanol) with U.S. gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and heating oil products.

The renewable fuel standard has generated a huge surge in ethanol production, increasing from 9 billion gallons in 2009 to 15.9 billion gallons per year today, according to the Energy Information Administration. By 2022 the total is projected to reach 36 billion gallons.

Ethanol per se is not the problem, however; Washington’s lack of common sense is the problem.

For decades now, ever since the Arab oil embargo of 1973-74, U.S. policymakers have been preoccupied with oil scarcity. That, along with environmental concerns, is what led to the renewable fuels mandate, which triggered huge increases in corn production at the expense of other crops and prairie grasslands.

Currently, roughly half of the entire U.S. corn crop—which topped more than 15 billion bushels last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture—winds up in biofuels.

The trouble is this: When prairie is plowed under to grow corn it becomes a barren landscape. Without the grasses, the environment supports little wildlife. With the grasses, it is home to ducks, pheasants and some 800 other varieties of birds, as well as monarch butterflies and honey bees.

Instead of damning oil as evil, politicians and pundits should start questioning their blind faith in ethanol. In 2005, when the Energy Policy Act introduced the renewable fuel standard, requiring oil companies to blend ethanol with gasoline and diesel may have seemed like the right thing to do for energy security.

Today, thanks to the shale revolution, it makes little sense.

As a result of technological innovations enabling producers to extract hard-to-reach oil from shale formations, domestic crude-oil production has increased to more than 7 million barrels a day, compared with 5 million barrels a decade ago.

Meanwhile, oil imports, especially from OPEC countries, have plunged. The domestic economy is no longer hostage to OPEC and others, such as Russia and Venezuela, which use exports to achieve geopolitical goals.

Remarkably, the amount of technically recoverable oil in the United States available for long-term development now exceeds 100 billion barrels—more than 20 times the current level of annual production, according to IHS, a global research company.

It’s not too late to do something about the renewable fuel standard’s negative impact on wildlife habitat and the prairie ecosystem. A good place to begin is by taking a critical look at government support for corn production.

Nationally, corn growers received some $94.3 billion in subsidies from federal commodity, crop insurance, disaster relief and conservation programs between 1995 and 2014. Corn subsidies in Ohio alone totaled $4.2 billion, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

Such subsidies—along with the ethanol mandate itself—provide a powerful incentive for growers to continue clearing prairie to produce corn for ethanol, even as it destroys the prairie ecosystem.

It’s time for common sense. The ethanol mandate has triggered an environmental disaster. Kicking the ethanol habit should be as much of a no-brainer as buckling up before starting a car.


Report: Renewable Energy Is Bigger ‘Scam’ than Bernie Madoff and Enron

The greatest scam being perpetrated against taxpayers and consumers is renewable energy, according to a new analysis published by the Australian, greater even than Ponzi, Madoff and Enron.

While sinking enormous financial resources into propping up renewable energy prospectors, national governments are providing no perceptible benefits to their citizens, writes Judith Sloan, a renowned Australian economist who has served on the Australian government’s Productivity Commission.

“With very few exceptions, governments all over the world have fallen into the trap of paying renewable energy scammers on the basis that it is necessary, at least politically, to be seen to be doing something about climate change,” Sloan writes, before providing readers with an avalanche of economic data to back up her assertion.

In Australia, more than 2 billion taxpayer dollars a year are funneled to renewable energy handlers by virtue of the operation of the renewable energy target and the associated renewable energy certificates, Sloan observes.

At the same time, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency “shovels out hundreds of millions of dollars annually to subsidise renewable energy companies, many of which are overseas-owned,” she states, and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation was given $10 billion in equity by the Gillard Labor government “to lend or grant money to renewable energy companies.”

Despite this enormous taxpayer “investment,” so-called renewable energy has yet to pay any dividends or to suggest it will be economically viable for the foreseeable future.

Sloan’s grim analysis of the state of renewable energy as a financial sinkhole in Australia is mirrored by other countries such as the United States.

According to Forbes, on a total dollar basis, wind and solar together get more from the federal government than all other energy sources combined, despite the fact that neither is anywhere close to self-supporting. Wind has received the greatest amount of federal subsidies. Solar is second.

Based on production (subsidies per kWh of electricity produced), however, solar energy “has gotten over ten times the subsidies of all other forms of energy sources combined, including wind,” writes energy expert and planetary geologist Dr. James Conca.

During the Obama years from 2010 through 2013, federal renewable energy subsidies increased by 54 percent—from $8.6 billion to $13.2 billion—despite the fact that total federal energy subsidies declined by 23 percent during the same period, from $38 billion to $29 billion.

In absolute terms, between 2010 and 2013 solar energy alone saw a 500 percent increase in federal subsidies from $1.1 billion to $5.3 billion.

In this same period, subsidies for fossil fuels decreased by 15 percent. from $4.0 billion to $3.4 billion, and subsidies for nuclear energy fell by 12 percent, from $1.9 billion to $1.7 billion.

One of the more pernicious side-effects of the enormous government subsidies for renewable energy, Conca found, is that they actually increase the cost of energy. This cost, however, is transferred from the energy consumer to the taxpayer, “and so goes unnoticed by most Americans,” he stated.

While during the period between 2010 and 2014 nuclear energy cost about 4¢ and 5¢ per kWh to produce, solar energy cost between 80¢ and 100¢ per kWh, or 20 times as much to produce. This despite the fact that nuclear energy is “as renewable as wind” but doesn’t enjoy the same star status among environmental activists.

Returning to the case of Australia, Sloan argues that if one were to sum up all the taxpayer-funded subsidies, grants, concessional loans, guarantees and the like the aggregate amount “dwarfs any other government industry assistance aid.”

Something similar has happened in Germany, Sloan states, where Chancellor Angela Merkel decided to shut down all the country’s nuclear power plants, to be replaced with “renewable energy.” The target for 2030 is for 50 percent of the nation’s power to come from renewables.

The ill-fated Energie­wende, the country’s program for energy transition, has hit serious hurdles, Sloan notes, not least the extraordinary cost that now totals some €650 billion.

In an odd twist of fate, late last year the wind simply didn’t blow for several days and a thick fog surrounded many parts of Germany, and thus the output from renewables fell to just 4 percent of total demand. It was Poland, “with its black coal-fired electricity plants,” that came to rescue Germany from its self-induced energy crisis.

The best approach for the future, Sloan concludes, entails “acknowledging that enough is enough when it comes to subsidising renewable energy.”

The sector has been showered with favors with little to show for it, she observes, and it is high time “it stood on its own two feet without any preferential treatment or financial assistance.”


Brrrrr…. It’s Cold! Where’s My Global Warming?

On Christmas morning, as I scraped ice from the sidewalk and shivered, with the outside temperature hovering close to zero, I just had to ask myself: Where’s all this global warming we’ve been promised?

Climate alarmists tell us that anecdotal evidence is useless when talking about climate change. “You can’t simply look out the window and see the long-term trends of the climate” is a typical argument. And it would be a decent argument if they didn’t use such anecdotal evidence all the time themselves. 

Earlier this year, the intensity of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria were all quickly blamed on climate change by sources such as Scientific American, Climate Central, and even noted climate scientist (sarcasm alert), Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, who said during Irma’s landfall in Florida, “If this isn’t climate change, I don’t know what is.” It made no difference that prior to 2017 there had just been a decade-long dearth of such mega-storms in the Atlantic Ocean. Global warming, they told us, could be the only culprit for the ferocity of these storms.

More recently, the catastrophic wildfire season in California was blamed on anthropogenic global warming , most notably by California Governor Jerry Brown.  In a December 9 statement, Brown called the recent fires “a new normal,” and went on to say of his state, “We dwell in this very wonderful place — but a place that’s getting hotter.”

Everything from Brexit to brain-eating amoeba has been blamed on global warming.                                                                                                         

So, being what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, here is some anecdotal evidence to the contrary:

Between Christmas Day and dawn on December 26, Erie, Pennsylvania, received an amazing snowfall total of 53 inches, a two-day record for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. By way of reference, the previous snowfall record in Erie for seven days was a mere 39.8”. As of Tuesday, snow was still falling intermittently with snow expected through Wednesday, Dec. 27.   

Bitter cold conditions swept across the northern tier of states from Montana all the way to Wisconsin on Christmas Day. Wind chills were -40 degrees in many places. In Minneapolis, wind chill temperatures were reported to be -35 degrees, one of the coldest Christmas Days on record.

The same weather system that caused the incredible snow fall in Erie made for a snowy Christmas for New York State and New England as thundersnow, high winds. and white-out conditions were reported all the way up to Maine.

For only the sixth time since 1884, Portland, Oregon received measurable snowfall on Christmas Day this year.

On December 8, a giant snowstorm raged through the American South with measurable snowfall recorded from the southern border of Texas all the way to Georgia in the east. Georgia was especially hard hit with six inches falling in the Atlanta area and up to 12 inches in other parts of the state. Even Northern Mexico saw measurable snow from this storm.

Isn’t it obvious that we’re entering a dangerous global cooling period?

Of course, the previous sentence was tongue-in-cheek. People with common sense understand that unusual weather happens because weather itself happens. Anomaly is in the very nature of weather and climate.

One such climate anomaly was the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), which lasted approximately 300 years around the turn of the first millennium A.D. The Northern Hemisphere, at least, was significantly warmer during this period, much of which was considered a time-of-plenty historically speaking. Grape vineyards abounded in England. Vikings settled in Greenland and Iceland during the period. Humanity was able to extend to more northern climes due to the milder climate.

Looking at my thermometer struggling to reach zero today, that sounds pretty good.

Recently, climate alarmists have even begun a smear campaign against the MWP. When climate alarmists start coming out of the woodwork to say that something isn’t true, you know that it’s scoring rhetorical and, more importantly, scientific points. Alarmists have claimed that the MWP wasn’t global, and to their credit, the best evidence of the MWP is in the Northern Hemisphere (so only half the Earth may have been warmer). They also claim that the “time-of-plenty” aspects of the MWP have been “mythologized” by climate change “deniers” in order to make rhetorical points.

Perhaps, but don’t climate alarmists routinely mythologize events to suit their own purposes? Don’t they routinely show polar bears stranded on ice floes even though a 2016 study by the Scientific Working Group, as well as eyewitness accounts of the Inuit population, claim that the polar bear population is growing or, at worst, stable? Don’t they show dramatic footage of large pieces of ice breaking off from glaciers and imply that this is evidence of global warming, even though they know that such ice breakage is a yearly and completely natural event? Haven’t they produced the truly awful film Day After Tomorrow and Al Gore’s two error-filled documentaries?

None of this proves or even suggests that global warming is not occurring. But it is relevant to talk about with all of the recent climate alarmist rhetoric over the Paris Accord. It is also important to remember exactly what is being discussed in the climate change debate. Over the last 100 years, the overall global mean temperature has risen by approximately 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit. It is hypothesized that mankind may have a small role in that increase.

So, when climate alarmists tell you that we must act now or face dire consequences in the coming years, what they’re really telling you is that we must capitulate, use less fossil fuels, curtail our lifestyles. and accept their socialist agenda, all because of a hypothetical tiny fraction of 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit.




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


Thursday, December 28, 2017

Pollution hysteria in a medical journal

Authors of articles in medical journals are just as excitable about tiny differences as are Warmists.  Warmists get excited about temperature differences of as little as a few hundredths of one degree Celsius and effects roughly as weak as that are often presented with great excitement in medical journals too.  We read below, for instance, that an influence affecting around one person in a million is of importance.

There are circumstances when a tiny difference might mean something but that would be where the measurements concerned are exceedingly precise, free from confounding and well-attested.  But that circumstance never prevails in medical or climate studies.

Just look at the dataset below.  They did NOT in fact measure anybody's exposure to pollution of any sort.  What they did was assess the pollution in an AREA and check who died in that area. That different people in the same area might for various reasons have different levels of exposure to pollution, they blissfully ignored. People who commute from the exurbs to a major city would, for instance, have different pollution exposure to people who worked locally.  So their data has some meaning but is nowhere near precise.

And even the pollution level in each area was not precisely measured. In many cases it was estimated.  So we are looking at imprecise estimates taken in an imprecisely described area.  You would have to find very strong effects indeed to take findings as imprecise as that seriously.  But the effects in the study below are in fact vanishingly small. At best, the findings could support a conclusion that "more research is needed".  They tell us nothing that is even remotely certain. That the pollution studied has no affect at all on anything would be the only cautious conclusion.  So what we actually have is an ideological conclusion: ALL pollution is BAD!

The editor of the journal might reasonably have been expected to inject a note of caution into an evaluation of the findings but he is in fact even more enthusiastic about them.  He sees major public policy implications for the findings.  Sigh!  JAMA could sometimes pass as a book of fairy stories

Association of Short-term Exposure to Air Pollution With Mortality in Older Adults

Qian Di et al.


Importance:  The US Environmental Protection Agency is required to reexamine its National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) every 5 years, but evidence of mortality risk is lacking at air pollution levels below the current daily NAAQS in unmonitored areas and for sensitive subgroups.

Objective:  To estimate the association between short-term exposures to ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and ozone, and at levels below the current daily NAAQS, and mortality in the continental United States.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  Case-crossover design and conditional logistic regression to estimate the association between short-term exposures to PM2.5 and ozone (mean of daily exposure on the same day of death and 1 day prior) and mortality in 2-pollutant models. The study included the entire Medicare population from January 1, 2000, to December 31, 2012, residing in 39 182 zip codes.

Exposures:  Daily PM2.5 and ozone levels in a 1-km × 1-km grid were estimated using published and validated air pollution prediction models based on land use, chemical transport modeling, and satellite remote sensing data. From these gridded exposures, daily exposures were calculated for every zip code in the United States. Warm-season ozone was defined as ozone levels for the months April to September of each year.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  All-cause mortality in the entire Medicare population from 2000 to 2012.

Results:  During the study period, there were 22 433 862 million case days and 76 143 209 control days. Of all case and control days, 93.6% had PM2.5 levels below 25 μg/m3, during which 95.2% of deaths occurred (21 353 817 of 22 433 862), and 91.1% of days had ozone levels below 60 parts per billion, during which 93.4% of deaths occurred (20 955 387 of 22 433 862). The baseline daily mortality rates were 137.33 and 129.44 (per 1 million persons at risk per day) for the entire year and for the warm season, respectively. Each short-term increase of 10 μg/m3 in PM2.5 (adjusted by ozone) and 10 parts per billion (10−9) in warm-season ozone (adjusted by PM2.5) were statistically significantly associated with a relative increase of 1.05% (95% CI, 0.95%-1.15%) and 0.51% (95% CI, 0.41%-0.61%) in daily mortality rate, respectively. Absolute risk differences in daily mortality rate were 1.42 (95% CI, 1.29-1.56) and 0.66 (95% CI, 0.53-0.78) per 1 million persons at risk per day. There was no evidence of a threshold in the exposure-response relationship.

Conclusions and Relevance:  In the US Medicare population from 2000 to 2012, short-term exposures to PM2.5 and warm-season ozone were significantly associated with increased risk of mortality. This risk occurred at levels below current national air quality standards, suggesting that these standards may need to be reevaluated.

JAMA. 2017;318(24):2446-2456. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.17923

The very real climate crisis at the North Pole(?)

Leftists never learn.  The editorial from the Boston globe below draws on a NOAA "report" of a few weeks back.  Since then there have been various critiques of that report, including one by me.  But the editor acts as if no criticisms of the report had ever been made -- including the obvious point that the climate changes discussed were more likely to be caused by ElNino than by anthropogenic global warming.  No attempt at all was in fact made to demonstrate any  attribution for the changes.

But it is always fun to look at what the Green/Left DON'T say.  The vast sea level rise that we were once threatened with is now nowhere mentioned. And you can see why.  The Arctic is mostly floating ice so no matter how much of that that melted it would not affect the sea level by one iota.  And the only large land-based chunk of the Arctic is Greenland and Greenland is not melting -- as you can see in the excerpt from the report below:

So if we are no longer at risk of flooding, what is the problem?  None apparently.  The only problems mentioned are dangers to fisheries and crops if warming continues.  But fisheries and crops are more likely to thrive with more warming so the whole thing is a storm in a teacup

Arctic ice is melting, a radical disruption that is already wreaking havoc with tourism, fisheries, and the frozen ecosystem needed to sustain wildlife like the polar bear. The damage is well documented in the latest report card on Arctic health, issued annually by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. At first, it might be easy to mistake the data for good news: After an unduly warm fall in 2016, air temperatures in the Arctic were near average in spring and summer of this year. Unfortunately, over the long term, that amounts to a blip in an unprecedented warming streak.

And climate change, unlike weather, is most appropriately measured over the long term. What researchers at NOAA see is nothing short of alarming. As the NOAA report card puts it, the Arctic “shows no sign of returning to [the] reliably frozen region” of the recent past. In fact, the rate of Arctic sea ice decline and warming temperatures is higher than at any other time in 1,500 years — since around the time of the fall of Rome. Water in the Barents and Chukchi seas was 7 degrees Fahrenheit higher than just a few decades ago, according to the report.

That’s a sign that the chilly ice cap at the North Pole, which helps cool the entire planet, is inexorably eroding, scientists say. That, in turn, could alter weather patterns in distant places. An atmospheric researcher told NPR that air circulation over the eastern Pacific could easily be affected, causing a drier climate by the end of this century in California. That should concern the Trump administration, which recently authorized federal disaster funds to fight at least four voracious fires raging near Santa Barbara and Los Angeles.

There’s another previously unforeseen consequence of a warmer North Pole: An international team of scientists writing in the journal Nature Geoscience found that unusually warm spring temperatures in the Arctic Ocean can lead to colder temperatures across North America, hurting the growth of vegetation that absorbs carbon and cutting into farmers’ crop yields.

It’s clear that the planet’s climate is like a complex operating system, a networked web that is influenced by a variety of factors — including humankind’s activity

SOURCE. "Report" here

Lincoln Electric: Climate change is real, caused by humans

We read below: "LES acknowledges that the emissions of greenhouse gases from fossil fuel-fired power generating plants contribute to increased concentration levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide"

On what basis? We read here of a scientific test of that assertion.  The assertion was not upheld.

Climate change is real, and is caused at least in part by humans, says the Lincoln Electric System in its legislative guidelines.

This isn't a new policy. It's been part of LES guidelines for several years, even before climate change became so politically divisive and controversial, and some federal government agencies removed climate change references from their websites.

"LES acknowledges that the emissions of greenhouse gases from fossil fuel-fired power generating plants contribute to increased concentration levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, which in turn contribute to climate change," read the guidelines, approved by the LES board this month.

The climate change guidelines are patterned after principles developed by the American Public Power Association, the national trade association, said Shelley Sahling-Zart, LES vice president and general counsel.

LES has also increased its draw from renewable energy sources in recent years. In 2017, energy production from renewable resources (primarily wind) is expected to be the equivalent of 49 percent of LES retail sales.

LES' approach to climate change is not going to change based on the current national controversy, says Sahling-Zart.

LES' decisions are driven by people in the local community. "And in Lincoln, many people are still very interested in climate change and still concerned with where our resources come from," she said.

"While it may not be a focus of the current administration, it continues to be a topic of serious debate and discussion," she said.


'Junk science'? Studies behind Obama regulations under fire

Scientific studies used by the Obama administration to help justify tough environmental regulations are coming under intensifying scrutiny, with critics questioning their merit as the Trump EPA reverses or delays some of those rules.

In one case, agencies determined the research used to prop up a ban on a pesticide was questionable. On another front, the Environmental Protection Agency never complied with a congressional subpoena for the data used to justify most Obama administration air quality rules.

“EPA regulations are based on secret data developed in the 1990s,” Steve Milloy, who served on President Trump’s EPA transition team, told Fox News. “For the EPA, coming up with cherry-picked data is standard operating procedure.”

Milloy, author of “Scare Pollution: Why and How to Fix the EPA,” was previously a lawyer for the Securities and Exchange Commission and is among critics who accuse federal agencies of carefully selecting scientific research to fit a political agenda.

In October, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt issued a directive to ensure that individuals serving on EPA advisory committees don’t get EPA grants and are free from potential conflicts of interest.

“Whatever science comes out of EPA, shouldn’t be political science,” Pruitt said in a statement. “From this day forward, EPA advisory committee members will be financially independent from the agency.”

Environmental groups blasted the decision. “For Pruitt, anything that helps corporate polluters make money is good and science and facts are just roadblocks he wants to tear down,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club.

Pruitt has become one of the most controversial members of the Trump administration in its first year, cast by his detractors as battling the kinds of regulations his agency is supposed to be upholding. But his office suggests many of those rules were flawed from the start.

Here’s a look at some of the most controversial studies behind those regulations:

Pesticide Ban

Pruitt recently reversed the 2015 ban on the insecticide chlorpyrifos for agricultural use, amid questions over the process.

The Obama administration’s EPA had originally justified the ban based on a study by the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health, which said the insecticide was linked to childhood developmental delays. While it was already banned for home use since 2000, the decision put the U.S. at odds with over 100 countries that allow the chemical for agricultural purposes.

Government agencies later questioned the findings.

The EPA Scientific Advisory Panel’s meeting report said: “[T]he majority of the Panel considers the Agency’s use of the results from a single longitudinal study to make a decision with immense ramifications based on the use of cord blood measures of chlorpyrifos as a PoD for risk assessment as premature and possibly inappropriate.”

The USDA stated it had “grave concerns about the EPA process...and severe doubts about the validity of the scientific conclusions underpinning EPA’s latest chlorpyrifos risk assessment.”

The center also gets EPA funding, noted Angela Logomasini, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free-market think tank.

“Agencies shouldn’t be able to cherry-pick. It’s a problem with administrative procedures across the board,” Logomasini told Fox News. “When money goes to politically active research groups, it’s government funding of the science.”

Harvard Study

The Obama administration’s EPA used the 1993 Harvard Six Cities Study to justify air quality regulations on particulate matter, or particles of pollution in the air. The regulations—linked to devastating the coal industry—also affect automobiles, power plants and factories.

In 2013 the House Science, Space and Technology Committee subpoenaed the EPA for data from the study, which links particulate air pollution to infant mortality.

But in 2014, then-EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told the committee the agency couldn’t produce either the Harvard study or information from a 1994 American Cancer Society study—claiming the EPA didn’t own the information.

“We did a very large analysis for California, which has arguably the most detailed database in the U.S. of mortality, and couldn't find any acute deaths due to PM2.5, even during the raging wildfires of 2007, when levels went through the roof,” Hank Campbell, president of the American Council on Science and Health, told Fox News.

For its part, Harvard argues regulations that stemmed from the report’s recommendations saved lives and were cost-effective.

Global Warming Hiatus?

The House science committee also is investigating the process behind a 2015 report from a team of scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, led by Thomas Karl, director of the agency’s National Climate Data Center.

Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas., said the timing of the global warming report was curious because it lined up with the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan and the Paris Climate Conference (both of which the Trump administration now plans to abandon).

Karl denied the paper was released for political reasons, but critics linked it to a period between 1998 and 2013 known as the climate change “hiatus” -- when the rate of global temperature growth slowed.

John Bates, former principal scientist at the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., said the study was issued with the purpose of discrediting any hiatus. Another scientist, Judith Curry, formerly of Georgia Tech, asserted that NOAA, a division of the Commerce Department, excluded certain data from their study in order to reach their preferred conclusion.

Commerce Department spokesman James Rockas said the matter is under review. In response to lawmakers’ concerns, “and in the interest of assuring the highest scientific standards, Commerce engaged outside experts to evaluate Department processes with regard to the production of scientific studies,” Rockas told Fox News.

Congressional Action

Some members of Congress back legislation to require agencies to rely on the “best available science” and consider a body of research, rather than a single study backing up a pre-existing decision. The bill also requires agencies to make the data available to Congress and the public.

The Better Evaluation of Science and Technology Act, or “BEST Act,” is sponsored in the House by Republican Reps. Ralph Norman of South Carolina and Paul Gosar of Arizona and in the Senate by Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla.

A coalition of 10 conservative organizations signed a letter to Congress backing the bill. “The American people should be confident that when agencies regulate, they rely on up-to-date, accurate, and unbiased information,” Lankford told Fox News.

However, such oversight could “cripple the ability of agencies … to rely on scientific evidence to issue public health and safety safeguards,” Yogin Kothari, Washington representative for the Center for Science and Democracy, said in a statement earlier this year.


Trump Delivers Energy Policy Wins

After nearly a year in office, President Donald Trump has established an enviable record of restoring opportunity and unlocking the nation’s potential. One of his most obvious areas of success has been in the energy sector. For years, US leaders have talked about energy independence or energy security, but Trump thinks much bigger and advocates for “energy dominance.”

Earlier this year, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt wrote an op-ed explaining what energy dominance means.

“An energy-dominant America means a self-reliant and secure nation, free from the geopolitical turmoil of other nations that seek to use energy as an economic weapon. An energy-dominant America will export to markets around the world, increasing our global leadership and influence. Becoming energy dominant means that we are getting government out of the way so that we can share our energy wealth with developing nations.”

Interior Secretary Zinke has a key role to play in Trump’s efforts to increase US energy production. As Interior Secretary, he is responsible for managing hundreds of millions of acres of public lands and well over a billion acres offshore. According to the Department, 30% of the nation’s energy is produced in areas under its management. Fortunately, for consumers, the unemployed, and the underemployed, Zinke is intent upon implementing Trump’s energy and jobs agenda.

Shortly after his confirmation, Zinke lifted a moratorium on new coal-mining leases on federal lands, which had been put in place by the Obama Administration. This past summer, Zinke rescinded a rule that would have increased costs for companies that mine coal in federal lands. In October, the Interior Department announced the largest oil and gas lease sale in US history will take place next spring.

In addition to the work of his subordinates, Trump is personally taking action to move our country toward energy dominance. Responding to the wishes of Utah’s leaders, Trump slashed the size of two national monuments designated by two of his Democrat predecessors reducing the size of Bears Ears National Monument by over 80% and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by nearly half. Both monuments contain vast quantities of natural resources.

Bill Clinton’s sudden designation of the 1.88 million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in 1996 enraged many Utahns. One of the reasons for this anger was that a company had been planning to create hundreds of coal-mining jobs there, which were, unsurprisingly, killed by the designation.

Barack Obama designated the 1.35 million-acre Bears Ears National Monument in the waning days of his Administration. As was the case with Grand Staircase-Escalante, elected officials in Utah disapproved of the establishment of Bears Ears.

Under Obama, leftists descended on North Dakota to halt the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Administration delayed its construction. Shortly after Trump was sworn in, he signed a memorandum expediting the approval process for the pipeline. Within days, the US Army Corps of Engineers granted the necessary easement for the completion of the pipeline. Several months later, the pipeline was completed, tested, and opened for commercial operation.

Furthermore, Trump’s signature on the recently-passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act bill will finally deliver another energy policy victory. For two decades, Republicans have fought to develop some of the energy resources in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and one of the provisions of the tax cut bill paves the way for that to occur.

Whether it can be tied directly to Trump’s policies or not, the energy sector is certainly seeing growth. For example, coal production is up 8%, and coal exports are up 68%. Domestic oil production is also up over last year, the International Energy Agency expects that US production will increase further next year, and oil exports are up by more than 56% over last year.

The past year has been filled with energy policy wins as Trump and his Administration have worked to deliver on his promises; and the best part is that the Administration is just getting started.




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, December 27, 2017

"Nature", the international journal of non-science: Extreme weather explicitly blamed on humans for the first time. Scientists take the bold step of saying phenomena wouldn’t have happened without global warming (?)

The editorial from "Nature" below is undoubtedly correct. Many scientists DO say those things.  They may be wrong, however.  And if you look at the three studies they quote in support it is just more modelling crap.  Until the models generate accurate predictions -- a necessary criterion for the truth of any  scientific theory -- we can safely ignore such model runs.

See here for some recent details of how unpredictive Warmist models are.  They are built on the absurd theory that the tiny percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere has a substantial climate effect, so they have no chance of being right.  Their repeated failure proves the theory to be wrong.

Steve Milloy has an accurate graphic about climate science versus science:

The unscientific orientation of the journal can also be gleaned from the language used below.  It reads like a novel rather than a scientific report. For instance, in what way is the weather "weird"?  Any statistics?  It doesn't seem weird to me. Show me where I am wrong; A heatwave is "oppressive".  How do we measure that?  Any numbers?  Hurricanes "hammered" America.  How hard?  Damage statistics? I could go on but the language is as emotive as any novel and just about as divorced from reality

The editor of "Nature" clearly has literary pretensions but publishing literary output in a journal which claims to be an "international journal of science" does no credit to either the journal or himself

The weird weather just keeps on coming. An oppressive heatwave dubbed Lucifer stifled Europe in August, then a series of powerful Atlantic hurricanes hammered the Americas. Now, unseasonably hot and dry conditions are driving wildfires in California. During and after such events, the same question always arises: is global warming to blame?

Basic theory suggests that climate change will lead to more extreme weather, but making the link to individual events is difficult. There was a time when the typical answer was something along the lines of, ‘Perhaps, but it’s hard to say.’ The science has advanced over the past several years, and scientists have identified global warming’s relative contribution to many extreme weather events. Now, for the first time, climate researchers are reporting that some weather events would have been outright impossible without the warming influence of humanity’s greenhouse-gas emissions.

This kind of confident assertion rarely makes its way into the scientific literature. Yet it appeared in three studies included in a special annual edition of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS) dedicated to attributing the causes of extreme weather events. If these results hold up, the implications would be profound and unsettling: humanity has already pushed the global climate into a new regime. To be clear, natural variability will always have a major role, but the blame for some of the most extreme weather phenomena — as well as some of the resulting impacts — would rest squarely on our own shoulders.

Released on 13 December, the research in question focused on 2016, the hottest year on record. One modelling study, led by scientists at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, compared the temperature record to a simulated baseline climate without human greenhouse-gas emissions (T. R. Knutson et al. Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc. 99, S11–S15; 2018). In baseline simulations of some 24,000 years of weather from seven climate models, nothing like the record warmth of 2016 ever occurred. Greenhouse-gas emissions, chiefly those from fossil-fuel use, are a prerequisite for this kind of heat. What’s more, the paper indicates that greenhouse gases began to push the climate outside the realm of natural variability around 1980.

These conclusions necessarily assume that today’s climate models are sufficiently robust to capture the full range of natural variability. Others will certainly weigh in on the question, but the results suggest that we may need to reframe how we think about extreme events. The epic El Niño warming event in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean in 2015–16, for example, might have pushed global temperatures to record levels, but only because it was amplified by more than a century of greenhouse-gas emissions. From this perspective, global warming might also be to blame for many of the impacts that we normally attribute to El Niño itself, which roils weather patterns across the globe.

Indeed, a second study in the special issue identified global warming as the culprit behind heatwaves that gripped much of southeast Asia in 2016 (Y. Imada et al. Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc. 99, S97–S101; 2018). In India, the heat killed at least 580 people from March to May. Thailand recorded its highest temperature ever — 44.6 °C — on 28 April, and energy consumption across the region hit record levels as people turned on air conditioners for relief. El Niño might have exacerbated the situation, says the study, but the temperatures “would never have happened without the anthropogenic warming”.

Researchers came to the same conclusion in a third study, focused on marine warming in the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea that began in 2014 and climaxed last year (J. E. Walsh et al. Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc. 99, S39–S43; 2018). El Niño might have been involved, but global warming set the stage, with far-reaching consequences. Ice on Alaskan rivers broke up earlier than ever; a lack of sea ice affected fishing; and toxic plankton blooms reduced shellfish harvests. Tens of thousands of seabirds were found dead, probably starved.

Extreme weather would be expected from time to time, regardless of global warming. In fact, of the 131 papers investigating extreme events that BAMS has published over the past 6 years, 35% found that global warming played no appreciable part. Nevertheless, the latest results suggest that the climate is entering uncharted territory, and that would mean that weather will increasingly fall outside the historical norm. From this perspective, humanity hasn’t just loaded the dice. We have replaced them with a whole new type that behave in ways we don’t fully understand.

The solution has been clear for more than two decades: governments need to take aggressive action to curb greenhouse-gas emissions. By attributing real-world impacts to global warming, scientists are providing citizens and political leaders with further evidence that climate change is a clear and present danger, not a distant threat to future generations. Perhaps in 2018, policymakers will finally realize which way the wind is blowing.


Newsweak is still struggling on but it seems that they can't afford any fact-checkers these days

With the advent of this cheery holiday comes a somber warning from Newsweek, purveyor of climate doom.

“[A]s global temperatures rise due to climate change, snow on Christmas Day could increasingly become a rarity—even a distant memory.”

Contrary to Newsweek‘s claims, however, snow cover across the Northern Hemisphere (NH) has been increasing in recent decades.

Image Source: NOAA

In the Southern Hemisphere, snow and ice have been expanding in the Antarctic region for centuries (Thomas et al., 2017), and Antarctica is projected to continue gaining ice mass in the decades to come (Lenaerts et al., 2016).

Apparently the journalists penning climate alarm scenarios that warn readers white Christmases are on the way out in the NH haven’t been keeping up with the latest scientific publications.


A new Ezekiel with a message from on high

Dedicated Warmist Zeke Hausfather explains below why scientists think 100% of global warming is due to humans.  And he is probably right that many of them do think that.  But are they right? What is their evidence?  Zeke gives none.  Everything that Zeke says below is just an appeal to authority so that is poor evidence for anything. And the conclusions of the authorities are based on models with no predictive skill -- so Zeke has proved nothing.  There is NO observable or measurable causal chain that  links human activity to temperature.  All that the Warmists have are hypotheses, and readily falsifiable hypotheses at at that.

The extent of the human contribution to modern global warming is a hotly debated topic in political circles, particularly in the US.

During a recent congressional hearing, Rick Perry, the US energy secretary, remarked that “to stand up and say that 100% of global warming is because of human activity, I think on its face, is just indefensible”.

However, the science on the human contribution to modern warming is quite clear. Humans emissions and activities have caused around 100% of the warming observed since 1950, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) fifth assessment report.

Here Carbon Brief examines how each of the major factors affecting the Earth’s climate would influence temperatures in isolation – and how their combined effects almost perfectly predict long-term changes in the global temperature.

Carbon Brief’s analysis finds that:

Since 1850, almost all the long-term warming can be explained by greenhouse gas emissions and other human activities.

If greenhouse gas emissions alone were warming the planet, we would expect to see about a third more warming than has actually occurred. They are offset by cooling from human-produced atmospheric aerosols.

Aerosols are projected to decline significantly by 2100, bringing total warming from all factors closer to warming from greenhouse gases alone.

Natural variability in the Earth’s climate is unlikely to play a major role in long-term warming.

In its 2013 fifth assessment report, the IPCC stated in its summary for policymakers that it is “extremely likely that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature” from 1951 to 2010 was caused by human activity. By “extremely likely”, it meant that there was between a 95% and 100% probability that more than half of modern warming was due to humans.

This somewhat convoluted statement has been often misinterpreted as implying that the human responsibility for modern warming lies somewhere between 50% and 100%. In fact, as NASA’s Dr Gavin Schmidt has pointed out, the IPCC’s implied best guess was that humans were responsible for around 110% of observed warming (ranging from 72% to 146%), with natural factors in isolation leading to a slight cooling over the past 50 years.

Similarly, the recent US fourth national climate assessment found that between 93% to 123% of observed 1951-2010 warming was due to human activities.

These conclusions have led to some confusion as to how more than 100% of observed warming could be attributable to human activity. A human contribution of greater than 100% is possible because natural climate change associated with volcanoes and solar activity would most likely have resulted in a slight cooling over the past 50 years, offsetting some of the warming associated with human activities.

Scientists measure the various factors that affect the amount of energy that reaches and remains in the Earth’s climate. They are known as “radiative forcings”.

These forcings include greenhouse gases, which trap outgoing heat, aerosols – both from human activities and volcanic eruptions – that reflect incoming sunlight and influence cloud formation, changes in solar output, changes in the reflectivity of the Earth’s surface associated with land use, and many other factors.

To assess the role of each different forcing in observed temperature changes, Carbon Brief adapted a simple statistical climate model developed by Dr Karsten Haustein and his colleagues at the University of Oxford and University of Leeds. This model finds the relationship between both human and natural climate forcings and temperature that best matches observed temperatures, both globally and over land areas only.


ICE AGE EARTH: Global FREEZE lasting 120 YEARS threatens ‘more intense’ winters from 2019

A GLOBAL cool down lasting 120 years will trigger “more intense” winters that threaten months of freezing temperatures and snow “within a few years”, climate scientists have warned.

The coldest winter in five years has been forecast for Britain, with “widespread snow” and brutal lows of -17C across Christmas expected to be a “shock to the system”.

During the first two weeks of winter, the UK was crippled by an onslaught of cold snaps that brought heavy snow, hazardous ice and sub-zero temperatures virtually everywhere.

Speaking to Daily Star Online, climate and weather experts predict one cold spell a week until the end of winter in the UK, warning “you have been cool and it will get colder”.

In the coming years, David Dilley, CEO of Global Weather Oscillations, believes winters will only become “more intense” in the UK due to a combination of “dangerous” climate factors.

His research shows that by 2019, Earth will enter a natural 120-year cooling cycle that happens roughly every 230 years, bucking the warming trend.

Predictions of low solar activity for 33 years between 2020 and 2053 are also predicted to send thermometers plummeting, according to his research.

The vast majority of scientists are of the view that global average temperatures have been rising steeply in the past century, with evidence showing human influence is the dominant cause.

But Dilley, a former NOAA meteorologist, argues that Earth is “coming off” a 230-year global warming cycle and moving on to a 120-year cooling period.

These global warming and cooling cycles are determined by the gravitational forces of the Earth, moon and sun, he said, citing evidence “well documented in science”.

In other words, as Earth swings closer to the sun global warming is observed, while cooling is observed as Earth swings away.

“Earth is currently coming off a 230-year global warming cycle and dipping into a 120-year global cooling cycle,” he said.

“They come approximately every 230-years and we have had five during the past 1,000 years.

“The last one ended in the year 1800 and was followed by dramatic cooling and a year of no summer in 1816.”

If his research proves to be true, the effects of cold weather during winters could have devastating consequences for the global economy, human life and society as we know it.

Dilley has warned that “worldwide crop failures, famine and disease” could strike “during early stages of each global cooling cycle”.

John Hammond, founder of the digital weather service weathertrending, said there is a scientific consensus that global warming will carry on for the foreseeable future.

But speaking to Daily Star Online, the former Met Office and BBC weatherman said “natural cycles” will have an effect on temperatures in some regions.

“There is no doubt that the long-term trend of global warming is set to continue, due to manmade influences,” he said.

“However, there are natural cycles, both in the oceans and the atmosphere that will have some influence on the degree of warming in various parts of the world, over the next few decades.

“There is a huge amount of research going into this, and the honest truth is that we don’t yet have all the answers.”


For a huge ‘peace dividend,’ end the war on fossil fuels

From making our morning coffee to riding the D.C. Metro, and whether for powering the computer screen or printing the paper which you are reading right now, energy is an essential part of our lives and ubiquitous in today’s economy.

Fortunately, Americans have a tremendous amount of accessible energy here at home, in good ol’ American soil. The Institute for Energy Research estimates that we Americans sit atop 1.3 trillion barrels of recoverable shale oil and more than 2 quadrillion cubic feet of natural gas.

President Trump has indicated the desire to let U.S. energy producers (and consumers) more readily tap into this vast supply. He will meet resistance from those who insist on curbing the use of these so-called “fossil fuels,” claiming they contribute significantly to the threat of global warming.

The anti-fossil fuel warriors were ascendant during the Obama years. Policymakers introduced a number of domestic proposals — such as the Waxman-Markey bill and the EPA’s Clean Power Plan — to reduce consumption of these fuels. His administration also signed on to international pacts, such as the Paris agreement, with the same goal.

What these warriors continually overlooked was the collateral damage their policies would inflict on the U.S. economy. It is staggering.

At The Heritage Foundation, our analysis found that, by 2035, participation in the Paris agreement would produce an aggregate loss of $2.5 trillion in U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). That change works out to $20,000 of lost income for a typical family of four. Moreover, the changes in energy production necessitated by the pact would significantly boost household electricity expenditures.

What benefits would we gain in return for these costs? Virtually none. Our analyses showed temperature mitigation of less than 0.2 degrees Celsius and a reduction of less than 2 centimeters in sea level rise by the end of the century.

Why would so little climate progress be so expensive? Because the goal of the war on fossil fuels has always been to make them more expensive. Fossil fuels are, after all, the least expensive and most efficient form of energy currently available. The only way to keep people from using them is to artificially increase their price.

What would happen if Mr. Trump were to enable us to take advantage of the vast resources here at home? Energy prices would fall, and economic growth would accelerate.

Tapping into new pockets of shale oil and gas would create new jobs for the geologists, mathematicians, data scientists, engineers and field workers directly associated with the fracking process. Local business near the production fields would also benefit directly from the increased employment and paychecks of frackers.

The indirect benefits are as widespread as they are massive. As business energy costs decline, employers have more money to invest in workers — yielding bigger paychecks, better benefits and more jobs. Our most recent analysis estimates that if America were to stop the war on fossil fuels, it would increase GDP as much as $2.4 trillion by 2035 — pretty much the exact opposite of the results produced under the Paris pact.

Wage improvements and cost savings of this magnitude would be a godsend for families struggling to make ends meet. Meanwhile, the effect on global temperatures would be negligible.

Mr. Trump has already taken some steps in the right direction. His Energy Independence Executive Order deemed federal lands to be viable for fracking. Although there have been questions about the safety of fracking, a recent study by the EPA found that hydraulic fracturing poses no major health risks.

Because the American system of justice is so strong, proper enforcement of contract rights and the rule of law are the norm. Those who cause damage are held accountable, ensuring that the best and safest drilling techniques will prevail in extracting these resources.

Policymakers have a moral obligation to end the war on fossil fuels. Doing so will unleash American talent and ingenuity and grow the economy for years to come.




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


Monday, December 25, 2017

No posts today, maybe tomorrow

If you are looking for something congenial to read, you might find my list of short articles interesting. They cover a wide subject range.  The subject index is here

Sunday, December 24, 2017

PM2.5: The Latest Air Pollution Scam

Steve Milloy

C.Arden Pope, III’s latest exercise in secret epidemiologic junk science is a study claiming that PM2.5 causes heart attacks in people with blood types A, B, and AB but not type O (45% of the population). Pope didn’t even bother to publish the study, he just made a presentation at an American Heart Association meeting on November 14.

This is Pope’s usual statistical crap — minuscule and meaningless data dredged correlations built off imaginary exposure data, ignored confounding factors, zero biological explanation, and in defiance of reality.

As a checkpoint, where are all the heart attacks in India during the ongoing air pollution crisis where PM2.5 levels have been as high as 150 time average US air? There aren’t any.

The media release is below.

People with certain blood types are at increased risk of heart attack during periods of pollution

Individuals who have A, B, or AB blood types have an elevated risk of having a heart attack during periods of significant air pollution, compared to those with the O blood type, according to new research from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute and Brigham Young University.

The new study is unique in that it links increased risk of heart attack associated with small particulate pollution to increased risk of heart attack for people with certain blood types who have coronary artery disease.

The ABO gene — which is present in people who have A, B, and AB blood types — is the only gene that’s been validated in large international studies to predict heart attacks among people with coronary disease.

Previous studies have also shown links between small-particulate PM2.5 pollution and heart attacks, admission to the hospital with unstable chest pain, heart failure, and atrial fibrillation. This new study was designed to build on and tie together those findings and test the influence of one variation: the impact of an individual’s blood type.

“We wondered, if someone has a specific variation in this ABO gene, are they more or less likely to experience a heart attack in times of higher pollution?” said Benjamin Horne, PhD, a clinical epidemiologist and lead investigator of the study from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City. “The primary mutation we studied differentiates between O blood types and non-O, which includes positive and negative A, B, and AB blood types. The one that’s been found in genetic studies to be lower risk is O. The other three were higher risk.”

Results of the study will be reported at the 2017 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Anaheim, CA, on November 14, at noon, PST.

Dozens of genes have been shown in large international studies to predict the onset of coronary artery disease in people who are free of the disease. But the vast majority of people won’t have a heart attack unless they already have coronary artery disease. Nor is a heart attack a certainty even with heart disease.

“You have to have other characteristics for coronary disease to progress to a heart attack,” Dr. Horne said. “The association between heart attacks and pollution in patients with non-O blood isn’t something to panic over, but it is something to be aware of.”

Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute researchers had already identified a level of pollution at which the increased risk occurred for people with non-O blood types, he said, and that threshold is 25 micrograms of pollution per cubic meter.

“Two years ago we published findings that showed once you go above that, each additional 10 micrograms of pollution per cubic meter of air provided substantially higher risks,” he said. “At levels higher than 25 micrograms per cubic meter of pollution, the increase in risk is linear, while below that level there’s little if any difference in risk.”

The clinical data used for the study came from Intermountain Healthcare patients seen between 1993 and 2007. C. Arden Pope, PhD, from BYU, and one of the study authors, provided the air pollution data. The analysis of air quality was done at BYU.

During a winter inversion, the PM2.5 pollution level can occasionally reach as high as 100 micrograms per cubic meter, but 50-60 is more typical.

Researchers found that people with type O blood also have higher risk of heart attack or unstable chest pain in times of high air pollution. But their level of risk is much smaller, at 10 percent instead of the non-O blood type’s 25 percent per 10 additional micrograms per cubic meter, Dr. Horne said. So at the 65 micrograms per cubic meter pollution level, a person with type O blood faces risk that’s 40 percent higher than if the air wasn’t polluted.

“In the information we provide to our patients about pollution, we try to stress that they can do something about it to reduce their risks: Stay indoors out of pollution. Exercise indoors. And make sure they’re compliant with taking their heart medication to reduce their risk,” Dr. Horne said.


Global warming: Fake news from the start

President Donald Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change because it is a bad deal for America.

He could have made the decision simply because the science is false. However, most of the American and global public have been brainwashed into believing the science is correct (and supported by the faux 97% consensus), so they would not have believed that explanation.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and indeed the leaders of many western democracies, support the Agreement and are completely unaware of the gross deficiencies in the science. If they understood those deficiencies, they wouldn’t be forcing a carbon dioxide (CO2) tax on their citizens.

Trudeau and other leaders show how little they know, and how little they assume the public knows, by calling it a “carbon tax” on “carbon emissions.” But CO2 is a gas, the trace atmospheric gas that makes life on Earth possible. Carbon is a solid, and carbon-based fuels are solid (coal), liquid (oil) or gaseous (natural gas).

By constantly railing about “carbon emissions,” Trudeau, Obama and others encourage people to think of carbon dioxide as something “dirty,” like soot, which really is carbon. Calling CO2 by its proper name would help the public remember that it is actually an invisible, odorless gas essential to plant photosynthesis.

Canadian Environment Minister Catherine McKenna is arguably the most misinformed of the lot, saying in a recent interview that “polluters should pay.” She too either does not know that CO2 is not a pollutant, or she is deliberately misleading people.

Like many of her political peers, McKenna dismisses credentialed PhD scientists who disagree with her approach, labelling them “deniers.” She does not seem to understand that questioning scientific hypotheses, even scientific theories, is what all scientists should do, if true science is to advance.

That is why the Royal Society’s official motto is “Nullius in verba,” Latin for “Take nobody's word for it.” Ironically, the Society rarely practices this approach when it comes to climate change.

Mistakes such as those made by McKenna are not surprising, considering that from the outset the entire claim of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) was built on falsehoods and spread with fake news.

The plot to deceive the world about human-caused global warming gathered momentum right after the World Meteorological Organization and United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) created the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988.

After spending five days at the U.N. with Maurice Strong, the first executive director of UNEP, Hamilton Spectator investigative reporter Elaine Dewar concluded that the overarching objective of the IPCC was political, not scientific. “Strong was using the U.N. as a platform to sell a global environment crisis and the global governance agenda,” she wrote.

The political agenda required “credibility” to accomplish the deception. It also required some fake news for momentum. Ideally, this would involve testimony from a scientist before a legislative committee.

U.S. Senator Timothy Wirth (D-CO) was fully committed to the political agenda and the deception. As he explained in a 1993 comment, “We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing.…”

In 1988 Wirth was in a position to jump-start the climate alarm. He worked with colleagues on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to organize and orchestrate a June 23, 1988 hearing where the lead witness would be Dr. James Hansen, then the head of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Wirth explained in a 2007 interview with PBS Frontline:

“We knew there was this scientist at NASA, who had really identified the human impact before anybody else had done so and was very certain about it. So, we called him up and asked him if he would testify.”

Hansen did not disappoint. The New York Times reported on June 23, 1988: “Today Dr. James E. Hansen of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration told a Congressional committee that it was 99 percent certain that the warming trend was not a natural variation, but was caused by a buildup of carbon dioxide and other artificial gases in the atmosphere.”

Specifically, Hansen told the committee, “Global warming has reached a level such that we can ascribe with a high degree of confidence a cause and effect relationship between the greenhouse effect and observed warming…. It is already happening now.”

Hansen also testified: “The greenhouse effect has been detected, and it is changing our climate now…. We have already reached the point where the greenhouse effect is important.”

Wirth, who presided at the hearing, was pre-disposed to believe Hansen and told the committee. “As I read it, the scientific evidence is compelling: the global climate is changing as the earth's atmosphere gets warmer,” Wirth said. “Now the Congress must begin to consider how we are going to slow or halt that warming trend, and how we are going to cope with the changes that may already be inevitable.”

More than any other event, that single hearing before the Energy and Natural Resources Committee publicly initiated the climate scare, the biggest deception in history. It created an unholy alliance between a bureaucrat and a politician, which was bolstered by the U.N. and the popular press – leading to the hoax being accepted in governments, industry boardrooms, schools and churches all across the world.

Dr. John S. Theon, Hansen’s former supervisor at NASA, wrote to the Senate Minority Office at the Environment and Public Works Committee on January 15, 2009. “Hansen was never muzzled, even though he violated NASA’s official agency position on climate forecasting (i.e., we did not know enough to forecast climate change or mankind’s effect on it). Hansen thus embarrassed NASA by coming out with his claims of global warming in 1988 in his testimony before Congress.”

Hansen never abandoned his single-minded, unsubstantiated claim that CO2 from human activities caused dangerous global warming. He defied Hatch Act limits on bureaucratic political actions, and in 2011 even got arrested at a White House protest against the Keystone XL pipeline. It was at least his third such arrest to that point.

Like Trudeau and other leaders duped by the climate scare, Senator Wirth either had not read or did not understand the science. In fact, an increasing number of climate scientists (including Dr. Ball) now conclude that there is no empirical evidence of human-caused global warming. There are only computer model speculations that humans are causing it, and every forecast made using these models since 1990 has been wrong – with actual temperatures getting further from predictions with every passing year.

President Trump must now end America’s participation in the fake science and fake news of manmade global warming. To do this, he must withdraw the U.S. from further involvement with all U.N. global warming programs, especially the IPCC, as well as the agency that now directs it – the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. He should also launch a “Red Team” exercise that lets non-alarmist scientists examine climate cataclysm claims and the purported evidence for them.

Only then will the U.S. have a chance to fully develop its hydrocarbon resources to achieve the president’s goal of global energy dominance and long-term prosperity for America and the world.

Via email

New nuclear power plant gets thumbs up from Georgia regulators

The Georgia Public Service Commission voted unanimously Thursday to continue construction of the nation's only new nuclear power plant.

The approved construction of Plant Vogtle reactors 3 and 4 saves the plant from being scrapped, with a planned completion date of 2022.

The fate of the plant had been in limbo after the bankruptcy of one of the plant’s main developers, Westinghouse.

The Nuclear Energy Institute, an industry top trade group, welcomed the Georgia commission's decision as important for national security.

"Demonstrating we can build and complete new nuclear plants here in America will help us regain our leadership in a technology we invented," said Maria Korsnick, the group's president. "America's pre-eminence in nuclear energy makes our country safer because it allows us to influence and control how this technology is used around the world."

The plant is seen as the harbinger of the future of the U.S. nuclear power industry as it faces stifling economic pressure from the electric market’s switch to low-cost natural gas-fired electricity. Only a handful of nuclear plants are planned in the country, mainly in the Southeast.

At the same time, a number of older nuclear power plants have announced, or are contemplating, closing down prematurely as financial losses mount.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is considering approving a plan proposed by Energy Secretary Rick Perry to shore up the aging nuclear plant fleet by providing the plants with market-based incentives.

FERC is expected to approve the plan next month.



New Study Linking Global Warming To Refugees Is ‘Most Idiotic Use Of Statistics’ This Expert Has Seen In A Long Time

Global warming activists have seized upon a study purporting to link temperature changes to mass migration from the third world to Europe, in an apparent attempt to attack the Trump administration.

The study, published Friday in the journal Science, found that “temperatures that deviated from the moderate optimum (~20°C) increased asylum applications in a nonlinear fashion” from 2000 to 2014.

“This is the perfect example of why the [Trump] administration shouldn’t be ignoring climate change,” Michael Oppenheimer, a geoscientist at Princeton University and global warming activist, told Axios.

Oppenheimer, a frequent critic of the Trump administration, wasn’t alone. The new study was widely reported in media circles, with many putting it in the context of President Donald Trump no longer considering global warming a national security threat.

“It’s short sighted,” study co-author Wolfram Schlenker, an economist at Columbia University, told Time. “Incidents that occur abroad come back to hurt you in your own country.”

Schlenker’s study found that temperature changes from the “climatic optimum” of 68 degrees Fahrenheit led to an increase in asylum seekers from 103 poor countries to Europe. The study suggests future warming could increase asylum seekers 188 percent by 2100 if global warming goes unchecked.

“A majority of [climate change] damages occur in developing countries, and you might think that we in Europe or we in the U.S. are isolated from this,” Schlenker told Time. “But that overlooks spillovers and how we’re interconnected.”

The study provides more confirmation for a favorite argument of activists — global warming will create more refugees do to a rise in violent conflict and extreme weather events. The link is hotly debated, but that hasn’t stopped some scholars and activists from blaming the Syrian civil war and rise of ISIS on global warming.

But Schlenker’s study is flawed, critics say. The study not only uses a very short time period — only 14 years — it also does nothing to establish causation of why asylum seekers actually leave their homes.

Correlation is not causation, especially when only dealing with a short time frame on a complicated subject.

“It is the dumbest, most idiotic use of statistics I have seen in over a decade,” statistician and manmade global warming skeptic William Briggs wrote on his blog.

“So in 15 years of data, they hope to discover a non-linear response in asylum applications caused by tenth-of-a-degree changes in temperature, where they can ‘hold everything else,’ like the politics, ‘constant,'” Briggs wrote.

“There appears in this paper to be no recognition that politics inside the EU plays any role,” Briggs wrote.

Millions of refugees have made their way to Europe, some fleeing war in Syria, and others looking for new opportunities in rich countries. Politically, Europe has for the most part embraced refugee flows and offered generous benefits to those coming in.

Briggs noted that Schlenker’s study found asylum applications also increased when temperatures in home countries decreased from the “climatic optimum.”

The vast majority of asylum seekers come from Syria and the Middle East. This begs the question, why would refugees from poor countries, when temperatures drop, flee to Europe where the average temperature is cooler?

“People are also far too excited to see predictions which confirm their worst ‘fears,’ so they never bother to check the predictions against reality,” Briggs wrote.


Australian PM defends high price of hydro scheme

Another burden imposed on Australians by the Warmist hoax

Malcolm Turnbull has defended the ballooning cost of upgrading the Snowy Hydro scheme, arguing the "vitally important" project is financially viable.

The plan to increase capacity of the iconic scheme by 50 per cent will make up to 2000 megawatts available to the national electricity market.

A feasibility study has found the project, while financially and technically viable, is likely to cost between $3.8 billion and $4.5 billion, far outweighing the initial estimate of $2 billion.

"Of course it is an expensive project, but any big infrastructure project has a price tag," the prime minister told reporters in Sydney on Friday.

Mr Turnbull said the total cost would only soar to $12 billion if the Commonwealth bought out Victoria and NSW's ownership of the scheme.

"We certainly would welcome that, but that's really two different transactions," Mr Turnbull said.

The study uncovered more complex geology than expected, pushing the cost estimate higher.

Mr Turnbull said the project would ensure reliable and affordable energy while helping Australia to meet emissions reduction obligations.  "The project is vitally important," he said.

"As we move to energy mix in which we have more and more intermittent sources of energy, you've got to have something to back it up when the sun isn't shining."

Labor have pounced on the higher price estimate, with energy spokesman Mark Butler saying the prime minister had painted an unrealistic picture of the project earlier in the year.

"This project only stacks up if it is put alongside an ambitious renewable energy program, like Labor's 50 per cent renewable energy target," Mr Butler told ABC radio.

While the opposition is supportive of the overall concept, it wants to see the modelling behind the feasibility study.

The project will link two major dams in the Snowy Mountains with 27kms of tunnels. If it goes ahead, it won't produce power until 2024.




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