Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Hockey Stick Collapses (2017)

A collection of 60 peer-reviewed scientific papers published in 2016 were displayed here last month in an article entitled, “The Hockey Stick Collapses: 60 New (2016) Scientific Papers Affirm Today’s Warming Isn’t Global, Unprecedented, Or Remarkable“.

Each paper from the 2016 collection cast doubt on claims of an especially unusual global-scale warming during modern times.

Yes, some regions of the Earth have been warming in recent decades (i.e., the Arctic since the 1990s), or at some point in the last 100 years.  Some regions have been cooling for decades at a time (i.e., the Arctic during the 1950s to 1980s, the Southern Ocean since 1979).  And many regions have shown no significant net changes or trends in either direction relative to the last few hundred to thousands of years.

In other words, there is nothing historically unprecedented or remarkable about today’s climate when viewed in the context of natural variability.

And the scientific evidence continues to accumulate for 2017.  In just the first month of this year, there have already been at least 17 papers published in scientific journals once again documenting that modern warming is not global, unprecedented, or remarkable.  In fact, several of these papers indicate that we are still living through some of the coldest temperatures of the last 10,000 years (just above Little Ice Age levels), and that a large portion of the amplitude of the modern warming trend (if there is one depicted) was realized prior to the mid-20th century, or before the period when human CO2 emissions began to rise dramatically.

Needless to say, these papers do not support the position that human CO2 emissions are the primary drivers of climate.

More HERE  (See the original for links, abstracts etc.)

Gore, Others Revive Canceled US Climate and Health Confab

A conference on climate change and health is back on but apparently minus the U.S. government. Several organizers including former Vice President Al Gore have resurrected the meeting set for next month in Atlanta.

The government's top public health agency had planned the conference then canceled it in December without explanation.

The one-day meeting is moving from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the Carter Center. Gore will still be one of two keynote speakers, Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, said Thursday.

"It's going to be on climate and health and in many ways it's going to be a very different meeting," said Benjamin, the other keynote speaker. Benjamin said he doesn't know if government officials will attend; many had been scheduled to speak at the conference .

An after-hours message to the CDC was not immediately returned.

The decision to hold the meeting was hatched by Benjamin's group, Gore, the University of Washington and the Harvard Global Health Institute. "Climate change is here today and is already impacting our health," Benjamin said.

A recent report by the U.S. government said global warming is a national public health problem . It said climate change is increasing the risk of respiratory problems and spread of disease from insects.

"Some of these health impacts are already underway in the United States," the report said.

In 2015, an international global health commission organized by the British medical journal Lancet said that hundreds of thousands of lives a year are at stake as global warming "threatens to undermine the last half century of gains in development and global health."


The Left and only the Left can control scientific thought. Or so they say

On election night, leftist elites were shocked to learn that a large swath of the country doesn’t think like they do. After all, these self-appointed intellectual rulers deem themselves the sole purveyors of sound political reasoning. Turns out political thought isn’t the only thing the Left wants to dictate. No, these folks also think they hold the trademark on Science™.

Consider, for example, President Donald Trump’s putting the kibosh on the social media accounts of certain federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The restrictions came just as Trump moved to approve the Keystone pipeline — a project the climate change propagandists at the EPA have, of course, viewed none too kindly. It’s not without precedent for incoming administrations to ensure the messaging from federal agencies is consistent with White House messaging. Indeed, as John Sexton notes, “The Trump administration does not want progressives in these agencies joining ‘the resistance’ using government social media accounts.”

That’s just what some government employees have done. And they have allies in the press. For example, Reuters reported it this way: “Employees from more than a dozen U.S. government agencies have established a network of unofficial ‘rogue’ Twitter feeds in defiance of what they see as attempts by President Donald Trump to muzzle federal climate change research and other science.” The @RogueNASA account styles itself the arbiter of “science and climate news and facts. REAL NEWS, REAL FACTS.”

Amidst the hoopla of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” don’t miss the overtones of resistance fighters bravely and nobly opposing the evil empire.

What’s also entertaining here is the apoplectic reaction. Liz Purchia, EPA public affairs head under Barack Obama, wailed, “It’s a dark time now. People are nervous and they are scared about what they can and can’t do.” Another government source said (with a straight face), “The idea of bad stuff being tweeted from EPA was not likely.” Of course, this is because the EPA assumes its opinions of climate change are settled Science™ and not simply theory. After all, if the Left says it’s true, it must be true.

The EPA isn’t alone. Soon after the gag order, the National Park Service took up the climate change mantle, with Badlands National Park posting a series of tweets bemoaning carbon dioxide. Those tweets were subsequently deleted. But in a telling sign that offended leftists within the agency are not confined to one park, staff at several parks are pursuing what the Chicago Tribune calls a “campaign against Trump,” tweeting out messages warning about global warming and greenhouse gas emissions. After all, the Left and only the Left can control scientific thought.

Of course it doesn’t stop with the government. Some in the lofty, ivory towers of academia want to use these unproven scientific theories as the plumb line to determine “fake news.” Next, we’ll use a slinky to draw a straight line.

Social psychologists at Cambridge, Yale and George Mason universities attempted to essentially inoculate individuals against “fake news” by feeding them climate change “facts” as well as “a small dose of misinformation.” Among the conclusions: “False information presented on its own was … shown to have a potent effect at spreading doubt about the veracity of the overwhelming scientific consensus on human-caused climate change.”

That “overwhelming consensus” must be referring to the overwhelmingly overused myth that 97% of scientists believe climate change is man-made and an impending global disaster.

Oh, but government agencies and universities don’t have anything on the press. The Washington Post outdid itself last week with a headline that will almost make you feel embarrassed for the paper — almost. The Post claimed “David Gelernter, fiercely anti-intellectual computer scientist, is being eyed for Trump’s science advisor.” Alas! Who is this anti-intellectual Philistine? Well, as the article itself notes, he’s “a pioneer in the field of parallel computation, a type of computing in which many calculations are carried out simultaneously.” Gelernter also developed a programming language that “made it possible to link together several small computers into a supercomputer, significantly increasing the amount and complexity of data that computers can process.” In fact, he’s a genius.

But, as the Washington Examiner’s T. Becket Adams notes, Gelernter is also “a fierce critic of academia” who believes too many universities “promote and support the idea that opposing thoughts should be silenced and expelled.” Hence to the liberal Post, he’s clearly “anti-intellectual.” Because, as we’ve learned, the Left thinks it owns the trademark on Science%trade;, of which academia is a part.

This makes it all so devilishly amusing when anyone on the Left bemoans the spread of “fake news.” Because if there’s one thing leftists are universally experts on, it’s not science, but fakery.


I almost fell out of my chair when I saw Gelernter decribed as "anti-intellectual".  It shows who is anti-intellectual! -- JR

Pruitt Cool under Fire at Senate Confirmation Hearing

On Wednesday, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing on the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to be Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. As expected, several Committee Democrats attacked Pruitt for “litigating against the EPA on behalf of the fossil fuel industry.”

President Trump nominated Pruitt precisely because of his leadership in challenging EPA’s regulatory overreach. In effect, Pruitt’s opponents say the Senate should reject him for the very reasons Trump nominated him. They believe that regardless of who is president, or which issues the winner campaigned on, the EPA administrator must always be a bona fide ‘progressive.’

The ‘EPA is our agency’ crowd implicitly argues that elections don’t—or shouldn’t—matter. Rubbish. Congress created the EPA to be run by political appointees who serve at the president’s pleasure.

Pruitt never lost his cool despite repeated attempts to discredit and fluster him. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) accused Pruitt of planning to act as “defendant, plaintiff, judge, and jury” because he would not commit to recuse himself from matters on which he has sued EPA as Oklahoma attorney general. But Pruitt did not decline to recuse himself. Rather, he repeatedly pledged to follow the advice of EPA’s office of ethics counsel.

Given EPA’s historic recusal policy under both Republican and Democratic administrations, Markey had no reason to assume Pruitt plans to handle the very lawsuits he filed or joined. As for playing “judge and jury,” I have no idea what that means. There are no juries in regulatory litigation. There are judges, to be sure, but the EPA administrator has no seat on the bench.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) dinged Pruitt for doing nothing to stop wastewater disposal by hydro-fracking companies, which has caused a “record-breaking number of earthquakes in Oklahoma.” Pruitt pointed out that the Oklahoma Corporation Commission has exclusive jurisdiction to regulate oil and gas underground injection wells, “and they have actually acted on that.” Indeed, though Pruitt did not mention it, Oklahoma earthquakes are down more than 50 percent since January 2016; the problem is being handled. Nonetheless, partly because Pruitt did not act beyond his legal authority, Sanders told him, “You are not going to get my vote.”    

You can watch the full hearing on YouTube. The remainder of this post reviews Pruitt’s questioning by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ).

Booker accused Pruitt of shirking his responsibility to protect the welfare of Oklahoma citizens. How so? Pruitt filed or joined 14 lawsuits against the EPA “challenging clean air and clean water rules.” Booker seems to think the word “clean” in the titles of the underlying statutes suffices to ensure EPA’s rules are lawful and have large net benefits.

In fact, Pruitt was acting on behalf of Oklahomans’ welfare. The Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule imperils the property rights of small landholders and places undue burdens on small businesses. The Mercury Air Toxics Standards (MATS) rule imposes billions in costs on ratepayers for grossly inflated and even imaginary health benefits. The Clean Power Plan imposes billions in costs for indiscernible climate benefits, and is so legally dubious the Supreme Court took the extraordinary step of staying the rule before a lower court reviewed it.

Citing the American Lung Association, “a very non-partisan group,” Booker went on to sermonize that in Oklahoma, 111,000 children have asthma, more than 10 percent, “one of the highest asthma rates in the United States of America.” He demanded to know why Pruitt had repeatedly sued EPA on behalf of “polluters” but had not filed one brief “on behalf of those kids to reduce the air pollution in your state and help them have a healthy life?”

Pruitt replied that he must have standing in order to sue, and in Oklahoma the attorney general has no parens patriae standing to bring cases on behalf of individual citizens or companies. There must be a “state interest” before he can sue, such as in cases where EPA regulations diminish state tax revenues via their adverse effects on the state’s economy. Other agencies, such as the Department of Environmental Quality and the Water Resources Board, have “front line” authority to enforce environmental protections for Oklahoma citizens.

Had time permitted, Pruitt could also have challenged Booker’s description of the American Lung Association as “very non-partisan” (see here and here). More importantly, with additional time, he could have explained why air pollution is likely no more than a minor contributor to asthma in Oklahoma.

To begin with, all Oklahoma air quality districts are currently in attainment with all National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for the six principal air pollutants, according to the EPA. By definition, when a state is in attainment with the NAAQS, pollution has been reduced to a level “sufficient to protect public health with an adequate margin of safety.”

Second, throughout the United States and several other countries too, asthma rates increased as air quality improved. For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the percentage of the U.S. population with asthma increased from 3.1 percent in 1980 to 5.5 percent in 1996, 7.3 percent in 2001, and 8.4 percent in 2010. But during roughly the same years (1980 to 2013), U.S. emissions of the six principal air pollutants declined by a whopping 62 percent, resulting in big declines in air pollution concentrations, including a 33 percent reduction in ground-level ozone.

Correlation does not prove causation, but there can be no causation without correlation. Trends in air pollution and childhood asthma are inversely correlated.

Another fact casting doubt on air pollution as a major culprit in current U.S. asthma rates is that hospital admissions for asthma are lowest in the summer—when ozone levels are highest.

Nonetheless, the narrative that air pollution and other environmental problems are always “worse than we thought” leads many people, including some senators, to assume the presence of a large ‘dirty’ energy sector in a state must be making kids sick. Oklahoma ranks third among U.S. states in natural gas production and fifth in onshore oil production, has five petroleum refineries, and generates about one-third of its electricity from coal. So Pruitt of Oklahoma is a natural whipping boy for the greener-than-thou types.

But if dirty energy causes high asthma rates, how is it that states with little-to-no fossil energy production and coal consumption can have asthma rates just as high or even higher?  

Maine and Vermont have no oil and gas production, Maine gets only 0.6 percent of its electricity from coal, and Vermont gets all its electricity from renewable sources. Yet childhood asthma rates in those states (Maine figures, below right) are comparable to Oklahoma’s (below left), and their adult asthma rates are even higher.

Sen. Booker is right, of course, to be concerned about asthmatic children. Numerous factors contribute to asthma, however, and it’s still something of a mystery why asthma rates are increasing. To suggest that kids in Oklahoma have asthma because Pruitt represents “polluters” rather than “citizens” is partisan twaddle.

SOURCE   (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Australia: Man charged with police assault in 'invasion day' march is Green Party organiser

A man arrested for allegedly assaulting police during the flag-burning melee at the "invasion day" march through Sydney is a Greens campaign manager who used to be a paid employee of the party.

He was arrested on Thursday and charged with assaulting police, resisting arrest and malicious damage. He has been bailed to appeal in Downing Centre local court on February 14.

In a statement, NSW Police said he was arrested during the anti-Australia Day march from Redfern after a "participant allegedly attempted to ignite a flag".

During the struggle to arrest Mr Williams, a male police officer injured his ankle and a female protester sustained head injuries. Both were taken to hospital.

His alleged involvement in the violent scenes has further polarised the Greens, with party opponents of Left Renewal saying on Friday that the faction has torn up the pacifist ideals of the wider movement.

Hayden Williams, 20, is also part of the anti-capitalist, anti-police, left-wing splinter faction in the NSW Greens, known as "Left Renewal", Fairfax Media can reveal.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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


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