Sunday, August 20, 2017

A Warmist resorts to blatant lies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


EPA needs budget reform, less spending and better science

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Don’t Believe the Hysteria Over Carbon Dioxide

Rep. Lamar Smith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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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