Tuesday, October 31, 2017

You Will Lose Your Job to a Robot—and Sooner Than You Think

Below is the latest Green/Left scare.  It is in fact hundreds of years old but it seems to have been reanimated by the advent of driverless cars. It goes back to Ned Ludd, in the 18th century, who wrecked weaving machines that threatened hand-weavers with losing their jobs.  Ever since, new forms of mechanization have been seen as casting hordes of people into unemployment.  But it has never happened.  After a couple of hundred years of more and more mechanization, unemployment never seems to vary much

Why is mechanization no problem?  What will those cast out of work do for a living?  The answer, broadly, is that there is an insatiable demand for personal services.  Only a tiny percentage of our population is growing all our food these days and even factory work has declined greatly.

And a major replacement activity we all know about is eating out. Figures vary but most people will eat out for several meals a week.  We could perfectly easily feed ourselves but we choose to  go out and find someone who can do it better.  And with the cooks concerned come waitresses, managers, bus boys, food delivery men, cleaners etc.

And another great arena for creating jobs is accommodation.  We want bigger and better houses and apartments.  And building them is a huge labor-intensive enterprise.

But those are just two obvious examples.  The point is that in a market economy jobs arise to meet the demand that people with money to spend create.  The work may be humble -- as with shoeshine "boys", bus-boys, janitors, roadwork signallers, cleaners, prostitutes etc but people will always find something more that they "need" done. Capitalism will come to the rescue!  Much to the ire of the useless Leftist "planners"

I want to tell you straight off what this story is about: Sometime in the next 40 years, robots are going to take your job.

I don’t care what your job is. If you dig ditches, a robot will dig them better. If you’re a magazine writer, a robot will write your articles better. If you’re a doctor, IBM’s Watson will no longer “assist” you in finding the right diagnosis from its database of millions of case studies and journal articles. It will just be a better doctor than you.

Until we figure out how to fairly distribute the fruits of robot labor, it will be an era of mass joblessness and mass poverty.
And CEOs? Sorry. Robots will run companies better than you do. Artistic types? Robots will paint and write and sculpt better than you. Think you have social skills that no robot can match? Yes, they can. Within 20 years, maybe half of you will be out of jobs. A couple of decades after that, most of the rest of you will be out of jobs.

In one sense, this all sounds great. Let the robots have the damn jobs! No more dragging yourself out of bed at 6 a.m. or spending long days on your feet. We’ll be free to read or write poetry or play video games or whatever we want to do. And a century from now, this is most likely how things will turn out. Humanity will enter a golden age.

But what about 20 years from now? Or 30? We won’t all be out of jobs by then, but a lot of us will—and it will be no golden age. Until we figure out how to fairly distribute the fruits of robot labor, it will be an era of mass joblessness and mass poverty. Working-class job losses played a big role in the 2016 election, and if we don’t want a long succession of demagogues blustering their way into office because machines are taking away people’s livelihoods, this needs to change, and fast. Along with global warming, the transition to a workless future is the biggest challenge by far that progressive politics—not to mention all of humanity—faces. And yet it’s barely on our radar.

That’s kind of a buzzkill, isn’t it? Luckily, it’s traditional that stories about difficult or technical subjects open with an entertaining or provocative anecdote. The idea is that this allows readers to ease slowly into daunting material. So here’s one for you: Last year at Christmas, I was over at my mother’s house and mentioned that I had recently read an article about Google Translate. It turns out that a few weeks previously, without telling anyone, Google had switched over to a new machine-learning algorithm. Almost overnight, the quality of its translations skyrocketed. I had noticed some improvement myself but had chalked it up to the usual incremental progress these kinds of things go through. I hadn’t realized it was due to a quantum leap in software.

But if Google’s translation algorithm was better, did that mean its voice recognition was better too? And its ability to answer queries? Hmm. How could we test that? We decided to open presents instead of cogitating over this.

But after that was over, the subject of erasers somehow came up. Which ones are best? Clear? Black? Traditional pink? Come to think of it, why are erasers traditionally pink? “I’ll ask Google!” I told everyone. So I pulled out my phone and said, “Why are erasers pink?” Half a second later, Google told me.

Not impressed? You should be. We all know that phones can recognize voices tolerably well these days. And we know they can find the nearest café or the trendiest recipe for coq au vin. But what about something entirely random? And not a simple who, where, or when question. This was a why question, and it wasn’t about why the singer Pink uses erasers or why erasers are jinxed. Google has to be smart enough to figure out in context that I said pink and that I’m asking about the historical reason for the color of erasers, not their health or the way they’re shaped. And it did. In less than a second. With nothing more than a cheap little microprocessor and a slow link to the internet.

(In case you’re curious, Google got the answer from Design*Sponge: “The eraser was originally produced by the Eberhard Faber Company…The erasers featured pumice, a volcanic ash from Italy that gave them their abrasive quality, along with their distinctive color and smell.”)

Still not impressed? When Watson famously won a round of Jeopardy! against the two best human players of all time, it needed a computer the size of a bedroom to answer questions like this. That was only seven years ago.

What do pink erasers have to do with the fact that we’re all going to be out of a job in a few decades? Consider: Last October, an Uber trucking subsidiary named Otto delivered 2,000 cases of Budweiser 120 miles from Fort Collins, Colorado, to Colorado Springs—without a driver at the wheel. Within a few years, this technology will go from prototype to full production, and that means millions of truck drivers will be out of a job.

Automated trucking doesn’t rely on newfangled machines, like the powered looms and steam shovels that drove the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century. Instead, like Google’s ability to recognize spoken words and answer questions, self-driving trucks—and cars and buses and ships—rely primarily on software that mimics human intelligence. By now everyone’s heard the predictions that self-driving cars could lead to 5 million jobs being lost, but few people understand that once artificial-intelligence software is good enough to drive a car, it will be good enough to do a lot of other things too. It won’t be millions of people out of work; it will be tens of millions.


Rev heads won’t buy the end of car ownership

The flying-car crowd are at it again, extrapolating wildly about the future of motoring from a few skid marks on the highway. The latest is columnist Hugo Rifkind of The Times in these pages last week.

Apparently, car ownership is headed for the wreckers and “however much you currently love your own car, you will not be sorry”.

There’s a war on private cars, he says, citing the latest London levy, and once driverless vehicles are here “what could be madder than having your own car, which costs half your salary and spends its life sitting outside your house?”

He’s right about the last bit, of course. By some estimates, we use our cars only 5 per cent of the time. If a company employed ­assets like that, shareholders would rebel.

But we’re individuals and we all have stuff that makes no financial sense — our kitchens and garden sheds are full of it. In fact, our kitchens and gardens are part of it. Exhibit A is your house itself. It might be cheaper to rent by the hour, but who wants to live like that?

As an asset, a house has one clear advantage over a car: there’s a chance it will go up in value. No such luck for motorists, and depreciation is just part of the deal. Drivers are hit at every turn with taxes, tolls and fines. Canberra reaps more than $1 billion a year solely from import tariffs and the luxury car tax, and governments are always on the lookout for other ways to sting us. If there’s a hole in the budget, deploy more speed cameras.

So there’s a war on private cars, all right, but it’s nothing new. The motorist has been played for a mug since the dawn of the car.

So let’s look at the score. It’s governments nil, drivers 1.2 billion — the number of vehicles on the planet’s roads. Motorists keep coming back for more and that’s a measure of just how attached we are to cars, despite it all.

Ah, say the Jetsons, we’re at an inflection point.

Car-sharing and autonomy are about to change the game. Even car companies see it coming and they’re reinventing themselves as “mobility providers”.

In this imagined future, autonomous cars can be summoned with a snap of the fingers and take you where you wish. It’s not a car you own — you don’t need to — and so you avoid all the needless expense. The emotional bond ­between human and car is severed for good.

We already have a system that works like this; it’s called the taxi. The autonomous car changes the game when it comes to supply, but the service is effectively the same.

And the taxi is just one facet of public transport — if you’re lucky enough to have some. It gives you options — taxi, bus, train — that sometimes you’ll use, sometimes you won’t.

None of it stops you needing your own car when nothing else will do — for a weekend away, to ferry the football team, shop at Ikea or travel vast distances.

Its on-demand flexibility cannot be beaten.

If you live somewhere without public transport, you won’t be getting autonomous taxis, in any case. The hype is overheated. Full self-driving remains a long way off and, when it arrives, it will be geo-fenced to specific areas. Cars will still need steering wheels for when they stray from the zone. You’ll still need a car, full stop.

An idea has become fashionable that we’re approaching “peak car” because sharing and autonomy will take the wind out of the industry. If so, nobody has told the people of China, who already buy one in four vehicles.

It’s still going to take decades for China to reach the level of car ownership we have in the West, and the same goes for India and other developing ­nations.

Perhaps they will leapfrog ownership straight to sharing. More likely they will want what we have now. They might feel — as many of us do — that car ownership is a statement of achievement, as emblematic as what we wear. More fundamentally, nothing says freedom like having your own wheels. No matter how wide you roam on social media.

Moreover, the same innovations which will make autonomy efficient, such as congestion-­easing algorithms and clever parking systems, will make private cars more convenient too.

“The temptation is to assume that the future looks much like the past,” cautions Rifkind. ­Remember the horse and cart.

He’s missing crucial similarities here. Horse and carts also meant independence.

The visionaries themselves have something in common: an unwillingness to say “when”. Without a time frame, they can never be wrong. It’s a fraudulent exercise, wishful thinking masquerading as insight.

Give them an Uber ride, and they’ll take a transcontinental trip. Or rather, they won’t. ­Because to do that they’ll need their own cars.


Benny Peiser: What I Told Cambridge University’s Spoiled Green Students

‘This House would rather cool the planet than warm the economy’

Madame President, ladies and gentlemen

I am opposing today’s motion because I regard it as perhaps the most inhuman and amoral motion ever proposed at the Cambridge Union. Let me explain.

Let’s translate what the motion actually says and what it means.

What the motion proposes is that societies and governments should abandon the traditional goal of economic growth while prioritising policies to decarbonise.

In short, economic growth and development should be sacrificed in the name of climate protection.

Thankfully, not a single government in the world – and not even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – is advocating this kind of economic self-harm, nor is any country willing to adopt the motion proposed today.

Nevertheless, the fact that stopping economic development is even being advocated by some of the world’s most privileged students in Cambridge reveals how far removed this green bubble is from the harsh reality of billions of people who are desperately trying to escape poverty.

Let’s not beat about the bush: If today’s motion would ever be implemented by some radical green government, it would lead to the death of millions of poor people in the developing world, astronomical mass unemployment and economic collapse.

That’s because poor nations without economic growth have no future and are unable to raise living standards for impoverished populations.

But we don’t need to speculate what green subsidies and taxes have already done to people struggling with rising energy costs.

As climate taxes and subsidies have driven up energy prices all over Europe, a growing number of families are forced to decide whether to heat their homes or buy food.

For millions of people all over Europe, the EU’s green energy policy has proven to be an economic and social disaster.

Climate and green energy policies have lead to is the biggest wealth transfer in the history of modern Europe — from the poor to the rich.

Ordinary families and small and medium-sized businesses are essentially paying wealthy landowners and investors who can afford to install wind turbines or solar panels on their land and homes.

20-times as many people die each year from cold-related illnesses than from heat.

The Office of National Statistics in England and Wales shows that based on past numbers, one million Brits are expected to die from cold in their homes by 2050. Do people in this room really want to make the world colder?

Energy poverty is sweeping Europe. As many as nine million British families pay 10 per cent or more of their household income towards heat and electricity.

Even in relatively wealthy Germany, 15 per cent of its citizens face energy poverty. This year more than 300.000 German families had their electricity cut off because they cannot pay their bills. 6 million household have been threaten with the same fate if they don’t pay up. And that’s happening in one of the world’s richest countries.

While Europe is stagnating and losing its competitive edge, much of Asia is booming, running its growing industries and manufacturing on cheap coal and gas.

According to a new report published this week by the International Energy Agency, Southeast Asia’s energy demand is expected to climb nearly 60 percent by 2040 from now, led by fossil fuel power generation, as rising incomes in the region spur more people to buy electric appliances including air conditioners.

Let me remind you of the economic and energy challenges African nations face. Africa, with 1.2-billion people and 20% of global land mass, makes just 3% of the world’s electricity.

In Africa half the population — 600 million people are without access to energy.

China has 1.4-billion people, roughly the same as Africa, but it generates 12 times more electricity.

The reasons is simple: China has built hundreds of coal and gas-fired power plants around the country. Every week they add one or two to their fleet so that they can provide 1.4 billion people with affordable energy.

Globally more than 1 billion people are without access to electricity and 2.6 billion people are without hygienic cooking facilities.

Providing comprehensive access to cheap and reliable electricity is the single most pre-requisite for economic development.

The proponents of today’s motion argue that economic growth should be sacrificed or at least curtailed in order to cut global CO2 emissions.

Denying the world’s poor the very basis on which Britain and much of Europe became wealthy — largely due to cheap coal, oil and gas — amounts to an inhumane and atrocious attempt by green activists to sacrifice the needs of the world’s poor on the altar of climate alarmism.

In order to improve the plight of the poor in both the developed and the developing world we need both strong economic growth and cheap and reliable energy.

Expansive green toys for landowner and solar investor — who are reaping hundreds of billions in renewable subsidies paid by ordinary families and the poor – hurt the economy and forces the poor to pay for ineffective virtue signalling.

It is only right that a growing number of African leaders accuse wealthy do-gooders in the West of hypocrisy when well-off greens seek to deny them the very energy that made Britain and the Western world rich.

The growing anger of many Africans about Europe’s green obsession was summed up recently by Nigerian finance minister, Mrs Kemi Adeosun. Listen carefully so that you know what African leaders really think about green hypocrites:

‘We in Nigeria have coal but we have a power problem. Yet we’ve been blocked because it is not green. There is some hypocrisy because we have the entire western industrialization built on coal energy, that is the competitive advantage that they have been using. Now Africa wants to use coal and suddenly they are saying oh! You have to use solar and wind which are the most expensive, after polluting the environment for hundreds of years and now that Africa wants to use coal they deny us.’

Is that really what you want to achieve – fighting African attempts to provide affordable energy to hundreds of millions of poor people? That would be the result if you took todays’ motion seriously.

No. The goal of humanists and humanitarians cannot be to deny the world’s poorest access to cheap and reliable energy. This is what today’s motion essentially demands — prioritise the green agenda and sacrifice economic growth and poverty reduction.

At its core, the motion is deeply wicked and should be rejected by everyone who takes the urgent needs of the world’s poor into consideration rather than prioritise an intolerant if well-meaning green agenda that is harming millions of people today.


The Global Warming Thought Police Want Skeptics In 'Jail'

Conform or else. That's the message of the global warming alarmists. Those who don't buy into the man-made climate change narrative should be prosecuted as criminals.

"Put officials who reject science in jail," someone named Brad Johnson who says he's executive director of something called Climate Hawks Vote tweeted last month.

At roughly the same time, Mark Hertsgaard typed a screed in The Nation which ran under the headline:

"Climate Denialism Is Literally Killing Us: The victims of Hurricane Harvey have a murderer — and it's not the storm.​"

"How long," Hertsgaard asked, "before we hold the ultimate authors of such climate catastrophes accountable for the miseries they inflict?"

And then there's Bill Nye, the Junk Science Guy, who hasn't been able to cover up his apparent desire to see "criminal investigations" against those ignoring his truth. It's not hard to see through him, though. He dissembles like a politician but his appetite is clear.

The urge to prosecute and imprison those who don't believe as they have been commanded to is not a new wrinkle among the alarmist tribe. Three years ago, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., sounding like, well, a Kennedy, said the Koch brothers "should be in jail, I think they should be enjoying three hots and a cot at The Hague with all the other war criminals."

"Do I think the Koch brothers should be tried for reckless endangerment? Absolutely, that is a criminal offence and they ought to be serving time for it."

The Kochs' crime? Selling energy resources to willing buyers and funding organizations that have reservations about the climate change story we're constantly being told.

Of course Kennedy's wild man rant isn't new either. The history of mankind is marked with incidents of one group forcing its beliefs on another at the point of the sword — and more lately at the strike of a U.S. passenger jet.

Kennedy, Johnson, Hertsgaard and others probably don't seem themselves as runaway zealots. But what zealot has ever recognized his or her own fanaticism?

Maybe the worst case of zealotry from one who refuses to see his own intolerance is British funnyman Eric Idle, who tweeted earlier this year that the skeptics who hold their position due to "stupidity and ignorance" should be punished "humanely. Put down gently." Idle, we can't forget, was part of Monty Python's Flying Circus, which was responsible the famous line: "No one expects the Spanish Inquisition."

Sadly, that line just isn't as funny anymore. All the air went out of it when one of the team members who co-wrote and acted in the skit decided to support a modern inquisition led by climate radicals. We should have seen it coming.


Elon Musk brought to tears by how much Australians pay for power

Billionaire energy mogul Elon Musk was almost brought to tears by Australia's deepening electricity crisis that has prices soaring out of control.

The Tesla boss was confronted with figures showing record numbers of people were disconnected because they couldn't pay their bills.

'Wow, really?' he said in disbelief when told by 60 Minutes that power was becoming a 'luxury item' for many families.

'I didn't realise it was that expensive. Australia has so many natural resources that even if you go the fossil fuel route, electricity should be very cheap.'

His shock turned to sadness when he was told many people were worried they wouldn't be able to turn on their lights or cook food.

'I did not expect that,' he said, his voice wavering, before pausing several seconds and promising: 'We'll work harder.'

Mr Musk in July promised to build the world's biggest lithium ion battery in South Australia after the state's disastrous blackout.

But he didn't realise he was walking into a political firestorm that saw his ambitious project mercilessly mocked by the Federal Government.

'By all means, have the world's biggest battery, have the world's biggest banana, have the world's biggest prawn like we have on the roadside around the country, but that is not solving the problem,' Treasurer Scott Morrison said at the time.

'Thirty thousand SA households could not get through watching one episode of Australia's Ninja Warrior with this big battery, so let's not pretend it is a solution.'

Mr Musk was confused as to what the Big Banana actually was, but admitted criticism from Australia's government go to him.

'I didn't realise there was this big battle going on, I just didn't know,' he said on Sunday night's program.

'We get that all the time. It can be a little disheartening, yeah.'

The government is sticking to its guns, with Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg saying it wasn't enough to stop another blackout.

'Elon Musk's battery was a fraction of the size of the Snowy Hydro Scheme,' he said. 'It was sold to the people of South Australia by Jay Weatherill as an answer to their woes, whereas in reality, it's just a fraction of what that state needs.'

Mr Frydenberg talked up the government's National Energy Guarantee, even though he himself said it would only cut bills by up to $115 a year.

Mr Musk said Australia was 'perfect' for solar power and not only could it get all its energy from solar, wind, and other renewables - it could even export it.

'Australia could export power to Asia, there's so much land there you could actually power a significant chunk of Asia,' he said.

He believed his 100 megawatt (129MWh) battery could be the first step to Australia becoming a renewable energy powerhouse. 'You have to do these things to get the world's attention, otherwise they just don't believe you, they don't think it's possible,' he said.

'People in Australia should be proud of the fact that Australia has the world's biggest battery. 'This is pretty great.'It is an inspiration and it will serve to say to the whole world that this is possible.'

Mr Musk said the world needed to quickly switch to renewable power or it would be sent back to the 'dark ages'. 'We will have the choice of the collapse of civilisation and into the dark ages we go or we find something renewable,' he said.

Batteries on a much smaller scale were already available and helping Australian families slash their power bills.

Michael and Melissa Powney installed a Tesla lithium battery and connected it to their solar panels, which can charge it up in a few hours of sunshine.

Instead of huge power bills, the family even made $32 in power sent back to the grid in the past month - and had the only house on the street with power during the blackout.

'We were seeing electricity bills of over $1,000 before we put the solar in, so I can only imagine what they would be like now if we didn't,' Mr Powney said.




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, October 30, 2017

Is this guy joking or is he just one of history's most incompetent philosophers?

Milan Bharadwaj writes below.  He is a Tamil, a historic  Indian race. He correctly says that climate science has become non-Popperian in that it concentrates on abusing its critics rather than making its own case.  He deplores that.  But he also appears to be a warming believer, in that he refers to an "irrefutable greenhouse effect".

Yet it is a central point of Popper's teachings that something that is irrefutable or unfalsifiable is not an empirical statement.  So Bharadwaj is saying that the greenhouse effect is a faith statement, not an empirical one. So he is rejecting global warming claims as unscientific.  He is right about that but it makes him a very confused warmist!  Warmism really rots the brain. Perhaps it makes sense in Tamil

According to Karl Popper, one of the most influential philosophers of science in the past millennium, “In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.”

In the wake of the recent slew of hurricanes which have barraged the American Southeast, numerous scientists and reporters have wasted no time in attributing these disasters to climate change. In fact, it seems like nowadays just about every meteorological phenomenon is a result of global warming. Whether it be increased temperatures, decreased temperatures, tornadoes, earthquakes or even volcanic eruptions, climate change is always the answer, and the majority of these conclusions are drawn with sparing evidence, if any.

Meanwhile, any skepticism or dissenting opinion regarding these countless studies is dismissed as unscientific, when in reality, it is quite the opposite. What started as simply a relationship between carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere and the temperature of our planet, via the irrefutable greenhouse effect, has morphed into non-Popperian pseudoscience, primarily because it is no longer falsifiable. However, an examination of this fundamental flaw in climate research first requires an analysis of what exactly science is.

In its simplest sense, science is the formulation of hypotheses and the evaluation of said hypotheses through observation, experimentation or a mixture of both. What distinguishes science from pseudoscience, though, is whether or not these hypotheses can be disproven as well as proven, a trait known as falsifiability. According to Karl Popper, one of the most influential philosophers of science in the past millennium, “In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.”

In context, the field of astrology — the study of the divine effect of the positions of celestial bodies on our lives — is pseudoscience because it violates this rule. No matter what patterns the stars and planets might be exhibiting on any given day, those movements are interpreted to be influencing what is happening in our lives. There is no course of events that could transpire that would lead astrologists to believe that their horoscope predictions were incorrect. As a result, astrology, numerology and other pseudo-scientific fields are considered to be non-Popperian.

Similarly, it seems like any and all atmospheric occurrences are attributed to climate change — in part because its definition has become so broad. There is no combination of weather patterns that would cause climate change devotees to doubt their gospel. By contrast, even theories that are deeply ingrained in the fabric of our society, such as gravitation or evolution, are still capable of being disproven with counterexamples. It is for this reason that they are regarded as theories and not axioms. Climate change, on the other hand, has no counterexamples since every weather pattern is seen as a byproduct, therefore making it essentially pseudoscience.   

Returning to the topic of tropical hurricanes, the rate of these aquatic twisters has not significantly increased over time, and similar data can be found for other natural disasters supposedly caused by climate change. This raises the question — why are articles and scientific studies constantly being churned out that suggest correlations between climate change and these natural phenomena, even when none exist? I believe the reason lies in the politicization of global warming over the past decades, as climate change has become a focal point of certain political parties.

Climate change fear mongering and sensationalism following natural disasters has proven to be lucrative in terms of political capital, and is thus being done more and more by politicians. A concomitant of this politicization is the increased popularity of climate science in the public, which causes a surge in the monetary incentives for scientists to create these studies. As a result, modern day climate science has incredible amounts of data tampering, as referenced by a variety of recent examples. Naturally, when financial benefit or political gain becomes the goal of research, as opposed to the expansion of science, the field becomes bastardized, with the politicization of science in the Soviet Union serving as a historical precedent.

That being said, there is still an irrefutable connection between the level of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere and the temperature of our planet, and I believe this should be made the focus of the environmentalist movement once again. Instead of deriding and silencing skeptics, we should all have a healthy bit of skepticism whenever we read an inane “scientific” justification for some natural phenomenon. Questioning widely-held beliefs is the very foundation of science as we know it, and the dismissal of skepticism is counter to this ideology. If we want the progression of actual climate science, we must learn to discern the distinction between the science and the politics, and reject non-Popperian fear mongering.


Many factors influence the extent of sea-ice in the Arctic

Any increase the extent of sea-ice in the Arctic seems to give Warmists orgasms.  But an increase may in fact not be due to temperature change at all

Responsiveness of Polar Sea Ice Extent to Air Temperature 1979-2016

Jamal Munshi


Detrended correlation analysis of mean monthly sea ice extent with air temperature at an annual time scale in both Polar Oceans shows the expected negative correlation in 14 out of 36 cases studied. The other 22 cases, including the high profile case of September sea ice extent in the Arctic, show no evidence that temperature alone explains sea ice extent. We conclude that other factors such as wind, clouds, solar irradiance, and ocean circulation may be relevant in the study of differences in mean monthly sea ice extent for the same calendar month from year to year.

Munshi, Jamal, Responsiveness of Polar Sea Ice Extent to Air Temperature 1979-2016 (SSRN. November 15, 2016)

Uncoupled: CO2 And Sea Ice

According to climate models, anthropogenic CO2 emissions drive trends in polar sea ice.   The sea ice extent in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres should therefore gradually decline (linearly) as human emissions rise.

However, neither the Arctic nor Antarctic sea ice trends appear to be cooperating with these modeled expectations.

In newly published papers, scientists have reported that Arctic sea ice extent grew during the decades from the 1940s to the 1980s before declining after the 1980s.   The Arctic sea ice trend has thus undergone an oscillation rather than a linear recession, contradicting the models.

Furthermore, the instrumental record indicates that  Arctic temperatures have stopped rising since about 2005.

On the other side of the planet, the sea ice surrounding Antarctica has been growing since the 1970s, or for nearly 40 years now.  This sea ice expansion coincides with an overall Southern Ocean cooling trend of about -0.3°C per decade since 1979.

Again, the climate models that stipulate changes in CO2 concentrations are what drive polar sea ice trends have been contradicted by observational evidence.

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

Agitators, regulators and predators on the prowl

They’re going for a knockout and jackpot on a farm chemical, a corporation – and science

Paul Driessen

Legal and scientific ethics seem to have become irrelevant, as anti-chemical agitators, regulators and trial lawyers team up on numerous lawsuits against Monsanto. They’re seeking tens of billions of dollars in jackpot justice, by claiming a chemical in the company’s popular weed killer RoundUp causes cancer.

A key basis for the legal actions is a March 2015 International Agency for Research on Cancer ruling that glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen.” A previously little known agency in the World Health Organization (WHO), IARC has gained infamy in recent years – as critics slammed it for manipulating data and altering or deleting scientific conclusions to advance extreme anti-chemical policy agendas.

Although it is funded by US and European taxpayers – and is at the forefront of controversial policy, legal and regulatory actions – IARC insists that its deliberations, emails, draft reports and all other materials are its private property. Therefore, the agency claims, they are exempt from FOIA requests and even US congressional inquiries. IARC stonewalls all inquiries and advises its staff to talk to no one.

Its 2015 ruling became the primary justification for California listing glyphosate as carcinogenic under Proposition 65, a European Parliament vote to ban the chemical, and a European Commission committee proposal to give it only a five-year extension for further use in the EU. These actions, in turn, have given trial lawyers the ammo they need for their lawsuits – and other legal actions they are already preparing.

Glyphosate is an herbicide. It kills weeds. Used in conjunction with genetically modified RoundUp-Ready crops, it enables farmers to practice no-till farming – wherein a couple of soil spray treatments eliminate the need to till cropland to control weeds. That preserves soil structure and organisms, moisture, organic matter and nutrients; improves drainage and soil biodiversity; reduces erosion; and permits the high-yield farming humanity must practice if we are to feed Earth’s growing populations without having to plow under millions more acres of wildlife habitat. It also reduces labor and tractor fuel consumption.

Banning it just in Britain would cost the UK $1.2 billion a year in reduced crop yields and farm incomes.

Moreover, as UK science writer Matt Ridley points out, coffee is more carcinogenic than glyphosate. So are numerous other foods and beverages that we consume every day, adds cancer expert Bruce Ames. Of all dietary pesticides that humans ingest, 99.99% are natural, Ames notes; they are chemicals that plants produce to defend themselves against fungi, viruses, insects and other predators.

Indeed, every other regulatory agency and reputable scientific body, going back some 40 years, have universally found that this RoundUp chemical does not cause cancer! The European Food Safety Authority, European Chemicals Agency, German Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), US Environmental Protection Agency and even other WHO experts have all studied glyphosate carefully. They have all said it is safe, non-carcinogenic or “unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans.”

And yet IARC villainizes glyphosate. In a way, that’s not surprising. Out of 900 chemicals the agency reviewed since it was formed, it found only one was not carcinogenic. Many other chemicals, and even GMO foods, may soon be branded the same way, especially now that America’s tort industry senses more jackpots from “cooperating closely” with IARC and putting more agency advisors on its payroll.

The latest tactic is to claim the chemical is being detected in some foods and in people’s urine. We can detect parts per trillion! (1 ppt is two teaspoons in 660 million gallons.) But where does actual risk begin?

And how did IARC reach conclusions so completely different from nearly every other expert worldwide, whose studies confirmed glyphosate poses no cancer risk? That’s where this story gets really interesting.

IARC is linked inextricably to Linda Birnbaum’s National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences, which gets millions in US taxpayer money. The NIEHS funds and works with Italy’s junk-science factory, the Ramazzini Institute, and is allied with radical elements in US and EU government agencies. One of the most prominent and recurrent names on the list is Dr. Christopher Portier.

According to investigative journalists David Zaruk (Risk-Monger) and Kate Kelland (Reuters), Portier worked for years with Birnbaum at the NIEHS. He has also been a principal US government liaison to IARC, was paid as its only “consulting expert” on the working group that demonized glyphosate as carcinogenic, and did so while also being paid by the US National Institutes for Health – and while simultaneously being paid by the rabidly anti-pesticide group Environmental Defense. Portier has also received over $160,000 as a consultant to law firms that are suing Monsanto and other companies!

Equally outrageous, Portier admitted that, before he was hired as an “expert” on IARC’s glyphosate panel, he “had not looked at” any of the scientific evidence and had no experience with the chemical. He signed his lucrative deal with the lawyers within a week of finishing his work on the panel – but later admitted that he had been working with them for two months: while he was consulting for IARC!

Portier, IARC and the predatory lawyers all worked diligently to keep these arrangements – and major conflicts of interest – a secret. As Ms. Kelland explained in another article, IARC was equally diligent in securing a “guilty verdict” on glyphosate – by ignoring or altering multiple studies and conclusions that exonerated the chemical. That scientific and prosecutorial misconduct was revealed when Kelland compared IARC’s draft and final report, and found numerous indefensible changes and deletions.

In multiple instances, she  discovered, the IARC panel simply removed scientists’ conclusions that their studies had found no link between glyphosate and cancer in laboratory animals. In others, the panel inserted a brand new statistical analysis, “effectively reversing” a study’s original finding. Other times, it surreptitiously changed critical language after scientists had agreed to earlier language that made precisely the opposite point from what appeared in the final Monograph 112 report on glyphosate.

One animal pathology report relied on by the US EPA clearly and unequivocally stated that its authors “firmly” and “unanimously” agreed that glyphosate had not caused abnormal growths in mice they had studied. The published IARC monograph simply deleted the sentence.

Overall, Reuters found ten significant changes between the critical draft chapter on animal studies and IARC’s final published monograph. Every one of them either deleted key statements that the Monsanto chemical did not cause tumors, replaced them with assertions that it did cause tumors, or (six times) claimed IARC “was not able to evaluate” a study because of “limited experimental data” included in it.

In addition, IARC panelist Charles Jameson said another study was excluded because “the amount of data in the tables was overwhelming,” and possibly because it may have been submitted an hour late. Dr. Jameson also claimed he didn’t know when, why or by whom any of the changes had been made.

Zaruk’s meticulous and eye-opening analysis of IARC’s swampy, shoddy, deceptive practices, collusion with anti-chemical zealots, blatant conflicts of interest – and six reasons why agency director Christopher Wild should be fired – is must reading for anyone concerned about cancer research and scientific integrity. His discussion of “hazard” versus “risk” assessment is particularly enlightening and valuable.

Many would call this saga blatant corruption, manipulation and fraud. All funded by our tax dollars! It is uncomfortably similar to what we have seen over the years with IPCC and other work on climate change.

The lawyers hope that years of anti-chemical activism, carefully stoked public fears, doctored studies and silencing or marginalizing of contrary voices will bring them a huge jury jackpot – akin to what their brethren recently received in an absurd talcum-powder-causes-cancer case (which was also based on IARC pseudo-science), before the suspect evidence, verdict and award were tossed out on appeal.

It’s likely that the EU and WHO will do little or nothing about this cesspool. Thankfully, the US Congress, particularly Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Lamar Smith (R-TX), is digging into it. We can only hope that they and their committees will issue and, more importantly, enforce subpoenas. If Portier and other IARC staffers, panelists and hired guns refuse to comply, Chaffetz and Smith (and judges in the Monsanto cases) should arrest and jail them, until they open their mouths, books and deliberations.

Via email

Science is NOT on the side of global warming

Maybe the biggest of all the lies put out by the global warming scaremongers is that the science is on their side. No it isn’t. And if you’re in any doubt at all you should read this interview with the brilliant scientist István Markó. It tells you all you need to know about the science of global warming.

Dr. Markó, who sadly died earlier this year aged only 61, was a professor and researcher in organic chemistry at the Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium’s largest French-speaking university. More importantly for the purposes of this interview, he was one of the world’s most outspoken and well-informed climate skeptics, who contributed to several articles on the subject for Breitbart News.

Before he died, he gave an extensive interview to the French journalist Grégoire Canlorbe. Here are highlights of the English translation. As you’ll see, he doesn’t pull his punches.

CO2 is not – and has never been a poison

Each of our exhalations, each of our breaths, emits an astronomical quantity of CO2 proportionate to that in the atmosphere (some >40,000 ppm); and it is very clear that the air we expire does not kill anyone standing in front of us. What must be understood, besides, is that CO2 is the elementary food of plants. Without CO2 there would be no plants, and without plants there would be no oxygen and therefore no humans.

Plants love CO2. That’s why the planet is greening

Plants need CO2, water, and daylight. These are the mechanisms of photosynthesis, to generate the sugars that will provide them with staple food and building blocks. That fundamental fact of botany is one of the primary reasons why anyone who is sincerely committed to the preservation of the “natural world” should abstain from demonizing CO2. Over the last 30 years, there has been a gradual increase in the CO2 level. But what is also observed is that despite deforestation, the planet’s vegetation has grown by about 20 percent. This expansion of vegetation on the planet, nature lovers largely owe it to the increase in the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.

There have been periods where the CO2 concentration was many times higher than now. Life thrived.

During the Jurassic, Triassic, and so on, the CO2 level rose to values sometimes ​​of the order of 7000, 8000, 9000 ppm, which considerably exceeds the paltry 400 ppm that we have today. Not only did life exist in those far-off times when CO2 was so present in large concentration in the atmosphere, but plants such as ferns commonly attained heights of 25 meters. Reciprocally, far from benefiting the current vegetation, the reduction of the presence of CO2 in the atmosphere would be likely to compromise the health, and even the survival, of numerous plants. To fall below the threshold of 280 or 240 ppm would plainly lead to the extinction of a large variety of our vegetal species.

Animals need CO2 too. And by the way – forests are not the ‘lungs of the earth’…

In addition, our relentless crusade to reduce CO2 could be more harmful to nature as plants are not the only organisms to base their nutrition on CO2. Phytoplankton species also feed on CO2, using carbon from CO2 as a building unit and releasing oxygen. By the way, it is worth remembering that ~70 percent of the oxygen present today in the atmosphere comes from phytoplankton, not trees. Contrary to common belief, it is not the forests, but the oceans, that constitute the “lungs” of the earth.

It is not true that CO2 has a major greenhouse effect. Reports of its influence have been exaggerated

It is worth remembering here too that CO2 is a minor gas. Today it represents only 0.04 percent of the composition of the air; and its greenhouse effect is attributed the value of 1. The major greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is water vapor which is ten times more potent than CO2 in its greenhouse effect. Water vapor is present in a proportion of 2 percent in the atmosphere. Those facts are, in principle, taught at school and at university, but one still manages to incriminate CO2 alongside this learning, in using a dirty trick that presents the warming effect of CO2 as minor but exacerbated, through feedback loops, by the other greenhouse effects.

Climate change is natural

Over the last 12,000 years, what we have witnessed is an oscillation between warm and cold periods, thus periods with rising and declining sea levels. Incontestably, sea and ocean levels have been on the rise since the end of the Little Ice Age that took place approximately from the beginning of the 14th century until the end of the 19th century. At the end of that period, global temperatures started to rise. That being said, the recorded rise is 0.8 degrees Celsius and is, therefore, nothing extraordinary. If the temperature goes up, ocean water obviously dilates and some glaciers recede. This is something glaciers have always done, and not a specificity of our time.

Don’t worry about shrinking glaciers. We’ve been here before…

In Ancient Roman times, glaciers were much smaller than the ones we know nowadays. I invite the reader to look at the documents dating back to the days of Hannibal, who managed to cross the Alps with his elephants because he did not encounter ice on his way to Rome (except during a snow storm just before arriving on the Italian plain). Today, you could no longer make Hannibal’s journey. He proved to be capable of such an exploit precisely because it was warmer in Roman times.

Sea level rise is normal

Sea levels are currently on the rise; but this is an overestimated phenomenon. The recorded rise is 1.5 millimeters per year, namely 1.5 cm every ten years, and is, therefore, not dramatic at all. Indeed, it does happen that entire islands do get engulfed; but in 99 percent of the cases, that is due to a classic erosion phenomenon[1] and not to rising sea levels. As far as the Italian city of Venice is concerned, the fact it has been faced with water challenges is not due to any rise of the lagoon level and is just the manifestation of the sad reality that “the City of the Doges” is sinking under its weight on the marshland. Once again, the global sea and ocean levels are rising; but the threat effectively represented by that phenomenon is far from being tangible. I note that the Tuvalu islands, whose engulfment was previously announced as imminent, not only have not been engulfed, but have seen their own land level rise with respect to that of waters around them.

[1] The island shores are eroded by the persistent pounding of the ocean waves. This is perceived as ‘sinking’ or as ‘sea level rise,’ but the upward creep of the waters is due to island soil being washed away.

The polar ice caps are fine too

Still another phenomenon we tend to exaggerate is the melting of the polar caps. The quantity of ice in the Arctic has not gone down for 10 years. One may well witness, from one year to the other, ice level fluctuations, but, on average, that level has remained constant. Right after the Little Ice Age, since the temperature went up, the Arctic started to melt; but the ice level in the Arctic finally settled down. Besides, ice has been expanding in Antarctica over the last 30 years and, similarly, we observe in Greenland that the quantity of ice increased by 112 million cubic kilometers last year. On a global scale, glaciers account for peanuts, with most of the ice being located in Antarctica and so on.

Extreme weather events are actually decreasing

From storms to tornados, extreme events are going down all around the world and, when they occur, their level is much lower, too. As explained by MIT physicist Richard Lindzen, the reduction of the temperature differential between the north hemisphere and the equatorial part of our planet makes cyclonic energy much smaller: the importance and frequency of extreme events thus tend to decrease.

Recent warming is modest – much smaller than the alarmists’ various computer models predicted

If you look at satellite data and weather balloon measurements, you then note that the temperature rise around the world is relatively modest, that it is much lower than the rise that is predicted for us by authorities, and that these predictions rely on calculations that are highly uncertain. This is because the simulation inputs cannot take into account past temperatures, for which there is no precision data[1], except by subjectively adjusting x, y, z data that are not always known. The recent temperature spikes measured by satellites and balloons are part of a classic natural phenomenon which is called El Niño. This short-term phenomenon consists of a return of the very warm waters at the surface of the equatorial Pacific Ocean. The heat thus liberated in the atmosphere pushes up the global temperature and CO2 plays no role in that process.

Claims by alarmist ‘experts’ that 2016 was that ‘hottest year ever’ are pure balderdash

The World Meteorological Organization – another emanation of the United Nations and which is also, like the IPCC, an intergovernmental forum – declares 2016 the year the warmest of history. Knowing that 2016 is supposedly hotter by 0.02°C than 2015 and that the margin of error on this value is 0.1°C, we see the absurdity of this statement. For those who don’t understand, this means that the variation in temperature can be of + 0.12°C (global warming) or -0.08°C (global cooling). In short, we can’t say anything and WMO has simply lost its mind.

No, ‘climate change’ hasn’t led to an increase in tropical diseases

Climate-related diseases are relatively rare; and even malaria does not directly depend on the climate, but rather on the way we enable the parasite to reproduce and the mosquito to flourish in the place where we are located. If you find yourself in a swampy area, the odds you will get malaria are high; if you have drained the system and you no longer have that wetland, the odds you will catch the disease are very low. In the end, automatically blaming the resurgence of some disease on climate change comes down to removing the personal responsibility from the people involved: such as denying that their refusal of vaccinations, for instance, or their lack of hygiene, may be part of the problem.

Again, CO2 is greening the planet. And that’s a good thing. So stop demonizing it!

Present deserts, far from expanding, are receding; and they are receding due to the higher quantity of CO2 available in the air. It turns out that greenhouse operators voluntarily inject three times as much CO2 in the commercial greenhouse as it is present in the atmosphere. The result we can observe is that plants grow faster and are bigger, that they are more resistant to diseases and to destructive insects, and that their photosynthesis is way more efficient and that they, therefore, consume less water. Similarly, the rise of CO2 level in the atmosphere makes plants need less water so they can afford to colonize arid regions.




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


Sunday, October 29, 2017

The downfall of the proxies

The article below is more significant than its authors appear to realize.  It casts all proxy measurements of temperature into doubt  -- and paleoclimate studies all rely on proxies. For most of the world, thermometer measurements of temperature go back only a couple of hundred years, if that.  So paleoclimatologists  DEDUCE temperatures from what they see in tree rings, sedimentary sea-life, ice-cores etc.  Such things are proxies for actual temperature measurements.

And it has just been revealed that a widely used and completely accepted proxy appears to be severely inaccurate.

There have long been protests at the uncritical acceptance of proxies. Perhaps the most vivid example of proxy inaccuracy was "Mike's Nature trick", where Michael Mann abandoned mention of 20th century tree-ring proxies when he found that they showed a 20th century temperature DECLINE.  Where it could be examined, there was a wide divergence between tree ring proxies and actual temperatures as measured by thermometers.  Tree rings have in other words been shown to be invalid as a measure of temperature.  Any work using them is built on sand.

And Dr Zbigniew Jaworowski's criticisms of the assumed reliability of ice core measurements of gases such as CO2 have often been mentioned.  And he studied ice cores for over 30 years.

And the measurements of actual CO2 levels collated by Ernst Beck from 1812 on diverge strongly from proxy measurements.

So doubts about proxies have been voiced before but have been ignored by Warmists.  The latest study, however should be harder to ignore, given its importance to paleoclimate work.  "Paleoclimatology is bunk" would seem to be a reasonable conclusion given what we now know. Its measurements require a large element of faith and that faith has now been shown to be misplaced

Climate change might be even worse than we think, according to a new study that is challenging the way we measure ocean temperatures.

Scientists suggest that the method used to understand sea temperatures in the past is based on a mistake, meaning our understanding of climate change may be flawed.

The findings indicate that oceans in the past were much colder than thought, meaning that temperatures may be increasing quicker now than realised.

For over 50 years, scientists based their estimates on what they learned from foraminifera - fossils of tiny marine organisms found in sediment cores taken from the ocean floor.

Foraminifera form shells called tests, in which the content of a form of oxygen, called oxygen-18, depends on the temperature of the water.

So changes in the ocean's temperature over time were calculated on the basis of the oxygen-18 content of the fossil foraminifera tests found in sediment.

According to these measurements, the ocean's temperature has fallen by 15°C over the past 100 million years.

But these estimates were based on the principle that the oxygen-18 content of the foraminifera tests remained constant while the fossils were in the sediment.

To test whether oxygen-18 levels changed, the researchers exposed foraminifera to high temperatures in artificial sea water that contained only oxygen-18.

An instrument called NanoSIMS was then used to analyse the chemical content of the fossils.

Results show that the level of oxygen-18 changed without leaving a visible trace.

According to the methodology widely used by the scientific community, the temperature of the polar oceans 100 million years ago were around 15°C higher than current readings.

But in a new study, researchers from the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) are challenging this method.

Instead, they suggest that ocean temperatures may in fact have remained relatively stable throughout this period, which raises serious concerns about current levels of climate change.

Dr Anders Meibom, one of the researchers who worked on the study, said: 'If we are right, our study challenges decades of paleoclimate research.'

'Oceans cover 70 per cent of our planet. They play a key role in the earth's climate.

'Knowing the extent to which their temperatures have varied over geological time is crucial if we are to gain a fuller understanding of how they behave and to predict the consequences of current climate change more accurately.'

For over 50 years, scientists have based their estimates on what they learned from foraminifera - fossils of tiny marine organisms found in sediment cores taken from the ocean floor.

Foraminifera form shells called tests, in which the content of a form of oxygen, called oxygen-18, depends on the temperature of the water in which they live.

So changes in the ocean's temperature over time were calculated on the basis of the oxygen-18 content of the fossil foraminifera tests found in the sediment.

According to these measurements, the ocean's temperature has fallen by 15°C over the past 100 million years.

But these estimates were based on the principle that the oxygen-18 content of the foraminifera tests remained constant while the fossils were in the sediment.

To test whether oxygen-18 levels changed, the researchers exposed foraminifera to high temperatures in artificial sea water that contained only oxygen-18.

An instrument called NanoSIMS was then used to analyse the chemical content of the fossils.

Results show that the level of oxygen-18 present changed without leaving a visible trace.

Dr Sylvain Bernard, lead author of the study, said: 'What appeared to be perfectly preserved fossils are in fact not.

'This means that the paleotemperature estimates made up to now are incorrect.'

Rather than showing a gradual decline in temperature over the past 100 million years, the researchers suggest that the foraminifera had changed their oxygen-18 levels simply to equilibrate with the surrounding water.

The findings indicate that temperature in the oceans have been overestimated.

In terms of next steps, Dr Meibom added: 'To revisit the ocean's paleotemperatures now, we need to carefully quantify this re-equilibration, which has been overlooked for too long.

'For that, we have to work on other types of marine organisms so that we clearly understand what took place in the sediment over geological time.'


Clean Power Plan: Real Costs, Fake Benefits

By Steve Milloy

The Trump Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed repeal of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan represents an amazing and long overdue breakthrough in the history of environmental regulation. Not only has no Republican administration ever before mustered the courage to rollback a major EPA regulation, but the Trump administration has done so by directly challenging the rule’s purported health benefits. That’s unheard of.

Although the Clean Power Plan was pitched as being about reducing emissions of greenhouse gases from coal-fired power plants, the benefits of averted climate change is not how the Obama EPA justified the rule on an economic basis. There certainly were no discernible climate change benefits to be claimed as House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) forced Obama EPA administrator Gina McCarthy to acknowledge in testimony. (Video below).

Instead, the EPA justified the net benefit of the rule on the basis of collateral reductions (so-called “co-benefits” in regulatory parlance) in fine particulate matter (soot or “PM2.5”) emissions from power plants. So while the compliance costs of the Clean Power Plan could be as high as $33 billion per year, the Obama EPA was able to overcome this immense number and coal industry complaints by proferring an even larger off-setting one. The Obama EPA claimed that the rule’s benefits from reducing PM2.5 amounted to as much as $55 billion per year.

What are the supposed $55 billion in economic benefits? That sum is intended to represent the monetized value of thousands of premature deaths allegedly prevented every year by the Clean Power Plan via the co-benefit of reduced PM2.5 emissions. Given that EPA values premature deaths avoided at around $9 million per life “saved”, thousands of lives “saved” times millions of dollars per life “saved” equals tens of billions of dollars in purported annual benefits.

EPA staff invented this calculus in 1996 to justify its first effort to regulate PM2.5. As I wrote on this page at the time (link goes to WSJ, copy of 1997 op-ed below this one), there was no science to support the notion that PM2.5 in outdoor air killed anyone. But EPA regulated anyway, stiff-arming not only the objections and demands rom the Republican controlled Congress for the scientific data underlying its claims, but also stiff-arming the objections of then-Vice President Al Gore who thought the PM2.5 rule too costly.

As it had historically always been difficult for EPA to tighten air quality standards because of costs, the EPA used its imaginary notion that PM2.5-kills as a way to game the cost-benefit analysis. As the Clean Power Plan amply demonstrates, no industry cost-benefit analysis could possibly trump EPA’s thousands-times-millions-equals-billions ruse – that is until, well, Trump.

The Trump EPA has now largely jettisoned the notion that PM2.5 kills. And it has done so in a clever way that not only justifies the repeal of the Clean Power Plan but simultaneously hoists the Obama EPA on its own petard.

The Trump EPA has reduced the Obama EPA-claimed benefits of PM2.5 emissions reductions by as much as a whopping $29 billion per year, which then nets out very favorably against the rule’s anticipated costs of as much as $33 billion per year. Here’s the clever part.

The Clean Air Act requires that air quality standards for pollutants such as PM2.5 be set at a safe level which includes an ample margin of safety for supposedly especially vulnerable populations. The Obama EPA reduced the national outdoor air standard for PM2.5 in 2012 from a level of 15 millionths of a gram per cubic meter of air to 12 — thereby making 12 standard the de facto safe level.

Despite the existence of the 12 standard, the EPA has long claimed that there is no safe level of exposure to PM2.5 and that any inhalation of PM2.5 can cause death within hours of inhalation. But EPA could never lower the PM2.5 standard to zero because such a standard could not be attained even if the economy was entirely shut down.

Neverthless, EPA’s benefit analysis for the Clean Power Plan assumes that PM2.5 does kills people below the 12 standard. But the devilishly clever Trump EPA has simply accepted the Obama-issued PM2.5 standard of 12 at its legal meaning and, so, there are no lives saved by reducing PM2.5 levels below that level. Thus vanished $29 billion in fake Clean Power Plan benefits.

There is a large, robust body of scientific literature that supports the Trump EPA decision — everything from large epidemiologic studies to clinical research to historical air quality episode data to other real-life experiences with PM2.5 to just plain old common sense. Standing against the Trump decision is nothing but dubious, pre-Trump EPA-funded epidemiology, the key data for which pre-Trump EPAs have kept secret from more than 20 years thereby preventing independent analyses. The Obama EPA even defied Congressional subpoena to keep its PM2.5 epidemiologic data hidden from view.

New York Attorney General Keith Schneiderman and green activist groups have already announced they will sue over the repeal. Good luck. When the Supreme Court voted to stay the rule in February 2016, the Court implicitly decided the coal industry and state plaintiffs would prevail on the legal merits alone. That the Clean Power Plan has no economic or climate benefits will just underscore its final demise.

EPA chief Scott Pruitt has hailed the repeal of the Clean Power Plan as the end of the Obama “war on coal.” It’s more like the beginning of the end. The end will be reached when scientific reality about PM2.5 is applied to all the Obama war-on-coal rules.


IMF Chief: We Will Be ‘Toasted, Roasted and Grilled’ by Global Warming

"There has not yet been a single documented case of a person being killed by CO2 related “global warming".  Lagarde is a lawyer by trade.  She has no scientific qualifications

Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has joined the ranks of the most ardent climate alarmists, prophesying that Armageddon is coming if the human race does not tackle climate change.

If we don’t address the issues of climate change and inequality, Ms. Lagarde said Tuesday before a major economic conference in Riyadh, “we will be moving to a dark future.”

Speaking directly to the question of global warming, Lagarde said that “we will be toasted, roasted and grilled” if humanity fails to make “critical decisions” regarding carbon emissions.

If the human race wants a future that “looks like utopia and not dystopia,” it needs to address such concerns, Lagarde said, predicting that in 50 years’ time, oil will be a secondary commodity since green energy will have moved into prominence.

Speaking before a major petroleum-producing nation, Lagarde hastened to add that these necessary measures are “well understood” in Saudi Arabia.

Ms. Lagarde is no stranger to exaggerated predictions, having proposed in 2016 that a Brexit victory would lead to 500,000 job losses, while suggesting that Brexit voters are narrow-minded and calling for a “united Europe.”

Ms. Lagarde said she had always admired Britain’s “openness to other nationalities and cultures” and added it was “hard to believe attitudes had changed in such a short space of time.”

In June, President Donald Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, arguing that it was a deeply flawed document that put American workers at an economic disadvantage.

This announcement drew fierce criticism from world leaders and activists, with former UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon accusing Trump of “standing on the wrong side of history.”

Recent reports, however, suggest that Trump’s move has drawn numerous countries in his wake, with a number of other nations quietly withdrawing from the Paris energy goals.

According to Lawrence Solomon of Energy Probe, a Toronto-based environmental organization, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is one of the only signers of the Paris agreement who is actually abiding by the exacting demands of the accord.

Most signatories, Solomon notes in an essay in last Friday’s Financial Post, “are ignoring, if not altogether abandoning Paris commitments, undoubtedly because voters in large part put no stock in scary global warming scenarios.”

Moreover, a devastating new study from the prestigious UK-based Lancet journal has revealed that pollution-related diseases—rather than “climate change”—were responsible for an estimated 9 million premature deaths in 2015, or some 15 times more than from all wars and other forms of violence combined.

Pollution is not only the largest environmental cause of disease and premature death in the world today, the study found, but diseases caused by pollution were responsible for roughly 16 percent of all deaths worldwide: “three times more deaths than from AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined and 15 times more than from all wars and other forms of violence.”

So while there has not yet been a single documented case of a person being killed by carbon dioxide related “global warming,” real pollution of air, water and land is killing an average of 25,000 people every day across the globe.

As environmental activists jet around the world complaining of “carbon footprints” and preaching “renewable energy,” they have been remarkably silent regarding the real and present menace that is wiping out millions of human beings around the world.

Whereas the Paris Climate Accord prates about greenhouse gas emissions, it never once mentions the word “pollution” in the entire 27-page document.

Yet not only is pollution control not getting better, in many parts of the world, “pollution is getting worse,” the Lancet study found.


Massive New Coal Boom To Fuel Southeast Asia’s Booming Economies

The International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that about 100 GW of new coal-fired power generation capacity is expected to come online in Southeast Asia by 2040, more than doubling the region’s current coal power capacity. Global coal-fired generation capacity to grow by nearly 50% over today’s levels.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) says the need for cheap electricity in Southeast Asia will drive global demand for coal for power generation through 2040, even as many countries continue to retire coal-fired plants and cancel projects for new coal facilities.

IEA, which is set to release its World Energy Outlook 2017 on November 14, this week said India and Southeast Asia will account for the majority of the use of coal in the coming years, as those areas’ economies continue to grow and demand for electricity rises.

“Coal maintains a strong foothold in [Southeast Asia’s] projected consumption, not only because it is markedly cheaper than natural gas, but also because coal projects are in many cases easier to pursue as they do not require the capital-intensive infrastructure associated with gas,” the IEA said in a report in advance of the release of the November outlook.

The agency said about 100 GW of new coal-fired power generation capacity is expected to come online in Southeast Asia by 2040, increasing the region’s installed capacity to about 160 GW. The IEA said 40% of the new capacity will be built in Indonesia. The group said Vietnam, the second-largest consumer of coal in Southeast Asia behind Indonesia, will become the region’s largest importer of coal by 2040.

A report this week by Wood Mackenzie, a UK-based research and consulting firm with offices worldwide, including five in the U.S., said thermal coal imports by Southeast Asia will more than double to 226 million metric tons by 2035, up from 85 million metric tons today. The group said imports into Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, and other parts of South Asia will jump to 284 million metric tons during that period, a 72% increase from this year’s levels.

At the same time, Chinese imports of coal—China in 2016 again became the world’s top importer of coal, overtaking India—will drop about 40% over the next two decades as the country ramps up its use of other energy sources, including wind and particularly solar, where it dominates the world market in terms of installed solar capacity and the production of solar panels.

China this year has canceled plans for more than 100 new coal plants, although Chinese companies are either building or planning to build more than 700 new coal plants worldwide, according to Urgewald, a German environmental group. Urgewald in July said more than 1,600 coal-fired power plants were either under construction or being planned in 62 countries, a number that would increase global coal-fired generation capacity by 43% over today’s levels.

Kiah Wei Giam, a principal analyst for coal and gas markets at Wood Mackenzie, this week at the Singapore International Energy Week said: “Coal is still the most affordable technology in power generation,” despite “pushback in coal development” due to concerns about pollution. Giam said coal demand will remain high at least until renewable energy sources and energy storage solutions become more economically competitive.


It’s greens, not Lord Lawson, who are anti-science

Did you hear Radio 4’s Today programme back on the 10 August? Do you remember hearing Lord Lawson say that ‘during this past 10 years, if anything, mean global temperature, average world temperature, has slightly declined’?

You probably don’t. Lawson was invited to respond to Al Gore’s new film, An Inconvenient Sequel – an equally boring sequel to An Inconvenient Truth. Lawson’s short interview covered many subjects, and touched on temperature only briefly – almost in passing.

However, this week, the BBC has been forced to apologise for presenter Justin Webb’s failure to challenge Lawson’s claim. According to complaints, the audience was misled by the interview. BBC science presenter Jim Al-Khalili said that hosting Lawson was ‘ignorant and irresponsible’. Physics popstar-professor Brian Cox added that it was ‘highly misleading to give the impression that there is a meaningful debate about the science [of climate change]’. The Green Party co-leader, Jonathan Bartley, said that the interview was: ‘The modern day equivalent of giving the smoking lobby a platform to deny that lighting up has any link to cancer.’

But rather than shedding light on the facts of climate change, these complaints say much more about the strange, intolerant and censorious mindset of environmentalists.

If there is any logic to such livid demands for censure and censorship, it is based on a presupposition that the Today programme’s audience consists of feckless and impressionable morons. But even if this insult were true, the segment in question wasn’t biased. The interview with Lawson followed a discussion with Al Gore, later followed by an interview with Fisher Stevens. (Stevens’ campaigning documentary Before the Flood featured the private-jet-flying, yacht-cruising, carbon-guzzling Leonardo DiCaprio worrying about what everyone else’s CO2 emissions are doing to the planet.) The following morning, Today invited the Met Office’s Dr Peter Stott to respond to Lawson’s claim. The audience would have heard ample arguments from the orthodox side of the debate.
Related categories

Greens seem to think that debate itself lends credibility to unauthorised opinion. Rather than crediting individuals with the sense to judge comments made by interviewees, environmentalists seem to believe that news programmes must spoon-feed audiences the ‘correct’ answers. This reflects environmentalism’s political schema. Where, in a democracy, authority is given by assent from below, greens prefer the authority of scientific institutions. To permit debate would be to undermine the authority of institutional science – and leave the listener with the bizarre impression that he was free to make up his own mind. In other words, Al-Khalili, Cox and Bartley do not need to know what Lawson said, how it contradicts science, or what the science says. They only need to know that he contradicts The Science, and that he shouldn’t be allowed to speak. ‘Shame on you’, screeched Al-Khalili, to the Today team.

But there’s more. Consider the reaction to one of Lawson’s previous appearances on the Today programme. Following the record-wet January and storms of the 2013-14 winter, Lawson appeared on the show with climate scientist Professor Brian Hoskins to discuss the role of climate change in that winter’s weather. ‘There’s no simple link – we can’t say “yes or no, this is climate change”’, said Hoskins. Lawson emphasised Hoskins’ own equivocation, and pointed to analysis from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which claims that a link between global warming and extreme weather events has not emerged from the observational data. The Met Office, Lawson rightly pointed out, had predicted a continuation of the dry conditions for that winter, and got it badly wrong. The disagreement was mild, yet Lawson’s mere appearance alongside a climate scientist provoked outrage. By putting Lawson alongside a climate scientist, the BBC had, greens said, given the audience the impression that the two men were equally qualified to speak. Climate warriors do not even trust climate scientists to debate climate sceptics face-to-face.

Green hysteria about the expression of unauthorised opinion is a far more interesting – and dangerous – phenomenon than minute changes in atmospheric temperature. Patronising millions of listeners won’t lead to better understanding of the climate, nor will it help us figure out what to do about climate change if it ever does become a problem. The idea that certain scientific claims are beyond question is far more anti-science than anything a climate-change ‘denier’ might come up with.




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, October 27, 2017

BBC is accused of being a 'left-wing mouthpiece' over climate

After grovelling apology for failing to challenge Lord Lawson over interview claim that temperatures haven't risen in past decade

The BBC was accused of being a 'left-wing mouthpiece' today after it issued a grovelling apology for failing to challenge Lord Lawson over a claim temperatures have not risen over the last 10 years.

Furious MPs said the decision to single out the peer showed the corporation had given up any 'pretence' of impartiality.

Former chancellor Lord Lawson made the claim during an interview broadcast on Radio 4's Today programme in August.

The BBC had initially rejected complaints from viewers, claiming that it was important to give air time to 'dissenting voices' in the pursuit of fairness.

However it has now bowed to pressure and admitted that it breached its own editorial guidelines on accuracy and impartiality.

Tory MP Philip Davies told MailOnline: 'It is what you would expect from the BBC. It is typical BBC.

'They have given up any pretence of being impartial these days. They have become a mouthpiece for any left-wing, pro-EU Labour party cause.

'If they think they might have upset some of their left wing cheerleaders then of course they are going to apologise profusely.

'I look forward to them apologising profusely when a right wing politician is challenged. I think we would be waiting a long time.' 

Andrew Bridgen, Tory MP for North West Leicestershire told MailOnline: ‘If the BBC had to apologise for every inaccuracy a Labour politician made on air they would never be able to have a Labour politician on.

‘The position sounds rather extreme to me – the BBC very seldom allow climate sceptics on the programme.’ 

According to The Guardian, the BBC's executive complaints unit accepted that the assertions 'were, at the least, contestable and should have been challenged'.

During the interview with presenter Justin Webb, Lord Lawson said official figures showed that 'during this past 10 years, if anything, mean global temperature, average world temperature, has slightly declined'.

He added that the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 'has confirmed that there has been no increase in extreme weather events'.

In a letter seen by the Guardian, Colin Tregear, BBC complaints director, said: 'I hope you'll accept my apologies [...] for the breach of editorial standards you identified.'

The Today programme received similar complaints in 2014, when it was accused of giving 'undue weight to Lord Lawson's views'.

Ninety seven per cent of climate change scientists, climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities, according to Nasa.

The IPCC has also forecast a temperature rise of 2.5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit over the next century.

When asked for a comment, the BBC gave the following statement.

It said that during the programme, Al Gore appeared and spoke about his new film, the US Government's approach and the global effort to tackle climate change and spoke to filmmaker Fisher Stevens, who directed the 2016 film 'Before the Flood', prior to Lord Lawson's interview.

It added: 'In the interview our aim was to focus on the subsidy regime and Mr Gore's claim that there are policy makers who do not "join the dots", and Justin Webb challenged Lord Lawson in both these areas.

'The next morning we fact checked the claims around levels of subsidies for renewables and fossil fuels and we ran through the latest scientific evidence on extreme weather events and the links to climate change.

Temperature data from four international science institutions. All show rapid warming in the past few decades and that the last decade has been the warmest on record.  All show rapid warming in the past few decades and that the last decade has been the warmest on record.

'We appreciate that listeners may disagree with the position Lord Lawson takes on this issue, but his stance is reflected, for example, in the current US administration which has distanced itself from the Paris Agreement.

'As we pride ourselves on hearing opinions from all sides on Today, we are confident that we gave listeners the context and facts to make their own minds up about the views expressed.

'The BBC is absolutely committed to impartial and balanced coverage on this complex issue.

'Our position remains exactly as it was - we accept that there is broad scientific agreement on climate change and we reflect this accordingly.

'We do however on occasion offer space to dissenting voices where appropriate as part of the BBC’s overall commitment to impartiality.'


UK: 'Excessive' green taxes are forcing up fuel bills, official review finds

Consumers are paying too much for their energy because of “excessive” green taxes added to bills, a damning Government-commissioned report has found.

A series of “spectacularly bad” decisions by ministers have “unnecessarily burdened” households and businesses with higher green energy subsidies than necessary, according to Prof
Dieter Helm, of Oxford University.

The cost of renewable energy – as well as gas, coal and oil – has fallen but the benefits have not been passed on because ministers locked the taxpayer into long-term contracts that overestimated those costs, Prof Helm found.

Green taxes will cost the average household almost £150 from next year, according to energy firms.

Prof Helm said this was “significantly higher than it needs to be” to meet the Government’s objectives of cutting down on the use of fossil fuels and
promoting renewable energy.

He was asked to undertake the research after Theresa May, the Prime Minister, vowed to tackle “rip-off” bills. However, the industry expert placed the blame on the Government’s own policies.

“Significant institutional reform” should be brought in to reduce the Government’s role and allow the market to function efficiently, Prof Helm said.

His Cost of Energy Review said: “Each successive intervention layers on new costs and unintended consequences. It should be a central aim of Government to radically simplify the interventions, and to get Government back out of many of its current detailed roles.”

Green energy taxes, which were introduced as part of the 2008 Climate Change Act, have caused controversy ever since because some MPs regard them as “regressive”, penalising those who can least afford them.

There are also divisions over whether the levies are justified, particularly with respect to subsidies for wind farms, with opinion split over whether they are an unnecessary blight on the landscape.

In August the Office for Budget Responsibility warned that the cost of the subsidies would more than treble over the next five years, from £4.6  billion in 2015-16 to £13.5 billion in 2021-22.

The costs of “decarbonisation” account for around 20 per cent of typical electricity bills, according to the report. Consumers will have paid well over £100 billion by 2030, and Prof Helm says that “much more decarbonisation could have been achieved for less; costs should be lower, and they should be falling further”.

He said ministers’ forecasts of future energy costs had been far too high, but “many of these excessive costs are locked in for a decade or more, given the contractual and other legal commitments governments have made”.

In particular contracts had been given to “early stage” wind, solar and biomass companies whose costs had since been hugely undercut by other firms using much more advanced technology, Prof Helm said.

He said energy firms should be forced to declare their profit margins on bills and also called for the cost of existing contracts to be ring-fenced into a “legacy bank” and shown separately. The legacy charge should not be paid by heavy industry, he suggested.

Gareth Stace, director of UK Steel, said a “persistent and sizeable gap” existed between energy costs in Britain and competing markets.

The review is the second major report to criticise government energy policy in recent years after the Competition and Markets Authority dismissed many of the early claims of market abuse made against energy companies. Instead it warned that many policy
decisions had harmed competition.


"Deniers" are CRIMINALS

Mark Hertsgaard is off on another journey through his own head.  A false prophet and wild theorist from way back writes below.  It's all just assertion.  Not for him any doubt that hurricanes are caused by global warming

The horrors hurled at Houston and the Himalayan lowlands in late August were heartbreaking—but also infuriating. How many times must we see this disaster movie—titled Hurricane Harvey in 2017, Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, along with many lesser-known foreign releases—before we intervene and change the ending? And how long before we hold the ultimate authors of such climate catastrophes accountable for the miseries they inflict?

The tragedy of Harvey starts with the suffering of innocents like Jordyn Grace, the 3-year-old who survived the flood by clinging to the body of her drowned mother, who had prayed with her last breaths. At least 60 people died in Texas because of the storm, over 1 million people were displaced, and who knows how many survived but lost everything? Multiply the death and destruction in Texas a hundredfold to comprehend the scale of devastation in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh, where—although the news coverage has been a fraction of Harvey’s—a staggering 16 million children “are in urgent need of life-saving support” after “torrential monsoon rains and catastrophic flooding,” UNICEF reports.

What makes this so infuriating is that it shouldn’t be happening. Experts have warned for decades that global warming would increase these sorts of weather extremes and that people would suffer and die if protective measures were not implemented. In 2008, John Podesta, soon to be Obama’s transition director, organized a war game to test the responses to projected climate disruptions. Eerily enough, the scenario chosen—and vetted as scientifically accurate by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory—envisioned a Category 4 hurricane striking Houston and extreme monsoons flooding India. This is not to say that global warming “caused” Harvey—a scientifically illiterate framing of the issue—but it did make the rains bigger, more intense, and more destructive. Harvey dumped 27 trillion gallons of water—“enough to cover all of Manhattan a mile deep,” noted Seth Borenstein of the Associated Press—and as much as 30 percent of it can be attributed to global warming, according to Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Many other experts have issued warnings, starting with NASA scientist James Hansen’s landmark 1988 Senate testimony that global warming had begun and, if left unchecked, would threaten the future of human civilization. Recent years have also brought abundant evidence that shifting to wind power, less meat-heavy diets, and other climate-friendly alternatives would result in lasting economic and health benefits: more jobs, less inequality, cleaner air, stronger communities.

Yet Donald Trump and other powerful know-nothings in Washington seem perversely determined to ignore the lessons of Harvey, while doubling down on making things worse. Trump has crammed his administration full of climate-change deniers while pushing full steam ahead on more oil, gas, and coal production. His EPA chief, incredibly, has urged governors to ignore the Clean Power Plan proposed by the Obama administration, aiding conservative efforts to gut the policy. Days before Harvey drenched Texas, Trump rescinded Obama’s requirement that federal agencies take climate impacts into account before approving major infrastructure. And in a stunning insult not only to climate preparedness but the legacy of US space exploration, Trump nominated a climate denier with no scientific training to run NASA.

When the president announced in June that he was withdrawing the United States from the Paris climate accord, I wrote in The Nation: “To refuse to act against global warming is to condemn thousands of people to death and suffering today and millions more tomorrow. This is murder, even if Trump’s willful ignorance of climate science prevents him from seeing it.” That judgment grows more apt with each passing day we don’t reverse course. Knowing what we know in 2017, expanding fossil-fuel production is like Big Tobacco continuing to addict people to its cancer sticks: technically legal but, in effect, premeditated murder.

It is past time to call out Trump and all climate deniers for this crime against humanity. No more treating climate denial like an honest difference of opinion. When top tobacco executives swore to Congress that nicotine wasn’t addictive, their assertion, though laughable, did not make it true. Forty-six state attorneys general forced those smokers companies to pay at least $206 billion for their wickedness. Now, the individuals and institutions pushing climate denial must be called out with even greater vigor: in newspaper columns, on TV and radio talk shows, in town halls, at the ballot box, and by consumer boycotts, legal investigations, shareholder resolutions, street protests, and more.

Shedding tears for little Jordyn Grace in Houston and her counterparts in the Himalayan lowlands is only right, but it is far from sufficient. With Hurricane Irma churning toward Florida, the horrors and heartbreaks will only get worse until we change the game for their perpetrators. The first step toward justice is to call things by their true names. Murder is murder, whether the murderers admit it or not. Punish it as such, or we encourage more of the same.


Rising eco-terrorist threats to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will cost taxpayers $2 million per year

The Environmental Protection Agency is responding to a rise in death threats to its Administrator Scott Pruitt by bulking up its security detail to levels unparalleled by his predecessors.

According to a CNN report, the EPA is looking to add a dozen security personnel to protect Pruitt around the clock. The total salaries for the additional staff could cost at least $2 million per year. This does not include other expenses such as travel, training, or equipment.

The EPA's inspector general's office, which provides oversight and investigates complaints and threats, said that they've had to pull agents from other criminal investigations because of the rise in death threats against Pruitt compared to previous EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.

"We have at least four times -- four to five times the number of threats against Mr. Pruitt than we had against Ms. McCarthy," Patrick Sullivan, EPA's assistant inspector general for investigations, told CNN. He would not get into specifics about how many threats Pruitt has received during his tenure. However, the agency said that it has launched over 70 investigations into the threats against Pruitt as well as others in the EPA.

The irony here, of course, is that the Trump administration has been looking to slash the agency's budget by 31 percent from its current spending level of $8.2 billion to $5.7 billion.

The EPA reportedly bought out 1,228 employees over the summer, costing at least $12 million.

Of course, the additional staffing is minimal, but the security presence is unprecedented. It's more of an indictment on left-wing extremists who wish to do harm to the EPA administrator.

Since Donald Trump announced that he was running for the Republican nomination for President in 2015, there has been a rise in left-wing extremism, particularly in the form of Antifa.

Terrorists murdered 3,342 people on American soil between 1992 and August 2017. Ninety-two percent of those deaths were committed by radical Islamic terrorists (89 percent of the victims died on 9/11), while nationalist and right-wing terror groups were responsible for 6.6 percent of the deaths. Left-wing terrorists have killed 23 people during that time span, and are therefore responsible for only 0.7 percent of the deaths. However, 13 of those 23 people were killed since the beginning of 2016.

Eco-terrorists have been around for decades, but extremists from the Left have been creeping into the mainstream, especially after the shooting of the Congressional baseball practice in June and the recent Antifa riots in Berkeley, Calif.

While Pruitt's views on climate change are discouraging to many liberal advocates, violence in this manner can never be justified and only undercuts their overall goals. Right now, it's costing taxpayers an extra $2 million and taking agents away from EPA enforcement.


California Governor Vows to Sue Trump Over Climate Change

California Gov. Jerry Brown plans to use what he calls a Republican tactic and sue the Trump administration over President Donald Trump’s climate change policies.

Brown, a virulent Trump opponent, told reporters Tuesday that he will sue the president for nixing the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era regulation Republicans believe hurt the coal industry. He claims the tactic is akin to Republican efforts to hold up climate policies during the Obama-era.

“First of all, we can go to court and block his efforts and we are doing that. Just like the Republicans tried to block [President Barack] Obama’s efforts,” Brown said. Republican attorneys general sued to hold up the Clean Power Plan, but the lawsuit was suspended after Trump rolled back the plan earlier this year.

Democratic attorneys general are now where Republicans were during the Obama administration: working to derail their political opponent’s agenda.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, for instance, is preparing a lawsuit to protect Obama’s environmental policies. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has also repeatedly sued the government over the environment, and told reporters earlier this year that he will do “everything in my power to defend the Clean Power Plan.”

Brown has made the rounds to generate support for a state coalition supporting the Paris climate deal, which obligated the U.S. to pledge to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions nearly 30 percent by 2025. He browbeat his state’s legislature in April to push for extending the state’s already massive cap-and-trade program.

Brown also met with Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this year to discuss aspects of the non-binding climate deal. They both hashed out ways to push their respective entities away from fossil fuel production and closer to renewable energy to meet Paris’ ambitious aims.

BBC reporters asked Brown Tuesday whether he believed that Trump thought climate change was “an illusion.”

“No, I don’t believe that,” he said. “But he, like politicians, work their constituency. And I think he sees this as a galvanizing rhetoric for his base.”




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