Thursday, February 22, 2018



Governments are poor guardians of the environmemt

Governments too often ignore data, and fail badly. Citizens must take more responsibility

Justhy Deva Prasad

A primary reason governments exist is to protect their citizens from dangerous threats - foreign, domestic and natural. People can play important roles in this arena, but most lack the resources, funds, legal authority or political power to act on their own.

In recent years, government roles have become even more dominant and pervasive. On environmental or other grounds, federal, state and even local bodies have steadily taken responsibilities from the private sector, and even prohibited citizens from taking steps to protect their lives and property, such as constructing seawalls to block storm surges or thinning out trees to prevent catastrophic wildfires.

Under these circumstances, it is essential that governments do their jobs right: by implementing informed policies, gathering and utilizing data about potential risks, making wise decisions in time to safeguard property and lives, and not letting special interests delay or obstruct those decisions.

Modern technologies greatly facilitate all these tasks, if they are employed properly. They make existing data readily available, and make it easy and affordable to acquire vital missing information. However, governments have too frequently failed in these obligations, often spectacularly.

These examples are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, and a call for governments to do much better.

Fukushima. Everyone - legislators, regulators, utilities and citizens - knows Japan is in an earthquake and tsunami zone. And yet they permitted insufficient seawalls around nuclear power plants and, even worse, emergency generators in basements, where they would be flooded and rendered inoperable. The resultant reactor meltdowns, power outages and radiation contamination were certainly predictable.

Why didn't Japanese government officials utilize readily available data to prevent this catastrophe?

Superstorm Sandy. City planners, leaders and builders had ample data about previous storms. They knew a direct hurricane hit would have devastating consequences for the New York City region. Yet they narrowed rivers, so that storm surges could go in only one direction: up. They required backup electrical generators, but put them in basements, where they would be flooded and rendered inoperable.

They provided no indicators along streets to show how high waters would rise with specified storm surges, leaving citizens unaware of the dangers they faced. Their warnings were late, inadequate and misleading. People did not evacuate or move treasured belongings in time. Over one hundred died.

After hundreds of U.S. hurricanes, how could governments here and elsewhere be so derelict?

California wildfires. The Golden State has battled droughts, high winds and wildfires for 150 years. But in recent decades, it has succumbed to environmentalist pressure not to thin out forests or allow private communities to remove brush and dead trees, even as more and more homes have been built in or near forested areas, and even as massive conflagrations devastated homes, businesses and wildlife habitats.

The U.S. Forest Service says California has 129 million dead trees, mostly from droughts and pine bark beetles - perfect tinder for enormous fires. Governments even permit or require (or let homeowner associations do so) cedar shake roofs and other flammable materials for homes in fire-prone areas.

They have failed to stockpile sufficient water and fire suppressants or have sufficient aircraft; they have even decreed that fires can be battled only if started by humans, but not by lightning (as if that can be determined amid a conflagration). Again the results are totally predictable. Yet the policies continue.

The 2017 wildfires incinerated some 1.2 million acres of forest habitat - as much land as in Delaware - destroyed 8,400 homes, forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate, often at a moment's notice, with the clothes on their backs, threatened cities like Beverly Hills, cost billions in damages, and killed 43 people. Rain-soaked, barren hillsides then unleash mudslides that destroy more property and kill more people.

Oroville Dam. The tallest dam in the United States, this now 50-year-old dam employs a concrete spillway and a backup earthen spillway to discharge excess water buildup during rainy periods, so that the dam doesn't fail. In 2005, environmental groups raised concerns that the spillways could erode during heavy winter rains and cause massive downstream flooding - and deaths. Federal and state officials rejected their advice, saying everything was fine. Tests for concrete cracking apparently were never done.

Inspectors could have used side scanning radar to detect cavities beneath the concrete, but instead relied on occasional visual inspections from a distance. The last such state inspection was in 2015. Amid historic storms in late 2017, the concrete spillway collapsed into a large, undetected cavern beneath it. Officials ordered 188,000 people living in communities below the dam to evacuate. Luckily no one died.

Rarely, if ever, are the responsible, incompetent, malfeasant, derelict authorities singled out, punished, fined, fired, or even reprimanded or identified publicly when governments fail so spectacularly.

Rarely, if ever, do governments offer compensation to affected families, business owners and employees for lost paychecks, gross inconveniences . or even the total loss of businesses, inventories, homes, cars, precious and irreplaceable keepsakes, life savings, livelihoods, or very lives - as though many of those losses could ever really be compensated. Anything not covered by insurance is just gone.

Except in the case of Fukushima, government officials tried to deflect blame for the above failures by saying the disasters were cause or worsened by "climate change." It's an absurd, indefensible excuse.

Separating human from natural factors in changing weather and climate is impossible. Far more relevant and important, neither human nor natural climate or weather changes can excuse government officials from failing to acquire and analyze readily available or obtainable data - and then failing to use that information to develop sound policies, laws and regulations, and make timely, informed decisions that safeguard people's property and lives.

Climate change does not prevent or outlaw thinning out forests, putting emergency generators above likely flood levels, inspecting and maintaining spillways, or taking other steps to minimize disasters. Neither do other excuses often offered up by government officials to absolve their action or inaction.

Legislators, regulators and judges cannot escape accountability by claiming their hands were tied by environmental, builder, business or other groups that did not want government officials to disrupt their accustomed ways of doing things. They cannot escape their own culpability by saying California, New York, the United States and other countries worldwide should spend tens of trillions of dollars attempting to control Earth's climate - but then fail to spend mere millions on practical steps that would prevent cataclysmic losses from fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, volcanoes and other natural disasters.

They cannot say, "We take full responsibility" for missteps - when they rarely or never do so.

There are billions of people on our planet. Hundreds of millions live along seacoasts, next to forests or in other areas threatened by recurrent natural horrors.

Modern data technologies enable governments to formulate policies and rules that can predict many natural disasters, and prevent or minimize their worst consequences. Other modern technologies enable government officials, citizen groups, businesses and families to build disaster-resistant structures that can save property and lives. But those technologies are worthless if they are not used.

What can be done? Legislators, regulators, judges and even special interest groups should utilize data to develop and implement more informed, responsible laws and policies - that put people first instead of last (or dead last). Insurance companies and homeowner associations should assess threats and take commonsense steps to minimize them. Citizens should elect better representatives - or failing that, take personal steps within the law to better protect their property and families. It all starts with data.

Via email



Cars Remain Popular Because They Are Vastly Superior to Transit Alternatives

The Los Angeles Times has recently reported that public transit agencies "have watched their ridership numbers fall off a cliff over the last five years," with multi-year decreases in mass transit use by up to 25 percent. And a new UCLA Institute of Transportation study has found that increasing car ownership is the prime factor for the dive in usage.

As Homer Simpson would say, "Doh."

Southern California residents bought 4 times as many cars per person in the 15 years after the turn of the century, compared to the decade before. That substantial jump in automobile ownership caused the share of Southern California households without access to a car to fall by 30 percent, and 42 percent for immigrant households. As one of the study's authors, Michael Manville, put it "That exploding level of new automobile ownership is largely incompatible with a lot of transit ridership." In other words, once a household has access to a car, they almost universally prefer driving to mass transit.

This patronage plunge threatens transit agencies. Typical responses echo Hasan Ikhrata, executive director of the Southern California Association of Governments, who said, "We need to take this study as an opportunity to figure out how we make transit work better for us." In other words, we should ignore increasing access to automobiles and overwhelming revealed preferences for driving over mass transit, and find new ways to fill bus and train seats.

Many things are already in motion to solve transit agencies' problems. For instance, in 2015, Los Angeles began a 20-year plan to remove auto lanes for bus and protected bike lanes, as well as pedestrian enhancements, diverting transportation funds raised from drivers and heightening congestion for the vast majority who planners already know will continue to drive.

Such less than effective attempts to cut driving by creating gridlock purgatory suggest we ask a largely ignored question. Why do planners' attempts to force residents into walking, cycling and mass transit, supposedly improving their quality of life, attract so few away from driving?

The reason is simple-cars are vastly superior to alternatives for the vast majority of individuals and circumstances.

Automobiles have far greater and more flexible passenger- and cargo-carrying capacities than transit. They allow direct, point-to-point service, unlike transit. They allow self-scheduling rather than requiring advance planning. They save time, especially time spent waiting, which surveys find transit riders find far more onerous. They have far better multi-stop trip capability. They offer a safer, more comfortable, more controllable environment, from the seats to the temperature to the music to the company.

Those massive advantages explain why even substantial new restrictions on automobiles or improvements in alternatives leave driving the vastly dominant choice. They also reveal that policies which will punish the vast majority for whom driving remains far superior cannot effectively serve all residents' interests.

The superiority of automobiles doesn't stop at the obvious, either. They expand workers' access to jobs and educational opportunities, increase productivity and incomes, improve purchasing choices, lower consumer prices and widen social options. Trying to inconvenience people out of their cars also undermines those major benefits.

Cars' allow decreased commuting times if not hamstrung, providing workers access to far more potential jobs and training possibilities. That improves worker-employer matches, with expanded productivity raising workers' incomes as well as benefiting employers. One study found that 10 percent faster travel raised worker productivity by 3 percent, and increasing from 3 mph walking speed to 30 mph driving is a 900 percent increase. In a similar vein, a Harvard analysis found that for those lacking high-school diplomas, owning a car increased monthly earnings by $1,100.

Cars are also the only practical way to assemble enough widely dispersed potential customers to sustain large stores with affordable, diverse offerings. "Automobility" also sharply expands access to social opportunities.
In all, attempting to force people out of cars and onto transit recycles earlier failures and harms the vast majority of citizens.

As Randal O'Toole noted: "Anyone who prefers not to drive can find neighborhoods ... where they can walk to stores that offer a limited selection of high-priced goods, enjoy limited recreation and social opportunities, and take slow public transit vehicles to some but not all regional employment centers, the same as many Americans did in 1920. But the automobile provides people with far more benefits and opportunities than they could ever have without it."

SOURCE



Security Officials Recommended Pruitt Fly First Class

Media fail to mention high level of death threats against Pruitt and his family

A significant increase in death threats leveled at Scott Pruitt led to security officials to recommend the Environmental Protection Agency administrator fly first class.

Journalists and liberals have made light of security concerns, mocking Pruitt for following the recommendations from the head of his 24-hour security detail, which was required due to "unprecedented" threats.

The Washington Post reported Sunday that Pruitt had spent $90,000 flying in first or business class. The article briefly notes records showing Pruitt does so for "security concerns," and that the regulations allow officials to fly first class under "exceptional security circumstances."

By Thursday, the Post reported the decision to fly first class was made by Pasquale Perrotta, the head of Pruitt's security detail. The security team said there are many reasons why flying first class is necessary for Pruitt's security, such as "the chance to make a quick exit if a situation arises."

Politico questioned the need to fly first class in an article Thursday that made no mention of the death threats against Pruitt and his family.

"Pruitt's security threat? A passenger shouting, `You're f-ing up the environment'" the headline reads.

Journalists and liberals seized on the story, mocking the example of the threatening environment faced by Pruitt, given by Henry Barnet, the director of the EPA's Office of Criminal Enforcement. Barnet cited an incident at an airport where a liberal harassed Pruitt, recording him on a cell phone, while yelling, "You're f-ing up the environment."

Vanity Fair claimed Pruitt's "excuse" for flying first class is "whiny environmentalists."

"Apparently, individuals going up to the E.P.A. administrator and making completely factual statements was a bridge too far. It's not totally clear why the security team believes that only people flying coach think Pruitt is a prick who deserves to be told as much, but perhaps they'll address that at a later date," the fashion magazine wrote.

A reader had to come to the end of the Politico story to discover that the "threats are so prevalent" against Pruitt that his security detail has to perform a new threat assessment every 90 days.

"EPA instituted 24/7 protection for Pruitt last year, a step up from previous administrators who typically were guarded only when in public or traveling," the penultimate paragraph of the Politico story reads.

"Citing security concerns, EPA does not announce Pruitt's travel plans ahead of time, a departure from the habits of previous administrators who would often alert the media about upcoming trips, particularly overseas," the article concludes. "Barnet said that scheduling announcements are not a decision made by the security detail."

The article fails to mention the number of death threats Pruitt and his family have received.

"He has had significantly more threats directed against him," said Patrick Sullivan, the EPA's assistant inspector general for investigations. "There's absolutely no question about it."

Pruitt told Bloomberg News last year that his family was also being targeted, and security officials said the administrator had received threatening letters and packages delivered to his home.

"The quantity and the volume-as well as the type-of threats are different," Pruitt said. "What's really disappointing to me is it's not just me-it's family."

Pruitt recently said he does not make the security decisions but blamed a "toxic" political environment.

For instance, the FBI had to open an investigation after a drunk viewer watching MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show threatened to kill Pruitt and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.). A San Francisco columnist justified the increased number of death threats against Pruitt last fall, saying the threats "make a warped sort of sense."

Pruitt has received up to five times the amount of threats than his predecessor Gina McCarthy, Sullivan has said. The inspector general opened 70 threat investigations in 2017, nearly double the amount during the previous year.

Pruitt has received direct threats, such as, "I'm going to put a bullet in your brain."

SOURCE




WESTERN Nations, Driven By A Global Agenda Of Climate Alarmism, Are Destroying Their Industries With Carbon Taxes And Promotion Of Expensive, Intermittent Green Energy

ANTHROPOGENIC "climate change", and the control of carbon dioxide (energy) has deep roots in a radical, yet gravely misguided campaign to reduce the world's population.

GLOBAL warming aka climate change has little to do with the "environment" or "saving the planet". Rather, its roots lie in a misanthropic agenda engineered by the environmental movement in the mid 1970's, who realised that doing something about "global warming" would play to quite a number of the Lefts social agendas.

THE goal was advanced, most notably, by The Club Of Rome (Environmental consultants to the UN) - a group of mainly European scientists and academics, who used computer modelling to warn that the world would run out of finite resources if population growth were left unchecked.

"In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that .. the threat of global warming.. would fit the bill.. the real enemy, then, is humanity itself." - Club Of Rome

THE Club Of Rome's 1972 environmental best-seller "The Limits To Growth", examined five variables in the original model: world population, industrialisation, pollution, food production and resource depletion.

NOT surprisingly, the study predicted a dire future for mankind unless we `act now':

AROUND the same time, influential anthropologist and president of the American Medical Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Margaret Mead, gathered together like-minded anti-population hoaxsters at her 1975, North Carolina conference, "The Atmosphere: Endangered and Endangering". Mead's star recruits were climate scare artist Stephen Schneider, population-freak George Woodwell and former AAAS head, John Holdren (Barack Obama's Science and Technology Czar). All three of them disciples of Malthusian catastrophist Paul Ehrlich, author of the "The Population Bomb".

THE conference concluded that human-produced carbon dioxide would fry the planet, melt the ice caps, and destroy human life. The idea being to sow enough fear of man-made climate change to force global cutbacks in industrial activity and halt Third World development.

WE are given clues as to the motives of this extreme agenda from various statements by prominent environmental `icons'.

"Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun."
- Prof Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University

"The Earth has cancer and the cancer is Man."
- Club of Rome, premier environmental think-tank, consultants to the United Nations

"If we don't overthrow capitalism, we don't have a chance of
saving the world ecologically. I think it is possible to have
an ecologically sound society under socialism. I don't think it is possible under capitalism"
- Judi Bari, principal organiser of Earth First

"We've got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy."
- Timothy Wirth, President of the UN Foundation

"No matter if the science of global warming is all phony. climate change provides the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world."
- Christine Stewart, former Canadian Minister of the Environment

"In Searching For A New Enemy To Unite Us, We Came Up With The Threat Of Global Warming" - Club of Rome, premier environmental think-tank, consultants to the United Nations

"Isn't the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn't it our responsibility to bring that about?" - Maurice Strong, founder of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)

"Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class - involving high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, air-conditioning, and suburban housing - are not sustainable." - Maurice Strong, Secretary General of the UN's Earth Summit, 1992.

***

VIV Forbes on how the control of population growth and people's lifestyles manifests today through the control of energy supply.

The "zero-emissions" zealots want to force us backwards down the energy ladder to the days of human, animal and solar power. They oppose the main thing that sets us apart from all other species - the use of fire from explosives, coal, oil, gas or nuclear power.

They have yet to explain how our massive fleet of planes, trains, tractors, harvesters, trucks, road trains, container-ships and submarines will be powered and lubricated by windmills, treadmills, windlasses, solar energy, distilled whiskey and water wheels.

Western nations, driven by a global agenda of climate alarmism, are destroying their profitable industries with carbon taxes; and their promotion of expensive, intermittent green energy is pushing us back down the energy ladder; and our competitors in Asia are climbing the energy ladder as quickly as they can. At the same time, the enormous waste of public money on government promotion of the climate industry has created a global fiscal mess.

Unless reversed, this wasteful de-energising policy will drive much of the world's population back to the poverty and famines which often prevailed in the past. Some see the inevitable de-population this would cause as a desirable goal.

SOURCE





Enlightenment Environmentalism: The Case for Ecomodernism

Is progress sustainable?

A common response to good news about global health, wealth, and sustenance is that it cannot continue. As we infest the world with our teeming numbers, guzzle the earth's bounty heedless of its finitude, and foul our nests with pollution and waste, we are hastening an environmental day of reckoning. If overpopulation, resource depletion, and pollution don't finish us off, then climate change will.

To be sure, the very idea that there are environmental problems cannot be taken for granted. Beginning in the 1960s, the environmental movement grew out of scientific knowledge (from ecology, public health, and earth and atmospheric sciences) and a Romantic reverence for nature. The movement made the health of the planet a permanent priority on humanity's agenda, and it deserves credit for substantial achievements - another form of human progress.

Yet today, many voices in the traditional environmental movement refuse to acknowledge that progress, or even that human progress is a worthy aspiration. While it is true that not all the trends are positive, nor that the problems facing us are minor, it is crucial to understand that environmental problems, like other problems, are solvable, given the right knowledge.

In contrast to the lugubrious conventional wisdom offered by the mainstream environmental movement, and the radicalism and fatalism it encourages, there is a newer conception of environmentalism which shares the goal of protecting the air and water, species, and ecosystems but is grounded in Enlightenment optimism rather than Romantic declinism. That approach is called ecomodernism.

Environmental problems, like other problems, are solvable, given the right knowledge.

Ecomodernism begins with the realization that some degree of pollution is an inescapable consequence of the second law of thermodynamics. When people use energy, they must increase entropy elsewhere in the environment in the form of waste, pollution, and other forms of disorder. The human species has always been ingenious at doing this - that's what differentiates us from other mammals - and it has never lived in harmony with the environment. When native peoples first set foot in an ecosystem, they typically hunted large animals to extinction, and often burned and cleared vast swaths of forest.[1]

A second realization of the ecomodernist movement is that industrialization has been good for humanity.[2] It has fed billions, doubled lifespans, slashed extreme poverty, and, by replacing muscle with machinery, made it easier to end slavery, emancipate women, and educate children. It has allowed people to read at night, live where they want, stay warm in winter, see the world, and multiply human contact. Any costs in pollution and habitat loss have to be weighed against these gifts. As the economist Robert Frank has put it, there is an optimal amount of pollution in the environment, just as there is an optimal amount of dirt in your house. Cleaner is better, but not at the expense of everything else in life.

The third premise is that the trade-off that pits human well-being against environmental damage can be renegotiated by technology. How to enjoy more calories, lumens, BTUs, bits, and miles with less pollution and land is itself a technological problem, and one that the world is increasingly solving. If people can afford electricity only at the cost of some smog, they'll live with the smog, but when they can afford both electricity and clean air, they'll spring for the clean air. This can happen all the faster as technology makes cars and factories and power plants cleaner and thus makes clean air more affordable.

This idea, that environmental protection is a problem to be solved, is commonly dismissed as the "faith that technology will save us." In fact, it is a skepticism that the status quo will doom us - that knowledge and behavior will remain frozen in their current state for perpetuity. Indeed, a naive faith in stasis has repeatedly led to prophecies of environmental doomsdays that never happened.

The first is the "population bomb," which defused itself. When countries get richer and better educated, they pass through what demographers call the demographic transition.[3] Birth rates peak and then decline, for at least two reasons. Parents no longer breed large broods as insurance against some of their children dying, and women, when they become better educated, marry later and delay having children. Fertility rates have fallen most noticeably in developed regions like Europe and Japan, but they can suddenly collapse, often to demographers' surprise, in other parts of the world. Despite the widespread belief that Muslim societies are resistant to the social changes that have transformed the West, Muslim countries have seen a 40 percent decline in fertility over the past three decades, including a 70 percent drop in Iran and 60 percent drops in Bangladesh and in seven Arab countries.[4]

The other environmental scare from the 1960s was that the world would run out of resources. But resources just refuse to run out. The 1980s came and went without the famines that were supposed to starve tens of millions of Americans and billions of people worldwide. Then the year 1992 passed and, contrary to projections from the 1972 bestseller The Limits to Growth, the world did not exhaust its aluminum, copper, chromium, gold, nickel, tin, tungsten, or zinc. In 2013 the Atlantic ran a cover story about the fracking revolution entitled "We Will Never Run Out of Oil." Humanity does not suck resources from the earth like a straw in a milkshake until a gurgle tells it that the container is empty. Instead, as the most easily extracted supply of a resource becomes scarcer, its price rises, encouraging people to conserve it, get at the less accessible deposits, or find cheaper and more plentiful substitutes.

A naive faith in stasis has repeatedly led to prophecies of environmental doomsdays that never happened.

Indeed, it's a fallacy to think that people "need resources" in the first place.[5] They need ways of growing food, moving around, lighting their homes, and displaying information. They satisfy these needs with ideas: with recipes, formulas, techniques, blueprints, and algorithms for manipulating the physical world to give them what they want. The human mind, with its recursive combinatorial power, can explore an infinite space of ideas, and is not limited by the quantity of any particular kind of stuff in the ground. When one idea no longer works, another can take its place.

Take the supply of food, which has grown exponentially even though no single method of growing it has ever been sustainable. In The Big Ratchet: How Humanity Thrives in the Face of Natural Crisis, the geographer Ruth DeFries describes the sequence as "ratchet-hatchet-pivot." People discover a way of growing more food, and the population ratchets upward. The method fails to keep up with demand or develops unpleasant side effects, and the hatchet falls. People then pivot to a new method. At various times, farmers have pivoted to slash-and-burn horticulture, night soil (a euphemism for human feces), crop rotation, guano, saltpeter, ground-up bison bones, chemical fertilizer, hybrid crops, pesticides, and the Green Revolution.[6] Future pivots may include genetically modified organisms, hydroponics, aeroponics, urban vertical farms, robotic harvesting, meat cultured in vitro, artificial-intelligence algorithms fed by GPS and biosensors, the recovery of energy and fertilizer from sewage, aquaculture with fish that eat tofu, and who knows what else - as long as people are allowed to indulge their ingenuity.[7]

SOURCE

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

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018



Apocalypse Not

In 1919, the director of the U.S. Bureau of Mines offered a dire warning for the future. “Within the next two to five years the oil fields of this country will reach their maximum production, and from that time on we will face an ever-increasing decline.”

Nearly a century later, in July 2010, The Guardian ran a story with an ominous headline: “Lloyd’s adds its voice to dire ‘peak oil’ warnings.” Citing a report by the storied London insurer, the newspaper warned that businesses were “underestimating catastrophic consequences of declining oil,” including oil at $200 a barrel by 2013, a global supply crunch, and overall “economic chaos.”

I thought of these predictions on seeing the recent news that the United States is on the eve of breaking a 47-year production record by lifting more than 10 million barrels of crude a day. That’s roughly twice what the U.S. produced just a decade ago, and may even put us on track to overtake Saudi Arabia and even Russia as the world’s leading oil producer. As for global production, it rose by some 11 percent just since the Lloyd’s report, and by almost 200 percent since 1965.

Call it yet another case of Apocalypse Not. In his fascinating new book, “The Wizard and the Prophet,” Charles C. Mann notes that President Roosevelt — Teddy, not Franklin — called the “imminent exhaustion” of fossil fuels and other natural resources “the weightiest problem now before the nation.” Prior to that, Mann adds, there were expert forecasts that the world would soon run out of coal. Later on, the world became fixated on the fear of running out of food in the face of explosive population growth.

The wizard and the prophet of Mann’s title are, respectively, Norman Borlaug and William Vogt, the former the agronomist widely credited as the father of the Green Revolution, the latter the founder of what Hampshire College’s Betsy Hartmann calls “apocalyptic environmentalism.”

“In best-selling books and powerful speeches, Vogt argued that affluence is not our greatest achievement but our biggest problem,” Mann writes. “Our prosperity is temporary, he said, because it is based on taking more from than earth than it can give. If we continue, the unavoidable result will be devastation on a global scale, perhaps including our extinction.”

In our own day, people like Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein have made careers saying more or less the same thing. This is a world where the clock is permanently set at two minutes to midnight, and where only a radical transformation of modern society (usually combining dramatic changes in personal behavior along with a heavy dose of state intervention) can save us. Above all, the Vogtians say, we need less: less consumption, less stuff, fewer people, and so on.

Borlaug and the Borlaugians take a different view. It’s not that they see environmental threats as bogus: The world really would have suffered catastrophic famines if Borlaug hadn’t developed high-yield, disease-resistant varieties of wheat. Oil is a finite resource, but whether reserves last 50 or 500 years will probably depend less on overall supply than on technologies to extract and use those reserves more efficiently.

The same goes for climate change, which will not be helped by some centrally planned, Chinese-style “Green Leap Forward,” but by a multitude of technological advances that in turn require a thriving capitalist economy to fund, develop, commercialize and make affordable. The foolish idea that capitalism is the enemy of the environment misses the point that environmentalism is itself a luxury that few poor countries can adequately afford. If you doubt this, contrast the air and water quality in New York City with that of any similar-sized city in the developing world.

I fall in the Borlaugian camp. That’s worth noting because one of the more tedious criticisms by the environmental left is that people like me “don’t care about the environment.” But imputing bad faith, stupidity or greed is always a lousy argument. Even conservatives want their children to breathe.

It also misses the point. As Mann notes, Borlaugians are environmentalists, too. They simply think the road to salvation lies not through making do with less, but rather through innovation and the conditions in which innovation tends to flourish, greater affluence and individual freedom most of all.

There’s also this: So far, the Borlaugians have mostly been right. To the extent that starvation is a phenomenon of recent decades — as in places like North Korea and Venezuela — it is mainly the result of gross political mismanagement, not ecological disaster. Peak oil keeps being defeated by frackers and deepwater explorers. As my colleague Nick Kristof recently pointed out, by most metrics of human welfare, the world keeps getting better with every passing year.

If environmental alarmists ever wonder why more people haven’t come around to their way of thinking, it isn’t because people like me occasionally voice doubts in newspaper op-eds. It’s because too many past predictions of imminent disaster didn’t come to pass. That isn’t because every alarm is false — many are all too real — but because our Promethean species has shown the will and the wizardry to master the challenge, at least when it’s been given the means to do so.

SOURCE





Crucial Climate Verdict, Naked Conflict-of-Interest

SPOTLIGHT: History’s most momentous climate decision was made by people with substantial conflicts-of-interest.

BIG PICTURE: In November 1995, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) declared for the first time that humans were changing the climate. Its verdict turned on a single piece of then-unpublished research. Four months after the fact, the research was submitted to a prominent journal. Three months later it was published.

The world then learned that 25% of the IPCC personnel tasked with making its most crucial determination were involved with this research. In a naked a conflict-of-interest, these nine people, led by IPCC chapter head Ben Santer, had evaluated the persuasiveness of their own fledgling scientific work – and had judged it sound enough to change history.

Academic journals receive thousands of scientific papers each year from researchers hoping to get their work published. Papers that make it to second base are sent to knowledgeable third parties for evaluation. This system, known as peer review, has many shortcomings. But when it works as it’s supposed to, it slams the brakes on exaggerated claims.

In Searching for the Catastrophe Signal, Bernie Lewin notes that this research was toned-down during the pre-publication process. (If reviewer criticisms are judged to be valid, journals will insist on changes as a condition of publication.)

In Lewin’s words, the title of the published version “heralds no breakthrough finding, but instead only describes a search” for human influence (his emphasis). The accompanying abstract tells us it’s likely that a temperature trend is “partially due to human activities, although many uncertainties remain…” (my emphasis).

In other words, the first time outsiders had an opportunity to take a proper look, they weren’t convinced the research demonstrated what the IPCC said it did. Standards at a scholarly journal are evidently higher than at this UN body.

A 2010 review of IPCC procedures identified numerous areas of concern. Among them was the startling fact that, 22 years after it had been established, the IPCC still had no conflict-of-interest policy.

TOP TAKEAWAY: IPCC scientists routinely pass judgment on their own work –  and on the work of their scholarly rivals. But we’re supposed to take its findings seriously.

SOURCE






"Clean" electricity tying New England in knots

All electricity is perfectly clean -- but not in New England, it seems



Massachusetts utilities and state energy officials have picked a backup plan to bring clean power into the state from Canada, while still giving a controversial transmission project more time to overcome objections in neighboring New Hampshire.

The alternative route is a 148-mile transmission project known as the New England Clean Energy Connect that would be built by Central Maine Power Co. and its parent, Avangrid, in Maine.

The state’s three big electric utilities are required by law to increase their purchases of clean power. In late January, a team representing the utilities picked a project that would import around 1,100 megawatts of electricity from Hydro-Quebec through a transmission project known as Northern Pass.

But on Feb. 1, the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee rejected a crucial permit for the 192-mile long Northern Pass. On Friday, state officials said Northern Pass executives have until March 27 to determine whether the transmission project can overcome its opposition in New Hampshire.

Eversource Energy owns the $1.6 billion Northern Pass project, and is also one of the utilities buying the clean power from Hydro-Quebec.

The moves Friday by the Baker administration essentially keep doors open for both projects, Northern Pass and New England Clean Energy Connect.

“The Baker-Polito Administration is pleased that with today’s announcement the Commonwealth is progressing toward securing the largest amount of renewable energy in Massachusetts’ history,” spokesman Peter Lorenz said in a statement.

Eversource is represented on the evaluation team of utility companies that are collectively negotiating contracts for the big clean energy purchase. Separately, Eversource’s promise that Northern Pass could be finished by the end of 2020 was cited as a reason it was initially chosen in January.

The subsequent permit denial in New Hampshire has thrown that timeline into question.

Eversource officials say they can make a strong legal argument to get the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee to reconsider its project, and have a little over a month to prove they can pull it off.

Eversource officials said Friday they appreciate the flexibility being offered by the Baker administration and the other utilities involved in the bidding process, National Grid and Unitil. The decision, Eversource said, strikes a sensible balance by continuing negotiations on Northern Pass while having a backup plan take shape.

The New England Clean Energy Connect comes in at a smaller cost than Northern Pass — $950 million — but would be finished in 2022. The line would run from the Canadian border in western Maine down to a connection point in Lewiston.

Importantly, most of the line would run through existing utility rights-of-way, which could lessen the kind of opposition from neighbors that undermined Northern Pass in New Hampshire.

“We believe the NECEC is a cost-effective response to Massachusetts’ needs,” Central Maine Power chief executive Doug Herling said in a statement. “Given our experience building projects of greater scale and complexity here in our home state, we’re confident we can meet our commitments to the Commonwealth.”

SOURCE





Greenland, Antarctica And Dozens Of Areas Worldwide Have Not Seen Any Warming In 60 Years And More!

For example the North Atlantic, an important region concerning global climate, has not warmed since the 1870s!



The North Atlantic was warmer 130 years ago than it is today. Source: de Jong and de Steuer, 2016.

Greenland as stable as ever

Greenland, a major concern of climate alarmists because it stockpiles enough ice to raise global sea levels some 6 meters, also hasn’t warmed in since the 1880s, as the following chart from Mikkelsen et al 2018 shows:



Antarctica: no warming in 200 years

The big sea level kahuna of course is Antarctica. If that huge block of ice ever melted completely, sea levels would rise some 60 meters! And thus submerge vast areas of lowlands worldwide (never mind it would take thousands of years at extremely higher global temperatures).

Yet According to Schneider et al 2006, there hasn’t been warming there in 200 years!



Antarctic temperatures in fact had been heading sharply south at the time the paper was published.

Himalayas: no warming in 300 years!

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research Director Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber once embarrassed himself by claiming the massive Himalayan glaciers would melt by the year 2030. But the following chart tells us that it might take just a bit longer:

According to a study by Thapa et al, 2015, the Himalayas recently have been cooling and the temperature there now is like it was 300 years ago! Don’t worry, when the year 2030 comes around, we’ll be sure to check to see if the ice is still there. In the meantime, do your best bearing all the suspense.

And so it goes region after region. So the next time the media and climate alarmists issue panicked warnings of rapid warming and melting ice caps, we need to ask ourselves: What the hell are they raving about? Are they okay?

The following is only an abbreviated list of places that have not cooled in a long time, and Kenneth says there are hundreds more like these. Many are from the results of very recent papers.

Since 1870s – no warming
Greenland – no warming
New Zealand – no warming
Antarctica – no warming
North Atlantic – no warming
Western Pacific – no warming
India/Western Himalaya – no warming
Pakistan – no warming
Turkey – no warming
Himalayas/Nepal – no warming
Siberia – no warming
Portugal – no warming
NE China – no warming
SW China – no warming
South China – no warming
West China – no warming
Southern South America – no warming
Canada (B.C.) – no warming
Canada Central – no warming
Since 1940s/50s – no warming
Northern Hemisphere – no warming
Arctic Region – no warming
Greenland – no warming
South Iceland – no warming
North Iceland – no warming
Alaska – no warming
New York – no warming
Rural U.S. – no warming
Northern Europe – no warming
Western Europe – no warming
Mediterranean Region – no warming
Finland and Sweden – no warming
East Antarctica – no warming
North Atlantic – no warming
Western North Atlantic – no warming
Brazil – no warming
SE Australia – no warming
Southern South America – no warming
Andes Mountains – no warming
Chile – no warming

If you live there, send them to your lawmakers and ask why they are wasting so much money preventing something that isn’t even happening.

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




A Coral's Biological Control of its Calcifying Medium to Favor Skeletal Growth
 
Great news for those concerned about potential future impacts of so-called ocean acidification on corals. A New Study shows they are able to continue skeletal growth under the most pessimistic of ocean acidification scenarios



Paper Reviewed: Raybaud, V., Tambutté, S., Ferrier-Pagès, C., Reynaud, S., Venn, A.A., Tambutté, É., Nival, P. and Allemand, D. 2017. Computing the carbonate chemistry of the coral calcifying medium and its response to ocean acidification. Journal of Theoretical Biology 424: 26-36.

Introducing their very intriguing study, Raybaud et al. (2017) write that "critical to determining vulnerability or resilience of reef corals to ocean acidification (OA) is a clearer understanding of the extent to which corals can control carbonate chemistry in their extracellular calcifying medium (ECM) where the calcium carbonate skeleton is produced." However, information about the coral ECM is sparse due to the difficulty of accessing it (it is located under several overlying cell layers and has a thickness varying from a few nanometers to a few micrometers).

In an effort to overcome this measurement obstacle, the team of eight researchers presented what they describe as "a novel, alternative means of indirectly assessing ECM carbonate chemistry using coral calcification rates, seawater characteristics (temperature, salinity and pH) and pH measurements of the ECM (pH(ECM))." More specifically, this involved (1) calculating coral species-specific relationships between seawater pH and pH(ECM) using pH(ECM) data from six publications on 5 different species that have measured pH(ECM) at several different levels of seawater pH, (2) calculating the aragonite saturation state (Ωarag.(ECM)) and calcium carbonate ion concentration ([CO32-](ECM)) in the ECM from coral calcification rates previously published in 20 peer-reviewed studies and (3) using pH(ECM) and [CO32-](ECM) to calculate the ionic concentration of the other chemical parameters in the carbonate system of the ECM under current and reduced values of seawater pH. This approach yielded a number of significant findings described in the paragraphs below.

The species-specific relationships between seawater pH and pH(ECM) revealed that all five of the corals analyzed in this stage of the analysis (Desmophyllum dianthus, Cladocora caespitosa, Porites spp., Acropora spp. and Stylophora pistillata) upregulated their pH(ECM) relative to that at normal seawater pH. What is more, the degree of pH(ECM) upregulation increased as seawater pH decreased, indicating, in the words of the authors, "an active biological control of the ECM chemistry by corals."

In the second phase of their work, Raybaud et al. discovered that the Ωarag.(ECM) values calculated from the 20 coral studies they analyzed ranged from 10.16 to 38.31 (mean of 20.41), which values were "~5 to 6-fold higher than Ωarag. in seawater (Ωarag.(SW)), which favors the aragonite precipitation of coral skeleton in the ECM." They also note that "Ωarag.(ECM) was higher for cold-water corals, which have slower growth rates than for tropical ones," adding that "the greater ability of certain cold-water coral species to raise their Ωarag.(ECM) may be an adaptive mechanism, as recently suggested by Hendriks and colleagues (Hendriks et al., 2015), enabling these organisms to grow in seawater that is close to under-saturation with respect to aragonite (Ωarag.(SW) ~1; (Thresher et al., 2011))."

Finally, with respect to the third phase of their study -- assessing other chemical parameters in the carbonate system of the ECM -- the authors report that (1) dissolved inorganic carbon and total alkalinity were approximately 3 times higher in the ECM than in seawater at normal pH, (2) carbonate concentration was 5.9 times higher, (3) bicarbonate ions were 2.1 times more concentrated and (4) hydroxide 2.3 fold higher, which observations clearly indicate the ability of corals to biologically mediate the process of calcification in the ECM under present-day seawater pH conditions. But will they continue to do so in the future under projections of pH decline?

To answer this question, Raybaud et al. utilized data from a long-term laboratory experiment performed on the tropical coral Stylophora pistillata in order to assess how coral ECM chemistry might change due to ocean acidification. The results are presented in the figure below, which illustrate the impact of ocean acidification on calcification rates and various ECM chemical characteristics of S. pistillata coral colonies exposed to normal (8.0) and reduced (7.8, 7.4 and 7.2) seawater pH levels for a period of one year.

As indicated there, Ωarag.(ECM) and [CO32-](ECM) exhibited only small reductions under increasing levels of ocean acidification compared to corresponding changes that occurred in normal seawater. For instance, although Ωarag. of the seawater decreased by 78% (from 3.17 to 0.69, as denoted by the blue horizontal lines in Figure 1e), when the pH declined from 8 to 7.2, Ωarag. and [CO32-] of the ECM each fell by a much smaller 9 percent to values that were 22.4 times higher than those reported in seawater outside the ECM in the most severe ocean acidification treatment (i.e., pH of 7.2). Consequently, the team of researchers write that "the ECM in S. pistillata under ocean acidification has a higher buffer capacity than under current pH," evidenced by the increasing difference between Ωarag.(ECM) and Ωarag.(SW) as the seawater pH treatments decline from 8.0 to 7.2 (see the vertical arrows and orange numbers associated with Ωarag. under the different pH treatments shown in Figure 1e).

In light of all of the above facts, Raybaud et al. conclude their results clearly show that "despite unfavorable Ωarag.(SW) [down to a seawater pH of 7.2], corals are able to maintain Ωarag.(ECM) sufficiently high to allow calcification to proceed," as "the biological regulation of ECM chemistry keeps Ωarag.(ECM) almost constant" under ocean acidification scenarios far beyond those likely to ever occur. And that is incredibly wonderful news for those concerned about potential future impacts of so-called ocean acidification on corals.

SOURCE

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

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

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Tuesday, February 20, 2018




A basic statistical fallacy in a figure relied on by Warmists

Limitations of the TCRE: Transient Climate Response to Cumulative Emissions

Jamal Munshi

Abstract

Observed correlations between cumulative emissions and cumulative changes in climate variables form the basis of the Transient Climate Response to Cumulative Emissions (TCRE) function. The TCRE is used to make forecasts of future climate scenarios based on different emission pathways and thereby to derive their policy implications for climate action. Inaccuracies in these forecasts likely derive from a statistical weakness in the methodology used. The limitations of the TCRE are related to its reliance on correlations between cumulative values of time series data. Time series of cumulative values contain neither time scale nor degrees of freedom. Their correlations are spurious. No conclusions may be drawn from them.

SOURCE




Climate alarmism is still bizarre, dogmatic, intolerant

Claims defy parody, as alarmists become more tyrannical and their policies wreak havoc

Paul Driessen

Climate alarmism dominated the Obama era and run-up to Paris. But it’s at least as bizarre, dogmatic and intolerant now that: President Trump pulled the United States out of the all pain/no gain Paris climate pact; the US EPA is reversing anti-fossil fuel programs rooted in doom-and-gloom climatology; America is producing and exporting more oil, gas and coal; developing nations are burning vastly more of these fuels; Poland is openly challenging EU climate diktats; and German, British Australian and other politicians are voicing increasing concerns about job-killing, eco-unfriendly “green” energy.

With trillions of dollars in research money, power, prestige, renewable energy subsidies, wealth redistribution schemes, and dreams of international governance on the line, the $1.5-trillion-per-year Climate Industrial Complex is not taking the situation lightly. Climate fear-mongering is in full swing.

Tried-and-true scare stories still dominate the daily news, often with new wrinkles tied to current events. The Winter Olympics were going to take “a huge hit from our warming planet,” the pressure group Protect Our Winters warned us (yes, it’s an actual organization). Of course, that was before fiendishly frigid conditions repeatedly postponed events and drove spectators from PyeongChang slopes.

But of course, bitter cold is “exactly what we should expect” from the global warming “crisis,” said Climategeddon expert Al Gore, who got a C and D in the only two science courses he took in college. It’s reminiscent of dire predictions that the Arctic would be ice-free by 2010 (or 2015 or 2025), and “children just aren’t going to know what snow is” (until record cold and snow battered the UK a couple years later).

We’re likewise propagandized constantly with deliberate falsehoods about “carbon pollution.” We burn carbon, in the form of hydrocarbons and coal. In the process, we emit carbon dioxide which is not a pollutant. It is the miracle plant food that makes life on Earth possible.

Other standard scares ignore the innumerable, monumental benefits of carbon-based fuels – and blame these fuels and CO2 emissions for planetary warming (and cooling), rising seas, forest fires, and every major problem from malaria to rainstorms, droughts, hurricanes and tornadoes.

A newly discovered danger, say a couple researchers, endangers green sea turtles. Planetary warming is causing up to 99% of turtle eggs to hatch as females. It won’t be long, perhaps just decades, until “there will not be enough males” to propagate the species. Some “30 years of knowledge” support this thesis.

That would take us all the way back to 1988, a decade before the 18-year global warming “hiatus” that was interrupted by the 2015-16 El Niño; a half-century since the Dust Bowl and record high planetary temperatures of the 1930s; 40 years after scientists were convinced Earth was about to enter a new little ice age; and some 750 years after the 300-year-long Medieval Warm Period. One has to wonder how sea turtles managed to survive such previous warm spells – and cold periods like the four-century-long Little Ice Age, since cold weather apparently churns out only male sea turtles.

Not to be outdone, Hillary Clinton asserted that women “will bear the brunt of looking for food, looking for firewood, looking for the place to migrate to when all the grass is finally gone, as the desertification moves south” because of climate change. Wrong. Entire families will continue to bear these burdens because of anti-energy policies imposed in the name of sustainability and climate change prevention.

(For more fearsome forecasts, see The Warmlist, a no longer complete, but still entertaining compendium of some 800 horrors supposedly caused by “dangerous manmade global warming and climate change.”)

The constant consternation strikes many as ridiculous. But others have become true believers – and have committed to not having children, not taking showers, de-carbonizing, de-industrializing and de-growing developed countries, shutting off oil pipelines, and other futile actions that bring no earthly benefits.

Our planet has certainly been warming. Thank goodness for that, because the extra warmth lifted habitats and humanity out of the Little Ice Age and its chilly, stormy weather, greatly reduced arable land, short growing seasons and CO2-starved crops. Powerful, uncontrollable natural forces drove that temperature rise. Earth may now face dangerous Mann-made global warming and climate cataclysms concocted by computer models – but no “unprecedented” or “existential” human-caused dangers in the real world.

Question or challenge climate crisis orthodoxy, however, and you will be vilified and face RICO prosecutions, bogus slander and SLAPP lawsuits, censure or expulsion from your university, attacks for sponsoring museum exhibits, or even “four hots and a cot” in a jail or a faraway gulag.

Thankfully, there are excellent antidotes: books by climatologists Roy Spencer, Patrick Michaels, Jennifer Marohasy, Tim Ball, political observer Marc Steyn and others; and websites like ClimateDepot.com, WattsUpWithThat.com, DrRoySpencer.com and Global Warming Policy Foundation.org, for example.

For a concise, yet comprehensive, and eminently readable lay guide to real climate science, geologist Gregory Wrightstone’s Inconvenient Facts: The science that Al Gore doesn’t want you to know may meet your needs. Its 123 pages are organized into two sections and 30 easily understood chapters, written in plain English and complimented by over 100 colorful charts, graphs, tables and illustrations, covering all the common climate issues, fears and myths.

The book is capped off by a handy list of 60 inconvenient facts that eviscerate alarmist dogma, and15 pages of references. As Lord Christopher Monckton’s says in his foreword, Wrightstone has succeeded “splendidly” in reliably distinguishing myths from realities in the climate debate.

The opening section devotes 54 pages to explaining greenhouse and climate basics, showing how carbon dioxide is huge in planetary life but minuscule on the climate front, skewering the myth of a 400 ppm CO2 “tipping point,” analyzing climate models versus real world measurements of global temperature, and showing why and how water vapor plays such a vital and dominant role in weather and climate.

Carbon dioxide, he notes, is essential plant food that makes forests, grasslands and crops grow faster and better, with less water, and thus able to feed more people from less land. Figure I-15 summarizes data from 3,586 experiments on 549 plant species and depicts how crop yields would increase and generate trillions of dollars in overall monetary benefits, if CO2 levels rose by 300 ppm. His analysis of the “hockey stick,” computer models and temperature predictions is equally illuminating.

Part II of Wrightstone’s book examines the many assertions and myths of a coming climate apocalypse, and demonstrates why they fail to meet basic standards of scientific evidence and integrity. The opening chapter demolishes the phony 97% “consensus” of scientists who supposedly agree that humans are now the primary cause of extreme weather and climate change, ushering in a catastrophic future. Subsequent chapters address famines, forest fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, melting ice packs, rising seas, polar bear populations, and other staples of climate alarmism.

“Ocean acidification,” he points out, is a term deliberately chosen to alarm people about an imaginary problem. Being honest, and saying seas might become very slightly less alkaline (have slightly lower pH levels) from more atmospheric and oceanic CO2 in the coming centuries, wouldn’t suffice. Worse, an oft-cited study ignored a full century of readily available data, and instead used computer models to fill in the contrived “gaps” on pH levels. As Wrightstone suggests, many people would call it Climate pHraud.

The bottom line? Scientists still do not understand the complexities of climate and weather. They still cannot separate human influences from the effects of powerful natural forces that have brought often profound climate changes throughout history. There is no evidence of a coming climate cataclysm.

Spending trillions of dollars – and condemning billions of people to expensive, insufficient, unreliable, land and raw material gobbling wind, solar and biofuel energy – is not just unnecessary. It is immoral.

Via email






Whatever happens they will say it "is consistent with what you would expect from a warming planet."







Shale is the real energy revolution

Shale gas and oil have banished peak oil, revived industry and changed geopolitics: Britain's opportunity

Gas will start flowing from Cuadrilla’s two shale exploration wells in Lancashire this year. Preliminary analysis of the site is “very encouraging”, bearing out the British Geological Survey’s analysis that the Bowland Shale beneath northern England holds one of the richest gas resources known: a huge store of energy at a cost well below that of renewables and nuclear.

A glance across the Atlantic shows what could be in store for Britain, and what we have missed out on so far because of obstacles put in place by mendacious pressure groups and timid bureaucrats. Thanks to shale, America last week surpassed the oil production record it set in 1970, having doubled its output in seven years, while also turning gas import terminals into export terminals.

The effect of the shale revolution has been seismic. Cheap energy has brought industry back to America yet carbon dioxide emissions have been slashed far faster than in Europe as lower-carbon gas displaces high-carbon coal. Environmental problems have, contrary to the propaganda, been minimal.

All thoughts of imminent peak oil and peak gas have vanished. Opec’s cartel has been broken, after it failed to kill the shale industry by driving the oil price lower: American shale producers cut costs faster than anybody thought possible. A limit has been put on the economic and political power of both Russia and Saudi Arabia, no bad thing for the people of both countries and their neighbours. Shale drillers turn gas and oil production on and off in response to price fluctuations more flexibly than old-fashioned wells.

Seven years ago it was possible to argue that shale would prove a flash in the pan. No longer: horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing are the biggest energy news of the century. For those who still think the falling price of wind and solar is more dramatic, consider this. Between them, those two energy sources provided just 0.8 per cent of the world’s energy in 2016, even after trillions of dollars in subsidy, and will reach only 3.6 per cent by 2040, according to the International Energy Agency. Gas will then be providing 25 per cent of the world’s energy, up from 22 per cent today.

SOURCE




Rise of the eco-cup enterprises as war on waste steps up

I am sort of sympathetic to this. I grew up in a long-gone era where the motto was "Waste not, want not" and nothing was "disposable".  So mountains of old disposable coffee cups do seem a waste.

On the other hand, digging big holes and filling them with rubbish is not exactly hi-tech or difficult.  And when the dump fills up it is customary to resurface it as a sports field or park.  A lot of our sports facilities originated that way.

As it happens, I always drink my coffee out of a china cup -- because I like it that way


When Simon Karlik saw rubbish bins overflowing with water bottles, coffee cups and takeaway food containers, he thought the amount of waste was “just insane”.

“I thought, can’t we go back to, in my terms, grandma's day, where you didn't rely on this very lazy option of just using something once and throwing it away,” says Karlik.

That prompted Karlik to start Cheeki, the Sydney-based company which makes vacuum-insulated stainless steel coffee cups you can carry to your café.

Today, his company, which produces a range of eco-friendly food and drink containers, turns over between $3 million to $4 million.

Reusable coffee cups rose in popularity in the wake of the ABC’s groundbreaking television series, War on Waste, which accelerated the public debate about Australia’s waste disposal problems.

According to the program, we throw out around 1 billion coffee cups each year.

Karlik started Cheeki in 2009 with stainless steel water bottles. “The water bottle was my focus for the first year or so and then we fairly quickly went into the coffee cups. And more recently, lunch boxes and food containers.”

He says while the water bottles were well received from the outset, “the coffee cups were certainly slower in the beginning. I remember early on we had a slogan, ‘No excuse for single use’. People didn't even understand that. We tried to speak to a lot of cafes about offering a discount if you brought in your reusable cup and they just didn't really understand.

“And then it really took off with the War on Waste TV show last year. That was the big one that put it into the mainstream consciousness. But there certainly had been a groundswell leading up to that TV show.”

Karlik says he saw an instant spike in website traffic. “It has dwindled away somewhat. But for the month after the TV show, it was incredibly powerful.”

Cheeki products are available through around 1200 retailers including health stores, organic grocers, pharmacies, homeware stores, which account for 95 per cent of their sales. They are also available online.

Karlik says Cheeki focuses on “insulated stainless steel cups and mugs which keep the product very hot for a long time. We have a couple of different styles, but our most popular style is leakproof, meaning you could literally get your coffee and put it in your handbag and run to the bus or something.”

He says the company does “considerable R & D work” and the overseas market is firmly on its radar.

While Cheeki sells in the UK and European market in “a small way”, it is planning to launch properly in the US and Europe in March.

Another product surfing this trend is the JOCO coffee cup.

“The JOCO brand was created in 2008,” says founder Matt Colegate. “The concept or the basis behind the brand was developed out of a personal protest against disposable waste and plastic.”

Colegate says the goal was to have a brand with values that could create eco-friendly products and solutions that then empower those values, “and also empower the individual to make a difference in their everyday life without sacrificing any luxuries as well”.

While the brand was born in 2008, Colegate says the “first product from the JOCO brand was literally a mug I grabbed from the office where I worked. I made a lid for it and started using that at the local cafes rather than disposable cups.

“The JOCO Cup that we feature is far more refined. We didn’t start production till a few years later because it was a side project for us. We had day jobs and the development process was substantial because we were attempting to work outside of the plastic world and that proved to be a big challenge.”

The first cups from the Torquay-based company were rolled out around 2012.

“When we started developing the product, we chipped in around $2000 to work out the design and so forth. Once we got around to the sampling stage, and our first production, we invested around $40,000.”

Colegate says things picked up from there. “Every year we have seen really good growth in uptake of reusable vessels and plastic-free vessels. The business was inefficient basically due to the fact that we were operating outside the plastic world, our costs were huge.

“In the last 24 months, we have really seen a big uptake, especially within parts of Europe and Australia. And then in the last year, with the War on Waste, we have seen increases of over 500 per cent in particular regions.”

The reusable glass JOCO cups are designed, developed and produced in-house, he says. “In the development process we worked very closely with leading baristas from around the world to get the input as to what they need to make the cup a perfect tool for their processes.”

SOURCE

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

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

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Monday, February 19, 2018



World’s Largest Science Organization Gives Top Honor To Conspiracy-Monger Michael Mann

If you need another example of scientific establishment’s deteriorating credibility since the election of Donald Trump, here it is: The world’s largest science organization is bestowing a top honor on a climate propagandist who spends lots of his time making hateful, inflammatory comments about the president, his family, his administration and GOP lawmakers on social media.

Michael Mann, a Penn State University professor and infamous author of the so-called “hockey stick” graph to show the planet is warming, will receive the 2018 “Public Engagement with Science” award by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) this weekend. The award will recognize Mann’s “tireless efforts to communicate the science of climate change to the media, public and policymakers.”

There’s no question that Mann is the climate tribe’s most outspoken firebrand. He is the media’s go-to source for a doomsday comment about anthropogenic global warming. Since the beginning of the month, Mann has been quoted in dozens of articles—not necessarily about science, but to berate the Trump administration for reversing many of President Obama’s climate change policies.

He is the “Citizen Secretary of Science and Environment in the so-called Shadow Cabinet to troll Trump cabinet members. After Trump was elected, Mann warned how “my colleagues and I are steeling ourselves for a renewed onslaught of intimidation, from inside and outside government. It would be bad for our work and bad for our planet.”

Rather than offer thoughtful, persuasive arguments for why climate change is a legitimate threat, Mann instead excoriates anyone, including so-called climate deniers and fellow scientists, who does not conform to his ideological worldview.

“The AAAS has sent quite a message to the public by giving a communications award to Michael Mann, who made multiple false claims about being a Nobel prize winner, including to a court of law,” Steve Milloy, author of “Scare Pollution” and publisher of junkscience.com, told me. “Mann has conspired with others to silence critics and prevent opponents from being published in science journals. He has sued his critics but, ironically, spends a great deal of time making ad hominem attacks against politicians and scientists with whom he disagrees.”

Earlier this month, Mann led an effort to oust philanthropist and GOP fundraiser Rebekah Mercer from the American Museum of Natural History board of directors. Why? Mercer, according to Mann and his fellow climate bullies, is a “financier of climate denialism” because her foundation also contributes to nonprofit organizations such as the Heartland Institute, which challenges the grip that climate change orthodoxy has in the media and public education.

Although Mercer has a science background and has donated $4 million to the museum, Mann accused her of “spending millions to discredit science,” and called her a “sponsor of fake news and climate disinformation.” Mercer responded to his attacks in the Wall Street Journal on February 15, admitting that “absurd smears have inspired a few gullible, but vicious characters, to make credible death threats against my family and me.”

This Kind of ‘Public Engagement’ Isn’t Praiseworthy

But it’s Mann’s shameful—one might argue unstable—rants against the current administration and Republican lawmakers that should have disqualified him from receiving a “public engagement” award from the world’s top scientific society. His Twitter timeline is a disturbing mix of self-promoting puffery and enraged political tirades with very little science. In just the past few days, Mann has called the president “a pathetic excuse for a human being,” a “sociopath,” and wondered if he would be “tied up with the golden lasso.”

The award-winning communicator has called Kellyanne Conway “evil,” accused House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes of being a “traitor,” and routinely blasts Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt. Mann said this to Rolling Stone last year about Pruitt’s appointment: “If there was ever an example of the fox guarding the henhouse, this is it. We have a Koch-brothers-connected industry shill who is now in charge of climate and environmental policy for the entire country.”

The climatologist saves his most petty and pernicious attacks for fellow scientists who challenge the failings of climate science. During a congressional hearing last year, Mann testified alongside two climate scientists he has relentlessly bashed: Judith Curry and Roger Pielke Jr. Although both believe in manmade climate change, their objections to faulty modeling and inaccurate projections have placed them on Mann’s hit list.

After one lawmaker asked about this, Curry addressed Mann’s unprofessional conduct: “What I’m concerned about is the behavior of scientists. I’ve been called a denier for the congressional record from Michael Mann’s testimony. What kind of a behavior is that? This is not the behavior of scientists who are respectfully disagreeing and open to debate.” Mann replied he hadn’t called her a denier, even though it was in his written opening remarks. He can’t even keep his own story straight.

In a blog post, Pielke—who was also smeared by the Obama White House—didn’t mince words about the AAAS’s decision to celebrate Mann: “The AAAS is telling us that engaging in hyper-partisan, gutter politics, targeted against Republicans and colleagues you disagree with, using unethical tactics, will be rewarded by leaders in the scientific community. AAAS could work to help to defuse the pathological politicization of science. Instead, it has thrown some gasoline on the fire.”

Apparently Everything Is Political Now to the Left

So, why did the AAAS choose Mann? For precisely the reasons Pielke outlined. Since the presidential election, the scientific establishment has largely lost its collective mind. Rather than leverage its expertise and power for the common good, it is fueling the nation’s partisan divide, pushing identity politics over science, and working with anti-Trump foes to undermine his presidency.

The AAAS chief is former Democratic congressman Rush Holt, who late last year helped push the phony story that the Centers for Disease Control had banned seven words under direction from Trump’s White House. He ironically told CNN this about the mythical ban: “The epidemic I’m talking about is widespread negligent attitude toward science, neglect of evidence, where people far and wide seem very comfortable substituting wishful thinking and opinion and ideology for evidence.”

After the election, scientific leaders claimed Trump would destroy science. But glorifying political demagogues with PhDs and wrapping it in the cloak of science will do more lasting damage to science than anything Trump does or tweets. As Curry wrote this week in response to Mann’s award: “What to say about this, other than the climate science world is upside down?  On one level, all this is highly amusing. On another level, I absolutely despair for the integrity of academic climate science.” And all science.

SOURCE





Surprise! Spiegel Online Slams Profiteering From Climate Alarmism… Munich Re Admits: “No Climate Signal”

Spiegel Online published two days ago an excellent article by science journalist Axel Bojanowski on the widespread “disinformation surrounding climate change” and the profit made from the hyping and exaggeration of weather extremes.

Examples cited are the Deutsche Bundesbahn (German Railway), the reinsurance industry, foremost Munich Re, and alarmist climate scientists such as Potsdam Institute’s Stefan Rahmstorf.

All have been playing it loose with the data on weather events and exaggerating (at times grossly) and with the aim of deriving profit, Spiegel reports.

Bojanowski’s piece has since found much praise and positive reaction for its content. For example high profile meteorologist Jörg Kachelmann tweeted (translation follows):

Grateful that @Axel_Bojanowski via @SPIEGELONLINE is allowed to correctly report on the science of climate change, and even if he’ll be confronted by people foaming at the mouth.”

Recently the Swiss meteorologist Kachelmann came under harsh attack from Potsdam scientist Stefan Rahmstorf and a leading German Green politician – for having the nerve to give the real facts on storm frequency and intensity on a television talk round that included Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber.

Seasoned journalist Michael Miersch also tweeted: “The best that I’ve ever read on the instrumentalization of climate change.”

German Railway: climate change as a cover for poor management
Bojanowski begins by describing how today the German Railway (Deutsche Bundesbahn) – once heralded for its outstanding punctuality and overall efficiency – has discovered how to use climate change to deflect blame away from its recent poor management, which over the years has often led to lousy service.

Over the years, the Bundesbahn has made the maintenance of its tracks a victim to cost cutting. Trees and vegetation along the tracks no longer get sufficiently cut back, and so it is common for routes to get blocked during stormy weather. What better excuse than climate change could the Deutsche Bahn have to explain all the disruptions?

Data in fact show no increasing trend in extreme weather
All the cancellations, service shutdowns and delays are of course due to ever increasing storm intensity and frequency, the Deutsche Bahn management likes to claim, and they get the full backing of the media, policymakers and alarmist climate scientists. Yet Bojanowski calls out these claims by the Bundesbahn for what they are: lame excuses based on hyped up science.

The Spiegel journalist writes that a number of scientists have shown that there has in fact been no increase in storm intensity and frequency in Europe, commenting:

"That’s amazing, as many scientists anticipate fewer storms in Central Europe as a consequence of climate change.”

Munich Re bilking the public with climate hype?

Another industry caught hyping up extreme weather activity is the reinsurance industry, which insures regular insurance companies against major claims events. The reason for the added hype: justification for hefty premium increases, Bojanowski suggests.

Munich Re admits no real climate signal

One company Bojanowski cites is the world’s largest reinsurer, Munich Re, which annually publishes a report on “natural catastrophes”, in which the company likes to blame climate change, cite alarmist experts and claim there is today a “new normal”. When asked by Spiegel to comment concerning data showing that it isn’t really so, a climate expert from Munch Re was forced to admit:

"The blanket statement that weather-dependent damages worldwide show a climate signal cannot be supported.”

So even the Munich Re knows their claims are hype, yet they continue preaching climate doom and gloom.

Bojanowski also accuses the reinsurers and alarmist climate scientists of “staying silent on claims from the scientific community that it’s all very much in dispute“.

The Spiegel journalist also describes how companies selling environmental products also shamelessly hype climate change in order to get municipalities and cities to invest more in climate protection and environmental systems. Such companies often pay (handsomely) alarmist scientists, such as those from the Potsdam Institute, to spread fear over a rapidly approaching climate doom.

SOURCE






Let's suppose that 100% renewable energy were possible. What would be the result?,/b>

A: the complete destruction of the Earth through massive mining operations and the generation of enormous amounts of toxic waste.








Interior Dept. Is Weeks Away From Holding The Largest Oil And Gas Lease Sale In History

The Department of the Interior (DOI) will offer 77.3 million acres for offshore drilling in the largest oil and gas lease sale in U.S. history on March 21, according to the DOI.

The sale will cover areas off the coasts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. It will include about 14,776 lease blocks from three to 231 miles offshore.

“Responsibly developing our offshore energy resources is a major pillar of President Trump’s American Energy Dominance strategy,” DOI Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt said in statement. “A strong offshore energy program supports tens of thousands good paying jobs and provides the affordable and reliable energy we need to heat homes, fuel our cars, and power our economy.”

The sale is part of the Trump administration’s National Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program, a five-year program that may open up areas along the Atlantic and Pacifica coasts and around Alaska to offshore drilling. The new OCS plan has been touted as a reversal of the previous plan under former-President Barack Obama which placed 94 percent of the OCS off-limits to drilling.

“We have the strongest safety regulations in the world and today’s technology is making the responsible development of our resources even safer,” Bernhardt said. “We look forward to this important sale and continuing to raise energy revenues, which fund efforts to help safeguard our natural areas, water resources and cultural heritage, and to provide recreation opportunities to all Americans.”

More of the OCS may be opened and offered in a lease sale later. DOI Secretary Ryan Zinke has promised to meet with every governor opposed to opening waters off their states’ coasts to offshore drilling. Zinke has already promised Florida Gov. Rick Scott exemptions in some areas off the state’s coast.

SOURCE





Renewable subsidies and the destruction of Australian energy competitiveness

Alan Moran

Yesterday I was the token rationalist speaker at the Australasian Agricultural and Resources Economics Society’s “The Future of Australian Energy Symposium”.

Two other speakers were Tony Wood (from the ALP’s think tank Grattan Institute recently rewarded for the damage his advice has done with an AO) and Danny Price from Frontier Economics (also an ALP consultant).

In so far as their advice has been followed, these two prominent characters have been instrumental in forging the taxing policies on fossil fuel generators that have destroyed our energy market. They now acknowledge the market is broken, it being impossible to shrug off the line ball reliability and doubling soon-to-be trebling of prices

But the politicians’ favoured consultants’ solution is one further attempt to get the interventionary policies right. Like the fans of socialism, they say its failure is because it has never been done properly!

The other speakers were operationally oriented – largely consultants – who proffered ways that the renewable target, now sanctified by the Paris Agreement few recognise as dead and buried, could be operationalised.

We have seen the wholesale price for electricity rise from under $40 per MWh with very little trend up until 2012, and was still $40 in 2015, to its present level of around $90 per MWh

​Wind has risen from nothing in the early part of the century to a share of over 10 per cent today. All of that wind is dependent on subsidies currently around $85 per MWh. In addition, there is the roof top solar (subsidised at $40 per MWh plus advantageous export tariffs). ​

Due to its abundant coal supplies, Australia had perhaps the cheapest electricity in the world ten years ago. As a result of the renewable subsidies it is now among the most expensive. Aside from increased direct costs to households, this has immense adverse consequences for the competitiveness of Australian industries and hence the nation’s living standards.

We can reverse direction and perhaps the demonstration effect of the US will provide the catalyst.

More HERE

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

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

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Sunday, February 18, 2018



Snow-covered beaches? Chilly iguanas? They are part of a mysterious ‘hole’ in global warming

Mysterious is the word.  You can't have a hole in warming. Thermodynamics would not allow it.  The "hole" discussed below is just a fancy name for saying that over large areas reality does not match the theory.  It's just another example of special pleading, which always weakens the theory.  In science, very little special pleading would be tolerated before the theory is discarded

Frigid iguanas in Florida. Snowball fights on North Carolina’s beaches. Recent winters have delivered a bitter chill to the Southeast, reinforcing attitudes among some that global warming is a fraud.

But according to a scientific study published this month, the Southeast’s colder winter weather is part of an isolated trend, linked to a more wavy pattern in the jet stream that crosses North America. That dipping jet stream allows artic air to plunge into the Southeast. Scientists call this colder weather a “hole” in overall global warming, or a “warming hole.”

“What we are looking at is an anomaly,” said Jonathan M. Winter, an assistant professor of geography at Dartmouth College and the principle investigator in the study. “The Southeast is the exception to the rule.”

Winter and lead author Trevor F. Partridge, a Dartmouth graduate student, say this year’s extreme cold in Southeast could be a product of the warming hole. “It is the same mechanism that causes this bitterly cold air to come down,” said Winter.

The Southeast’s warming hole has been studied many times before, but the Dartmouth study in Geophysical Research Letters nails down some of its key features. The study concludes the trend started in the late 1950s, and is concentrated in six states — Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. Nearby states are also affected, such as east Texas, Florida, South Carolina and North Carolina.

Either because of coincidence or cooler climes, residents of these states tend to be relatively doubtful that global warming is happening and is largely caused by human activities, according to surveys compiled by Yale and George Mason universities.

As some streets flood from king tide events, Miami Beach launched an aggressive and expensive plan to combat the effects of sea level rise. The city will spend between $400 to $500 million over the next five years. (From March 15, 2016.) Emily MichotMiami Herald

Yale researchers are now curious the “warming hole” has influenced opinions about climate change in the region. “That is something we are actively investigating,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication.

In January, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that 2017 was one of the warmest years on record globally. But during snows and freezes of the last two months, some Americans scoffed at such claims. This included President Trump, who tweeted right before New Year’s Eve that “perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old global warming.”

The unusually cold weather has produced a mix of outcomes for farmers, wildlife and human residents. South Carolina peach farmers welcome a certain number of cold winter days for their trees to produce a full crop. But they’ve been walloped when a freeze arrives late, as have Florida’s citrus growers and Georgia’s Vidalia onion farmers.

Across the region, the cold helps knock pests, but it can stress native flora and fauna. Some 35 manatees died of cold stress syndrome in January, according to a preliminary report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The cold also numbed the state’s invasive iguanas, some of which started falling out of trees in January, prompting Floridians to rush to their rescue.

Climate change scientists say the Southeast is an illustration of how global warming is not a globally uniform phenomena. Certain regions will see different effects than others, based on El Ninos and other natural weather patterns.

In the arctic, a natural phenomenon known as the polar vortex is a huge driver of colder winters. When the polar vortex is stable, arctic cold air is contained by the jet stream flowing to the south.

But when the jet stream is wavy, it allows frigid winds to blow down into the Southeast, a pattern that has repeated itself in many, but not all, years since the 1960s.

What is causing the more wavy jet stream?

A study published last year suggested that rapidly melting arctic ice sheets, an impact of climate change, could be contributing. But cyclical patterns in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans could also be important factors, say the Dartmouth researchers and scientists who wrote about the warming hole for the third National Climate Assessment in 2014.

“From our research, we are confident there is a natural variability component,” said Winter. “We hypothesize there is a contribution of climate change. But we don’t want to get out over our ski tips on that.”

The Southeast’s warming hole tends to last through the winter and spring. After that, the warming hole tends to shift to the Midwest, where evaporation from large-scale agricultural production causes an abnormal cooling affect, says the study.

The Dartmouth researchers based their findings on examining NOAA data from 1,407 temperature stations and 1,722 rain stations across the United States, from 1901 until 2015. They then identified stations that were persistently cooler than average from 1960 to 2015, which gave them their results on the six states at the center of the warming hole.

Overall, daily temperatures in the hole have cooled by an average of 1.2 degrees Fahrenheit since 1958, whereas global average temperatures have risen 1 degree over the same time period.

The southeastern United States is one of two major warming holes globally. The other is in the North Atlantic Ocean, where a mysterious “blob” of cold water has concentrated near where Greenland’s ice sheets are melting. Is there a connection? Scientists are studying if influxes of fresh water from melting sea ice are disrupting currents, known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, which carries warm water north from the equator.

SOURCE




New Paper: "No significant trend" in hurricanes

“Continental United States Hurricane Landfall Frequency and Associated Damage: Observations and Future Risks“

The abstract reveals findings that contradicts the mainstream news narrative about hurricanes during 2017. It cites other studies with similar findings (all ignored by journalists). Roger Pielke Jr. mentioning some of this data got him labeled a “climate denier” by climate activists (details here). The conclusions are a clear example of focused research applied to questions important for America.

“While United States landfalling hurricane frequency or intensity shows no significant trend since 1900, growth in coastal population and wealth have led to increasing hurricane-related damage along the United States coastline. Continental United States (CONUS) hurricane-related inflation-adjusted damage has increased significantly since 1900. However, since 1900 neither observed CONUS landfalling hurricane frequency nor intensity show significant trends, including the devastating 2017 season.

“Two large-scale climate modes that have been noted in prior research to significantly impact CONUS landfalling hurricane activity are El Niño-Southern Oscillation on interannual timescales and the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation on multi-decadal timescales. La Niña seasons tend to be characterized by more CONUS hurricane landfalls than do El Niño seasons, and positive Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation phases tend to have more CONUS hurricane landfalls than do negative phases.

“Growth in coastal population and regional wealth are the overwhelming drivers of observed increases in hurricane-related damage. As the population and wealth of the US has increased in coastal locations, it has invariably led to the growth in exposure and vulnerability of coastal property along the US Gulf and East Coasts. Unfortunately, the risks associated with more people and vulnerable exposure came to fruition in Texas and Florida during the 2017 season following the landfalls of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Total economic damage from those two storms exceeded $125 billion.

“Growth in coastal population and exposure is likely to continue in the future, and when hurricane landfalls do occur, this will likely lead to greater damage costs than previously seen. Such a statement is made recognizing that the vast scope of damage from hurricanes often highlight the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of building codes, flood maps, infrastructure, and insurance in at-risk communities.”

We are told that global warming makes hurricanes worse — some combination of more frequent and more intense (depending on the source). There is an easy first test of this. The world has been warming since the middle of the 19th century. The IPCC’s AR5 tells us that…

“It is extremely likely (95 – 100% certain) that human activities caused more than half of the observed increase in global mean surface temperature from 1951 to 2010.”

What is the trend in hurricane activity during the past 12 decades? One of the best records is that of landfalls on continental US. The authors show the data. First, all hurricane landfalls. Then landfalls of major hurricanes (Saffir-Simpson Category 3-5). These cause over 80% of all hurricane-related damages. Do you see any trend in either graph, in the “natural” era (1900-1950) or the anthropogenic era (1951-2017)?



More HERE





Overheated claims on temperature records

It’s time for sober second thoughts on climate alarms

Dr. Tim Ball and Tom Harris

Now that the excitement has died down over the news that Earth’s surface temperature made 2017 one of the hottest years on record, it is time for sober second thoughts.

Did the January 18 announcement by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that 2017 was our planet’s third-hottest year since 1880, and NASA’s claim that it was the second hottest year, actually mean anything?

Although the Los Angeles Times called 2017 “a top-three scorcher for planet Earth,” neither the NOAA nor the NASA records are significant. One would naturally expect the warmest years to come during the most recent years of a warming trend. And thank goodness we have been in a gradual warming trend since the depths of the Little Ice Age in the late 1600s! Back then, the River Thames was covered by a meter of ice, as Jan Grifier’s 1683 painting “The Great Frost’ illustrates.

Regardless, recent changes have been too small for even most thermometers to notice. More important, they are often less than the government’s estimates of uncertainty in the measurements. In fact, we lack the data to properly and scientifically compare today’s temperatures with the past.

This is because, until the 1960s, surface temperature data was collected using mercury thermometers located at weather stations situated mostly in the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom and eastern Australia. Most of the rest of the planet had very few temperature sensing stations. And none of the Earth’s oceans, which constitute 70 percent of the planet’s surface area, had more than an occasional station separated from its neighbors by thousands of kilometers or miles.

The data collected at the weather stations in this sparse grid had, at best, an accuracy of +/-0.5 degrees Celsius (0.9 degrees Fahrenheit). In most cases, the real-world accuracy was no better than +/-1 deg C (1.8 deg F). Averaging such poor data in an attempt to determine global conditions cannot yield anything meaningful. Displaying average global temperature to tenths or even hundreds of a degree, as is done in the NOAA and NASA graphs, clearly defies common sense.

Modern weather station surface temperature data is now collected using precision thermocouples. But, starting in the 1970s, less and less ground surface temperature data was used for plots such as those by NOAA and NASA. This was done initially because governments believed satellite monitoring could take over from most of the ground surface data collection.

However, the satellites did not show the warming forecast by computer models, which had become so crucial to climate studies and energy policy-making. So bureaucrats closed most of the colder rural surface temperature sensing stations – the ones furthest from much warmer urban areas – thereby yielding the warming desired for political purposes.

Today, virtually no data exist for approximately 85 percent of the earth’s surface. Indeed, fewer weather stations are in operation now than in 1960.

That means surface temperature computations by NOAA and NASA after about 1980 are meaningless. Combining this with the problems with earlier data renders an unavoidable conclusion: It is not possible to know how Earth’s so-called average surface temperature has varied over the past century and a half.

The data is therefore useless for input to the computer models that form the basis of policy recommendations produced by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and used to justify eliminating fossil fuels, and replacing them with renewable energy.

But the lack of adequate surface data is only the start of the problem. The computer models on which the climate scare is based are mathematical constructions that require the input of data above the surface, as well as on it. The models divide the atmosphere into cubes piled on top of each other, ideally with wind, humidity, cloud cover and temperature conditions known for different altitudes. But we currently have even less data above the surface than on it, and there is essentially no historical data at altitude.

Many people think the planet is adequately covered by satellite observations, data that represents global 24/7 coverage and is far more accurate than anything determined at weather stations. But the satellites are unable to collect data from the north and south poles, regions that the IPCC, NOAA and NASA tout as critical to understanding global warming. Besides, space-based temperature data collection did not start until 1979, and 30 years of weather data are required to generate a single data point on a climate graph.

So the satellite record is far too short to allow us to come to useful conclusions about climate change.

In fact, there is insufficient data of any kind – temperature, land and sea ice, glaciers, sea level, extreme weather, ocean pH,  and so on – to be able to determine how today’s climate differs from the past. Lacking such fundamental data, climate forecasts cited by climate activists therefore have no connection with the real world.

British Professor Hubert Lamb is often identified as the founder of modern climatology. In his comprehensive 1972 treatise, Climate: Past, Present and Future, he clearly showed that it is not possible to understand climate change without having vast amounts of accurate weather data over long time frames. Lamb also noted that funding for improving the weather database was dwarfed by money being spent on computer models and theorizing. He warned that this would result in wild and unsubstantiated theories and assertions, while predictions failed to improve. That is precisely what happened.

Each and every prediction made by the computer models cited by the IPCC have turned out to be incorrect. Indeed, the first predictions they made for the IPCC’s 1990 Assessment Report were so wrong that the panel started to call them “projections” and offered low, medium and high “confidence” ranges for future guesstimates, which journalists, politicians and others nevertheless treated as reliable predictions for future weather and climate.

IPCC members seemed to conclude that, if they provided a broad enough range of forecasts, one was bound to be correct. Yet, even that was too optimistic. All three ranges predicted by the IPCC have turned out to be wrong.

US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt is right to speak about the need for a full blown public debate among scientists about the causes and consequences of climate change. In his February 6 television interview on KSNV, an NBC affiliate in Las Vegas, Mr. Pruitt explained:

“There are very important questions around the climate issue that folks really don’t get to. And that’s one of the reasons why I’ve talked about having an honest, open, transparent debate about what do we know, and what don’t we know, so the American people can be informed and they can make decisions on their own with respect to these issues.”

On January 30, Pruitt told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that a “red team-blue team exercise” (an EPA-sponsored debate between climate scientists holding differing views) is under consideration. It is crucially important that such a debate take place.

The public needs to understand that even the most basic assumptions underlying climate concerns are either in doubt or simply wrong. The campaign to force America, Canada, Europe and the rest of the world to switch from abundant and affordable coal and other fossil fuels – to expensive, unreliable, land intensive alternatives – supposedly to control Earth’s always fluctuating climate, will then finally be exposed for what it really is: the greatest, most damaging hoax in history.

Via email. Dr. Tim Ball is an environmental consultant and former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg in Manitoba. Tom Harris is executive director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition





Bitter cold at Winter Olympics chills global-warming hype

The bone-chilling cold and icy winds in Pyeongchang have contributed to any number of wipe-outs for Olympic skiers and snowboarders, not to mention a public-relations face plant for the climate-change movement.

Its dire warnings about how the Winter Olympics face an existential threat from global warming have been all but buried by the flurry of reports about frigid conditions at the 2018 games in South Korea, which are expected to set an Olympic record for cold temperatures.

Climate activists have also been frustrated by a lack of global-warming coverage by NBC Sports, prompting a social-media campaign led by Public Citizen, Protect Our Winters and Climate Nexus urging the network to stop the “climate whiteout.”

“Winter sports are taking a huge hit from our warming planet and the athletes who depend on cold weather and snow—are witnessing and experiencing climate change first hand,” they said in a statement on Alternet. “We can no longer talk about the Winter Olympics without warming.”

This year, however, it’s impossible to talk about the Olympics without freezing. Organizers handed out blankets and heat pads to spectators at Friday’s opening ceremony, which was shortened by two hours in response to wind-chill temperatures that dipped below zero.

A number of skiing events have been delayed as a result of high winds and ice pellets, and reports of spectators leaving outdoor events early in order to escape the brutal cold are rampant.

“It was unbelievably cold,” ski jumper Noriaki Kasai of Japan told the AP. “The noise of the wind at the top of the jump was incredible. I’ve never experienced anything like that on the World Cup circuit. I said to myself, ‘Surely, they are going to cancel this.’”

Skeptics like Climate Depot’s Marc Morano couldn’t resist needling leading environmental groups as they struggled to keep the global-warming theme afloat.

“More bad luck for climate activists as they push for more talk of ‘global warming’ during what is perhaps the coldest Olympics on record,” said Mr. Morano, author of “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Climate Change.”

“The activists had the climate script written well in advance of the Olympics, but their message has literally been frozen out by the extreme cold,” he said in an email. “Despite this cold reality, the activists demand that the climate narrative go forth.”

Climate groups have touted an updated 2014 study by University of Waterloo geography professor Daniel Scott, whose climate models found that nine of the 21 previous host cities would be too warm by midcentury to accommodate the games.

“According to Scott’s research, using emissions projections in which global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise through midcentury and global temperatures increase by 4 degrees Fahrenheit by 2050, nine of the host locations will be too hot to handle the Games,” said the University of Waterloo in a Jan. 12 press release.

The last two winter games—Sochi in 2014 and Vancouver in 2010—saw organizers bring in artificial snow after being hit with unexpected warm temperatures.

Since the 1920s, the average temperatures at the Winter Olympics have risen from about 33 degrees Fahrenheit to more than 46 degrees for games held since 2000, according to Yale Climate Connections.

“The climate in many traditional winter sports regions isn’t what it used to be, and fewer and fewer places will be able to host the Olympic Winter Games as global warming accelerates,” said Mr. Scott in a statement.

The problem with climate models in general is their shaky track record, said University of Colorado Boulder meteorologist Roger A. Pielke Sr.

“Such claims are based on climate models that have shown essentially no skill at predicting multidecadal changes in regional climate statistics when tested against observed multidecadal regional climate changes and variations over the past decades (called “hindcasting”),” said Mr. Pielke in an email.

“If they cannot skillfully predict such changes in the past, we should have no confidence in what they tell us with respect to the coming decades,” he said. “Claims to the contrary are based on political advocacy and not robust science.”

The 2018 Winter Olympics are on pace to go down as the coldest in recorded history, with night temperatures in Pyeongchang falling as low as -20 degrees Celsius, or -4 Fahrenheit, according to Reuters.

Such a mark would easily surpass the record of -11 degrees Celsius set at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway.

David Arkush, managing director of Public Citizen, argued that the overall trend still supports warmer global temperatures and what his group described as “disappearing winters.”

“Nothing in climate science says the temperature today must always be higher than yesterday or one year ago,” he said in an email. “But the overall warming trend is unmistakable and alarming.”

He pointed to quotes from skiers and other winter athletes who have said deteriorating snow conditions have made it more difficult to train.

“It’s a scary thing right now for winter sports,” U.S. aerials coach Matt Saunders told AP. “There’s fewer and fewer places and all the glaciers are melting. It’s definitely getting harder and harder to get on snow early, for sure. We are having to travel further and further.”

Climate activists have also argued that frigid weather is consistent with global warming—former Vice President Al Gore said last month that bitter cold is “exactly what we should expect from the climate crisis”—prompting skeptics to accuse them of adjusting their theories to fit the latest weather patterns.

The International Olympic Committee has seen a drop in interest in cities interested in hosting both the summer and winter games, although for reasons related more to rising costs—Sochi spent a mind-boggling $51 billion—and lack of public support than climate change.

Six European localities have pulled out or opted not to make bids for the 2022 Winter Olympics, and only four cities have shown interest in the 2026 winter games.

SOURCE





Permitting reform is key for economic growth, infrastructure planning, and national security

You may not know it, but a hearing on Capitol Hill today, in the House Natural Resources Committee, will have an impact on every American. The Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources is holding a hearing on legislation introduced by Rep. Mark E. Amodei (R-Nev.), H.R. 520, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act. The U.S. has become increasingly dependent on imports of these minerals despite having an abundance of many of them. Congress and the Trump administration are looking to change the permitting process for not just these mines, but for all projects.

Last year, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) released a report frightening report titled, “Critical Mineral Resources of the United States— Economic and Environmental Geology and Prospects for Future Supply.” The report lists minerals that are important for the economic health and national security of the U.S.:

Antimony (Sb), barite (barium, Ba), beryllium (Be), cobalt (Co), fluorite or fluorspar (fluorine, F), gallium (Ga), germanium (Ge), graphite (carbon, C), hafnium (Hf), indium (In), lithium (Li), manganese (Mn), niobium (Nb), platinum-group elements (PGE), rare-earth elements (REE), rhenium (Re), selenium (Se), tantalum (Ta), tellurium (Te), tin (Sn), titanium (Ti), vanadium (V), and zirconium (Zr).

The world as we know it cannot exist without these critical minerals. Cobalt is one of the most essential minerals on the list. Just about every battery on the planet has cobalt in it, including cell phones and electric vehicles. The military and civilian aviation use cobalt in jet engines. Life would be very different from what we know without this mineral.

A group of elements known as rare earth elements is probably the most important. The group represents 15 elements between atomic numbers 57 and 71. The elements have unusual physical and chemical properties that give them multiple applications.

The most common use for rare earth elements is in magnets. Two magnets used extensively in military technologies are samarium cobalt (SmCo), and neodymium iron boron (NdFeB). These are powerful magnets. The NdFeB magnet is considered the world’s strongest permanent magnet. This allows a small magnet to be used instead of a larger device and aides in the miniaturization of technology.  SmCo magnets are used for high-temperature applications where stability over a wide range of temperatures is essential.

The Congressional Research Service listed defense-related applications for REEs:

fin actuators in missile guidance and control systems, controlling the direction of the missile;

disk drive motors installed in aircraft, tanks, missile systems, and command and control centers;

lasers for enemy mine detection, interrogators, underwater mines, and countermeasures;

satellite communications, radar, and sonar on submarines and surface ships; and

optical equipment and speakers.

It’s pretty clear we do not have a worthy Defense Department without these critical minerals. Unfortunately, the U.S. is 100 percent dependent on foreign mines to supply U.S. needs, and China supplies 97 percent of the world’s supply. Yes, that is right. The U.S. military is dependent on an adversary nation for its weapons systems.

The bill has passed the House in previous Congresses but continuously dies in the Senate. That could change with President Trump’s proposed infrastructure plan, the key of which calls for a reduction in regulations for projects. Currently, the permitting process for projects takes years and crosses multiple agencies. According to the Department of Transportation, the median length of time to complete an environmental impact study is 3.5 years, and that is just some asphalt for a road.

The process gets much more cumbersome when discussing the mining industry. The average time for final permitting approval in the U.S. is 7-10 years, while Canada and Australia average just two years. Mining consulting giant, Behre Dolbear, listed “permitting delays” as the most significant risk to mining projects. Who is willing to invest hundreds of millions in a project before even a shovel of dirt can be dug up? This is not the way to stir economic growth.

President Trump and Congress must pass permitting reform before the infrastructure bill is passed. It does no good to pass an infrastructure bill without permitting reform. If that were to happen, the money would disappear into the federal bureaucracy instead of going to the needed projects. H.R. 520 must be included in the permitting reform. In fact, the upcoming budget is the perfect place to put the legislation with the rest of the permitting reform. President Trump and the Republicans should use their leverage to press permitting reform. By putting it in the budget, it is one less thing that can be bargained away in the infrastructure negotiating process.

SOURCE

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