Thursday, April 19, 2018

How can this be? What has happened to “Global Warming?”

Runners racing the Boston Marathon 2018 faced grueling conditions as heavy rain poured and wind gusts hit more than 25 miles per hour in the coldest temperatures for the race in three decades. With temperatures in the 30sF, runners faced a brutal race day.

Just as a comparison, look at these past conditions:

1905: The temperature was reported to have reached the 100-degree mark

1909: The temperature soared to 97 degrees

1915: Reports of “intense heat”

1927: With the temperature reaching 84 degrees, a newly surfaced but uncured road melted under the runners’ shoes

1931: Reports of “terrific heat” that “spelled ruin to the hopes of countless ambitious runners”

1952: The temperature rose to the upper 80s, with a high of 88 degrees

1958: The temperature climbed to 84 degrees

1976: For much of the first half of the race, the temperature along the course was reported to be 96 degrees

1987: The temperature was in the mid/upper 80s and the humidity was more than 95 percent

2004: The hottest Marathon since 1976 (86 degrees at the finish) caused a record number of heat-related illnesses

H/t Bill Shuster

Clearly, this is one of many local redords that are at variance with the stats released by NOAA -- confirming that the NOAA stats are fudged and that we are now probably into a cooling period

The double standards industry

Concerns over impacts from energy projects disappear where “green” energy is involved

Paul Driessen

It’s a good thing environmentalists have double standards – or they wouldn’t have any standards at all.

Empire State legislators worry that anything above the current 0.0001% methane in Earth’s atmosphere will cause catastrophic climate change, and that pipelines will disturb wildlife habitats. So they oppose fracking for natural gas in New York and pipelines that would import the clean fuel from Pennsylvania.

But then they bribe or force rural and vacation area communities to accept dozens of towering wind turbines that impact thousands of acres, destroy scenic views, kill thousands of birds and bats annually, and affect the sleep and health of local residents – to generate pricey intermittent electricity that is sent on high voltage transmission lines to Albany, Manhattan and other distant cities.

Meanwhile, developers are building a 600-mile pipeline to bring natural gas from West Virginia to North Carolina, to power generating plants that provide low-cost electricity almost 24/7/365. A portion of the 100-foot-wide pipeline right-of-way must go through forested areas, necessitating tree removal.

To protect migratory birds and endangered bats, state and federal officials generally require that tree cutting be prohibited between mid-March and mid-October. Because the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is behind schedule, the companies sought approval to continue felling trees until May 15, to avoid further delays that could increase costs by $150-350 million. The request was denied.

Not surprisingly, the pipeline, logging and request to cut during migratory and mating season continue to put the developers, regulators and environmentalists at loggerheads. A 16-mile long segment through Virginia’s George Washington National Forest has garnered particular attention.

Although the short segment would affect just 200 of the GWNF’s 1.1 million acres, the Virginia Wilderness Committee claimed any tree cutting in the area would create an “industrial zone” and “severely degrade some of the best remaining natural landscapes” in the Eastern USA. The Southern Environmental Law Center called the entire project “risky” and “unnecessary.” They and allied groups prefer to “keep fossil fuels in the ground” and force a rapid transition to solar and wind energy.

One has to wonder how they would react to the far greater environmental impacts their “green” energy future would bring. Will they be true to their convictions, or continue applying double standards?

For example, using sun power to replace just the electricity from Virginia’s nearly 24/7/365 Lake Anna Nuclear Generating Station would require nearly 20,000 acres of solar panels (twice the size of Washington, DC) that would provide power just 20-30% of the time. The rest of the time, the commonwealth would need fossil fuel or battery backup power – or homes, businesses, hospitals and schools would have to be happy with electricity when it’s available, instead of when they need it.

That’s 100 times more land than needed for the pipeline, which will be underground and mostly invisible, whereas the highly visible solar panels would blanket former crop and habitat land for decades.

Natural gas and coal generate about 55 million megawatt-hours of Virginia’s annual electricity. Replacing that with wind power would require thousands of gigantic turbines, sprawling across a half-million acres of forest, farm and other lands. Expensive backup battery arrays and transmission lines from wind farms to distant urban areas would require thousands of additional acres.

(This rough calculation recognizes that many turbines would have to be located in poor wind areas and would thus generate electricity only 15-20% of the time. It also assumes that two-thirds of windy day generation would charge batteries for seven straight windless days, and that each turbine requires 15 acres for blade sweep, operational airspace and access roads.)

The turbines, transmission lines and batteries would require millions of tons of concrete, steel, copper, neodymium, lithium, cobalt, petroleum-based composites and other raw materials; removing billions of tons of earth and rock to mine the ores; and burning prodigious amounts of fossil fuels in enormous smelters and factories to turn ores into finished components.

Most of that work will take place in Africa, China and other distant locations – out of sight, and out of mind for most Virginians, Americans and environmentalists. But as we are often admonished, we should act locally, think globally, and consider the horrendous environmental and health and safety conditions under which all these activities take place in those faraway lands.

Many turbines will be located on mountain ridges, where the winds blow best and most often. Ridge tops will be deforested, scenic vistas will be ruined, and turbines will slice and dice migratory birds, raptors and bats by the tens of thousands every year. Those that aren’t yet threatened or endangered soon will be.

The wind industry and many regulators and environmentalists consider those death tolls “incidental takings,” “acceptable” losses of “expendable” wildlife, essential for achieving the “climate-protecting” elimination of fossil fuels. The deaths are certainly not deliberate – so the December 2018 Interior Department decision to end the possibility of criminal prosecutions for them, under the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act, makes sense.

However, when regulators allow industrial wind facilities in and near migratory routes, nesting areas and other places – where large numbers of eagles, hawks, falcons, migratory birds and bats congregate – the number of deaths soars beyond “incidental” or “acceptable.” And as the number of US onshore wind turbines climbs from 40,000 a few years ago, to 52,000 today, to potentially millions under “keep oil, gas and coal in the ground” demands, the threat of decimation or extinction across wide areas skyrockets.

Some say we should install future turbines offshore, in our coastal areas. Truly monstrous 3.5-megawatt turbines would certainly reduce the total number needed to replace substantial quantities of fossil fuel electricity. However, they would destroy scenic ocean vistas, decimate sea and shore bird populations (with carcasses conveniently sinking from sight), impair porpoise and whale sonar, interfere with radar and air traffic control, and create significant hazards for submarines and surface ships.

Even worse, as wildlife biologist Jim Wiegand and other experts have noted, the wind industry has gone to great lengths to hide the actual death tolls. For example, they look only right under towers and blades (when carcasses and maimed birds can be catapulted hundreds of yards by blades that move at nearly 200 mph at their tips), canvass areas only once every few weeks (ensuring that scavengers eat the evidence), and make wind farms off limits to independent investigators.

The bird and bat killings may not be criminal, but the fraud and cover-ups certainly are.

The attitudes, regulations and penalties associated with wind turbines also stand in stark contrast to the inflexible, heavy-handed approach that environmentalists, regulators and courts typically apply to permit applications for drilling, pipelines, grazing and other activities where sage grouse and lesser prairie chickens are involved – or requests to cut trees until May 15, to finish a Virginia pipeline.

The Fish & Wildlife Service, Center for Biological Diversity and Audubon Society go apoplectic in those circumstances. (Audubon was outraged that Interior decriminalized accidental deaths of birds in oilfield waste pits.) But their silence over the growing bird and bat slaughter by wind turbines has been deafening.

These attitudes and policies scream “double standards!” Indeed, consistent bird and bat protection policies would fairly and logically mean banning turbines in and near habitats, refuges and flyways – or shutting them down during mating, nesting and migratory seasons.

It’s time to rethink all these policies. Abundant, reliable, affordable energy makes our jobs, health, living standards and civilization possible. The way we’re going, environmentalists, regulators and judges will block oil, gas and coal today … nuclear and hydroelectric tomorrow … and wind and solar facilities the following week – sending us backward a century or more. It’s time to say, Enough!

Via email

Arctic Freezamageddon…Sea Ice Volume Surges 3 TRILLION Cubic Meters Since Early March!

Using a comparison, Japanese skeptic blogger Kirye at KiryeNet drives home how “the real Arctic sea ice volume is much higher than in 2008.”

Source of images: DMI:

Using images and data from the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI), Kirye put together and posted a comparator showing the immense early April volume increase the Arctic has seen since 2008.

It totally defies the panicky claims of a “melting” Arctic, she tweeted.

You can see the animation comparator Kirye put together in action here on Twitter.

Arctic sea ice volume surges a whopping 3000 cubic kilometers since March 1st. Chart: DMI.

Kirye comments that although we have not once seen alarmists’ climate predictions come true, they continue to threaten us with sea ice doom.

Amid rapidly growing Arctic sea ice volume, they continue to cling to the claim it’s melting. That’s irrational.

Media hyperbole

Yesterday Anthony Watts posted here on the Arctic, remarking that the media claims of earlier this year of an unprecedented Arctic warmth had much more to do with hyperbole than with reality.

Lately, the Arctic has been a generous source of fake news from the global mainstream media giants, all claiming something that is not real or making something that’s happened many times before look “unprecedented”.

Warm 12°C temperature spikes more than 70 times!

Back in January 2016, I wrote here how “the Washington Post screamed bloody murder that the North Pole was in meltdown as temperatures at that singular location rose some “50 degrees above normal,” making it sound like this event had been an unprecedented phenomenon.

For that post, I had gone back and examined DMI data Arctic temperatures above 80°N latitude going back some 58 years. Here’s what I found: "And examining all the years since 1958 we see that a temperature spike of some 12°K or more in a matter of a few days (during the November to March deep winter period) occurred more than 70 times! And over 100 times for spikes of 10°K and more.”


Scott Pruitt, Warrior for Science

Democrats and liberal journalists attack the EPA head for insisting on transparency, shared research, and rigorous peer review

John Tierney

Imagine if the head of a federal agency announced a new policy for its scientific research: from now on, the agency would no longer allow its studies to be reviewed and challenged by independent scientists, and its researchers would not share the data on which their conclusions were based. The response from scientists and journalists would be outrage. By refusing peer review from outsiders, the agency would be rejecting a fundamental scientific tradition. By not sharing data with other researchers, it would be violating a standard transparency requirement at leading scientific journals. If a Republican official did such a thing, you’d expect to hear denunciations of this latest offensive in the “Republican war on science.”

That’s the accusation being hurled at Scott Pruitt, the Republican who heads the Environmental Protection Agency. But Pruitt hasn’t done anything to discourage peer review. In fact, he’s done the opposite: he has called for the use of more independent experts to review the EPA’s research and has just announced that the agency would rely only on studies for which data are available to be shared. Yet Democratic officials and liberal journalists have denounced these moves as an “attack on science,” and Democrats have cited them (along with accusations of ethical violations) in their campaign to force Pruitt out of his job.

How could “the party of science,” as Democrats like to call themselves, be opposed to transparency and peer review? Because better scientific oversight would make it tougher for the EPA to justify its costly regulations. To environmentalists, rigorous scientific protocols are fine in theory, but not in practice if they interfere with the green political agenda. As usual, the real war on science is the one waged from the left.

The EPA has been plagued by politicized science since its inception in 1970. One of its first tasks was to evaluate the claim, popularized in Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, that the use of DDT pesticide was causing an epidemic of cancer. The agency held extensive hearings that led to the conclusion that DDT was not a carcinogen, a finding that subsequent research would confirm. Yet the EPA administrator, William Ruckelshaus, reportedly never even bothered to read the scientific testimony. Ignoring the thousands of pages of evidence, he declared DDT a potential carcinogen and banned most uses of it.

Since then, the agency has repeatedly been criticized for relying on weak or cherry-picked evidence to promote needless alarms justifying the expansion of its authority (and budget). Its warnings about BPA, a chemical used in plastics, were called unscientific by leading researchers in the field. Its conclusion that secondhand smoke was killing thousands of people annually was ruled by a judge to be in violation of “scientific procedure and norms”—and was firmly debunked by later research.

To justify the costs of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan restricting coal-burning power plants, the EPA relied on a controversial claim that a particular form of air pollution (from small particulates) was responsible for large numbers of premature deaths. To reach that conclusion, the agency ignored contradictory evidence and chose to rely on 1990s research whose methodology and conclusions were open to question. The EPA’s advisory committee on air pollution, a group of outside scientists, was sufficiently concerned at the time to ask to see the supporting data. But the researchers and the EPA refused to share the data, citing the confidentiality of the medical records involved, and they have continued refusing demands from Congress and other researchers to share it, as Steve Milloy recounts in his book, Scare Pollution: Why and How to Fix the EPA.

Pruitt’s new policy will force the EPA to rely on studies for which data is available to other researchers, ensuring the transparency that enables findings to be tested and confirmed. So why is he being attacked? His critics argue that some worthwhile research will be ignored because it is based on confidential records that are impractical to share. They say that it would cost the EPA several hundred million dollars to redact personal medical information in the air-pollution studies used to justify the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan. But even if that estimate is correct—it seems awfully high—it’s a pittance compared with the costs of the EPA’s regulations. The Obama EPA estimated the annual cost of its Clean Power Plan at $8 billion; others estimated it at more than $30 billion. Before saddling utility customers with those higher bills year after year, the EPA could at least pay for reliable research.

Pruitt’s critics have also excoriated him for insisting that the EPA’s advisory boards consist of independent scientists, ending the practice of including researchers who receive grants from the agency—exactly the sort of conflict of interest that progressives object to when researchers receive money from private industry. He has also proposed an analysis of climate change using a “red-team/blue-team” exercise, an innovative technique that has been used to draw up plans at the Defense Department and the CIA and by private industry for industrial operations and projects such as designing spacecraft. A group of outside experts, the red team, is brought in to critique the work of the in-house blue team, which then responds, and the teams keep going back and forth, under the supervision of a moderator. It’s an enhanced form of peer review, forcing researchers and bureaucrats to defend or reconsider their ideas, and ideally leading to sounder conclusions and better plans. A version of this exercise has already been used to bolster the case for man-made global warming, as noted by Joseph Majkut of the Niskanen Institute.

Given the high stakes and the many uncertainties related to climate change—the dozens of computer climate models, the widely varying estimates of costs and benefits of mitigation strategies—who could object to studying the problem carefully? Yet Pruitt’s proposal has been denounced by Democrats as well as liberal Republicans like Christine Whitman, the former New Jersey governor, who argued that the facts are so well-established that further examination is unnecessary. As a former head of the EPA, Whitman no doubt appreciates how much easier it is to make regulations without the nuisance of debate. But what’s good for bureaucrats is not good for science.


FINALLY! Pruitt’s EPA Kills Obama’s CAFE Standards And Resurrects Consumer Freedom

In early April, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt announced the agency will roll back the previous administration’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, which would have peaked at 54.5 miles per gallon in 2025. Part of the explanation Pruitt gave for why EPA is pulling back from the Obama-era determination is that it “made assumptions about the standard that didn’t comport with reality.”

Reality would have included a serious price increase for pickups and SUVs, about $3,000 for the price of a new vehicle, according to the National Auto Dealers Association. To the many coastal, urban, and suburban liberals who populated the previous administration, that would have been fine. The whole purpose of regulations like CAFE is to increase the price of goods they think are undesirable, like gas-guzzling pickups and SUVs, and to nudge consumers into purchasing the products and services they think are desirable, such as hybrid or electric sedans with great gas mileage. But fantastic gas mileage isn’t the end-all, be-all of utility in an automobile.

One of the problems with the progressive worldview is its insularity. If a liberal can’t see why a tool isn’t useful for him, he at the same time can’t understand how that tool could be useful to anybody else. “If there is no utility in this for me, then there is no utility in this.” Too many of these urban, coastal liberals see pickups, as Kevin D. Williamson cheekily put it, as nothing more than “pollution-belching penis-supplements for toothless red-state Bubbas.” As such, they feel these purposeless vehicles should be nudged out of existence.

Certainly, owning a pickup or an SUV is not conducive to the urban lifestyle these liberals lead. Not too many people living in Park Slope or Russian Hill or Georgetown or Wicker Park will ever find the need for one. Whenever they do, for moving furniture or something of that nature, they can simply contract out for one. But the unfortunate problem for these liberals is not everyone lives their lifestyle, nor lives in neighborhoods like theirs.

I live in South Florida, where pickups are everywhere, mostly because of their utilitarian value to their owners. Lots of people fish here (I live off the coast of the “Sailfish Capital of the World”  for God’s sake), and to do any serious fishing you need to own a boat. But if you don’t have the necessary scratch to rent or buy a slip, then you’re going to have to tow your boat back and forth to a ramp, and you aren’t going to be able to do that with a Nissan Leaf.

Cattle ranching, a billion-dollar industry in the Sunshine State, has been taking place in Florida since those heretical Brownist Puritans who landed at Plymouth Rock were still in their short pants. Nearly half the agricultural land here is used for ranching. You go 20 miles inland—anywhere in the state, from the northern tip of the Everglades to the Georgia border—and you’re bound to run into one of the 18,000 ranches in operation here. A rural, labor-intensive industry where you’re going to be off-road a good chunk of the time (and when you are on-road, that road is probably going to be a dirt one), it isn’t ideally suited for a Toyota Prius.

Friends of mine with necks of a more crimson hue like to hunt feral hogs, which are something of a pestilence down here. Some hunt boar using a pack of hunting dogs to track and bay up the animal. These dogs are transported in separate cages, which you can’t fit in the trunk or backseat of your Tesla Model S. Neither can the hog, for that matter.

Lots of Floridians and millions of people around the country, too, find these vehicles useful. It is no secret that the top three selling automobiles in the United States—the Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado, and Dodge Ram—are all pickups. That should be instructive.

I won’t get into the other economic and environmental problems with CAFE standards (Mario Lewis of the Competitive Enterprise Institute and my Heartland colleague Arianna Wilkerson have done a fine job of that on their own), but the main one is they intentionally raise the price on vehicles some people find undesirable.

If someone wants to buy a small, “eco-friendly” sedan, then good for them. If someone else wants to buy a big, “gas-guzzling” truck, then good for them. To each his own. Bureaucrats in Washington, DC have no business nudging people toward one or against the other. That is what CAFE standards do, and that is why they need to go.




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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