Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Australia's Barrier Reef extinct in 20 years: Stupid Greenie claim

Odd that coral reefs have survived all the past warming episodes in Earth's history! Odd that coral thrives most in the WARMER waters of Northern Australia! The reef is thousands of kilometres long and stretches from barely warm waters in the South to very warm waters in the North. So it clearly can handle large temperature variations. Coral is mainly tropical. It LIKES warmth! What barefaced lies Greenies tell!

The Great Barrier Reef will become functionally extinct in less than 20 years if global warming continues at its current pace, a draft international report warns. A confidential draft of the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), obtained by Melbourne's The Age newspaper, says that global warming will cause billions of dollars of damage to coastal areas, key ecosystems and the farming sector without massive greenhouse gas emission cuts.

In a chapter on Australia, the draft IPCC climate impacts report warns that coral bleaching in the Barrier Reef is likely to occur annually by 2030 because of warmer, more acidic seas. The reef is one of several iconic areas of Australia identified in the report as key hot spots for climate vulnerability. Others include the Kakadu National Park's wetlands, the Murray-Darling Basin and alpine zones in southern Australia.

Australian Conservation Foundation executive director Don Henry said the report was a big wake-up call. "They are saying our beloved Barrier Reef is at grave risk," Mr Henry told Sky News. "We've got a major economic and environmental problem unless we heed the call of these scientists. "I think the science is getting clearer about how just how serious and urgent it is."



The German car industry has warned that there will be massive job cuts if Brussels sets binding targets on greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, the German EU presidency is strongly divided over the issue itself. In a letter quoted by Germany's Bild am Sonntag newspaper over the weekend, the chiefs of BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Ford, Opel and Volkswagen have strongly urged the commission to withdraw plans to make manufacturers reduce the CO2 emissions of new cars sold in the EU to an average of 120 grammes per km in 2012.

The commission plans originate from Greek environment commissioner Stavros Dimas but are opposed by Germany's industry commissioner Guenther Verheugen, with the commission last week deciding to delay a decision on the issue due to a lack of consensus between commissioners.

In a bid to influence Brussels' final position over the issue - expected to emerge in the coming weeks - German car producers have now sketched a grim scenario which would see a huge loss of manufacturing jobs from Europe to elsewhere in the world. According to their letter, Mr Dimas' scheme would mean "a massive industry-political intervention at the expense of the car industry in Europe as a whole, but particularly in Germany."

Mr Dimas believes binding legislation is necessary since car makers failed to meet their voluntary commitments, made in 2004, to reduce emissions to an industry average of 140 g per km by 2008. The issue has meanwhile exposed a deep political rift also within the German government which currently chairs the EU. Economy minister Michael Glos - a conservative - is backing the car industry and Mr Verhuegen, while environment minister Sigmar Gabriel - a social democrat - is supporting the Dimas camp. Mr Glos over the weekend publicly fell out with Mr Gabriel, telling Bild am Sonntag "The plans, conducted by Greek EU commissioner Dimas and environment minister Sigmar Gabriel against the German car industry, have to be urgently stopped."

Mr Gabriel told Brussels journalists last week that binding legislation against CO2 emissions is necessary, with Die Welt quoting his spokesman as saying Mr Glos should have a look at the 2005 German coalition agreement which apparently backs up the environment minister's position. It is not the first time that the two ministers clash over EU measures against climate change, with Mr Gabriel last week also rejecting a suggestion by Mr Glos that Germany should take the commission to court over emission quotas for German industry under the EU's Emission Trading Scheme (ETS).

Brussels in November last year decided to slash Berlin's allowances to emit greenhouse gasses under the scheme, prompting Mr Glos to look at the possibilities of suing Brussels at the European Court of Justice. Mr Gabriel said however last week that Mr Glos' suggestion would undermine the German EU presidency's goal of fighting climate change.



Europeans have set themselves up for a head-on collision between ecological purity and economic reality. With Congress poised to enact heavy-handed climate legislation, the U.S. may be doing likewise. Europe is finally realizing it cannot meet even current Kyoto Protocol commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions 5 percent below 1990 levels, by 2012. Economic ministers are worried Kyoto will impact living standards, and send facilities and jobs to China and India, which aren't required to cut emissions.

Spain is some 20 percent above its target, Italy 15 percent -- Austria 25 percent. Germany is "just" 7 percent above its target but faces a future with no nuclear power (by law it must shut down all reactors by 2020), no coal-fired generators (greenhouse gases), little hydroelectric (4 percent of its total electricity), unreliable natural gas (Russia controls the spigots), and forests of gigantic, undependable wind turbines.

But the European Commission wants still more draconian reductions by 2020, since even perfect compliance with Kyoto would keep global temperatures from rising only 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit by 2050. That's why alarmists now say we must slash total global emissions by 60 percent to 80 percent by 2050, to keep CO2 at a "safe" level and "stabilize" a climate that has never been stable.

If poor developing nations remain exempt (as they should), developed countries will have to go virtually carbon-free to reach this goal. How will Americans slash their energy use and emissions 40, 60 or 95 percent? Such policies would change life as we know it. They would give alarmist politicians, bureaucrats and activists a leading role in every housing, heating, cooling, transportation, manufacturing, agricultural, business and consumer decision. They would terminate millions of jobs, cost hundreds of billions of dollars, and send living standards tumbling, while giving every U.S. citizen a "carbon allowance" akin to what other parts of the world now "enjoy" (2.3 tons of CO2 per year in Cuba or 1.2 in India, versus our current 19.8 or Canada's 17.9). The elderly and minority workers and families would be especially hard-hit. Deaths from winter cold and summer heat waves would soar, as energy prices rise and heating and air-conditioning become luxury items.

Other than fossil fuels, no technologies exist to provide the 100,000 megawatts of new electricity the U.S. will need during the next decade. Nuclear plants can't come online that quickly, and even the best wind turbines would require some 2 million acres (Delaware plus Rhode Island) to provide 100,000 megawatts of intermittent electricity that requires gas-powered generators (and drilling off our coasts) as backup.

Europe already has green taxes on air travel, a $50-a-day climate charge on big cars in London -- and a proposed "food miles" tax on the distance produce is shipped. Rainforest Action and CERES already pressure U.S. banks not to finance coal generators, dams and fossil fuel projects in the U.S. or Africa. Calling it "socially responsible," compliant banks cave in.

Efforts to restrict energy and economic development in Africa are "literally a life-and-death matter" for tens of millions, says University of Pretoria Emeritus Professor W.J.R. Alexander. "We can do without this resurgence of European colonialism and paternalism."

Yes, there is consensus that Earth's temperatures have risen slightly, and humans played a role. There is no consensus that climate change will be catastrophic, human CO2 emissions are the primary cause, or slashing emissions will prevent the supposed cataclysm.

It's a classic bait-and-switch tactic, repeated endlessly by activists, scientists, journalists, bureaucrats, celebrities and politicians. They used similar tactics 35 years ago to excise DDT and other insecticides from disease control programs. Tens of millions died from malaria -- and none of the perpetrators have ever apologized, admitted error or been held accountable for the unconscionable disease, brain damage and death they perpetuated. Now they say we should trust them on climate change.

More here


With debate building about nuclear energy as an alternative, greenhouse-friendly power source, Australia has a new nuclear reactor - and it's already up and running. The new OPAL reactor replaces the old HIFAR facility at Lucas Heights, south of Sydney, which will be officially decommissioned today. OPAL is loaded with uranium and will produce 20 megawatts of power - enough for a small town - when it's fully operational.

But it's not the power plant Prime Minister John Howard said he'd be happy to have in his backyard while recently arguing the merits of nuclear energy. The OPAL reactor will be used for medical, industrial and research purposes, rather than cooking your dinner or running your air-conditioner. Its cooling water just isn't hot enough to drive a steam turbine and generate electricity. "I suppose you could have a shower with it but that's about all," said Ron Cameron, director of operations at the Lucas Heights research station run by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO).

So if it isn't powering our cities, what's Australia getting from this $350 million reactor? Neutrons, according to ANSTO. Neutrons are the key to nuclear fission - when a uranium atom splits in two, it releases a load of energy and it also releases two neutrons. If these neutrons collide with another uranium atom, that atom splits as well, releasing another two neutrons, and so on, producing a chain reaction. In a nuclear power station, it's the energy that's harvested. But in a research reactor such as OPAL, it's the neutrons. "We have one of the most consistent neutron fluxes in the world. We have a very high reliability," Dr Cameron said. That reliability has given ANSTO about 15 per cent of the world market for processing the silicon chips that go inside electronic items from mobile phones to supercomputers.

But whether it's for research or power, critics question the risks of running a nuclear reactor in Sydney's backyard - such as a meltdown which potentially releases radioactive contamination into the environment. Dr Cameron said there was very little risk of that happening with OPAL because it operates at a low temperature, as opposed to power-producing reactors which run at higher temperatures, with a minimum of three people monitoring it at all times.

ANSTO is somewhat less keen to talk about the disadvantages of a nuclear reactor, but Dr Cameron admitted that over its 40-year life, OPAL will generate several cubic metres of high-level waste, which it intends to store in a remote location in the Northern Territory. Intermediate-level waste, produced in the manufacture and handling of radioisotopes, will be stored in a building the size of a small house. For many, the question remains whether that's an acceptable price to pay for the claimed medical, scientific and industrial benefits of a research reactor. A nuclear power station will produce hundreds of tonnes of waste.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Tuesday, January 30, 2007


The perfectly obvious statement that freaks them: "the Antarctic ice sheet will remain too cold for widespread surface melting and is expected to gain in mass due to increased snowfall". Apparently they don't know that the antarctic temperature is WAY below zero so even BIG global warming would not bring it up to melting point

Serious disagreement has broken out among scientists over a United Nations climate report's contention that the world's greatest wilderness - Antarctica - will be largely unaffected by rising world temperatures.

The report, to be published on Friday, will be one of the most comprehensive on climate change to date, and will paint a grim picture of future changes to the planet's weather patterns. Details of the report were first revealed by The Observer last weekend. However, many researchers believe it does not go far enough. In particular, they say it fails to stress that climate change is already having a severe impact on the continent and will continue to do so for the rest of century. At least a quarter of the sea ice around Antarctica will disappear in that time, say the critics, though this forecast is not mentioned in the study.

One expert denounced the report - by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC - as 'misleading'. Another accused the panel of 'failing to give the right impression' about the impact that rising levels of carbon dioxide will have on Antarctica.

Antarctica possesses the Earth's greatest mass of ice and acts as an engine that drives the globe's weather systems. Disturbances to Antarctica could have wide repercussions. If all its ice were to melt, sea levels round the world would rise by 70 metres. The fate of that continent crucially affects the fate of the planet, and according to scientists at the British Antarctic Survey it is already being affected by global warming. 'The greatest temperature rise on Earth over the past five decades has been found on the Antarctic peninsula, which stretches north from the continent towards South America,' said Dr John Turner. 'Temperatures have risen 5C on the peninsula.' That figure is 10 times the average global temperature rise for the same period. [So it's not a global phenomenon after all??]

In addition, researchers reported last October that in just over a month, an entire Antarctic ice shelf, bigger than Gloucestershire, had disintegrated and disappeared, with its loss directly linked to man-made global warming. [While central antarctica GAINED mass]. Yet there is no mention of these events in the draft version of the panel's report obtained by this newspaper. It paints a broad picture of how carbon emissions will alter global temperatures, which will rise by between 3C to 5C by the end of the century, triggering storms of increasing severity, the acidification of seas and the spreading of deserts.

But when it comes to certain types of climate change, especially those concerned with Antarctica, the report is fairly coy. 'Current global studies project the Antarctic ice sheet will remain too cold for widespread surface melting and is expected to gain in mass due to increased snowfall,' states the draft version of the report.

But this vision is disputed. Last year, Dr Turner and colleagues, using records returned by Russian research balloons that were flown over the whole of Antarctica between 1971 and 2003, discovered that temperatures in the lowest level of the atmosphere over the continent have already risen by about 0.7C. Their paper, in Science, was published in March, too late for inclusion in the IPCC's deliberation. Other factors - including the expected disappearance of the Antarctic ozone hole, which has had a cooling effect on the continent - will lead to a further rise of 5C-6C over parts of the continent over the rest of the century.

Critics point out that the IPCC is a conservative body whose documents are a co-operative effort, with contributions from hundreds of scientists. Only points that are considered indisputable by all of them are included. This consensus deflects potential accusations that the body might be exaggerating the threat to the planet. But the critics say it also means its documents tend to err too much on the side of caution. 'From what I hear of the report, it seems misleading to suggest nothing much is going to happen to the Antarctic over the coming decades,' said Dr Chris Rapley, director of the British Antarctic Survey. 'Some parts of the continents are already losing substantial amounts of ice and others will in future - and that will have direct consequences for the rest of the planet.'



An Inconvenient Truth, the hugely influential documentary starring Al Gore, is a shoo-in for an Oscar. Its riveting depictions of violent storms, collapsing ice mountains and parched deserts have scared millions of people into believing that the world faces a catastrophic fate unless we make dramatic changes to our way of life, starting now. Climate change has made its way onto the agenda of every developed nation, even the United States, where some of the nation's biggest businesses, including energy companies, are pressing the government to take action. It even figured in George W. Bush's State of the Union speech this week. And next week the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will unleash another storm of headlines when it releases its latest consensus of scientific findings, stressing even more emphatically that human activity is causing global temperatures to rise.

Is the sky really falling? How fast and how hard? And if the vast majority of scientists agree, then why don't governments act? After all, nobody wants the world to melt. If you're an average, concerned citizen, no one will blame you for being confused or angry. The global-warming debate has become so shrill, so political and so polarized that it's impossible for even a reasonably well-informed person to figure out who or what to believe. Only one thing is for sure: Science isn't all that is driving this debate. Politics, ideology and scaremongering are too.

Because I'm skeptical by nature, I've always discounted the environmental catastrophists. Their message is religious, not rational. But I've also spoken to enough brainy scientists to conclude that human activity is affecting the climate and that global warming is for real. That's the famous consensus you keep hearing about. But that's where the consensus ends. Beyond that, the science is very far from settled.

Scientists themselves are deeply split about how alarmed we should be, the nature of the threats we face, how imminent those threats are and what to do about them. For apocalyptic predictions, you need only look to the bestseller list. Tim Flannery ( The Weather Makers) and George Monbiot ( Heat) both warn that civilization will collapse if we do nothing. So does Canada's David Suzuki. In Britain, James Lovelock argues that the Earth has already caught a "morbid fever," and that "we are in a fool's climate and before this century is over billions of us will die."

But many scientists are alarmed at the alarmism, and warn that catastrophic scenarios like the ones in Al Gore's film have pushed the science way too far. Kevin Vranes, a climate scientist who specializes in ocean/climate physics and water-resources management, has said, "Some of us are wondering if we have created a monster." Last fall, Professor Mike Hulme, the founding director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research in Britain, wrote a damning condemnation of climate alarmism: "Over the past few years, a new environmental phenomenon has been constructed in this country - the phenomenon of 'catastrophic' climate change," he wrote. "The increasing use of this term and its bedfellow qualifiers 'chaotic,' 'irreversible' and 'rapid' has altered the public discourse, [which] is now characterized by phrases such as 'irreversible tipping in the Earth's climate' and 'we are at the point of no return.' "

Prof. Hulme is no climate skeptic. He was the co-ordinating lead author of the chapter on "climate-change scenarios" for the last IPCC report in 2001. To try to get a grip, I checked in with eight leading climate scientists, climate economists and climate-policy analysts. All believe that man-made climate change is a serious issue that demands action. And all reject the extremists at both ends. They represent the broad middle ground - the people whose voices have been all but drowned out by the shouting. The first thing they stress is that while climate change is certain, what will actually happen is not. For example, scientists are pretty sure that sea levels will rise, and rising seas will pose a threat to coastal areas. But how much will they rise, and how fast, and where will they rise most? Sorry. Science can't tell you that.

More here


If you've been lifting intellectual weights and taking extra runs around the science track to build mental stamina for next Friday's release of the much-hyped 1,600-page science report on climate change, you can now take it easy. There will be no report. You will not need to know about or read any science, because there will be no science. Instead, we are going to get a few ginned-up pages of generalized political scaremongering.

The advance billing for the report has been immense and spectacular. It's the Fourth Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, five years in the making and jam-packed with scientific, technical, social and economic research into climate change. According to the usual sources, this latest official United Nations' science project, billions of dollars in the making, is the "smoking gun" that leaves no doubt that humans are the cause of a major wave of climate warming that is set to engulf the world over the next 100 years. "The smoking gun is definitely lying on the table as we speak," said Jerry Mahlman, a U.S. government scientist and long-time proponent of climate change theory. "The evidence ... is compelling." The University of Victoria's Andrew Weaver, official Canadian government climate modeller --and the CBC's go-to scientist for suggestive but unproven links between bad weather and climate change --blew himself right out the galaxy over the Fourth Assessment Report. "This isn't a smoking gun; climate is a battalion of intergalactic smoking missiles." Somebody else said the report to be released in Paris on Friday contained an "explosion of new data."

All of this, however, is just the usual stage-managed showmanship that surrounds all climate science. First of all, what we are going to get on Friday is not the smoking gun, but the smoke without the gun, an explosion of data without the data, an intergalactic blast that never gets off the ground, the proof without the evidence. Despite all the advance promotion, the full 1,600-page report will remain in quarantine, embargoed and locked up in secrecy for another two months. While the science remains shrouded in secrecy and subject to leaks and speculation, the IPCC will stage a major event, webcast to a world that's been whipped into a frenzy of anticipation. Live on the Web, officials will produce a brief 12-page document called the "Summary for Policymakers." Everything else, including the official summary of the science in the assessment report, will be kept under wraps.

Here's the official IPCC release plan: Next week in Paris, behind closed doors, the IPCC will give final approval to the 1,600-page report. At the end of the sessions on Friday, the panel will release the brief "Summary for Policymakers." Then, for the next two months, the IPCC will subject the 1,600 pages of heavy science to "the final stages of review and revision to be carried out in a balanced way." This will take two months, with the final report to be released in May. What do they review and balance? The words in the IPCC process document are not encouraging. "Changes ... made after acceptance by the working group or the panel shall be those necessary to ensure consistency with the 'Summary for Policymakers' or the overview chapter."

Steve McIntyre, the Canadian statistics expert who blew the whistle on the IPCC's junk-science creation -- the 1,000-year-old climate record, the infamous hockey stick -- reads those words to mean the IPCC will go through the science to get the science to back up the summary. "IPCC insiders should not be allowed to change a comma of the [final] report after Feb. 2," he says. We have, therefore, an extraordinary operating scheme in which brief sensational summary statements are produced, while the basis for the summary is kept confidential so they can get the science to correspond to the summary.

More here

Why America's big businesses are warming to Kyoto

Washington this week officially welcomed the newest industry on the hunt for financial and regulatory favors. Big CarbonCap may have the same dollar-sign agenda as Big Oil or Big Pharma, but don't expect Nancy Pelosi to admit to it. Democrats want to flog the global warming theme through 2008 and they'll take what help they can get, even if it means cozying up to executives whose goal is to enrich their firms. Right now, the corporate giants calling for a mandatory carbon cap serve too useful a political purpose for anyone to delve into their baser motives.

The Climate Action Partnership, a group of 10 major companies that made headlines this week with its call for a national limit on carbon dioxide emissions, would surely feign shock at such an accusation. After all, their plea was carefully timed to coincide with President Bush's State of the Union capitulation on global warming, and it had the desired PR effect. The media dutifully declared that "even" business now recognized the climate threat. Sen. Barbara Boxer, who begins marathon hearings on warming next week, lauded the corporate angels for thinking of the "common good."

There was a time when the financial press understood that companies exist to make money. And it happens that the cap-and-trade climate program these 10 jolly green giants are now calling for is a regulatory device designed to financially reward companies that reduce CO2 emissions, and punish those that don't. Four of the affiliates--Duke, PG&E, FPL and PNM Resources--are utilities that have made big bets on wind, hydroelectric and nuclear power. So a Kyoto program would reward them for simply enacting their business plan, and simultaneously sock it to their competitors. Duke also owns Cinergy, which relies heavily on dirty, CO2-emitting coal plants. But Cinergy will soon have to replace those plants with cleaner equipment. Under a Kyoto, it'll get paid for its trouble.

DuPont has been plunging into biofuels, the use of which would soar under a cap. Somebody has to cobble together all these complex trading deals, so say hello to Lehman Brothers. Caterpillar has invested heavily in new engines that generate "clean energy." British Petroleum is mostly doing public penance for its dirty oil habit, but also gets a plug for its own biofuels venture.

Finally, there's General Electric, whose CEO Jeffrey Immelt these days spends as much time in Washington as Connecticut. GE makes all the solar equipment and wind turbines (at $2 million a pop) that utilities would have to buy under a climate regime. GE's revenue from environmental products long ago passed the $10 billion mark, and it doesn't take much "ecomagination" to see why Mr. Immelt is leading the pack of climate profiteers.

CEOs are quick learners, and even those who would get smacked by a carbon cap are now devising ways to make warming work to their political advantage. The "most creative" prize goes to steel giant Nucor. Steven Rowlan, the company's environmental director, doesn't want carbon caps in the U.S.--oh, no. The smarter answer, he explains, would be for the U.S. to impose trade restrictions on foreign firms that aren't environmentally clean. Global warming as foil for trade protectionism: Chuck Schumer's dream.

What makes this lobby worse than the usual K-Street crowd is that it offers no upside. At least when Big Pharma self-interestedly asks for fewer regulations, the economy benefits. There's nothing capitalist about lobbying for a program that foists its debilitating costs on taxpayers and consumers while redistributing the wealth to a few corporate players.

This is what comes from Washington steadily backstepping energy policy into the interventionist 1970s, picking winners and losers. In ethanol, in biodiesel, in wind farms, success isn't a function of supply or demand. The champs are the ones that coax out of Washington the best subsidies and regulations. Global warming is simply the biggest trough yet.

Both Republicans and Democrats understand this debate is increasingly about home-state economics, even as they publicly joust about environmental rights or wrongs. The softening Republican stance on a mandatory program is one result. New Mexico's Pete Domenici appeared to undergo an epiphany about global warming in 2005, voting for a Senate resolution supporting caps. The switch might have more to do with remembering that his state is nuclear-power central, and will win big under a new program. Just ask his fellow New Mexican, Jeff Bingaman, who introduced the resolution.

Economic interests also motivate those Democrats who won't play nice. The senators who have voted against previous bills represent those industries that will suffer most under Mr. Immelt's agenda. Louisiana's Mary Landrieu (oil); Montana's Max Baucus (coal); West Virginia's Robert Byrd (ditto). House Energy & Commerce Chair John Dingell remains a skeptic, since the last thing his Michigan auto makers need is yet another reason for people to not buy their cars. Which is fine with Ms. Pelosi. The Democratic leadership ran out of the winner's circle last November promising to tackle climate. And much was made this week of Madam Speaker's decision to wrest control of the debate away from Mr. Dingell's purview, handing it instead to a new "select" committee on climate change.

But read the fine print. The new vaunted committee will have no legislative authority, but exists solely to hold hearings and to "communicate with the American people." Ms. Pelosi and Harry Reid want to talk about this issue . . . and talk, and talk and talk. But not necessarily anything more. That's because Democrats want global warming as an issue through 2008. With Al Gore getting his Oscar nod, they've got a "problem" that captures the public imagination, as well as an endless supply of cash from thrilled environmental groups. No need to spoil it with a solution. And a Democratic president in 2009 would be more open to any ultimate legislation. Best yet, they've got the "support" of the business community, or at least the savvier elements of it. Welcome, Big CarbonCap; we're likely to be hearing a lot from you.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Monday, January 29, 2007

Calif. Bans Toxic Dry-Cleaning Chemical

Don't you love that word "toxic" above? No mention that the stuff has NOT been shown to be harmful to humans, despite many attempts to do so. What DOES "toxic" mean in La la land? Apparently, all it means is "Greenies don't like it". I think there are better grounds for saying that the Greenies are toxic

By 2023, California will completely ban the most common chemical used by dry cleaners. Under the newly enacted ban, perchloroethylene is to be phased out starting next year. The state is still debating what the alternative will be. Dry cleaning businesses are upset.

The regulation by the California Air Resources Board begins to phase out the toxic chemical next year, banning dry cleaners from buying machines that rely on the solvent. State officials say the fluid causes a variety of cancers. The state's 3,400 dry cleaners who now use it must get rid of machines that are 15 years or older by July 2010. "That's the wave of the future -- nontoxic, non-smog forming," said Annette Kondo, spokeswoman for the Coalition for Clean Air, a California environmental group. "We think this is going to ripple down to other states across the country."

Environmental and health advocates embraced the new rule, though they had urged the air board to accelerate the ban because of the chemical's health effects as a potential carcinogen. The solvent has contaminated one in 10 wells in California. But cleaners say the ban threatens to drive some of them out of business because alternative methods are unproven and more costly. An estimated 70 percent of the state's dry cleaners use the solvent. "It could shut down some mom-and-pop operations _ the little guys that can't afford it," said Bob Blackburn, president of the California Cleaners Association.

The cost of converting could be significant for dry cleaners, 85 percent of which are small businesses with slim profit margins. Replacing a machine that uses perchloroethylene can cost between $41,500 and $175,000. The air board estimates that the additional expense of the new equipment will boost a customer's $15 bill between $1.20 to $1.60.

What alternative should be allowed in California is still under debate. Dry cleaners who switched to other systems sought to sway the board in favor of their preference. Although the air board did not endorse a substitute, the regulation would give cleaners a $10,000 incentive to buy a machine that uses a wet cleaning system, which use carbon dioxide. Environmentalists urged the board to ban the most common alternative, which uses hydrocarbons. Critics said it could lead to increased ozone pollution.

The board's vote follows similar action five years ago by the South Coast Air Quality Management District in Southern California. That agency became the first regulatory body in the country to ban perchloroethylene, forcing more than 2,000 dry cleaners to stop using the chemical by 2020. Last year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency banned the chemical for dry cleaners located in residential buildings nationwide by 2020. But those operations are a small fraction of the nation's cleaners, said Jon Meijer, vice president of the International Fabricare Institute, an industry association based in Maryland.

California declared perchloroethylene a toxic chemical in 1991. State health officials told the air board Thursday that it can cause esophageal cancer, lymphoma, cervical and bladder cancer. The solvent, which has a strong, sweet odor, also can affect the central nervous system. Some business owners disputed those claims.


Weather Channel TV hostess is totally political

Starring in Global Warming Film Accusing U.S. Government of `Criminal Neglect'

The Weather Channel's top climate expert -- already under fire for advocating the scientific decertification of global warming skeptics -- is one of the stars of a new politically charged global warming documentary that, according to the film's website, accuses the U.S. government of "criminal neglect" and blames "right-wing think tanks" for helping to "defeat climate-friendly legislation."

The supercharged political message in the new documentary "Everything's Cool," which prominently features the Weather Channel's climate expert Heidi Cullen, appears to conflict with the network and Cullen's recently stated goal of not taking "a political position on global warming." ( See Cullen's blog ) Cullen, who hosts the Weather Channel's weekly show "The Climate Code," made the remarks on January 18, following the controversy surrounding her proposal that the American Meteorological Society decertify broadcast meteorologists skeptical of manmade global warming predictions. (Click here to see Cullen's original remarks on the Weather Channel website calling on the AMS to decertify climate skeptics)

Cullen is featured in the new documentary as one of the "global warming messengers," along with many eco-activists and such Hollywood celebrities as Salma Hayek and Jake Gyllenhaal. The film premiered last week at Robert Redford's Sundance Film Festival in Utah which runs through January 28.

"Everything's Cool" severely challenges Cullen's promise to steer clear of politics. The documentary's promotional website states that the climate "crisis" is being met by the U.S. "government with apathy, denial, and perhaps, even criminal neglect." See:

An excerpt from the "About the Film" webpage of "Everything's Cool" reveals the political overtones of the film, noting that Cullen and the other "global warming messengers" are opposed by "recalcitrant politicians, the fossil-fuel corporations" and "right-wing think tanks that do their bidding, by working tirelessly to obscure the science and gum up the works of government to defeat climate-friendly legislation and promote the unrestrained use of fossil fuels." "Tell Congress to reject ExxonMobil's tactics to undermine science cast doubt on the facts about global warming," the documentary's website also implores.

The overtly political content of the film is at odds with the mission of The Weather Channel as stated by website executive editor Matthew de Ganon, who noted on January 19th that The Weather Channel's goal was "to present an open, balanced dialogue around the scientific facts concerning global climate change."

ABC-TV Birmingham meteorologist James Spann was quick to critique Cullen's participation in the new documentary. "She is trying to say [global warming] should not be a political issue and I totally agree with that, but boy this movie looks political," said Spann, an AMS certified meteorologist, on Monday after reviewing the "Everything's Cool" movie website. Spann made his comments during his weekly podcast "Weather Brains." "When you start talking about your government and `criminal neglect,' that to me is a big political movie," Spann said. Spann had previously denounced Cullen's call for the American Meteorological Society to decertify TV weathermen who express skepticism about manmade global warming.

The "Everythings Cool" website urges concerned citizens to "Take Action" by contacting a long list of politically charged environmental special-interest groups including: The National Resources Defense Council, The Union of Concerned Scientists, The Sierra Club, Greenpeace USA and Environmental Defense.

It appears from the promotional material available on the movies website, that "Everything's Cool" is set to make former Vice President Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" appear downright timid in its presentation of the fears of global warming. The website states: "If the U.S. as a nation and a government does not aggressively cut greenhouse gas emission in the next decade, the problem of climate change will eventually dwarf all other economic and social problems. Inaction by the U.S. places everyone else on the planet in jeopardy."

Actor/activist Redford reportedly made special arrangements for a special pre-screening of "Everything's Cool" for the Sundance Festival's key financial backers. The film, which is being billed as a "toxic comedy," was produced by Daniel B. Gold and Judith Helfand. (Note: The movie apparently also "premiered" at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival as well. See 2006 website listing of "Everything's Cool"

Hollywood celebrities Salma Hayek and Jake Gyllenhaal roles in the film have been ridiculed in at least one early review of the movie. The review noted that the scenes featuring the two celebrities at a "publicity appearance at an Arctic village comes off as silly." Also appearing with Cullen in the documentary is longtime global warming activist Ross Gelbspan. (Note: Gelbspan has made somewhat of a career out of the humorous allegation that all global warming skeptics are funded by industry while totally ignoring the overwhelming funding advantage that climate alarmists enjoy.

Cullen's appearance in "Everything's Cool" is not the first time she has flirted with political activism. On March 14, 2005, Cullen called for "simple measures" to limits C02 emissions while participating in a Capitol Hill press conference. "The UK has cut emissions by 15 percent and it hasn't hurt their economy," Cullen says. Cullen also featured a guest on the December 17, 2006 episode of The Weather Channel's "The Climate Code" TV show, who had once openly called for Nuremberg-style Trials for global warming skeptics.


PETA hypocrisy

All around this struggling farm town, chicken houses stand in the fields as a testament to the way many here earn their living -- raising, slaughtering and processing chickens. It is an unlikely locale for an unlikely criminal case. Today, two employees of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a radical animal-rights group that opposes meat-eating, are on trial for the strangest of charges: killing animals.

PETA is based in Norfolk, Va., but its work has international scope. The group, which raises more than $25 million a year from 1.6 million supporters, opposes any human use of animals, whether for food, fashion or research. In the more than two decades since its founding, it has become a major threat to medical researchers, meatpackers, fur sellers and others. Now, two of its employees stand accused of tossing garbage bags full of euthanized cats and dogs into a Dumpster behind a Piggly Wiggly in Hertford County, 130 miles northeast of Raleigh. Adria J. Hinkle and Andrew B. Cook, both of whom work in PETA's Norfolk office, are charged with 21 counts each of animal cruelty, a felony that can carry prison time, along with littering and obtaining property by false pretenses.

It is a strange turn of events for PETA. The group's supporters have often been prosecuted for their radical efforts to protect animals -- breaking into fashion shows to throw blood on fur-wearing models, liberating lab animals, showing gory videos outside the circus -- but PETA has never been accused of hurting animals.

Those who oppose PETA are seizing on the trial. The spectacle also has drawn a gaggle of lawyers, PETA staffers, reporters and curious onlookers to this rural county seat, where the small brick courthouse resembles an aging elementary school. They sat through two days of jury selection -- longer than for many murder trials -- during which lawyers struggled to find jurors who weren't close friends or business associates of any of the more than 60 witnesses. Several potential jurors were thrown out after saying they had read about the case, gossiped about it at work or formed strong opinions about PETA. Defense attorneys threw out a handful of farmers and avid hunters but left three people on the jury who work for a Perdue slaughterhouse a few miles from Winton.

Now, jurors will decide whether Hinkle and Cook were, as PETA argues, providing humane deaths to animals that would otherwise have been painfully killed in gas chambers -- or whether, as several local officials say, they were taking animals on the promise of finding them homes and secretly killing them. A PETA spokeswoman, Kathy Guillermo, said PETA never wanted to get into the business of euthanizing animals. But she said the group couldn't ignore the horrible conditions in animal shelters around Norfolk and in northeastern North Carolina. The group now euthanizes thousands of animals a year. "Euthanasia is a better alternative to sitting in a stinking pound," Guillermo said.

PETA opponents are drawing attention to this little-known facet of the group's work. On Monday morning, the Washington D.C.-based Center for Consumer Freedom, an anti-PETA group funded by restaurants and meat producers, drove a mobile billboard truck reading "PETA: As Warm and Cuddly as You Thought?" past the courthouse. David Martosko, research director for the group, described the case as a gift in his fight to discredit PETA. He plans to monitor the entire trial. "Most people would not believe, if you told them two years ago, that PETA kills animals. They'd say, 'What? They're the bunny huggers,' " Martosko said.

Martosko and Stephanie Maltz, a lawyer with the Foundation for Bio-Medical Research, a Washington, D.C., group that lobbies for animal testing, paid a visit Monday night to the trash bin where the animals were dumped. It was dark, and a man with a flashlight was rooting through the garbage, but Maltz was undeterred. She jumped out of the car and took a picture of the grime-stained container for her group's Web site.

Source. This blog is following the trial.

Where the Greenies are heading us

Today I present a straightforward solution to ending the water crisis. Starting immediately, we must ban beer and Coke and stop eating beef. The production of all three is sucking the world dry. And let's face it: we'd be healthier without them.

The evidence is compelling. Did you know it takes nearly four litres of water to make one litre of XXXX [beer]? And did you know it takes 55,000 litres of water to produce a kilogram of beef? That is more water than in my backyard pool for goodness sake.

"Yes, those numbers are valid," CSIRO water expert Wayne Meyer says. Professor Meyer says the amounts of water required to raise cattle could be as high as 100,000 litres in some places where evaporation is highest. The figure includes the amount of water required to grow fodder to feed the animals. Then there is the water the cattle drink and the vast quantities used in abattoirs to slaughter them. Brisbane's Cannon Hill abattoir, for instance, uses more than 580 million litres of water a year.

By now I know vegetarians will be cheering and cattlemen fuming under their Akubras. Drought and government neglect has created a water nightmare for business, especially for food producers. More than half of our top 20 commercial water users are in the food or beverage business. Professor Meyer says city folk have no idea of the volumes of water required to put food on the table. It takes 500 litres of water to produce a kilogram of spuds. It is thirsty work for a planet that will have to double the rate of food production by 2050 to meet soaring population growth, says Professor Meyer.


Global cooling in Australia?: "Summer rains and a cold snap had Victorians retrieving their winter woollies yesterday - the coldest January day in seven years. The city [Melbourne] reached a cool top of 18.9C as yesterday's welcome rain dumped an average of 7mm on the city. The state's lowest minimum on Friday night - zero degrees - was recorded at Mt Baw Baw. Mt Buller and Mt Hotham recorded maximums of 7C. But the Department of Sustainability and Environment said the light showers failed to help firefighters in the state's northeast. "The rain neither helped nor hindered," duty officer Richard Alder said."


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Sunday, January 28, 2007


BBC comment below:

When the Stern Review into the Economics of Climate Change came out last year, it was showered with praise. UK Prime Minister Tony Blair called it, "the most important report on the future ever published by this government". But expert critics of the review now claim that it overestimates the risk of severe global warming, and underestimates the cost of acting to stop it.

The message from the report's chief author, the economist Sir Nicholas Stern, was simple: if we did nothing about climate change, it would cost us the equivalent of at least 5% of global GDP each year, now and forever. But if we acted today, we could prevent a catastrophe. This point was emphasised at the report's launch by Mr Blair who warned we would see the disastrous consequences of climate change - not in some science fiction future, but in our lifetimes.

These figures sounded scary and imminent. But if you read the report in detail, that is not what it actually says. The 5% damage to global GDP figure will not happen for well over one hundred years, according to Stern's predictions. And the review certainly does not forecast disastrous consequences in our lifetimes.

The report may have been loved by the politicians and headline writers but when climate scientists and environmental economists read the 670-page review, many said there were serious flaws. These critics are not climate change sceptics, but researchers with years of experience who believe that human-induced climate change is real and that we need to act now.

Richard Tol is a professor at both Hamburg and Carnegie Mellon Universities, and is one of the world's leading environmental economists. The Stern Review cites his work 63 times; but that does not mean he agrees with it. "If a student of mine were to hand in this report as a Masters thesis, perhaps if I were in a good mood I would give him a 'D' for diligence; but more likely I would give him an 'F' for fail. "There is a whole range of very basic economics mistakes that somebody who claims to be a Professor of Economics simply should not make," he told The Investigation on BBC Radio 4.

At the core of the Stern Review is an economic comparison between the damage caused by climate change with the costs of cutting our greenhouse gases. Professor Tol believes the figures for damage are exaggerated. "Stern consistently picks the most pessimistic for every choice that one can make. He overestimates through cherry-picking, he double counts particularly the risks and he underestimates what development and adaptation will do to impacts," he said.

Many economists are also sceptical about the figures Stern uses to estimate the costs of reducing are greenhouse gas emissions. The review suggests this will cost only 1% of GDP but according to Yale University Economist Robert Mendelsohn, this is far too optimistic and the figure could easily be much higher. "One of the depressing things about the greenhouse gas problem is that the cost of eliminating [it] is quite high. We will actually have to sacrifice a great deal to cut emissions dramatically," he said.

But it is not just economists who have found fault with the Stern Review; climate scientists have also been critical. Next week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will release its fourth report. It is designed to be the authoritative statement on the state of global warming science. Anyone expecting to see the scary figures of the Stern report repeated is going to be disappointed. The predictions in the IPCC report will be significantly lower. For instance, the Stern review comes up with a figure for temperature increase by 2050 of 2-3 degrees, whereas the IPCC says this will probably not happen until the end of the century.

Professor Mike Hulme, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, believes that when the IPCC report comes out next week, there will be a big difference between the science it contains and the climate debate in the UK. "The IPCC is not going to talk about tipping points; it's not going to talk about 5m rises in sea level; it's not going to talk about the next ice age because the Gulf Stream collapses; and it's going to have none of the economics of the Stern Review," he said. "It's almost as if a credibility gap has emerged between what the British public thinks and what the international science community think."

When we put this comment to Sir Nicholas Stern, he replied: "The IPCC is a good process but it does depend on consensus and it means that they have to be quite cautious in what they say. "We were able to look to the evidence and use it in a very particular way, to look at the economics of risk." Sir Nicholas is aware of the increasing number of academic critiques of his review, but remains certain about his conclusions. "It is very important that the report is discussed; a number of people have raised interesting points and we will be discussing them all. "There are no certainties; but the broad conclusion that the costs of action are a good deal less than the damages they save, I think is pretty robust."

None of Stern's critics are advocating doing nothing about climate change. What they disagree about is how much it is worth sacrificing now to try to prevent a worst-case scenario in a hundred years' time.

BBC News, 25 January 2007. You can listen to the full BBC Investigation of the Stern Review here.


Below is the first of two attempts to express in layman's terms the new theory about changes in the heat output of the sun -- a theory partially presented here in academic terms on 26th. The full academic paper is here

There's a dimmer switch inside the sun that causes its brightness to rise and fall on timescales of around 100,000 years - exactly the same period as between ice ages on Earth. So says a physicist who has created a computer model of our star's core.

Robert Ehrlich of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, modelled the effect of temperature fluctuations in the sun's interior. According to the standard view, the temperature of the sun's core is held constant by the opposing pressures of gravity and nuclear fusion. However, Ehrlich believed that slight variations should be possible.

He took as his starting point the work of Attila Grandpierre of the Konkoly Observatory of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. In 2005, Grandpierre and a collaborator, G bor Agoston, calculated that magnetic fields in the sun's core could produce small instabilities in the solar plasma. These instabilities would induce localised oscillations in temperature.

Ehrlich's model shows that whilst most of these oscillations cancel each other out, some reinforce one another and become long-lived temperature variations. The favoured frequencies allow the sun's core temperature to oscillate around its average temperature of 13.6 million kelvin in cycles lasting either 100,000 or 41,000 years. Ehrlich says that random interactions within the sun's magnetic field could flip the fluctuations from one cycle length to the other.

These two timescales are instantly recognisable to anyone familiar with Earth's ice ages: for the past million years, ice ages have occurred roughly every 100,000 years. Before that, they occurred roughly every 41,000 years.

Most scientists believe that the ice ages are the result of subtle changes in Earth's orbit, known as the Milankovitch cycles. One such cycle describes the way Earth's orbit gradually changes shape from a circle to a slight ellipse and back again roughly every 100,000 years. The theory says this alters the amount of solar radiation that Earth receives, triggering the ice ages. However, a persistent problem with this theory has been its inability to explain why the ice ages changed frequency a million years ago.

"In Milankovitch, there is certainly no good idea why the frequency should change from one to another," says Neil Edwards, a climatologist at the Open University in Milton Keynes, UK. Nor is the transition problem the only one the Milankovitch theory faces. Ehrlich and other critics claim that the temperature variations caused by Milankovitch cycles are simply not big enough to drive ice ages.

However, Edwards believes the small changes in solar heating produced by Milankovitch cycles are then amplified by feedback mechanisms on Earth. For example, if sea ice begins to form because of a slight cooling, carbon dioxide that would otherwise have found its way into the atmosphere as part of the carbon cycle is locked into the ice. That weakens the greenhouse effect and Earth grows even colder.

According to Edwards, there is no lack of such mechanisms. "If you add their effects together, there is more than enough feedback to make Milankovitch work," he says. "The problem now is identifying which mechanisms are at work." This is why scientists like Edwards are not yet ready to give up on the current theory. "Milankovitch cycles give us ice ages roughly when we observe them to happen. We can calculate where we are in the cycle and compare it with observation," he says. "I can't see any way of testing [Ehrlich's] idea to see where we are in the temperature oscillation."

Ehrlich concedes this. "If there is a way to test this theory on the sun, I can't think of one that is practical," he says. That's because variation over 41,000 to 100,000 years is too gradual to be observed. However, there may be a way to test it in other stars: red dwarfs. Their cores are much smaller than that of the sun, and so Ehrlich believes that the oscillation periods could be short enough to be observed. He has yet to calculate the precise period or the extent of variation in brightness to be expected ( ).

Nigel Weiss, a solar physicist at the University of Cambridge, is far from convinced. He describes Ehrlich's claims as "utterly implausible". Ehrlich counters that Weiss's opinion is based on the standard solar model, which fails to take into account the magnetic instabilities that cause the temperature fluctuations.

New Scientist, 25 January 2007

New ice age theory: Sun's 'dimmer switch'

Below is the second of two attempts to express in layman's terms the new theory about changes in the heat output of the sun -- a theory partially presented here in academic terms on 26th. The full academic paper is here

Ice ages are not caused by planet Earth's orbital variations as once thought, but by the dimmer switch inside the sun that causes its brightness to rise and fall on timescales of around 100,000 years which is exactly the same period as between ice ages on Earth, according to a radical new theory proposed by renowned astrophysicist Robert Ehrlich of George Mason University.

Ehrlich modelled the effect of temperature fluctuations in the sun's interior and showed that while the temperature of the sun's core is held constant by the opposing pressures of gravity and nuclear fusion, slight variations are possible. His research builds upon the work of Attila Grandpierre and G bor Agoston who calculated that magnetic fields in the sun's core could produce small instabilities in the solar plasma inducing localised oscillations in temperature.

In an article appearing in the journal New Scientist, Ehrlich describes how some of these oscillations reinforce one another and become long lasting temperature variations, with the sun's core temperature to oscillating around its average temperature of 13.6 million kelvin in cycles lasting either 100,000 or 41,000 years. According to the scientist random interactions within the sun's magnetic field could flip the fluctuations between the two cycles which correspond to the Earth's ice ages.

Over the past million years, ice ages have occurred roughly every 100,000 years and before that roughly every 41,000 years. The currently accepted theories attribute the ice ages to subtle changes in Earth's orbit, known as the Milankovitch cycles, one of which describes the way Earth's orbit gradually changes shape from a circle to a slight ellipse and back again roughly every 100,000 years.

This should, in theory, alter the amount of solar radiation that Earth receives which in turn trigger the ice ages, but a hole in this theory has been its inability to explain why the ice ages changed frequency a million years ago.


Australian PM uses Greenie language to support Federal takeover of big river systems

Prime Minister John Howard yesterday labelled himself a "climate change realist", saying Australians could never return to a relaxed attitude towards water. "I regard myself as a climate change realist," he said while announcing his $10 billion water plan. "That means looking at the evidence as it emerges and responding with policies."

Mr Howard said the evidence pointed to a contraction in weather systems that traditionally brought southern Australia winter and spring rains. "Our rainfall has always been highly variable," he said. "The deviation around average rainfall is enormous and it seems to be getting bigger."

However, Mr Howard said the Australian continent was by its very nature a dry place. Australian water management systems had to be resilient and sustainable regardless of the truth or otherwise of climate change. "They must be geared not to a world of steady averages that rarely materialise but to the variability that has been part of Australia's climate since time immemorial," Mr Howard said.

He said Australians could never return to the days "when you could hose down the car". "We need to make every drop count - on our farms, in our factories and in our homes," Mr Howard said.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Saturday, January 27, 2007

Mars Ski Report: Snow is Hard, Dense and Disappearing

Global warming on Mars?

In the other study, led by Michael C. Malin, features at the south pole were observed to retreat by up to 10 feet (3 meters) from one Martian year to the next. The odd shapes -- circular pits, ridges and mounds -- were first photographed in 1999. Since then, the features have eroded away by up to 50 percent. The pits are growing, the ridges between them shrinking.

Caplinger and Malin caution that a year's worth of data does not reveal when this erosion began or how long it will continue. Yet they speculate that the features could have been created in a Mars' decade and may erode away completely within one to two decades. "We know that the pits we see at the surface today are not very old, and that they will not last very long," Malin said.

Water or not?

The rate of erosion suggests the features are made of moderately dense but solid carbon dioxide, rather than water ice, the scientists conclude. But that does not preclude the possibility of water ice at the south pole. "We don't know what's underneath," Caplinger said. "You could certainly have water ice under carbon dioxide." He said the only way to find out is to go there and drill down.

The newly observed melting, if it is part of a trend, could pump enough carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of Mars to increase its mass by 1 percent per decade, the scientists said. Already, the atmosphere of Mars is roughly 95 percent carbon dioxide. Caplinger said no one knows for sure what effect the extra carbon dioxide might have on the climate. "Not much," he figures.

But he said many scientists assume that Mars undergoes climate change. Photos of the surface suggest water may once have flowed on Mars, implying that it would have been warmer. And Earth's ice ages offer the lesson that change is inherent in a climate.

New era of study

Despite more than three decades of Red Planet exploration, scientists are still relatively clueless about the climate of Mars, said Paige, the UCLA researcher. Continuous or recurring observations have typically been confined to short time periods. The two new studies herald a change, Paige said. And expect more.

Mars Global Surveyor is not done studying Mars, and the recently arrived Odyssey orbiter will begin science observations early next year. Other satellites and surface probes are planned every couple of years over the next decade. "We're moving toward a situation where we'll have a permanent spacecraft presence on Mars," Paige said.


Climate change and CO2

Post lifted from John Redwood's diary

For once when I asked the [British] government a written question I received an answer. I asked "How much carbon dioxide is put into the atmosphere each day ,and what proportion is from human sources"

The answer stated "The amount of carbon dioxide emitted from human sources is small in comparison to natural flows:at around 3% emitted from the land and oceans to the atmosphere". The Minister also told me "In 2004 the UK emitted approximately 1.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per day "(I think from human sources). This compares with the "25 billion tonnes emitted each year globally" from human sources and the total emissions of 800 billion tonnes from all sources.

It is just useful to understand the scope of the problem and the UK human component. According to the government the UK human component represents 2% of the world total human emissions, or 0.06% of total emissions.

So what should we conclude? Climate change theorists point out that the human element may be very small, but it is the one which is growing quickly, and at the margin will do the damage. People who follow the precautionary principle say this theory may well be right, so we had better act. Many other people say they believe the theory but do not act - like the Prime Minister who tells us this is a serious crisis, but he has no intention of cutting his air miles.

Common sense suggests that because the UK represents such a small part of the problem, we are going to depend on decisions in India, China and the USA to make a bigger impact on human emissions. Of course our government should seek to influence them, and stress the value of greater fuel efficiency and stricter controls on emissions. We should also continue to cut our own fuel use at home, at work and on the move. Technology can be our ally in this. Prudence nonetheless dictates that we should take action now to proect ourselves against the possible bad consequences of global warming.

There are two main bad consequences put forward for the UK. The first is a possible water shortage in the drier south and east of the country. The second is too much water in some rivers at flood time, and in the sea, leading to inundation.

Government should take action now to build stronger sea defences, especially close to the London conurbation where most people are at risk. This could be paid for by creating new land in the shallows of the Thames estuary, and selling this for development to finance the higher tidal surge barriers we will need.

The government and the water regulator should include a capacity target in the regulatory structure, to require the industry to put in more water capacity - whether by way of mending pipes more quickly or building extra reservoirs - to eliminate anyt possibility of water shortage. The Environment Agency should order works on our main rivers to guarantee better containment of flood water levels, or safe deposit of excess water on flood plain.


Recently I received a communication about frogs that emphasizes the importance of confirming conventional wisdom and offers a metaphor for the human response to environmental degradation. The issue started with an email from Germany. As often happens in scientific inquiry, though the answer to the question was pretty straightforward, arriving at the answer was not. But the easy way out accepting what "everyone knows" more often than not simply perpetuates misinformation. Although finding an answer that destroys an urban myth or a commonly held belief may disappoint some people, we are better off knowing the truth.

Joe Pechmann at the University of New Orleans, who is a noted amphibian conservation biologist, received a query last month that read: "I am writing a weekly column for Die Zeit, Germany's major weekly paper, on scientific urban legends that my readers ask me about. Now you surely have heard the story of the boiling frog that is often told by consultants or activists: If you put a frog in boiling water, he will try to escape. If you put him in cold water and heat it gradually, the frog will remain in place until he's boiled, because that's the lesson, to him (and consequently to us) gradual change is not perceivable. Frankly, I don't buy this. But I am looking for professional advice (and I don't want to boil frogs). Can you help me with that question? Thanks! Christoph Droesser, Hamburg, Germany"

Joe was not sure what the answer was, so he referred Mr. Droesser to me. I also passed the buck, saying: "I have heard the anecdote many times and actually heard a Baptist preacher give a sermon in Mississippi in which he used the story of a big bullfrog in a bucket of water that was being heated. The situation was presented as an example of how gradual habituation to a devilish situation leads to acceptance of an even worse one. But with a real frog in real water, my bet is that when it began to get uncomfortable the frog would jump out if it could, long before the water started to boil. Nonetheless, consultants, activists, and others who are unaware of gradual environmental problems are responding in the way we like to think a frog acts rather than the way it does."

I went on to say, "Although I do not know a data-based answer myself, I am aware of experiments that have been done on responses of amphibians to thermal conditions. In some of the experiments the temperature was gradually raised, so I feel certain someone familiar with those studies would have an impression of what a frog would do as the water warmed up. I am sending your question to Dr. Victor Hutchison at the University of Oklahoma to see what he says. I would be interested to know also."

Vic's answer was as follows: "The legend is entirely incorrect! The `critical thermal maxima' of many species of frogs have been determined by several investigators. In this procedure, the water in which a frog is submerged is heated gradually at about 2 degrees Fahrenheit per minute. As the temperature of the water is gradually increased, the frog will eventually become more and more active in attempts to escape the heated water. If the container size and opening allow the frog to jump out, it will do so." Naturally, if the frog were not allowed to escape it would eventually begin to show signs of heat stress, muscular spasms, heat rigor, and death.

So where does that leave us with the metaphor for the human response to environmental degradation? Well the idea that you can induce a frog to remain in boiling water if you start it off in cold water is not true biologically. But that does not diminish the need to keep an eye out for the gradual relaxation of environmental laws and regulations. The metaphor lies in the frog's ability to escape from the container: if there's no way out, then the frog's fate is a foregone conclusion.


Australian PM supports new dams

Permanent water restrictions in our cities should be no more acceptable than electricity rationing, Prime Minister John Howard says. Mr Howard said he remained confident Australia could eventually drought-proof its urban centres. But with the exception of Perth, no major Australian city has invested significantly in augmenting their water supplies for decades, he said. In the case of Brisbane, decisions to build new dams were cancelled and "then nothing else was done", the Prime Minister said.

Mr Howard attacked the mentality of state governments that tried to constrain demand by imposing water restrictions instead of investing in water infrastructure. That strategy allowed the states to preserve the cash flow of their water utilities which often paid out large dividends, he said. "The continuation of the drought has shown the strategy to be a foolhardy one," Mr Howard said.

Under the plan, city water providers will be made to invest in dams, desalination plants and other infrastructure or lose federal funding. "Water solutions will vary from place to place. The truth is we have the capacity to drought-proof our large cities. "What is needed is more investment, sensible pricing and an end to state governments using water utilities as cash cows."

Australian Democrats leader Lyn Allison praised the water plan. "Better late than never," she said. "The Prime Minister has also come a long way in acknowledging the needs of the environment."



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

Comments? Email me here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Friday, January 26, 2007


Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Article in Press, Accepted Manuscript

By Robert Ehrlich


A theory is described based on resonant thermal diffusion waves in the sun that explains many details of the paleotemperature record for the last 5.3 million years. These include the observed periodicities, the relative strengths of each observed cycle, and the sudden emergence in time for the 100 thousand year cycle. Other prior work suggesting a link between terrestrial paleoclimate and solar luminosity variations has not provided any specific mechanism. The particular mechanism described here has been demonstrated empirically, although not previously invoked in the solar context. The theory, while not without its own unresolved issues, also lacks most of the problems associated with Milankovitch cycle theory.



In Milankovitch theory past glaciations are assumed to arise from small quasiperiodic changes in the Earth's orbital parameters that give rise to corresponding changes in solar insolation, particularly in the polar regions. A brief discussion of five problems with this theory are listed below, and a more detailed description of some of them can be found elsewhere.(Karner,2000)

(a) Weak forcing problem: The basic problem with the theory s that observed climate variations are much more intense than the insolation changes can explain without postulating some very strong positive feedback mechanism.

(b) 100 ky problem: The preceding basic problem can be illustrated for the case of one particular parameter "C the orbital eccentricity. The dominant climate cycle observed during the last million years has a roughly 100 ky period, which in Milankovitch theory is linked to a 100 ky cycle in the eccentricity. However, the effect of this eccentricity variation should be the weakest of all the climate-altering changes, in view of the small change in solar insolation it would cause. For example, consider the Earth's orbital eccentricity, e, which has been shown to have several periods including one of 100 ky during which e varies in the approximate range: e = 0.03 0.02.(Quinn,1991)

The resultant solar irradiance variation found by integrating over one orbit for each of the two extreme e-values is about 0.055%, or 0.17w/m2 difference at the top of the Earth's atmosphere. Given that climate models show that a one percent change in solar irradance would lead to a 1.80C average global temperature change, then the change resulting from a ­0.055% irradiance change would be a miniscule 0.10C hardly enough to induce a major climate event C even with significant positive feedback.

(c) 400 ky problem: The variations in the Earth's orbital eccentricity show a 400 ky cycle in addition to the 100 ky cycle, with the two cycles being of comparable strength. Yet, the record of Earth's climate variations only shows clear evidence for the latter.

(d) Causality problem: Based on a numerical integration of Earth's orbit, a warming climate predates by about 10,000 years the change in insolation than supposedly had been its cause.

(e) Transition problem: No explanation is offered for the abrupt switch in climate periodicity from 41 ky to 100 ky that is found to have occured about a million years ago. Of these five problems with Milankovitch theory, the current theory clearly shares only (c).

In conclusion, we have here suggested a specific mechanism involving diffusion waves in the sun whose amplitude should grow very rapidly due to an amplification provided by the link between solar core temperature and luminosity.

Moreover, the phenomenon of resonant amplification of thermal diffusion waves has been empirically demonstrated, albeit not in the solar context.(Shen, 1995) A number of features of the theory still remain to be resolved, but the theory does explain many features of the paleotemperature record, and it appears to be free of most defects of the Milankovitch theory. The theory further implicitly suggests the existence of a new category of variable stars having extremely long periods "C i.e., 104 times longer than stellar periods currently considered to be very long. For some stars with M less than M, their thinner radiation zones might make the predicted periods observable.

(The Doi (permanent) address for the full article above is here)


Germany will miss its CO2 emission targets, face rising electricity prices and become "dramatically" more reliant on Russian gas if it keeps to its policy of phasing out nuclear energy, a new study warns. The 60-page paper by Deutsche Bank will add to the pressure on Angela Merkel, chancellor, to renegotiate the phase-out deal agreed by the previous government in 2000, despite her pledge not to reopen the controversial debate.

Rising concern about global warming and energy security has sparked a lively dispute in Ms Merkel's Christian Democrat-led grand coalition government about the wisdom of renouncing nuclear energy. Michael Glos, the conservative economics minister, has campaigned vigorously against the phase-out, triggering equally vigorous opposition from Sigmar Gabriel, the Social Democratic environment minister.

Without nuclear energy, the bank says, the chancellor faces a painful choice between the three goals she has set herself - to reduce emissions, cut reliance on Russian fossil fuel and keep energy prices in check. "Shutting down nuclear is inconceivable as a serious policy," said Mark Lewis, energy analyst and author of the report. "It will mean missing your carbon emission targets and lead to gas-powered plants replacing today's nuclear plants."

The environment ministry said Germany's goal of cutting CO2 emissions by 40 per cent of their 1990 level by 2020 "can be achieved without nuclear energy. But of course, nobody ever said it would be easy". The SPD has yet to show any willingness to renegotiate the nuclear exit deal. Rainer Wend, a Social Democratic MP and member of parliament's economics committee, said: "If we must import more Russian gas, then so be it. Russia is a reliable supplier."

Backers of nuclear energy point out that the phase-out has left Berlin isolated as holder of the European Union's rotating presidency, which complicates Ms Merkel's task of drafting a European energy policy at the next European Council summit in March. With nuclear covering 25 per cent of Germany's electricity needs - and taking into account rising electricity demand and the need to replace old fossil-fuel plants - DB calculates 42,000MW of new plants will be needed by 2022.

Since lignite and coal-powered plants are highly polluting, most of these would have to be gas-powered. Even so, CO2 emissions by the power sector will rise by 16 per cent in the decade from 2010, while Russian gas imports will increase from today's 35 per cent of the total to 50 per cent.



If you want an example of the sort of scientific exaggeration that should concern both scientists and advocates involved in the climate debate (but typically goes uncorrected), next week's Newsweek magazine has an article on the growing tab of disaster losses, which it attributes to global warming.

Around the country, [insurance] companies have been racking up record property losses from freakish weather, such as the ice storms last week that paralyzed much of the Great Plains and froze California's citrus crops. In recent years, wildfires in the Northwest, drought and hail in the Midwest, windstorms, lightning strikes on power grids, soil subsidence and other calamities of nature have led to cumulative property losses that exceed those caused by hurricanes. "There's a shift going on to more frequent, extreme weather events," says Evan Mills, an environmental scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. "It's as much an issue in the heartland as on the coast."

Global warming is the culprit, claim many-including several insurers who are canceling policies. While scientists cannot determine whether a single weather event is caused by a natural cycle, or is evidence of more permanent, malignant climate change, the pattern of mounting losses is clear. According to Mills, weather-related catastrophe losses have increased from about $1 billion a year in the 1970s to an average of $17 billion a year over the past decade. In 2005, the year of Katrina, that figure reached $71 billion.

We have interacted with Evan Mills before, and despite having his work throughly debunked and the existence of an expert workshop report on the topic cosponsored by Munich Re, he continues to fundamentally misrepresent the state of the science to suggest that comparing disaster losses unadjusted for societal change from the 1970s to the present says something about global warming. It does not. Here are relevant conclusions from our 2006 workshop:

Analyses of long-term records of disaster losses indicate that societal change and economic development are the principal factors responsible for the documented increasing losses to date.

Because of issues related to data quality, the stochastic nature of extreme event impacts, length of time series, and various societal factors present in the disaster loss record, it is still not possible to determine the portion of the increase in damages that might be attributed to climate change due to GHG emissions.

In the near future the quantitative link (attribution) of trends in storm and flood losses to climate changes related to GHG emissions is unlikely to be answered unequivocally.



Journal of Affective Disorders, Article in Press, Corrected Proof

Global warming possibly linked to an enhanced risk of suicide

By A. Preti et al.


Background: The global increase in surface temperature (known as global warming) was found to impact on mortality through ill health, particularly among the elderly and in summer. This study sets out to explore the impact of global warming on suicide mortality, using data from Italy.

Methods: Monthly data on suicide mortality and temperature were obtained for a 30-year period (from January 1974 to December 2003), and the relation between them was investigated using the Gaussian low-pass filter, linear correlation analysis and rank analysis.

Results: For males, increasing anomalies in monthly average temperatures associated to a higher monthly suicide mean from May to August and, to a lower extent, in November and December. In January, on the other hand, increasing anomalies in monthly average temperatures appeared to be coupled to a lower number of suicides. For females, the links between temperature and suicides are less consistent than for males, and sometimes have a reverse sign, too.

Fuel Folly

Less consumption means more subsidies.

With a combination of alternative fuel mandates and increased fuel-economy standards, President Bush on Tuesday night urged Congress to “build on the work we have done and reduce gasoline usage in the United States by 20 percent in the next ten years.” Build on the work we have done? With similar policies in place since 1974, American petroleum consumption has increased - not decreased - by over 20 percent.

Only in Europe, where government taxation has driven gas prices to $6-a-gallon and dampened economic growth, has oil consumption declined by 15 percent. And that took 30 years, not ten.

Such draconian measures are unlikely in the U.S., meaning no decline in oil consumption - but a continued rise in wasteful, politically correct federal ethanol subsidies.

In a similar political climate in the early 1970s, Congress enacted the regulatory regime known as CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy). Today passenger cars are more efficient than ever - up 114 percent since 1974. But gasoline is so cheap - despite perpetual Middle Eastern crises - that on average Americans are driving twice as many miles as before. As a result, U.S. oil consumption has increased from 17 million barrels-a-day in 1976 to 21 million barrels today, and oil imports as a share of U.S. consumption have risen from 35 to 59 percent.

Ironically, the president’s call echoes a more severe proposal by his 2004 campaign opponent John Kerry - a recommendation that a National Center for Policy Analysis study found would not “reduce future U.S. dependence on foreign oil.”

The president’s plan also proposes an expansion of the so-called Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), which currently mandates that refineries produce 7.5 billion gallons of ethanol-per-year by 2012. But, as Heritage Foundation energy analyst Ben Lieberman points out, “if ethanol were a viable fuel, you wouldn’t have to mandate it in the first place.”

Indeed, ethanol - whether made from corn or trendy cellulosic sources like switchgrass - is simply not viable as an alternative for the fundamental reason that a gallon of ethanol only goes 75 percent as far as a gallon of gas. In its comprehensive 2005 report on biofuels, the World Bank concluded that “the technologies to produce ethanol are well understood. (Thus) major breakthroughs under current processes are not expected.”

The RFS exists - not due to market demand - but to satisfy the auto and farm lobbies. For the Big Three, manufacturing “flex-fuel” vehicles (cars that run on gas and ethanol) allows them to exploit a huge loophole in the aforementioned CAFÉ laws. At minimal cost, converting vehicles to flex-fuel allows automakers to skirt the fatuous fuel rules - even though consumers only fill up the vehicles with gas.

For the farm lobby, the renewable mandate is easier to understand. It means money. Lots of money. To make ethanol price-competitive, the federal government subsidizes its production to the tune of 51 cents a gallon, costing U.S. taxpayers $4.1 billion a year. Fueled by the RFS, Big Ethanol producer Archer Daniels Midland rang up record 2006 profits that would make Big Oil blush.

Now Bush is proposing to increase the mandate to a fanciful $35 billion gallons by 2017 (whether consumers buy it or not). And as the federal honey pot grows, it is naturally attracting more flies. Investors like Sun Microsystems founder and Green activist Vinod Khosla want to invest in cellulosic ethanol sources because they are less carbon intensive to process than corn ethanol (which some studies show burns more energy to produce than it saves as a fuel) - much like sugar-based ethanol which has captured 40 percent of Brazil’s fuel market.

Brazil’s experiment has created a buzz among the alternative-fuel set - from liberal pundits like the New York Times’s Thomas Friedman to the president’s own brother, Jeb.

But like Europe’s drastic measures to decrease fuel consumption, Brazil’s heavy-handed tactics to impose biofuels have little political future here. Brazil’s ethanol conversion occurred over a period of decades as its authoritarian government nationalized energy companies, mandated ethanol-fueled cars, banned diesel fuel - and provided a staggering $1.20 per gallon government tax subsidy. As the World Bank report concluded, Brazil comes closest to commercially viable biofuels, but only as long as it “maintains a large tax differential between gasoline and ethanol.”



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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