Thursday, July 31, 2008


It's the big debate in Australia at the moment. Four current articles up today on AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, including two slash-and-burn articles on the nonsense by Australian scientists.

Global cooling!

Penguins wash up in the tropics

PENGUINS are washing up on tropical beaches with scientists unsure why the Antarctic birds are heading closer to the equator than ever before. About 300 penguins have recently been found dead and alive along the coast of the Brazil' s Bahia state, 1200km northeast of Rio de Janeiro, the Associated Press reports. The area is more renowned as a place to get a tan than it is to spot penguins. Its capital Salvador is closer to the equator than Cairns in northern Queensland and its temperature has hovered around 20 degrees Celsius this month.

"This is unheard of. There have even been reports of penguins washing up as far as Aracaju,'' Adelson Cerqueira Silva of Brazil's environmental agency said, referring to a beachside state capital even closer to the equator.

Mr Silva said biologists believe stronger-than-usual ocean currents had pulled the birds north but others have said overfishing and warmer ocean temperatures may have led the birds to search for food further north than their normal Antarctic and Patagonian habitats. Authorities had received hundreds of penguin sightings, he said. "We're telling people if the penguins don't appear to be injured or sick to leave them alone so they can swim back," he said. Up to 90 of the penguins found alive had since died in animal hospitals struggling to deal with the influx.


Another IPCC & Hansen FAILURE: Bangladesh gaining land, not losing it

Contradicting forecasts it will be 'under the waves by the end of the century'. Name anything that James Hansen PhD, has predicted correctly.

New data shows that Bangladesh's landmass is increasing, contradicting forecasts that the South Asian nation will be under the waves by the end of the century, experts say. Scientists from the Dhaka-based Center for Environment and Geographic Information Services (CEGIS) have studied 32 years of satellite images and say Bangladesh's landmass has increased by 20 square kilometres (eight square miles) annually.

Maminul Haque Sarker, head of the department at the government-owned centre that looks at boundary changes, told AFP sediment which travelled down the big Himalayan rivers -- the Ganges and the Brahmaputra -- had caused the landmass to increase.The rivers, which meet in the centre of Bangladesh, carry more than a billion tonnes of sediment every year and most of it comes to rest on the southern coastline of the country in the Bay of Bengal where new territory is forming, he said in an interview on Tuesday.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has predicted that impoverished Bangladesh, criss-crossed by a network of more than 200 rivers, will lose 17 percent of its land by 2050 because of rising sea levels due to global warming. The Nobel Peace Prize-winning panel says 20 million Bangladeshis will become environmental refugees by 2050 and the country will lose some 30 percent of its food production. Director of the US-based NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, professor James Hansen, paints an even grimmer picture, predicting the entire country could be under water by the end of the century.

But Sarker said that while rising sea levels and river erosion were both claiming land in Bangladesh, many climate experts had failed to take into account new land being formed from the river sediment."Satellite images dating back to 1973 and old maps earlier than that show some 1,000 square kilometres of land have risen from the sea," Sarker said."A rise in sea level will offset this and slow the gains made by new territories, but there will still be an increase in land. We think that in the next 50 years we may get another 1,000 square kilometres of land."

Mahfuzur Rahman, head of Bangladesh Water Development Board's Coastal Study and Survey Department, has also been analysing the buildup of land on the coast.He told AFP findings by the IPCC and other climate change scientists were too general and did not explore the benefits of land accretion."For almost a decade we have heard experts saying Bangladesh will be under water, but so far our data has shown nothing like this," he said. "Natural accretion has been going on here for hundreds of years along the estuaries and all our models show it will go on for decades or centuries into the future."

Dams built along the country's southern coast in the 1950s and 1960s had helped reclaim a lot of land and he believed with the use of new technology, Bangladesh could speed up the accretion process, he said."The land Bangladesh has lost so far has been caused by river erosion, which has always happened in this country. Natural accretion due to sedimentation and dams have more than compensated this loss," Rahman said.

Bangladesh, a country of 140 million people, has built a series of dykes to prevent flooding."If we build more dams using superior technology, we may be able to reclaim 4,000 to 5,000 square kilometres in the near future," Rahman said.


Scientist on Greenland: 'Greenland was about as warm or warmer in the 1930's and 40's'?

The New York Times Magazine published a story "Ice Free" by Stephan Faris, hawking his new book "Forecast: The Consequences of Climate Change, From the Amazon to the Arctic, From Darfur to Napa Valley", to be published in January.

In the article, Faris notes "Greenland's ice sheet represents one of global warming's most disturbing threats. The vast expanses of glaciers- massed, on average, 1.6 miles deep - contain enough water to raise sea levels worldwide by 23 feet. Should they melt or otherwise slip into the ocean, they would flood coastal capitals, submerge tropical islands and generally redraw the world's atlases. The infusion of fresh water could slow or shut down the ocean's currents, plunging Europe into bitter winter."

There is little recognition in the media and by the author of history. Greenland actually was warmer in the 1930s and 1940s than it has been in recent decades. For the period from the 1960s to the 1990s, temperatures actually declined significantly as the Atlantic went through its multidecadal cold mode. The temperature changes up and down the last few centuries were closely related to these multidecadal ocean cycles.

Shown below is the temperature plot for Godthab Nuuk in southwest Greenland. Note how closely the temperatures track with the AMO (which is a measure of the Atlantic temperatures 0 to 70N). It shows that cooling from the 1940s to the late 1990s even as greenhouse gases rose steadily, a negative correlation over almost 5 decades. The rise after the middle 1990s was due to the flip of the AMO into its warm phase. They have not reached the level of the 1930s and 1940s.

(Larger image here)

Temperatures cooled back to the levels of the 1880s by the 1980s and 1990s. In a GRL paper in 2003, Hanna and Cappelen showed a significant cooling trend for eight stations in coastal southern Greenland from 1958 to 2001 (-1.29§C for the 44 years). The temperature trend represented a strong negative correlation with increasing CO2 levels.

Many recent studies have addressed Greenland ice mass balance. They yield a broad picture of slight inland thickening and strong near-coastal thinning, primarily in the south along fast-moving outlet glaciers. However, interannual variability is very large, driven mainly by variability in summer melting and sudden glacier accelerations. Consequently, the short time interval covered by instrumental data is of concern in separating fluctuations from trends. But in a paper published in Science in February 2007, Dr. Ian Howat of the University of Washington reports that two of the largest glaciers have suddenly slowed, bringing the rate of melting last year down to near the previous rate. At one glacier, Kangerdlugssuaq, "average thinning over the glacier during the summer of 2006 declined to near zero, with some apparent thickening in areas on the main trunk."

Dr. Howat in a follow-up interview with the New York Times went on to add: "Greenland was about as warm or warmer in the 1930's and 40's, and many of the glaciers were smaller than they are now. This was a period of rapid glacier shrinkage world-wide, followed by at least partial re-expansion during a colder period from the 1950's to the 1980's. Of course, we don't know very much about how the glacier dynamics changed then because we didn't have satellites to observe it. However, it does suggest that large variations in ice sheet dynamics can occur from natural climate variability."


Greenland's "melting" ice sheets "will raise sea level 23 feet"

Monckton replies

The scare: An article in the New York Times in late July 2008 by an author promoting a forthcoming book about "global warming" calls the Greenland ice-sheet "one of `global warming's' most disturbing threats". The article says: "The vast expanses of glaciers - massed, on average, 1.6 miles deep - contain enough water to raise sea levels worldwide by 23 feet. Should they melt or otherwise slip into the ocean, they would flood coastal capitals, submerge tropical islands and generally redraw the world's atlases. The infusion of fresh water could slow or shut down the ocean's currents, plunging Europe into bitter winter."

The article continues that ocean warming eats the ice sheet from beneath, causing glaciers to calve and melt faster, changing patterns of migration and hence of hunting, which, it says, has a positive effect: warm-water cod have returned, and shops can now offer locally-grown vegetables. Recession of ice along the shore has exposed pockets of lead, zinc, and bauxite. More than 30 billion barrels of oil may also be reachable if there is further melting. Yet the thrust of the article is Apocalyptic.

The truth: The "Greenland is melting" scare is an old one, and long discredited. It was first given widespread currency by Al Gore, not a climatologist, in his sci-fi comedy horror movie about the climate - a movie that is now an international joke for serious, serial, scientific inaccuracy. In October 2007, a UK High Court Judge ordered the Department of Education to issue a disclaimer about several inaccuracies in the movie before innocent schoolchildren could be exposed to it. The learned Judge's finding about Gore's claim that sea level would imminently rise by 20 ft was blunt:

"This is distinctly alarmist and part of Mr. Gore's `wake-up call'. It is common ground that if Greenland melted it would release this amount of water, but only after, and over, millennia, so that the Armageddon scenario he depicts is not based on any scientific view."

The UN's climate panel, the IPCC, also fueled the scare when its bureaucrats, after the scientists had submitted the final draft of its 2007 report, inserted a table that had not been in the scientists' draft, in which they had ingeniously right-shifted four decimal points so as to exaggerate tenfold the supposed contribution of melting ice-sheets and glaciers to sea-level rise:

Metres per century 1961-2003 1993-2003

1. Thermosteric expansion 0.042 0.160 2. Glaciers and ice-caps 0.050 0.077 3. Greenland ice-sheets 0.050 0.210 4. Antarctic ice-sheets 0.140 0.210

5. IPCC's sum of lines 1-4: 0.110 0.280

The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley earned his share of the Nobel Peace Prize by writing to the IPCC on the morning of publication, demanding - and getting - a correction of this maladroit and unscientific attempt to lend support to the unscientific fantasies of Gore.

Gore's movie said -

Gore: "Two canaries in the coal mine. The first one is in the Arctic. Of course the Arctic Ocean has a floating ice cap, Greenland on its side there. I say canary in the coal mine because the Arctic is one part of the world that is experiencing faster impact from global warming. This is the largest ice shelf in the Arctic, the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf. It just cracked in half a year ago. The scientists were astonished."

But what do the scientific studies and the peer-reviewed scientific literature (as opposed to the layman Gore or the error-prone IPCC) have to say about Greenland, and about sea level generally?

Temperature records show that the Arctic was in fact warmer in the 1930s and 1940s than it is today -

Northern Hemisphere snow cover reached a new record in 2001 -

A new record in 2001 for Northern Hemisphere winter snow cover

But this new record was easily surpassed in 2007, when, for the first time since satellite records began 30 years ago, winter sea ice extent at both Poles reached record highs. Somehow most of the media that had mentioned the record loss of summer sea-ice in the Arctic in 2007 failed to mention the record growth of winter sea ice at both Poles that very winter.

The ice cap at the North Pole has certainly been thinning ever since US nuclear submarines took the first measurements in the 1950s. However, a paper by NASA scientists last year says the reason has nothing to do with "global warming". The warmer Arctic has been caused by the current warming phase of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, driving warm tropical waters poleward and also causing winds to take a more southerly direction.

Also, a very recent paper has shown considerable and hitherto-unsuspected undersea volcanic activity at 73 degrees North latitude on the mid-Atlantic ridge in the Greenland-Iceland gap, with temperatures at the outlets of the volcanic vents at 570 degrees F.

Among the many facts that the article in the New York Times is careful not to mention is one central fact: that in the early 1940s it was warmer in the Arctic than it is today.

Chylek et al. (2004) confirm that temperatures along Greenland's coasts are about 1 degree Celsius below their 1940 levels, despite half a century of "global warming". They say -

"Current coastal temperatures are about 1øC below their 1940 values." Furthermore, "at the summit of the Greenland ice sheet the summer average temperature has decreased at the rate of 2.2øC per decade since the beginning of the measurements in 1987." Ocean currents and volcanic activity are not the only natural influences on Arctic temperatures. The apparently random fluctuations in Arctic temperatures in the past 125 years are more closely correlated with changes in solar activity than with the ever-upward increases in atmospheric CO2 concentrations. It is scientifically perverse to make an unqualified attribution of the observed thinning of the Arctic ice-cap to anthropogenic "global warming" when, compared with the early 20th century, the Arctic has been cooling. One story that did not make it into the New York Times article - sealers were trapped in Arctic ice in April 2007

More here

Global warming to disrupt sex among fish!

They must have had a hell of a time of it in past warming episodes!

Once scientists began studying the impact of global warming on everything from tourism to asthma, it was only a matter of time before they got around to sex. Now two biologists at Spain's Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) have done just that, at least when it comes to fish.

You may have missed it in biology class, but in some finned species, like the Atlantic silverside - as well as in many reptiles - sex is determined not by genetics but by temperature: the undifferentiated embryo develops testes or ovaries on the basis of whichever option conveys evolutionary advantages for that particular environment. Now, in a study published in the July 30 edition of the scientific journal Public Library of Science, Natalia Ospina-Alvarez and Francesc Piferrer have gone a little further in explaining how that mechanism works. In laboratory tests, they have demonstrated that higher water temperatures result in more male fish.

"We found that in fish that do have temperature-dependent sex determination [TSD], a rise in water temperature of just 1.5 degrees Celsius can change the male-to-female ratio from 1:1 to 3:1," says Piferrer, the study's co-author. In especially sensitive fish, a greater increase can throw the balance even more out of whack. Ospina-Alvarez and Piferrer have found that in the South American pejerrey, for example, an increase of 4 degrees Celsius can result in a population that is 98% male.

What makes these findings especially troubling, of course, is that the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts that ocean-water temperatures are likely to rise by 1.5 degrees over the course of this century - and they may even go up a few degrees more. "If climate change really does result in a rise of 4 degrees, which is the maximum the IPCC predicts, and if species can't adapt in time or migrate, then in the most sensitive cases of TSD, we're looking at extinction," says Piferrer.

Most research into fish sex determination has been done in the lab (for obvious reasons), but the pejerrey is one of the few species that scientists have been able to study in the field. And those studies have revealed that already, its proportion of males to females is skewed. "It could be because of chemical pollution or it could be because of climate change. We don't know," cautions Piferrer. "But the field data matches our predictions."

At this stage, it is hard to tell what these results bode for already declining fish populations around the world. Of the estimated 33,000 piscatorial species, only 5,000 have had their sex-determination mechanism affirmed. But the study by the two CSIC scientists also suggests that the percentage of TSD fish is lower than previously believed. In tests of 59 species believed to be reproductively sensitive to temperature, only 40 proved to be true TSDs.


The Greens Are Going Crazy

It's hard to ignore the fact that the Greens are going crazy, not just in the United States, but around the world. They are increasingly frantic over the opposition being voiced against global warming, one of the greatest hoaxes in modern history. The Greens have bet everything on global warming as the reason for giving up the use of long established sources of energy such as oil, coal and natural gas. The object has been to slow everything the modern world calls progress.

In India, a spokesman for that nation of one billion people has flatly refused to accept the global warming hoax. China shows no sign of yielding to the global warming lies. The greatest agricultural and mercantile economy to have ever existed, the United States of America continues to thwart its own growth by yielding to the lies.

Recently the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, said that "coal makes us sick. Oil makes us sick. It's global warming. It's ruining our country. It's ruining our world." No, what makes us sick is listening to such preposterous lies. A Rasmussen telephone survey taken after Sen. Reid's absurd statement found that 52% of voters surveyed rejected his views about coal and oil, double the amount of those who agreed.

What is troublesome, however, is that the same survey found the voters evenly divided on whether global warming exists or poses a threat. Fully 47% of those surveyed believe that human activity affects the climate. Both candidates for President are publicly committed to the global warming hoax by varying degrees.

Despite an intense, decades-long propaganda campaign, coupled with indoctrination in our nation's schools, the truth is beginning to emerge. In March, an international conference on climate change organized by The Heartland Institute brought together over 500 of the world's leading climatologists, meteorologists, economists and others for three days of seminars and presentations that completely refuted the pronouncements of the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and disputed the lies of Al Gore's famed "documentary."

As recently as July 8th, the Space and Science Research Center held a news conference in which it stated that the warming that has occurred since the end of the Little Ice Age in 1850 was completely natural, i.e., had nothing to do with human or industrial activity. More significantly, the Center went on record saying that, "After an exhaustive review of a substantial body of climate research, and in conjunction with the obvious and compelling new evidence that exists, it is time that the world community acknowledges that the Earth has begun the next climate change." The current warming period is not only at an end, but a distinct cooling cycle has begun and will bring "predominantly colder global temperatures for many years into the future."

Just how crazed has the environmental movement become? On July 7th it was announced that Argentine scientists have been strapping plastic tanks to the backs of cows to collect and measure how much methane gas they produce. Methane, like carbon dioxide, is a minor component of the Earth's atmosphere. Methane is also released from swamps, landfills and other sources. If it and CO2 played a significant role in determining the world's climate, it would be a cause for concern, but it is the Sun that primarily drives the Earth's climate cycles. Solar activity has gone quiet in recent years as fewer and fewer sunspots, magnetic storms, have been seen.

To maintain the global warming hoax, thousands of events and natural phenomena have been blamed on it. A recent example is the floods in America's mid-West. The National Wildlife Federation released a statement on July 1st blaming global warming.

Climate experts at The Heartland Institute were quick to respond. Dr. Joseph D'Aleo, Executive Director of the International Climate and Environmental Change Assessment Project, said, "Alarmists have adopted the can't-lose position that all extremes of weather - cold, warm, wet, or dry - are all due to global warming", adding that, "The record snows, severe weather, and heavy rainfall have been the result of rapid cooling in the northern tier of the United States and Canada, not global warming."

Early in July, Bret Stephens, writing in The Wall Street Journal, called global warming "a mass hysteria phenomenon", noting that "NASA now begrudgingly confirms that the hottest year on record in the continental 48 was not 1998, as previously believed, but 1934, and that six of the 10 hottest years since 1880 antedate 1954. Data from 3,000 scientific robots in the world's oceans show there has been slight cooling in the past five years."

The global warming hoax has never been about the climate. It is about competing economic theories. "Socialism may have failed as an economic theory," wrote Stephens, "but global warming alarmism, with its dire warnings about the consequences of industry and consumerism, is equally a rebuke to capitalism." The United States Senate refused to consider the UN Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that requires massive reductions in carbon dioxide emissions based solely on the global warming hoax, but other nations did sign on. None have ever met their obligation to limit CO2 emissions, nor need they have bothered.

At the recent G8 conference an international agreement to cut CO2 emissions was given serious consideration despite the fact that the Earth is now a decade into a cooling cycle likely to last several decades or longer. The impact of this proposal on the lives of ordinary citizens will prove needlessly costly. Proposals in some nations for various taxes based on global warming are a form of fraud.

The sensible refusal by leaders in emerging economies such as China and India would make it impossible for any limitations on carbon emissions by Western nations to have any impact, even if such reductions had anything to do with the realities of the Earth's climate. The only thing that can be predicted with certainty is that the Greens will become increasingly unhinged and crazed by the failure of the global warming hoax.



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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

NYT yearns for that good old, long-lost consensus

At last they admit that there is no consensus -- but they lament that fact as a bad thing -- because it tends to "confuse" people. Dr Goebbels would agree. Intellectual diversity and debate are OUT! Excerpt:

When science is testing new ideas, the result is often a two-papers-forward-one-paper-back intellectual tussle among competing research teams. When the work touches on issues that worry the public, affect the economy or polarize politics, the news media and advocates of all stripes dive in. Under nonstop scrutiny, conflicting findings can make news coverage veer from one extreme to another, resulting in a kind of journalistic whiplash for the public.

This has been true for decades in health coverage. But lately the phenomenon has been glaringly apparent on the global warming beat. Discordant findings have come in quick succession. How fast is Greenland shedding ice? Did human-caused warming wipe out frogs in the American tropics? Has warming strengthened hurricanes? Have the oceans stopped warming? These questions endure even as the basic theory of a rising human influence on climate has steadily solidified: accumulating greenhouse gases will warm the world, erode ice sheets, raise seas and have big impacts on biology and human affairs.

Scientists see persistent disputes as the normal stuttering journey toward improved understanding of how the world works. But many fear that the herky-jerky trajectory is distracting the public from the undisputed basics and blocking change. "One of the things that troubles me most is that the rapid-fire publication of unsettled results in highly visible venues creates the impression that the scientific community has no idea what's going on," said W. Tad Pfeffer, an expert on Greenland's ice sheets at the University of Colorado. "Each new paper negates or repudiates something emphatically asserted in a previous paper," Dr. Pfeffer said. "The public is obviously picking up on this not as an evolution of objective scientific understanding but as a proliferation of contradictory opinions."

Several experts on the media and risk said that one result could be public disengagement with the climate issue just as experts are saying ever more forcefully that sustained attention and action are needed to limit the worst risks. Recent polls in the United States and Britain show that the public remains substantially divided and confused over what is happening and what to do. Some environmentalists have blamed energy-dependent industries and the news media for stalemates on climate policy, arguing that they perpetuate a false sense of uncertainty about the basic problem.


Valuable seagrass faces global warming threat

More bunk! If sea temp were really rising, the sea grass would adjust by favoring warm-loving species. That's how sea grass survived the much larger temp swings of the past 1000 years

Seagrass meadows, which are vital for the survival of much marine life and a source of household materials in Europe and Africa, face a mounting threat from global warming, a report said on Friday.

The report, from the Swiss-based International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), said the submerged meadows -- many around the Mediterranean -- could be saved through concerted action by governments and scientists."Seagrass habitats are already declining due to increasing water temperatures, algae (seaweed) growth and light reduction, which are all effects of global change," said IUCN specialist Mats Bjork, one of the authors of the report.

The report said the grass -- flowering plants found in shallow waters around the globe -- provides food and shelter for prawn and fish populations and is used traditionally as mattress filling, roof covering and for medicines.If much of it were to disappear, a wide range of species -- including dugongs, sea turtles, sea urchins and seabirds who feed on it -- would also come under increased threat, according to the report.

The report said some of the healthiest seagrass areas known to exist today were off the North African coast of Libya and Tunisia in areas where there had been little industrial or tourism development. Carl Gustaf Lundin, head of IUCN's Global Marine Program, said the meadows could be saved by making seagrass more resilient to climbing temperatures through mixing genetically more diverse populations.

The report, issued at a conference in Barcelona, said the introduction of protected areas and linking the underwater meadows to nearby mangrove plantations or coral reefs would also give a huge boost to their chances of survival. Lundin said it was also vital to extend research into how seagrass can be protected -- a effort already promoted by IUCN that would require governments and scientific institutions to devote resources and time.


Global warming disputed in New Zealand court case

A verdict against a wind farm could have wide interest

Cited environmental benefits of Meridian Energy's proposed Project Hayes wind farm were based on misleading scientific information, an Environment Court appeal hearing in Cromwell was told yesterday. Prof Bob Carter, of Queensland, Australia, appeared as a witness for appellant Roch Sullivan to give evidence at the hearing on issues of climate change.

Prof Carter said the Government's justification of its support of Project Hayes - in order to reduce global warming - was a waste of time and money. "No significant increase in global average temperature has occurred since 1998 despite an increase in carbon dioxide over the same period of about 5%."

Information used by Meridian and the Government to justify the relatively expensive development of wind energy was based on reports made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which suggested fossil-fuelled energy generation created global warming, he said. The IPCC's processes were flawed and there was a large body of independent scientists around the world who discounted its policies on climate change, Prof Carter said.

"There are alternative, very soundly based views on the effects of carbon dioxide and warming of the climate. "A human effect on global climate change has not yet been distinguished and measured . . . meanwhile, global temperature change is occurring, as it always naturally does, and a phase of cooling has succeeded the mild late 20th century warming," he said.

Prof Carter said the available scientific data on global warming did not justify the belief carbon dioxide emission controls could be used as a means of managing or stopping future climate change, which the Government believed Project Hayes could do. Therefore, the Government's notion of global warming, which prompted its 10-year moratorium on new fossil fuel power stations, would cost taxpayers dearly for no additional environmental benefit, he said.

Changes in temperature preceded parallel changes in carbon dioxide and, therefore, carbon dioxide could not be the primary driver of global temperature change, he said. "Natural climate change will continue with some of its likely manifestations, such as sea-level rises and coastal change in particular locations. Adaptation to that will not be aided by imprudent restructuring of the world's energy," he said.


Is the electric car "cure" worse than the AGW "problem"?

As Curt points out in his post a round up of the AGW and energy news, the debate is raging in Australia, where they are finding resistance to their AGW mandates in the wake of Dave Evans (the man who designed FullCAM - the model that measures Australia's compliance with the Kyoto Protocol) - switch from proponent to skeptic

Meanwhile, enviros and agenda driven pols around the world do their level best to halt any constructive means of affordable, clean energy production, as well as increasing the world's supply of oil.

There's no dearth of "cures" offered by "the debate is settled" crowd. And one of these is everyone's favorite - the electric car. To this I can only say. where is the logic? To draw the parallel between the "problem" and "cure", we need to talk water vapor. According to the pro AGW EurCarbon
Greenhouse gases (GHG) are gaseous components of the atmosphere that contribute to the greenhouse effect. The major natural greenhouse gases are water vapor, which causes about 36-70% of the greenhouse effect on Earth (not including clouds); carbon dioxide, which causes between 9-26%; and ozone, which causes between 3-7%, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride, and chlorofluorocarbons. The greenhouse gases, once in the atmosphere, do not remain there eternally. They can be withdrawn from the atmosphere:

Some of the beef of many skeptics is that water vapor is not included as mitigating factor in the IPCC's "consensus" of perceived global warming - now called "climate change" since the 10 year global cooling, most likely to protect the activists/alarmists' credibility.

EurCarbon argues that naturally occuring water vapor isn't a factor since it's duration in the atmostphere is short term (days) and is removed via condensation and precipitation (assuming that we are not in drought conditions, I would guess) while CO2/carbon dioxide is a variable. Again, according to them.
CO2 duration stay is variable (approximately 200-450 years) and its global warming potential (GWP) is defined as 1.
Methane duration stay is 12 +/- 3 years and a GWP of 22 (meaning that it has 22 times the warming ability of carbon dioxide)
Nitrous oxide has a duration stay of 120 years and a GWP of 310
CFC-12 has a duration stay of 102 years and a GWP between 6200 and 7100
HCFC-22 has a duration stay of 12.1 years and a GWP between 1300 and 1400
Tetrafluoromethane has a duration stay of 50,000 years and a GWP of 6500
Sulfur hexafluoride has a duration stay of 3,200 years and a GWP of 23900.

Despite CO2s low rating, and ratio compared to water vapor, per the pro AGW proponents, it's the main culprit attacked. Which now brings me to one of their solutions. electric cars for everyone. Yet the hydrogen/electric car engineering emits. uh. water vapor. the single largest greenhouse gas effect. Should the world revert to all electric cars, that's a lot of water vapor emitted that is dependent on condensation and rain for removal.

So the question that comes to my mind. just what bright lightbulb thinks it's a great idea to change the world to cars emitting an increased amount of water vapor (the largest contributor to warming), and then depend on preciptation to remove that water vapor?

Let's pile on more to their arguments. AGW proponents seem to suggest that our action is necessary to reduce reduce tropical storm activity (BS in itself) and other weather disasters Yet those typhoons and hurricanes they wish to control are a natural factor in cleaning out the high content of water vapor, burying it in the oceans. And if we're adding more water vapor to the atmosphere, exactly how do they propose this will dissipate without falling back to the earth, producing more violent snow and rain storms, flooding, and other natural disasters?

This strikes me as counterproductive, especially since they are talking about adding massive amounts of water vapor with the electric car emissions. In fact, this whole notion seems to run contrary to AGU's explanation of Water Vapor in the Climate System.

Much more here

Global warming, yeah right, it's cold!

Comment from Canada

Well "Juneuary" is long over up here and we finally had a bit of sun in July. Never had I seen a colder spring. Last year was bad enough. Two springs in a row that "frosted the pumpkin" so to speak.

Utility bills not a whole lot different than winter even! And thanks to Gordo Campbell's "Save the Earth by sticking it to the taxpayer" philosophy which has brought down not one, but two separate energy taxes complete with wasteful bureaucracy gobbling it all up, the provincial government is even more pocket-emptying than before.

Enough of that. I even burnt all of my firewood the last two years for the very first time. Global warming my arse - more like a fulfillment of the old "Nuclear Winter" theory I'd say. That without the bombs even going off! So I finally got around to getting the firewood and am left wondering how soon the government is gonna get us there? Sooner rather than later I'd guess. Anyhow, here the Newfie neighbour gal is walking by and says as I'm splitting the timber, "Once you get yer summer firewood in, you can start on your winter wood!" Newfies tell it like it is!

This spring was just a horrific extension of winter says me. And as if I need further proof I goes down to the Marble River in mid-July for a swim. Well, the toes were tingling and the hairs on my legs were standing up - even under the water! And then I hit waist deep. By golly the family jewels shot up so high I looked like I had two Adam's apples for a while, eh? Couple of icebergs could have floated by and it probably would have warmed her up a bit!

Yes sir, Newfie Bob said it best, "Ever since they started babbling about this global warming theory I haven't been warm since!" But my kid and others tell us different, "That's all part of global warming too Dad," he says. I say that's a pretty indestructible theory to be sure. No doubt we are all gonna freeze to death from global warming.

That's what they'll write down in history they will. I just hope that ol' Suzuki and Gore start prophesying about global cooling sometime soon cause then sure as heck, we'll have a heat wave that will warm us up real fine like we both want and need.

Suzuki and Gore should have lived in Old Testament times I figures. When you prophesied back then in Hebrew Land, you had to deliver or you would get a free ticket to a very painful sort of rock concert where you were both the star and would also soon be seeing stars!


An orgy of climate self-satisfaction

A mocking comment from Stephen Matchett in Australia

The world is heating up because people are running their airconditioners too high, driving their four-wheel drives too fast and turning on TiVo. As the planet warms up, tide and tempest, flood and fire, plague and - you get the idea - will engulf us. Already global gloomsters are inviting the four horsepersons of the apocalypse to come and punish us for our conspicuous consumption, the way we use coal-fired power stations to run toasters, that sort of thing.

So it's fortunate that when it comes to doing something we have a Prime Minister who tells us what he is going to do, in many languages. And this time he actually remembered to stop talking long enough to act, commissioning economist Ross Garnaut and a bunch of brainy bureaucrats to work out how we can slow global warming.

And what they say is we must cut our carbon emissions in ways that only economists and the experts who blog at will ever understand. (Before I get an aggrieved email from Climate Change Minister Penny Wong's office I know the Government's response to Garnaut was a green, not a white paper, which means they have put all the politically poisonous bits in it they will later take out; but as nobody appears to have read the document they may as well have called it a puce paper for all the colour scheme signifies.)

Still, even though few have a clue what it all means everybody is delighted that Australia is leading the way in saving the planet. Everybody that is, except aggrieved industrialists and annoyed unionists who think the Government plans to do too much and greens who are convinced it is not doing enough, because only alternative energy isn't evil.

Still, the rest of us seem pretty pleased. After years of people demanding that somebody does something about the weather, somebody is. The problem is that we do not have a snowflake's in the global greenhouse chance of doing anything effective about the world's slide to ecological oblivion. While we use more energy than people whose primary power comes from dried cow dung, there are not very many of us. Australia could cut carbon emissions to zero without moving the global warming weather vane.

But let's not allow a little thing like reality to get in the way of cutting carbon. It's time we were punished for our acts of power profligacy, such as the environmental vandalism of forgetting to turn the outside light off at bedtime. So it's generous of the Government to make us - well, some of us - feel better by slugging us for the cost of carbon. And you know the pain will do us good, because emitters are upset. People who own power stations are demanding carbon credits on the grounds that change is so stressful.

There is outrage in the LNG industry because a carbon tax will make it harder to boast about ever increasing annual profits. Then there are the unions and the inevitable activists in the welfare industry who are demanding compensation for, you guessed it, working families, basically because this is their standard response to every event, from global warming to the price of potatoes.

And because the Government's green-ness does not extend to its electoral instincts, emitters, unions and activists will get the carbon compensation they demand. The chance of anything other than a carbon tax on petrol before the next, or for that matter any, election is as likely as Brendan Nelson abandoning aphorisms for English in his speeches. It's also the reason why the puce, sorry green, paper proposes parliament will decide our annual carbon emissions.

You can imagine the outcome after lobbyists get into the ears of members and senators. We will have industry exemptions and concessions for working families and farmers. And of course government MPs with marginal seats will all want headlines in thelocal papers, of the "MP saves area fromwhatever this carbon thing is all about"variety.

By the time the snouts rise from the carbon trough emissions are likely to have increased: after all, saving the planet is one thing, saving the Government's hide is entirely another.



For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008


The NYT article below is so wrong on so many counts that it is difficult to know where to start in deconstructing it. It has basically swallowed Al Gore's poop whole and yet shows no sign of indigestion. Monckton tells me that he has a comprehensive demolition of it coming out in Science & Public Policy so I will at this stage just append a few desultory comments at the foot of the article

Greenland's ice sheet represents one of global warming's most disturbing threats. The vast expanses of glaciers - massed, on average, 1.6 miles deep - contain enough water to raise sea levels worldwide by 23 feet. Should they melt or otherwise slip into the ocean, they would flood coastal capitals, submerge tropical islands and generally redraw the world's atlases. The infusion of fresh water could slow or shut down the ocean's currents, plunging Europe into bitter winter.

Yet for the residents of the frozen island, the early stages of climate change promise more good, in at least one important sense, than bad. A Danish protectorate since 1721, Greenland has long sought to cut its ties with its colonizer. But while proponents of complete independence face little opposition at home or in Copenhagen, they haven't been able to overcome one crucial calculation: the country depends on Danish assistance for more than 40 percent of its gross domestic product. "The independence wish has always been there," says Aleqa Hammond, Greenland's minister for finance and foreign affairs. "The reason we have never realized it is because of the economics."

Climate change has the power to unsettle boundaries and shake up geopolitics, usually for the worse. In June, the tiny South Pacific nation of Kiribati announced that rising sea levels were making its lands uninhabitable and asked for help in evacuating its population. Bangladesh, low-lying, crowded and desperately impoverished, is watching the waves as well; a one-yard rise would flood a seventh of its territory. But while most of the world sees only peril in the island's meltwater, Greenland's independence movement has explicitly tied its fortunes to the warming of the globe.

The island's ice cover has already begun to disappear. "Changes in the ocean eat the ice sheet from underneath," says Sarah Das, a glaciologist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. "Warmer water causes the glaciers to calve and melt back more quickly." Hunters who use the frozen surface of the winter ocean for hunting and travel have found themselves idle when the ice fails to form. The whales, seals and birds they hunt have begun to shift their migratory patterns. "The traditional culture will be hard hit," says Jesper Madsen, director of the department of Arctic environment at the University of Aarhus in Denmark. "But from an overall perspective, it will have a positive effect." Greenland's fishermen are applauding the return of warm-water cod. Shops in the island's capital have suddenly begun to offer locally produced potatoes and broccoli - crops unimaginable a few years earlier.

But the real promise lies in what may be found under the ice. Near the town of Uummannaq, about halfway up Greenland's coast, retreating glaciers have uncovered pockets of lead and zinc. Gold and diamond prospectors have flooded the island's south. Alcoa is preparing to build a large aluminum smelter. The island's minerals are becoming more accessible even as global commodity prices are soaring. And with more than 80 percent of the land currently iced over, the hope is that the island has just begun to reveal its riches.

Offshore, where the Arctic Ocean is rapidly thawing, expectations are even higher. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that Greenland's northeastern waters could contain 31 billion barrels of undiscovered oil and gas. On the other side of the island, the waters separating it from Canada could yield billions of barrels more. And while Greenland is still considered an oil exploration frontier, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Canada's Husky Energy and Cairn Energy and Sweden's PA Resources are aleady ramping up exploration.


The claims above show that the author needs to learn some history, climatology, geology, glaciology and oceanography. No such problems happened 1,000 years ago when the Vikings farmed coastal parts of Greenland that are now under ice. Why was the place given the name "Greenland" in the first place?

The bulk of the Ice Sheet sits in a depression in the ground so it cannot "slip" into the ocean. Complete melting of the ice sheet would require global temperature to rise by more than 3 degrees C and to stay that high for thousands of years. Decades have passed since climatologists disproved the urban myth that the Gulf Stream keeps Europe warm: the jet streams produce that warming. The ocean circulation is powered by winds that get their energy from the Sun so they cannot "shut down" unless the Sun disappears.

The scientific studies of up to a year ago that refute the idea of a Greenland melt

The IPCC and various independent sources give estimates of sea-level rise based on recent Greenland rates of melting ranging from zero to little more than ONE INCH over the current century. Only the Gory brain and the NYT talk of 23 feet.

If there is glacial shrinkage in Greenland it is more likely due to global cooling than global warming. It's just basic physics but Greenies ignore that: Since the temp of most glaciated areas is well below 0 degrees Celsius, the major determinant of glacial mass is precipitation. And what drives precipitation? Sea surface temperature! Warm seas give off more evaporation -- and hence precipitation -- and cool seas give off less. So lesser glacial mass and hence lesser precipitation implies global COOLING! And since the world has in fact been cooling for nearly two years now, some glacial shrinkage could be expected as a result of that.

Snapshot of past climate reveals no ice in Antarctica millions of years ago

It was all those goddam SUVs they had back then

The study suggests that Antarctica at that time was yet to develop extensive ice sheets. Back then, New Zealand was about 1100 km further south, at the same latitude as the southern tip of South America - so was closer to Antarctica - but the researchers found that the water temperature was 23-25øC at the sea surface and 11-13øC at the bottom.

"This is too warm to be the Antarctic water we know today," said Dr Catherine (Cat) Burgess from Cardiff University's School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, and lead-author of the paper. "And the seawater chemistry shows there was little or no ice on the planet."

These new insights come from the chemical analysis of exceptionally well preserved fossils of marine micro-organisms called foraminifers, discovered in marine rocks from New Zealand. The researchers tested the calcium carbonate shells from these fossils, which were found in 40 million-year-old sediments on a cliff face at Hampden Beach, South Island.

"Because the fossils are so well preserved, they provide more accurate temperature records." added Dr Burgess. "Our findings demonstrate that the water temperature these creatures lived in was much warmer than previous records have shown."

"Although we did not measure carbon dioxide, several studies suggest that greenhouse gases forty million years ago were similar to those levels that are forecast for the end of this century and beyond.

Our work provides another piece of evidence that, in a time period with relatively high carbon dioxide levels, temperatures were higher and ice sheets were much smaller and likely to have been completely absent."

The rock sequence from the cliff face covers a time span of 70,000 years and shows cyclical temperature variations with a period of about 18,000 years. The temperature oscillation is likely to be related to the Earth's orbital patterns.


Wind power is responsible for a LOT of CO2 emissions!

The Brits have a goal of getting 30% of their electricity from the wind in 12 years. But the wind is not reliable. A backup will be needed. Which led to a study headed by James Oswald, an engineering consultant and former head of research and development at Rolls Royce Turbines.

He said: "Wind power does not obviate the need for fossil fuel plants, which will continue to be indispensable. The problem is that wind power volatility requires fossil fuel plant to be switched on and off, which damages them and means that even more plants will have to be built. Carbon savings will be less than expected, because cheaper, less efficient plant will be used to support these wind power fluctuations. Neither these extra costs nor the increased carbon production are being taken into account in the government figures for wind power."

Lewis Page of the Register interviewed Oswald. Page wrote: "The trouble is, according to Oswald, that human demand variance is predictable and smooth compared to wind output variance. Coping with the sudden ups and downs of wind is going to mean a lot more gas turbines - ones which will be thrashed especially hard as wind output surges up and down, and which will be fired up for less of the time."

Every generation wants to save the world from some calamity, usually depicted as karma for man's sin. The nature of the sin varies - Sodom and Gomorrah had no SUVs - but the call is the same: Repent and sin no more and save the world.


AlGore in fantasy land

In a Washington speech last week, former Vice President Al Gore argued that America can produce "affordable" 100 percent carbon-free electricity within 10 years. My question: Why not five years? As long as Gore sees virtue in proposing completely unrealistic solutions, as in moving America from getting 3 percent to all of its electricity from renewable energy sources in a mere decade, wouldn't five years be twice as good?

And it matters that Gore is all wet because the longer Washington pols live in energy la-la land, the loonier and more costly America's energy situation becomes.

For decades, Democrats have dominated the debate, as they argued that Americans could become more energy independent, not by increasing oil production, but by focusing on producing more renewable energy. The result, as energy entrepreneur T. Boone Pickens so aptly points out, is a huge spike in the percentage of foreign oil America imports, from 24 percent in 1970 to almost 70 percent today.

Oh, yeah, and while we weren't expanding drilling to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge or off the California and Florida coasts, Americans continued to buy gas-guzzling cars as they waited for miracle cars to magically appear. Until one day, prices at the pump jumped the $4 per gallon mark.

Let me be clear: A smart energy policy must include incentives to increase the development and production of wind, solar and geothermal power, as well as other alternative sources of energy. The serious advocate for carbon-free, affordable power would include nuclear power, which provides 20 percent of America's electricity, and cleanly, into the mix.

But because America's need for fossil fuels will not go away in the next 10 or 20 or 30 years, it makes sense to drill domestically for oil to ease the pain to the red-white-and-blue pocket book. Also, more American oil production means sending fewer petro-dollars abroad.

As for Plan Gore, while the goal will be reached some day, it won't be on his timetable. Today, industry can't keep up with the present demand for wind turbines. The electricity grid needs improvements to carry renewable energy where it is needed. And the infrastructure changes necessary to retool power plants don't happen overnight.

Most important: In the real world, American utilities are not going to dismantle the coal and natural-gas power plants that provide more than 70 percent of America's electricity. It simply is not going to happen because consumers won't want to pay for it.

Gore estimates that his plan can be implemented at a cost of between $1.5 trillion and $3 trillion. That does not jibe with Pickens' estimate that it would cost $1 trillion to generate 20 percent of America's power with wind power with an extra $200 billion to update the electric grid. U.S. News "Capital Commerce" columnist James Pethokoukis extrapolated the numbers and figured $5 trillion for Plan Gore is more like it: "That would be like creating another Japan. Or fighting World War II all over again."

Pickens knows more about energy production than AlGore. Since he operates in the energy business in the real world and not in fantasy land he has to use assumptions that have some basis in fact. AlGore assumptions appear to be pulled from the nether regions.

My one disappointment with Pickens is that he has adopted the Democrat slogan, which is more a policy than a fact, that we can't drill our way out of this. We may not want to drill our way out of it, but we will not get out of the energy bind if we don't drill in every domestic area we can. It is just not smart not to drill in ANWR and offshore. It is not smart to not develop shale oil. It is not smart to oppose nuclear power. It is not smart to oppose coal plants.

Investing in alternatives is OK, but it is not going to pull us out of the energy shortage. If hotair were the answer Democrats could keep windmills turning when nature was taking a rest.

The one good thing about the Democrat opposition to energy production is that it is losing them votes and might get them out of power. That would do more for energy production than a million windmills.



Dr. Kunihiko Takeda is vice-chancellor of the Institute of Science and Technology Research at Chubu University in Japan. His 2008 book "Hypocritical Ecology," has been flying off shelves at the speed of 100,000 a month since being published this June 2008. Kunihiko is one of the world's leading authorities on both uranium enrichment and recycling and is a member of just about every prestigious academic and governmental entity. He has stayed independent and made a career out of challenging the establishment. He was also vice deputy president at the Shibaura Institute of Technology before joining Nagoya University in 2002.

In June 2008, another top Japanese Scientist, Dr. Kiminori Itoh called warming fears the `worst scientific scandal in the history'. Itoh is an environmental physical chemist who specializes in optical waveguide spectroscopy from the Yokohama National University. He also contributed to the 2007 UN IPCC AR4 (fourth assessment report) as an expert reviewer.

The excerpts below are from a summary of Prof. Takeda's thinking:

Our future is bright as long as we stop recycling old ideas and things. The new paradigm is always better than the one before: Our air, water and food quality are higher than in previous generations, and our life expectancy longer. There's no need to worry: Humans are smart.

Recycling is rubbish: It eats more energy and creates more waste than burning our garbage in high-tech incinerators. The most efficient way of getting rid of garbage is burning it all together. Why? Because in raw garbage, plastics turn into their own fuel so you don't need to add anything else. Aluminum and steel should be recycled, though, as we need less energy for that than to produce them from scratch.

Fear is a very efficient weapon: It produces the desired effect without much waste. Global warming has nothing to do with how much CO2 is produced or what we do here on Earth. For millions of years, solar activity has been controlling temperatures on Earth and even now, the sun controls how high the mercury goes. CO2 emissions make absolutely no difference one way or another. Soon it will cool down anyhow, once again, regardless of what we do. Every scientist knows this, but it doesn't pay to say so. What makes a whole lot of economic and political sense is to blame global warming on humans and create laws that keep the status quo and prevent up-and-coming nations from developing. Global warming, as a political vehicle, keeps Europeans in the driver's seat and developing nations walking barefoot.

Criticizing previous ideals is natural. In the 1930s, militarism was considered best; in the 1960s, mass production and mass consumerism. Then in the 1990s the main topic was the environment. Every 30 years we switch what we believe in. This paradigm will pass, too.

Look beyond what governments tell you. Some praise ethanol as a substitute for oil, but making fuel out of corn makes sense only if you want to increase the price of corn and fuel at the same time. In order to grow corn, one needs lots of fuel and once the corn is ready, instead of becoming a nice meal, it gets picked and turned back into fuel again. This is just a way to purposely create a food and energy shortage until only the very rich can afford to eat and move.

Consumerism marketed as environmental consciousness is the worst. Take the "My Hashi" campaign for example (buying and carrying reusable chopsticks rather than using disposable ones). Chopsticks should be made out of the unnecessary branches that are cut to help trees grow bigger and healthier. Instead of burning those branches, we should make chopsticks. That would be good for both the trees and us.

The energy crisis is nothing to sweat about. We will run out of fossil fuel within 40 years if consumption continues at today's rate but by that time, nuclear power plants will be even safer and more efficient. Solar and wind energy will never be enough, but nuclear fusion technology will be more advanced, and new, as-yet-unknown energy sources will be developed. No need to worry at all, and no need to save energy, either.

Public transport not much of a solution to anything these days

Comment from Australia

PUBLIC transport is often recommended as a solution to congestion in our cities and as a way of reducing the fuel costs of working families. Two cautions are needed regarding this suggestion. First is the increased cost to governments from any increase in public transport patronage. Victoria has been successful in increasing annual passenger trips from 351 million in 2001 to 383 million in 2005, but the public transport budget has also increased from $1.34 billion to $1.92 billion over the same period. This works out to a cost of $19 for every trip increase, and is much higher than the average public transport subsidy for the entire Melbourne network of trains, trams and buses of about $4 a passenger trip.

The second caution, and this sounds counter-intuitive, is that increased public transport patronage will probably decrease social equity. Australian Bureau of Statistics surveys of household expenditures have found that the upper 20 per cent income group spend about three to four times more on public transport than the lower 20 per cent income group, probably because most of the present public transport infrastructure is located in high-income inner and middle suburbs and most public transport trips are made into the central business district by higher income managerial and office workers. In other words, the subsidies state governments provide to public transport are going mainly to higher income groups, whereas other expenditures on education and health are much more equitably based.

Given that governments have only limited budgets, any increase in public transport expenditure would lead to lower expenditure on health and education, and thereby to reduced income transfers to lower income groups. There is also the social inequity of residents in country areas paying taxes to subsidise further increases in huge metropolitan public transport expenditures in Australia, which are already of the order of $4.5 billion a year.

It may surprise some, but public transport was a profitable business for governments in the 1950s, when passenger trips reached 1500 million journeys a year. The rise of the motor car, mainly because of a tenfold decrease in vehicle operating costs, meant public transport trips dropped to just over 800 million journeys in the '80s, despite a doubling of the population. They have increased slightly in total numbers during the present decade, but not on a per capita basis. This shift away from public transport was a classic case of a newer technology providing a cheaper and quicker transport mode that took market share from the slower transport mode, just as railways took away market share from the horse and carriage and planes are taking market share from cars on interstate travel. The decline in public transport share has been even more noticeable for rural passenger travel: the quantity of rail trips has decreased from 60 per cent in the '50s to 2 per cent today.

Public transport is still economically viable in some markets, such as radial journey-to-work trips to the CBD and for education trips, while cars have their own particular passenger markets, such as circumferential journey-to-work trips and shopping, social and business trips. It is difficult to see that this market differentiation will change by either mode capturing market share from the other in the future. In fact the experience of Seattle is that significantly increasing public transport facilities and patronage does not reduce car trips or congestion but increases the total amount of urban trips taken.

One of the inevitable trends when new technology triggers the development of a new infrastructure network for trains, cars, planes or, most recently, the broadband network, is that the substitution of one mode for another follows a particular model that is independent of different political and economic systems. Like sailing ships and the horse and carriage, public transport will not come back to regain market share and we will probably see public transport trips in Australia continue to decline as a percentage of all trips taken.

The most promising avenue for decreasing fuel costs for working families and reducing congestion costs lies in new technological developments that will provide us with a cheaper and quicker method of communicating with each other. The transport substitute of telecommunications has allowed many of us not to visit banks (internet banking), libraries (Google), shops (internet sales), entertainment centres (broadband) and people (Facebook). Telecommuting saves journeys to work while salesmen's visits are abbreviated because of websites with details of every companies' wares. Reducing urban congestion and family fuel costs will probably depend on how quickly the broadband infrastructure network takes market share away from rail, road and airport networks.



For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Progression of Solar Cycle 23/24 Minimum

By Geologist David Archibald

Jan Janssens of the Belgian Solar Section has kindly updated his graphs on the progression of the current minimum.

Jan Janssens' Comments: According to the spotless-day-method, the current cycle transit mimics much better the transit of the old cycles 10-15 than that of the more recent cycles 16-23. Thus, a minimum could be expected in July 2009 +/- 6 months. According to the old-new-groups-method, SC23 seems to change tracks as expected. It is heading for a better tracking of the old cycles rather than that of the more recent ones. SC24 continues to follow the very slow rise of the old cycles. Both evolutions indicate a break-even of the old/new groups at year's turn, with a minimum in November 2008 +/- 6 months. No change from my initial prediction on 19 April 2008.

This is a Jan Janssens graph that I have annotated. Solar Cycle 23-24 minimum is tracking along with Solar Cycles 11 to 14 from the 19th Century. A 13.6 year length for Solar Cycle 23, equivalent to Solar Cycle 4, is within the realms of possibility. The reason why we are interested in the month of solar minimum is because it is the first physical sign of the potential amplitude of Solar Cycle 24, which in turn has climate consequences. It is apparent that Solar Cycle 23 is a long one. I agree with Jan Janssens' spotless day-derived result of month of minimum being July 2009. If Solar Cycle 24 is as weak as I think it will be, then it will have a slow ramp up - much slower than the late 19th century cycles used for comparison.

This leads to another point. Solar cycles generally have four years of rise and seven years of decline. Solar Cycle 5 (the first half of the Dalton Minimum) had 6.9 years of rise and 5.4 years of decline. If Solar Cycle 24 mimics Solar Cycle 4 in this way, then year of maximum will be 2016, four years after the latest estimate from NASA's solar prediction panel. There is another interesting parallel with the late 18th century. Solar Cycle 3 was an ultra short one at 9.2 years, much the same as Solar Cycle 22 at 9.6 years.

Climatic Impact: Each day's passing of anemic Solar Cycle 24 sunspot activity reinforces the imminent cooling.


Some frank talk from a major German windfarmer

E.on is Germany's largest utility company. Here is their 2005 Wind Report in pdf. I would recommend to everyone to read it. Sometimes they can use the wind power and sometimes they can't, and because their effective usage is so low, they have to keep building traditional power plants. In 2004 the average feed-in to the grid varied between about one third and zero percent of the load. Obviously that sort of performance places upper limits on usage. I quote:
As wind power capacity rises, the lower availability of the wind farms determines the reliability of the system as a whole to an ever increasing extent. Consequently the greater reliability of traditional power stations becomes increasingly eclipsed.

As a result, the relative contribution of wind power to the guaranteed capacity of our supply system up to the year 2020 will fall continuously to around 4% (FIGURE 7). In concrete terms, this means that in 2020, with a forecast wind power capacity of over 48,000MW (Source: dena grid study), 2,000MW of traditional power production can be replaced by these wind farms.

The rest of the report comments on the grid problems and the need for specialized control of wind turbines, plus upgrade of the transmission lines and grid to deal with the pulsing of wind power. They have invested in programs to predict and control it, but they haven't produced much effect. Now they are looking to replace the older turbines with newer, taller ones and to move offshore for more reliable winds. At the end of the report they discuss the potential for grid instability, and cheerfully note that if they are not careful, they may blow up pieces of the Polish, Netherlands and Czech power supply.


Hey kids! Be a "Climate Cop" - rat on your family, friends, and classmates

Note: I don't normally allow the discussion of things related to Nazi Germany here, including discouraging the use of the word "denier" due to it's "Holocaust Denier" connotations. But this full page ad in the Sunday papers in Britain, touting "climate crime" and "climate cops" is just a bit over the top, and deserves some attention. It is particularly relevant since the sponsoring website has a teachers section, and we've just seen some sensibility from Schwarzenegger in Sacramento on this very issue.

I find this method of indoctrinating school children to normal everyday living being harmful to the earth with the "climate crime" connotation as distasteful and wrong-headed. I have no problems with energy conservation, in fact I encourage it. But combining such advice with a "climate cop" idea is the wrong way to get the message across. Can you imagine what sort of reaction the neighbors will have to the kids hanging this door hanger on their front door? Will the result of this now be hiding your electric dryer behind false walls so the kids and neighbors don't see it?

Reposted from the website EU referendum:

Can I be the only one more than a little disturbed by the latest campaign to be fronted by energy company npower? Launched today with large colour ads in the Sundays, it appeals directly to children, urging them to enlist as "climate cops", to root out "climate crimes", and thus "save the planet".

In a luridly-designed website, mimicking the style of "yoof" cartoons, it offers a bundle of downloads, including a pack of "climate crime cards", urging its recruits to spy on families, friends and relatives, inviting each of them to build up a "climate crime case file" in order to help them ensure their putative criminals do not "commit those crimes again (or else)!"

Quite what the "or else!" should be is not specified, but since the "climate cops" are being encouraged to keep detailed written records (for those who can read and write), there is nothing to stop these being submitted to the "Climate Cops HQ" for further sanctions, the repeat offenders being sent to re-education camps. And for those "climate cops" that successfully perform the "missions" set (or turn in their own parents), there is the reward of "training" in the "Climate Cop Academy".

In a system which has echoes of Hitler's Deutsches Jungvolk movement, and the Communist regime Pioneers, perhaps successful graduates can work up to becoming block wardens, then street and district "climate crime Fhrers", building a network of spies and informers. How nicely this ties in with James Hansen's call to put the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature, accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming.

No doubt, with a willing band of "climate cops", the prosecutors can spread their nets wider, reaching into the homes of all climate change deniers, until the insidious virus of doubt is exterminated (final solution, anyone?). Then we can all march on the sunlit uplands of a "carbon-free" planet - to the tune of Ode to Joy no doubt.


Governator vetoes climate change curriculum

California public students will stick to reading, writing and arithmetic, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger decided as he vetoed a bill late Friday that would have required climate change be added to schools' curriculum. The measure, sponsored by state Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, also would have required future science textbooks to include climate change as a subject.In January, the state Senate approved the bill, SB 908, by a 26-13 vote. Only two Republicans supported the proposal.

In his veto statement, Schwarzenegger said he supported education that spotlights the dangers of climate change. However, the Republican governor said he was opposed to educational mandates from Sacramento. "I continue to believe that the state should refrain from being overly prescriptive in specific school curriculum, beyond establishing rigorous academic standards," he said.

Schwarzenegger added that the state's Integrated Waste Management Board's Office of Education and Environment, along with California's Environmental Protection Agency, are creating an environmental curriculum for K-12 students that includes climate change issues.

Simitian had said his bill wouldn't dictate what to teach; rather, it would require the state Board of Education and state Department of Education to decide how the topic would be covered and which grades would study it. While global warming is included in high school classes as it pertains to weather, the subject is not required to be covered in all textbooks, according to the California Science Teachers Association.


Global warming more harmful to low-income minorities?

What bunk! ANY climate change, whether warming or cooling, whether natural or manmade, hurts low income groups (NOT minorities!). The reason is that it takes resources to adjust and adapt -- esp to a cooling.

This recalls the appallingly gloating European Parliament draft resolution post-Katrina noting that, now, long-anticipated impacts of global warming have been seen in that severe weather hit the poor in low-lying coastal areas the most. You see, before MMGW, storms used to proceed inland to hit rich white communities.

Blacks are more likely to be hurt by global warming than other Americans, according to a report issued Thursday. The report was authored by the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative, a climate justice advocacy group, and Redefining Progress, a nonprofit policy institute. It detailed various aspects of climate change, such as air pollution and rising temperatures, which it said disproportionately affect blacks, minorities and low-income communities in terms of poor health and economic loss.

Right now we have an opportunity to see climate change in a different light; to see it for what it is, a human rights issue on a dangerous collision course of race and class, said Nia Robinson, director of the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative. While it's an issue that affects all of us, like many other social justice issues, it is disproportionately affecting African-Americans, other people of color, low-income people and indigenous communities.

Heat-related deaths among blacks occur at a 150 to 200 percent greater rate than for non-Hispanic whites, the report said. It also reported that asthma, which has a strong correlation to air pollution, affects blacks at a 36 percent higher rate of incidence than whites.

Existing disparities between low-income communities and wealthier ones, such as high unemployment rates, are exacerbated by such negative effects of climate change as storms and floods, the report said.

Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Maryland, South Carolina and Alabama are in the Atlantic hurricane zone and are expected to be hit with more intense storms, similar to the caliber of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Those states also have the largest populations of black residents.

Better climate policy is needed to ensure environmental health and economic security for all U.S. citizens, said the report, which was released at a congressional briefing hosted by the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Task Force on Health and the Environment.

The report recommended imposing a fee, tax or allowance auction on polluters that would finance efforts to reduce global warming and would eliminate the financial burden on low-income and moderate-income households. It also proposed investing in energy efficiency and using polluter fees to invest in public utilities, such as schools.

It's my hope that climate change will serve as a starting point for engaging communities for bearing the brunt of this problem, said Robinson, who co-authored the report. Climate change not only brings harms to light, but also stresses the need for just equitable climate policy.

The report argues that a more just climate policy would benefit more than African-Americans and persons with low incomes.

The policies that are best for African-Americans are also best for all Americans and for the economy as a whole, said J. Andrew Hoerner, director of the sustainable economics program at Redefining Progress and co-author of report.


Honest scientist alert! Bad luck, not global warming to blame for brutal weather

How refreshing. Emanuel is proving to be an honest broker when it comes to the climate debate. He recently recanted his former views on warming and hurricanes

It's been odd, destructive and deadly, but climate experts say you can't blame the brutal weather that has slammed New England on your neighbor's SUV. "We can't link it with global warming," said Kerry Emanuel, professor of atmospheric science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "One of the robust predictions of global warming is that rainfall comes in heavier, but less frequent events. This hasn't been less frequent. I don't think you can blame the stuff we've seen this summer on global warming. It looks like were locked into a weather pattern."

Beth Hall, the former climatologist for the state of New Hampshire, who just took a teaching job at Towson University in Maryland, agreed with her MIT colleague."You can actually go back to the pre-global warming frenzy," she said. "There were just as bad floods back in the '30s. We're finding there are cases of this equally bad weather in the last 100 years. It kind of happens intermittently. We just went through a drought in the late '90s and everyone wanted to say it was global warming, but the droughts in the '30s and the '60s were more extreme than what we saw. Climatologists are seeing these much larger cyclical patterns to these events than just the increase in carbon dioxide is able to explain."

Emanuel said the weather sometimes gets locked in a certain pattern over a certain region. He said climatologists call these blocks. He said they can last anywhere from six weeks to three months. It appears the block of frequent, heavy rain we're experiencing started near the beginning of June, but if the block theory is correct, there's an end in sight. "The one we got locked into, it's been very rainy in the east and dry in the west," he said. "I don't know how much longer it can go on . . . They can stay locked for a few months. Three months is on the long end, more typically it's six weeks."



For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Round and round the merry-go-round on hurricanes

M.I.T. Scientists: Warming Will Actually REDUCE the Number of Hurricanes

After Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, global warming alarmists claimed greenhouse gas emissions had led to a season that had 22 named tropical storms. Recent reports raise strong doubts about those claims.

"Former Hurricane Center head Max Mayfield is among experts who believe we're in a cyclical pattern of more violent tropical storms, while others say global warming may be the culprit," ABC's Sam Champion said on the Sept. 4, 2007 "Good Morning America." Earlier this year, a UN backed panel of scientists linked more powerful and frequent hurricanes to global warming and projected even more intense hurricanes in the future.

But according to two recently published reports - hurricane activity may actually decrease due to the effects of global warming. That is a conclusion from a study by Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Kerry Emanuel, published in the March 2008 issue of the "Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society."

"A new technique for deriving hurricane climatologies from global data, applied to climate models, indicates that global warming should reduce the global frequency of hurricanes, though their intensity may increase in some locations," the study by Emanuel, Ragoth Sundararajan and John Williams said.

Emanuel pointed out to the Business & Media Institute that he isn't denying a relationship exists between global warming and hurricanes. "I am certainly not saying that there is no link between hurricanes and global warming," Emanuel said. "There indeed appears to be a close relationship between ocean temperature and hurricane power. My most recent study shows that this relationship is not much in evidence in climate models, pointing to a possible problem with climate models"

Another study by meteorologist Tom Knutson makes a similar conclusion. According to a study authored by Knutson, Joseph Sirutis, Stephen Garner, Gabriel Vecchi and Isaac Held, published in the May 18 issue of Nature Geoscience, climate models show the amount of Atlantic tropical activity will decrease by 18 percent by the end of the century.

"Here we assess, in our model system, the changes in large-scale climate that are projected to occur by the end of the twenty-first century by an ensemble of global climate models, and find that Atlantic hurricane and tropical storm frequencies are reduced," the study's abstract said.


They've got that global warming thing down cold

Review of a TV comedy program by Penn & Teller. They recently turned their talents at mockery onto global warming

When Thursday's episode on environmentalism opened with a morose-looking Penn Jillette waving a magazine as he recited one ecotastrophe after another -- drought in Africa, flooding in Pakistan and Japan, snowless winters in New England and Northern Europe -- I snapped to attention. ''It says right here in Time magazine -- the weather's gone nuts and we humans are to blame!" Teller wailed. "We have bleeped up the environment and now we're going to pay for it!"

Yeah, that global warming is pretty bad. You know, Al Gore says -- oops, never mind. Turns out Penn's not reading from the infamous Time cover story of 2006 on global warming, the one headlined BE WORRIED. BE VERY WORRIED. No, this Time is from 1974, and the headline is, ANOTHER ICE AGE? And all those violent paroxysms of nature are the pernicious work of global cooling.

Yes, back in the days of disco, the news media echoed with predictions of the world's imminent demise from ice rather than fire. Newsweek warned that temperatures had already dropped ''a sixth of the way toward the Ice Age average.'' By 1985, Life declared, ``air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching the earth by one half.''

A MAJOR COOLING WIDELY ACCEPTED TO BE INEVITABLE, agreed The New York Times, adding in an editorial: ''Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.'' To be fair, this was nothing new at The Times. It had been predicting the world was on the verge of turning into a Popsicle since at least 1895 -- GEOLOGISTS THINK THE WORLD MAY BE FROZEN UP AGAIN, a headline said back then. Perhaps the editors figured that if they printed the story often enough, they were bound to get it right, if only because of the law of averages.

I sometimes find myself longing for the good old days of the Ice Age scare, because at least back then, dissent was possible. When Newsweek in 1975 proposed fighting off those inexorable glaciers by "melting the arctic cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers," it had the grace to concede that some scientists worried just a teensy bit that these solutions "might create problems far greater than they resolve."

These days, deviating from the orthodoxy on global warming -- not just questioning whether it exists, but how much of it is due to human activity, or if the results might be a little less ruinous than the Climate Cassandras predict -- is almost enough to get you thrown in jail. And I mean that literally. James Hansen, the former Gore science advisor who's been one of the foremost doomsayers on global warming, recently said that oil company executives who argue against him ``should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.''

Consider it a certainty that the Climate Police will lock up Penn & Teller after Thursday's show. Not only does it feature interviews with some scientists who aren't totally sold on the idea that the Earth is toast, it whispers an even more inconvenient truth: A lot of the scariest global-warming tales are told by people who stand to make a buck by scaring you.

At one end of the scale is a Santa Fe therapist who treats patients for what she calls ''eco-anxiety'' by giving them what she calls ''river rocks'' -- actually, it's gravel picked up from her driveway -- to remind them that "you do come from Earth and you are connected." (The most scandalous thing about this ''treatment'' is that it works: ''Whenever I'm by a rock, holding it, I feel grounded," explains one grateful patient.)

At the other is Al Gore, who's made a post-political career out of warning that we're on the brink of ''epic destruction involving extreme weather, floods, droughts, epidemics and killer heat waves.'' A couple of years ago, Gore suffered some minor embarrassment when a Tennessee think-tank revealed that his 20-room Nashville mansion uses 17 times the electricity of the average American home. Unabashed, Gore explained that he was ''offsetting'' his electric gluttony by buying carbon credits -- that it, putting money into green projects, would save as much energy as his home wasted.

Looking a little more closely into it, Bull----! points out that Gore was actually purchasing those carbon credits from . . . himself. He did it by investing money in his own company Generation Investment Management, which buys stocks in companies that make green technology -- technology that Gore is constantly lobbying governments to adopt or mandate. ''So Al makes money when people buy carbon credits through his company,'' says a Gore critic. It's not only good to be green, but profitable, too.

I'm not surprised if you're surprised that Gore might have a financial interest in screaming about the end of the world. Reporters who fall asleep chanting the mantra follow the money have been heinously lax in practicing it on the global warming story.

Last November, when NBC insisted that every single program on the network that week would have a green theme, nobody seemed to notice that the network was in effect running a massive product-placement ad for its corporate parent General Electric. GE has invested massive amounts of money in solar panels, wind power and other so-called clean-energy technologies for which there will be virtually no consumer demand unless Congress passes laws requiring them.

But practically no reporters were interested in that story -- certainly not those at NBC News, which also participated in Green Week by inserting stories into its shows. When I asked network anchor Brian Williams if this wasn't corporate manipulation of his newscast, he shook his head vigorously. ''Not at all,'' he insisted. ''I've got no problems with it. It's not any different than The New York Times editorial board sitting down and saying the newspaper is going to do a series of stories on some particular subject.'' Maybe, if The New York Times were owned by, say, Halliburton, and the board of directors ordered up a series on, say, the need to invade Iraq. But I don't have time to argue about it right now. I'm pretty sure I hear the Climate Police at my door.



Here's some good news for anyone sick of being force-fed a relentless diet of pernicious environmentalist hogwash: Last week, The New York Times noted that the advertising industry is pulling back from green-themed marketing, having "grasped the public's growing skepticism over ads with environmental messages.

And advertisers' concerns are buttressed by the recent sales figures for magazines that have published a "Green Issue" this year. Time's Earth Day issue was the newsweekly's third-lowest-selling issue of 2008 so far, according to ABC Rapid Report. A typical issue of Time sells 93,000 or so copies on the newsstand; the April 28 installment, which substituted green for red in the magazine's trademarked cover design, sold only 72,000. (As usual, The Onion nailed it.)

Elle's May issue sold a mere 275,000 copies, versus the title's year-to-date average of 328,500. The last issue of Elle to sell that badly was in May 2008 - another green issue, probably not coincidentally. Discover also published a green issue this year, and also took a hit for it, selling 86,000 newsstand copies, compared to an average of 117,000 in the first half of 2007.

Look for politicians to figure out sometime around 2012 that everyone stopped listening to bogus global warming sermons in 2008.


Virginia Is Sitting on the Energy Mother Lode

Amid the rolling hills and verdant pastures of south central Virginia an unlikely new front in the battle over nuclear energy is opening up. How it is decided will tell us a lot about whether this country is willing to get serious about addressing its energy needs.

In Pittsylvania County, just north of the North Carolina border, the largest undeveloped uranium deposit in the United States -- and the seventh largest in the world, according to industry monitor UX Consulting -- sits on land owned by neighbors Henry Bowen and Walter Coles. Large uranium deposits close to the surface are virtually unknown in the U.S. east of the Mississippi River. And that may be the problem.

Virginia is one of just four states that ban uranium mining. The ban was put in place in 1984, to calm fears that had been sparked by the partial meltdown of a nuclear reactor on Three Mile Island outside of Harrisburg, Pa. in 1979.

Messrs. Bowen and Coles, who last year formed a company called Virginia Uranium, are asking the state to determine whether mining uranium really is a hazard and, if not, to lift the ban. But they've run into a brick wall of environmental activists who raise the specter of nuclear contamination and who are determined to prevent scientific studies of the issue.

The Piedmont Environmental Council is one of the leading opponents. It warns of the "enormous quantities of radioactive waste" produced by uranium mining.

Jack Dunavant, head of the Southside Concerned Citizens in nearby Halifax County, is another outspoken critic. He paints a picture of environmental apocalypse. "There will be a dead zone within a 30 mile radius of the mine," he says with a courtly drawl. "Nothing will grow. Animals will die. The radiation genetically alters tissue. Animals will not be able to reproduce. We'll see malformed fetuses."

Yet it is not as if we have no experience with uranium mining, which is in fact relatively harmless. Handled properly, the yellowcake that is extracted is no more hazardous than regular household chemicals (and unlike coal, it won't smolder and combust).

James Kelly, who directed the nuclear engineering program at the University of Virginia for many years, says that fears about uranium mining are wildly overblown. "It's an aesthetic nightmare, but otherwise safe in terms of releasing any significant radioactivity or pollution," he told me. "It would be ugly to look at, but from the perspective of any hazard I wouldn't mind if they mined across the street from me."

The situation is rich with irony as well as uranium. While you can't mine yellowcake, it is perfectly legal in Virginia to process enriched uranium into usable nuclear fuel, which is somewhat dangerous to handle. A subsidiary of the French nuclear giant Areva operates a fuel fabrication facility in Lynchburg 50 miles from Chatham. It has been praised by Gov. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, as a good corporate citizen. The state is also home to four commercial nuclear reactors, which provide Virginians with 35% of their electricity. And, of course, the U.S. Navy operates nuclear ships out of Norfolk, Va.

Across the country, there are 104 commercial nuclear reactors. They consume 67 million pounds of uranium annually, the vast majority of which is imported from Australia, Canada and former Soviet republics. The 200-acre Coles Hill deposit (Mr. Coles's family has lived on the spot since 1785) is thought to contain nearly twice that amount. For Messrs. Bowen and Coles, with the long-term price of uranium near $80 per pound, that means they are sitting on about $10 billion worth of ore. But for the rest of us, it means they are sitting on an opportunity to make the U.S. more energy self-sufficient.

Since Virginia is already a nuclear-friendly state that properly manages the risks of nuclear power, what sense does it make for the state to ban the safest step in the nuclear fuel cycle?

Gov. Kaine supports allowing the National Academy of Sciences to determine whether mining could be done safely. So does virtually every elected official in heavily Republican Pittsylvania County. Earlier this year the narrowly Democratic state Senate voted 34-6 to authorize the study. But the measure was killed in committee in the House under pressure from environmental groups. If it was allowed to come up for a vote in the full House, which is controlled by Republicans, opponents concede it would have passed.

The governor's chief energy adviser, Steve Walz, says the Kaine administration has taken no position on whether reversing the ban makes sense. "That's why we wanted to see the results of the study, to help us make a determination."

Mr. Dunavant doesn't believe the governor has an open mind on the issue. He calls Mr. Kaine, "our 'supposed green' governor" and says that the "only thing green about him is his love of money." Coles Hill "is all about greed," he says. "It's criminal activity as far as I'm concerned."

For his part, Mr. Coles can't understand the hostility. "I tell these groups that my concerns are your concerns. I have been protecting the environment here for decades, long before any of them became interested in this land." He's received offers to buy his land for sums that would make him incredibly wealthy, but has turned them down. "We love the land. My family has lived here for over 200 years. We're going to continue to live here. That's the reason we decided to keep it, as opposed to selling out." He says Virginia Uranium will continue to push for the independent study.

If the U.S. is to expand nuclear power's role in a time of energy insecurity and climate change worries, we will have to confront the hysterical antinuclear pronouncements that have been the currency of environmentalists for nearly 30 years. The Old Dominion could be a good place for a new start.


The Grand Exaggerator

What is it with Al Gore? Why is he compelled to exaggerate climate change (excuse me, "the climate crisis"), and then to propose impossible policy responses? It's like he's inventing the Internet all over again!

OK, it's pretty much standard rhetoric in Washington to say that if you don't do as I say, there will be massive consequences. But to say, as Gore recently did: "The survival of the United States of America as we know it is at risk;" and: "The future of human civilization is at stake" - that's a bit much, even for the most faded and jaded political junkie.

Here's how Gore works. He'll cite one scientific finding that shows what he wants, and then ignore other work that provides important context. Here's a list of his climate exaggerations from his well-publicized July 17 rant, along with a few sobering facts.

Gore: "Scientists . . . have warned that there is now a 75 percent chance that within five years the entire [North Polar] ice cap will completely disappear during the summer months."

Fact: The Arctic Ocean was much warmer than it is now for several millennia after the end of the last ice age. We know this because there are trees buried in the tundra along what is now the arctic shore. Those trees can be dated using standard analytical techniques that have been around for decades. According to Glen MacDonald of UCLA, the trees show that July temperatures could have been 5-13øF warmer from 9,000 to about 3,000 years ago than they were in the mid-20th century. The arctic ice cap had to have disappeared in most summers, and yet the polar bear survived!

Gore: "Our weather sure is getting strange, isn't it? There seem to be more tornadoes than in living memory. . . ."

Fact: The reason there "seems" to be more tornadoes is because of national coverage by Doppler radar, which can detect storms that were previously missed (not to mention that every backyard tornado winds up on YouTube nowadays). Naturally, the additions are weak ones that might, if lucky, tip over a cow. If there were a true increase in tornadoes, then we would see a definite upswing in severe ones, too. If anything, the historical record indicates a slight negative trend in the frequency of major tornadoes, based upon death statistics.

Gore: " . . . longer droughts . . . "

Hogwash. The U.S. drought history, given by the Palmer Drought Severity Index, is readily available and extends back to 1895. There's not a shred of evidence for "longer droughts" in recent decades. The longest ones were in the 1930s and 1950s, decades before "global warming" became "the climate crisis."

Gore: " . . . bigger downpours and record floods . . . "

It's true, U.S. annual rainfall has increased about 10 percent (three inches) in the last 100 years. But it's equally true that this is a net benefit. Temperatures haven't warmed nearly enough to increase the annual surface evaporation by the same amount, so what has resulted is a wetter country during the growing season. Farmers love this, because most of the nation runs a moisture deficit during the hot summer growing season. Increasing rain cuts that deficit.

Gore: "The leading experts predict that we have less than 10 years to make dramatic changes in our global warming pollution lest we lose our ability to ever recover from this environmental crisis."

This is likely James Hansen of NASA, Gore's climate guru. He has written and given sworn testimony that twenty feet of sea-level rise, caused by the rapid shedding of Greenland's ice, could happen by 2100. Why didn't Gore defer instead to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an organization with at least a few hundred bona fide climate scientists? Its 2007 compendium estimates that the contribution of Greenland's ice to sea level during this century will be around two inches. Gore also forgot the embarrassing truth that there has been no net change in the planetary surface temperature, as measured both by thermometers and satellites, for the last ten years.

It would be easy to go on, particularly about the preposterousness of Gore's "solution," which is to produce all of our electricity from solar, wind and geothermal sources within ten years. I'll leave that for the energy economists to tear apart.



Labour faces being kicked out of office by angry motorists if it continues to 'unfairly demonise' the car, a top Government adviser warned today. Families are 'rebelling' against unfair car taxes, restrictions on their freedoms, and attacks on 4X4s and luxury cars by politicians and campaigners driven by 'ideological dogma' rather than hard-facts, Richard Parry-Jones claimed.

Mr Parry-Jones was appointed by the government to look at how technology can be used to cut pollution. But the former Ford Motor Company executive turned on his new employers yesterday urging them to stop the war on the motorist. Unfair motoring taxes and attacks of family runarounds were the result of 'muddled thinking' based on prejudice and dogma rather than hard scientific facts, he said. 'If you price consumers out of their cars, they will probably throw you out at the next election,' he said.

He added that Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his ministers must 're-assess the political bias against cars'. He accepted that cars did have some impact on climate change - but pointed out that they represented only 8per cent of the problem while appearing to get 100 per cent of the blame. Tax raised from motorists and motoring was 'disproportionately high', he said.

Mr Parry-Jones is a world-renowned motor industry expert who has just been appointed as a ministerial adviser to John Hutton's Department for Business. He is chairing Mr Hutton's Automotive Industry Growth Team, looking at how to create 'greener' cars and cut costs. His speech follows a visit this week by Mr Brown, Mr Hutton, and Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly to the British International Motor Show in London's Docklands where the PM met motor industry bosses to discuss 'green' cars. Mr Parry-Jones recently retired as chief technical officer and head of research at Ford.

He said politicians must carry the confidence of Britain's 30 million voting motorists if they want achieve or maintain office:''If politicians go too fast, ultimately they get detached from the electorate and get thrown out.' He noted: 'What on Earth are we doing allowing our elected representatives to decide for us what we should be allowed or encouraged to drive, or what should be banned or penalised in the name of climate change.'



For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.