Sunday, November 30, 2008

Physicist says warming fears 'manipulated by a political agenda with no scientific basis'

Comments sent to EPA by research physicist John W. Brosnahan of Vanderpool, Texas, who develops remote-sensing instruments for atmospheric science for such clients as NOAA and NASA and who has published much peer-reviewed research. Brosnahan has given permission for public release of his statement

As a research physicist who has spent the past 30 years of my career in atmospheric science, I am surprised that government agencies, politicians, and much of the public have been manipulated by a political agenda with no scientific basis, which is the best way to describe the "non-link" between CO2 and global warming. There is virtually NO physical science to support any role of man's generation of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) in climate change. All of this pseudo-science is driven by poorly conceived computer modeling and represents a political agenda that uses science and the public as pawns.

Carbon Dioxide is critical for plant life and therefore to animal life and to regulate it as a pollutant is a total misunderstanding of its role in life and the role that man plays in the environment. Rather than restating all of the scientific arguments I suggest that you contact Senator James Inhofe's EPW Committee staff member, Marc Morano, who has done an excellent job of collecting an overwhelming amount of peer-reviewed science (see: here) that clearly demonstrates that there is no basis for the EPA to regulate Carbon Dioxide.

Since Carbon Dioxide is such a minor greenhouse gas compared to water vapor it would make much more scientific sense for the EPA to regulate HUMIDITY! To regulate Carbon Dioxide empowers the creation of a carbon trading scheme that is, in essence, the trading of hot air. In fact, carbon trading makes even less sense than the trading of derivatives by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

As global temperatures continue to drop I would think that the last thing that the EPA would want to do is to be responsible for another trillion dollar economic disaster. From my perspective, there appear to be many more top scientists who do NOT believe in AGW and CO2 as a critical element in climate change and see that the SUN is the active determinant for climate.

'Totally wrong. Nonsense. Absolutely crazy'... CEO of 4th largest coal company unloads on Gore, Reid and Pelosi

Don Blankenship, CEO of Massey Energy, the fourth largest coal company in the country, blasted politics and the press, comparing Charleston Gazette Editor James. A. Haught to Osama Bin Laden Thursday evening when he addressed the Tug Valley Mining Institute in Williamson. "It is as great a pleasure for me to be criticized by the communists and the atheists of the Charleston Gazette as to be applauded by my best friends," he said. "Because I know they are wrong. People are cowering away from being criticized by people that are our enemies. Would we be upset if Osama Bin Laden was critical of us?" he asked.

"Totally wrong. Nonsense. Absolutely crazy." Those are the words Blankenship used to describe Al Gore, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid as well as environmental groups. He said he felt simple terms were the only ones the country could understand, that more sophisticated language was over the head of the general public. "When we talk about it in more articulate ways, the American public doesn't get it," he said.

Blankenship told the crowd, which overflowed the room, spilling over to fill the Brass Tree Restaurant, that coal is getting a lot of undeserved bad press. The coal business, he said, needs to start standing up for itself in the face of the negative image being portrayed by politicians, special interests and the press.

Blankenship said the business community should put their business interests first, not environmental interests. "They can say what they want about climate change," he said. "But the only thing melting in this country that matters is our financial system and our economy." "The business community doesn't want to lose any skin," he said, referring to the skinned knees he sustained playing football as a boy. "Being scratched up is not so bad, but the political elite are so comfortable that they think their mission in life now is to save the world."

Many people would give support to groups who work to disprove global warming if it was not so politically incorrect, Blankenship said. "How many times have the people in this room heard, at the US Chamber of Commerce or at the National Mining Association, `I don't believe in climate change, but I'm afraid to say that because it is a political reality.' The greeniacs are taking over the world."

Blankenship said politicians misrepresent facts when it comes to the environment. "Politicians occasionally trip over the truth," he said, "but they get up and go on as if nothing happened." He said the amount of pollution produced by American coal is negligible compared to the environmental damage done by other countries. "It's nonsensical, its idiotic. And yet, we call it two different sides, partisan, Democrat or Republican," he said. "If Pelosi thinks that decreasing CO2 in this country is going to save the polar bears, she's crazy. If CO2 emissions are going to kill the polar bears, it's going to happen. What we do here [in the US] is not going to it."

Blankenship said he realizes the environment is a concern, but that it is only part of the picture. "I talk a lot about the total environment," he said. "Yes, we need to breathe clean air and have fresh water in the streams. We need to have trees and all that, but we need to be able to send out children to school. That's a total environment. "Most people wouldn't believe that coal is the most important thing to the environment."

But coal produces electricity, he argued, and that improves the quality of life. "Anywhere you go, low cost electricity, the creation of energy, of jobs, of an economy, ultimately leads to an improvement in the environment. There is no place in the world that has a good environment where people live on two dollars a day with no electricity," he said. "If you are really believe that the world is going to overheat from the use of carbon, then whatever you do in the United States to reduce carbon emissions is wrong, because all that it will do is increase CO2 emissions in China. All the things the environmentalists told us were important, sulfur and particulates, everything they have talked about and badgered this industry about are still being polluted throughout most of the world without any controls."

Blankenship said the industry needs to be as outspoken as those who oppose the use of carbon fuels. "Its not only important for the greeniacs and environmentalists to change their views, but there is also a real need for business people to change their views. We have to challenge everything, and we need to get more bold. When business people act like politicians instead of expressing what the truth is, we will have people making decisions on what they call political reality."

Blankenship said energy policies put forth by the government have not worked in the past, and they are not the answer to today's energy crisis. He shared a video clip of then President Jimmy Carter encouraging measures such as conserving heating fuel, carpooling, using public transportation and avoiding unnecessary car trips.

"Jimmy Carter understood that there was a risk if we increased our dependence on foreign oil," Blankenship said. "But did it not sound similar to Obama? Turn down your thermostats? Buy a smaller car? Conserve? I have spent quite a bit of time in Russia and China, and that's the first stage. You go from having your own car to carpooling to riding the bus to mass transit. You eventually get to where you're walking. You go from your own apartment and bathroom to sharing kitchens with four families. That's what socialism and the elimination of capitalism and free enterprise is all about."

"Massey is working hard to come up with soundbites or what sort of messages might resonate publicly. Unless we get people to think positively about coal, we are in trouble not only as an industry, but also as a country." "It doesn't take a genius to figure out that, if you have that much energy in the ground, you shouldn't have thousands of troops in Iraq, spending $10 billion a month, you shouldn't by trying to patrol the world. Let the world fight over the oil. Liquify the coal."

"Coal has to be important," Blankenship said. "We have to stand up for coal and for energy independence. Sooner or later, we are going to have to start saying something, because if we don't, the other side is going to start taking over."


UN says hundreds of billions more dollars likely needed to reduce emissions by 2030

Hundreds of billions more dollars are likely to be needed to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by a 2030 target, according to UN estimates published on Friday ahead of global talks on climate change. The report, to be presented at the December 1-12 conference in Poznan, Poland updates 2007 estimates that said investment to mitigate carbon emissions had to be ramped up in the coming years, reaching between 200-210 billion dollars annually in 2030.

The goal, in this benchmark scenario, is to reduce levels of global-warming pollution to 25 percent below 2000 levels in 2030. In the new report, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said the emissions goal was virtually unchanged. But it said the estimates of financial needs for mitigation had been revised sharply upwards -- by "about 170 percent." It cited "higher projected capital costs," especially in the energy sector, to introduce solar panels and fuel cells that had yet to become competitive with fossil fuels.

There was also the potential bill for implementing carbon storage, a technology that is still at the pilot stage, said the report. Under carbon storage, carbon dioxide (CO2) is captured from big polluting sources such as coal-fired power plants, rather than released into the atmosphere where it would add to the greenhouse-gas effect. Instead, the CO2 would be pumped deep below ground, in disused gas fields or other geological chambers and stored there indefinitely.

Most the funding needs will have to be focussed in developing countries, the UNFCCC report said. China has now outstripped the United States as the world's No. 1 carbon emitter, and India is set to become third largest, according to estimates released in September by the research consortium the Global Carbon Project.

The UNFCCC report said that its estimates for funding needs to help poor countries adapt to the impact of global warming were unchanged over 2007, "and remain in the tens of billions, possibly hundreds of billions of dollars, every year." The Poznan talks are a stepping stone towards a new pact, due to be sealed in Copenhagen in December 2009, for reducing emissions and boosting adaptation funds beyond 2012, when the current provisions of the UN's Kyoto Protocol expire.


British councils scrap paper recycling banks following slump in value of waste materials

Recycling banks are facing the scrapheap after a global slump in the price of waste materials. The credit crunch has seen demand for recyclable materials plummet. The market value of a ton of mixed paper has tumbled from 50 to less than 1 British pound. Some waste disposal firms say this makes running recycling banks uneconomical, since the end product is worthless.

In Somerset, Perry's Recycling - a company which supplies the county council's mixed paper recycling facilities - has cut 31 of its 117 banks. Similar firms across the UK could follow suit within weeks. The firm's managing director Chris Perry said: 'Economically, it just doesn't stack up any more. We've never seen a market crash this fast, so we're having to cut back where necessary and weather the storm.'

Somerset Waste Partnership, which manages waste and recycling across the county, said the recession has had a 'dramatic' effect on prices and led to the decision to axe the banks. Spokesman Mark Blaker said: 'They are being removed as a result of the credit crunch basically. 'Much of our paper goes to China, for example, to make cardboard boxes. But at the moment, those boxes are not being made and exported to America like they were, so what's happened here is a knock-on effect. 'Prices in the summer for recycled material were at an artificial high, which is why the drop seems so dramatic, but now the product's price is pretty much zero pounds.'

Recycling banks are worst affected by the drop in prices because their contents are ' contaminated' with other materials that are processed together. Other councils are having to make similar cuts in recycling. Derby City Council is reducing the number of large recycling points for bottles and glass from 27 sites to 17, though it said kerbside collections would be extended to compensate.

Households in Hertfordshire can no longer recycle food tubs and yogurt pots because the council's contractor cannot turn a profit on this kind of plastic. In Cambridge a waste-processing firm - unable to find any other market for it - has resorted to turning cardboard into compost for farmers. And in Oswestry, Shropshire, a mountain of recycled paper is sitting untouched because in the past month its sale value has fallen by 80 per cent.

More than half of Britain's eight million tons of mixed paper is exported to the Far East to be made into cardboard packaging for manufacturers. But demand has slumped and the Confederation of Paper Industries warns it is unlikely to pick up soon. Firms which run mixed paper recycling schemes say they have no choice but to axe some banks to save money.

Paul Bettison, of the Local Government Association's environment board, said Somerset was the first council to cut back on paper banks because of the global downturn. He added: 'Right now the credit crunch will certainly be a factor but it probably would have happened anyway because there people are relying more on kerbside collections.'


European ski resorts have best snowfall in decade

Ski resorts across Europe will open this weekend ahead of schedule after the biggest November snowfalls for at least a decade. The exceptional conditions, including 60cm (23in) of snow on Alpine slopes and even more in the Pyrenees, has given a much needed boost to the ski industry after claims that global warming could devastate its multibillion-pound business.

"This is nature's way of cocking a snook at the experts," said Christian Rochette, the director of Ski France International, the tourist body for French resorts.The industry was expecting a good season despite gloomy forecasts from bodies such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). "We've got excellent conditions for this time of year and very cold temperatures, which means we can use the snow cannons to make artificial snow as well," he said.

Reservations in France had risen by 20 per cent compared with last year, and Mr Rochette said there was no sign that Britons were being deterred by the falling pound or the economic outlook. "They don't seem to be prepared to sacrifice their winter holidays," he said. "They want to get away from all this talk of a crisis."

French resort officials backed his optimism, although some predicted a drop in revenue from British tourists. "Even if they still come, we expect that they'll spend a little less," said one. A spokeswoman for the tourist office in Meribel, an up-market Alpine resort and a favourite of British skiers, said that, with 30cm of snow at an altitude of 1,500 metres and up to 80cm at 2,000 metres, the ski lifts would start operating today, a week earlier than planned. "It's many, many years since we've had this much snow at this time of the year," she said.

Michael Broom Smith, of Purple Ski, said: "On the lower pistes, the snow is thigh deep and beautifully light and fluffy and more snow is forecast this weekend." Val d'Isere will also open today with snow two metres deep at 3,000 metres. "We've often had to put off the opening," a tourist office spokeswoman said. "Last year we opened a few slopes at the start of the season but this year we're opening them all."

The mood is equally upbeat in the Swiss Alps. The Ski Club of Great Britain said that snow in parts of Switzerland was 12 times deeper than average.

Pyrenean resorts are also enjoying snowfalls unseen for years. "Oh, what happiness!" said Herve Mairal, director of the Pyrenean Tourist Federation. "We've got 95cm at the foot of the slopes and 1.4m at the top. We've not had that for a decade."

Andorra, which has had some poor conditions in recent years, is enjoying its best start to a season for four decades and both the main areas of Grandvalira and Vallnord will be open fully from this weekend.

On the Spanish side Roberto Buil, the marketing manager of the Baqueira Beret resort, said that the slopes had opened on November 22 for the first time in 44 years. "All our 69 ski runs are open," he said. "We are having an amazing start."

The cold snap comes after an OECD report said that a two-degree rise in temperature could eliminate a third of all Europe's ski slopes over the next 40 years.


Heavy snow keeps children away from school in Spain

Heavy snowfalls are complicating traffic flow in the north of Spain as the rain there moves south to be replaced by colder temperatures and freezing.

Tyre chains are needed on nearly 40 mountain passes of the main road network because of the snow, 12 passes are closed completely, and five regions of the country remain on yellow alert for harsh weather this morning - Asturias, Cantabria, Castilla y Leon, Castilla-La Mancha and Madrid. Cataluna and the Baleraic Islands are also on alert for high winds and possible storms this morning.

The snow resulted in 1,200 pupils getting a day off school yesterday in Castilla y Leon, and 60 lorries heading for Cantabria came to a halt in Aguilar de Campoo, Palencia. 197 schoolchildren in Lugo were also without classes because of the snow.

The Spanish Meteorological Agency, AEMET, is forecasting snow tomorrow in the SE of the mainland above 700/900 metres and moderate freezing temperatures in the centre and north. Heavy rain is forecast for later in the south of Andalucia and in the area of the strait.



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