Wednesday, December 24, 2008

NOTE: Posting here is likely to be reduced over the Christmas period

Is this a new low point for Greenie stupidity?

Seattle is known as a place where the rain never stops, but lately it's been snowing, and the roads have been icy. On Friday the result, as the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported, was a near-disaster:
Two Northwestern Trailways buses slid down the snow-covered cobblestones of East Thomas on Capitol Hill and smashed into each other, careening through a guardrail on Melrose Avenue East, 20 to 30 feet above Interstate 5.

Fortunately, the buses did not fall onto the highway below. They "came to rest with their front ends hanging over I-5."
It turns out there's a reason Seattle's roads are so icy. Today's Seattle Times reports:
There's snow and ice left on major arterials by design. "We're trying to create a hard-packed surface," said Alex Wiggins, chief of staff for the Seattle Department of Transportation. "It doesn't look like anything you'd find in Chicago or New York." . . .

The icy streets are the result of Seattle's refusal to use salt, an effective ice-buster used by the state Department of Transportation and cities accustomed to dealing with heavy winter snows. "If we were using salt, you'd see patches of bare road because salt is very effective," Wiggins said. "We decided not to utilize salt because it's not a healthy addition to Puget Sound."

Puget Sound is a saltwater estuary. That's right--Seattle officials are making their roads more dangerous because they're trying to keep salt out of the ocean.

Source (See the original for links)

It's Cold Outside, But Global Warming Industry Still Hard At Work

The most expensive secret you're not supposed to know is that George W. Bush leaves office with the planet cooler than when he entered. This dangerous trend threatens the multi-billion dollar "global warming" industry, adding new urgency to the ritual shriek of "we must act now!" in the scramble to impose a costly regime of mandates and energy taxes.

The global warming industry's tactics already range from comical to reprehensible. As a result of a cooling atmosphere -- which thanks to the "global cooling" panic we began measuring in 1979 -- you are distracted with irrelevant surface temperatures. This is possibly because more than 90% of our surface thermometer network is in violation of rules for locating the instruments. For example, why are so many now on asphalt parking lots, black tar roofs, airport tarmacs, and even hanging directly above barbeque grills?

Such childishness is only the tip of the iceberg of outrages employed to advance an ideological agenda. Our schools torment those whom they are charged with protecting from abuse, with night terrors among the less egregious outcomes. Their brainwashing includes hate mail campaigns to skeptics, reporting on their parents' willingness to adopt an agenda, and even emotional breakdown requiring institutionalization.

High government officials around the world abuse their powers to expand government's powers. The media moved from pushing catastrophism in order to sell copy, to expressly abandoning journalistic principles and declaring that, regarding global warming, "balance is bias."

Last year, after Kevin Rudd was elected Australia's Prime Minister, he addressed a gathering of that nation's "best and brightest" pondering how to achieve their policy dreams. One idea floated was to strip Aussies of their citizenship if they expressed doubts about man-made climate catastrophe. So as to not be extremist, however, this allowed for the prospect of restoring one's standing upon -- you guessed it -- reeducation.

The mostly taxpayer-funded science community is repeatedly caught fudging their numbers to exaggerate and even manufacture warming. Peer-review journals place hurdles in the "skeptic" path to publication while publishing demonstrable falsehoods without bothering to check the claims' viability.

Gang Green smears any who dare speak out as unqualified or shills corrupted by "Big Oil" money. Media and lawmakers repeat the claims, yet show no curiosity about the staggering $300 million given to Al Gore. Who is it so covetous of frightening you into accepting costly policies in the name of a "climate crisis" as to underwrite this aggressive lobbying and re-branding blitz? Gore won't tell us, but you can bet they stand to profit at your expense.

The establishment furiously engages to shout down, censor and shut down dissent. They now have the active participation of the National Academy of Sciences thanks to a back door created to elect "environmentalists" who otherwise would not attain this status and who then exercise a veto over others who do not share their worldview. Forget the policy implications, and consider how this threatens the various institutions of science once the entire enterprise is inevitably exposed.

It is now mainstream in the campaign to suppress speech to call for criminalization of skepticism (that is, of science) and imprisonment of its practitioners. British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett publicly demands that media outlets refuse to grant "skeptics" space, on the grounds that they are just like Islamic terrorists.

Who, then, is surprised that scientists receive professional and even death threats for their heresy, and one in Norway had the wheels fall off of his car -- twice -- after speaking out, once when his young daughter was a passenger? His mechanic said the lugs had been loosened. Apparently dissent is not patriotic to the global warming industry.

One prominent former CEO now pushing alarmism says that continued opposition to "climate" policies, specifically a supranational organization to which we cede the necessary authority, will be "paralyzing" and "suffocating". Officials and opinion leaders similarly argue that the global warming issue is simply too important to be left to democracy and that we must suspend certain such arcane notions, if just for this one issue. This is madness. It has to stop. The first step in our recovery is to have a public discussion about why proponents of the global warming agenda must stoop to these tactics.



Last year, during an interview with Vaclav Smil, I asked the distinguished professor of geography at the University of Manitoba why there was such a paucity of informed discussion about energy issues. He replied "There has never been such a depth of scientific illiteracy and basic innumeracy as we see today."

That line comes to mind amid the continuing calls for phasing out coal in the U.S. In July, Al Gore, the former vice president and recent winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, declared that the U.S. should "commit to producing 100 percent of our electricity from renewable energy and truly clean carbon-free sources within 10 years." In November, in an op-ed in the New York Times, Gore insisted that the U.S. must replace "dangerous and expensive carbon-based fuels with 21st-century technologies that use fuel that is free forever: the sun, the wind and the natural heat of the earth." Gore's calls have been seconded by groups like the Sierra Club and Greenpeace as well as by the International Energy Agency. On November 25, the I.E.A.'s executive director, Nobuo Tanaka, said that "Preventing irreversible damage to the global climate ultimately requires a major decarbonisation of world energy sources."

While Tanaka, Gore, and others may agree on the need to phase out coal, the world is heading the other direction. On November 12, the I.E.A. released its World Energy Outlook, and the second page of the agency's briefing slides show that coal is gaining - not losing - market share. Between 2000 and 2007, global coal use increased by 4.8 percent. That's three times the growth rate seen in oil consumption (which grew by 1.6 percent) and nearly twice the rate in natural gas use (which climbed by 2.6 percent.) Further, the I.E.A. expects that through 2030, about 60 percent of incremental energy demand in non-O.E.C.D. countries will be met with coal. (In the O.E.C.D., coal will likely provide less than 10 percent of incremental new demand over that same time period.)

None of this is to argue that coal is good or bad. Rather, it is to provide a bit of numeracy. If the U.S. and the rest of the world really want to replace coal with some other form of energy, then it is essential to understand the size of the challenge. Let's look at the U.S., second only to China in terms of total coal consumption. In 2007, the U.S. used about 1.1 billion tons of coal. That's the energy equivalent of about 4.2 billion barrels of oil per year or about 11.5 million barrels of oil per day.

Here's the key comparison: America's daily coal ration contains more energy than Saudi Arabia's daily oil production. Indeed, the scale of U.S. coal consumption boggles the mind. In 2007, the amount of energy America used in the form of coal exceeded the total energy consumption - from all sources, coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear - of all of the countries of Central and South America combined. Just as important as the scale of America's coal consumption is this fact: U.S. coal use has increased faster in recent decades than has oil or natural gas consumption. Between 1973 and 2007, U.S. coal consumption jumped by 75.5 percent. During that same time period, U.S. oil consumption increased by 15.2 percent and natural gas consumption increased by just 5 percent.

Here's another comparison: On a daily basis, global coal consumption is equivalent to about 63.8 million barrels of oil. Thus, replacing the world's coal habit with something else will require finding an energy source (or sources) that can supplant the equivalent of six new Saudi Arabias. Or consider China. On an average day, its coal use provides the energy equivalent of 26.3 million barrels of oil, or about two and a half Saudi Arabias. By any measure, those are daunting numbers. U.S. and global policymakers may not like coal, but given the enormous scale of the coal business, it's obvious that the U.S. and the rest of the world will be relying on the black fuel for many years to come.


Australia: Attention-seeking a*holes warn Christmas lights harm the planet

Just for that I am going to leave my Xmas lights on day and night

Scientists have warned that Christmas lights are bad for the planet due to huge electricity waste and urged people to get energy efficient festive bulbs. CSIRO researchers said householders should know that each bulb turned on in the name of Christmas will increase emissions of greenhouse gases.

Dr Glenn Platt, who leads research on energy demand, said Australia got 80 per cent of its electricity by burning coal which pumps harmful emissions into the atmosphere. He said: "Energy efficient bulbs, such as LEDs, and putting your Christmas lights on a timer are two very easy ways to minimise the amount of electricity you use to power your lights." He said the nation's electricity came from "centralised carbon intensive, coal-based power stations" which were responsible for emitting over one third of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions. Dr Platt added: "For a zero-emission Christmas light show, you may consider using solar powered lights or sourcing your electricity from verified green power suppliers."



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