Saturday, July 04, 2009


Lots of good emails today -- via Benny Peiser. The first email below is from Dr. Albrecht Glatzle [] of Filadelfia, Paraguay -- noting the myths about cow farts, sheep burps, etc. It was originally sent to TGS Newsletter editor, Ian Partridge, in Queensland, Australia

Yesterday I received the latest TGS Newsletter (Volume 25 No. 1 & 2). It was a pleasure to look at the beautiful photographs of various well known personalities from the Australian pasture science scene. But when I got to the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) chapters I was a bit embarrassed about how much you Australians seem to be concerned on the GHG emissions by ruminant livestock and their potential effects on climate change. I'd like to make some comments on this topic:

1) Except the fossil fuel borne CO2-emissions by the livestock industry (production, processing and commercialization of meat and milk) and except some unique biosphere borne CO2-emissions, associated with land use change (e.g. deforestation), domestic animal husbandry is totally "climate neutral" (using a controversial terminology, only justified under the assumption of any measurable effect of anthropogenic GHG-emissions on global temperature). Why? Because all the CO2 emitted by forage digestion and respiration had previously been captured from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. Therefore, not a single CO2 molecule is added additionally to the atmosphere that had not been there before, recently.

2) This is also true for the methane produced by internal fermentation. Methane derives from organic substances originating from recent photosynthetic processes. And - as Richard Douthwaite from Ireland correctly points out in his letter (page 11) - methane molecules in the air are oxidized to CO2 and water at the end of their residence time in the atmosphere, closing the cycle. As a matter of fact the methane concentration has stabilized or even passed its peak just at the beginning of the new millennium. So obviously, just as much methane is oxidized in the atmosphere as is added to the air per unit of time. The resulting CO2 is available to be re-captured by photosynthesis. Therefore animal borne methane (how much its proportion ever may be among the total global methane emissions), just like CO2, forms part of a natural cycle, and not a single methane molecule is added additionally to the atmosphere by rumen fermentation that had not been there before, recently, unless livestock numbers increase.

3) The European satellite ENVISAT measured over a three years period the world wide close-to-the-surface-methane-concentrations. The average values are shown in figure 2 (source: University of Bremen here). Not even international organizations like the IPCC or FAO seem to have taken notice of the fact, that even the humid tropical forests do obviously emit far more methane than grazing cattle. How can the big grazing areas of the world (Australia, Southern Latin America, South and East Africa, and Western United States with hundreds of millions of cattle) and even India with the highest cattle density worldwide show such low methane concentrations? Something wrong with the theory?

4) While it is banally true that all improvements in the efficiency of livestock production reduce herbage intake and along with it GHG emission per unit of product (meat or milk), the often cited figure of 18% of anthropogenic GHG emissions originating from domestic animal husbandry, as claimed by the highly controversial FAO-Report "Livestock's Long Shadow" is clearly exaggerated. This document, that has done so much damage to the reputation of the livestock industry, was still proudly exposed at an international FAO symposium on the "Mitigation of GHG Emissions from Livestock", held last month in AsunciĆ³n, Paraguay:

a) How can the FAO claim that 25% of the domestic-livestock-borne CO2-equivalents originate from internal fermentation (methane), considering what has been outlined in the paragraphs 2 and 3? Just like CO2-emissions from the biosphere, animal borne methane emissions are part of a natural steady state equilibrium. So the 25% should be corrected to 0% as long as livestock numbers are constant.

b) How can the FAO claim that one third of the domestic animal borne CO2-equivalents come from deforestation (land use change), considering FAO yearbook numbers telling us that net deforestation on a world wide scale is almost zero? Close to 30% of the terrestrial surface are covered by forests and woodlands with very little change over the past 6 decades. So, once again just one scale pan of the balance has been taken into account.

5) When looking a little bit beyond GHG emissions and balances, e.g. how good the alarming IPCC projections fit the empirically observed mean global temperatures, one starts to doubt whether the so called Green House Gases (particularly the very small proportion of total emissions originating from human activity) really do have any notable effect on the planet's climate. Since about the change of the millenniums global temperature (satellite measured lower troposphere mean temperature anomalies, University of Alabama, Huntsville) decreased, just inversely proportional to the smoothed atmospheric CO2 concentration. Not one single IPCC model projected this "inconvenient truth" (just for some). Surprise? No! Even the theory tells us that the infrared absorption is almost saturated at present CO2 levels. In order to reach such prominent temperature increases as projected by the IPCC, one has to make very risky assumptions of strongly reinforcing feedbacks of the very slight warming effect intrinsic to CO2, even when doubling or tripling its concentration in the air.

6) Recent studies discovered the stalagmites in this globe's caves as very reliable climate archives conserving a range of precious indicators of past climates and solar activity. Looking to what these archives reveal, we cannot find any unusual or scaring temperature development during the past decades. No need, whatsoever, for anthropogenic Greenhouse Gases to explain the slight temperature increase observed during the past century.

So definitely there is no need at all to be concerned about our livestock's emissions of so called Greenhouse Gases! We won't save the planet distorting ourselves in an effort to teach our cattle how to emit less methane. And we will not harm the planet when we go on with our cattle industry business as usual. Let's just rebut unqualified attacks (unfortunately also originating from such prominent organizations as the FAO) on our livelihood! The sound arguments are ours.


An email from Brian Porter []

It appears that the US and its CO2 constraining allies will most likely get an unpleasant surprise in a few years when the global production of hydrocarbons will be hard-hit by currently falling levels of capital investment. Around that time the global economy should start to rebound and demand for hydrocarbons (among other commodities) will pick up substantially in developing countries.

In that sellers market rebound, the US, as a major dependent purchaser, will be at a significant economic disadvantage due to both its high import tariffs and its politically constrained environment for domestic production. It will in effect be strangling itself by enforcing an artificial constraint on a critical economic input. Therefore, any attempt to force others into compliance with ill-advised policies using tariffs and repressive political policies - will backfire.

This looming energy supply shortage will exacerbate an ongoing US economic crisis brought on by an apparent ignorance of the fact that it is savings, production and free markets that drive economic growth - not debt, consumption, government planning, political subterfuge and outright market manipulation.

This kind of aggressive posturing only proves that the war has already been lost by its perpetrators. One is left only to consider the reparations - or war on another front...


An email from Prof. James H. Rust [] below:

The United States House of Representatives narrowly passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act, also called Waxman-Markey, June 26. Many features are in this act and little has been published about ramifications of these features. Most notable are requirements that United States greenhouse gas emissions be 17 percent below those of 2005 by 2020 and 15 percent of electric power generation is from renewable sources(wind, solar, biomass, or geothermal) by 2020.

The United States has always been a growing nation; so the 2020 population is estimated forty million greater than the 296 million of 2005--a 13.5 percent increase. So the per capita energy use due to fossil fuels must fall from 284 million Btu per year to 206 million Btu per year by 2020. This 28 percent decrease in fossil energy use will present a challenge unless many creature comforts such as hot water, heating, and air conditioning are curtailed.

Many states in the United States are unsuitable for use of solar or wind as electricity sources. These states will have to purchase power from more gifted states at considerably higher rates. In 2005 the total electric power generation for the United States was about 4 trillion kilo-watt-hours. If there is no growth for the 15 years to 2020--which is quite unlikely--the amount of electricity due to renewables would have to be 600 billion kilo-watt-hours. Because of solar power's higher costs, wind power will probably be the greatest source of renewable power. The typical 1.5 megawatt wind power plant produces about 3.3 million kilo-watt-hours per year. Thus in the eleven years to 2020, the United States would need about 180 thousand 1.5 megawatt wind turbines. This means 45 new wind turbines per day.

As a means to keep utilities from shutting down operating coal plants, Waxman's Malarkey Bill allows fossil fuel users to purchase carbon offsets that nullify carbon dioxide production by removing carbon dioxide at other locations. This feature should make investors with similar dispositions to Bernard Madoff weep for joy. The offsets may sell $50 to $80 per ton of carbon. The offsets may be from planting forests in Brazil or constructing hydroelectric dams in China. The same tree may be used as offsets for different countries or utilities. What is to prevent trees planted for offsets being harvested for fuel consumption? All kinds of mischief should be possible from this means to forestall reductions in fossil fuel use.


An email for Madhav Khandekar []

The Indian Monsoon & by extension the Asian Monsoon which impact about 4 B people (70% of world's humanity) today is perhaps the most complex feature of the earth's climate system and climate models have achieved only a limited success so far in simulating many features of this complex system.

Normally the Indian monsoon arrives at the southern tip of Indian Peninsula (about 8N) by May 25 and by June 7/8 the Monsoon onset begins over Mumbai (largest Indian city, pop: ~20 M) and it progresses further into central India and by June 25th to June 30th the Monsoon generally spreads over most of India. Despite year-to-year variations in these dates, the onset dates over a 150-yr database (one of the best datasets) shows Monsoon arrival dates remarkably robust. Delay in Monsoon arrival is often associated with anxiety about water shortage, impact on agriculture and of course an increased hype about "global warming, climate change and possible adverse impact". A careful examination of past data, however, shows such 'fears' about adverse global warming impact are without any merit.

Despite significant advances in Monsoon meteorology, predicting onset and overall intensity and distribution of Monsoon rainfall during the four summer months (June-September) is still a daunting task and considerable research efforts are needed at present to improve predictability of Indian/Asian Monsoon. Since the Indian/Asian Monsoon system transfers sufficient energy across the entire climate system, any future projection of earth's climate must include an improved modelling of the Monsoon system than what is available at present.

This year's Monsoon was predicted to be about normal (96% of normal) by the IMD ( India Met Dept) as early as April 18th and an early arrival (second week of May) of Monsoon rains at the southern tip of India suggested this year's Monsoon to be about two weeks early. However, further progress of Monsoon was stalled for reasons that we meteorologists do not fully understand and this stalling and later creating acute shortage of water in Mumbai and New Delhi ( India's capital city with a pop, ~14 M) has evoked comments like "Monsoon gamble, looming spectre of a drought etc" from many, including a scientist working with Greenpeace.

It must be remembered that such delays in Monsoon arrival have occurred in the past and has affected India's agricultural output, but such delays and irregular Monsoon progression are all part of natural variability, quite possibly linked to large-scale atmospheric circulation systems like the ENSO phase in Eq pacific, Eurasian and Himalayan winter snow cover, QBO (Quasi-Biennial Eq Stratospheric Wind Oscillation) phase and perhaps a host of other regional features. This is what makes the Indian/Asian Monsoon so very complex and a challenging scientific problem.

In 1972 the Indian Monsoon was delayed, esp in Peninsular India by almost six weeks and that year proved to be one of severest drought year for the Monsoon (most certainly this was attributed to the 1972 strong El Nino) which resulted in sharply reduced rice yield that year.

Earlier in 1961 Monsoon rains were heaviest during the four months with extensive flooding over many parts of India. Such floods and droughts have occurred irregularly and are still not fully understood. The worst ever drought was in 1877 which sparked an article (Proc of Royal Society) by Henry Blanford (British Met Reporter for the then Govt of India) to speculate linkage between extensive snow cover over Himalayas during preceding winter and weak Monsoon.

Climate modellers almost 100 years later were able to simulate this inverse relationship. However much remains to be understood about how winter Eurasian snow cover impacts Monsoon circulation few months down the road and how the easterly Jet Stream that emanates from east of Bangkok to Saudi Arabia at about 12 km level over Peninsular India (during Monsoon months) evolves and influences Monsoon rains.

Per most recent IMD communication, Monsoon seems to be spreading over most of India (by June 30th) and this season's rains would be only about 93% of normal. The month of July is the most critical month with regular rains over most of eastern & western Gangetic Plains during normal Monsoon. Whether the Monsoon this year "behaves normally" for the rest of the season remains to be seen. The ENSO phase is about normal at this point in time, so NO adverse impact from Eq Pacific is expected. Winter snow cover was heavy during the past winter, however the continued westerly phase of the QBO may help produce good rains over next few weeks.

Accurate Monsoon simulation and prediction with a lead time of few weeks to few months still remains an intractable problem for climate scientists.


You've probably all heard of Svensmark and the Galactic Cosmic Ray (GCR) to cloud cover modulation theory by now. Lot's of warmists say it is "discredited". However, CERN in Switzerland isn't following that thinking, and after getting some encouraging results in the CLOUD06 experiment, they have funded a much larger and more comprehensive CLOUD09 experiment. I figure if it is "discredited", a bunch of smart guys and gals like CERN wouldn't be ramping up the investigation. There's also word now of a new correlation:

Correlation recently reported between solar/GCR variability and temperature in Siberia from glacial ice core, 30 yr lag (ie. ocean currents may be part of response)

I get so many tips now it is hard to choose, but this one is a gem. If you look at nothing else this month, please take the time to download the slide show from CERN's Jasper Kirkby at the end of this article.

He does a superb job of tying it all together. I found Kirkby's slide show quite interesting, and I've grabbed some slides for our WUWT readers. He proposes a GCR to cloud droplet mechanism, which to me, makes sense meteorologically. He also touches on the possibility that the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) may have been shifted due to GCR modulation during the LIA/Maunder Minimum. This ties in with Willis Eschenbach's theories of the ITCZ being a "thermostatic mechanism" for the planet with some amplification effects.

More HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

A pipedream of six turbines a day until 2020

Lord Hunt has made one of the most absurd claims that can ever have been uttered by a British minister, writes Christopher Booker

Last Wednesday, two days before our Climate Change Secretary, Ed Miliband, told us that motorists could help save the planet by changing more quickly to a lower gear, his underling Lord Hunt made one of the most absurd claims that can ever have been uttered by a British minister. Solemnly reported by the media, he said that by 2020 he hopes to see thousands more wind turbines round Britain's coasts, capable of producing '25 gigawatts (GW)" of electricity, enough to meet "more than a quarter of the UK's electricity needs".

In three ways this was remarkable. First, as most of us know by now, thanks to the intermittency of the wind, the actual output from 25GW of turbine capacity would only average out at 7.5GW. Since Britain's peak demand is 56GW, Lord Hunt's turbines would meet barely a seventh of our needs, just over half what he claims.

Nor did he mention their cost. Thanks to the British Wind Energy Association telling us that the current price of offshore turbines is £3.1 million per megawatt, the bill we would all have to pay for Lord Hunt's dream would be £77 billion, plus the £15 billion that he did admit would be needed to pay for cabling to connect his windmills to the grid. For the same £92 billion we could build 34 nuclear power stations, enough to meet all Britain's needs, at a seventh of the cost for each unit of electricity.

The second remarkable feature of Lord Hunt's vision is that, in practical terms, there is no conceivable way it could happen. To build the 10,000 turbines that would be required by 2020 would mean installing more than two of these 2,000-ton monsters, the size of Blackpool Tower, every day for the next 11 years. But, thanks to weather conditions at sea, it is only possible to carry out the work for four months each summer. So the true rate would be more like six a day. Nowhere in the world has anyone managed to instal more than one a week, as opposed to Lord Hunt's hypothetical 45.

The third, perhaps most disturbing point is that the media dutifully reported Lord Hunt's absurd claims without asking any of the elementary questions that could have revealed that he was talking utter nonsense. One cannot of course expect Opposition MPs to take an intelligent interest in such matters. But if journalists allow ministers to get away with talking such tosh, the slide into unreality can only continue.



Brazil wants historic emissions to be the basis for greenhouse gas pollution targets, slated for discussion during December climate talks in Copenhagen, Brazil's top climate negotiator said in an interview. Jose Miguez, who heads Brazil's Interministerial Commission on Global Climate Change, said Brazil is not yet proposing targets for emissions cuts under the second phase of the Kyoto Protocol because developed nations should take the lead. "The greenhouse effect is not caused by emissions, it is caused by the accumulation of emissions in the atmosphere," he said. "We are proposing that the second period of (Kyoto Protocol) commitments be based on the historic responsibilities of each country." Miguez said China, India and South Africa will back the historic emissions proposal in the United Nations talks aimed at reining in warming that the U.N. climate panel says will cause more droughts and crop failures and raise sea levels.

In China, which scientists say has surpassed the United States as the world's biggest carbon polluter, a state think tank this year proposed a greenhouse gas trading plan to reflect the historic emissions of rich and poor nations. Miguez said Brazil opposes "carbon intensity" proposals that measure emissions per dollar of GDP because they favor bigger economies and risk allowing continued increases in global emissions as economies grow. "It's the proposal backed by the U.S., Japan and Germany, it's good for countries with big GDPs," said Miguez.


Note from Benny Peiser: It would appear that President Obama's climate policies run the serious risk of alienating international allies in the developing world, democratic nations (such as India, Brazil, South Africa, etc) that may even turn into potential adversaries if the West's foolish strategy of green protectionism were to take hold. It would be a historical tragedy if future climate conflicts and trade wars were triggered by Western climate hysteria and political extremism rather than anything the climate is throwing at us.


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