Thursday, August 20, 2009


After they have demonstrated that they cannot be trusted even to keep records of the data they are paid to collect. Crookedness is just endemic to Warmism. It's the only way they can keep their claims alive

Though a striking number of prominent scientists have recently recanted their initial belief in manmade global warming, joining an already robust community of distinguished skeptics, those who continue to advance the theory could be their own worst enemy. Whatever the truth is about anthropogenic climate change - the contention that carbon dioxide emitted by human industrial activity - the tendency among some climate-change believers to embellish the effects of planetary warming has only served to undermine their credibility in the eyes of the public and, less so, the media.

For years, global warming advocates held up every calving ice shelf, failed crop or natural disaster as proof of a dawning warming apocalypse; whether it was too much rain, or not enough - either way, it was abnormal, and the fault of Big Oil and anyone questioning that, labeled a “denier.” As Vicky Pope, a senior British climatologist, citing overblown claims of rapid melting of arctic sea ice, and the ice sheet around Greenland, bemoaned earlier this year, for scientists, “overplaying natural variations in the weather as climate change is just as much a distortion of the science as underplaying them to claim that climate change has stopped or is not happening.”

But probably nothing could damage the credibility of climate change believers [more] than the recent revelation by the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) that it has lost or destroyed all the original data used to construct historic global temperature records. The CRU, at the University of East Anglia in the UK, which has been using information collected from weather stations across the globe for decades, is probably the most widely cited source worldwide for those mounting a case that the earth has exhibited an inexorable warming trend: its website boasts that CRU’s research has “set the agenda for the major research effort in, and political preoccupation with, climate research.” The critical raw climate data responsible, which scientists of all climate-creeds have a natural interest in, is now gone, apparently, forever. With the exception of a handful of countries that the CRU has agreements with to sell its data, all that remains for the bulk of the statistics are “value added” versions, which is to say, consolidated, homogenized data. Actually, the CRU says it doesn’t even have all the data for countries it has data-sharing agreements with. “We know that there were others, but cannot locate them, possibly as we've moved offices several times during the 1980s,” the CRU writes in a rather embarrassing explanation for all this posted on its website.

The Unit makes this admission now, coincidentally, as it faced a flurry of requests, under Britain’s Freedom of Information Act, to make available its data to interested researchers. The CRU, it seems, had not been much in a sharing mood prior to that. UK's register reports that Professor Phil Jones, the fellow in charge of maintaining the CRU data set, told an Australian researcher a few years back that he refused to publicly share his statistics. “We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?” The idea that scientific progress rests completely on the constant testing and retesting, verifying and refuting, of studies, seems not to be shared by Mr. Jones, even though this particular data set had massive implications for policymaking in pretty well every country on the planet.

Unfortunately for him, as part of a publicly managed and funded organization, his group was nonetheless subject to transparency laws, and so, when researchers sought to shake the data loose without his consent, it had mysteriously vanished. “We have never had sufficient resources to keep track of the exact source of each individual monthly value,” they explained in coming up dry for the FOI requests. As Stephen McIntyre, the Canadian economist famous for his addiction to poring through volumes of mind-numbing climate statistics, and occasionally finding errors (as he did, with Ross McKitrick, in deconstructing and undermining the famous “hockey stick” graph), writes on his Climate Audit blog, it appears that the impoverished CRU even lacked filing cabinets in which to store its records.

With access only to “homogenized” consolidated data, there is no way for researchers - skeptical or believers - to verify or refute the original statistics or calculations behind the CRU’s widely relied-upon weather information. The data could be accurate, or not. It could be that temperatures haven’t been warming at the rate the CRU claims, or it could be that they’re warming faster, perhaps arguing for an even direr situation for the planet. Nor can the raw data be run through different modeling programs in order to corroborate conclusions, or question them. The science is permanently frozen into the CRU’s original grid, and we are, evidently, forced to assume everything is perfectly accurate, a relatively rare thing in complex statistical calculations compiled over decades.

Which is why Mr. McIntyre (who has also found evidence that could, maybe, suggest that the CRU has been deleting important data files from its servers) isn’t the only one incredulous and indignant over the CRU’s missing records. Roger Pielke, a professor at the University of Colorado Center for Science and Technology Policy Research is a firm believer in global warming. But even he calls this a “big” “misstep,” writing on his blog that “just because climate change is important and because there are opponents to action that will seize upon whatever they can to make their arguments, does not justify overlooking or defending this degree of scientific sloppiness and ineptitude.” Scientists of all climate creeds know that access to basic data is critical to keeping research credible. Of course, the CRU is only one of a couple key organizations whose research based on historical weather data is used to support global warming theory. Given that the Unit has admitted now that it cannot fully substantiate its work, it raises the uncomfortable question of whether CRU’s historic climate research should be used any longer at all.


Ethanol nonsense

Using Ethanol leads to INCREASED Gasoline consumption, says Harry Wertheimer, who is a retired automotive engineer

Many aspects of the use of corn based ethanol in motor fuel are well known. This “renewable” source of energy was alleged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and start the nation on the path to energy independence. In the pursuit of these goals, the federal government has mandated wide usage of gasoline blended with 10 percent ethanol. Billions of taxpayer dollars have been spent subsidizing the production of ethanol for use in fuel. In this report, I will show that using 10 percent ethanol blended in gasoline results in higher petroleum usage than if the ethanol were not used.

Before turning to that task, here are some salient facts regarding the use of corn-based ethanol in motor fuel:

1. Using ethanol in our fuel almost certainly does NOT cut the emissions of carbon dioxide, especially if deforestation to grow corn is considered. Further, it has been documented that ethanol leads to increased emissions of VOCs and oxides of nitrogen. California requested, but was denied, a federal exemption from mandated ethanol usage.

2. The use of corn to produce fuel has raised food prices around the world.

3. Many gasoline-powered machines, such as boats, lawn, farm, and construction equipment are being damaged by ethanol-blended gasoline. Apparently some modern cars are affected also, notably certain recent Lexus models.

4. Ethanol cannot be transported in gasoline pipelines. This means it must be moved by truck or rail. Not only does that add to the cost and to highway congestion, but there is a safety issue as evidenced by two recent horrible accidents (one truck and the derailment of tank cars in Chicago resulting in fierce fires and at least one fatality).

5. A huge quantity of water is needed to make ethanol from corn. This aggravates shortages of fresh water in many parts of our nation.

However, one aspect of ethanol has not previously been considered. That is that it very likely increases the nation’s consumption of fossil fuel. But, you say, the very purpose of using ethanol is to reduce our dependence on imported petroleum. Well, I’m not a rocket scientist, but I am a mechanical engineer with 32 years of work experience in the automotive industry and another 12 in energy distribution. I have been a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers for 52 years. Using my background and my own experience, I will show that a given trip, say, one that would require 100 gallons of unadulterated gasoline would require more fossil fuel if the trip were made with a 10 percent ethanol blend (E10).

Consider: Based on data from the EPA, a gallon of ethanol contains about 76,100 Btu, while a typical gallon of gasoline has 114,000 Btu. Crunching the numbers shows that E10 has about 3.3 percent less energy than 100 percent gasoline and thus could be expected to decrease fuel mileage by that percentage. If the only degradation in gas mileage with E10 were 3.3 percent, you would not be reading this article. However, I have been fortunate to find a local source of 100 percent gasoline near my home. I have made a careful comparison of mileage with E10 vs. that with pure gasoline. It is well known that gas mileage varies depending on whether the driving is highway or local. So in order to make a valid comparison, I have taken advantage of the trip computer in my 2008 Nissan Rogue and recorded the average speed (mph) for every tank full of fuel. (See chart below.) For the (tank average) speed range of 27 to 53 MPH, using pure gasoline gave me an average of 7.8 percent better mileage than E101. I know this is anecdotal, but others who fill up at the same station report similar savings with the ethanol-free fuel.

Return now to that hypothetical trip that took 100 gallons of pure gasoline (E0). Based on my experience, the same trip would require 107.8 gallons of E10. Agreed? Ten percent of this E10 usage would be 10.78 gallons of ethanol. Well, from that we note that the energy equivalent of the ethanol would be 7.2 gallons of gasoline. (10.78 x 76,100 / 114,00 = 7.2) But not even ethanol protagonists allege that a gallon of ethanol requires less than 75 percent of its energy content to produce. So that 7.2 gallons would need the equivalent of 5.4 gallons of gasoline to produce. (7.2 x 0.75 = 5.4) Thus the trip with E10 would need 102.4 gallons of gasoline or its equivalent. (107.8 - 10.78 + 5.4 = 102.4) Which is to say that by using 10 percent ethanol in my fuel, I am using 2.4 percent more fossil fuel than if our misguided government had not modified our motor fuel in the first place.

It is patently obvious that the government's ethanol mandates and subsidies have but one indisputable effect: They enrich the corn growers and the ethanol producers at the expense of the rest of us taxpayers. When, oh when will courageous people in government stand up to the farm and ethanol producer (think ADM) lobbies and declare that there should be an end to this blatant scam on the American public? Think of what those billions in wasted subsidies could do for our troubled economy.

SOURCE (See the original for graphic)

Barack Obama critics take aim at carbon reforms after health reform success

Opponents of Barack Obama have opened up a second front in the attack on his core political agenda by launching a campaign against proposals for a "cap and trade" carbon emissions scheme. Inspired by the success of protests against health care reform, the critics began their fight against the carbon scheme with a rally in Houston, Texas. Several Right-wing groups opposed to what they see as Mr Obama's tendency towards "big government" are involved in both campaigns, and hope to defeat or emasculate the two central pillars of the president's domestic agenda.

A coalition of 17 business and conservative groups, backed by dozens of local organisations, will stage further events in 19 other states over the next three weeks and has told its millions of members to bombard their representatives in Washington with calls and emails.

Conservative pressure has already forced Mr Obama to backtrack on key elements of his plans to provide health insurance to all Americans, such as the proposal for a government health insurance body. Like the agitators against the president's plans for health reform, the alliance, known as Energy Citizens, plans to influence congressmen and senators visiting their districts and states during the August break. The campaign will concentrate on areas where the coal or oil industry is based or where moderate Democrats are nervous about re-election in next year's midterm elections.

Many meetings on the health debate have become heated, and concerns have risen that they could turn violent after at least 12 armed men were seen outside a convention centre where the president was addressing military veterans in Phoenix, Arizona on Monday. At least two carried assault rifles and attracted the close attention of the police and the Secret Service, which guards the president. Police said the men did not need permits, as Arizona has an "open carry" gun law.

Cathy Landry, a spokesman for the American Petroleum Institute, which is co-ordinating the energy bill campaign, said: "We will not be shouting down congressmen, but we want to surge senators that we would like them to get this right."

Democratic leaders in the Senate have set a deadline of the end of September to finalise a cap-and-trade bill, after the House of Representatives narrowly passed its own version earlier in the summer. That bill would set limits on carbon emissions and require polluting industries to buy carbon allowances from those that pollute less.

Mr Obama claims the bill will slow global warming and reduce dependence on foreign sources of fossil fuels but critics have said it would however raise energy costs and lead to substantial job losses.

Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau, a member of the coalition, said the current House plans would lead to a shortage of energy in about 2020 as alternative energy sources such as wind and solar would not develop at the forecast rate. "There are serious flaws. There is no provision for other countries to come up with comparative commitments, so it is not clear what beneficial effect there will be on climate change," he said. His organisation has encouraged its 6.2 million mostly rural member families to attend the rallies or to contact their congressmen making their objections clear. "Members of the senate and congress are hearing strong reactions against health care and on climate change," he added. "There may be a dual effect where resistance to one builds resistance to the other."

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, a pressure group involved in opposing Mr Obama on both fronts, said: "Cap and trade has just come on top of everything else – the massive stimulus, the $1 trillion budget, health care. "We are just people who don't want the government to get bigger, too expensive and too intrusive, a government that will tell you what health care you can have at what price and what energy you can have at what price. It's a standard Left-Right choice."



Cap-and-trade legislation to limit U.S. carbon dioxide emissions has “gotten out of control” and needs to be scaled back in Congress, said former Democratic Senator Timothy Wirth. “The Republicans are right -- it’s a cap-and-tax bill,” Wirth, a climate-change negotiator during President Bill Clinton’s administration, said in an Aug. 14 interview. “That’s what it is because they are raising revenue to do all sorts of things, especially to take care of the coal industry, and it makes no sense.”

A system to cap carbon emissions and then create a market for the trading of pollution allowances is the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s proposal to fight global warming. Wirth, who helped craft a successful emissions-trading market two decades ago that cut sulfur-dioxide pollution causing acid rain, is among Democrats questioning House-passed legislation set to be taken up next month in the Senate.

“I’m not critical of cap-and-trade,” said Wirth, head of the UN Foundation, a philanthropy established in 1998 with $1 billion from medial mogul Ted Turner. “But it has to be used in a targeted and disciplined way, and what has happened is it’s gotten out of control.”

Wirth, who represented Colorado in the Senate, says the House-passed plan is “too broad across the economy.” Instead of capping carbon pollution generally, the measure should focus solely on coal-fired power plants, he said.

The proposal echoes a campaign pledge made in 2000 by then Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush, who vowed to control carbon emissions from utilities. As president, he changed his position, arguing that a mandatory cap on such heat- trapping pollution would cost jobs and harm the economy.


Volt sticker shock

We live in incoherent times, but maybe someone can explain it to me: How does a $40,000 "economy" car make economic sense?

The $40k is the price GM will reportedly charge for its all-electric Volt sedan -- due out in late 2010 as a 2011 model. Unlike current hybrids, which mostly get going on their internal combustion engines -- with their battery packs and electric motors providing a supplemental boost -- the Volt will be propelled entirely by electric motors and batteries. The small onboard gasoline-burning engine is only there to provide the power to charge the batteries. It is basically a generator -- and is not connected to the drive wheels at all.

The Volt is thus touted by GM as being capable of returning as much as 230 miles per gallon, since it is for all intents and purposes a fully electric car that carries its recharger with it. (The Volt can also be plugged into regular 110 volt household outlets.)

But, $40,000? That is almost exactly what you'd pay for a new BMW 335i ($40,300) and not too far off the asking price of a new Mercedes-Benz E-Class ($48,050). These are fine cars, but not exactly marketed to people who are concerned about their pocketbooks.

Forty Thousand Dollars. That is a lot of coin. Even with a government subsidy (on top of the subsidy GM has built into the car's price) expected to be as much as $7,500 (thank you, fellow taxpayer), the potential Volt buyer is looking at a bottom line price that is right there in the entry-luxury range -- and roughly three times the cost of a new econobox.

Does it compute? Well, let's see... .

For the sake of discussion, we'll take GM's 230 mpg claim at face value. This figure is about four times the published mileage of the 2010 Toyota Prius (50 mpg, average). But the Prius costs just over half as much ($22k). So, the Volt buyer would have to "work off" the approximate $18,000 difference ($12,000 or so, if you subtract the proposed $7,500 government subsidy).

Twelve grand buys one helluva lot of gas -- even at $3 per gallon. Four thousand gallons, to be precise. If whatever you are driving now gets an average of 25 mpg (half what the Prius gets) that 4,000 gallons would keep you going for 160,000 miles.

That is a long time to wait to break even... .

Now let's alter the scenario a bit and use as our "demo vehicle" a new Nissan Versa 1.6 -- which you can buy for less than ten grand, brand spankin' new. It may only get 29 mpg (average, city plus highway). But the difference in up front costs between it and the new Volt Wunderwagen is a forbidding $30,000 (okay, $23k if you subtract the $7,500 subsidy).

How much gas can you buy with twenty-three thousand dollars at $3 per? Six thousand, nine hundred gallons, chief. Holy Opec! That's enough for 200,000-plus miles of motoring before you'd hit the "break even" point.

How many people even keep their cars for 200,000 miles? (Or 160,000 for that matter?)

Has anyone done the math? I assumed there were, you know, engineers (math guys) working at GM.

But maybe not.

Even leaving aside the operating costs, how many people who are really concerned about gas mileage (that is, about the expense of a car) are in a position (or desire) to spend $40,000 on a vehicle? By definition, if you are spending that kind of money on a car, you either don't care much about gas mileage -- or don't really have to care much about it.



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


No comments: