Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Another group of scientists send themselves up

"Small mammals at risk as world warms". Yet they also concede that during the last big warming, small animals were particularly resilient, without the big die-offs observed in other species. All the species the researchers found in their fossils are still around. The big moan is simply that some particular small animals are now thriving more than they used to!

That species become more or less plentiful all the time in response to varying environmental conditions seems not to be considered. Apparently the distribution of 12,000 years ago has somehow been proclaimed as "ideal". That sounds to me more like a Papal Bull (in more ways than one) than science

The biodiversity of small mammals in North America may already be close to a "tipping point" causing impacts "up and down the food chain" according to a new study by U.S. scientists.

Examining fossils excavated from a cave in Northern California, biologists from Stanford University, California uncovered evidence that small mammal populations were severely depleted during the last episode of global warming around 12,000 years ago.

Many species, say researchers, have never recovered their populations leaving them vulnerable to future rises in temperature.....

Unlike some larger animals -- mammoths, mastodons and dire wolves -- small mammals never became extinct during the Pleistocene epoch.

But despite their resilience, Blois says small animal species face an uncertain future. "Even though all of the species survived, small mammal communities as a whole lost a substantial amount of diversity, which may make them less resilient to future change," she said in a statement.


Tax dollars perpetuate global-warming fiction: $6 million study is used to lobby for cap-and-tax

With public faith in the global-warming myth on the wane, leftist zealots are desperate to spin a new tale - and they're spending your tax money to do it. Three years ago, Congress appropriated $5,856,600 for the National Academy of Sciences to complete a climate-change study. This bureaucratic attempt to cook the books, which was completed last week, may be too late to save this dying religion.

The academy now offers the taxpayer-funded research for download in three separate sections for $44 each. The first volume presents the case that human activities are warming the planet and that this "poses significant risks." A second report urges that a cap-and-trade taxing system be implemented to reduce so-called greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The final section of the study explores strategies on adapting to the "reality" of climate change, meaning purported "extreme weather events like heavy precipitation and heat waves."

None of the big-government recommendations are worth the 1,089 pages of presumably recycled paper on which they are to be printed if planetary warming is actually a phenomenon beyond human control, so the first volume is of primary interest. "Advancing the Science of Climate Change" asserts that the Earth's temperature has risen over the past 100 years and that human activities have resulted in sharp increases in carbon dioxide. The coincidence of these facts on their own, of course, proves nothing. The Earth has been as warm or warmer in past periods, such as the medieval and Roman warm periods, long before the internal combustion engine and coal plants were around to take the heat for a particularly sweltering summer day.

"Both the basic physics of the greenhouse effect and more detailed calculations dictate that increases in atmospheric GHGs should lead to warming of Earth's surface and lower atmosphere," the National Academy report goes on to assert. That is to say, the theory that mankind's increased carbon-dioxide output is responsible for warming is true because the theory's calculations say so. "Detailed simulations" of climate provide verification in the eyes of these left-leaning scientists. The same climate models that can't predict tomorrow's weather accurately are supposed to forecast decades into the future.

That this logic is entirely circular is not lost on the public, only a third of whom believe mankind's collective exhalations are about to destroy the planet. A recent Rasmussen survey found that a majority (59 percent) think it's more likely that scientists are falsifying research data to support their own personal theories about global warming.

The overall message of climate alarmists is "Trust us," but the Climategate e-mails exposed these hacks' lack of credibility, as they are willing to manipulate and suppress data to try to prove their point. Science should not be abused to push a political agenda - and here the National Academy is doing the work of Democrats by taking tax dollars to pimp for higher taxes on gasoline, electricity and other essential elements of modern life. In return, these ideological leftists are rewarded with even more of your money to conduct additional "research."

It's time to pull the plug on public funding for these science-fiction writers.


Nonpartisan Proof: Cap-and-Trade Is an Economy-Killer

Last week, in what the National Academy of Sciences declared "the most comprehensive report ever on climate change," three studies requested by Congress were unfurled, providing sweeping proposals for an aggressive federally based strategy to deal with climate change.

Bold actions are necessary because "climate change is occurring, the Earth is warming ... concentrations of carbon dioxide are increasing, and there are very clear fingerprints that link [those effects] to humans," said Pamela A. Matson of Stanford University, co-chair of the studies and the subsequent report to Congress.

The report was ordered by congressional Democrats who want climate change legislation passed and signed into law this year. Both the House climate bill (passed last year) and the pending Senate version call for the trading of carbon credits, as well as heavy taxes on businesses that emit greenhouse gases in order to supposedly cool the planet. The Senate is expected to renew debate on the issue later this summer.

However, a just-released report assembled by the nonpartisan Peterson Institute for International Economics confirms my long-held contention: The pending climate change bill will be an economic bust for America by killing jobs and raising prices for virtually everything.

The Peterson Institute's report focuses on Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman's (I-CT) bill, The American Power Act. Overall, Peterson's eighteen-page synopsis of the bill definitely leans green. For example, the reports states, "Climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for -- and in many cases is already affecting -- a broad range of human and natural systems."

Those of you who have read my book Climategate, as well as my multiple missives on American Thinker, know I wholeheartedly disagree with the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis.

Besides believing that humans are altering the climate, the Peterson report recommends that a single federal entity or program be given the authority and resources to coordinate a national, multidisciplinary research effort aimed at improving both understanding and responding to climate change.

In other words, the nonpartisan report contends that government is the solution to the problem.

Nonetheless -- and surprisingly -- the report states that if the Kerry-Lieberman bill should become law, there will be net job losses and higher energy and product prices.

The Peterson analysis neatly buries those findings after stating that 203,000 new green jobs will be created each year for a decade. Specifically, the report states the net employment losses will be due to "the jobs lost in fossil fuel production and as a result of higher energy prices between 2011 and 2020. In the second decade of the program [2020-2030], higher energy and product prices offset the employment gains from new investment."

Translation: Yes, there will be new so-called "green" jobs that will include government bureaucrats hired to shuffle papers and enforce new green building codes, construction jobs to retrofit buildings, installers for solar panels, etc. However, there will be more jobs lost than gained should the bill become law.

To review: Both the House and Senate climate change bills plan on scaling back CO2 emissions 17 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050. According to United States Census figures, the population of the U.S. will increase by thirty million by 2020 and by 100 million by 2050. So where will the cuts come from? From America's coal industry, which will be shuttered; from our manufacturing sector, which will be moved offshore; and from our livestock industry, which will also be sent abroad.

Do you see what's about to occur? Good jobs will be lost. That's why in the House version of the bill, a provision ensures that if your job is shipped overseas, you are eligible for three years of unemployment compensation at 70% of your pay, plus retraining and relocation expenses. The intent is to pacify your anger with a three-year paid vacation. In the Senate version of the bill, the unemployment benefits are cleverly tied into an Internal Revenue Code entitled the "empowerment zone employment credit."

The Peterson reports also notes that by forcing the price of energy upward (which is what both the House and Senate bills will do), Americans will be forced to use less energy:
By placing a price on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, providing incentives for low-carbon sources of energy supply and improving the efficiency of energy use through a range of mechanisms, the American Power Act would substantially alter the way energy is produced and consumed in the United States.

By pricing carbon, the American Power Act raises the cost of fossil fuels, prompting firms and consumers to improve the efficiency with which they use energy or switch to low-carbon sources of energy supply.

Households will also face higher prices for non-energy goods as the firms producing them face higher energy costs.

To compensate for this additional cost of living, both the House and Senate versions of the bill present consumer handouts in the form of direct deposits from Uncle Sam into the bank account of lower wage-earners. In the case of the Senate bill, a family of four making $55,000 a year will receive a monthly cash deposit into their bank account to offset their increased cost of living.

Sounds like socialism to me, but then again, I've never believed this bill was about the environment. It's an attempt to spread the wealth around, allow a few investors to make huge amounts off of money off cap-and-trade, and -- more importantly-- take away the liberty of the American people. When the government is able to control how much energy we consume, they have an additional tool with which to control our lives.


It’s The Sun, Stupid

Solar scientists are finally overcoming their fears and going public about the Sun-climate connection

Four years ago, when I first started profiling scientists who were global warming skeptics, I soon learned two things: Solar scientists were overwhelmingly skeptical that humans caused climate change and, overwhelmingly, they were reluctant to go public with their views. Often, they refused to be quoted at all, saying they feared for their funding, or they feared other recriminations from climate scientists in the doomsayer camp. When the skeptics agreed to be quoted at all, they often hedged their statements, to give themselves wiggle room if accused of being a global warming denier. Scant few were outspoken about their skepticism.

No longer.

Scientists, and especially solar scientists, are becoming assertive. Maybe their newfound confidence stems from the Climategate emails, which cast doomsayer-scientists as frauds and diminished their standing within academia. Maybe their confidence stems from the avalanche of errors recently found in the reports of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, destroying its reputation as a gold standard in climate science. Maybe the solar scientists are becoming assertive because the public no longer buys the doomsayer thesis, as seen in public opinion polls throughout the developed world. Whatever it was, solar scientists are increasingly conveying a clear message on the chief cause of climate change: It’s the Sun, Stupid.

Jeff Kuhn, a rising star at the University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy, is one of the most recent scientists to go public, revealing in press releases this month that solar scientists worldwide are on a mission to show that the Sun drives Earth’s climate. “As a scientist who knows the data, I simply can’t accept [the claim that man plays a dominant role in Earth’s climate],” he states.

Kuhn’s team, which includes solar scientists from Stanford University and Brazil as well as from his own institute, last week announced a startling breakthrough — evidence that the Sun does not change much in size, as had previously been believed. This week, in announcing the award of a ¤60,000 Humboldt Prize for Kuhn’s solar excellence, his institute issued a release stating that its research into sunspots “may ultimately help us predict how and when a changing sun affects Earth’s climate.”

Earlier this month, the link between solar activity and climate made headlines throughout Europe after space scientists from the U.K., Germany and South Korea linked the recent paucity of sunspots to the cold weather that Europe has been experiencing. This period of spotlessness, the scientists predicted in a study published in Environmental Research Letters, could augur a repeat of winters comparable to those of the Little Ice Age in the 1600s, during which the Sun was often free of sunspots. By comparing temperatures in Europe since 1659 to highs and lows in solar activity in the same years, the scientists discovered that low solar activity generally corresponded to cold winters. Could this centuries-long link between the Sun and Earth’s climate have been a matter of chance? “There is less than a 1% probability that the result was obtained by chance,” asserts Mike Lockwood of the University of Reading in the U.K., the study’s lead author.

Solar scientists widely consider the link between the Sun and Earth’s climate incontrovertible. When bodies such the IPCC dismiss solar science’s contribution to understanding Earth’s climate out of hand, solar scientists no longer sit on their hands. Danish scientist Henrik Svensmark of the Danish National Space Institute stated that the IPCC was “probably totally wrong” to dismiss the significance of the sun, which in 2009 would likely have the most spotless days in a century. As for claims from the IPCC and other global warming doomsayers who argue that periods of extreme heat or cold were regional in scope, not global, Svensmark cites the Medieval Warm Period, a prosperous period of very high solar activity around the year 1000: “It was a time when frosts in May were almost unknown — a matter of great importance for a good harvest. Vikings settled in Greenland and explored the coast of North America. On the whole it was a good time. For example, China’s population doubled in this period.”

The Medieval Warm Period, many solar scientists believe, was warmer than today, and the Roman Warm Period, around the time of Christ, was warmer still. Compelling new evidence to support his view came just in March from the Saskatchewan Isotope Laboratory at the University of Saskatchewan and Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado. In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, the authors for the first time document seasonal temperature variations in the North Atlantic over a 2,000-year period, from 360 BC to about 1660 AD. Their technique — involving measurements of oxygen and carbon isotopes captured in mollusk shells — confirmed that the Roman Period was the warmest in the past two millennia.

Among solar scientists, there are a great many theories about how the Sun influences climate. Some will especially point to sunspots, others to the Sun’s magnetic field, others still to the Sun’s influence on cosmic rays which, in turn, affect cloud cover. There is as yet no answer to how the Sun affects Earth’s climate. All that now seems sure is that the Sun does play an outsized role and that the Big Chill on freedom of expression that scientists once faced when discussing global warming is becoming a Big Thaw.


90 Scientists say biofuels no answer to CO2 emissions

Ninety of America's leading scientists today urged U.S. House and Senate leaders to make sure that any climate/energy bill or regulation accurately accounts for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions when it comes to bioenergy, including biofuels such as ethanol.

In the letter to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Majority Leader Harry Reid, and key Obama Administration officials, the scientists caution that ignoring the carbon impact of bioenergy can actually lead to increases in greenhouse gas emissions because not all forms of bioenergy produce less carbon dioxide pollution than fossil fuels.

They write: "Replacement of fossil fuels with bioenergy does not directly stop carbon dioxide emissions from tailpipes or smokestacks. Although fossil fuel emissions are reduced or eliminated, the combustion of biomass replaces fossil emissions with its own emissions (which may even be higher per unit of energy because of the lower energy to carbon ratio of biomass)."

"There may be a public perception that all biofuels and bioenergy are equally good for the environment and are all lower in carbon emissions than fossil fuels, but that's not true," said Dr. William Schlesinger, president of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, one of the scientists who signed the letter. "Many produce just as much or more carbon pollution than oil, gas, and coal. If our laws and regulations treat high-carbon-impact bioenergy sources, like today's corn ethanol, as if they are low-carbon, we're fooling ourselves and undercutting the purpose of those same laws and regulations."

According to the scientists, what the United States decides to do in terms of accounting for bioenergy will have major repercussions around the globe. "U.S. laws will also influence world treatment of bioenergy. A number of studies in distinguished journals have estimated that globally improper accounting of bioenergy could lead to large-scale clearing of the world's forests."

Failure to properly account for bioenergy CO2 emissions could seriously undermine other efforts to address climate change, the scientists warn. "Many international treaties and domestic laws and bills account for bioenergy incorrectly by treating all bioenergy as causing a 100% reduction in emissions regardless of the source of the biomass. ? Under some scenarios, this approach could eliminate most of the expected greenhouse gas reductions during the next several decades ?"

The letter from the scientists cautions decision makers about the basic mistake that biomass is "carbon neutral," explaining: "Clearing or cutting forests for energy, either to burn trees directly in power plants or to replace forests with bioenergy crops, has the net effect of releasing otherwise sequestered carbon into the atmosphere, just like the extraction and burning of fossil fuels. That creates a carbon debt, may reduce ongoing carbon uptake by the forest, and as a result may increase net greenhouse gas emissions for an extended time period and thereby undercut greenhouse gas reductions needed over the next several decades."


Caution urged on biofuel due to health risks from toxicity

This is based on the discredited "free radical" theory but the general point of unexpected side-effects is worth making

BIOFUEL might help reduce carbon emissions, but Queensland scientists warn the health risks should be examined to prevent another lead petrol disaster.

Queensland University of Technology Associate Professor Zoran Ristovski told AAP health risks of biofuels should not be overlooked in the haste to tackle global warming. "It's not only important to look at the environmental impact but we also have to look at the toxicity, if we don't want another lead petrol disaster," he said.

Professor Zoran Ristovski and two PhD students have studied the toxicity of biofuel particles, using special monitoring equipment. "Once the diesel fuel is substituted with more than 20 per cent ethanol, the particles seem to be more toxic," he said.

"We have found that diesel substituted with ethanol levels greater than 20 per cent contain high levels of free radicals and other reactive oxygen species which can be harmful to health."

Professor Zoran Ristovski said excessive exposure to free radicals in the air have been linked to respiratory diseases including asthma. "Australia is the largest producer of ethanol," he said.

"What we're pointing out is that those substitutions should not be large. "Keep it at a smaller percentage... up to 20 per cent seems like the particles are similar to that of pure diesel."



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 are mirrors of this site here and here


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