Sunday, December 19, 2010

Britain has coldest December on record

And the Warmist government was not prepared for it, funnily enough. They are just lying low

Millions of Britons were facing travel chaos today as snow and ice left motorways and airports closed and train services disrupted.

Gatwick Airport has cancelled all flights until 5pm today, with further problems in Ireland, Scotland and Wales. British Airways cancelled all their flights out of Heathrow.

Overnight blizzards and plummeting temperatures buckled a huge chunk of the country's road, air and rail networks on the busiest weekend for travel and shopping before Christmas.

As the mercury plunged, hundreds of drivers were forced to spend the night in their cars on the M6 after a lorry jackknifed at midnight.

The North West was hit with deluges of up to 10in of snow while parts of the south were also blanketed overnight, with blizzards expected in parts of the South East and Midlands today.

Lancashire Police declared a major incident area in the region and warned people to avoid the M6, which was closed after a lorry jacknifed. The northbound carriageway was closed between junctions 22 and 27 was not expected to reopen until sometime this morning.

Some commuters took the drastic step of abandoning their cars overnight but this hindered the efforts of gritters who were battling to keep the road networks moving.

Severe weather warnings of heavy snow and widespread icy roads are in place in London and the South East, the South West, the Midlands, the North West and Yorkshire and Humber. Wales, northern Scotland and Northern Ireland - which had experienced its heaviest snow for 25 years - were also issued with severe warnings.

Mr Seltzer predicted that it could be the coldest December on record, with a current average temperature of minus 0.7. That sits at five degrees below the long-term average.

Travel misery also hit the airports. A Heathrow Airport spokesman said: 'Severe disruption is expected today at all London airports.' Passengers were advised not to go to the airport unless they had a confirmed booking on a new flight.

British Airways has cancelled all flights out of Heathrow despite the runways remaining open. A spokeswoman for the airline said: 'The weather at Heathrow now is quite appalling. 'We knew that severe weather conditions were expected, so rather than asking passengers to travel just to have their flight cancelled, we think it's better to tell all our customers that flights are cancelled.

'We need to give our customers some certainty. We would rather they sat at home with all the information needed to rebook their flights rather than sat on the floor on an airport not able to fly or get home.'

The Royal Mail said it was planning to deliver today to around one million addresses. But with the AA’s warning of ‘possibly the worst driving conditions imaginable’, fears were heightened that millions of packages and mail would fail to be delivered in time for Christmas.

AA Spokesman Gavin Hill-Smith had earlier said: ‘There are horrendous driving conditions in some parts with driving, drifting snow and bad ice making for possibly the worst driving conditions imaginable, even for experienced drivers.

Douglas McWilliams, chief executive of the Centre for Economics and Business Research, said the prolonged freeze could lead to up to 1,000 businesses going bankrupt. Many shoppers would be forced to stay at home because of treacherous roads, he added.

There are also concerns that supplies of heating oil – used by around two million homes, schools and hospitals – are nearing ‘crisis levels’. The Government is said to be considering rationing.


It's 'the hottest year on record', as long as you don't take its temperature

Much of the data cited to support warmist claims is pure conjecture, says Christopher Booker

We have lately heard much of the claim that 2010 will turn out to have been “the hottest year on record”. No one has done more to promote this belief than Dr James Hansen, head of Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), responsible for one of the four main official global temperature records.

As reported by the US blogs Real Science and Watts Up With That, in a post headed “GISS temperatures out of line with the rest of the world”, the GISS record has in recent months been diverging wildly from the others. While three have shown global temperatures dropping sharply, by as much as 0.3C, the GISS figures (based, despite the link to Nasa, on surface temperatures) have shot up by 0.2C.

In a second post (“Hansen’s 'Hottest Year Ever’ is primarily based on fabricated data”), Real Science demonstrates that the parts of the world which GISS shows to be heating up the most are so short of weather stations that only 25 per cent of the figures are based on actual temperature readings. The rest are simply conjectured by GISS.

This is not the first time Dr Hansen’s temperature record has come under expert fire. Three years ago, GISS was forced to revise many of its figures when it was shown that wholesale “adjustments” had been made, revising older temperatures downwards and post-2000 figures upwards.

Since Dr Hansen first sprang to fame in 1988 for his part in setting off the global warming scare, he has become one of the world’s most outspoken climate activists. He recently appeared in a Nottingham court as defence witness for 20 activists who were found guilty last week of criminal conspiracy for trying to shut down our second largest coal-fired power station.

No one familiar with Hansen’s pronouncements in recent years would be surprised by this. Still, it might seem odd that a senior US federal government employee should fly to England to support a bunch of criminals. Nothing like so odd, however, as the way his state-sponsored temperature record is still the one cited by politicians and the media to support their belief that this is the “hottest year in history”.


The Curious Case of the Climate Covenant

By Russell Cook

Just in time for the Christmas season, we have a Dec. 13, 2010 article in USA Today titled "Advent: Let's start to heal our planet," about the association of basic Christian care with climate change concern: "The start of Advent, this season of waiting and watching, coincided with the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico. We are not waiting for climate change. It is here. And religious communities are taking the lead with incremental solutions to a warming planet".

Untold numbers of well-informed individuals are rolling their eyes at all the "warming planet" warnings failing to happen, like low-lying islands swamped by rising seas, more frequent and intense hurricanes, and the Arctic starting down the path of being ice-free in the summer -- a process less likely to happen since the big ice cube up there keeps getting bigger each winter.

Eyes roll, but tough questions aren't being asked about the origins of faith-based organizations' climate change concerns, so those ideas are allowed to spread, ultimately corrupting a perfectly unsuspecting Advent season.

The question is this: what prompts this faith-based concern about an essentially political issue?

The USA Today article says, "Many of the 10,000 congregations involved in Interfaith Power and Light have joined a Carbon Covenant[.]"

Click on the link for "Carbon Covenant" at the article's page, and you are taken to the Interfaith Power and Light web page. Click on IP&L's Resources link and continue to their "Building" page, and the #2 link is for a PDF file of "Bottom Line Ministries that Matter: Congregational Stewardship with Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy Technologies" by the National Council of Churches' Eco-Justice Program. A handy online version of that PDF file shows that it was prepared by Matthew Anderson-Stembridge and Phil D. Radford, with absolutely no reference of who these people are.

Who is Phil Radford? He's the current Executive Director of Greenpeace USA, and as noted on Greenpeace's Experts page, he also worked at the enviro-activist group Ozone Action: "As field Director of Ozone Action from 1999 to 2001, Radford planned and managed a successful grassroots organizing campaign in the 2000 presidential primaries that convinced Senator John McCain to push for action to combat global warming."

Who is Matt Stembridge? Another Ozone Action alumnus, as noted by a 2000 Dartmouth Annual Report's Environmental Studies Division: "Matt Stembridge '99, a.k.a. Captain Climate, now working for Ozone Action, we worked to focus the candidates' attention on global climate change and other environmental issues".

Captain Climate? That's how Stembridge was described by a May 12, 2008 Bloomberg Businessweek article: "John McCain's global warming journey started back in 2000, when a strange apparition named 'Captain Climate' began to turn up at Presidential campaign events."

Stembridge moved on to several faith-based enviro-advocacy positions, and in his YouTube profile video at the 2:40 point, he describes how he was a rabid anti-Christian while working on environmental campaigns but later changed and ended up working for the Lutheran Church. No surprise that he is easily found in a search of a current Lutheran enviro-advocacy website.

What was Ozone Action? As I described in detail in my July 6 American Thinker article "Smearing Global Warming Skeptics," it has every appearance of being the epicenter of the long-term smear of skeptic scientists. Ozone Action's primary accusation against skeptics is tied to a phrase from an unseen 1991 coal industry internal memo supposedly discovered by book author/"Pulitzer winner" Ross Gelbspan. But Gelbspan never won a Pulitzer prize despite a huge number of descriptions to the contrary, nor was he the first to publish quotes from the unseen memo.

So what do we have here? Apparently, a monumental problem concerning the "moral imperative" to save the planet. Before these faith-based advocacy efforts can say it is some kind of sin to emit greenhouse gases, they are going to first have to ask if it was right to portray skeptic scientists as corrupt, considering a complete lack of evidence supporting that accusation, or considering even the lack of a basic effort to allow skeptic scientists the chance to defend themselves.

The Science and Public Policy Project had this to say after Gelbspan's first book was published: "We have yet to catch a glimpse of Gelbspan here at SEPP. In gathering material for his book, he never visited our offices, spoke to no one on staff, and never contacted Fred Singer for an interview to cover point-by-point the claims he later made in his book. He has had no contact with the Project whatsoever."

So which is the bigger sin? Failing to stop a so-called global warming crisis which has increasing credibility problems with its underlying science assessments, or breaking the 9th Commandment [bearing false witness] in order to be sure scientists' criticisms aren't taken seriously?


Warmist "scientists" told to get political

The scientist as an objective seeker of truth seems to have vanished under the influence of Warmism

Geoscientists want everyone, including policymakers, to understand their work and its possible ramifications for society. But on Wednesday, an overflow crowd of 400 at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting here received some practical advice about getting the message out.

"Communication with the public is not a monologue, it's a dialogue," said Princeton University climatologist Michael Oppenheimer. "We should get used to being public people." Climate scientist Jay Gulledge of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change in Arlington, Virginia, said, "There used to be arguments in sessions like this between those who said, 'Keep your nose clean,' and others who said, 'Go talk to politicians.' You don't hear those [arguments] anymore."

Oppenheimer's talk was part of a bevy of presentations at the weeklong meeting devoted to communicating science to a broader audience. The initiative, part of AGU's increased emphasis on the topic, included workshops on speaking and science blogging and a panel with several authors of books on climate (including this reporter).

Oppenheimer said he felt scientists had opportunities to meet with local politicians, speak to their neighbors or friends about climate science, and talk to the media when appropriate. "Blogging on controversial issues, going on television to talk about climate, or taking on skeptics is not for everybody," Oppenheimer said. "But you don't have to be a Steve Schneider or a Jim Hansen to make a difference."

He also emphasized the limits of speaking out. "Don't use your science as a cloak for what are really ethical or policy issues," said Oppenheimer. "Lay out your biases," he advised, but added the warning, "Expect to be vilified, even for making technical points."

Others provided some additional tips. "Your power does not need to come from becoming an excellent communicator," said Greg Craven, a member of the authors' panel. Craven is an Oregon science teacher whose homemade videos on climate change have garnered millions of views on YouTube. "It is the public seeing the fact that you are participating and that you are concerned, or even terrified."

Paleontologist Tom Dunkley Jones of Imperial College London says he agrees that "there's a real gap" between science and the public that researchers should try to fill. "For many of us, we know our little bit of [climate] science," he said. "But it's dangerous to go out of our safety zone" to counter the arguments from skeptics, he added. He said he hoped that delivering lectures to undergraduates, which he will be doing soon, would train him on a broader swath of the field.

Civil rights attorney Joyce Schon of progressive group By Any Means Necessary encouraged participants to display their passion for the cause. "Your role is to discover the truth and lay down your lives to disseminate it," she told attendees during a panel discussion. The group distributed flyers asking scientists to "Defend our Science and to Fight for the Real Political Action Necessary to Solve the Environmental Crisis."

This fall, AGU announced it has added to its board prominent left-leaning blogger Chris Mooney and analyst Floyd DesChamps, a former science policy staffer for John McCain. In June, AGU started an experts' referral service for journalists. "It used to be you published your paper and you were done," said remote-sensing expert Steven Lloyd of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, a member of the scientific committee for this year's meeting. "Now that's just the first step. Welcome to the new AGU."


Sometimes salesmen get to believe their own pitch

Words of Greg Craven, a High School teacher and author of a Warmist book:

"It might surprise, and hopefully disturb you, to hear that in my short time at AGU, I discovered four scientists who are already creating some form of survival retreat for their family, and they told me there are many more. But they are all too scared of being ostracized in the scientific community if they speak of it. It struck me that they aren’t even “in the closet” yet. They still think they are isolated freaks of nature, ashamed to share what they truly feel.

...I am filled with despair. As a result of my time at AGU, I’ve decided to retire completely from continuing to pursue making a difference in the debate, and for my family’s sake I will focus instead on building our own lifeboat. And leave the debate to others.

I know that may confirm to many people that I have indeed gone off the deep end. And I grieve if the many people who have respected and helped me in spreading the videos and writing the book now feel betrayed. So be it. But, given the fact that those four scientists I mentioned were paleoclimatologists, with access to the newest and best data, and with their position of knowing more than any other discipline what the global climate is capable of doing, perhaps you shouldn’t assume I’m crazy. Or that my message has no merit.


Background on shelter building in the '60s:

Mr. Craven's panic is not new. Some psychologists followed people who bought bomb shelters during the Cold War. It found that they tended to exaggerate the threat of nuclear war, relative to the population at large, and to discount peace proposals. It was as if they were invested in nuclear war. See F. K. Berrien et al., "The Fallout-Shelter Owners: A Study of Attitude Formation", The Public Opinion Quarterly 27, No. 2, 206-216 (Oxford University Press, 1963). The opening sentence of the article shows that the more things change the more they remain the same: "From the inception of the debate over fallout shelters it was apparent that the issue would not be resolved on the merits of the facts alone"

Cap and Trade by Stealth: U.S. States Partner With Foreign Governments

How to chase away industry -- Southwards and overseas

While Americans were battling cap-and-trade legislation at the national and international levels, global-warming alarmists were quietly building regional systems between state and local governments, private industry, and even foreign governments that basically achieve the same effect — higher energy prices for consumers and more money for governments.

The first and most prominent of these U.S. cap-and-trade systems is known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). It was created not by the people through their legislatures, but by a so-called “Memorandum of Understanding” between state governors.

Consisting so far of 10 Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states — Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont — the scheme is described on the RGGI website as “the first mandatory, market-based effort in the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” Its board of directors consists primarily of each participating state’s top environmental bureaucrats.

The “Initiative” works by having each state cap its carbon dioxide emissions at a certain level, then auctioning off emissions permits to the highest bidder. Eventually, the CO2 limits will be reduced, causing increased energy prices as companies pass along the added costs to consumers. By 2018, the RGGI plans to reduce energy-sector emissions by 10 percent.

Thus far, the scheme has netted close to a billion dollars by selling “carbon credits” to utility companies and other firms in participating states, earning about $50 million through an auction held on December 1. The first auction was actually held in 2008, and there have been nine since then. Spoils from the emissions permits are then handed out by state governments to companies, environmental groups, and others.

Incredibly, the RGGI has managed to avoid public scrutiny of its operations by incorporating as a non-profit organization and leaving enforcement and regulation to the individual states. The corporation claims it does not have to respond to public requests for information since, technically, it is not actually a government entity.

But the corruption is already coming out in the open. “New Hampshire conservationists had high hopes for how $18 million in funding generated by the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) might advance energy efficiency projects,” wrote columnist Fergus Cullen in the New Hampshire Union Leader earlier this year. “Unfortunately, cronyism and corporate welfare hallmark too many grants awarded by the Public Utilities Commission so far.”

Cullen’s piece details, among other things, the outrageous handouts to “environmental” front groups and big businesses that helped push the scheme through. For example, an activist group in New Hampshire called “Clean Air Cool Planet” was incorporated by out-of-state bigwigs to promote global-warming alarmism — including Al Gore’s discredited “documentary,” An Inconvenient Truth.

“Having helped create this pot of money, Clean Air was one of the first in line with its hand out so it can do more alarmist advocacy, paid for with public resources awarded by friends,” Cullen explains. The group has already received almost half of a million dollars. Another example cited by the columnist: “Yogurt on a mission” producer Stonyfield Farm, with $300 million in yearly sales, received nearly $150,000 to upgrade its air-conditioning system.

Money was basically shoveled out, “creating opportunities for the well-connected and the in-the-know” while “millions of dollars have gone out the window, wasted like heat leaking out of an uncaulked pane,” Cullen concludes.

But RGGI boss Jonathan Schrage — who after intense public pressure recently disclosed his salary of almost $170,000 per year — thinks the scheme is great. “I look forward to building RGGI Inc. into a dependable administrative ally of each state’s RGGI program,” Schrag said in a press release when he was appointed executive director. “The states have done tremendous work to develop the first CO2 cap-and-trade system in the U.S.”

Not everyone thinks so, though. And in an e-mail to supporters, the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise warned of even bigger problems to come. “RGGI is the prototype for more regional cap & tax entities,” wrote the organization’s executive vice president Ron Arnold. “Soon RGGI will expand to every state and stick you with astronomical energy prices.”

Arnold blamed the “corruptocrats in Washington” for the “gigantic waste of tax dollars,” adding that the “crooks behind RGGI must be exposed” and held accountable. He also said that, despite RGGI claims that it is “making a significant impact to combat the threat of global warming,” the data proves otherwise.

“The only impact RGGI has made so far is they have raised energy prices and created a slush fund for each member state,” Arnold explained. And according to his letter, “the fact that global warming isn’t even real” won’t prevent the “climate change scam” from spreading to other states. And he’s right — it’s already happening.

An even bigger and more ambitious effort that includes Canadian provinces — and even Mexican states — as “observers” is set to go into effect in 2012. Known as the Western Climate Initiative, the scheme is described on its official website as “a collaboration of independent jurisdictions working together to identify, evaluate, and implement policies to tackle climate change at a regional level.”

Among the participating “jurisdictions”: California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Montana, and four Canadian provinces. So-called observers, “jurisdictions” that are likely to join soon, include six Mexican states, an additional six U.S. states, and another three Canadian provinces. The Western Climate Initiative, like the RGGI, was also created by an agreement between state governors — not legislatures.

A similar scheme for the American Midwest, under the banner of the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord, is also set to enter into force in 2012. The agreement encompasses Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Manitoba, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin — for now. Three other U.S. states and one additional Canadian province are listed on the scheme’s website as “observers.”

One unifying factor between all the regional partnerships is the emphasis on promoting expansion and eventual federal — and even international — involvement. And in Cancun at the global warming summit, state and local-government leaders made it clear that they would continue marching forward with the anti-carbon dioxide schemes at the global level — no matter what the outcome of United Nations climate talks currently underway in Cancun.

"We are proving that while a global agreement is important, we do not need to wait for it to start building the path to a new low carbon future," explained Quebec Premier Jean Charest, the co-chair of the States & Regions Alliance, during a summit at the COP16. "As our national counterparts meet here in Cancun to continue the negotiations, states and regions are continuing to show the leadership necessary to make practical headway on climate action."

And this is all part of the broader global plan. The so-called “States and Regions Alliance” represented by Premier Charest — some 60 state and regional governments accounting for about 15 percent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product — is part of a shadowy but powerful international non-profit known as “The Climate Group.”

The organization works with the United Nations Development Program, the World Economic Forum, the Administrative Center for China's Agenda 21, the U.S. Department of Energy, and other high-profile institutions, agencies and governments to advance the global climate agenda. And it promotes the implementation of global-warming schemes through “sub-national” levels of government — among other things.

“States, regions and cities are where the rubber hits the road in terms of practical action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” wrote States and Regions Alliance co-chair and Quebec Premier Charest, along with his fellow co-chair, South Australia Premier Mike Rann.

“The UN Development Program estimates that 50 per cent to 80 per cent of the emissions cuts needed to keep climate change below 2C will need to be delivered at state, regional and city levels,” the co-chairs noted in their joint column for The Australian entitled ‘Think globally, act locally? States already are.’ “This is because regional governments often control regulation for many of the key areas for addressing climate change, such as power generation, the built environment, waste management, transport and land use planning.”

CEO of The Climate Group Steve Howard offered a similar analysis. "A clean industrial revolution is not only possible, but it is well underway in the world's leading states, cities and regions," he told COP16 attendees at the “Climate Leaders Summit” in Cancun Wednesday. "The subnational governments in our Alliance are not waiting for a global agreement but are forging agreements of their own to lead a growing global market for low-carbon goods and services already estimated at $4.7 trillion."

Despite the U.S. Senate’s rejection of cap-and-trade legislation, the carbon-tax agenda is still being implemented in America and around the world. Using the Environmental Protection Agency, the Obama administration is moving forward on regulating emissions of carbon dioxide at the federal level. And through alliances and agreements between states and even foreign governments — unconstitutional under Article 1, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution — those same forces are building a powerful and expensive carbon regime that could eventually encompass every state in the Union, and beyond.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, 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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