Monday, April 04, 2011

The geoengineers have their tongues hanging out at the thought of getting some of those lovely government research grants

Research is such fun! An interesting follow-up below to my comments about geoengineer Muller yesterday

To the quiet green solitude of an English country estate they retreated, to think the unthinkable.

Scientists of earth, sea and sky, scholars of law, politics and philosophy: In three intense days cloistered behind Chicheley Hall's old brick walls, four dozen thinkers pondered the planet's fate as it grows warmer, weighed the idea of reflecting the sun to cool the atmosphere and debated the question of who would make the decision to interfere with nature to try to save the planet.

The unknown risks of "geoengineering" — in this case, tweaking Earth's climate by dimming the skies — left many uneasy.

"If we could experiment with the atmosphere and literally play God, it's very tempting to a scientist," said Kenyan earth scientist Richard Odingo. "But I worry."

Arrayed against that worry is the worry that global warming — in 20 years? 50 years? — may abruptly upend the world we know, by melting much of Greenland into the sea, by shifting India's life-giving monsoon, by killing off marine life.

If climate engineering research isn't done now, climatologists say, the world will face grim choices in an emergency. "If we don't understand the implications and we reach a crisis point and deploy geoengineering with only a modicum of information, we really will be playing Russian roulette," said Steven Hamburg, a U.S. Environmental Defence Fund scientist.

The question's urgency has grown as countries have failed, in years of talks, to agree on a binding long-term deal to rein in their carbon dioxide and other greenhouse-gas emissions blamed for global warming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations-sponsored science network, foresees temperatures rising as much as 6.4 degrees Celsius by 2100, swelling the seas and disrupting the climate patterns that nurtured human civilization.

Science committees of the British Parliament and the U.S. Congress urged their governments last year to look at immediately undertaking climate engineering research — to have a "Plan B" ready, as the British panel put it, in case the diplomatic logjam persists.

Britain's national science academy, the Royal Society, subsequently organized the Chicheley Hall conference with Hamburg's EDF and the association of developing-world science academies. From six continents, they invited a blue-ribbon cross-section of atmospheric physicists, oceanographers, geochemists, environmentalists, international lawyers, psychologists, policy experts and others, to discuss how the world should oversee such unprecedented — and unsettling — research.


Corals Evolved With CO2 20X Higher – And Temperatures 10C Warmer

A nasty one for the coral reef alarmists

Corals are a very old group of organisms, originating in the Cambrian Period more than 500 million years ago. The rugose corals are common in rocks from Ordovician through Permian age. These particular horn corals come from the Middle Devonian (397 to 385 million years ago) limestones of the Skaneateles Formation, in the classic geologic sections of the Finger Lakes country of upstate New York.


The Budget’s green dreams will leave Britain powerless

The Government's obsession with its babyish green dreamworld will force the closure of power stations, increase our electricity bills and damage vital industries, warns Christopher Booker

We are fast approaching that long overdue moment when the country wakes up to the scale of the disaster we are being led into by the absurdly unreal, global-warming-obsessed energy policy of our “greenest ever government”. Yet another disturbing instance of this was the announcement tucked away in George Osborne’s Budget that he will impose a “£16 a ton floor price for carbon”, a measure seemingly so arcane that no one has really bothered to spell out its implications.

What it means is that for every ton of CO2 emitted by British industry, and by our electricity companies in particular, we shall all indirectly have to pay what is in effect a hidden tax of £16, rising over the next nine years to £30.

Last year, the coal-fired power stations which supply nearly a third of our electricity used 40 million tons of coal, each emitting up to 2.9 tons of CO2. For this 116 million tons, we shall see nearly £2 billion added to our electricity bills.

The same tax on gas will add a further £1 billion to our bills, thus increasing them by a total of £3 billion a year, rising to £5 billion by 2020. This will add more than 25 per cent to the price we presently pay for electricity, or £200 a year for every household.

This is on top of the price we will have to pay for all the Government’s other “green” dreams, such as the £100 billion it wants spent on 10,000 giant wind turbines, plus another £40 billion to hook them up to the grid. The 100 per cent subsidies for onshore wind power and 200 per cent subsidies for offshore will add further billions to our bills, in return for what will still be only a fraction of the electricity we need.
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Already we have seen one estimate, from analysts at Matrix Group, that Mr Osborne’s new “carbon tax” will so skew the economics of coal-fired electricity that four of our larger French- and Spanish-owned power stations at Kingsnorth, Didcot, Tilbury and Cockenzie will have to shut down by 2013, even earlier than their forced closure under the EU’s Large Combustion Plants Directive. This will knock such a hole in our generating capacity that we can look forward to the first of those long-predicted power cuts and blackouts.

What has also shocked British industry is that we will be the only country in the world that has to pay this new tax, thus eroding our competitiveness still further. It is not only electricity which will take the brunt of the tax, but all major CO2 emitters, such as what remains of Britain’s steel industry. Among those already hinting that Osborne’s tax could lead to plant closures and the loss of thousands of jobs have been Welsh MPs, conscious that one of South Wales’s biggest employers is Tata Steel, with 7,500 workers. Tata itself has warned that Osborne’s tax will cost its British operations £20 million a year by 2020, representing a “potentially severe blow to the sustainability of UK steelmaking”.

David Cameron’s response to this is that, on the contrary, he is “hugely heartened by the fact that Tata is putting more investment into the UK”. But what is the main proclaimed purpose of that investment? To make the blades for those useless windmills. Alas, Mr Cameron could not begin to understand what this tells us about the babyish little green dreamworld in which he and his Government live.


Pie in the sky from Obama

Where do I get my energy? None of the holes I’ve dug in the backyard have produced anything, so I buy gasoline for my car from federally-regulated oil companies and my natural gas and electricity from publicly-regulated monopoly utilities.

And sometimes I swing by Starbucks and pick up a shot of personal get-up-and-go.

Last week President Barack Obama addressed energy issues in front of students at Georgetown University, releasing a new Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future. Our fearless leader intends to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

Moreover, Mr. Obama told students, “I want to announce a new goal . . . By a little more than a decade from now, we will have . . . cut our oil dependence by a third.”

Obama noted that presidents going back to Richard Nixon “have promised energy independence,” he said, “but that promise has so far gone unmet.” What the president doesn’t understand is why previous presidents were, as he is, just spouting words.

Americans are wisely skeptical of big oil and monopoly utility companies, but at least these outfits actually find, extract, refine, produce and sell energy resources to heat and air condition our homes and run our cars. Presidents bring only money to the issue — ours.

The two essential elements of the Obama energy blueprint are “first, finding and producing more oil at home; second, reducing our overall dependence on oil with cleaner alternative fuels and greater efficiency.”

Finding and producing more oil sounds an awful lot like the “Drill, Baby, Drill” idea the president mocked at the beginning of his Georgetown address — even as he claimed credit for the highest domestic oil production since 2003. Someday the commander-in-chief will decide whether more production is a silly goal or a worthwhile accomplishment. For now, it’s both.

But Obama’s claims of actively promoting energy production are flatly contradicted my folks trying to make a living in the energy business, including Randy Stilley, the CEO of now bankrupt Seahawk Drilling. His hard-hitting recent Washington Post op-ed laid the blame for his company’s demise at the foot of the “U.S. Government” and the “drastic slowdown in the issuance of permits for shallow-water drilling operations. . . .”

The President also dittos the perennial notions, like training all 300 million of us to inflate our automobile tires properly, or mandating car companies to produce more fuel efficient cars. But even Obama and friends admit these aren’t serious methods of reaching his long-off goal of slicing dependence on foreign oil by one-third.

When it comes to replacing oil with new technological breakthroughs made possible by massive government investment and regulation of the economy, the Administration seems utterly earnest.

“I want to make this point,” Obama told the students, “Government funding will be critical.”

The Obama Administration wants to fund electric car battery research, increase demand for hybrid vehicles by mandating that the federal government purchase only hybrids, and fund solar, biofuel and other new “clean” energy technology. In short, the Obama Administration wants to take charge of the semi-private energy industry and subsidize the way to an entirely new system.

No matter how desperate the fiscal crunch, the president went on record last week absolutely opposed to “sacrificing these investments in research and development, in supporting clean energy technologies,” arguing it “would weaken our energy economy and make us more dependent on oil. That’s not a game plan to win the future.”

As the Obama Administration aims to win the energy future, by what measure can we judge their efforts to change the energy make-up of the world economy?

Already, the president gives his administration high marks: “I’m proud of the historic progress that we’ve made over the last two years.”

I hadn’t noticed a thing. (Seamless change, perhaps.)

But when the goal was announced to cut foreign oil imports by one-third, I couldn’t help but detect that the timeline isn’t limited to Mr. Obama’s current term or even to the end of a possible second term. No, the goal is for a third less foreign dependence by 2025 — nearly a decade after he would leave office. (Presumably.)

Come to think of it, the administration passed a “Better Buildings Initiative” to make commercial buildings 20 percent more efficient by 2020. An Executive Order directs federal agencies to design all new buildings to require zero net energy by 2020. And best of all, Obama promises to have 80 percent of the nation’s energy coming from a bevy of “clean” sources . . . by 2035.

There seems little if any mention of how much progress might occur closer to the here and now, i.e. while school kids can still remember Obama’s name.

Perhaps it was a mistake that Obama’s goal of having a million electric vehicles on the road was set to fall when he might still be in office — by 2015. It seems the only goal Obama might have to address before leaving office.

Sure, I know that some things such as going to the Moon — or George W. Bush’s inane goal of going to Mars — take time to accomplish. But leaders should still focus on what part of the goal they can actually accomplish.

That might produce Washington’s rarest and most valuable substance of all: accountability.

If I ever run for president (don't hold your breath), maybe I’ll promise that in ten years all the problems will be solved and perfect happiness provided free of charge to everyone. Just give me eight years, two terms, and a really good successor.


German Climate Science – Reduced To A Travelling Circus Of Charlatanism And The Peddling Of “Masterplans”

German science used to be, and is in many areas, still highly regarded worldwide. But in the area of climate science, it has been reduced to charlatanism and masterplanning.

Sadly, Germany’s “leading climate scientists” are far more preoccupied with transforming society and spreading panic among the population then doing science. Spreading panic is a favourite practice of Stefan Rahmstorf who, like his director Hans Schellnhuber, is a “scientist” at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research (PIK).

Rahmstorf is featured in a story at the online Märkische Zeitung, written by Alexandra Amling, who writes how Rahmstorf recently gave a presentation to school students. The Märkische Zeitung writes: "Only when mankind switches over only to renewable energies will we be able to avert the consequences of climate change, Stefan Rahmstorf made clear on Thursday evening in a presentation to school students and interested individuals at the Goethe School.”

Maybe the Märkische newspaper (Ms Amling) confused it, but here it is claimed that using renewables will stop the consequences of climate change, but not climate change itself. I’m having trouble making sense of this. If we use only renewable energy, the climate will change anyway, but the consequences of that change will be averted? Abracadabra.

The Märkische Zeitung then added, quoting Rahmstorf: "If extraterrestial life existed and little green men observed us, then they would see a dramatic disappearance of ice in the Arctic and would wonder, shaking their heads, if the earth is so little worth to us,’ said the oceanographer with admonishing tones."

More contempt for humans- all consistent with the Schellnhuber’s “masterplan” mentality, which views humans as too stupid to run the planet democratically, and so authoritarian means are warranted. The stench of contempt here is so strong that I’m forced to open the window.

According to Märkische Zeitung, Rahmstorf drives no car and has equipped his house with solar technology, and so we should all do the same. Because if we don’t we might drown – at least that’s what Rahmstorf’s last slide of his presentation, a doctored photo, implies: "At the end he showed a photo that will certainly remain in our minds: A wall of a house with the writing: ‘I don’t believe in global warning’. However the second line is hardly legible because it is drowning in floodwater."

Here Rahmstorf is saying that anyone who doesn’t believe his horror scenarios is a fool. Yet ironically, when one looks at the data, Rahmstorf is exposed as the real fool.

In the event that Ms Amling is interested in facts, then she should consider the following:

FACT: Sea level rise is decelerating.

FACT: Global temperature has not risen at all in the last 10 years.

FACT: Tropical storm activity has been falling since the 1980s.

FACT: A huge number of scientists completely disagree with Rahmstorf.

FACT: Rahmstorf’s sea level projection is an extreme outlier, way out of the mainstream.

We’d be more than happy to point Ms Amling to the data behind these facts, and other facts. I would even appear in front of these children with my own presentation in order to undo the educational damage that has been inflicted by Rahmstorf.

After looking at the data, Ms Ameling might consider Rahmstorf as just a charlatan who is irresponsibly inserting fear into vulnerable young minds and doing a disservice to his country.


Big Green: "Nearly $200 million was spent by environmental, progressive, and business groups in 2009 and 2010 to sell a climate bill."

"Downplaying or remaining silent about climate change was and is a blunder for progressives" says the Warmist site "Climate Progress". A longer excerpt:

"Nearly $200 million was spent by environmental, progressive, and business groups in 2009 and 2010 to sell a climate bill. The vast majority (but not all) of that messaging was built around ignoring the climate message and instead talking about clean energy jobs, energy security, and the threat from China. Worse, the progressive political leadership (again with exceptions, such as Sen. John Kerry) also generally either refused to talk about climate change or they seriously downplayed the subject. That includes, most importantly, President Obama and the entire White House communications team [see "The unbearable lameness of being (Rahm and Axelrod)"].

Even worse, as I’ve reported before, multiple sources confirm that the WH comms team shut down an effort by the office of the president’s science adviser, John Holdren, to mount a strong defense of climate science after the Climategate emails were hacked in late 2009."



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