Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A very long "rebound"

In the paper below, Hansen blames the absence of global warming in recent years on a "rebound" effect from the Mt Pinatubo volcano of 1991 -- 20 years ago. He admits that the aerosols resultant from the eruption settled out within two years. But says that they so cooled the ocean while they were up there that the ocean has taken 20 years to warm up again.

Rate of warming and rate of cooling are not exactly the same with water but a divergence like that is unknown. Cooling that took place over 2 years should have taken around 2 years to reverse, not 20. The effects of the Pinatubo eruption are long gone. I have read the whole paper but can see no evidence to the contrary, just the usual "models"
Earth's Energy Imbalance and Implications

James Hansen, Makiko Sato, Pushker Kharecha


Improving observations of ocean temperature confirm that Earth is absorbing more energy from the sun than it is radiating to space as heat, even during the recent solar minimum. This energy imbalance provides fundamental verification of the dominant role of the human-made greenhouse effect in driving global climate change. Observed surface temperature change and ocean heat gain constrain the net climate forcing and ocean mixing rates. We conclude that most climate models mix heat too efficiently into the deep ocean and as a result underestimate the negative forcing by human-made aerosols. Aerosol climate forcing today is inferred to be ?1.6 ± 0.3 W/m 2 , implying substantial aerosol indirect climate forcing via cloud changes. Continued failure to quantify the specific origins of this large forcing is untenable, as knowledge of changing aerosol effects is needed to understand future climate change. A recent decrease in ocean heat uptake was caused by a delayed rebound effect from Mount Pinatubo aerosols and a deep prolonged solar minimum. Observed sea level rise during the Argo float era can readily be accounted for by thermal expansion of the ocean and ice melt, but the ascendency of ice melt leads us to anticipate a near-term acceleration in the rate of sea level rise


Leading warmist admits he was bamboozled by fear-mongers - on nuclear power

The original moonbat, George Monbiot, columnist for the left wing UK Guardian, now admits that he was bamboozled by fearmongers whipping up anti-nuclear fears.
Over the last fortnight I've made a deeply troubling discovery. The anti-nuclear movement to which I once belonged has misled the world about the impacts of radiation on human health. The claims we have made areungrounded in science, unsupportable when challenged, and wildly wrong. We have done other people, and ourselves, a terrible disservice.

I began to see the extent of the problem after a debate last week with Helen Caldicott [nee Broinowski]. Dr Caldicott is the world's foremost anti-nuclear campaigner. She has received 21 honorary degrees and scores of awards, and was nominated for a Nobel peace prize. Like other greens, I was in awe of her. In the debate she made some striking statements about the dangers of radiation. So I did what anyone faced with questionable scientific claims should do: I asked for the sources. Caldicott's response has profoundly shaken me.

Well, it's a start. Dr. Caldicott has been virtually sainted by the anti-nuclear movement, yet when Monbiot investigated her sources, he discovered that they were:
...nine documents: newspaper articles, press releases and an advertisement. None were scientific publications; none contained sources for the claims she had made. But one of the press releases referred to a report by theUS National Academy of Sciences, which she urged me to read. I have now done so - all 423 pages. It supports none of the statements I questioned; in fact it strongly contradicts her claims about the health effects of radiation.

Monbiot remains one of the most hysterical wamrists, calling for "drastic action needed now" to combat the alleged dangers posed to our survival. The very same concerns expressed by thinkers like Charles Manson.

Now that Monbiot's eyes have been opened to the machinations fraudsters, perhaps he would examine the hysterical and false predictions of climate refugees and other nonexistent dangers advanced by the charlatans pushing warmist doctrine, as well as the efforts to "hide the decline."


Climate can drive seismic shifts: study

But it takes millions of years! Many media reports glide over that bit

Scientists have for the first time shown a link between intensifying climate events and tectonic plate movement in findings that could provide a valuable insight into why huge tremors occur.

Understanding why plates change direction and speed is key to unlocking huge seismic events such as last month's Japan earthquake, which shifted the Earth's axis by several inches, or February's New Zealand quake.

An Australian-led team of researchers from France and Germany found that the strengthening Indian monsoon had accelerated movement of the Indian plate over the past 10 million years by a factor of about 20 percent.

Lead researcher Giampiero Iaffaldano said on Wednesday that although scientists have long known that tectonic movements influence climate by creating new mountains and sea trenches, his study was the first to show the reverse.

"The closure or opening of new ocean basins or the build of large mountain bands like the Andes or Tibet itself, those are geological processes that affect the pattern of climate," said Iaffaldano, an earth scientist with the Australian National University.

"We are showing for the first time that the opposite also is true, that the pattern of climate is then able to affect back in a feedback mechanism the motion of tectonic plates."

Iaffaldano stressed that his study did not mean that global warming would translate to stronger earthquakes happening more often, with the relevant patterns developing over "the order of millions of years."

"Of course earthquakes do occur at the boundaries between plates because of plate motions, but our work doesn't imply at all that we will see an increase in these types of events," he told AFP.

Iaffaldano collaborated with Universite de Rennes geoscientist Laurent Husson and Hans-Peter Bunge from Munich's LMU university on the study, which was recently published in the Earth and Planetary Science Letters journal.

The team plans to build on the study by probing whether climate events have had a similar impact in other regions.

"For example, I can imagine that there might be a signature of climate in the Andes for example or in the Rocky Mountains," said Iaffaldano.

"This is something that we should look at in the future."


EPA, eco groups at odds in climate change case

The Obama administration and environmental interests generally agree that global warming is a threat that must be dealt with. But they're on opposite sides of a Supreme Court case over the ability of states and groups such as the Audubon Society that want to sue large electric utilities and force power plants in 20 states to cut their emissions.

The administration is siding with American Electric Power Co. and three other companies in urging the high court to throw out the lawsuit on grounds the Environmental Protection Agency, not a federal court, is the proper authority to make rules about climate change. The justices will hear arguments in the case Tuesday.

The court is taking up a climate change case for the second time in four years. In 2007, the court declared that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are air pollutants under the Clean Air Act. By a 5-4 vote, the justices said the EPA has the authority to regulate those emissions from new cars and trucks under that landmark law. The same reasoning applies to power plants.

The administration says one reason to end the current suit is that the EPA is considering rules that would reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. But the administration also acknowledges that it is not certain that limits will be imposed.

At the same time, Republicans in Congress are leading an effort to strip the EPA of its power to regulate greenhouse gases.

When the suit was filed in 2004, it looked like the only way to force action on global warming. The Bush administration and the Republicans in charge of Congress doubted the EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gases.

Federal courts long have been active in disputes over pollution. But those cases typically have involved a power plant or sewage treatment plant that was causing some identifiable harm to people, and property downwind or downstream of the polluting plant. Global warming, by its very name, suggests a more complex problem. The power companies argue that any solution must be comprehensive. No court-ordered change alone would have any effect on climate change, the companies say.

"This is an issue that is of worldwide nature and causation. It's the result of hundreds of years of emissions all over the world," said Ed Comer, vice president and general counsel of the Edison Electric Institute, an industry trade group.

Eight states initially banded together to sue. They were California, Connecticut, Iowa, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin. But in a sign of the enduring role of partisan politics in this issue, New Jersey and Wisconsin withdrew this year after Republican replaced Democrats in their governor's offices.

Another complication is that the administration and the companies may be on the same side at the Supreme Court, but the power industry is strongly opposing climate change regulation. The Southern Co. is a vocal supporter of GOP legislation to block the EPA from acting.

"It's two-faced for them (the companies) to come into court and say everything is well in hand because EPA is going to act," said Doniger, the NRDC lawyer.

Comer said the key point is that judges should not make environmental policy. "This has important implications for jobs. If you raise energy costs in the U.S., does that lead industry jobs to go elsewhere and if it does, do you get the same emissions, just from another country?" Comer said. "These judgments are properly made by elected officials."


Supreme Court should reject climate change nuisance suit

On April 19, the Supreme Court will hear argument in American Electric Power Co., Inc. v. Connecticut, an unprecedented “public nuisance” lawsuit brought against several of the nation’s largest coal-fired utilities that allegedly contribute to global warming. The dispute is part of a fundamental debate over whether to combat climate change with government policies or lawsuits.

The case has the attention of business and environmental interests – and should concern the broader public – because the plaintiffs ask judges, rather than elected officials or executive branch appointees, to set economic, energy, and environmental policy.

American Electric Power Co., Inc. v. Connecticut arrived at the Supreme Court last year after the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit allowed a coalition of eight states, environmental groups, and New York City to proceed with a lawsuit attempting to force American Electric Power Co. Inc., Duke Energy Corp., Southern Co., Xcel Energy Inc., and the Tennessee Valley Authority to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

This case is novel, and far more aggressive and disruptive than the global warming case the Court previously permitted. In a 2007 decision, Massachusetts v. EPA, a closely divided Court agreed with 12 states and several cities that the Environmental Protection Agency has authority to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act. Though that case dealt with a narrow claim to enforce a federal statute, the Court’s decision emboldened what had already become a cottage industry of lawsuits designed to slow global warming by asking federal courts to enact what interest groups have been unable to secure through the democratic process: carbon caps and other limits on the way energy is produced in this country.

Under the guise of “public nuisance,” the plaintiffs in these suits seek to impose enormous damages and binding emissions caps on energy companies. The plaintiffs have acknowledged that their goal is a veritable sea change in the way energy is produced, sold, and used in this country. Incredibly, they assert that these companies can make major changes to lower emissions – such as the adoption of wind and solar alternatives – “without significantly increasing the cost of electricity.” But never before has the “public nuisance” doctrine been used to set national economic and energy policy. While litigation may be therapeutic for those frustrated by political inaction, this case is at odds with this country’s legal tradition.

The energy companies – joined by supporters including the Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business, members of Congress, and more than 20 other States – argue that this and similar cases should not be allowed to proceed. Such cases exceed the institutional competence and constitutional authority of the federal judiciary, which has the task of interpreting laws that arise from the political branches’ resolution of policy disputes. Federal judges should not be in the practice of creating energy and environmental policies out of whole cloth, as trial judges confronting these public-nuisance climate change cases in New York, California, and Mississippi have readily concluded in dismissing them.

American Electric Power Co., Inc. v. Connecticut is not fit for resolution by judges because it lacks what the Supreme Court calls “judicially discoverable and manageable standards.” As the states and their environmental supporters have candidly acknowledged, there is no federal statute or regulation that limits greenhouse gas emissions by these companies. By asking for judicial carbon caps, the plaintiffs are seeking precisely the policy outcome that Congress and the EPA have been unwilling to adopt. Frustrated, state attorneys general have answered calls from activists and professors for what they characterize as “heroic litigation,” because “[d]esperate times call for desperate measures.”

These suits’ political purpose is plain: Connecticut suggests that the case be returned to the trial court and stayed until the EPA “addresses the nuisance.” In other words, unless and until the EPA issues the desired regulations, plaintiffs can hold defendants hostage through litigation that threatens to impose standardless liability for emitting carbon dioxide, something done daily by billions of people and businesses around the world.

By asking federal courts to fashion novel remedies to a policy challenge as controversial as climate change, the plaintiffs push the judiciary beyond what the Supreme Court has called “the proper – and properly limited – role of the courts in a democratic society.” The Obama Administration, in a Justice Department brief on behalf of the TVA agrees, arguing that “Plaintiffs’ common-law nuisance claims are quintessentially fit for political or regulatory – not judicial – resolution....”

In deciding this case, the Supreme Court should explain the limits of its decision in Massachusetts v. EPA and halt the plaintiffs’ unjustified expansion of public-nuisance doctrine. Failure to do so will invite suits against any entity alleged to “contribute to” climate change and ensure American economic policy is increasingly made by judges. As one judge in Massachusetts aptly explained in a different context, the more courts become involved in policymaking, “the more we allow the Legislature to avoid difficult questions, and the more our citizens get accustomed to turning to the courts for solutions rather than to their elected officials.”


UN to decide: Does “Mother Earth” have “human rights?”

United Nations diplomats on Wednesday will set aside pressing issues of international peace and security to devote an entire day debating the rights of “Mother Earth.”

A bloc of mostly socialist governments lead by Bolivia have put the issue on the General Assembly agenda to discuss the creation of a U.N. treaty that would grant the same rights found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to Mother Nature.

Treaty supporters want the establishment of legal systems to maintain balance between human rights and what they perceive as the inalienable rights of other members of the Earth community -- plants, animals, and terrain.

Communities and environmental activists would be given more legal power to monitor and control industries and development to ensure harmony between humans and nature. Though the United States and other Western governments are supportive of sustainable development, some see the upcoming event, “Harmony with Nature,” as political grandstanding -- an attempt to blame environmental degradation and climate change on capitalism.

“The concept ‘Mother Earth’ is not universally accepted,” said a spokesman from the British Mission to the U.N. about Bolivia’s proposal. “In general, our view is that we should focus on tackling important sustainable development issues through existing channels and processes.”

The General Assembly two years ago passed a Bolivia-led resolution proclaiming April 22 as “International Mother Earth Day.” The measure was endorsed by all 192 member states. But Bolivian President Evo Morales envisioned much more, vowing in a speech to U.N. delegates that a global movement had begun to lay “out a Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth.”

Morales, who repeatedly says “the central enemy of Mother Earth is capitalism,” called for creating a charter that defends the right to life for all living things. Morales, who was named World Hero of Mother Earth by the General Assembly, has since made great strides in his campaign.

In January, Bolivia became the world’s first nation to grant the natural environment equal rights to humans. Bolivia’s Law of Mother Earth is heavily influenced by the spiritual indigenous Andean world outlook that revolves around the earth deity Pachamama, roughly translated to Mother Earth.....

It is not clear if Bolivia’s new tough environmental laws will actually go as far as to protect life forms like insects, but the legislation does include all living creatures.



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