Thursday, June 30, 2011

That pesky sea-level

Instead of rising faster, it has actually STOPPED its long-term rising tendency

Much larger version of graphic here or a very sharp but slow-loading copy here

"Scientific" American claims that human "fingerprints" are showing up on individual weather events; fails to tell us exactly what this means

Storm Warnings: Extreme Weather Is a Product of Climate Change: Scientific American
In this year alone massive blizzards have struck the U.S. Northeast...
...Scientists used to say, cautiously, that extreme weather events were "consistent" with the predictions of climate change. No more. "Now we can make the statement that particular events would not have happened the same way without global warming," says Kevin Trenberth, head of climate analysis at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo....

The second line of evidence comes from a nascent branch of science called climate attribution. The idea is to examine individual events like a detective investigating a crime, searching for telltale fingerprints of climate change. Those fingerprints are showing up...

This new science is still controversial. There's an active debate among researchers about whether the Russian heat wave bears the characteristic signature of climate change [What, exactly, is that supposed to mean?] or whether it was just natural variability, for instance. Some scientists worry that trying to attribute individual events to climate change is counterproductive in the larger political debate, because it's so easy to dismiss the claim by saying that the planet has always experienced extreme weather. ...[Nashville-based author and environmental journalist Amanda Little] "Climate change translates into mold on my baby's crib..."...In her own basement her family's belongings bobbed like debris in a pond.


Australia: Academic study demolishes the coral reef scare stories

The reefs have been going to hell in a handbasket for years -- according to the Greenies
Disturbance and the Dynamics of Coral Cover on the Great Barrier Reef (1995–2009)

By Kate Osborne et al.


Coral reef ecosystems worldwide are under pressure from chronic and acute stressors that threaten their continued existence. Most obvious among changes to reefs is loss of hard coral cover, but a precise multi-scale estimate of coral cover dynamics for the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is currently lacking.

Monitoring data collected annually from fixed sites at 47 reefs across 1300 km of the GBR indicate that overall regional coral cover was stable (averaging 29% and ranging from 23% to 33% cover across years) with no net decline between 1995 and 2009.

Subregional trends (10–100 km) in hard coral were diverse with some being very dynamic and others changing little. Coral cover increased in six subregions and decreased in seven subregions. Persistent decline of corals occurred in one subregion for hard coral and Acroporidae and in four subregions in non-Acroporidae families. Change in Acroporidae accounted for 68% of change in hard coral.

Crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci) outbreaks and storm damage were responsible for more coral loss during this period than either bleaching or disease despite two mass bleaching events and an increase in the incidence of coral disease. While the limited data for the GBR prior to the 1980's suggests that coral cover was higher than in our survey, we found no evidence of consistent, system-wide decline in coral cover since 1995. Instead, fluctuations in coral cover at subregional scales (10–100 km), driven mostly by changes in fast-growing Acroporidae, occurred as a result of localized disturbance events and subsequent recovery.

PLoS One. 2011; 6(3): e17516.

British green ‘stealth tax to encourage wind farms and nuclear power will hit the poor the hardest’

A green ‘stealth’ tax to encourage new wind farms and nuclear power plants could push tens of thousands of households into fuel poverty but do nothing to reduce emissions.

The carbon floor price, announced in the March Budget, could even end up giving climate policies a ‘bad name’, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has warned.

To be introduced in 2013, the tax is intended to encourage investment in low-carbon energy – and raise billions for the Treasury. Under the existing rules, energy companies must generate a fixed amount of green energy every year, or else buy permits to pollute on the open market. The new tax kicks in if the cost of these permits falls too low. From 2013, the ‘floor price’ of a permit needed to emit a tonne of carbon will be set at £16, rising to £30 by 2020.

The higher cost of electricity will be passed on to household and business customers with energy-guzzling industries hit hardest.

But the IPPR, a centre-left think-tank, says that householders, many of whom are already struggling to pay their fuel bills, will also suffer. It estimates that 30,000 to 60,000 more households will be pushed into fuel poverty – defined as spending more than 10 per cent of your disposable income on heat and light.

The think-tank also warned that the UK scheme could lead to lower carbon permit prices elsewhere in Europe – and so do nothing to ease pollution.

Andrew Pendleton, IPPR associate director, said: ‘The carbon price support scheme risks giving energy and climate change policy a bad name because it will do nothing to reduce carbon emissions while piling more cost on to the shoulders of already hard-pressed consumers in the UK.’

The think-tank report also said that because the floor price was announced in the Budget, it would be open to annual review – meaning it would not have the certainty needed by investors looking at putting money into low-carbon energy projects such as wind, wave and nuclear power.

The report suggests setting the floor price low to minimise its impact and urges ministers to encourage European countries to introduce similar measures.

Confining the tax to Britain could be an ‘inexcusable’ waste of £1billion,’ Mr Pendleton said.

The soaring cost of fuel means that 5.5million households are already living in fuel poverty —including two million pensioner households. This is compared to 1.4million households in 2004.

Earlier this month CBI director-general John Cridland said a trio of new carbon levies, including the carbon floor price, were ‘counterproductive’ and will make the UK’s steel and chemicals industries less competitive on the world stage. In a stinging attack, the head of Britain’s largest business lobby called for the Government to axe some climate change taxes and make energy-intensive businesses exempt from others.

The warning came days after former Cabinet Secretary Lord Turnbull said politicians should ‘stop frightening us and our children’ about global warming. He accused politicians and Whitehall mandarins of pandering to global warming ‘alarmists’ and consigning Britain to a future of inflated fuel bills.


Why your new car doesn’t have a spare tire

Fewer tires, higher taxes.

That may be what's in store for drivers under the federal government's spiraling fuel economy mandates (known as CAFE, for Corporate Average Fuel Economy). The Department of Transportation is floating 62 mpg as a possible standard for 2025, more than double the current 27.5 mpg standard. How the industry can meet that target, and at what cost, is anyone's guess. A new study in mid-June by the nonprofit Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich. put the tab at about $10,000 extra per new vehicle, while admitting that even this estimate might be far too low.

And that's not the only bad news; in the past few weeks there have been two other unwelcome developments. First, GM announced that several versions of its compact Chevy Cruze would no longer have spare tires; instead, they'll have vehicle-powered sealant repair kits. This is a major jump in the trend toward eliminating spare tires, a trend due largely to CAFE's drive to shed every possible ounce of car weight.

Some argue that spare tires are unnecessary, given the growing presence of run-flat tires, tire pressure monitors, and roadside assistance systems. But the fact that spares are being eliminated in the name of fuel economy, rather than market demand, demolishes one of the chief claims of CAFE's advocates. For several decades, the need to reduce vehicle size and weight in order to raise mileage has been CAFE's Achilles' heel. Smaller, lighter cars not only hold fewer passengers and less baggage; they're also less crashworthy. CAFE-induced downsizing causes several thousand additional traffic deaths per year.

Proponents of CAFE argue that while vehicle downsizing may once have been needed to raise fuel economy, it has been obviated by new technologies. As a result, they claim, CAFE no longer forces us to give up safety for other car features.

Yet despite this talk of new technologies eliminating trade-offs, here we have GM scrapping the spare tire to comply with CAFE. The station wagon disappeared under CAFE because it was a highly regulated passenger car (unlike SUVs, which were less-regulated "light trucks"). Now, with the spare tire following the same pattern, we have another hard-to-miss symbol of what CAFE hath wrought.

Getting rid of spare tires alone won't be nearly enough to meet the more stringent mandates that are looming. In early June, GM unveiled another strategy—higher gasoline taxes. GM CEO Dan Akerson proposed boosting the federal tax by up to $1 per gallon to increase small car sales.

This isn't the first time a car maker's chief executive has called for higher gas taxes. In 2009, after gas had dropped to below $2 a gallon from $4, Bill Ford made a similar proposal, citing the need for a "price signal . . . strong enough so customers will continue buying smaller, fuel-efficient cars." Mr. Ford joked about his reputation as "something of a Bolshevik" among his industry colleagues. But Mr. Ford's wish for higher gas prices has come true; gas is now in the high $3 range. And yet even that isn't high enough for GM's Mr. Akerson.

It would be one thing if these gentlemen wanted to replace CAFE with higher gas taxes. That would at least give us a politically honest fuel efficiency regime. Rather than being bamboozled by the smoke and mirrors of CAFE's technological mandates, consumers would learn from a gas-tax hike exactly what government was doing to them. But if that's what Mr. Akerson means, then he'd better say so, because he now sounds like another antimobility environmentalist pushing a sin-tax increase.

Mr. Akerson's stand demonstrates CAFE's real perversity—by forcing mileage standards far above what consumers want, it pits car makers against their customers. Car makers need high gas prices to force buyers into the vehicles that government demands the industry sell. The public hopes for low prices, and if markets push prices down, then consumers ought to be able to enjoy their good fortune.

Two weeks ago the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released its latest study of vehicle death rates. Like its previous studies, this new report found that larger and heavier models continue to be safer. SUVs heavier than 4,500 pounds, for example, have a death rate less than one-third that of cars under 2,500 pounds. The politics of energy efficiency may have gone insane, but the law of physics remains.


Al Gore's Ugly Rhetoric Is Nothing New

For years, the Sierra Club and other environmentalist groups have warned us that too many babies will destroy the Earth.

"We are experiencing an accelerated obliteration of the planet's life-forms -- an estimated 8,760 species die off per year -- because, simply put," explained environmentalist Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, "there are too many people." (Well, not exactly that simple when one considers that millions of species had disappeared long before humans selfishly began drinking from plastic bottles.)

In one of his recent works of speculative fiction, The New York Times' Thomas Friedman asked: "How did we not panic when the evidence was so obvious that we'd crossed some growth/climate/natural resource/population redlines all at once?" Dunno. Maybe we value reality? Perhaps we believe in the ability of humans to adapt and to innovate. Perhaps we've learned that Malthusian Chicken Littles slinging stories about the impending end of water or oil or natural resources are proved wrong so often that we ignore them.

Though, admittedly, it's difficult to ignore the charismatic pseudoscience of Al Gore. "One of the things that we could do about it is to change the technologies, to put out less of this pollution, to stabilize the population, and one of the principal ways of doing that is to empower and educate girls and women," the former vice president explained at the Games for Change Festival. "You have to have ubiquitous availability of fertility management so women can choose how many children (they) have, the spacing of the children."

No doubt capitalism appears terribly unstable to the autocratically inclined Gore, but nonetheless, in this country "fertility management" is not only already ubiquitously obtainable by girls and women but also obtainable by boys and men -- and for free at any Planned Parenthood and at many schools. There is also post-fertility management, or 1.3 million yearly abortions -- because no one should be punished with a baby.

Then again, perhaps educating and empowering girls should be the job of parents. After all, Gore has blessed the Earth with four of his own offspring. Does he believe the world would be better off without two of them? If not, why does he assume that an "empowered and educated" woman would reach the conclusion that having fewer children is a more logical and moral choice? (Many, including Bryan Caplan, author of the superb new book "Selfish Reasons To Have More Kids: Why Being a Great Parent Is Less Work and More Fun Than You Think," would probably make a strong counterargument.)

Gore hasn't embraced any nefarious brand of population control. But President Barack Obama's "science czar," John Holdren, co-authored (with Paul Ehrlich of "Population Bomb" notoriety) a book in the 1970s that toyed with the idea of compulsory sterilization and coerced abortions -- to "de-develop the United States." (Boy, the tea party is so radical!) Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, openly advocated for population control to weed out undesirables. You'll remember that in a New York Times interview, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said she "thought that at the time Roe (v. Wade) was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don't want to have too many of."

Whatever did she mean?

If "too many" people are killing 8,760 species every year, isn't it an imperative to do something? What is holding us back? If unrealized human life is only going to sponge off the Earth and decimate our natural resources, don't we have a duty to limit population growth?

Forget that the populations of Brazil and India and a number of other nations continue to grow and life continues to improve. Forget that our own standard of living steadily increases while our population steadily grows. Forget the never-ending ingenuity and development of mankind -- especially anything that has to do with fossil fuels. For Gore, people are parasites, millions of little environmental disasters. And when a man embraces debunked 19th-century notions rather than empirical evidence, well, surely another Nobel Prize is in order.



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


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Despite Fukushima disaster, Sarkozy to plough 1 billion euros into atomic energy

French rationality trumps German romanticism

President Nicolas Sarkozy says France will invest 1billion euro (£900million) in nuclear energy despite a rise in concern about atomic safety following Japan's nuclear disaster. Sarkozy says a moratorium on new nuclear reactors, as some countries have declared since the Fukushima Daiichi accident, ‘makes no sense.’ He said today that ‘there is no alternative to nuclear energy today.’

France is more dependent on nuclear energy than any other country, with 74 per cent of electricity coming from its 58 atomic reactors.

Sarkozy, at a news conference about government investments in the economy, said France will stick to a plan to invest 1billion euros in future nuclear reactors. He also promised 1.35billion euros in investment in renewable energy.

In contrast, neighbour Germany will be shutting every one of its 17 nuclear reactors by 2022 and embarking on a large-scale introduction of renewable energy.

German chancellor Angela Merkel said last month: ‘We want to end the use of nuclear energy and reach the age of renewable energy as fast as possible.’

Switzerland has opted to follow a similar path to that of Germany, phasing out its five nuclear power stations by 2034, when the last one expires. This gives officials plenty of time to bring alternative energy sources online.

Despite the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plants in Japan, following March 11’s earthquake and tsunami, Sarkozy is confident that the atomic path is the right one for France, arguing that their technology and safety know-how is superior to that found elsewhere. ‘Our power stations are more expensive because they are safer,’ he boasted.

The French aren’t being complacent, though. Prime Minister Francois Fillon has demanded that all the country’s nuclear plants are to be given ‘open and transparent’ safety assessments.

In fact, all 143 atomic plants in the EU will be examined and tested to see if floods and earthquakes pose any sort of threat.


Environmentalists vs. Renewable Energy

It’s become a truism that environmentalists want alternative energy—from wind, sun, water—to replace our reliance on fossil fuels. The trouble with this truism is that it isn’t true. Yes, in the abstract, environmentalists are all for so-called “renewable” sources of energy. But when it comes to specific projects it’s another story. It’s rare to find a renewable energy project of any significance that has not been challenged by environmental groups.

Take Brightsource Energy’s massive Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert, which will cover 5.6 square miles with mirrors to produce 370 megawatts of energy. (This is the amount of energy produced by a small coal plant, underscoring just how small solar energy is in the overall national energy mix, a mere one tenth of one percent.) California’s Governor Schwarzenegger endorsed it enthusiastically.

In September 2010 the California Energy Commission unanimously approved the project and federal approval by the Obama administration—along with a $1.6 billion federal loan for the $2 billion project—followed. Seven months later Google, that star of the progressive corporation firmament, announced it would invest $168 million in the plant. It even seemed environmentalists were on board since several of the largest outfits were invited to give their input and had not vetoed it.

But this seeming bulldozer of a coalition of green right-thinkers was challenged by a southern California group called the Wildlands Conservancy which opposed the plans on the usual assortment of grounds: it would threaten endangered species, destroy rare plants, use vast amounts of water, require unsightly transmission lines and destroy native American religious sites. David Myers, the Wildlands Conservancy’s executive director, summed up the objections:

“It would destroy the entire Mojave Desert ecosystem.” Endangered species did the trick, at least in the short term. In April 2011 the Obama administration halted the building of two-thirds of the project when the U.S. Bureau of Land Management found more than 600 desert tortoises could die as a result of construction. Now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will have to determine if finishing the project puts the species in jeopardy.

Can anyone doubt the environmentalist storm Boone Pickens would have unleashed if his proposal to build wind farms through the great plains from Texas to the Canadian border had gotten so far as the drawing board? If in doubt look at the furor Cape Wind, in Nantucket Sound, has produced. The $2.5 billion Cape Wind project, the first offshore wind farm in U.S. coastal waters, took a decade (and $45 million) to run the legal gauntlet and line up local, state and federal approvals. A slew of environmental groups have filed lawsuits charging Cape Wind with violating the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, the Clean Water Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Rivers and Harbors Act. Then there’s the suit filed by the Mashpee and Aquinnah Wampanoag tribes claiming Cape Wind violates tribal protections laws because they need an unobstructed view of Nantucket Sound to carry out spiritual sun greetings and the turbines would disturb the seabed which contains sacred ancestral land.

While, remarkably, Cape Wind has thus far survived the onslaught, it is by no means out of the legal thicket. In March 2011 Western Watersheds, a conservancy group, and a Native American cultural group sued on the grounds that federal officials had illegally “rushed” approval because they wanted the project to meet the funding deadline for multibillion dollar federal credits due to expire at the end of 2010. Moreover, thus far it is having trouble finding customers for its energy output, projected to begin in 2013. Because a 2008 Massachusetts law mandates that at least 15% of energy be produced by renewable sources by 2020, Cape Wind has been able to sell half the power it expects to produce to the utility company National Grid at more than twice the price of conventional power. It is counting on the state mandate to force other utilities to the table (if it surmounts the endless legal challenges).

As for hydropower, which unlike solar and wind is economically viable, environmentalists have long disliked it. More than a dozen environmental groups in Ohio banned together to block the development of a hydroelectric dam on the Cuyahoga River to replace the existing dam, built in 1912. Although it’s a “green energy project” complete with fish-migration assistance, the environmental groups want the existing dam torn down with no replacement. And indeed, under environmentalist pressure, quite a few dams are being torn down, letting the rivers run free, but with no hydroelectric power to replace what is lost.

Frustrated by the endless opposition to new energy projects, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched Project No Project, a web site that reports on thwarted energy infrastructure projects. Of roughly 300 projects delayed or outright killed over the last few years, 65 were for renewables. Delay is often synonymous for death since over time the projects run out of financing and expire.

Environmental groups continue to aver their strong commitment to renewable energy—somewhere else. Where is a slippery issue. For example, the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) and National Audubon released a Google Earth map of the western United States showing areas they believed should be off limits for renewable energy development. Three weeks later the NRDC issued a clarification—it did not mean to green-light the remaining areas for energy development.

Scientist-writer Peter Metzger was prophetic when, in the 1970s, he said that environmentalists are enthusiastic about energy sources as long as they do not exist and predicted the same hostility to solar energy should it become viable.

That environmentalists seek to block “green energy” projects is not necessarily bad news since wind and solar projects are hugely expensive, require massive taxpayer subsidies, and for all the hoopla about “green energy jobs” are in fact net job killers. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration solar power requires over $24 in subsidies per megawatt hour of electricity compared to less than 50 cents for coal. Wind power comes in about the same as solar, requiring over $23 in subsidies per megawatt hour. As for jobs, the American Wind Energy Association (the lobby for wind energy) reports no increase in overall U.S. wind industry jobs despite the fact that $2 billion in stimulus money was assigned for wind power job creation. Most of the money went to foreign companies.

Europe, which led the way on green energy, is now backing off. Verso Economics, a British economic consulting firm, found that renewable energy destroyed 3.7 jobs for every job it created in the United Kingdom and the government’s mandates on renewables cost consumers $1.8 billion in 2009-10. Studies in Spain concluded that 2.2 jobs were lost for every job created. In Germany subsidies in the solar industry run as high as $240,000 per worker. The Danes pay subsidies of about $400 million a year to wind producers and unsurprisingly pay the highest electricity rates in the EU. Seeing the economic handwriting on the wall, Holland has become the first country in Europe to abandon the European Union’s renewable energy targets.

As we noted, much as they may oppose concrete projects, environmentalists have boundless enthusiasm for renewables in the abstract, the category into which government mandates fall. Under pressure from environmentalists, twenty nine states have enacted mandates, generally requiring that renewables (with hydropower specifically excluded in some definitions) provide between 15-20% of all energy by 2020. The Institute for Energy Research has found that electricity prices are almost 40% higher in states with mandates (in New York they are double) and although mandates may not be the only reason, they clearly contribute. In New Mexico in 2010 consumers were fighting a 21.2% increase in electric rates as a result of a 2009 law that set renewable mandates at 10% for 2011 (and 15% by 2015). In Montana the legislature is already considering repealing its mandate after a study by American Tradition Institute and the Montana Policy Institute found Montana’s mandate would result in the loss of 1,874 jobs by 2015 and an additional $225 million in electricity bills for consumers.

The costs would be even more devastating were the assorted mandates to be fulfilled—which they are most unlikely to be. For example, Washington State set a deadline of June 2009 for biofuels to provide 20% of the fuel used by state owned vehicles—the date came and went with biofuels providing a mere 2%. In a rare glimmering of sanity the California legislature failed to pass a bill upping the mandate for renewables from 20% to 33%. All of this has not deterred Congressional Democrats from proposing legislation to create a national 15% mandate for renewables.

If environmentalists succeed in halting renewable projects, making fulfillment of mandates even more unlikely, inadvertently they will be doing the taxpayer a good turn. The problem is that environmentalists are also seeking to stop cold what the Wall Street Journal calls the real energy revolution—the potential of natural gas from shale to transform U.S. energy production. As the Journal notes, as recently as 2000 shale gas was 1% of U.S. gas supplies; today it is 25%.

And it is a real job producer—72,000 jobs in Pennsylvania alone in less than two years. Environmentalists are throwing everything they can come up with at it, hoping something sticks . Fracking (i.e. hydraulic fracturing of rock, the method by which the gas is released) contaminates drinking water, releases toxic chemicals, causes cancer, causes earthquakes, adds to pollution (via the trucks hauling materials to the sites).

The New York Times, in its lead article of June 26, came up with a novel means of attack—shale gas is doomed because it is a money loser, with gas too cheap in relation to the costs of production. (It doesn’t seem to occur to the Times that if the supply of gas falls off because it is uneconomical to produce at current prices, prices will rise and gas has a huge way to go before it approaches the cost of wind or solar energy.)

The general public, supportive of the hazy goal of “preserving the environment” on which environmental organizations raise funds, finds it hard to credit that cutting edge environmentalism is, and has been for decades, about cutting the supply of energy, not finding alternative sources. Indeed, John Holdren, Obama’s energy czar, in 1973 declared that the goal must be to “de-develop the United States.”

Future generations will surely look back in amazement at the process by which the most powerful country on earth denied itself the one essential for its continued dominance. Obsessed with scenarios of doom worthy of Chicken Little (a world rendered uninhabitable by pollution or global warming), it took refuge in fantasies of a pre-modern utopia before, in the words of David Brower, director of the Sierra Club and then of Friends of the Earth, “we began applying energy in vast amounts to tools with which we began tearing the environment apart.”


Are Midwest Floods Caused by Global Warming or Radical Environmentalists?

Many Global Warming Alarmists are pointing to the floods in the Midwest as the latest proof of global warming. But a powerful piece at provides an alternative suggestion as to the real cause of the flooding: the perhaps unintended consequences of radical environmentalist policies regarding the system of dams on the Missouri River.

Al Gore gave a speech in New York last week in which he linked the flooding in the Midwest and the fires in Arizona to global warming: “Today, the biggest fire in the history of the state of Arizona is spreading to New Mexico. Today, the biggest flood in the history of the Mississippi River Valley is under way right now,” Gore said. “At what point is there a moment where we say, ‘Oh, we ought to do something about this?’”

One of Gore’s dimmer acolytes, Bill Maher, took up the issue on his show on HBO, “Real Time with Bill Maher.” Maher seemed to be hooked up to a machine that gave him a shock every time he uttered the words “global warming,” which he repeatedly did, before, in each case, correcting himself to say “climate change.” He said, "I don't call it global warming anymore because that is bad. It is climate change." Maher finally got it out, sort of, and asked, “Why doesn't he [Obama] point to this and say this is all because of climate change. He doesn't seem to use what he has to make a case.”

But in the article, “The Purposeful Flooding of America's Heartland,” in American Thinker, Joe Herring makes a very strong, well documented case, that the system of dams built in the area to tame the Missouri River and prevent this sort of thing from happening was well conceived and executed: “Some sixty years ago, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) began the process of taming the Missouri by constructing a series of six dams. The idea was simple: massive dams at the top moderating flow to the smaller dams below, generating electricity while providing desperately needed control of the river’s devastating floods.”

But in the 1990s the plan was hijacked by radical environmentalists with a different agenda: “The Clinton administration threw its support behind the change, officially shifting the priorities of the Missouri River dam system from flood control, facilitation of commercial traffic, and recreation to habitat restoration, wetlands preservation, and culturally sensitive and sustainable biodiversity.”

Herring cites Greg Pavelka, a wildlife biologist with the Corps of Engineers in Yankton, SD, who told the Seattle Times that “this event will leave the river in a ‘much more natural state than it has seen in decades,’ describing the epic flooding as a ‘prolonged headache for small towns and farmers along its path, but a boon for endangered species.’”

Herring also documents that, through a series of emails last February, “Ft. Pierre SD Director of Public Works Brad Lawrence sounded the alarm loud and clear,” but the alarm of this “flood of biblical proportions” was not heeded. Why don’t the mainstream media follow up on Mr. Herring’s findings?

For people looking for some straight talk about global warming from some actual scientists who aren’t part of that consensus we’re always hearing about, I recommend The Heartland Institute’s conference this Thursday and Friday, which will be webcast here. This will demonstrate why Maher, and Gore and the other alarmists prefer to call it “climate change,” and not “global warming.” The evidence doesn’t support the warming theory. One of the participants will be Australian scientist Bob Carter, who recently pointed out that “Between 2001 and 2010 global average temperature decreased by 0.05 degrees, over the same time that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels increased by 5 per cent. Ergo, carbon dioxide emissions are not driving dangerous warming.”


If Greenpeace Can Lie This Easily, Why Should we Believe It On Any Subject?

Daniel Hannan

Ruth Davis, the senior policy adviser at Greenpeace UK, is quoted in The Guardian about the deferral of a vote in the European Parliament on whether to increase the EU’s emissions reduction target from 20 to 30 per cent. Here is what she says:
This vote was postponed after the prime minister personally intervened so that those opposing a higher climate target could no longer count on the support of his party. The politicians backing dirty industries realised they would lose in their bid to scupper moves towards a greener Europe, and they had no option but delay.

Her statement is – there is no way of putting this gently – a lie. The reason the vote was delayed is that the voting session had overrun, and some MEPs [MEP = “Member of the European Parliament”] wanted their lunch. The postponement was approved on a free vote. From where I was sitting, it looked as though just over half the British Tories voted to carry on with the session. Frankly, though, MEPs didn’t vote on Left-Right lines so much as on the basis of whether they were in danger of missing their flights.

My point isn’t really about the emissions target. As far as I’m aware, and contrary to what Ms Davis says, Conservative MEPs still oppose the change. Martin Callanan, our leader, believes it would outsource jobs from the EU to parts of the world with lower environmental standards, and is thus ecologically as well as economically unsound. There are, though, decent and sincere people on both sides of the argument, many with far greater technical knowledge than mine.

No, my point has to do with the sheer flagrancy of Greenpeace’s deceit. Alright, in the scheme of things, it’s a trivial fib. Still, this is the first time that I’ve been able to check one of the pressure group’s claims against my first-hand knowledge and, on this basis, Greenpeace has a 100 per cent record of falsehood. Extrapolating from my experience, I shall henceforth assume that its spokesmen are equally unreliable in their claims about deforestation, ocean pollution, nuclear power, sustainable agriculture and climate change.

Super-epic fail, dudes.


Frogs, Scorpions, Greens, Lies…

James Delingpole

Thanks to the miracles of modern technology etc this post comes to you courtesy of an American Airlines flight 30,000 odd feet over the U.S. on my journey to the Soviet Socialist Republic of California. I’m going there to address some of the few remaining sane people there who haven’t yet been driven out by the state’s bonkers fiscal and regulatory regime, or been driven to destitution by measures to protect the Snail Darter de nos jours – an obscure fish called the California Delta Smelt.

I’ll try to keep this a short post because laptops play havoc with my neck. And because of where I’m headed, I thought I’d pay tribute in this one to LA resident Phelim McAleer co-author – with Ann McElhinney – of the Not Evil Just Wrong documentary debunking CAGW.

McAleer is kind of the anti-Michael Moore: using similar guerilla video techniques but against the liberal-left rather than in support of it.

His most recent coup was to ambush Josh Fox the documentary-maker responsible for an eco-propaganda movie called Gasland, whose key scene is the one where a man in Colorado turns on his tap, strikes a match, and – lo! – it catches fire. We are invited by the film to believe that this is an unfortunate side-effect of the shale gas process known as “fracking.” It is visual short hand for: shale gas is evil. Problem is, the scene is misleading in the extreme.

You’ll find a pretty good summary of the story here (ow my neck).
Last week, well-known Irish filmmaker Phelim McAleer showed up to a screening of Gasland in Chicago with a couple of straightforward questions for the film’s star, Josh Fox.

In particular, McAleer was interested in Josh’s take on the by-now famous scene in Gasland of Mike Markham lighting his faucet on fire – you remember the one, right? It’s the scene that enabled Fox to sell his film to HBO in the first place. But it’s also one that has been debunked – flatly and frequently – by regulators in Colorado. Heck, these guys even went so far as to issue an official document on official state letterhead tearing the film to shreds, citing Josh’s distorted representation of the Markham well as exhibit A.

So all McAleer wanted to know is whether Fox is aware of the substance of those rebuttals. Is aware that the vertical shaft of Markham’s water well “penetrated at least four different coal beds” before making contact with potable water. Is aware that a 1976 report from the Colorado Division of Water Resources cites “troublesome amounts” of “hydrogen sulfide, methane, iron, fluoride and sodium” in local water wells in this area, well before oil and gas development commenced. That kind of stuff.

Fox’s response? Sure, he’s aware of all that evidence – how can he not be? So why didn’t he include mention of it anywhere in his film? “I don’t care about the report from 1976,” Fox replied. “There are reports from 1936 that people say they can light their water on fire in New York State. But that [has] no bearing on this situation. At all.” According to Josh, the fact that methane was present in water long before oil and gas activity is “not relevant” to the question at hand.

It also reports on the equally significant aftermath which is that, rather than fess up to his – ahem – error, Fox got his lawyers on the case and did his damnedest to keep footage of McAleer’s ambush off the internet.

And the question I want to ask here is: Why? It’s a “why” that applies equally well to almost everything to do with the modern environmental movement. Why, if the science is so “settled” and the case for putting the global economy on a war footing to “combat climate change” so strong, do they keep needing to tweak and exaggerate their message?

Why, as Greenpeace’s former head Gerd Leipold once famously excused his organization when it was caught out telling porkie pies [lies] on the extent of the Greenland ice sheet melt, do they have to “emotionalise the issue”? After all, surely if the issue is really what they say it is it wouldn’t need “emotionalising” with spin and lies and exaggeration and disingenuous camera footage: it would be plain for all to see and we’d all do something about it.

Let me answer my rhetorical question. In almost every case the facts simply do not support the Green movement’s extravagant claims. When, for example, the Prince of Wales jets in with his entourage to Rioto announce that we have 100 months to save the world from Climate Change, he is talking out of his princely posterior. If no action whatsoever were to be taken to deal with “climate change”, does anyone honestly believe that in 83 months time (if my adding up is correct) the world would not be functioning as well as ever? (Better in fact, because there’d be fewer wind farms and fewer eco-regulations hampering the global economic recovery).

Just recently, in case you missed the good news, carbon prices have tanked on the European exchange: (H/T GWPF)
EU carbon prices have slumped 15% in one week, as a slew of bearish news took its toll on the markets. “It’s just been carnage these last few days,” said a trader at an investment bank in London. “There has been a huge amount of liquidation from funds, banks and utilities.” Mark Lewis, a Paris-based analyst at Deutsche Bank, said he does not expect emissions in the ETS to ever return to their 2008 levels of 2.12 billion tCO2e

And there’s a reason for that: you can fool the public some of the time and you can fool the media an awful lot of the time but what you can’t do for very long is fool the markets. Markets deal, ultimately, with reality. The environmental movement is a religion which deals with anything but.


Saving the planet will destroy the economy

MARGARET Thatcher's one time right-hand man Nigel Lawson is not so much a climate sceptic as sceptical of the necessity for action, let alone the ways we are tackling climate change.

Lawson will be in Sydney in six weeks to expound his views at a public debate on the proposition: "We need a carbon tax to help stop global warming."

The combatants themselves should raise temperatures. The former British chancellor of the exchequer and energy secretary will lead a negative team comprising former Keating government minister Gary Johns and University of Adelaide geologist and author of the sceptic's bible Heaven and Earth, Ian Plimer.

The affirmative will be put by two former opposition leaders, John Hewson and Mark Latham, backed by University of NSW climatologist Benjamin McNeil.

Lawson says it is scientifically established that increased carbon dioxide emissions will warm the planet, but adds, "it is uncertain how great any such warming would be and how much harm, if any, it would do". He urges governments "to consider the damaging economic impact of blindly following the climate change agenda".

He dismisses as "complete nonsense" the argument that Australia has a special responsibility as a carbon-intensive economy and big coal producer to show global policy leadership.

"If China wants to develop and wants to increase productivity through, among other things, increasing electricity output rapidly and has been building coal-fired power stations and wants to import the coal to fuel them from Australia, I think you would be mad if you didn't supply it," he tells The Weekend Australian.

Lawson sees continuing strong demand for Australian coal despite promises by China and India to reduce their energy intensity, calling the pledges "cover". "Economic development happens because of increased economic efficiency," he says. "That means increasing labour productivity and that also means increasing the productivity of the other factors of production of which energy is one of the most important."

Lawson adds the development of a less energy-intensive services sector is one of the characteristics of economic development. But he adds: "That doesn't mean energy consumption will decline. Energy consumption will rise. Carbon consumption will rise because economic growth will trump the lesser amount of energy used for each particular unit of output."

He calls energy intensity promises by China and India "convenient cover for their saying, quite rightly, 'no way are we going to impede or in any way slow down our economic development by having restrictions on the use of carbon energy'. They go for carbon intensity rather than carbon emissions, which they can be perfectly confident is bound to decline through a process of development as it has in every country in the world."

Lawson warns our politicians not to hold up his own party's policies as exemplars.

Julia Gillard regularly points to British Prime Minister David Cameron's environmental plans to embarrass the Coalition, but Lawson says Tory backbenchers "are increasingly uncomfortable and indeed hostile to policies [that] are being proposed on the climate change front, which mean higher energy costs, which are bad for consumers ... and bad for British industry".

He points out Cameron and his ministers have a plan B. "The government has said it will review the matter in January 2014 in the light of what other European countries are doing and this is clearly a get-out clause, this is clearly new, and it was clearly put in at the behest of the Treasury as both the Treasury and Treasury ministers are very concerned at the cost of going it alone."

Economics and energy security are at the core of Lawson's critique of the climate policy debate. "The world relies on carbon-based energy simply because it is by far the cheapest available source of energy and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future," he says. "The major developing countries, in particular, are understandably unwilling to hold back their development and condemn their people to avoidable poverty by moving from relatively cheap energy to relatively expensive energy."

Lawson heralds new developments that permit extraction of gas from shale in an economic way as "one of the most remarkable technological developments there has been", saying the shift from coal to gas that is set to follow will cut emissions.

"This is carbon energy but the amount of carbon dioxide produced per terawatt of energy generated from gas is half that from coal," he says. "You don't eliminate carbon emissions but you reduce them quite considerably by moving from coal to gas. Of course the environmentalists are appalled by this because they believe that carbon energy has to be eliminated altogether but that's not going to happen."

Lawson returns once again to the cost of renewable energy. "If renewable energy is cheaper than carbon energy, then that's fine," he says, "but for the present time and in the foreseeable future most forms of renewable energy are massively more expensive."

Lawson dismisses as economic illiteracy claims of a green jobs boom powered by renewables that will mop up unemployment from the structural adjustment to a low-carbon economy, recruiting one of the great classical liberals to back his case.

"The French 19th-century economist Frederic Bastiat said you might as well go round breaking windows saying you're creating jobs for glaziers. The fact is you can't look at just one sector. The government can create jobs by employing large numbers of people to build statues of prominent politicians. You can always create jobs in a particular area.

"What you've got to be concerned about are jobs in the economy as a whole and you don't create jobs in the economy as a whole by promoting something [that] is wholly uneconomic and has to be subsidised."

Lawson has strong views about what decarbonisation means. "The plain fact is the total economy will be harmed. A lot of these green jobs will be in China. The Chinese can see there is a market in the West for solar panels and other things so they are producing them very much more cheaply. In so far as there are jobs they will be there, not in the consuming countries."



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


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Another castle in the air

We have below an impressive explanation of various marine phenomena in terms of global warming. Such a pity that there has not in fact been any global warming. Even according to Warmist climate tabulators, the earth warmed by less than one degree Celsius in the 20th century and in the 21st century the temperature has been completely flat. So the explanation given has to be wrong. The phenomena cannot be caused by global warming if there is no global warming

The global warming of sea waters is causing the biggest movement of marine species in two million years, according to a huge new international study by 17 different science institutes

Among the changes recorded by scientists contributing to Project Clamer is the fact that huge blooms of a venomous warm-water species of jellyfish are massing in the North Atlantic.

The Pelagia noctiluca 'dominates in many areas and outbreaks have become an annual event, forcing the closing of beaches,' says the report.

'This form of jellyfish is a gluttonous predator of juvenile fish, so researchers consider its spread a harmful trend.'
However, there was further bad news as the report also warned that the highly-venomous Portuguese Man O'War is also moving closer.

Physalia physalis, a jellyfish-like creature usually found in subtropical waters, is more regularly being discovered in northern Atlantic waters.

The research is to be published this year by Project Clamer, a major collaboration between 17 institutes on climate change and the oceans.

Among the other discoveries in worldwide waters, it was noted that aa 43-foot gray whale was spotted off the Israeli town of Herzliya last year.

Scientists came to a startling conclusion that it must have wandered across the normally icebound route above Canada, where warm weather had briefly opened a clear channel three years earlier.

On a microscopic level, scientists also have found plankton in the North Atlantic where it had not existed for at least 800,000 years.

The whale's odyssey and the surprising appearance of the plankton indicates a migration of species through the Northwest Passage, a worrying sign of how global warming is affecting animals and plants in the oceans as well as on land.

'The implications are enormous. It's a threshold that has been crossed,' said Philip C. Reid, of the Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science in Plymouth.

'It's an indication of the speed of change that is taking place in our world in the present day because of climate change.'


British judge orders secretive Warmist organization to reveal its data

That it took a court to force into the open the data that normal scientific practice would have made freely available tells a story all of its own

Steve McIntyre

Breaking news: Today probably marks the closing chapter of the longstanding FOI request for CRUTEM station data. The UK Information Commissioner (ICO) has rendered a decision (see here) on Jonathon Jones’ appeal of the UEA’s refusal to provide Prof Jones with the CRUTEM station data that they had previously provided to Georgia Tech. The decision that can only be characterized as a total thrashing of the University of East Anglia.

Professor Jonathan Jones of Oxford University (like me, an alumnus of Corpus Christi, Oxford), is a Bishop Hill and CA reader and was one of several CA readers who requested the CRUTEM version sent to Georgia Tech earlier that year. (Contrary to disinformation from Nature, relatively few readers requested CRUTEM data; most FOI requests at the time were for the supposed confidentiality agreements prohibiting data being sent to “non-academics” – agreements that the University was unable to produce.

Jones’ request for CRUTEM data, like mine, was refused by UEA. Like me, Jones appealed the refusal at UEA (the first stage). On Oct 23, 2009, UEA rejected his appeal. (My appeal was rejected about 3 weeks later on the very eve of Climategate.) While I didn't pursue the appeal to the ICO, Prof Jones did appeal and the present decision is the result of this appeal.

I was unaware that this appeal was pending and the decision came as a surprise to me. Since the story started at CA, Andrew Montford and Prof Jones decided that news of the decision should also be broken here. I anticipate that Bishop Hill will also cover the story.

I urge readers to read the thoughtful decision. My own comments will be restricted to some legal aspects of the decision that intrigued me.

As a first comment on the University’s defence – in keeping with similar refusals of other requests, rather than focusing on their best line of argument,the practice of the UEA is to use a laundry list of exemptions – more or less throwing spitballs against the wall to see if any of them stuck. Many of the spitballs seem pretty strained, to say the least. In his ruling, the ICO picked each spitball off the wall and, in the process, established or confirmed a number of precedents that will hopefully encourage fewer spitballs in the future.

The ruling on intellectual property rights interested me in particular, as UEA has attempted to apply this in other cases as well (e.g. Yamal, presently under appeal). The ICO observed that the mere existence of a copyright or database right did not demonstrate the application of s 12(5)(c), let alone the primacy of the exemption over the public interest test.

In addition to other arguments, the UEA claimed both copyright and database rights to the CRUTEM station data and argued that, if released to Prof Jones, they would “lose any right of commercial exploitation of its [CRUTEM] databases. Once the information was released and freely available, extraction and reutilization of the data could be carried out by any party without further recourse to the UEA”.

The Commissioner dryly wondered how “UEA might have planned to commercially exploit the specific information requested and how disclosure might have impacted on any plans that it might have developed or been in the process of developing” before rejecting their arguments.

Some of the University’s arguments purporting to uphold their supposed “intellectual property rights” should ring as particularly contemptible to most members of the public. If climate scientists exhort the public to make personal sacrifices, it seems hypocritical that they should claim that their “intellectual property rights” prevent examination of data being used to underpin those requests to make sacrifices.


The future of the American car

On the finiteness of resources

by Don Boudreaux

Commenting on Mark Perry’s post that makes the same Simonesque point that I make here – namely, that humanity’s stock of ‘natural resources’ is not finite economically over time – one morganovich writes:
this seems like sort of a tricky exercise in semantics.

there is only a certain amount of coal in the ground, no matter how good we get at extracting it. if you took the whole earth and broke it up into piles of it’s constituent components, there would be X amount of coal. the amount we can use will always be kX where k<1.

The point is not that the number of atoms (or molecules, or whatever other physical form or substance you wish to name) available on earth to human beings is not finite or unable to be enlarged. Of course these things are finite. Instead, the point is that “resources” is not, ultimately, a physical concept; it’s an economic concept. And to be limited physically is not necessarily to be limited economically.

What is and isn’t a resource is determined by human ingenuity. Likewise, human ingenuity determines how much “utility” – satisfaction; gratification; pleasure; relief-of-felt-uneasiness (call it what you will) – can be gotten at any moment in time from any given unit of physical stuff. As long as human ingenuiity is free to create, there is no necessary practical limit to the amount of any ‘natural’ resource that is available for humans to use productively.

Consider petroleum. Is its stock strictly limited? For a physicist the answer is yes. But not so for an economist, who asks different questions than does the physicist. The economist asks: “How available is this particular substance – petroleum – for the continuing satisfaction of human desires?”

Suppose a brilliant physical scientist invents a very low-cost means of powering cars, airplanes, boats, and electricity-generating plants with seawater, and also a means to turn seawater into plastics and lubricants – indeed, a means to replace all uses of petroleum. The available economic supplies of petroleum would fall quickly to zero. Petroleum would become worthless; it would no longer be a resource. It’s physical presence in the earth – as measured by weight or volume – wouldn’t change. But its status as a resource would change.

Now consider a different scenario. The brilliant scientist invents not a means of turning seawater into a near-perfect and dirt-cheap substitute for petroleum, but, instead, a low-cost means of quadrupling the amount of energy that can be extracted from each ounce of petroleum. Economically the stock of the ‘natural resource’ we call petroleum is thus multiplied by four. Both history and some not-terribly far-fetched economic theorizing tell us that there is no reason to believe that petroleum (or any other resource) is finite in an economic sense.

UPDATE: morganovich e-mailed me to point out that the rest of his comment (referenced above) at Carpe Diem goes on to make a point similar to the one I make above. I apologize to him for reading his full comment too quickly. (I especially like his point there about the amount of energy in a glass of water.)


First Ignored, Then Attacked: 6th International Climate Change Conference

By Alan Caruba

In the words of Gandhi, “First they ignore you, then they mock you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Thursday, June 30, will mark the beginning of the Sixth International Conference on Climate Change, sponsored by The Heartland Institute, a free market policy center headquartered in Chicago. The conference will be held in Washington, D.C., an appropriate location considering how much hot air emanates from Congress and the White House.

I attended the first conferences that took place in New York City, just across the river from where I live, so I was “there at the beginning” for conferences that were, in the words of Gandhi, largely ignored by the mainstream media and subsequently mentioned but only as the object of mockery.

When, in 2009, emails exchanged between a handful of scientists who provided the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change with the most specious, deliberately duplicitous “data” to prop up the “global warming" hoax were revealed, the whole house of cards began to collapse.

It has since been propped up by a bunch of media, political, and science dead-enders who had stacked their reputations on pulling off the great hoax of the modern era; that an infinitesimal amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere—0.038 percent—was causing the Earth to heat up, the seas to rise, and Minnie Mouse to announce she was pregnant.

The success of the forthcoming conference, however, has been blessed by the modern form of respect, a preemptory news release attacking it. The Center for American Progress issued a “press call advisory” titled “Climate Deniers Congregate in the Nation’s Capital.”

It began, “The Heartland Institute, a conservative group funded by Exxon Mobil and Charles Koch…” Whoa! Mr. Chairman, we rise to question why the Center for American Progress would engage in an outright lie? Answer: That’s what progressives do because they are immune to the truth.

For the record, neither Exxon Mobil, nor Mr. Koch, has contributed to the cost of the conference. The former has not contributed to the Institute since 2006 and the Kochs have not sent any money in more than a decade.

But let’s finish the Center’s opening sentence that characterized the conference as “boasting a full agenda of notable climate deniers.” The term climate deniers has long been attached to any scientist, academic, politician, or commentator such as myself who had the temerity to point out that every single claim made on behalf of “global warming” was pure horse-hockey.

The Center for American Progress sought to make light of the conferences’ theme, “Restoring the Scientific Method.” And a damn fine theme it is considering the damage to the entire scientific community that, prior to the global warming hoax, was not famous for deciding what the truth was by “consensus.”

Real science still depends on peer review and the thorough testing of a hypothesis until it can no longer be disputed because it is reproducible. You can say the Earth is flat until you are blue in the face, but it is still round. The “warmists”, however, did everything they could to short-circuit this rigorous process.

The Center for American Progress is concerned that the forthcoming conference asserts that “global warming is not a crisis” and it will be devoted to “ending global warming alarmism” and “disputing that global warming is man-made.”

Would someone please tell the Center that the Earth is now more than a decade into a perfectly natural cooling cycle and that mankind does not control the sun, the oceans, the clouds, the volcanoes, or any climate event? Whenever a tsunami, blizzard, or tornado occurs, Mother Nature’s advice to mankind is “Get out of the way!”

Since I am loath to travel further these days than the Bagel Chateau one town over from where I reside, I shall be watching the conference on streaming video, June 30 to July 1. It should be noted that, in addition to a roster of some of the world’s most respected climate scientists who will make presentations, the Institute has routinely invited some of the most prominent alarmists—warmists—to participate.

A recent Forbes article noted that “a virtual Who’s Who of global warming media hounds” had been invited to participate in the conferences over the years. Conference coordinator, James Taylor, the Institute’s senior fellow for environment policy, said that Al Gore, James Hansen, Michael Mann and others “all seem to have some sort of scheduling conflict whenever they have to share the stage with a scientist who will be challenging their evidence.”

Meanwhile, the egregiously misnamed Center for American Progress will hold a conference call on Wednesday to launch an attack on the conference. No longer ignored or mocked, the Heartland Institute and its conference are clearly on the winning side.

Funeral ceremonies for “global warming” will follow with the mourners all wearing green.


More Evidence that Global Warming is a False Alarm: A Model Simulation of the last 40 Years of Deep Ocean Warming

by Roy W. Spencer, Ph.D.

NASA’s James Hansen is probably right about this point: the importance of ocean heat storage to a better understanding of how sensitive the climate system is to our greenhouse gas emissions. The more efficient the oceans are at storing excess heat during warming, the slower will be the surface temperature response of the climate system to an imposed energy imbalance.

Unfortunately, the uncertainties over the rate at which vertical mixing takes place in the ocean allows climate modelers to dismiss a lack of recent warming by simply asserting that the deep oceans must somehow be absorbing the extra heat. Think Trenberth’s “missing heat“. (For a discussion of the complex processes involved in ocean mixing see here.)

Well, maybe what is really missing is the IPCC’s willingness to admit the climate system is simply not as sensitive to our greenhouse gas emissions as they claim it is. Maybe the missing heat is missing because it does not really exist.

This is where we can learn from the 40+ year record of deep ocean temperature changes. Even the 2007 IPCC report admitted the oceans have warmed more slowly at depth than the climate models can explain.

Here I will show quantitatively with a simple forcing-feedback-diffusion model that recent ocean warming is actually consistent with a climate sensitivity which is so low that the IPCC considers it very unlikely.

I will also show how disingenuous the IPCC 2007 report was in presenting the ocean warming evidence to support its view that anthropogenic global warming will be a serious problem.

Much more HERE

Cool heads needed for climate talk

It's a case of double standards when it comes to Christopher Monckton -- comment from Australia -- where Monckton is at present visiting

It's just two sleeps until Christopher Monckton, 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, addresses the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies in Perth. The Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, will open the conference today.

The Australian media invariably latches on to controversial individuals visiting from overseas - left and right, foreign-born and expatriate. This reflects the fact that Australia has a large and competitive media along with a relatively small population. Visitors enhance the opinion pool, for a while at least, and controversial ones tend to get covered in the print and electronic media.

Monckton, who is perhaps best labelled as sceptical or agnostic to the idea that global warming is generated by humans, received wide-scale coverage when he visited Australia in February last year. Commercial radio and television, along with the tabloid press, tended to report him seriously. However, he was ridiculed on some ABC programs and in parts of the broadsheet press.

For example, The Age ran a story that Abbott would talk to the visiting hereditary peer under the heading "'Mad Monk' Meets Monckton". This was accompanied by a large colour photo of Monckton's face from forehead to nose only, replete with protruding eyes. He suffers from Graves' disease. It is impossible to imagine journalists mocking a sufferer of breast or prostate cancer in such a way.

Monckton, a mathematician, understands that one sure way to get coverage in the media is to ham it up and, on occasions, throw the switch to hyperbole. Last week news reached Australia that, in a recent speech in the United States, Monckton had accused the Australian economist Ross Garnaut of exhibiting "a fascist point of view" with respect to climate change policy and commented: "Heil Hitler - on we go."

Monckton's trivial and ahistorical exaggeration was met by predictable - and justified - criticism. It makes no sense to compare Western democracies with the excesses of fascist totalitarian regimes - or indeed communist dictatorships of the Lenin/Stalin, Mao or Pol Pot varieties. Monckton has seen the error of his ways. On Channel Ten's Bolt Report on Sunday, he apologised for having made the point he was trying to make in "such a catastrophically stupid and offensive way".

Monckton's original comment was reported in depth on Lateline. Last Wednesday Tony Jones interviewed Professor Ian Chubb, who in April was appointed as Australia's chief scientist. Asked about the Monckton outburst, Chubb spoke out against the use of "emotive language" and declared that "calling people names … ought not to be acceptable in a flourishing democracy like Australia".

Fair enough, provided the reprimand is universal. In the lead-up to the 2007 election, Chubb was vice-chancellor of the Australian National University. On November 19, 2007, The Canberra Times ran an article by Dr Bruce Kent - then an ANU visiting fellow - in which he alleged that there were similarities between some of John Howard's policies and those of the Third Reich. In particular, he linked Howard with such mass murderers as Hitler, Himmler and Goebbels.

Kent's analysis was so exaggerated that he even saw aspects of the Nazi regime in the Coalition's policy on - wait for it - the Murray-Darling Basin. There is no evidence that Chubb - or any of his colleagues at the ANU - distanced themselves from Kent's rave in their local newspaper.

Similar double standards prevail today. Monckton is rightly bagged for linking Garnaut with Hitler. Yet there was virtually no outcry when Mark Dreyfus, one of the better performers in the Gillard government, wrote an article in March where he accused Abbott of "Goebbellian cynicism". In a calm moment, Dreyfus well understands that Goebbels's evil was not located in cynicism but rather in his advocacy for genocide.

In his Lateline appearance, Chubb targeted the likes of Monckton. However, when interviewed by Chris Uhlmann on 7.30 in April, he commented that "we lost a bit of civility in the debate from time to time" and appeared to blame all participants for such an occurrence. If this is what Chubb was trying to say, he has a point. Take Garnaut, for example. He is a paid part-time consultant to the Labor government. No problem here. However, traditionally, it was accepted that individuals on the government payroll - whether in a full-time or part-time capacity - would moderate their language in the public debate.

This is not a stance adopted by Garnaut. He addressed the National Press Club in May in his capacity as head of the Garnaut Climate Change Review. In this talk he accused "parts of big business" of having taken the "role of spoiler" in the climate change debate and implied that those who declined to embrace his views were neither informed nor thoughtful. Garnaut also suggested that his critics believe that Australia is a "pissant country" and then accused his opponents of "shouting ignorant slogans".

Such an outburst is emphatically not consistent with a call for moderation in language. It was more of the same when Garnaut was interviewed by Deborah Cameron on ABC Radio 702 last week. The presenter introduced her guest as "Australia's leading economist" and suggested that unnamed economists who disagreed with Garnaut had "sold their souls" and become "handmaidens to climate science deniers". This was followed by the leading question: "Do more economists need to get out and actually be honest?"

In response, Garnaut said that there was a tendency for economists "to tailor the analysis to what their client wants". In other words, Garnaut was suggesting that economists employed by business cannot be taken at face value. But, apparently, economists who are engaged as consultants by governments are completely credible. I asked both Cameron and ABC management why Garnaut's role as a paid consultant to the Gillard government was not mentioned during the interview. There was no reply.

Of course Garnaut says what he believes. However, so do most of his critics. Of course Monckton was irresponsible to link Garnaut with Hitler. But so were those who linked Howard with the Third Reich. Any cooling of the political debate will require contributions from all parties.



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


Monday, June 27, 2011

More proof that Fraudster Al Gore doesn't know how to use the Internet

Al's Journal: Ice and Snow Disappearing from Mt. Rainier. The effects of the climate crisis are hitting closer and closer to home

The reality: Deep Snow Delaying Opening of Sunrise Area at Mount Rainier National Park -- National Parks Traveler

[June 21, 2011] Too much snow will keep the Sunrise area in Mount Rainier National Park closed through the Fourth of July weekend and until at least July 8, according to park officials. Also, the White River Campground won't open until July 1.

As the accompanying photos show, there really is a lot of snow still waiting to melt away at Sunrise (Note dates)


Quo Vadis Seas – Tropical Pacific Sea Level DROPPED From 1958 – 2007, New Study Shows

Tuvalu is saved! What follows is a press release from the Leibniz Institute for Marine Science (IFM-GEOMAR) on a new paper appearing in the GRL, which shows sea level changes are far more complex than first thought. It’s back to the drawing board for climate and sea level modellers.

Quo Vadis Sea Levels? New Study Shows Ocean Currents Lead To Strong Regional Fluctuations

Dr. Andreas Villwock

Scientists of the Leibniz Institute for Marine Science (IFM-GEOMAR) have now shown that there are large regional variations when it comes to sea level change. The causes are due to changes in ocean currents, which lead to varying sea levels, especially in the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Chart above: Sea level fluctuations caused by wind and ocean currents (relative to mean global sea level rise) for the period 1958-2007 (in cm). The model simulation shows regions with sunken sea level (blue) in the tropical Pacific and Indian Ocean. Graphic from IFM-GEOMAR.

Why has the sea level in some regions of the tropical Indian Ocean and Pacific risen strongly over the last 15 years, while in the decades before the sea levels at these locations dropped? The ocean scientists from Kiel are uncovering why by using computer simulations. A paper now appearing in the Geophysical Research Letters shows that fluctuations in ocean currents, caused by trade winds in the tropical Pacific, play an important role.

The impact of wind and ocean currents are prevalent in the tropical Pacific especially in the wake of the El Niño phenomena. “The associated swashing back and forth of the warm surface water leads to a continuous rise and drop in sea level of up to 20 cm within just a few years“, explains oceanographer Franziska Schwarzkopf of the Leibniz Institute for Marine Science (IFM-GEOMAR) and author of the study.

While these short term fluctuations are well documented by modern satellite measurements, little was known about the long-term pattern of changes. “Our computer simulations which use current models show that regional water levels also over time periods of several decades are affected by wind changes and ocean currents“, says Professor Claus Böning, director of Kiel Ocean-Modelling and co-author of the study. A surprising finding from the scientists in Kiel:

"In the middle of the last 50 years, some areas in the tropical Pacific and Indian Ocean experienced a drop in sea levels, contrary to the global trend.”

These new results on sea level rise of the last decades mean an additional challenge for climate modeling. “Whether a group of islands has to reckon with a greater increase in sea level with respect to the average, or can reckon with a temporary drop over the next decades depends decisively on the development of the wind systems and ocean currents“, says Böning. “Future research programs will put increasing focus on the regional fluctuations in the oceans.“

The paper: Schwarzkopf, F.U. and C.W. Böning, 2011: Contribution of Pacific wind stress to multi-decadal variations in upper-ocean heat content and sea level in the tropical south Indian Ocean. Geophysical Research Letters, 38, L12602, doi: 10.1029/2011GL047651.


California Enviro Plan Channels Pol Pot

Remember Pol Pot, the Cambodian dictator and head of the Khmer Rouge? According to Wikipedia, “During his time in power, Pol Pot imposed a version of agrarian socialism, forcing urban dwellers to relocate to the countryside to work in collective farms and forced labor projects, toward a goal of ‘restarting civilization’ in a ‘Year Zero.’ The combined effects of forced labour, malnutrition, poor medical care and executions resulted in the deaths of approximately 21 percent of the Cambodian population” — 2.5 million people.

Something similar must have been on the minds of the California Council on Science and Technology when it issued its new report, “California’s Energy Future — the View to 2050.” It provides “portraits” of what, under a regime that could be called the Khmer Green, they hope the next state energy system will look like in California’s Year Zero — 2050

About 60 percent of California’s future energy system would be based on shifting the entire state population into electric vehicles. It would eliminate natural gas heating and cooking in all homes, replacing it with electric-powered stoves, water heaters and space heaters with power supplied from green power sources. All buildings in the state would have to be retrofitted or replaced.

Another 20 percent would be based on costly low-tech energy storage in salt domes and air compressor batteries or in speculative technological breakthroughs that do not exist today and that would impose huge costs on electricity consumers.

And a final 20 percent would be based on behavioral changes, such as changing diets to eat less red meat and controlling home thermostats and electric meters to make people wear warm clothing instead.

While most of the nation is rapidly catching on to the emerging revolution in the natural gas fracking (hydraulic fracturing of rock formations) and expanding hydropower, California’s energy future is to be based on a post-modern ideology that seems to want California to trash its entire modern energy system. In its place would be a modernized version of medieval windmills, sophisticated solar-powered magnifying glasses, water wheels, and heat from subterranean geysers, all transmitted to energy conserving consumers via a Rube Goldberg contraption-like energy grid that would be prone to brown outs, black outs, and rapid physical deterioration.

Reading this, you probably say to yourself that this is yet another utopian scheme by a couple of academics that will get a lot of media attention but go nowhere. Nope. This Khmer Green report was funded by the California Energy Commission, the California Air Resources Board, and the S.D. Bechtel Corporation. And it was endorsed by the California Council on Science and Technology. This is apparently the template for California’s future energy system in our Year Zero. And as important as the report is, it hasn’t received much scrutiny in the uncritical newspaper or broadcast media, or even on the Internet. It is apparently being taken for granted that this utopian energy scheme is a fait accompli.

Deconstructing California’s Energy System

The justification for a Pol Pot-style rapid deconstruction of the modern energy system is population growth and the much ballyhooed increase in “greenhouse gases.” According to the Council’s report, state population is expected to double by 2050. To combat the effects of population growth and air pollution, the state must intervene to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

Reducing today’s California pollution by 80 percent would mean the air pollution must drop to about that of 1935, when the population of California was about 6 million. Given an assumed 40-year technological lag time to implement a whole new de-modernized energy system, California must start right now with a massive program to re-engineer everything in society. And as it is presumed only the government — not private markets — can do this, it implies totalitarian control of everything including life styles of Californians. Veganism would replace fracking; draconian regulation would suppress freedom of choice. Pol Pot, call your office.

Criticism of this new energy plan is not another conspiracy theory about Big Government. This is the undeniable template for California’s energy future crafted by California’s ruling cognitive elites.

Khmer Green Ideology

What is driving this mad rush to dismantle the present-day modernized energy system is not science but a countermodern ideology. The California Council on Science and Technology is only being used to put a patina of science on what is ideological.

In California there are ideologies that endorse energy modernization such as shifting to nuclear power, as recently proposed by in the City of Fresno.

And there are ideologies that seek to control, contain, or mitigate air pollution from modern energy plants, such as catalytic converters on cars, natural gas fracking and the expansion of hydropower.

But what the new template of the state’s energy future reflects is a full-blown countermodern ideology that proposes to dismantle many of the state’s power plants and make the electric grid into a precarious system of dubious reliability.

A forerunner of this radical ideology is the State Water Resources Control Board’s order to forbid all coastal power plants, especially nuke plants, from using ocean water for cooling systems. This entails shuttering all the nuke plants in the state, or running costly new water pipelines to the plants or using expensive air-cooling systems. Even if costly fresh water or air cooling systems are installed, this would raise the price of nuclear power so high that costly green power could finally compete with it. The rationale for making nuke plants uncompetitive is not to eliminate pollution, because nuclear technology is clean. The rationale reflects a countermodern ideology.

Instead of a repeat California Gold Rush, the Great California Green Energy Race is about to be kick-started in 2012 to find the highest priced clean technologies for new forms of energy. To do this, markets must be highly regulated to control prices. Markets must be short-circuited because they are mechanisms for producing the lowest-priced goods and services. This is why California is on the cusp of shifting from market Capitalism to state capitalism. California’s political elites want to pick winners and losers in the economy, and want political exactions in return. The apparent cover for doing this is environmentalism.

Unfortunately, many in academia and the media believe that state capitalism is the morally superior system, when there is no effective reduction in air pollution from Green Power. Green Power and Cap and Trade Emission Regulations will not result in replacing dirty imported coal power with clean green power, because wind and solar farms are located in remote areas far away from California’s urban air traps.

Ironically, as postmodern cognitive elites fear the complexity of modern energy technologies, as seen in the recent nuclear plant disaster in Japan, they nonetheless believe the energy grid can be fine tuned to accommodate unpredictable surges of power from wind and solar plants without sacrificing reliability, breakdown, or the rapid deterioration of electric lines that would require their frequent replacement. Alternatively, they believe costly and unproven new battery systems can be integrated along the electric transmission grid to balance out the surges.

Damning Modernization

At the core of this Khmer Green counter-modern ideology we find the quasi-religious idea that modernization is tantamount to damnation. Everything that is wrong with modern society is reflexively tracked back to monopolistic oppression by big energy corporations. In California, this ideology goes back to the influence of the Southern Pacific Railroad and the rise of Progressive politics to counter not merely economic monopolies but modernization itself.

California’s insular turn away from the Tea Party trend of the rest of the nation is not merely political, but a revulsion against capitalism, open markets, and modernity itself.


Clearing the Air

Trying to correct all the disinformation about "mercury and air toxics" is a full-time job.

Ever since public, congressional and union anger and anxiety forced the Environmental Protection Agency to postpone action on its economy-strangling carbon dioxide rules, EPA has been on a take-no-prisoners crusade to impose other job-killing rules for electricity generating plants.

As President Obama said when America rejected cap-tax-and-trade, "there's more than one way to skin the cat." If Congress won't cooperate, his EPA will lead the charge. Energy prices will “skyrocket.” Companies that want to build coal-fired power plants will “go bankrupt.” His administration will “fundamentally transform” our nation’s energy, economic, industrial and social structure.

EPA’s proposed “mercury and air toxics” rules for power plants are built on the false premise that we are still breathing the smog, soot and poisons that shrouded London, England and Gary, Indiana sixty years ago. In reality, US air quality improved steadily after the 1970 Clean Air Act was enacted.

Moreover, since 1990, even as US coal use more than doubled, coal-fired power plant emissions declined even further: 58% for mercury, 67% for nitrogen oxides, 70% for particulates, 85% for sulfur dioxide – and just as significantly for most of the other 80 pollutants that EPA intends to cover with its 946-pages of draconian proposed regulations.

It’s time to clear the political air – and scrub out some of the toxic disinformation that EPA and its allies have been emitting for months, under a multi-million-dollar “public education” campaign that EPA has orchestrated and funded, to frighten people into supporting its new rules. PR firms, religious and civil rights groups, environmental activists and college students are eagerly propagating the myths.

EPA’s “most wanted” outlaw is mercury. But for Americans this villain is as real as Freddy or Norman Bates. To turn power plant mercury emissions into a mass killer, EPA cherry-picked studies and data, and ignored any that didn’t fit its “slasher” film script. As my colleague Dr. Willie Soon and I pointed out in our Wall Street Journal and Investor's Business Daily articles, US power plants account for just 0.5% of mercury emitted into North American’s air; the other 99.5% comes from natural and foreign sources.

Critics assailed our analysis, but the studies support us, not EPA – as is abundantly clear in Dr. Soon's 85-page report, available at The report and studies it cites fully support our conclusion that America’s fish are safe to eat (in part because they contain selenium and are thus low in biologically available methylmercury, mercury’s more toxic cousin), and blood mercury levels for American women and children are already below FDA’s and other agencies’ safe levels.

Not only are EPA’s mercury claims fraudulent. They are scaring people away from eating fish, which are rich in essential fatty acids. In other words, EPA is actively harming people’s nutrition and health.

One of the more bizarre criticisms of our analysis contends that mercury released in forest fires “originates from coal-burning power plants,” which supposedly shower the toxin onto trees, which release it back into the atmosphere during arboreal conflagrations. In fact, mercury is as abundant in the earth’s crust as silver and selenium. It is absorbed by trees through their roots – and their leaves, which absorb those 0.5% (power plant) and 99.5% (other) atmospheric mercury components through their stomata.

Another bizarre criticism is that mercury isn’t the issue. The real problem is ultra-fine (2.5 micron) soot particles. So now the “power plant mercury is poisoning babies and children” campaign was just a sideshow! Talk about changing the subject. Now, suddenly, the alleged health benefits and lives saved would come from controlling soot particles. That claim is as bogus as the anti-mercury scare stories.

Even EPA and NOAA data demonstrate that America’s air already meets EPA’s national standard, which is equivalent to disseminating an ounce of soot (about one and a quarter super-pulverized charcoal briquettes) across a volume of air one-half mile long, one-half mile wide and one story high. That’s less than you’re likely to get from sitting in front of a campfire, fireplace or wood-burning stove, inhaling airborne particulates, hydrocarbon gases and heavy metals. (Search the internet for Danish, EPA and Forest Service studies and advisories on these popular “organic” heating and cooking methods.)

Simply put, EPA’s proposed rules will impose huge costs – for few health or environmental benefits, beyond what we are already realizing through steadily declining emissions under existing regulations.

Besides bringing mythical health benefits, EPA claims its lower national emission standards will simply put all states and utility companies “on the same level playing field.” This pious rhetoric may be fine for states that get little electricity from coal. However, for states (especially manufacturing states) that burn coal to generate 48-98% of their electricity, the new rules will be job, economy and revenue killers.

Energy analyst Roger Bezdek estimates that utilities will have to spend over $130 billion to retrofit older plants, under the measly three year (2014) deadline that EPA is giving them, under a sweetheart court deal the agency worked out with radical environmental groups. On top of that, utilities will have to spend another $30 billion a year for operations, maintenance and extra fuel for the energy-intensive scrubbers and other equipment they will be forced to install.

Many companies simply cannot justify those huge costs for older power plants. Thus Dominion Power, American Electric Power and other utilities have announced that they will simply close dozens of generating units, representing tens of thousands of megawatts – enough to electrify tens of millions of homes and businesses. Illinois alone will lose nearly 3,500 MW of reliable, affordable, baseload electricity – with little but promises of intermittent pixie-dust wind turbine electricity to replace it.

Electricity costs are set to skyrocket, just as the President promised. Consumers can expect to pay at least 20% more in many states by 2014 or shortly thereafter. According to the Chicago Tribune, Illinois families and businesses will shell out 40-60% more! How’s that for an incentive to ramp up production and hire more workers? How’s that “hope and change” working out for families that had planned to fix the car, save for college and retirement, take a nice vacation, get that long-postponed surgery?

For a mid-sized hospital or factory that currently pays $500,000 annually for electricity (including peak-demand charges), those rate hikes could add $300,000 a year to its electricity bill. That’s equivalent to ten full-time entry-level employees … that now won't get hired, or will get laid off.

And it’s not just private businesses that will get hammered. As the Chi Trib notes, if the Chicago public school system wants to keep the lights on and computers running for two semesters, by 2014 it will get hit for an extra $2.7 million it doesn’t have, to pay for skyrocketing electricity costs.

Carry those costs through much of the US economy – especially the 26 states that get 48-98% of their electricity from coal-fired power plants – and we are talking about truly “fundamental transformations.” Millions will be laid off, millions more won't be hired, millions of jobs will be shipped overseas – and millions will endure brownouts, blackouts and social unrest.

EPA generally refuses to consider the economic effects of its regulations, except to insist that even its most oppressive rules will generate benefits “far in excess” of any expected costs. Perhaps it will at least consider the obvious, unavoidable and monumental adverse physical and mental health impacts of its rate hikes and layoffs – on nutrition, healthcare, depression, family violence and civil rights progress.

The Environmental Protection Agency has always had a horse-blinder attitude about environmental policy. Under Administrator Lisa Jackson, it has become a truly rogue agency.

It’s time for Congress, state legislatures, attorneys-general and courts to bring some balance and common sense back into the picture. Otherwise 9.1% unemployment – with Black and Hispanic unemployment even higher – will look like boom times.


Let There be Light

Things just got a lot brighter in the state of Texas when the federal government received the message: Don’t mess with Texas.

Last Friday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed into law a repeal of the federal government incandescent light bulb ban. Any incandescent light bulbs manufactured and sold in Texas now steer clear of the authority of the federal government and the 2007 energy act, which started phasing out the bulbs next year.

As Texas State Representative George Lavender put it, “Let there be light.” Rep. Lavender, R-Texarkana, was quoted by Fox News from his Facebook page after the bill passed saying, “It will allow the continued manufacture and sale of incandescent light bulbs in Texas, even after the federal ban goes into effect. … It’s a good day for Texas.”

Texas might be the first successful state to overturn the light bulb ban, but South Carolina has advanced similar legislation as well as Arizona, though it was vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer.

“The government is attempting to micromanage our decisions as consumers,” says Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government (ALG), about the legislation passed to ban the incandescent light bulbs. “The federal government has no power to tell any citizen what types of lighting they are allowed to use.”

If states like Texas, South Carolina and Arizona are willing to repeal the incandescent light bulb ban — a symbolic move proving that American’s do not want that level of government involvement in their lives — why haven’t Republicans in the House of Representatives followed suit?

“In 2010, American voters made it clear they wanted a fiscally responsible Congress with limited government ideals, but did the Republicans in Congress get the message?” asks ALG’s Wilson. “One has to wonder since they are flinching on passing this simple yet significant bill. If the Republicans in Congress cannot even repeal this piece of legislation, which will only reflect favorably on them, then how are they going to tackle ObamaCare, entitlement programs, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) or balancing our nation’s budget?”

Hopefully House Republicans will follow the lead of Texas Gov. Perry. If not, this would be a missed opportunity to act on the limited government platform from which they preach.

Let there be light once again in all of America.


Poll finds only 41 per cent of Australians think climate change is a serious problem

A LEADING climate change advocate maintains public sentiment for climate change action is improving despite a poll showing support has dropped to a record low.

According to the Lowy Institute poll, 75 per cent of Australians believe the federal government has done a poor job addressing climate change. Just 41 per cent think the issue is a serious and pressing problem, down five points from last year and 27 points since 2006. Australians are also much less willing to pay a price to tackle climate change, with 39 per cent not prepared to pay anything extra.

John Connor, chief executive of The Climate Institute, a non-partisan and independent research organisation, said the polling was undertaken in April. "It's a worrying trend but not a surprising trend," Mr Connor said. "We've picked up at least a change in the momentum since we launched the Say Yes campaign."

Analysis of talkback radio by the institute showed an improvement in support for climate change action since February, Mr Connor said. "I'm not at all relaxed but I think we are seeing a turning point."

The polling had tracked the decline of the debate over the years into one that is now extremely partisan. "There was bipartisan support for action and the emissions trading scheme and an international legal agreement (in 2007)," Mr Connor said.



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