Sunday, July 31, 2011

Raw climate data finally disgorged after lawsuit

Despite the huffing and puffing below I can see no legitimate reason why it was EVER withheld. Is the weather a secret?

It's going to be interesting to see how "raw" the data is. Some comparisons with independent records will be possible and past such comparisons have revealed huge manipulations. The Warmists below are gearing up for that

Anyone can now view for themselves the raw data that was at the centre of last year's "climategate" scandal.

Temperature records going back 150 years from 5113 weather stations around the world were yesterday released to the public by the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK. The only records missing are from 19 stations in Poland, which refused to allow them to be made public.

"We released [the dataset] to dispel the myths that the data have been inappropriately manipulated, and that we are being secretive," says Trevor Davies, the university's pro-vice-chancellor for research. "Some sceptics argue we must have something to hide, and we've released the data to pull the rug out from those who say there isn't evidence that the global temperature is increasing."
Hand it over

The university were ordered to release data by the UK Information Commissioner's Office, following a freedom-of-information request for the raw data from researchers Jonathan Jones of the University of Oxford and Don Keiller of Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, UK.

Davies says that the university initially refused on the grounds that the data is not owned by the CRU but by the national meteorological organisations that collect the data and share it with the CRU.

When the CRU's refusal was overruled by the information commissioner, the UK Met Office was recruited to act as a go-between and obtain permission to release all the data.

Poland refused, and the information commissioner overruled Trinidad and Tobago's wish for the data it supplied on latitudes between 30 degrees north and 40 degrees south to be withheld, as it had been specifically requested by Jones and Keiller in their FOI request and previously shared with other academics.
The price

The end result is that all the records are there, except for Poland's. Davies's only worry is that the decision to release the Trinidad and Tobago data against its wishes may discourage the open sharing of data in the future. Other research organisations may from now on be reluctant to pool data they wish to be kept private.

Thomas Peterson, chief scientist at the National Climatic Data Center of the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and president of the Commission for Climatology at the World Meteorological Organization, agrees there might be a cost to releasing the data.

"I have historic temperature data from automatic weather stations on the Greenland ice sheet that I was able to obtain from Denmark only because I agreed not to release them," he says. "If countries come to expect that sharing of any data with anyone will eventually lead to strong pressure for them to fully release those data, will they be less willing to collaborate in the future?"

Davies is confident that genuine and proper analysis of the raw data will reproduce the same incontrovertible conclusion - that global temperatures are rising. "The conclusion is very robust," he says, explaining that the CRU's dataset of land temperatures tally with those from other independent research groups around the world, including those generated by the NOAA and NASA.

"Should people undertake analyses and come up with different conclusions, the way to present them is through publication in peer-reviewed journals, so we know it's been through scientific quality control," says Davies.
No convincing some people

Other mainstream researchers and defenders of the consensus are not so confident that the release will silence the sceptics. "One can hope this might put an end to the interminable discussion of the CRU temperatures, but the experience of GISTEMP - another database that's been available for years - is that the criticisms will continue because there are some people who are never going to be satisfied," says Gavin Schmidt of Columbia University in New York.

"Sadly, I think this will just lead to a new round of attacks on CRU and the Met Office," says Bob Ward, communications director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics. "Sceptics will pore through the data looking for ways to criticise the processing methodology in an attempt to persuade the public that there's doubt the world has warmed significantly."

The CRU and its leading scientist, Phil Jones, were at the centre of the so-called "climategate" storm in 2009 when the unit was accused of withholding and manipulating data. It was later cleared of the charge.


Do high levels of CO2 PREVENT tornadoes?

The statistics says that they do

As CO2 has increased, the number of F3-F5 tornadoes has decreased. Extrapolating the trend, we can see that at 480 ppm there would be zero severe tornadoes.


Another Radical Enviro at Interior

Believe it or not, something other than the debt ceiling debate is going on in Washington.

Yesterday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a confirmation hearing for Rebecca Wodder, the Obama nominee to be Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks for the Department of the Interior.

While the title may sound small-potatoes, the office is the second most powerful at Interior. Wodder would replace Tom Strickland who resigned in January. As the Assistant Secretary, Wodder would oversee "an empire."

Wodder has a well established record as an environmental left-wing ideologue. According to the Washington Examiner, she is a "former Wilderness Society official and current chief executive officer of Big Green's dam-killing, water grabbing, natural gas enemy, American Rivers Inc."

During the hearing, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski gave Wodder the opportunity to retract her previous statement that hydraulic fracturing (fracing) "has a nasty track record of creating a toxic chemical soup that pollutes groundwater and streams." But, Wodder refused.

Even EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, an aggressive environmental activist herself, recently testified that there is no confirmed case of fracing contaminating groundwater.

Multiple other EPA officials have confirmed to Congress that there is no evidence to support Wodder's contention that has become the latest mythical attack strategy adopted by the left. But, facts are of no concern to the radical left.
"Ms. Wodder's testimony today has only confirmed my initial concerns about her nomination," Senator Inhofe said. "During the hearing, Senator Murkowski provided an opportunity for Ms. Wodder to retract her previous statement that hydraulic fracturing 'has a nasty track record of creating a toxic chemical soup that pollutes groundwater and streams...' Yet, she refused, proving herself to be beholden to an extremist environmental agenda. Ms. Wodder's statement, of course, counters the testimony of EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and several Obama administration officials who have repeatedly said before Congress that there has not been a single confirmed case of groundwater contamination due to the hydraulic fracturing process.

If confirmed, Wodder would join Interior Secretary Ken Salazar who has already established the "most anti-oil and gas record in U.S. history."


Heartland Replies to Nature

Nature, the widely respected science journal, has a feature story and an unsigned editorial in its latest issue addressing The Heartland Institute's contribution to the global debate over climate change. The articles can be read (for free) at the following links: and

These articles are surely a sign that the debate is not over regarding the causes and consequences of climate change and what, if anything, should be done to alter the human influence on climate. But the articles themselves hardly do justice to our efforts, or the efforts of many scientists who are speaking out against the fake "consensus" that Nature itself has done so much to promote in its coverage of climate change.

Turning first to the feature story by Jeff Tollefson, titled "The Sceptic Meets His Match," I've thanked Mr. Tollefson for an article that is, by and large, fair and accurate. He accurately summarizes my position, saying "he does not necessarily deny that humans are having an influence on the climate, but he does question the forecasts of catastrophic impacts and the rationale for curbing carbon emissions." But there are some important errors and omissions we wish to correct.

* Two of the five critics of our efforts he quotes are the world's most notorious global warming alarmists who have made it their business to exaggerate the scientific certainty of climate predictions and the impacts of climate change, and to suppress academic debate and demonize skeptics. It's no surprise they object to our calling them out. The third critic works for an organization started by and still run by President Bill Clinton's former global warming advisor and Kyoto negotiator - no partisan bias there! Al Gore would be no less objective or credible a judge of our work than these three advocates. More about the remaining two critics in a moment.

* The article implies we rely on a 1999 NASA study to argue for the existence of a natural "heat vent" over the tropics that cools the Earth as ocean temperatures rise. In fact, this discovery has been documented in a series of peer-reviewed studies, many of them reported in our 800-page report, Climate Change Reconsidered, and the controversy is being hotly debated in the leading journals today. We summarized and cited research questioning this discovery and its implications as well as seeming to confirm them.

* One of the authors of the 1999 NASA study (the fourth of the five critics) is quoted as disagreeing with our interpretation of his findings. It is good journalism to report this, but it underscores a point I made repeatedly during the interview and make in all my writing on climate change, which is that most scientists working in this field "believe" in man-made global warming even though their own published work punches big holes in the scientific foundations of that belief. This is an important point.

It is easy to cry wolf and make scary predictions in presentations to Congress or even in classrooms, but scholars who do this often publish research that either contradicts basic tenets of alarmism or contains admissions of major gaps in knowledge that would be necessary to predict future climate conditions. Either this is hollow careerism and ought to be subject to public criticism, or it is cognitive dissonance - holding two contradictory ideas in your mind at the same time. If the latter, it is probably caused by the complexity of the issue (we must trust the judgment of scientists working in other fields to form opinions on subjects we are not ourselves expert about) and its close association with social and economic agendas (we want to believe something is true even if our own research suggests it is not).

Is this an outrageous claim or an attack on the integrity of working scientists? Absolutely not. It is a standard theme in many books on the history of science, dating back at least as far as Charles Mackay's 1841 classic, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, and as recently as Mike Hulme's 2009 tome, Why We Disagree About Climate Change. Hulme, not incidentally, is no skeptic: He contributes to the alarmist IPCC reports and works at the University of East Anglia (home of the Climategate scandal). Even he admits that his position is based on belief rather than scientific understanding and is inseparable from his partisan political beliefs.

* Roger Pielke Jr., the fifth and final critic quoted by Tollefson, is admirable for his ability to stay suspended in mid-air for years between the two camps of alarmists and skeptics. One of these days, he'll need to plant his feet in one camp or another, and because he's a good scientist, I believe it will be in ours. He is quoted characterizing Climate Change Reconsidered as "a big fat bowl of cherries." The reference is to "cherry picking," or citing only the scientific reports that support one's point of view. But Climate Change Reconsidered has (I am told) 4,235 source citations. How many examples do we need of scientists writing in peer-reviewed journals admitting that the science doesn't support claims of man-made catastrophic warming before we can conclude that skepticism, not alarmism, is the real position of most scientists? I think we passed that threshold hundreds or even thousands of citations ago. Frankly, it's getting boring pointing this out over and over again. Only people who are blinded by ideology or careerism are still defending a hypothesis that has been soundly and repeatedly debunked.

* Finally, contrary to Mr. Tollefson's claim, I do not "dismiss" the findings of Bray and von Storch's latest international survey of climate scientists. In fact, I write about it because it demonstrates once again the extent of disagreement among scientists over the underlying science. Approximately two-thirds of the questions about the underlying science of climate reveal deep uncertainty or outright skepticism, even as 85 percent of the scientists who participated say they "believe" in AGW. So what questions help us get closer to the truth about climate change? Questions about the science, which the scientists actually understand and say is missing or contradicts alarmist predictions? Or questions about how they feel or what they believe about global warming? The right choice should be obvious, but good luck finding a reporter willing to ask these questions and make that choice.

Turning now to the unsigned editorial, titled "Heart of the Matter," the difference in tone and rhetoric from Tollefson's essay could hardly be greater. According to the editorial, The Heartland Institute's conferences - which have drawn more than 2,000 scientists and other experts from some 20 countries - are "curious affairs," "easy to lampoon," "predictable," and "absurdities." Nature deigns to recognize us, we are told, only because "closing our eyes will not make the climate sceptics go away." Well, they at least got that part right.

The editorial admits that Climate Change Reconsidered "is well sourced and based on scientific papers," but complains it "makes many bold assertions that are often questionable or misleading, and do not highlight the uncertainties." The complaint lacks any examples or substantiation, so it cannot be rebutted except to say "prove it." But the irony should not be overlooked that it was Nature's record of publishing misleading editorials and articles that hide uncertainties or make claims that cannot be replicated by other scientists that made publication of Climate Change Reconsidered necessary. If we err on the side of being too skeptical, it is only because we are trying to restore balance to a ship that is listing so far to one side that it is in imminent danger of capsizing.

Finally, the editors declare they are in pursuit of "a theory that can explain observations of the world," whereas the skeptics seem content to point out gaps in that theory. "The Heartland Institute and its ilk," they say, "are not trying to build a theory of anything." Well, where to begin?

I am not a scientist, and it certainly is not my place to tell the editors of such an esteemed publication as Nature what they ought to be about. But it is my understanding of the scientific method that it proceeds by the falsification of hypotheses, not their defense by every means possible, which is what Nature and regrettably other leading science journals have resorted to in the case of man-made climate change. The goal ought not to be to defend a hypothesis, but to test it, and if it fails, to consider competing hypotheses and test those just as rigorously.

Nature, it seems to this nonscientist observer, has lost its way. Until the journal opens its eyes, it will not be a serious voice on climate science.


How We Know That Climate Alarmism Is A Joke

John Cook posted the picture above.

Some minor problems. Over the last decade, winter temperatures have been plummeting

“Nights warming faster than days”

That is known as the Urban Heat Island effect.

Less heat escaping into space.

Not according to NASA satellites.

Pattern of ocean warming

Not according to NOAA buoys

The rest of Cook’s points related to CO2, not warming. What a ridiculous excuse for science.


Warmists are slowly sagging

Big-time Warmist "scientist" Trenberth admits that the sun is a factor in temperature changes. Just the relevant paragraph below.
In addition, I find the whole discussion to be out of touch with reality. The external radiative forcing of the climate system is mostly well known and comes from the changes in atmospheric composition (greenhouse gases) and the sun spot cycle etc. The part not so well known is the pollution (aerosol), but that is small. Nearly all of the variations in water vapor and clouds, except for those affected by aerosol, are a response to the weather and climate variations; they are NOT a forcing. This is a major error that continues in Spencer's work.

Tom Nelson says that professional warmist Joe Romm originally posted the above "naughty" graf on his site but later deleted it!



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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Indians bucking the "consensus"

In January, India’s Environment Minister, Jairam Ramesh, said: “There is a groupthink in climate science today. Anyone who raises alternative climate theories is immediately branded a climate atheist in an atmosphere of climate evangelists. “Climate science is incredibly more complex than negotiators make it out to be . . . Climate science should not be driven by the West. We should not always be dependent on outside reports.”

Indian newspaper The Hindu commented: “A key belief of climate science theology – that a reduction in carbon emissions will take care of the bulk of global warming – has been questioned in a scientific paper released by the Environment Ministry.”

Ramesh made his comments in response to a scientific study released by respected Indian physicist Dr UR Rao, a former chairperson of the Indian Space Research Organisation.

I was most pleased to see this Indian response, particularly from a Cabinet Minister. Ramesh is exhibiting the courage to listen to his scientists and then take a stand on a most important issue. The issue is also thorny, and many politicians avoid it like the plague.

The fundamental issue is: Is climate change occurring as a result of man-made factors, or is any potential or observable change due to natural factors? I agree entirely with Rao that climate change is probably caused by natural factors.

The report brought out by Rao says that human-induced global warming is much less than is claimed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and that, in fact, most of the observed temperature fluctuations could be attributed to cosmic rays, in particular Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCRs).

When nuclear reactions occur in stars, nuclear particles of various sorts are spewed as a consequence of the nuclear reactions. These particles race across the vast distances of outer space.

In our own sun, such reactions occur, producing a spread of nuclear particles, some of which strike our planet. In fact, they give rise to the coloured sheets of light seen in the night skies over the far north and south of our planet, known as the Northern and Southern Lights. All stars are actually ‘suns’ and, so, the galaxy is full of these GCRs, which arrive at our planet all the time.

Our planet has protection, and this is a magnetic field which results from the interaction of the earth’s magnetic field and the magnetic field of the sun. The sun’s field changes from time to time by some mechanism which is not yet fully understood. But one good indicator of the state of the sun’s magnetic field is the number of sunspots that can be seen on the surface of the sun. The sunspots show up as dark blobs, which are actually huge magnetic storms.

The bottom line of all this is that, when there are few or no sunspots, the protective field around the earth is weak and above-average numbers of cosmic rays reach the atmosphere of the earth. When there are many sunspots, a strong field results and there are less than average GCRs reaching our atmosphere.

What we see, and what Rao pointed out, is that more GCRs mean more cloud cover over the earth and then global cooling results. With many sunspots evident, global warming results. The principle is simple: with more clouds, less heat reaches the earth because it is stopped by the clouds.

In 2009, Ramesh stated that evidence given to him showed that a claim that the Himalayan glaciers will melt by 2035 was wrong. Only a few months later, the IPCC, after a review, stated that it had been wrong about the glacier prediction and that it regretted the error.

When Ramesh released Rao’s findings on GCRs, he noted: “The impact of cosmic ray intensity on climate change has thus far been largely ignored by the mainstream scientific consensus.” He added that a “unidimensional focus” on carbon emissions by most Western countries put additional pressure on countries like India in international climate negotiations and that “international climate negotiations are about climate politics [but], increasingly, science is becoming the handmaiden of politics”.

While the impact of cosmic rays on climate change has been studied before, Rao’s paper quantifies their contribution to global warming and concludes: “The future prediction of global warming presented by the IPCC’s fourth report requires a relook to include the effect due to long-term changes in the galactic cosmic ray intensity.”

What is laudable about the stance taken by Ramesh is that he challenges the entire dogma that mankind is solely to blame for any observed global temperature change. In governments and companies around the world, one finds whole departments working on the ‘mitigation of climate change’ or trying to reduce the rate of global warming.

If the GCR theory is correct, which it seems to be, then there is nothing that mankind can do about global temperatures. Having departments to mitigate climate change would then be like having a department to reduce the influence of ghosts and evil spirits on weather patterns. To Ramesh, I say: “Keep it up; you are on the right track.”

When the next world environment conference, the seventeeth Conference of the Parties, or COP 17, takes place in Durban later this year, GCRs should be well and truly on the agenda.


Windmills bad for bug-eating bats

They are wonderful creatures to see but what they do for us is even more wonderful

The butterfly effect suggests the flapping of a tiny insect's wings in Africa can lead to a tornado in Kansas. Call this the bat effect: A bat killed by a wind turbine in Somerset can lead to higher tomato prices at the Wichita farmers market.

Bats are something of a one-species stimulus program for farmers, every year gobbling up millions of bugs that could ruin a harvest. But the same biology that allows the winged creatures to sweep the night sky for fine dining also has made them susceptible to one of Pennsylvania's fastest-growing energy tools.

The 420 wind turbines now in use across Pennsylvania killed more than 10,000 bats last year -- mostly in the late summer months, according to the state Game Commission. That's an average of 25 bats per turbine per year, and the Nature Conservancy predicts as many as 2,900 turbines will be set up across the state by 2030. This is a bad time to be a bat.

It may seem like a good thing to those who fear the flying mammals, but the wind farm mortality rate is an acute example of how harnessing natural energy can lead to disruptions in the circle of life -- and the cycle of business. This chain of events mixes biology and economics: Bat populations go down, bug populations go up and farmers are left with the bill for more pesticide and crops (which accounts for those pricey tomatoes in Kansas).

Wind industry executives are shelling out millions of dollars on possible solutions that don't ruin their bottom line, even as wind farms in the area are collaborating with the state Game Commission to work carcass-combing into daily operations.

"If you look at a map and see where the mountains are, everything funnels through Somerset," said Tracey Librandi Mumma, the wildlife biologist who led the March commission report on bird and bat mortality. "If I'm out driving ... I wonder, 'How many are being killed at that one?' "

Bats are nature's pesticide, consuming as many as 500 insects in one hour, or nearly 3,000 insects in one night, said Miguel Saviroff, the agricultural financial manager at the Penn State Cooperative Extension in Somerset County. "A colony of just 100 little brown bats may consume a quarter of a million mosquitoes and other small insects in a night," he said. "That benefits neighbors and reduces the insect problem with crops."

If one turbine kills 25 bats in a year, that means one turbine accounted for about 17 million uneaten bugs in 2010. Bats save farmers a lot of money: About $74 per acre, according to an April report in Science magazine that calculated the economic value of bats on a county-by-county basis.

In Allegheny County, bats save farmers an estimated $642,986 in a year. That's nothing compared with more agricultural counties in the region such as Somerset ($6.7 million saved), Washington ($5.5 million) or Westmoreland ($6.1 million). Lancaster County? You owe bats $22 million. In all of Pennsylvania, bats saved farmers $277.9 million in estimated avoided costs.

Initially, the "Economic Importance of Bats in Agriculture" article was meant to attract attention to the white-nose fungus virus that is wiping out entire colonies of bats across the country. "We were getting a lot of questions about why we should care about white-nose syndrome," said author Justin Boyles, a post-doctoral fellow in bat research at the University of Tennessee. "Really, it's the economic impact that makes people listen."

The white-nose syndrome is compounding the wind turbine problems, having killed more than a million bats in the northeastern United States since 2006. It surfaced in Pennsylvania in 2008 and has killed thousands of in-state bats.

Meanwhile, the same creatures that save Pennsylvania farmers millions of dollars each year are also costing energy companies some big bucks as they try to stave off a mass execution beneath the blades.

Technology is being developed on sound generators that would deter the creatures from getting too close with a high-pitched noise only heard by bats. Some studies suggest that a slowdown in blade speed would reduce mortality.

But new technology is expensive and a blade slowdown would reduce the number of megawatts produced. "All these options cost money," said Ms. Librandi Mumma, and it can be a tough sell to the private industry handing over the information that helps in the research. "You don't want to penalize the hand that's giving you the data."

Companies that have signed a Game Commission cooperation agreement must foot the bill for the commission's pre-construction reconnaissance and post-construction monitoring. The cost of the process varies, but the research can last several months and involve extensive habitat monitoring.

Under the agreement, each site conducts two years of mortality monitoring, sending a lucky employee out every day from April to November to comb the six meters around each turbine for carcasses. The employees are tested to see "how good they are at finding dead things," said Ms. Librandi Mumma.

"We got a dead snake once, because it was on the road and they were just collecting everything dead," she said. "It wasn't because the wind turbine killed it. The guy was just being thorough."

Some retrievers aren't so good. "The average person finds 30 percent of the carcasses that are under a turbine," said Ms. Librandi Mumma, so the commission has come up with an algorithm that accounts for the missing bodies.

Agents will leave a carcass on the ground and note how long it takes to disappear -- this provides some insight on how many carcasses are unaccounted for because of living animals that have a taste for decomposing flesh.

Some wind companies with Pennsylvania operations have already seen seven-figure expenses on account of the bat problem.

NextEra Energy Resources, which operates the Somerset wind farms visible from the Pennsylvania Turnpike, has five active sites in Pennsylvania but did not participate in the Game Commission study.

The company monitors its mortality rates in house and funds outside research to reduce bird and bat deaths at its sites, said Skelly Holmbeck, environmental business manager at the Juno Beach, Fla.-based firm.

The funding program involving nine different research facilities is "in the millions overall," she said.

Migratory research that precedes any construction can employ bird watchers, nets or tape recorders designed to read the local ecosystem.

PPL Renewable Energy LLC of Allentown had planned on installing four turbines at its Lancaster County wind farm, but went with only two after sensitive avian populations were found nearby.

"There were design aspects that we elected not to use," said spokeswoman Mimi Mylin. "Some construction sites use lattice towers, but those can become roosting sites" for birds.

It's not just bats that are dying around wind turbines. An estimated 1,680 birds were killed by turbines last year, according to the state Game Commission report.

The disparity in mortality stems from biology. Birds typically crash into the blade and die from blunt force trauma, while bats suffer from a condition called barotrauma. It's the bat equivalent of the "bends" that scuba divers can suffer if they surface too quickly. The rapid drop in air pressure around the blades causes the bats' lungs to burst, and they collapse with no ostensible lacerations or scars on the body. "They just look like they're sleeping," said Ms. Librandi Mumma.

Bats must fly very close to the blades for their lungs to burst, and some researchers say the lights around the turbines might attract insects, which in turn attract bats.

Barotrauma in bats was only discovered in 2008, when a Canadian biologist thought to dissect one of the unblemished carcasses turning up at wind farms across North America. "It was an 'a-ha' moment," said Ms. Librandi Mumma.

The turbine problem has yielded some other, unexpected contributions to bat research. One carcass hunter in central Pennsylvania found a Seminole bat felled by barotrauma under the blades. Seminole bats live in the southeastern United States and rarely show up in Pennsylvania. "It's like a double-edged sword," said Ms. Librandi Mumma. "You're excited because it's a new bat, but it's a dead one."

The Seminole specimen was kept on dry ice in a small styrofoam container by a commission employee and handed over to Suzanne McLaren, the collection manager at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History's research center in East Liberty. They met in the Ligonier Diamond town square -- home to a postcard-perfect gazebo and lots of sunlight -- for the transfer.

The bat, which may have traveled here from as far as Florida, found its final resting place in a freezer in East Liberty.


Electric vehicles debunked by electric utility researchers

A new report from the Electric Power Research Institute exposes EVs as pointless even under the rosiest scenario.

First, assuming that 35 million EVs are sold by 2030, EPRI estimates that gasoline savings would amount to 7 billion gallons annually. But in 2010, Americans burned 378 million gallons of gas per day. So the 2030 EV gasoline savings amount to a mere 5 percent of 2010 usage. Giving growing world demand for gasoline, a growing US population and (hopefully) a growing US economy, this projected “savings” would likely be meaningless.

Next, the 35 million vehicle-sold scenario is estimated to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 90 million tons annually by 2030 — i.e., about 1.2 percent of current U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and about 0.003 percent of current global emissions. So greenhouse gas-wise, EV’s are a trivial pursuit.

Of course, selling 35 million EVs is somewhat of a fantasy to start with as only several thousand EVs have been sold this year at great taxpayer expense. So actual gasoline and CO2 savings are likely to be even less impressive.

EPRI probably didn’t intend to debunk EVs as it is the research arm of the electric power industry, which is understandably salivating at the prospect of the EV boondoggle. So we can safely assume that the facts presented in EPRI’s report put EVs in the best light possible — and they still don’t make sense.

Don’t forget that with the current $7,500 per vehicle tax credit, all this failure would only cost taxpayers $260 billion!


The Global Warming Hoax: How Soon We Forget

Nobody has ever offered a more succinct indictment of the global warming hoax than H. L. Mencken, who said: "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."

While Americans are rightfully focused on the unemployment situation and the debt limit negotiations, we've pretty much forgotten about global warming as an issue ever since Obama failed to pass his Cap & Trade bill. As a result, we're becoming complacent once again about the huge threat we face from the progressives' attempts to control the world's energy industry based on the greatest scientific hoax in human history. In reality, however, nothing's changed, as Obama is still imposing his will on us through the EPA's regulation of CO2.

This hoax still threatens our economy, while advancing the UN's "Agenda 21" in more ways than one. It's also the foundation of Obama's "green jobs" approach to the unemployment issue, since the very concept of "green jobs" is just as bogus as the idea of a "carbon footprint."

With Fox anchors and conservative bloggers arguing that those "green" jobs are simply far too few to fuel a strong recovery, the fact that they're based on junk science, and aren't economically viable on their own, gets little if any mention.

The truth is that CO2 is a beneficial trace gas that exists in such small quantities in our atmosphere, that the idea of it playing any significant role in determining our climate is simply silly. CO2 comprises less than half of 0.1% of our atmosphere, and only 4% of it comes from human activity. That's 16ppm, or 1 part in every 62,500 parts of our atmosphere. CO2 is plant food, and a key component in all life on earth. Plants need CO2 to grow and produce oxygen. They feed animals (including ourselves). Animals in turn consume oxygen and plant-based foods, and exhale CO2. Without CO2, nothing could be green! This brief video showing the effect on plants of increasing atmospheric CO2 is quite striking.

Ironically, the audacity of their lies about CO2 are overshadowed by the most obvious part of the Hoax. The fact is that warming is good! Throughout history, man, as well as all other living creatures, has thrived during the earth's warm periods, and suffered and starved during the cold ones, a lesson that we're about to be reminded of in the coming years.

The Roman civilization arose when the earth was much warmer than it's been recently. And it's no coincidence that just as the earth was entering the 400-year-long "Little Ice Age," the Roman Empire was overrun by the Huns. The Egyptians also built the pyramids when it was much warmer than today, and the beginning of the industrial revolution coincided with the end of the Little Ice Age. If global warming is such a problem, doesn't it seem odd that mankind has always flourished during the earth's warmest periods?

And if increases in atmospheric CO2 are the primary cause of warming, why, from the 1940's through the mid 1970's, was the earth cooling when increases in our use of fossil fuels were at their greatest?

And why is it that Mars and Jupiter, and Neptune's moon Titan, have all followed the exact same warming and cooling cycles as the earth during the 20th century? Does anyone think that our SUVs and power plants are causing the same climate change on other planets and moons in our solar system, or is it more likely that the changes there were caused by the fact that we're all in the same solar system? I.e., "It's the sun, stupid!"

To me, the most worrisome aspect of this problem is that we simply aren't debating this issue properly.

In 1974, in an article in Time Magazine entitled "Another Ice Age?," the same alarmists suggested that the (then-)coming ice age was being caused in part by the same vehicular emissions that they're now blaming for global warming.
Man, too, may be somewhat responsible for the cooling trend. The University of Wisconsin's Reid A. Bryson and other climatologists suggest that dust and other particles released into the atmosphere as a result of farming and fuel burning may be blocking more and more sunlight from reaching and heating the surface of the earth.

But then it stopped cooling and started warming again. This has been happening throughout history

Now, since the warming stopped 12 years ago, the alarmists are finally beginning to admit that the earth has started cooling again. And what are they telling us is the reason why? In what's got to be one of the most mind-boggling displays of chutzpah ever seen, they're actually saying that the reason that it hasn't been warming for the last 12 years is that China and India are now burning such a massive amount of coal, that it blocks the sun's rays from reaching the earth and warming it. That's right! Our use of fossil fuels is warming the earth, while China's is cooling it?

How stupid and gullible do they think we are? Australia just announced that they're going ahead with a carbon tax on their power companies, rather than a Cap & Trade system. But no matter what they call it, they're still fleecing the same victims, the people, who'll be paying this new tax in the form of higher utility bills, and higher prices on everything they buy. And while this insanity unfolds, we're still paying lip service to this absurd lie by continuing to make reference to the virtues of reducing our "carbon footprint." Every time we hear that preposterous phrase, we should laugh at it, and then explain why we find it so funny if anyone asks. Years of constant repetition is what sold the lie in the first place. It may take years of constant repetition of the truth to counter it.

Our primary argument against Cap & Trade and the EPA's CO2 regulations has been that they would be bad for the economy. Of course they would be, but by attacking them on those grounds, we're granting our sanction to the underlying premise -- that CO2 is dangerous. But it's not. And there never were any benefits to be had from Cap & Trade, regardless of its cost.

There are millions of smart people out there who have been bombarded with this global warming nonsense for so long that they've actually come to believe it. The old adage that if you tell a lie often enough it becomes the truth happens to be true, especially when the people don't get to hear other points of view, something our mainstream media has made sure of over the last few decades.

But even though people are slowly growing skeptical about it, and turning away from the mainstream media, we can't afford to let our guard down about this scam. And we'll never truly defeat it for good by arguing against it based on the enormous costs involved. Whether it's global warming, or global cooling, or ocean acidification, we need to denounce this madness as the outrageous lie that it is, if we're ever going to defeat this hydra in all of its various guises.


Brainwashed kids

Sad to see them being introduced to so many dumb ideas -- such as spending many hours pulling out weeds instead of using pesticides. Weeds are not killed by pesticides anyhow. Pesticides kill bugs and killing them by hand would be a tall order

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez describes himself as an environmental activist. He's appealed to the Boulder City Council, spoken at global warming rallies and campaigned for President Barack Obama.

In his free time, he enjoys being in nature, swinging on rope tires, having sword fights and playing with Legos. This year he will be entering his fifth year at Crest View Elementary School, since Xiuhtezcatl is only 11 years old.

He started activism when he was 6, after viewing the environmental documentary "The 11th Hour." As a lover of animals, Xiuhtezcatl said he became concerned with polar bears and tigers, and felt he was being called to help.

"The state of the planet is really intense -- forests are disappearing, mass extinction of animals, pine beetles are dying due to warmer winters," he said. "We have to snap out of it."

Xiuhtezcatl is a member of the Boulder-based organization Earth Guardians, a youth group centered on environmental activism.

Tamara Roske, 47, Xiuhtezcatl's mother, started Earth Guardians in 1993. At the time, she was living in Maui and noticed several environmental problems plaguing the Hawaiian island -- such as sugar cane burning and endangered species increasing -- and felt like something needed to be done.

Four years later she brought the organization to Boulder.

Roske's said her generation is concerned with having more and making more, and they weren't taught to respect Earth. Her goal now is to show children the state of the planet they are inheriting.

"They hear their parents talking about it, but they're not given an outlet to express that concern they have," Roske said. "It's amazing to see the impact that these kids can have."

The guardians have fans in high places, like Boulder Mayor Susan Osborne, who's been a supporter ever since she saw them at a City Council meeting two years ago.

"When they come to speak at council, they pretty much always get what they want because they're so articulate and thoughtful," Osborne said.

Amaya Baccellieri, 12, an Earth Guardian member for two years, said the youth has a big voice. But she thinks that adults listen to children partly because of their charm. "First of all, it's the cute factor," Baccellieri said. "Then they realize if kids are talking about it, it's important."

The Guardians have assembled on a number of topics, including closing coal operations at the Valmont Power Plant and also filing a lawsuit against the State of Colorado for contributing to global warming by polluting the atmosphere. The active problem-solving is one of the qualities Osborne admires about the group.

Last summer, the Guardians appealed to the City Council for city workers to stop spraying pesticides in community parks. The council listened to the concerns and terminated use of the chemicals. But the Guardians went a step further and adopted Foothills Community Park to "walk the talk," as Xiuhtezcatl puts it. The group maintains the upkeep of the park by pulling weeds and showing that pesticides are not necessary.

It's refreshing for Osborne to see a group step up and fix a problem.

"I love their energy," she said. "It's not just talking and complaining, which we get a lot of. It's raising issues and actively solving the problems."

But not all the youth have been treated with such understanding. Alex Budd, 18, has been involved in activism since he was 13, when he participated in Al Gore's climate project to spread environmental awareness.

He said that, over the years, he's received a lot of negative feedback and feels as though he's running up against a wall.

"I'm still young enough to be called naive," Budd said. "We call it passionate, but people see it as being manipulated."

Roske, as the founder and mother to some of the Earth Guardians, said she's never been accused of swaying the kids.

She said this is because she allows the children to choose the issues important to them, stays behind the scenes and only gives help when needed.

"The kids just do it, and I support them," Roske said. "I help to empower them to find their own voices."

But Roske knows the importance of letting the kids be kids, and she keeps it fun by hosting movies nights and sleepovers. She also encourages the children to incorporate their hobbies into activism, such as her 7-year-old son, Itzcuauhtli, who loves to rap about environmental change.

For most of the Earth Guardians, educating the future generation is their mission. They've presented to several schools and are building a multimedia tool kit for those wanting to get involved.

Budd said he wants to give kids a choice to be active or not by letting them know the issues.

As for Xiuhtezcatl, before he got involved, he said he was having a good time being a kid and wasn't concerned. After he learned about the environmental problems, he chose activism.

"I'm glad when I have kids," Xiuhtezcatl said, "I can tell them I didn't just sit around and do nothing."


Eight million animals face death to test your toothpaste and washing-up liquid

But don't blame the manufacturers, it's all down to "environmental" testing mandated by Europe

Clad in her customary white coat, the scientist carefully pulls the latex gloves up over her wrists and walks slowly towards the cage. Reaching in, she seizes one of the rabbits, cowering near the back and clamps it into a testing harness.

Taking it over to a sanitised laboratory bench, Dr Tamsin Decker supervises as solution is squirted into the defenceless animal’s eyes. She has done this many times before — and will watch as it’s done again until the rabbit shows some side-effects: pain, irritation, bleeding perhaps, and eventually, possibly, blindness.

For what cause must the animal endure such a wretched, tortured existence? Once upon a time, Dr Decker would have imagined it was to find a cure for cancer, or, at the very least, to test a compound which would relieve suffering.

But now the young woman knows that she is verifying the safety of a chemical contained in toothpaste — a well-established brand leader that she had used to brush her teeth that very morning.

‘I felt numb — no, guilty,’ she admits afterwards. ‘It isn’t as if the end justified the means. We weren’t researching some cancer cure here. We were testing a well-known chemical that has been used in household products for more than 100 years.’

On other days, Dr Decker might be required to inject mice, birds or rats with toxins to see how long it takes them to die, or to record what happens to their foetuses.

Contrary to popular belief, scientific testing on animals is not a thing of the past, nor is it in decline. Figures released by the Home Office last week show that 3.7 million ‘procedures’ involving individual animals were carried out in 2010 — a million more than in 2000.

And evidence is emerging that large numbers of animals are dying needlessly, simply because of a new directive from Brussels which demands that 30,000 chemicals are tested.

The project, entitled the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical substances — or REACH — has at its heart a noble desire to safeguard the environment and limit our exposure to hazardous substances.

But, as a Daily Mail investigation has uncovered, many of these chemicals are already found in household products which we have been using for generations — brands such as Colgate toothpaste, Ajax cleaner, Gillette shaving foam and Fairy washing-up liquid.

Yet, as a consequence of the European Commission diktat, animal welfare groups claim that millions of creatures will die needlessly to test chemicals in products which have already been deemed safe.

Not only that, the European regulations are so far-reaching that it is slowly becoming impossible for consumers to buy ‘ethical’ products whose ingredients have not been tested on animals.

‘I’m from the generation that was determined to do as little harm as we could to animals, and we have come a long way in finding alternative testing methods,’ says Dr Decker. ‘But for some tests you can only use animals — and many of us think that we shouldn’t be using them to test chemicals that we already feel are safe.’

Decker is not her real name, and we cannot disclose exactly what she was testing for fear of identifying her employers. In addition, scientists are being gagged by their employers, who don’t want to be seen to be complaining about REACH in case it makes them look unwilling to do their bit for the environment.

REACH was launched in 2007 and required companies to produce dossiers on all the chemicals in the products that they manufactured, including evidence of their safety — no matter how long they had been in production. The more of the chemical they produced, the more detailed the evidence required.

After lobbying from animal welfare groups such as the RSPCA, which predicted wholesale destruction of animals, companies were encouraged to share information to prevent unnecessary testing, and to find alternatives to animal testing wherever possible.

Earlier this month, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), which oversees the REACH project, published its first progress report which said that of almost 25,000 dossiers that had been submitted by companies on chemicals that they used, ‘only’ 1,849 had involved new animal test results.

Geert Dancet, the ECHA’s executive director, argued that this was good news. ‘This report clearly shows that companies have shared data or made extensive use of alternative [testing] methods available so as to avoid the need to test chemicals on animals, which is positive,’ he said.

However, when animal welfare scientists trawled through the long and minutely-detailed report, they came to the conclusion that even though only a small proportion of the data on chemicals had been garnered from animal testing, no fewer than 87 per cent of the animals in those tests had died.

Assuming internationally accepted models for animal studies had been observed, the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) claims this amounts to more than 231,000 pointless deaths. ‘It is a completely unnecessary waste of life,’ says Dr Katy Taylor, BUAV’s senior scientific adviser.

Among these ‘unnecessary’ tests were 188 studies on eye irritation carried out on rabbits; 336 skin sensitisation studies on guinea pigs or mice; 254 short-term toxicity tests on fish; and 33 genetic toxicity tests on mice. The number of animals in each study is thought to range from one to 500.

Dr Taylor argues that instead of testing animals to destruction, there are computer models that can predict reactions, while chemicals can be tested on cell cultures and artificially grown skin in the lab.

Under REACH, where companies do need to test on animals, they must first announce their intentions to the European Chemicals Agency to see if any other company or academic centre has already carried out such tests. If no one has, then they are given a licence to test.

So, does this mean that you are buying products with ingredients that have been freshly tested on animals? Probably, yes. I looked at just eight chemicals that had been tested on animals under REACH, and they led to some nasty surprises.

Even though animal testing on cosmetics was banned in the UK in 1997 and across Europe in 2009, I found that Colgate toothpaste and Gillette shaving foam contained ingredients that were tested on animals only recently. This is no poor reflection on these companies, as they may have played no direct part in the testing.

In Colgate’s case, calcium carbonate — a substance used for hundreds of years and found naturally in rocks, eggshells and pearls — had to be tested under REACH. In the case of Gillette, the substance was triethanolamine, a compound used for generations in household cleaners, polishers, paints, inks and detergents.

Again, this doesn’t mean that Gillette commissioned testing on the substance. It just raises questions over why the new testing on animals was necessary at all.

I also found recently tested ingredients in Persil 2in1 With Comfort (triethanolamine); Ajax cleanser with bleach (pentasodium triphosphate and calcium carbonate); Turtle Wax leather cleaner & conditioner (triethanolamine); and Fairy Liquid Green Apple & Lime Blossom (geraniol, a fragrance).

So I asked Wim De Coen, head of unit evaluation at the European Chemicals Agency, why animals are dying to test such apparently commonplace and harmless ingredients. ‘REACH comes historically from the realisation that substances were on the European market that consumers and the environment were exposed to daily, but very little information was known about them,’ he told me. ‘The intention is to protect consumers and the environment from these substances. So manufacturers and importers must now demonstrate their safety.’

Asked whether he understands the frustration felt by some scientists over testing ingredients already agreed to be ‘safe’, he says: ‘If you look at it from a lab or single company’s point of view, to their way of thinking it may be frustrating, but to the broader benefit of all of us there is much to be gained by collecting the information. Animal testing is the last resort.’

I asked Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Colgate and the Turtle Wax Corporations, manufacturers of the affected items, how they felt about their ingredients being tested under REACH.

Only Procter & Gamble replied, saying it tests on animals only where required to by law and when all other options have been exhausted. Diplomatically, it pointed out that it has spent £275 million developing alternatives to animal testing, but it didn’t address my direct questioning about the frustrations of animal testing under REACH.

However, I was able to gain an insight into how the chemical companies view the legislation through the eyes of a scientific consultant who advises them on how to comply with it. Fearful of speaking out openly against the European Chemicals Agency, he refused to be named, but branded REACH ‘an expensive nuisance’.

‘Companies have been producing some products for more than 50 years without any harmful side-effects, and then they have to provide data under REACH,’ my source told me. ‘My clients don’t want to carry out these tests on animals, but they have no choice. They are time-consuming and they can be staggeringly expensive — as much as one million euros over two or three years. It’s a huge responsibility that’s been put on the shoulders of the chemical industry.’ As a result of REACH the animal death toll figure could rise to 50 million

According to Andrew Butler, founder of Lush, the ethical cosmetics company, it is a responsibility that is spilling over into the retail sector and undermining the founding principles of his business. ‘Since our inception, it has been our aim that none of our customers’ money goes to any company involved in any animal testing whatsoever,’ he tells me.

‘Thanks to REACH, it’s impossible to buy ingredients from anyone who hasn’t been involved in animal testing. Every manufacturer is being forced into a position where they are having to pay directly or indirectly for those tests.

‘We have to rethink our policy and come up with a way of campaigning against animal testing in the light of REACH. But it isn’t going to be easy.’

No one is denying that the aims of REACH are admirable, and that it could provide a vital resource in safeguarding the environment and the health of all Europeans. At present, however, it is the health of millions of animals that is exercising campaigners.

‘We want chemicals that are safe for people and our environment, just like everyone else, but animal tests are not required to achieve this goal,’ says Alistair Currie, policy adviser at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). ‘There are lots of ways that companies can avoid using animals: the scandal is that those testing alternatives aren’t being used.

‘Fine words in the legislation about using animals as a last resort are meaningless if companies ignore them. Unless companies are compelled to exploit every opportunity to use alternatives to animal testing, there will be millions of completely avoidable deaths in the future.’

Millions? Surely that’s an exaggeration. Sadly, no. The RSPCA, a calm head in the middle of a heated debate, told me this week that its experts predict an animal death toll of around eight million as a result of REACH. And when unborn foetuses carried by those animals are taken into account, that figure could rise to 50 million.

As Dr Decker says: ‘You might understand it if there was a cure for cancer at the end of all the suffering. There won’t be — but at least you’ll be safe in the knowledge that your Fairy Liquid won’t do you any harm.’ But perhaps your grandmother could have told you that.



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


Friday, July 29, 2011

Nature editorial hits IPCC hard: 'It's time for the influential body to uphold its own neutrality standards'

An editorial by Greenie heretic Mark Lynas published in the August 2011 edition of Nature Climate Change is highly critical of the IPCC's use of non-peer-reviewed "grey" literature [such as propaganda from Greenpeace] and that "a Greenpeace campaigner was put in charge of reviewing and highlighting his own work within Working Group III..." leading to the embarrassing and widely debunked claim that 80% of the world's energy could be supplied by renewable energy by 2050.

A second editorial in the same issue states regarding this same conflict of interest, "For a body that represents the state of understanding on one of the most complex and important issues of our time, repeating previously acknowledged mistakes is completely unacceptable."

That such a Green organ as "Nature" has become a platform for Mark Lynas is undoubtedly a big retreat.

The full article is paywall protected but a graphic of the first article below gives you an idea of it.

SOURCE (Edited)

Polar bear scare appears to have been a fraud

A FEDERAL wildlife biologist whose observation that polar bears likely drowned in the Arctic, which helped galvanise the global warming movement seven years ago, has been placed on administrative leave as officials investigate scientific misconduct allegations.

Although it wasn't clear what the exact allegations are, a government watchdog group representing Anchorage-based scientist Charles Monnett said investigators have focused on his 2004 journal article about the bears that garnered worldwide attention.

The group, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, filed a complaint on Mr Monnett's behalf on Thursday with the agency, the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement. BOEMRE told Mr Monnett on July 18 that he was being put on leave, pending an investigation into "integrity issues".

The investigator has not yet told him of the specific charges or questions related to the scientific integrity of his work, said Jeff Ruch, the watchdog group's executive director. A BOEMRE spokeswoman acknowledged there was an "ongoing internal investigation" but declined to get into specifics.

The complaint seeks Mr Monnett's reinstatement and a public apology from the agency and inspector general, whose office is conducting the probe. The group's filing also seeks to have the investigation dropped or to have the charges specified and the matter carried out quickly and fairly, as the Obama policy states.

Mr Monnett, who has coordinated much of BOEMRE's research on Arctic wildlife and ecology, has duties that include managing about $US50 million worth of studies, according to the complaint. The agency spokeswoman said other agency scientists would manage the studies in Mr Monnett's absence.

According to documents provided by Ruch's group, which sat in on investigators interviews with Mr Monnett, the questioning focused on observations that Monnett and fellow researcher Jeffrey Gleason made in 2004.


Deeds speak louder than words: Finland and Russia to modernise their icebreaker fleets

After last winter in the Baltic you can understand why:
More than 60 vessels stuck in ice in Gulf of Finland

"The Baltic Sea currently has the most extensive ice cover that it has seen in 24 years. On Thursday, 310,000 square kilometres of the sea were covered in ice, and the area is growing.
After the severe winter of 1987, the ice cover in the Baltic was nearly 400,000 square kilometres wide, which in practical terms means that the entire surface of the Baltic was effectively covered in ice. The entire sea has been completely frozen over just 20 times since 1720."

The global warming alarmists do not seem to have convinced the Finnish and Russian governments about ever warming winters. Finland´s new government has decided to modernise its icebreaker fleet:
The programme of the new government contains a pledge to undertake replacement of outdated icebreakers. One matter under consideration is who will own the vessels. The present fleet is owned by Arctia Shipping, a state-owned company.

Finland has five traditional-type icebreakers and three multi-purpose icebreakers. The oldest is the Voima that has been in service since 1954. The most powerful icebreakers, the Urho and Sisu have been in service for 35 years and the most recent traditional icebreaker has seen 25 years of service.

The three multi-purpose icebreakers were constructed in the 1990s.
According to Ilmari Aro, an expert on winter shipping at the Transport Ministry, the Voima is to be replaced during the term of the present government. Arctia Shipping's CEO Vauraste says that the rest of the fleet is to be replaced by around 2020. The lifetime of the vessels can be extended with investment in repairs and maintenance.

A new traditional icebreaker carries a price tag of around 100 million euros. Multi-purpose icebreakers are a bit more expensive.
Icebreakers and their services are important because of Finland's heavy reliance on maritime shipping for exports and imports. Estonia and Finland are the only countries in the world where all of the nation's ports freeze over in the winter

Neither is the Russian government trusting the warmists´ predictions:
“A very important decision was made in connection with the situation in the Gulf of Finland this winter, to build icebreakers. Currently all the fleet used to escort ships in the ice, except for two icebreakers, is obsolete. The new icebreakers to be ordered should be built to optimized projects”, stated A.Davydenko.

Both governments are, of course, basing their decisions to modernise the ice breaker fleets on the realities of the northern winter - not the climate scientists´ computers models. One must hope that the Finnish and Russian - as well as other - governments perform the same reality checks with regard to other areas involved in the global warming scam.


Obama's NASA is no longer about space

NASA stands for "The National Aeronautics and Space Administration". You would associate it with astronauts, perhaps pilots, space research, and the Universe. Some young readers may even be ignorant about those things but NASA brought the first men to the Moon and has done lots of other fascinating things. But look at this graph of funding from Nature:

Between 2011 and 2012, the astrophysics budget is expected to drop from $1.1 to $0.65 billion, i.e. by 40 percent. Astrophysics would become almost as small as heliophysics (physics of the Sun) which keeps its $0.6 billion.

Meanwhile, planetary sciences are proposed to grow by one or a few percent to $1.5 billion and the Earth science should only drop by less than 5 percent to $1.7 billion, preserving its dominant position.

Just think how completely insane these ratios are. NASA has always been about the space (well, at least from the times when airplanes became ordinary), about flying away from Mother Earth. However, among these 4 scientific disciplines, astrophysics only has less than 15 percent of the money and astrophysics plus heliophysics have something like 28 percent.

No wonder that the James Webb Space Telescope, Hubble's successor, is likely to die.

Meanwhile, the Earth science budget is meant to remain high, for no good reason. There are no projects that would be as important - and not even as well-known - as the James Webb Space Telescope. Still, the Earth science section is scheduled to get 3 times more money than astrophysics. The reasons are clearly ideological, not meritocratic.

Much of this money - $1.7 billion - is paid for the people to spread lies about "global warming" which are convenient to make the government bigger.

These numbers are even scarier if one looks at the evolution over longer periods of time. In 2008, the Earth science budget in NASA was $1.25. So it's meant to increase by 36 percent by 2012. Meanwhile, the astrophysics budget drops from $1.4 to $0.65 between 2008 and 2012.

The Earth_science/astrophysics budget ratio is scheduled to increase, between 2008 and 2012, by the factor (double ratio) of almost three! A factor of three added within three years is a pretty fast change: the (absolute) global mean temperature has increased by 0.2% in the last 100 years.

Would someone dare to claim that this tripling has nothing to do with the global warming hysteria? Would someone dare to claim that the typical people in NASA such as Gavin Schmidt are not affected by (relative) tripling of the money they're receiving? That they don't realize what they are actually being paid for? The likes of Gavin Schmidt get the tripling of the funds instead of life in prison that they deserve.

Needless to say, the tripling of NASA's Earth science budget relatively to NASA's astrophysics budget over 4 years has absolutely no conceivable rational explanation. It's all about the dislocation of resources and wasting of the U.S. taxpayer's money.

The House has its fingers in these nasty modifications of the structure of NASA's funding - and unsurprisingly, that's what Nature focuses upon. But Obama doesn't move a finger to stop this pernicious replacement of high-tech science and technology in NASA by low-brow ideological babbling, propaganda, lies, pseudoscience, and emotions.

These people actively work on the decomposition of the space research, astrophysics research, and cosmology research in the once famous country named America.

In 1966 when it was all about the space, NASA got 4.4 percent of the federal budget. This percentage dropped to 0.5 percent in recent years - by an order of magnitude. The massively high spending for the space research didn't prevent America from running budget surpluses throughout the 1950s and 1960s.


Climate Witchcraft and Post-Normal Science

By Norman Rogers

French philosophers invented deconstructionism and postmodernism, or the theory that nothing means what it says. Followers of these ideas are adept at finding hidden messages of capitalist oppression in the most unexpected places. A related ideological disturbance is post-normal science. Post-normal scientists favor relaxing scientific rigor in order to better pursue political goals. Those goals often involve a reorganization of society that will elevate the importance of scientists. Archimedes supposedly said, Give me a long enough lever and I can move the world. The post-normal scientists think that science is a lever that can be used to rule the world.

Certain important climate scientists are very eager to reorganize society. They proclaim, on weak evidence, that the Earth is doomed by global warming unless we follow a green plan to remake the economy and the social order. We have to give up cars for trolleys. Windmills will become ubiquitous. The most famous climate scientist, James Hansen, wants to put his opponents on trial for crimes against humanity.[i] Implicit in all this is the idea that a central committee of Dr. Strangeloves should rule the world. Instead of prince this and duke that, we will have doctor this and doctor that. These radical intellectuals secretly despise the present system of rule by the rabble, otherwise known as democracy.

Some intellectuals think that they don't get attention and status commensurate with their importance. This is especially true in America, where the cleaning lady or plumber is inclined to treat them as equals. One way to be important is to proclaim a theory that something very bad is going to happen. If the theory has some scientific basis and is backed by other prominent scientists, the claims will be credible.

A lot of this doomsday science, disguised as environmental concern, has been going around during the last 50 years. Global warming is just the latest example of ideologically motivated catastrophe theory. James Delingpole's book, Watermelons, describes the phenomenon in amusing detail. Like radical environmentalists, watermelons are green on the outside and red on the inside.

If it weren't for the prophecies of doom, climate science would be an obscure academic niche. Global warming has made everyone in the field rich, at least in academic currency if not dollars. The wealth has spread to other academic niches that have become more important in light of connections to climate. Global warming is a huge bonanza for the do-good environmental organization industry. Organizations like the Sierra Club or the Environmental Defense Fund[ii] need a perpetual stream of impending environmental disasters. When the public becomes bored with an impending disaster that never materializes, a new impending disaster must be found.

Climate science has embraced computer climate models as the tool it uses to compute the magnitude of the warming effect of CO2. The climate models are riddled with problems. Kevin Trenberth, a noted climate scientist and a prominent promoter of global warming alarmism, said this about the models: "none of the climate states in the models correspond even remotely to the current observed climate." The effect of CO2 is measured by a theoretical number called climate sensitivity. There are more than 20 climate modeling groups around the world. These groups each spend millions on programmers and supercomputers, searching for the value of climate sensitivity. They all get different answers, differing by a ratio of more than two to one. This failure of consensus would normally be considered a sign that the approach is not working. But if climate science can't make predictions of doom, it will cease to be important and funding will collapse. The climate science establishment had to relax the normal rules of science for its own survival and for the sake of its post-normal-science political goals.

The global warming establishment devised a solution. They decided to take the average of the various disagreeing models and claim that the average is closer to the truth than any of the models incorporated in the average. They call this a multi-model ensemble. The skeptic will ask if averaging together the results from more modeling groups makes the result better, why not spend a few billion dollars more and establish another 20 or 50 modeling groups to still better zero in on the truth? To read the justifications for multi-model ensembles is to enter a reality distortion field.

The climate models make predictions that cannot be tested because you would have to wait 50 or 100 years to see if the predictions are correct. The models are evaluated and calibrated by simulating the observed climate of the 20th century. The entirely unjustified assumption is made that if the models can match the 20th-century climate they must be working well and will be able to predict the future. This is known as backtesting. The problem with backtesting is that models may fit the historical data for the wrong reasons. If a model is complicated, with enough adjustable parameters, it may be capable of fitting almost anything. Many people have devised stock market models that work well when tested against history. If such models could predict the future movement of markets or pick winning stocks it would be far easier to make money in the stock market than it is.

The climate models have dozens of adjustable parameters. Inputs to the models, related to physical drivers of climate, are highly uncertain. For example, one input is aerosols or reflective particles injected into the air from smokestacks and natural sources. These have an effect on climate but the historical aerosol record is difficult to quantify. We don't know very accurately how much and what kind of aerosols there were year by year in the 20th century, and we don't know what the effect on the energy flows was. In order to model the 20th century, you must supply the model with a historical record of the effect of aerosols. Since this is poorly known you might be tempted to fabricate the historical record so as to make the model fit the 20th century better.[iii] This is either a clever strategy or circular reasoning. Climate scientists call this the inverse method of computing the effects of aerosols.[iv] Ocean heat storage provides another example of a necessary but poorly known aspect of climate models. Adjusting the internal model parameters related to this effect provides another lever for making a model fit the historical climate of the 20th century. The unfortunate result is that different climate models treat ocean heat storage quite differently, but the Earth has only one way of treating ocean heat storage.[v]

The International Panel on Climate Change, otherwise known as the IPCC, or perhaps as the Vatican of climate change, has an established procedure for making predictions using multi-model ensembles. Each of the modeling groups is instructed to fit or calibrate its model to the 20th century and then to run the model into the 21st century to get a prediction of the future. Each group is directed to use inputs as it deems appropriate for the 20th-century fitting.[vi] The modeling groups can independently adopt their own set of assumptions about the reality of the 20th-century climate. It's like the parallel Earths, in parallel universes, often seen in science fiction. There is only one Earth. There are no parallel universes.

The net result from these tricks is that fitting the models to the 20th century becomes an exercise in curve-fitting implemented by custom fudging with a different fudge recipe at each modeling laboratory. The result of this exercise in inventing historical data is illustrated by the figure below from the 2007 IPCC report.

The ensemble mean fits the observed temperature history[vii] very well, even taking dips when volcanos erupt and inject cooling aerosols. The only place where the fit fails is the early-20th-century warming from 1910 to 1940. The problem during that period is that there is nothing plausible to explain this early warming that is also consistent with the doctrine that CO2 is the only cause of the late-century warming. Most of the modelers assume that the early warming is due to a change in the sun's output, but they don't dare go too far with that because in general they have to minimize the effect of the sun and maximize the effect of CO2 to avoid giving comfort to the skeptic school that thinks climate is controlled mostly by the sun.

Multiple runs of the same model are included in the graph. Slightly different starting conditions are used for runs using the same model, so the results of different runs by the same model are not identical, and in fact exhibit considerable chaotic variation. The chaotic or random variations average out to a characteristic climate associated with that model, if enough runs from the same model are averaged. The interesting fact about the graph is that the 13 different models, averaged, give an excellent fit to the temperature history even though we know that the models disagree sharply on the effect of the rapidly rising CO2 in the second half of the 20th century.[viii]

The apparent good performance of the models in the graph is a consequence of stacking the deck by adjusting the assumptions about the Earth independently for each model. That adding more models to the mix makes the graph fit the observed climate better, as the IPCC claims, is an elementary result of curve fitting theory. If you use several different curve-fitting methods (e.g., different models) and the errors in the fits are random or uncorrelated, then the errors are reduced proportional to the square root of the number of fits averaged together. This has nothing to do with climate. It is a mathematical and statistical result. Of course all this is well-known to climate scientists.

Why would the IPCC use such an unscientific scheme for predicting the future climate? A better scheme comes easily to mind. Why not have a contest to pick the best model? The conditions of the test against the 20th-century observed climate should be set strictly so that inputs are the same for all models and non-physical or physically inconsistent assumptions internal to the models would be prohibited. Although this scheme would hardly be guaranteed to result in reliable predictions of the future climate, it would surely be sounder than the corrupt scheme currently used.

But, wait a minute. If one laboratory out of 20 was picked as having the best model, what would the reaction of the other 19 laboratories be? After all, one can assume that the other 19 labs have 19 times the political influence that the winning lab would have. Wouldn't the other labs be deeply worried that their funding would be cut or diverted to the winning lab? Suppose the winning lab was an American lab. Might the European labs suspect cheating or bias? Suppose a French lab won. What would the Americans think? Would the Congress support research at a French lab, at the expense of the American labs? Obviously, a climate model shootout would break the unity of the climate science establishment and is thus unthinkable.

Climate models are useful heuristic tools that help in understanding climate. Most of the work done in developing models is honest. But the models are not remotely good enough to make predictions about the future climate under the influence of CO2. The IPCC and its allies have created a bizarre scheme to force doomsday predictions out of the disagreeing models in order to pursue bureaucratic and political goals. The resultant predictions are looking very foolish in the face of 14 years of no general climate warming, and of no ocean warming since a reliable monitoring system was deployed in 2003.

President Eisenhower anticipated post-normal science in his 1961 farewell address when he warned that public policy could become the captive of the scientific-technological elite. We are accustomed to various special interest groups cooking the books to promote their interests in Washington. We don't expect the science establishment to be cooking the science, but that is what is happening. The arrogance and irresponsibility exhibited by the science establishment is quite amazing. It will take a while for the public to adjust to the idea that organized science is as corrupt as the trial lawyers or the teachers' union.


The usual Greenie unrealism in "model" of carbon tax effects

By economist Henry Ergas, writing from Australia

EARLIER this week, Wayne Swan said the results of updated Treasury modelling of the government's proposed carbon tax would not differ much from those already released.

If our Defence planners told us it didn't matter to their modelling whether our next war was with China or with Vanuatu, we would worry about the quality of their planning.

So it is not reassuring that increasing the starting carbon price by more than 10 per cent, closing the Hazelwood generator early, slashing the number of permits that can be purchased overseas, precluding the borrowing of permits from the future and using realistic assumptions about what other countries are doing would have little impact on the policy's estimated costs. That said, many adjustments that should be made will likely not be made. The modelling will therefore remain an exercise in the economics of nirvana: easily assumed, less easily attained. But even were significant adjustments made, there is a technical reason why the model's estimate of costs might change little.

That reason is a quirk in Treasury's modelling. Called the "marginal abatement cost curve" or MAC, it provides abatement like manna from heaven, that is, at no cost. But it is even better: for the more the price of bread rises, the more manna showers from the skies. Or in this case, the higher the permit price, the more abatement we get for free.

The mechanics of this device can be explained as follows. As the carbon price rises producers replace more emissions-intensive processes with less emissions-intensive alternatives. This typically involves some investment costs. For example, a firm might spend an additional $100 on scrubbers to reduce emissions. As the scrubbers must be paid for, the firm's costs and prices would rise, causing, among other things, changes in demand.

But here comes the interesting bit. As the carbon price rises, the MAC kicks in, and provides further reductions in emissions, but without requiring new investment. And the higher the permit price, the more of those reductions it generates. It is as if the scrubber, without needing to be replaced, suddenly eliminated more emissions simply because the carbon price had increased.

And the savings generated by the MAC are not trivial. Indeed, thanks to a parameter in the model, in principle up to 90 per cent of emissions affected by the MAC could be eliminated at no cost. In practice, the reductions are unlikely to approach that ceiling. In the modelling for Australia, for example, the MAC does not apply to some sectors that are large emitters of carbon. But it does apply to other important activities, including mining.

And because the quantity of free emissions reductions increases as the carbon price rises, the model reduces the estimated cost of toughening the policy, as the government has done by (for instance) limiting purchases of permits from overseas.

How can such a mechanism be justified? The best gloss that can be put on it is that higher carbon prices would induce emissions-savings innovation beyond that assumed in the base case. And that could indeed happen. But if that is what the MAC is assumed to be doing, there are at least three problems with the way it does it.

First, induced innovation is highly uncertain and involves long delays: there can be many years between a price change and the successful technical advances it has encouraged. And even once innovations are available, their spread is typically slow. But the modelling assumes a virtually immediate and predictable response.

Second, once emissions are substantially reduced, finding innovations that can reduce them further becomes ever more difficult. But in Treasury's MAC curve, the opposite occurs.

Third and last, the best things in life may be free, but new technologies are not. Innovations are costly and must be paid for. Indeed, it is the prospect of reaping those rewards that ensures innovations occur. That Treasury, of all places, would instead assume a free lunch is truly remarkable.

How big is the resulting error? Without access to the model, no one can tell. It is therefore not surprising that the government refuses to disclose it. But this refusal hardly flatters Treasury's hard work and the millions of taxpayer dollars spent on the model. Has Swan so little confidence in his department that he cannot face the risk of criticism?

Nor is that refusal consistent with a loudly proclaimed commitment to science. For science grows by disclosure and refutation, not secrecy and manipulation.

And it is even less consistent with the pledge of openness on which Labor was elected. But few governments have shown as flexible an attitude to the relationship between principles and practice as that of Julia Gillard. It professes a belief in informed argument but works on the basis that what others don't know can't hurt it. Little wonder it is reduced to selling its policies like bars of soap. And its credibility lies in tatters. A modest step it could take to restore confidence would be to release the Treasury model. Until that is done, Swan's assurances will be little more than wasteful emissions of carbon dioxide.



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


Thursday, July 28, 2011

New NASA Data Blow Gaping Hole In Global Warming Alarmism

NASA satellite data from the years 2000 through 2011 show the Earth’s atmosphere is allowing far more heat to be released into space than alarmist computer models have predicted, reports a new study in the peer-reviewed science journal Remote Sensing. The study indicates far less future global warming will occur than United Nations computer models have predicted, and supports prior studies indicating increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide trap far less heat than alarmists have claimed.

Study co-author Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and U.S. Science Team Leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite, reports that real-world data from NASA’s Terra satellite contradict multiple assumptions fed into alarmist computer models.

“The satellite observations suggest there is much more energy lost to space during and after warming than the climate models show,” Spencer said in a July 26 University of Alabama press release. “There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans.”

In addition to finding that far less heat is being trapped than alarmist computer models have predicted, the NASA satellite data show the atmosphere begins shedding heat into space long before United Nations computer models predicted.

The new findings are extremely important and should dramatically alter the global warming debate.

Scientists on all sides of the global warming debate are in general agreement about how much heat is being directly trapped by human emissions of carbon dioxide (the answer is “not much”). However, the single most important issue in the global warming debate is whether carbon dioxide emissions will indirectly trap far more heat by causing large increases in atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds. Alarmist computer models assume human carbon dioxide emissions indirectly cause substantial increases in atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds (each of which are very effective at trapping heat), but real-world data have long shown that carbon dioxide emissions are not causing as much atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds as the alarmist computer models have predicted.

The new NASA Terra satellite data are consistent with long-term NOAA and NASA data indicating atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds are not increasing in the manner predicted by alarmist computer models. The Terra satellite data also support data collected by NASA’s ERBS satellite showing far more longwave radiation (and thus, heat) escaped into space between 1985 and 1999 than alarmist computer models had predicted. Together, the NASA ERBS and Terra satellite data show that for 25 years and counting, carbon dioxide emissions have directly and indirectly trapped far less heat than alarmist computer models have predicted.

In short, the central premise of alarmist global warming theory is that carbon dioxide emissions should be directly and indirectly trapping a certain amount of heat in the earth’s atmosphere and preventing it from escaping into space. Real-world measurements, however, show far less heat is being trapped in the earth’s atmosphere than the alarmist computer models predict, and far more heat is escaping into space than the alarmist computer models predict.

When objective NASA satellite data, reported in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, show a “huge discrepancy” between alarmist climate models and real-world facts, climate scientists, the media and our elected officials would be wise to take notice. Whether or not they do so will tell us a great deal about how honest the purveyors of global warming alarmism truly are.


More Warmist lies: Sea Level Rising 11mm Per Year In LA!

When saving the planet, you just have to make up all kinds of facts.
A new report says that by the mid point of this decade sea level will be a foot and a half higher. That, in our view, could be devastating to the way-too-close-to-the-beach development in Malibu and to other parts of the L.A. County coastline, like Marina Del Rey and the low-lying community of Venice. (Think of those winter-storm days with high tides, big waves and another foot or so of water level).

But that’s not the half of it. The Natural Resources Defense Council this week made some scary projections about the effects of global warming in L.A. in the coming years

Sea level in LA hasn’t risen for about 30 years. Amazing that LA Times reporters will swallow whatever lies they are fed by green groups.


The Coming Autopocalypse

The Obama administration's proposed CAFE rules declare a war on cars

The thinking behind the Obama administration’s proposed new fuel efficiency standards seems to be: What won’t kill the auto industry will make it stronger. But these standards are the regulatory equivalent of a bunker buster that will, in fact, decimate the industry.

In an effort to bring its global warming initiative back from the dead, the administration has announced that it wants automakers to raise the Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, of their fleets from the 34.2 miles per gallon that it mandated in 2009 (which the companies are still scrambling to meet) to 56.2 mpg by 2025. Not a single car—big or small, hybrid or non-hybrid—currently delivers this kind of mileage (with the exception of electrics). But CAFE backers are pooh-poohing industry claims that these standards are unattainable. “Virtually every major improvement in U.S. fuel economy and emissions over the last quarter of a century started as a stringent government standard that automakers ... initially insisted was impossible to meet,” harrumphed a recent Detroit Free Press editorial. “Then the same companies turned their engineers loose and met or exceeded the threshold.”

Did they? Not really. Rather, they unleashed armies of lobbyists on Washington to poke holes in the CAFE regime. For example, companies that don’t meet CAFE standards face fines. But the fines are so low that many luxury brands prefer to pay up rather than comply. Likewise, companies get CAFE credits, the auto equivalent of indulgences, for flex-fuel vehicles built with gasoline as well as ethanol tanks. Fitting them with both doesn’t add much to manufacturing cost, which is why carmakers happily churn them out even though everyone knows that few drivers ever use ethanol.

But to the extent that carmakers have complied with CAFE, it is less through radical innovation and more by simply slashing vehicle weight. In the 15 years after CAFE standards were first introduced in 1974, vehicle weight diminished by 23 percent. But every 100-pound weight reduction results in a 4.7 to 5.6 percent increase in the fatality rate. A 2002 National Academy of Sciences study concluded that CAFE's downsizing effect contributed to between 1,300 and 2,600 deaths in a single representative year, and to 10 times that many serious injuries.

Even ignoring this loss of life, the era of improving fuel economy by slashing vehicle weight is drawing to a close. Indeed, Sean McAlinden, chief economist at the Center for Automotive Research, notes that it is technologically impossible to squeeze anything beyond 45 mpg in fuel economy from current vehicles. That’s why Europe’s fuel economy has plateaued at that level, despite $8 per gallon gas. The 56-mpg-mandate will require a total, top-to-bottom overhaul of cars. Every part of a vehicle from its transmission to its engine would have to be replaced. “Even a vehicle’s screws and fasteners would have to be secured with epoxy glue,” McAlinden maintains.

Unless automakers once again manage to write massive loopholes into the proposed CAFE regime, the upshot will be similar to the fiasco created by the light bulb mandate that Congress recently tried unsuccessfully to repeal. The mandate required light bulbs to consume 25-30 percent less energy by 2012. But this effectively outlawed cheap incandescent bulbs while artificially boosting more expensive and annoying fluorescents, triggering a consumer revolt.

Likewise, the Obama CAFE standards will drive out pickups and other large vehicles, American automakers’ biggest profit makers, and usher in hybrids—their biggest money losers. That’s because pickups that are CAFE-compliant will be have to be constructed from aluminum or some equally light material, something that will bump their cost upwards of $80,000 per vehicle while rendering them useless for towing.

Meanwhile, even the Environmental Protection Agency admits that the market share made up by hybrids and electric plug-ins will have to touch 49 percent if the industry is to come anywhere near compliance. Given that these vehicles now occupy only 3 percent of the market despite hefty subsidies, it is a foregone conclusion that expanding their presence will mean massively expanding subsidies to them.

Taxpayers are going to be on the hook for more than just hybrids, however. Indeed, average vehicle prices will shoot through the roof, pricing many car buyers out of the market, shrinking the industry and jeopardizing millions of jobs. But if Washington could not resist showering taxpayer dollars on General Motors and Chrysler to prevent job losses now, it is unimaginable that it will sit back when the entire industry confronts a carmageddon. Indeed, the $100 billion that taxpayers have spent on the current bailout will look like chump change compared to what’s to come. This is making even the UAW nervous, causing it to join ranks with automakers to oppose the standards.

The administration’s proposal in one fell swoop manages to screw over taxpayers, drivers, car buyers and autoworkers. The least it can do is give lawmakers a chance to thoroughly weigh the tradeoffs on the country’s behalf. But the president is trying to impose the new standards through regulatory fiat without Congressional approval. No administration—blue or red—has ever done this before. This is tantamount to declaring war on autos without a formal declaration from Congress.

Someone needs to rein this president in.


‘I’m just quitting’: A scene right out of ‘Atlas Shrugged’ in Birmingham, Ala.

If it had been a scene in “Atlas Shrugged,” the guy would have disappeared into the secrecy of Colorado with a shadowy figure who we would later learn to be John Galt. In real life, the story will probably be more complex. But I wonder how long it’s going to be before businesspeople really do start walking away and deciding it’s not worth doing business in America today. Or it it already happening and we just don’t know it?

The man you see in the picture at the right is named Ronnie Bryant. He operates coal mines in Alabama. I’d never heard of him until this morning, but after what I saw and heard from him, I’d say he’s a bit like a southern version of Ellis Wyatt from Ayn Rand’s novel. What I saw made an impression on me.

I was at a public hearing in an inner-city Birmingham neighborhood for various government officials to get public input on some local environmental issues. There are several hot topics, but one of the highest-profile disputes is over a proposal for a coal mine near a river that serves as a source of drinking water for parts of the Birmingham metro area. Mine operators and state environmental officials say the mine can be operated without threatening the water supply. Environmentalists claim it will be a threat.

I’m not going to take sides on that environmental issue, because I don’t know enough to stake out an informed opinion. (With most of the people I listened to today, facts didn’t seem to matter as much as emotional implications.) But Ronnie Bryant wasn’t there to talk about that particular mine. As a mine operator in a nearby area, he was attending the meeting to listen to what residents and government officials were saying. He listened to close to two hours of people trashing companies of all types and blaming pollution for random cases of cancer in their families. Several speakers clearly believe that all of the cancer and other deaths they see in their families and communities must be caused by pollution. Why? Who knows? Maybe just because it makes for an emotional story to blame big bad business. It’s hard to say.

After Bryant listened to all of the business-bashing, he finally stood to speak. He sounded a little bit shellshocked, a little bit angry — and a lot frustrated.

My name’s Ronnie Bryant, and I’m a mine operator…. I’ve been issued a [state] permit in the recent past for [waste water] discharge, and after standing in this room today listening to the comments being made by the people…. [pause] Nearly every day without fail — I have a different perspective — men stream to these [mining] operations looking for work in Walker County. They can’t pay their mortgage. They can’t pay their car note. They can’t feed their families. They don’t have health insurance. And as I stand here today, I just … you know … what’s the use? I got a permit to open up an underground coal mine that would employ probably 125 people. They’d be paid wages from $50,000 to $150,000 a year. We would consume probably $50 million to $60 million in consumables a year, putting more men to work. And my only idea today is to go home. What’s the use? I don’t know. I mean, I see these guys — I see them with tears in their eyes — looking for work. And if there’s so much opposition to these guys making a living, I feel like there’s no need in me putting out the effort to provide work for them. So as I stood against the wall here today, basically what I’ve decided is not to open the mine. I’m just quitting. Thank you.

I have no idea what Bryant will actually do. He might have made a quick emotional decision based on anger at feeling blamed for things that are frequently just normal health issues of life. He might reconsider and go ahead with his project.

The only thing I’m sure of is that what I saw today is a broken process and a sham. We all want a decent environment in which to live, but when various people at a public meeting — including federal officials and community members — talk about “environmental justice” and make it clear that their intent is to make it harder for businesses to operate, well, I can see why a businessman would decide to quit. I consider myself an environmentalist — because I want to live in a safe, secure, clean world — but what I saw isn’t reasonable concern for the environment as much as it’s an ideological agenda.

We need reasonable people to talk about how to balance various people’s property rights. (You have the right to use your property as you please, but I have a right not to be injured by it.) Even though we need a discussion, the modern equivalent of a kangaroo court that I observed today isn’t the way to go about it. It was more like a prelude to a lynching of business. If I were a businessperson or investor, I wouldn’t put the money or effort into opening new industry in this country today. I’d take my investment and jobs to somewhere they were wanted.

As Ronnie Bryant asked, “What’s the use?” Maybe Atlas really is starting to shrug.


Australian radio host "investigated" for dismissing Warmism

THE Australian Communications and Media Authority is investigating a complaint about alleged inaccuracies in statements on climate change by broadcaster Alan Jones.

GetUp! had made a complaint, which it believed was not being pursued by the broadcasting regulator, but the Herald has learned ACMA is investigating the GetUp! complaint, and some others, concerning Mr Jones. If the complaint is upheld, Mr Jones may be asked to acknowledge the statement was wrong and promise not to repeat it.

The complaint says the 2GB broadcaster was wrong when he stated human beings produce only 0.001 per cent of carbon dioxide in the air.

Several climate scientists have insisted the claim is inaccurate, and the proportion of carbon dioxide in the air today for which human beings are responsible is closer to 28 per cent. They base this on the difference between the pre-industrial concentration of CO2 (about 280 parts per million) and the current concentration of about 390 parts per million. [But that does not prove any human effect. It is most likely ocean outgassing in RESPONSE to warming]

Climate commissioner and executive director of the ANU Climate Institute Will Steffen said another calculation was the amount of additional carbon, contained in carbon dioxide, that humans contributed to the atmosphere each year. "Every year the earth - land and ocean combined - takes a net five billion tonnes of carbon out of the atmosphere, but humans put around nine billion tonnes in, meaning we are accumulating an additional four billion tonnes of carbon in the atmosphere each year," he said.

Under the commercial broadcasting code of conduct, broadcasters are required to make reasonable efforts to ensure that factual material is accurate, and are given 30 days to make a correction after they receive an initial complaint.

GetUp! has also alleged Mr Jones contravenes another section of the code of conduct which requires broadcasters to give "reasonable opportunities" to "significant viewpoints" on "controversial issues of public importance".

An ACMA spokeswoman said the organisation did not comment on specific matters it might be investigating. ACMA usually provides a preliminary report to the broadcaster for comment before a final report is written. Investigations often take several months.

A spokesman for 2GB did not return calls yesterday but, speaking to the Mumbrella website this week, Mr Jones distinguished between being a journalist and being a broadcaster. "Much of my stuff is opinion … I am a broadcaster, I don't pretend to be a journalist, I don't know what that means anyway - they've got a certificate or something," he said.

"… if those opinions lack validity, or if those opinions are extreme, or if they are overly provocative, people won't listen, I've stood the test of time."


Australia: Greenie secretiveness

It seems to be in their DNA

THE Greens have been accused of hypocrisy for demanding a right to privacy while keeping their own party forums hidden behind a shroud of secrecy.

"Parties that talk about open government should practise open governance of their own," Scott Prasser, the executive director of the Public Policy Institute at the Australian Catholic University, said yesterday.

Unlike the major parties, the Greens bar the media from their conferences. They do not provide briefings on meetings of the parliamentary party.

News of the challenge to deputy leader Christine Milne after last year's election emerged only when it was reported in The Australian weeks later. "The practices followed by other parties should be followed by the Greens," Professor Prasser said. "If the Greens want to be a grown-up party, they've got to act in grown-up ways."

Greens leader Bob Brown has claimed his parliamentarians back greater openness. "The Greens' conferences are subject to the vote of the membership, who feel sometimes shy about speaking up," he said earlier this month.

"The Green MPs are all in favour of it but if ordinary members of the party vote to say we want to discuss some policy issues in private, that is up to them."

Professor Prasser said the other major parties had opened up their forums. He pointed to Labor's embarrassment in 1963 when it was claimed the party was run by an unaccountable executive of "36 faceless men".

Professor Prasser described the issue of openness as a test of Senator Brown's leadership. "He has set the scene for the Greens for so long," he said. "He shouldn't baulk at this new challenge."



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