Saturday, October 08, 2011

Another Solyndra? “Green jobs” factory sheds jobs after receiving $536.5 million in 2010

President Barack Obama’s “green jobs” initiatives suffered another major blow late Monday, as the nonprofit National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden, Colorado, announced a plan to lay off roughly 10 percent of its staff through a voluntary buy-out plan.

According to the Denver Post, the lab plans to eliminate between 100 and 150 of its 1,350 jobs. The Obama administration supported the NREL in 2009 with roughly $200 million in stimulus grants. Energy Secretary Stephen Chu visited Golden in May 2009 to promote the NREL as a beneficiary of those funds.

At the time, the Associated Press reported that the stimulus grants included $68 million to build a demonstration model of an energy-efficient office building; $19.2 million for solar, geothermal and fuel cell equipment; $10 million for testing and evaluation of wind technology; and $45 million to research and test drive-train systems for wind turbines.

The lab’s mission is to handle U.S. Department of Energy research and development programs.

NREL spokesman Bob Noun blames Congress for the organization’s failures. The Denver Post reports that he believes the gridlocked U.S. Congress forced the NREL to find $8 million in new budgetary savings. “We don’t see any budget scenario where the lab doesn’t face budget cuts,” Noun said. “We just want to be proactive in managing the budget so we continue our core mission.”

Amy Oliver of Colorado’s conservative Independence Institute said one way to look at these potential “green jobs” shortcomings is that the NREL is exaggerating its claims. Oliver told The Daily Caller that the government-funded lab has seen a surge in government funding in recent years. “Their funding for 2008 was $328 million,” Oliver said in a phone interview. “In 2010 it was $536.5 million. They’ve had a 64 percent increase in their funding during the Obama administration.”

Oliver acknowledges that the $8 million NREL projects in savings is a significant amount, and told TheDC she was impressed to learn that its leadership would even consider cutting their budget. But, she says, while the saved $8 million doesn’t represent a real budget cut, it’s a better outcome than more spending.

Oliver also suggested that the NREL layoffs may indicate another failure of the Obama administration’s “green jobs” agenda. Candidate Obama pledged in 2008 that he would add 5 million green jobs to the economy, but Republican lawmakers in Washington, D.C. now say the White House has stretched what it defines as a “green job” in order to pad its numbers.


La Nina Throws Cold Water on Global Warming

El Nino could become a permanent feature of the Equatorial Pacific Ocean. The warm waters of this never ending hot bath in the world’s largest water body would not only warm the entire earth dramatically, it would pump vast amounts of moisture into the air. This additional humidity would act as a positive feedback mechanism that would enhance the warming already being triggered by human burning of fossil fuels and in turn cause global warming to spin out of control. The melting of glaciers would accelerate and sea levels would rise much faster than predicted. The challenges of runaway warming would not be decades away but would be here now.

In 1997 Dr Russ Schnell, a scientist doing atmospheric research at Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii said "It appears that we have a very good case for suggesting that the El Ninos are going to become more frequent, and they're going to become more intense and in a few years, or a decade or so, we'll go into a permanent El Nino." He went on to say "So instead of having cool water periods for a year or two, we'll have El Nino upon El Nino, and that will become the norm. And you'll have an El Nino, that instead of lasting 18 months, lasts 18 years," The El Nino of 1997 was blamed for droughts in Australia and New Guinea, A delayed Monsoon in Southeast Asia leading to forest fires that brought choking smoke to human populations, Drought in South Africa and devastating storms on the west coast of South American from Chile to Mexico. Everything that went wrong with the weather was blamed on El Nino. The scary prospect of a permanent El Nino was going to greatly speed up global warming and we had better do something to stop it, now!

At least that was what we were being told in 1997. As it turned out the 1997 El Nino was immediately followed by a La Nina. The cooling of the waters in the Tropical Pacific caused by La Nina dramatically dropped the earth’s temperature in the years following the 1997 El Nino which peaked in 1998. What those who were advocating the emergence of a permanent El Nino ignored was the phase shift of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). The what? The 50 to 60 year cycle of warming and cooling that regulates the number of El Nino’s and La Nina’s. The Pacific Ocean had been in the warm phase of the cycle since the mid 1970s. During that time El Nino’s were twice as prevalent as La Nina’s and were much stronger and longer lasting. The result was warming global temperature from the mid 1970’s to the late 1990’s. It was during this warming spell that global warming hysteria blossomed. Many said the warming was due to increased carbon dioxide in the air but in reality the warming was caused by the warm phase of the PDO.

At this point one might ask how do you know the warming of the mid 1970s to the late 1990’s was caused by the warmer Pacific and not increasing amounts of carbon dioxide? Just look at what the global average temperature has done since the 1997/98 Super El Nino. There has been no warming of the earth average temperature since 1998. Atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased significantly in the last 14 years. In fact 25% of the increase of carbon dioxide since the birth of the industrial revolution has occurred since 1997. If carbon dioxide and its presumed strong water vapor feedback is such a powerful driver of the earth’s climate one would have expected the warming of the previous two and a half decades to have continued unabated after 1998 and into this year, but it has not. The prediction of the “permanent El Nino” has, as we say in the forecasting business, been a bust.

The shift to the cooler phase of the PDO has become more pronounced since 2007. The shift to cooler water in the Pacific is measured by the Southern Oscillation Index or the SOI. Since 2007 the SOI has been primarily in the positive mode indicating the existence of La Nina’s. This is in stark contrast to the predictions from the late 1990s and is indeed opposite of what was expected.

During the cool phase of the Pacific Ocean La Nina’s are twice as prevalent as El Nino’s and the El Nino’s that do occur are weak and short lived. The result is that the chilly waters of La Nina’s cause global cooling. Winters in the United States are becoming rapidly colder and more severe. The average temperature is falling at the rate of 3.0 degrees Fahrenheit per decade since 2000. Four of the snowiest months in New York City since 1869 have been since 2003. December of 2010 was the second coldest December in Central England since the temperature records began there in 1659. China had another bitter cold winter in 2011 and had the second coldest January in the last 50 years. Georgia and Florida had their coldest December in 2010 since the weather records began in 1895. The combined December and January period of 2010/11 in Florida was the coldest in 116 years of record keeping. Snowfall in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California was the 4th highest since 1879 and the greatest in some areas since the winter of 1951. With another La Nina this winter the western United States will have another near record amount of snow.

So what’s ahead for global warming? Not much if La Nina has anything to say about it. We are now in the 13th year without measured global warming. The La Nina of 2010/11 faded in the spring of this year. Many expected the return of an El Nino as happened in the years prior to 1997 after a La Nina. The difference now is that the Pacific is cooler and will be cooler for another 20 to 25 years or so. Another La Nina has developed and is forecast to be as cold or colder than the one just departed. This is just what is to be expected in this new era of colder and more frequent La Nina’s.

The consequences of this return engagement will be many and varied. One will be the continued cessation of global warming. La Nina’s typically last about a year but the effects on the atmosphere continue for another 6 to 8 months after the La Nina has departed. There will be no global warming for the remainder of 2011 and none through all of 2012. By then we will be into year 14 with no global warming and even the most ardent of “warmers” will have to start scratching their heads in wonder as carbon dioxide levels continue to rise but the temperature does not.

Historically we know that La Nina is associated with extremes of weather around the world. Some of this extreme weather can be beneficial and some can be destructive. Another winter of heavy snows in the mountains of the Western United States will ensure plentiful water supplies for years to come in a region that has been told to expect drought from global warming. Most La Nina’s are warm and dry in the Southeastern United States and this could be helpful to Florida tourism this Winter. On the other hand the drought in the South Central States will continue through 2012 and may go beyond. Hurricanes proliferate in La Nina conditions so the hurricane season of 2012 will likely be stormy although where the storms will strike, if at all is unknown. Heavy rains can occur in the Ohio Valley during La Nina and the threat of a re-occurrence of floods next spring is a concern. Unfortunately La Nina helps to spawn strong and numerous tornadoes in the American spring and next March, April, May and June will likely see more outbreaks of deadly twisters. Australia can have floods in some parts of the country during La Nina but in many areas the water will be welcome.

Predictions of a permanent El Nino have failed as has the relationship between increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the air and global temperature. The powerful interest groups behind man made global warming will ignore what nature is doing and continue to preach rapid warming. They will pound their fists on the table of public opinion, insisting this will cause melting ice, rising seas levels, drowning polar bears and blame every severe storm, cold wave, heat wave, snowstorm, drought, flood, hurricane and tornado on climate change and our use of fossil fuels. In the real world the new era of colder water in the Pacific Ocean will generate colder and longer lasting La Nina’s and continue to throw cold water on global warming. I wonder when reality will begin to sink in for those invested in man made climate change? The answer for many will be never.


Al Gore - Promoter of Doomsday Cult?

The Wall Street Journal had an article a few months back when Harold Camping predicted the end of the world would occur on May 21, 2011, called Camping the "Christian Al Gore." Why? Because the former Vice President is more and more being seen as part of a new doomsday cult that has grown out of the Green movement.

While there are environmental issues we should be concerned about, as Marc Morano of Climate Depot pointed out on my radio show this week ,some Green devotees are using the movement to promote a radical agenda that includes population control, and exploiting people of color in third world countries, insisting on putting solar panels on grass huts!

The most recent green doomsday scare has been Global Warming, which in former years was thought of as a scientific theory, but today promoters like Al Gore are taking it over the edge, resulting in some Green advocates publically stating that Gore's 'apocalyptic' claims are beyond even their belief. For example, as The UK Guardian's Leo Hickman, a prominent media activist for man-made global warming, said:

"I was a little nervous this morning logging into Climate Reality...And, I have to say, my heart immediately sank, is Gore now a help or hindrance to global warming cause? I have suffered this torture too many times over the years...[Gore's show had] slide after slide of extreme weather events...& linking everyone, it seemed, to rise in [man-made] emissions...that is a very contentious peg on which to hang your hat..."

And two German scientists, following Gore's recent 'climate reality show' called his latest claims 'apocalyptic' and his 'promise of salvation' disturbing.

Apocalyptic? Promise of salvation? Are they going too far with their criticisms? Perhaps a basic definition of what a cult is can help answer the question:

A Cult: controls its members' beliefs & behavior; dictating what they accept as 'the truth', and who they associate with (only those who with the same beliefs); and strongly promote their leaders as having superior knowledge, and if you disagree with them you are labeled.

There are those who take this talk of Al Gore promoting a cultist-type adherence to climate change as untrue, or merely 'tongue in cheek,' but there are those who take his beliefs more seriously, because they take him at his word, such as he writes in his book, "Earth in the Balance," promoting a religious duty to be green'...

"The challenge before the religious community in America is to make every congregation - every church, synagogue and mosque - truly "green" - a center of environmental study and action. That is their religious duty."

Chapter and verse please?

Isn't it funny how leaders in the environmental 'doomsday cult' don't practice their own 'preaching'? Let's not forget that Al Gore has become a bizillionaire doing what he's doing to promote his man-made global warming theory.

In May of 2010 Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters reported: "Nobel Laureate Al Gore purchased a $9 million mansion in the luxurious hills of Montecito, California, recently, and with the exception of the Los Angeles Times and Fox News, America's media couldn't care less. You think it might be because the Gore-loving press wouldn't want people to consider the possibility that all of his global warming hysteria was really about lining his wallet and not saving the planet."

And remember what Gore, the Nobel Laureate, told Congress in 2009 as the House was deliberating cap-and-trade legislation? See Video.

Al Gore is not alone in 'climate adherence hypocrisy' -- this movement is filled with elitists who expect everyone but themselves to follow their dictates. Who can forget the Climate Conference in Bali a few years back where environmental elitists all flew in on their private jets causing chaos?Here's the details just to refresh our memories.

Well, I could go on and on, and I'm sure you could, too, but we'll leave it here for now. I've got to hop in my SUV and buy some charcoal for tonight's bar-be-que steak dinner.


Why Your Electricity Bill Will Soon Go Up

Remember the promise of green energy? We'd use the power of Mother Nature herself to fuel our homes and our vehicles. Wind turbines, solar panels and electric cars would transform our lives -- and lighten our bills when it came to paying for energy. Kumbayah!

How I wish that was true! Here's the reality: At least 16 utilities - which cover more than 6 million customers - are trying to raise consumer rates by at least 5%. Almost half of them want increases of 10% or more - that's according to the Daily Beast.

American Electric Power serves millions of customers in eleven states - including Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia. Those customers are getting walloped - over the last few years rates have skyrocketed by nearly 88% and will rise another 35% by 2014!

In Wyoming, thousands of customers of Rocky Mountain Power will see their bills go up not once, but twice this year! This spring they went up 2% - and last month customers saw an 8% rate hike.

Heading south, a 17% increase is in the works for Duke Energy customers. And Gulf Power in Florida is working on forcing a 10% increase on its customers. Alaska isn't exempt either - those residents are seeing a 24% hike! Again - these are just a few examples!

Those numbers are mind-boggling. Especially since in the ‘90s and early 2000s - electric bills only rose about a percent! So why the big hikes now?

The review sites two big reasons. For one - the power grid simply can't keep up with modern demand as more people use more stuff - appliances, computers, gadgets. American Electric Power predicts rolling brownouts as demand is expected to grow by 44% over the next few decades. But the biggest reason is what I mentioned at the beginning of this blogpost - more government regulations!

The environmental protection agency - the bane of existence for utility companies - is forcing these businesses to shut their coal plants and invest millions and millions of dollars into removing toxins from the air. Even states are getting in on the regulation party.

More than half of them are imposing new clean-energy standards requiring utilities to feed in renewable sources. Now to be sure - I'm not advocating for pollution. I like to breathe clean air as much as the next person. But what has me fired up are these unintended consequences of government regulation. They may be unintended - but not unknown!

First, the government wanted to regulate the health care industry - and we're getting higher costs, and fewer options when it comes to seeing the doctor or going to the hospital. Then they went after the banks... and we got increased fees. Now they're telling power companies how to do business - and we're getting higher bills.

Government is costing us - personally and as a nation. It's time we unwound this regulatory morass that is strangling business and stealing our future. You don't have to look far to see that government isn't the solution - right now it's the problem.


Chinese sceptics see global warming as US conspiracy

And they are not too far wrong about that

It's not only Western leaders like Julia Gillard and Barack Obama who face fierce resistance from climate sceptics as they try to lay out policies to tackle global warming. In China, where carbon emissions have surged despite tough government constraints and targets, President Hu Jintao is having to stare down claims that human-induced climate change is an elaborate American conspiracy.

"Global warming is a bogus proposition," says Zhang Musheng, one of China's most influential intellectuals and a close adviser to a powerful and hawkish general in the People's Liberation Army, Liu Yuan. Mr Zhang told the Herald that global warming was an American ruse to sell green energy technology and thereby claw its way out of its deep structural economic problems.

A year ago Mr Hu committed to lower the "carbon intensity" of economic output by 40-45 per cent by 2020 from 2005 levels. China appears on track to meet the target but that may still not be enough to save the world from destructive climate change, thanks to faster-than-expected Chinese economic growth.

A new study by the Netherlands Environment Assessment Agency shows China now emits far more greenhouse emissions than any other country, with emissions doubling between 2003 and 2010.

China's carbon emissions rose 10 per cent last year alone, to 9 billion tonnes, compared with 5.2 billion tonnes for the United States. The report showed India's emissions also rose rapidly, by 9 per cent, although its total emissions are still only one-fifth of China's.

The most startling finding, however, is that China's per capita emissions are now higher than several rich nations including France and Italy. China's per capita emissions could even overtake the US within six years, the study said.

But they may never catch up with Australia. Australia's total emissions plummeted by 8 per cent last year, according to the report, beginning to reverse a two-decade long rising trend. But Australia's per capita emissions are the highest of any substantial economy at 18 tonnes.

In London on Thursday, the former Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull praised China's incentives for renewable energy, which has seen its installed wind and solar capacity double in each of the past six years.

These achievements have been lauded abroad but sullied at home by governance, efficiency and even environmental problems, leading to allegations that China has been duped.

Mr Zhang, whose father was secretary to China's former premier Zhou Enlai, blasted Chinese policy makers for encouraging Chinese companies to buy foreign intellectual property in order to manufacture vast quantities of renewable energy equipment.

The Chinese-made equipment helps the environment in other nations while leaving China with only financial and environmental costs, he said.

"Lots of solar panels are made in China and the pollution is left in China but they are used overseas," Mr Zhang said. "The low-carbon economy, carbon politics and carbon taxes are actually driven by the West as the foundation for a new cycle of the virtual economy."

Mr Zhang's comments provide a window into a contemporary internal Communist Party dynamic where no leader can afford to be accused of making "soft" compromises with American negotiators.

It helps explain how Mr Hu's carbon commitment last year was overshadowed at the Copenhagen climate summit by China's abrasive diplomacy and its refusal to submit to international monitoring.

Whether China can help avert a global climate disaster may hinge on whether its green policies can offset deep economic distortions and governance problems that tend to encourage resource-intensive investment.

"If the current trends in emissions by China and the industrialised countries including the US would continue for another seven years, China will overtake the US by 2017 as highest per capita emitter among the 25 largest emitting countries," said the Netherlands report, which was sponsored by the European Commission and is based partly on BP energy consumption statistics.


Climate sceptics are today's radical rebels

EXPERTS continue to hunt for the psycho-social underpinnings of that alleged mental disorder, climate-change denialism. Unwilling to accept that climate-change scepticism is simply an idea, informed by analysis and ideology, green know-it-alls are always sniffing around for a pseudo-scientific explanation for this apparently unhinged outlook.

So this week Scientific American informs us of a new academic study titled Cool Dudes: The Denial of Climate Change Among Conservative White Males in the United States. Having pored over polling data on climate-change denial collected in the US between 2001 and 2010, the study's authors deduce that 29.6 per cent of conservative white men believe global warming will never have much of an effect, compared with only 7.4 per cent of the general adult population.

When it comes to what the researchers call "confident conservative white males" - those who claim to have a high understanding of global warming - the findings are even more striking: 48.4 per cent of these cocky cons think global warming is a lot of hot air.

What explains this alleged sniffiness about climate-change orthodoxy among the white and well-off in the US? According to the report, it's down to a mix of evolution and the cult of identity.

Apparently, there's something called "the white male effect", where, because white men have faced fewer obstacles in life than other groups, they are "more accepting of risk than the rest of the public". In short, having lived cushy lives, they now laugh in the face of the End of Days.

There are so many problems with this report it's hard to know where to begin. First, the report patronisingly treats what it calls climate-change denial - itself a loaded term - as a kind of default behaviour, a group instinct.

In line with authoritarian regimes throughout history, many of which had a tendency to write off alternative views as the products of unstable minds, greens refuse to treat scepticism as a legitimate way of thinking.

Even worse is the report's suggestion that white male conservatives are likelier to be sceptical about climate change because they don't like "challenges to the status quo".

Wait: green thinking represents a challenge to the status quo? That's a laughable idea. From schools and universities to every corner of the Western political sphere, the climate-change outlook is the status quo. It's the new conservatism, its aim being to conserve nature at the expense of further developing and transforming society.

Greens like to fantasise that they are radicals whose ideas are continually shot down by what Scientific American calls the white male establishment. Yet at a time when everyone from Barack Obama to stuffy stick-in-the-muds such as Prince Charles sing from the climate-change hymn sheet, in what sense can it be described as a radical creed? These apparently dangerous white male deniers are straw men set up by greens who can't quite handle the fact it is they and their friends who are now the promoters and protectors of the political status quo. Perhaps this means green-baiting white male conservatives actually represent a new and weird band of rebels?



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


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