Monday, October 17, 2011

HuffPo says (predictably) that the current hunger in Africa is due to global warming

And if you believed various do-gooder organizations, you might believe it. If however you note that even Warmist scientists now admit that there has been NO global warming for 12 years, current events CANNOT be due to warming. If Warming does not exist it cannot cause anything. But asking HuffPo to care about the facts is pissing into the wind, of course

Climate change skeptics would have you believe that global warming is an abstract theory, a dispute between scientists with differing interpretations of computer models, temperature data and ice measurements. So when the conversation turns to real people facing real hardship on the frontlines of climate change, it's no surprise that they redirect the conversation back to the abstract.

Take a look at the 171 arguments of climate skeptics compiled by Skeptical Science. You can count on the number of fingers it takes to make a peace sign the arguments about the immediate directly observable impacts of climate change (and one of these is about polar bears).

Today is World Food Day, a perfect moment to reflect on what the very real impacts of climate change mean for those who suffer from hunger and malnutrition. It comes at a time when millions of people are struggling to survive in East Africa where the worst drought in 60 years is devastating millions of lives and livelihoods.

Those on the frontlines are convinced that climate change is responsible.

As UN Humanitarian Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, says, "We have to take the impact of climate change more seriously... Everything I've heard has said that we used to have drought every 10 years, then it became every five years and now it's every two years."

A 2009 report by the World Food Programme, which describes itself as the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger, explains:

By 2050, the number of people at risk of hunger as a result of climate change is expected to increase by 10 to 20 percent more than would be expected without climate change; and the number of malnourished children is expected to increase by 24 million - 21 percent more than without climate change. Sub-Saharan Africa is likely to be the worst affected region.

Think about it. 24 million additional kids -- that's roughly equivalent to a third of US children.

But it's not just a question of changing climate and weather patterns; it's also about the resilience of communities to withstand such changes. As Rajiv Shah, the administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) explained to the Huffington Post in July, "There's no question that hotter and drier growing conditions in sub-Saharan Africa have reduced the resiliency of these communities. Absolutely the change in climate has contributed to this problem, without question."


Must not laugh!

A new report by the National Academy of Sciences has found that corn ethanol production increases greenhouse gas emissions and damages soil, air, water and wildlife habitat. As well it says advanced biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol are unlikely to prove practical substitutes for either corn ethanol or fossil fuels.

“This report highlights the severe damage to the environment from corn-based ethanol,” said Sheila Karpf, EWG’s legislative and policy analyst. “It underscores just how misguided U.S. biofuels policy has become. It catalogs the environmentally damaging aspects of corn-based ethanol and also casts serious doubt on the future viability of so-called ‘advanced’ biofuels made from other sources.”

During the Congressional debate over the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, the Environmental Working Group argued for provisions to roll back biofuels mandates of production of these renewable fuels that were found to be harmful to the environment. But the Renewable Fuel Standard finally enacted did not include such language.

The report from the National Research Council, a branch of the National Academies of Sciences, concludes that achieving the renewable fuel standard mandate is likely to increase federal spending while further damaging the economy and environment, particularly soil and water.

The report, requested by Congress, concludes that ethanol increases greenhouse gas emissions, pollutes water and uses more water in its production than gasoline. It says that cellulosic ethanol is very unlikely to meet its Renewable Fuel Standard mandates by 2022. Indirect land use changes due to biofuels production will zero out any potential benefits of lower greenhouse gas emissions from biofuels and may actually increase them in both the short- and long-term.

To date taxpayers have spent $23 billion between 2005 and 2010, or $6 billion a year, subsidizing corn-based ethanol without significantly reducing reduction in America’s use of fossil fuels. The report is yet another reminder that significant reforms to the renewable fuel standard are critical, including the addition of strict and enforceable environmental safeguards.

“The Renewable Fuel Standard has always been about corn, corn and more corn,” Karpf said. “The fact is, it won’t bring energy independence, protect our air or combat global warming. As our country faces record national debt, it is time to put American taxpayers and our soil and water ahead of entrenched special interests.”

American farmers have diverted 40 percent of corn production from food and feed to fuel. Land once used for soybean production has been converted to corn to meet the demand for biofuels set out in the RFS. The new report provides more evidence that corn ethanol production continues to raise food prices around the world and harms the planet by releasing more greenhouse gases than regular gasoline.


The Average Decrease Of Global Warming

Market analyst Andrew McKillop reflects on the arbitrariness and meaninglesness of calculating an average temperature for the earth

Despite record high summer temperatures in several northern hemisphere countries, and the hottest September for over 70 years in some, political and mainstream media defenders of the one and only correct theory - Global Warming - have been slow off the mark. As yet, the "Told you so" reports and statements are low on the ground. Is Global Warming going down the tube, where it belongs?

The theory's scientific credentials have taken repeated hits, most recently the resignations from the American Physical Society of professor Harold Lewis and Nobel physics prizewinner Ivar Giaever, because they consider the APS is as climate correct, and scientifically incorrect as NASA or the Max Planck Institute, stoically claiming that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions almost certainly have caused global average temperatures to rise and this is dangerous, without adding we first need to know how the global average temperature was calculated (not measured), and what we mean by "average".

Other heavyweight science associations are less strident on the subject these days, and now adopt a carefully low profile, for example the German Gesellschaft Deutscher Naturforscher und Ärzte and its UK equivalent the British Science Association which, if you try all BSA sites and type "Global Warming" in the search box you get: "No results found. Please try again"!

Trying again is very important to GW boomers. Witness the more and more bombastic and petulant utterances of Al Gore on the subject - probably because he has had to cut the fees he can get for a GW Crisis talkshow from above $100 000 a hit, to not much more than a half of that - times are tough.

Lower down the pecking order things are similar. In a recent leading article in his own journal, the editor in chief of the International Journal of Global Warming, Dr. Ibrahim Dincer of the Ontario Institute of Technology held fast to politically correct. With the title "Is it Global Warming or Global Warning?" Dincer continues to claim, with Al Gore and everybody else who still rides the GW gravy train, despite its loss of steam heat, that beating the menace mainly consists of very urgently developing Low Carbon renewable energy sources and systems.

This energy supply side answer, to most politically correct GW boomers is better than "alien and other worldly" action for moving the economy and society to lower energy, less energy waste, more efficient economic activity and higher social equality - which will trim the forced pursuit of economic growth and consumption - and cut the forced need to always consume more energy.


Dincer started with this claim: "Global warming is an average increase in the earth’s temperature due to the greenhouse effect as a result of both natural cycles and human activities". He quickly went on to tell us all about the greenhouse gases and how they act, but throughout his article stayed away from the subject anybody ought to focus first: What is an average increase? He could or may or might have meant "an increase in average temperature", but he didnt write that.

To have an average increase (or decrease) of anything we need a series of variable entities with comparable, standardised and identifiable maxima and minima for some specific parameter or parameters through a certain period of time. We could for example be looking at temperatures over time and across selected regions of the world. If we believed there had been an "average increase", we have to find out if it was over all time, for a part of time, or just concerned one period. But first of all, we still have not answered the question: What does "average increase" mean ?

This is in no way a play on words. GW boomers, even if they are doctors and not plain Mister Al Gore, need to say what basis they used to detect an "average increase" of global temperatures - because before they can talk about an "average increase" they first needed the world's average temperatures, in the plural, through the longest possible periods of time, and we want to know how they got those numbers.

As the Nobel physicist Ivar Giaever said when quitting the APS on October 13, there is no such thing as the world's single one-figure precise and indisputable average temperature, the "global average temperature". There are average temperatures, for sure, in specific regions and over certain time periods, but trying to pretend there is an ultra precise and exact "global average temperature", from which "average increases" (or decreases) can happen is scientific-seeming charlatanism. Snakeoil selling - like turning food vegetable oils into biodiesel fuel and claiming this Saves The Planet, instead of only driving up food prices and making a fat buck for those who made a bet on the gimmick - at the right time which was a long time back, now.

We can calculate an average increase or decrease, if the parameter that interests us in Global Warming - temperature - really did vary in the upward sense. The period we chose is important and ideally, the series of observations should be closed. Previous or future series could be different and, in particular, how are we going to know if parameters behave differently in a different time series? As Ivar Giaever said, if we take the last 150 years during which we have relatively precise data, not absolutely precise data, the approximate long-period "average temperature" of the planet Earth was about +288 degrees Kelvin (zero Kelvin is absolute zero, about -273 degrees Centigrade). And current or recent analysis for the period since about 1980 shows it is now probably about +288.8 degrees Kelvin. To him, that shows amazing stability given the huge land use changes, and all other anthropogenic, volcanic, tectonic, geomorpholgical and other temperature-affecting changes that happened since 1860.


Another important point is that no predictive value is in any way sure or certain. We are in fact and reality looking at closed series of observations of average temperatures in certain areas, cities, regions, seas and parts of oceans, certain heights of the atmosphere in certain places - and so on - and then comparing these figures with an arbitrary or hypothetical "global longterm average" temperature: we have no right to imagine we can predict forward - witness the "Hockey Stick" scandal.

Basically we have relatively reliable temperature averages for certain regions, countries, or oceans, deserts, mountains etc, through the period of about 1850-2010 to play with. We cannot compare this special series with any other series, but GW business comes to the rescue with ice core samples, tree ring temperature interpretation, and so on - with typical variations of at least 1 degree and often plenty more, to each side of any hypothetical "average temperature".

If we tried the question: What were average temperatures in Europe, Africa, America or Asia through the period of for example 1450-1550?, we can and do have theories on that subject, for example using tree ring, ice carrot, glacier advance and retreat and crop data - but no scientifically rigorous and precise answer would be possible. So, not knowing what is the "global background average" for 1450-1550, how do we compare this imaginary value with our "scientific series" of 1850-2010 ? The honest answer is we cant do that.

Before about 1830, no scientific rigour and reliability is possible, even for temperatures in a specific small locality over any number of years, even two or three years. And beyond today, 2011, obviously, we can only make "range forecasts" based on theory - we cannot make predictions.

For climate and climate change there are obligatorily a large number of variables in play. We may have been sidetracked by CO2. We could say: why pick on CO2 ? We can note that CH4, SOx, NOx (meaning various sulphur and nitrogen oxides) and the fluorinated hydrocarbons, and other gases, and mechanical particles like dust or soot, salt and sand can or should also be added, and are sometimes added, but absolutely none of this answers the question: What is an average increase ?


As we noted above with the Giaevar resignation from the APS, he cited what we know about Earth temperatures. The "global average" has changed from ~288.0 to ~288.8 degree Kelvin in about 150 years. So the "average temperature" would be about +15 degrees Centigrade, but even that subject is contentious, with plenty of calculation methods suggesting the "average" is about 14 - 15 degC. The question is: Can we measure the "average temperature of the Earth" ?

Wikipedia and Wikianswers and other sites will tell you this planet Earth has recorded temperatures of more than +70 degC and less than -89 degC (in Iran and Antarctica). If you take those two extremes and divide by two, you do not get +15 degC.

Exactly the same way, we have what seem like comfortingly exact and precise numbers for the so-called average temperatures of planets, outside the Earth. These, with no surprise tend to get hotter nearer the Sun, and cooler in the other direction. But Venus is the hottest planet, not Mercury, with so-called average temperatures of more than +400°C while Uranus and Neptune (and Pluto-Charon if it is considered a "twin planetoid") are the coldest planets, with temperatures often well below -225°C.

If we said that Mercury's "average temperature" was about +175 degC, which is an answer you will find on the Web, this hides a very complicated reality of a planet that takes nearly 60 Earth days to make 1 rotation, meaning its face exposed to the sun for the equivalent of 2 Earth months attains temperatures similar to Venus, but the dark side's temperature is close to absolute zero or -273 degC. Having almost no atmosphere, but so-called "solar tidal effects" the transfer of heat to the cold side is very complex and still disputed by astronomers: saying Mercury has an "average temperature" of +175 degC is therefore basically meaningless. Why should things be different on Earth ?

The term "average temperature" for these other planets hides what are huge variations (often more than 450 degC). These only concern planet atmosphere edge temperatures, and rare surface probe results where landings have been achieved, which are then compared with Earth-based analysis, notably interferometer observations of gas behaviour in the atmosphere of each planet. Gases emit different colored light depending on their temperature: their so-called Frauenhofer lines correlate with temperature (and gas composition), but this is almost nothing at all to do with a "planetary average temperature".

Firstly pretending there is a global average temperature, and from that basis pretending there are average increases, or decreases, is very bad science but as Al Gore and other GW boomers like James "Gaia" Lovelock or James Hansen will tell you - it was very nice business, for them, for a few years.


GW boomers are not alone. Their "scientific method" is no different from other business opportunity forecasting. We can take important current events and say we need to forecast the number of days or years between each major stock exchange crash and - why not? - say the date when the euro will be abandoned. First we need the definition of "average crash", which is normally "defined" as the percentage amount selected stock market indices fell and the time they took to do it, from certain peaks they attained before each crash, enabling us to judge the "average increase" in the panic level for each of the crashes. When or if we have enough of that average increase, and in Europe, the euro can disappear like the Arctic ice cap. The problem is we dont have another series - there was no euro, before the euro, and what comes after will be different, too.

Above all, we need to know why GW business suddenly bloomed and blossomed, then wilted, through about 1990-2010, if we date the end of the gravy train ride for GW business to the laughably failed December 2009 Copenhagen "climate summit". As a business opportunity, its "average increase" was compressed into the period of about 2005-2009, showing high or extreme, Black Swan-type "tail end" behavior. What also happened in that period? Oil prices showed real average annual increases at double-digit percent rates. Low Carbon meant something: saving oil and not much else.

Unfortunately for GW boomers, oil prices are almost perfectly correlated with economic growth, stock and finance market indices and other non-oil commodity prices, these days. If oil prices rise it shows there could or might be a bit of life left in the system, despite the sovereign debts. God willing. Low Carbon boomers, who rushed to create their own snakeoil party on the tail-end of the GW boom, are now confronted with The Inconvenient Truth that their snakeoil is at least as flaky as GW theory. What we find is that as "green energy" is ramped up at high or extreme cost, oil and other fossil energy consumption grows - what is called the Jevons Paradox, noting that the British 19th century scientist W S Jevons also believed stock market and business cycles were driven by 11-year sunspot cycles.

In the exact same way that Mercury doesnt have an "average temperature", saving oil on Earth is unlikely to be achieved through increasing "average total energy supply", that is oil + green. The answer is using less energy and changing the social economy - that is socializing the economy - ask anybody at the Occupy Wall Street be-in and its equivalents in over 900 cities of more than 40 countries.


Labor Department’s green folly

The Labor Department’s green jobs training debacle unearthed by the Department’s own Inspector General reveals that the program has failed miserably to achieve its goals. The Labor Department initially claimed that 79,854 would get jobs, while only 8,035 found employment. Even worse, only 1,336 of the trainees who found employment still had the job six months later.

All at a $170 million price tag to the taxpayer.

The program is such a grotesque failure that the Inspector General recommended in his report that the Labor Department return as much of the remaining unused $327 million in grant money as possible back into the U.S. Treasury, rather than continuing to waste the money.

Not surprisingly, the Labor Department is fighting back claiming that the program’s performance will “significantly increase over time.”

Here’s the underlying problem both from a training and human perspective.

The reason the job training program failed is not necessarily because the grant recipients were not doing their jobs. It failed because they were training people for jobs that did not exist.

This is the hard reality of why the Obama green jobs economy has fallen flat in the United States just as it has elsewhere around the world. The green jobs economy depends upon a strong demand for green “products” at a price that makes them a “value.”

This basic consumer decision that every one of us makes when purchasing anything from broccoli to an automobile is what is dooming the green economy. Am I willing to pay what it costs for that product? If the answer is no, then the price needs to be lowered. If the price cannot be lowered any further and it still is rejected, then the product dies on the shelf.

General Motors Chevy Volt is a prime example of this principle and how it affects the “green” job economy. The base model of the 2011 Volt has a Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price of $40,280 with a dealer invoice price of $38,669 according to

GM’s Chevy Cruse Eco, an all-gasoline powered vehicle that is built on the same frame as the Volt is priced at $18,425 for the base model. I’ve driven both the Cruze and the Volt, and from a roominess and comfort perspective, they are the same car.

The Volt can go 35 miles on its battery power before converting to its 9.3 gallon gas tank reaching a total range of 379 miles. The Cruze gets an EPA rating of 28 mpg city/42 mpg highway with a range between 352 and 529 miles on its 12.6 gallon gas tank.

Of course, the Volt is electric for 35 miles, but you have to pay to plug it into the wall in your garage with an estimated cost by the Chevy dealer of $1.95 per charge on my home electric bill.

This illustration shows the challenge of the so-called green economy in creating jobs. Will most consumers in the market for a fuel-efficient vehicle to save a few dollars on gas, choose to pay $40,000 or $19,000 for essentially the same car, because one gives marginally better gas savings? The answer is obviously no.

This is why the Chevy Volt has only sold a total of 3,895 cars in the first three quarters of 2011, but many of the customers who come in curious about the Volt end up buying the Chevy Cruze. In fact, 187,524 Cruzes were sold by GM in the first nine months of the year.

General Motor’s CEO Mark Reuss admits this phenomenon in the Flint Journal where he says, “The Volt is leading to a lot of Cruze sales.”

While GM can easily see that the Volt is nothing more than a curiosity to bring in buyers. The Department of Labor’s green job training program is left in the unenviable position of training workers to work on the Volts of the economy, where there is not a demand rather than being trained to work on the Cruzes where there is.

The human cost of this policy choice is devastating as potential workers sacrifice their time and other productive options to get trained for jobs that are merely an Obama Administration pipe dream.

While the Solyndra-type scandals get the headlines, the real tragedy is the people who have their lives delayed once again by receiving officially sanctioned Labor Department training for jobs that everyone knows don’t exist. How do they get their time back? Are they going to be willing to engage in another job training program for a real job when this one was a political ruse?

These real people who have been effectively defrauded by the Obama Administration through the green jobs promise have a right to feel cheated.

At the very least, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor should find a way to stop Obama’s Labor Department from wasting even more people’s time and money by rescinding all funding for the failed jobs training program.

After all, that is exactly what the Labor Department’s own Inspector General recommended.


"Green" home-heating boilers breaking down and costing Brits a packet

Millions of homeowners who were forced by John Prescott to buy expensive energy-saving boilers are now facing bills of £150 to stop them from breaking down in the cold this winter. The £4,000 water heaters – known as condensing boilers – were hailed by Mr Prescott, when deputy leader of the Labour Party, as a green alternative to traditional ‘dirty’ boilers.

A law was passed in 2005 stating that when an old boiler is replaced, it must be with a condensing boiler.

However, last year’s freezing weather caused hundreds of thousands to break down because a pipe that carries waste water from the boilers to the house drain froze up.

More than eight million have been installed, and British Gas – which has sold almost a million of them – is now urging its customers to fit a new cold-resistant pipe. In a letter to 46,000 customers who suffered boiler breakdowns last year, the energy giant is saying it will fit the new pipe for £149.

But their offer has been criticised by MPs and consumer groups as another instance of ‘profiteering’. They said British Gas should fit the pipes for free as the problem is a design fault and nothing to do with the customers.

Labour MP Barry Gardiner, who is a member of the Energy and Climate Committee, said: ‘This is outrageous. It is clear that British Gas has installed the product which is not working properly. ‘This is like a product recall – they must put right the defect with the product for free. You have to assume responsibility for the product.’

Charlie Mullins, managing director of Pimlico Plumbers, Britain’s largest independent plumbing company, said: ‘This is a total rip-off. It is a manufacturing fault and it should be fixed for free. British Gas have people over a barrel.’

Pensioner Ellen McGhie, 85, from Boughton, near Faversham, Kent, who received the letter from British Gas, said: ‘This is a cheek. I spent nearly £4,000 on a new boiler and it should work, even when it gets cold. It is obviously a design fault. ‘Why should I pay for a faulty product? This would not happen if I bought a new car. The last time it packed up they told me to pour boiling water over the pipes. But as they are in the loft, and I find it difficult to walk, that was impossible.’

The company is already being criticised for profiteering from its customers by hiking fuel tariffs. Last week, watchdog Ofgem said that the ‘big six’ energy suppliers – including British Gas – had increased their profit margin per customer per year from £15 in June to £125.

British Gas says it sells 130,000 condensing boilers a year, which means it would have installed almost 800,000 since the law was changed. Based on this, British Gas will charge £119 million if all its customers install the pipe, called a condensulate.

Around 1.2million Britons are fitting condensing boilers each year as they replace their old boilers. Mr Prescott made them compulsory as a way of getting Britain to reach its CO2 targets under the Kyoto Protocol. New Labour even introduced a ‘boiler scrappage’ scheme with homeowners offered £400 towards the cost of a new boiler.

In traditional boilers, a quarter of the heat generated vents out of the exhaust pipe in the form of hot steam and gas.

In the new boilers, a condenser claws back much of the heat, condensing the steam back into water. This increases heat efficiency to as much as 93 per cent.

One by-product of the process is waste condensed water, which escapes through a pipe into the house’s external drains. But in severe cold, the pipe freezes and blocks the flow of the waste water, which shuts down the boiler. Thousands of customers have complained about the problem.

Even despite the freezing pipe problem, it often does not make much economic sense to replace old boilers with the condensing type. It is estimated that replacing an old, inefficient model with the best condensing boiler will save about £200 a year in gas bills. But with condensing boilers costing £4,000 to buy and install, it will take 20 years to pay for itself. However condensing boilers do not last anywhere near as long as 20 years. Experts say they do not even last ten years.

A spokeswoman for British Gas said they had faced no problems with the boilers until the extreme cold of last winter. She said: ‘We carefully followed manufacturers’ instructions when we installed them. The problem was caused by the exceptional weather.’ She said British Gas had no plans to fix the problem for free. The Department of Energy and Climate Change declined to comment on the issue. A spokesman said: ‘Customers should take this up with British Gas.’

All British homes are expected to have condensing boilers by the end of the decade.


Carbonslide in Australia

Conservatives would win an election in a landslide if it were held as voters oppose carbon tax

TONY Abbott would be handed an overwhelming mandate to abolish the carbon tax if the coalition won the next election and he became the prime minister. A clear majority of voters, 60 per cent, believe the Opposition Leader would have the electoral and moral authority to repeal the tax.

With the government's asylum seeker policy also in disarray, the Coalition's primary vote has now soared to a crushing 51 per cent, according to a Galaxy poll commissioned by The Daily Telegraph.

It is the largest primary vote the coalition has enjoyed in any poll since 1996 - when John Howard defeated Paul Keating - with Labor now stuck at a morale-sapping 29 per cent.

The devastating figures suggest the government's jubilation over the passage of its carbon tax through the lower house last week has backfired. And that its bungled handling of its proposed changes to the Migration Act to stop boat arrivals has stalled any recovery that Julia Gillard may have hoped for.

On a two party-preferred basis the Coalition now leads Labor 58 per cent to 42 per cent, due to the flow of Greens preferences back to Labor. But even this would mean half of the current lower house Labor MPs would be wiped out.

The only silver lining for Julia Gillard was that with the carbon tax legislation passed, there appeared a slight bounce in support for the tax. The number of voters now in favour has increased to 34 per cent from a low of 29 per cent in July. But almost double were still opposed to it.

Ms Gillard has also managed to peg back marginally, the lead held by Kevin Rudd as the preferred Labor leader. But Mr Rudd is still the person most voters would like to see take back the leadership of the Labor Party and take the government to an election, with 53 per cent support for him compared to 29 per cent for Ms Gillard.

All the electoral damage from the carbon tax and bungled asylum seeker policy, both issues on which the Greens have claimed victory, has come at Labor's expense and not the Greens. They have maintained a steady primary vote of 12 per cent.

"If Tony Abbott wins the next election he would have a mandate to abolish the tax," Mr Briggs said. "This is more than double the figure - 28 per cent in a Galaxy Poll conducted in July - that believed Julia Gillard had a mandate to introduce the carbon tax."

The Galaxy Poll was conducted exclusively for The Daily Telegraph on the weekend of October 14-16 and was based on a large national sample of 1009 voters.



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