Saturday, February 18, 2012

The half-eyed Andrew Revkin -- writer for the similarly encumbered NYT

(It would be too much praise to call him one eyed)

Andy Revkin, on his Dot Earth blog, attempts to draw comparisons between Climategate and the Heartland release of documents, and chastises Heartland for not reacting to the Climategate release in the same way as to that of their own documents:
[Quoting from Heartland press release] “But honest disagreement should never be used to justify the criminal acts and fraud that occurred in the past 24 hours. As a matter of common decency and journalistic ethics, we ask everyone in the climate change debate to sit back and think about what just happened.”

Wouldn’t it have been great if a similar message had some from the group and its allies after the mass release of e-mails and files from the University of East Anglia climatic research center in 2009 and last year — documents that skeptics quickly and repeatedly over-interpreted as a damning “Climategate”? That hasn’t been Heartland’s approach.

Whilst there are aspects we should frown upon in both cases (release of confidential documents without authority – although I note that the Liberal media, to which the NYT makes a substantial contribution, rarely get so steamed up about Wikileaks, but that’s another issue), there are huge differences.

Let me make a few obvious points:

* Whereas the Heartland documents relate to a relatively small amount of funding for a handful of sceptics, the Climategate documents cast doubt on the integrity of “consensus” climate science as an entire discipline;

* Funding for sceptics is literally microscopic compared to the massive swill trough available for the consensus, but more importantly, and irrespective of that, the suggestion that any reputable scientist can be bought for a few bucks is offensive (on both sides of the debate);

* Whereas sceptics have minimal influence on policy (at present at least), the consensus influence is significant, since the majority of national governments have subscribed to the politicised, and alarmist, UN/IPCC process;

* Whereas the Heartland documents reveal little of substance regarding the discipline of climate science, the Climategate emails reveal: a concerted effort to manipulate and/or suppress inconvenient data; a desire to minimise uncertainty in order to maintain a consistent political “message”; attempts to subvert and corrupt the peer-review process; and, evidence of destruction of documents and correspondence in contravention of FOI requirements.

* UEA is a publicly funded institution, which, as a result, should be thoroughly transparent in its operations, whereas Heartland is a purely private organisation which does not draw upon the public purse.

Wow, they really are almost in the same league, aren’t they, Andy?

The eagerness with which these documents were seized upon by the smear blogs [by the way, from where does the funding for those come? - Ed] reveals the desperation at work behind the scenes.


Forget about SUVs. Now its shimp that are the big villains!

MEASURED by environmental impact, a humble shrimp cocktail could be the most costly part of a typical restaurant meal, scientists said.

If the seafood is produced on a typical Asian fish farm, a 100-gram (3.5 ounce) serving "has an ecosystem carbon footprint of an astounding 198 kilograms (436 pounds) of CO2," biologist J. Boone Kauffman said. A one-pound (454-gram) bag of frozen shrimp produces one ton of carbon dioxide, said Kauffman, who is based at Oregon State University and conducts research in Indonesia.

He told a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science that he developed the comparison to help the public understand the environmental impact of land use decisions.

Kauffman said 50 to 60 percent of shrimp farms are located in tidal zones in Asian countries, mostly on cleared mangrove forests.

"The carbon footprint of the shrimp from this land use is about 10-fold greater than the land use carbon footprint of an equivalent amount of beef produced from a pasture formed from a tropical rainforest," wrote Kauffman in a paper released to AFP, not including emissions from farm development, feeds, supplements, processing, storing and shipping.

The farms are inefficient, producing just one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of shrimp for 13.4 square meters (five square miles) of mangrove, while the ponds created are abandoned in just three to nine years because disease, soil acidification and contamination destroy them, he wrote. After abandonment, the soil takes 35 to 40 years to recover, he said. [Nothing that some superphosphate fertilizer could not fix! But that is probably evil too]

Emily Pidgeon of Conservation International said intact mangrove forests are of value in protecting the coastal ecosystems and communities against storms and tsunamis, such as the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 that killed some 230,000 people.

The problem, she said, is the value of intact mangroves is hard to measure, and most of the shrimp farms are in impoverished areas that cannot easily afford conservation. "It's difficult to find the financing to do it, or the political will," she said, adding Kauffman's carbon measurements provide another argument in favor of protection.

The catchy shrimp cocktail estimate is part of the relatively new field in science and economics called ecosystem services, which uses models to measure the value to human communities, in economic terms, of forests, grassland, waterways and even the air.

"To present how deforestation and land cover change contribute to global climate change in a comprehensible manner, we change the scale of greenhouse gas emissions from global to personal scales," wrote Kauffman.


Still crazy after all these years: New York Times editorial claims that CO2 is "the most dangerous greenhouse gas"

From: A Second Front in the Climate War -

"Governments everywhere should obviously be pushing to reduce carbon dioxide, the most dangerous greenhouse gas. In the meantime, opening an important second front in the climate war will demonstrate that progress is possible."

SOURCE (See the original for links)

No evidence that controversial 'fracking' technique pollutes drinking water, say scientists

There is no evidence that the controversial ‘fracking’ technique used to extract natural gas trapped in rocks deep beneath the ground pollutes drinking water, scientists said last night.

Supports of hydraulic fracturing say that the exploiting natural resources would cut energy costs and create new jobs.

Shale gas accounts for almost a quarter of the natural gas supply in the U.S.

In Britain, Lancashire is sitting one of Europe’s biggest reserves, with enough fuel to last 50 years, plug the looming energy shortfall caused by reduced North Sea gas supplies and create more than 5,000 jobs.

But opponents of fracking claim it pollutes water supplies, harms health and even causes earthquakes.

Their concerns relate to the technique used to remove the gas, which is much harder to extract than its North Sea counterpart.

During the fracking process, the shale is drilled into horizontally, and water, gas and chemicals pumped in at high pressure, causing the rock to shatter and allowing the gas to escape.

To separate fact from fiction, researchers from the University of Texas at Austin sifted through scientific and other literature on the safety of three large shale gas sites in the US.

They concluded that there is no evidence that fracking directly contaminates groundwater and any pollution is more likely to be due to above-ground spills of water produced by the drilling process.

Reports that the chemicals used in fracking cause leukaemia and other health problems are largely anecdotal, the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual conference in Vancouver heard.

The scientists not address the potential to cause earthquakes but a recent British report blamed the technique for two tremors that hit the Blackpool area last year.

That probe added the mini-quakes were caused by an ‘unusual combination of factors’ and would be unlikely to recur elsewhere.


Native Alaskans Snubbed: Will Obama’s EPA ‘Keystone’ the Pebble Mine Project?

Native Alaskans are being snubbed by the Obama Administration’s EPA. All an Alaska Native consortium wanted was a chance to ask Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Director Lisa Jackson for assurance their villages and native culture will be preserved. They were denied the opportunity which in turn denies the opportunity for jobs in an area in the midst of devastating economic depression.

Abe Williams and Lisa Reimers of Nuna Resources (an Alaska Native consortium) went to Washington last week with a very reasonable request. They had written and asked for a meeting with EPA Director Lisa Jackson to talk with her about the Pebble Mine Project in the Bristol Bay area of Alaska.

You see, they represent the area of Alaska that is most affected by whether or not the enormous copper deposit is harvested. The situation for the tribes of that area is dire. The Native Alaskans of the area have little opportunity, and so many are leaving behind their homes and community to seek opportunity elsewhere. The migration away from the area is decimating the Native Alaskan culture, traditions and community. Without opportunity, few will be left to pass the traditions along to subsequent generations.

Williams and Reimers went to Washington to ask for the opportunity to save their community and culture. They didn’t ask for an bail-out. All they asked for was fair hearings for the Pebble Limited Partnership.
Nuna Resources and its native village constituency want to allow impartial scientific studies to build the Pebble Mine near their homes and villages. The natives do not specifically endorse the mine, which would exploit the largest known ore body of copper on the planet. But they want its proposed developer, the Pebble Limited Partnership, to be given a fair hearing for its claims of environmental and cultural protection on Native traditional lands.

Jackson would not even give Williams and Reimers a meeting. The EPA’s emailed reply their request for one — on Feb. 6, 7 or 8 — came just two days before their already-scheduled flights: “While the Administrator greatly appreciates this request, she will unfortunately be unavailable.”

If the Pebble Mine Project is safe, then they can have jobs and a chance to save their community. It would seem that fair hearings would be a very reasonable and rational request. Unfortunately for Williams, Reimers and the Native Alaskan community they represent, that doesn’t fit the party line. Their request was denied.

You have to HAVE ‘green’ to BE ‘green’ and no one is giving Nuna Resources millions of dollars like is being filtered through to the radical environmentalists. The monied left and well-heeled environmentalists don’t have a problem having their voices heard. They are backed by big money to fund AstroTurf faux outrage through groups like ‘Stop Pebble Mine’ and ‘Save Bristol Bay’. They have almost unlimited funding for advertising and public relations (propaganda?) from the millions donated by the likes of Gordon Moore of Intel, Tiffany Company Foundation and Brainerd Foundation who funnel money through anti-development Big Green groups like Natural Resources Defense Council, Trout Unlimited and EarthWorks.

While the Native Alaskans of the area are facing devastating economic hardships (paying $9 for a gallon of milk and $8 for a gallon of gas!) environmentalists are loudly declaring that harvesting the ample supplies of copper in the area will endanger the native salmon. The radical left ignores the reality of the situation. The area can have their fish and their jobs as well. The Pebble Mine study has just been released. The exhaustive scientific study conducted over 7-years at a cost of $150 million using more than 40 respected independent research firms represents the company’s commitment to protecting the fish and the environment as an integral part of the project.

Is it really better to get our copper from China than from Alaska? Will China be more concerned with protecting the environment than Americans? I think not. It seems to be more of a ‘not in my backyard’ kind of argument. We have to have copper so it will come from somewhere. Why insist it come from somewhere without the regulations and restrictions that will undoubtedly be MORE damaging to the environment? That’s irrational and counterproductive to the very cause they claim to embrace. But when has reason ever stopped a good money-making ’cause’. Buckets of money, in fact.

The problem is that while it’s a ‘feel good’ issue for many of the environmentalist – you know, stand up and make a big stand about something that you only know anything about at a very shallow level – its being done standing on the necks of the people who live in the area. The native people are suffering so some environmentalists can feel like their lives have meaning or some of the major financial backers can have even more money in their own portfolios.

In reality, mining copper and gold from the Pebble Mine Project in Alaska is a win-win situation for everyone involved (other than those who have a financial interest in stopping it). It is better for the environment (as opposed to getting the copper from somewhere else), it already is providing jobs in Alaska and will provide tens of thousands of jobs in the long run in a depressed area of the country and it will provide American’s copper at a better price than if it were bought from other countries.

Seriously, what is the downside?

The problem is that it flies in the face of the monied environmentalists that Obama is courting for his re-election campaign. He’s playing nice with the environmentalists while America jobs are being lost and the environment damaged by having us obtain copper from countries where how it is extracted from the Earth is not so well monitored.

Unless something is done, Obama and his environmentally radical EPA will ‘Keystone’ the Pebble mine project.


Australia's Green rules deterring new home builders

FAR Northern home buyers are avoiding building new houses because of the cost of government sustainability requirements. That's the findings of the latest Master Builders Regional Survey of Industry Conditions report for the December quarter.

Nearly half the builders surveyed found the increased cost of new housing over existing homes was deterring people from buying or building. "The raft of new requirements (six star, water tanks, etc) imposed on new housing in recent years has added substantially to the cost of building a new home," the report said.

"There are real concerns that the introduction of the carbon tax will further aggravate the differential and encourage people to choose established homes over new homes, despite the fact that the environmental performance of new homes is frequently superior to many older homes."

Master Builders Cairns regional manager Ron Bannah said the extra costs imposed by government requirements were becoming "a real issue". He said water tanks were a waste of money in the Far North. A $7000 3000 litre water tank took less than an hour to fill in a monsoonal downpour and then overflowed, Mr Bannah said.

He said the lack of ventilation in new homes, such as fewer windows and airflow in the roof, because of insulation and other sustainability demands, was causing mould.

Mr Bannah said a carbon tax would add up to $9000 to the cost of a $450,000-$500,000 home.

The waste levy for dumping material from blocks of land was another cost of $30 a metre. "It used to be a $500 exercise, now it's at least three times that," he said.

Dixon Homes managing director Andrew Thomas said most new home buyers accepted the increases as part of the overall price of homes.

He said it was causing people to consider an established home but many still preferred a new home because of lower maintenance costs and they were more energy efficient and modern.



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