Saturday, March 31, 2012

If Only We All Had (Liberal) Brains, We'd All Believe In Man-Made Global Warming

Marc Morano links below to some recent episodes in the long history of Leftist claims that conservatives are psychologically deficient. The first notable claims of that sort were promulgated in a famous book lead-authored by prominent Marxist theoretician Theodor Adorno (Spanish-speaking readers may wonder why he had a surname that means "ornament" in Spanish. It was his mother's stage name. She was a dancer. His father's thoroughly Yiddish surname was "Wiesengrund", meaning "meadowland").

I spent much of my research career examinging the Adorno claims in depth and found that if one used true random samples of the general population, none of the correlations posited by Adorno emerged. Some details here. The plain fact of the matter is that Left and Right are not distinguished by mental health or by intelligence. They are psychologically different but not in ways that make them better adapted to life overall.

Two of the "research" claims alluded to below I have dissected in detail here and here (By Mooney and Eidelman respectively).

The important thing about Leftist claims is not therefore their verifiability but rather the platform they provide for the Soviet policy of throwing dissenters into psychiatric prisons. The Left used to describe the Soviets as "Liberals in a hurry". The logical corollary that liberals are just slowed-down Soviets tended to be avoided

A whole slew of new “research” on conservatives’ and global warming skeptics’ “brains” has hit the academic circuit.

First off, environment and sociology Prof. Kari Norgaard’s new study claims skeptics of man-made global warming fears should be “treated” for their skepticism. The study compares skepticism to man-made climate fears to the struggle against racism and slavery.

Prof. Norgaard’s concept of “treating” those who do not follow the current day’s political or social orthodoxy is, frightening, not new. A quick look at the 20th century totalitarian super states reveals many similar impulses.

It’s even more chilling that there is a whole new movement afoot by the promoters of man-made global warming theory to intimidate climate skeptics by using new brain “research.”

Other researchers have attempted to tie conservatism (which is identified with the highest number of climate skeptics) to “low brainpower.”

Some global warming promoters claim it is essentially “unethical” to be a skeptic.

Finally, still other climate activists have actually implied that we need to consider “human engineering” to combat global warming skepticism.

NYU Prof. S. Matthew Liao of Center for Bioethics says his human engineering solution “involves the biomedical modification of humans to make them better at mitigating climate change'"

Here are a few more comments by Prof. Liao:

"We shall argue that human engineering potentially offers an effective means of tackling climate change...the possibility of making humans smaller. Human ecological footprints are partly correlated with our size...a more speculative and controversial way of reducing adult height is to reduce birth weight...Pharmacological enhancement of altruism and empathy...could increase the likelihood that we adopt the necessary behavioral & market solutions for curbing climate change."

SOURCE (See the original for links)

It's OK to lie if you're Green

Some quotes from the latest IPCC report (from Chapter 4) that are not mentioned in the article below

* "There is medium evidence and high agreement that long-term trends in normalized losses have not been attributed to natural or anthropogenic climate change"

* "The statement about the absence of trends in impacts attributable to natural or anthropogenic climate change holds for tropical and extratropical storms and tornados"

* "The absence of an attributable climate change signal in losses also holds for flood losses"

I said on 29th that the latest IPCC report would be seen as an emergency by the Warmists and below we see their response: Twisting and denial.

Now that warming has stopped, "extreme" weather is their big talking point and the IPCC (see the quotes above) has just snatched that away from them

A GLOBAL lobby group has distributed a "spin sheet" encouraging its 300 member organisations to emphasise the link between climate change and extreme weather events, despite uncertainties acknowledged by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

An "action pack" distributed by Global Campaign for Climate Action said members "shouldn't be afraid to make the connection", despite the sometimes low level of confidence in the official documents of the IPCC. The action pack, which was produced to coincide with the release of the latest full IPCC report into the link between climate change and extreme weather events, rekindled claims that overstating the case damaged the credibility of the science.

"What this leaked document shows is again we have groups out there promoting more extreme situations than the report actually warrants because the latest report shows there are degrees of uncertainty," said Institute of Public Affairs climate spokesman Tim Wilson.

"When the claims don't correlate it undermines the confidence that people can actually have in climate science."

But Climate Institute chief executive John Connor said the evidence of a link was growing.

An executive summary, released ahead of the UN climate change conference in Durban in November, listed the low level of scientific certainty in many areas regarding what climate meant for future weather events.

The full report also presented a cautious appraisal and said it was unable to answer confidently whether climate was becoming more extreme.

But GCCA told its member organisations to "use the precautionary principle to argue that we must take potential risks seriously even if the science doesn't offer high confidence".

"Generally, all weather events are now connected to climate change, because we have altered the fundamental condition of the climate, that is, the background environment that gives rise to all weather," the action plan said.

GCCA has about 300 members worldwide including Greenpeace, Oxfam, WWF, Environment America, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Amnesty International and Pew Environment Group.

The group highlights its direct action campaigns in the US, Canada and China.

The action pack suggests "sample tweets" for member groups.

They include "New #IPCC report finds links between global warming and extreme weather events". And "current measures not enough to protect ANY countries from extreme weather driven by global warming. Time to act is now!"

The document gives examples of how to respond to criticisms about the IPCC's links to non-government organisations, its poor track record in scientific predictions and claims that the response to the IPCC findings was alarmist.

The actual IPCC report said it was not possible to confidently say whether the climate was becoming more extreme. "We are restricted to questions about whether specific extremes are becoming more or less common, and our confidence in the answers to such questions, including the direction and magnitude of changes in specific extremes, depends on the type of extreme, as well as on the region and season, linked with the level of understanding of the underlying processes and the reliability of their simulation in models," the report said.

However, the report concluded there was evidence that some extremes had changed as a result of anthropogenic influences.

"It is likely that anthropogenic influences have led to warming of extreme daily minimum and maximum temperatures at the global scale," the report said.

"There is medium confidence that anthropogenic influences have contributed to intensification of extreme precipitation at the global scale.

"It is likely that there has been an anthropogenic influence on increasing extreme coastal high water due to an increase in mean sea level."

But there was low confidence for the attribution of any detectable changes in tropical cyclone activity to anthropogenic influences.

Commenting on disaster losses, it said there was "medium evidence and high agreement that long-term trends in normalised losses have not been attributed to natural or anthropogenic climate change". It said "some authors suggest that a (natural or anthropogenic) climate change signal can be found in the records of disaster losses but their work is in the nature of reviews and commentary rather than empirical research".

But the GCCA advice was largely mirrored in statements issued following the release of the report. Mr Connor said climate change didn't mean just warmer weather but also wilder weather.

"Scientists are speaking with growing confidence and alarm about recent unprecedented extreme weather events around the world," he said.

Commenting on the IPCC report this week, Australian climate commissioner Will Steffen said it showed for the first time the fingerprints of the human-driven warming in some of the extreme events already experienced.

"This is an early warning sign that if we don't get this underlying warming trend under control there's going to be a lot more heatwaves, droughts and intense rainfall events," Professor Steffen said from London.


Obama Promise Kept: Coal Plants to go Bankrupt with New EPA Carbon Cap

Enviro-Whack jobs are celebrating the demise of America‘s most abundant energy resource, coal. Because coal has just been given the death sentence by Obama and the EPA.

"If old King Coal isn't dead already, he's certainly teetering toward life support," said Frank O'Donnell, president Clean Air Watch in Washington.

The EPA has issued new proposed rules on carbon emissions that will help Obama keep one campaign promise: Builders of new coal fired power plants won’t be prevented from building coal-fired power plants, they’ll just go bankrupt if they try.

“Proposed emission rules for new power plants unveiled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on March 27 spell the gradual demise of coal-fired power generation and entrench the current cost advantage for natural gas,” reports Reuters’ John Kemp.

If Obama can’t get the tax portion of the Cap and Tax, I guess he figures he might just as well get the cap portion done.

“The agency's proposed rule, signed yesterday, would set a standard well within the capability of modern gas-fired plants but impossible for coal-fired units to meet unless they employ (unproven) carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.”

Even before this proposed new rule, regulators have been using a variety of stratagems to stop the construction of new coal-fired plants.

“Power developers have scrapped plans for more than 100 coal-fired electricity plants over the past decade,” says a Reuters newswire report, “due to difficulty obtaining construction and pollution permits or because they were simply too expensive.”

Last year the EPA tightened up particulate standards for every type of industry including concrete. Additionally, the agency last year used obscure visibility standards to try to put the throttle on coal-fired power plant, eliciting an eruption of protest from the GOP-controlled House of Representatives.

“So much for that ‘all of the above’ energy plan the President touted last week,” says Congressman John Sullivan, Vice Chairman of the House Energy and Power Subcommittee in response to the new EPA mandate. “Today's announcement from EPA is an unprecedented attack on American made energy. EPA’s greenhouse gas rules are a backdoor attempt to enact a national energy tax that will have a crushing impact on consumers, jobs, and our economy- while doing little to protect the environment.”

OK, so maybe Obama will get the tax portion too. I stand corrected.

The move by the EPA continues to try to help Obama shore up his environmental base in front of the 2012 presidential elections.

At this point, it’s all Obama can do, considering that: 1) He has no energy policy; and 2) The American people know that he has no energy policy.

According to a recent Gallup poll, a stunning 58 percent of Americans don’t think that Obama is doing a good job managing energy policy. The poll also revealed that 57 percent of Americans don’t think Obama is doing a good job making the country prosperous. The numbers’ proximity to each other are likely not coincidental.

For 100 years the country has followed policies that tried to ensure that we have stable prices and a reliable sources of energy.

Obama’s policy of providing neither reliability nor price stability would be akin to the US announcing the unilateral departure from NATO.

Obama and company are hoping that the nudge the economy has seen from the loose money policies followed by the Federal Reserve will be just enough to convince Americans that the president should get another term.

But the numbers say otherwise, mostly because policies- like this newest EPA mandate promoted by Obama- have killed job creation in the US, while sparking pockets of inflation. At a time when prices are going up, the job market remains dismal, and incomes aren’t able to keep pace.

Conversely, the National Mining Association (NMA) is saying that the coal business won’t die- thanks to exports to emerging economies.

“Seaborne exports of coal are hitting record levels,” says Hal Quinn, the president and CEO of the NMA. “Last year U.S. mines exported more than 100 million tons of coal, up 40 percent from 2009 -- and the highest level in 20 years.”

In other words, the cheap coal that we won’t use is being used by other economies. According to figures provided by the NMA:

* Coal for electricity generation in China in 2010 stood at 1.6 billion tons—by 2030 it will almost double to 3.1 billion tons.

* China’s industrial sector (steel, cement, petrochemicals) accounts for almost 40 percent of the coal demand at 1.2 billion tons—that is expected to almost double as well to 2.1 billion tons by 2030.

* China has already invested $15 billion in coal conversion infrastructure to transform coal into oil; by 2020 that investment will reach anywhere from $65-80 billion with a requirement of over 100 million tons of coal.

India is investing in a new electrification program and 80 percent of new capacity will come from coal, with an expected increase in coal demand of over 200 percent in just five years.

Still despite exports to other countries, slackening coal orders domestically are going to hurt workers and cause rates to rise for electricty.

“The uncertainty caused by these regulations could result in the loss of thousands of Ohio jobs and will increase electricity rates for families during tough economic times, in return for less reliable power,” Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman said in an e-mailed statement to

There is a reason why emerging economies have picked coal: It’s cheaper than natural gas over time and more reliable.

Already we have seen the enviro-whack jobs turn on natural gas, shutting down fracking operations around the country.

“This EPA is fully engaging in a war on coal,” West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin said in a statement according to “This approach relies totally on cheap natural gas and we’ve seen that bubble burst before.”

“It might sound good now, but what happens if those prices go up?” Manchin added. Oh, it’s not if, it’s when.


Obama's War on Hydrocarbon Costing Jobs, Economy

You’ve heard the stories about the millions of dollars squandered by the Obama Administration on green energy projects supposedly to create vast numbers of new jobs in a revolutionary “green energy economy.” But, all too often all that remains is a bankrupt empty building, or at best a handful of jobs – and, a heap of new federal debt.

If Obama was really committed to creating jobs, there was another time tested way to get it done – by assuring plentiful supplies of affordable, reliable traditional sources of energy. Instead, the “transformational” President went to war against the hydrocarbon industry. Thankfully, he didn’t win.

While the administration has done everything in their power to discourage fossil fuel production on federal land, there has been a revival happening on private land where oil and natural gas output has increased. When supply increases, prices come down, and natural gas is particularly affordable.

As a result, jobs connected to and dependent upon natural gas are exploding. A USA Today feature report documents the hundreds of thousands of new jobs resulting from affordable supplies of gas. Here’s an excerpt:
Royal Dutch Shell announced this month that it chose a site near Pittsburgh for a facility to convert ethane from locally produced natural gas into ethylene and polyethylene. They're used to make plastics that go into packaging, pipes and other products. The planned ethane cracker would employ a few hundred workers.

It's among nearly 30 chemical plants proposed in the U.S. in the next five years, according to the American Chemistry Council. The projects would expand U.S. petrochemical capacity by 27% and employ 200,000 workers at the factories and related suppliers, says Council President Cal Dooley, a major turnaround. As U.S. natural gas prices soared in the late 1990s, chemical makers moved overseas, laying off 140,000 employees, Dooley says. But the U.S. has seen a natural gas boom in recent years, with producers using new drilling techniques to extract fuel from shale formations in Texas, Pennsylvania and other regions. U.S. natural gas prices, at slightly more than $2 per million British thermal units, are about 75% below Western Europe rates.

PricewaterhouseCoopers' partner Robert Mc-Cutcheon estimates inexpensive natural gas could help U.S. manufacturers save $11.6 billion a year and create more than 500,000 jobs by 2025.

Instead of doing the obvious, Obama did exactly the reverse. The Administration implemented policies that would, in the President’s words, cause energy prices to “necessarily skyrocket.” Instead of insuring the U.S. remained competitive, his own Energy Secretary was committed to policies that would “boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” Every American is experiencing the pain at the pump as gasoline is up more than $2 per gallon since the President took office. And, three and a half years into the recession, millions of Americans are still searching for a job.


Real American Energy Could Create Real American Jobs

President Obama supports job creation, economic growth and revenue generation – except when he doesn’t.

Official announcements from his Labor Department reported that the nation’s February unemployment rate is still 8.3 percent. That’s a decent decline from previous months. But the reality is far worse.

Most of that job growth was in business and professional services, and half was temporary. Millions of Americans are working part-time or multiple low-wage jobs to make ends meet. Overall, 23.5 million are out of work or underemployed.

Factor all that in, and the real unemployment rate is 14.9%, according to University of Maryland economist Peter Morici. Worse, many of the 8.3% jobs are government workers (police officers, fire fighters, teachers and bureaucrats), paid for with “stimulus” and other tax revenues taken or borrowed from hard working private sector companies and employees, and their children and grandchildren.

Making matters still worse, regular gasoline prices have hit $4 in numerous cities – compared to a national average of $1.61 on December 31, 2008, three weeks before President Obama took office.

Thankfully, we could reduce these intolerable numbers dramatically, if President Obama would just stop currying favor with environmental extremists, and start supporting energy policies that benefit all Americans – policies that use real American energy to create real American jobs.

The answer to our job shortage, energy shortage, and soaring gasoline prices is the same. Extract more oil and natural gas from deposits under our land and offshore areas. Bring more oil to the U.S. from Canada via the Keystone XL pipeline.

Manufacture more fuels in American refineries, to power American cars and trucks, and to sell abroad to preserve jobs and lower our trade deficit. Reduce the excessive, oppressive regulations that federal bureaucrats are imposing on our energy industry.

According to a March 2012 World Economic Forum report, the U.S. oil and gas industry created 37,000 direct jobs and 111,000 indirect jobs in 2011. That’s nearly one out of ten jobs created nationwide last year – and they didn’t need any Solyndra, Fisker, Sapphire or Solazyme subsidies.

A January 2012 Wood Mackenzie study found that 530,000 more jobs could be created if American companies were allowed to explore and drill for oil and natural gas in some of the areas that are now off-limits. The study says this would generate $150 billion in increased government taxes and fees by 2025, and expand domestic production by 4 million barrels of oil equivalent a day, greatly reducing our dependence on Middle Eastern oil.

Instead, President Obama has adopted a bumper-sticker anti-fossil fuels policy: “Just say no.”

The president has made 95% of federal lands and waters off-limits to drilling. He has blocked construction of the Keystone XL pipeline that would bring more than 700,000 barrels of oil a day from Canada to Texas. He wants to eliminate oil industry tax deductions, which would mean further reducing U.S. oil production and would make gasoline and diesel fuel even more expensive.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) and Institute for Energy Research calculate that the United States has 1.4 trillion barrels of technically recoverable conventional oil, plus huge additional supplies in shale deposits. That’s oil that American companies could and would produce, at today’s oil prices and using existing technologies – if they were allowed to do so.

Oil companies aren’t asking for subsidies to get this energy. They just want permission to produce it. But Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency, Interior Department and other agencies keep throwing roadblocks in their way.

The president’s war on fossil fuels is designed to destroy many of the 9.2 million jobs already supported by the oil and gas industry – in hopes of replacing them with jobs in tax-subsidized “green” energy companies backed by his political supporters, campaign contributors and Democrat allies.

The president apparently believes some of these companies will succeed, if he just throws enough billions of your tax dollars at them. However, many of these failure-prone companies produce flawed and expensive products that American consumers wisely refuse to buy.

The $535 million in taxpayer money given to the now-bankrupt Solyndra solar power company is just one example of President Obama’s policy of subsidizing failure, and punishing success.

General Motors recently announced it was suspending production of the Chevy Volt gas-and-electric car: people simply haven't been buying the cars, despite the $7,500 taxpayer subsidy the president has been giving to anyone who buys one. Now the president wants to increase the subsidy to $10,000.

President Obama says we are running out of oil and gas, can’t drill our way to cheaper gasoline, and should blame anybody but him for $4-per-gallon gasoline. He’s wrong on all three counts.

The only petroleum we’re running out of is the tiny percentage of our total supplies that his administration is letting us produce.

Moreover, the EIA says 76% of what we pay for gasoline is determined by world crude oil prices; 12% is federal and state taxes; 6% is refining; and 6% is marketing and distribution.

The price of crude oil that refiners transform into essential products is set by the world market, and fluctuates based on supply and demand. You don’t need a PhD in economics to understand that producing more American oil and getting more from Canada would increase supplies and decrease gasoline prices.

That’s the direction we need to go.

Instead of embracing fantasy energy policies, President Obama needs to step into the real world. He should welcome expanded development of our vast oil and natural gas resources, increased oil imports from Canada, and the lower fuel prices this would bring.

Everyone would benefit – even his own dismal approval ratings.


Time to Celebrate Coal not Candles

Coal not candles should be the symbol of Earth Hour.

It was coal that produced clean electric power which cleared the smog produced by dirty combustion and open fires in big cities like London and Pittsburgh. Much of the third world still suffers choking fumes and smog because they do not have clean electric power and burn wood, cardboard, unwashed coal and cow dung for home heat.

It was coal that saved the forests being felled to fuel the first steam engines and produce charcoal for the first iron smelters.

It was coal that powered the light bulbs and saved the whales being slaughtered for whale oil lamps.

It was coal that produced the steel that replaced shingles on the roof, timber props in the mines, wooden fence posts on the farms and the bark on the old bark hut.

In Australia today, coal provides at least 75% of our lighting, cooking, heating, refrigeration, rail transport and steel. Without it, we would be back in the dark days of candles, wood stoves, chip heaters, open fires, smoky cities, hills bare of trees and streets knee deep in horse manure.

Coal is fossil sunshine as clean as the green plants it came from, and often less damaging to the environment than its green energy alternatives.

Earth Hour candles are green tokenism for rich status-seekers and nostalgic dreamers.

We should spend Earth Hour saluting the real people who produce the coal on which most people on earth depend.



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, March 30, 2012

Acclimation to Ocean Acidification: Give It Some Time

In the absence of any real-world effect, Warmists have turned to experiments in which they artificially raise CO2 levels in fishtanks. But even their experimental results are pesky for them -- pesky enough for them to report statistically insignificant results as significant! That is a major breach of scientific canons and shows what a desperate bunch of crooks they are

Rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels lead to an increasing amount of CO2 being dissolved in the oceans which drives down the oceans’ pH level. This is often referred to as “ocean acidification” and included among the list of ills that energy production from fossil fuels imparts to the environment. Type “ocean acidification” into your Google search and you’ll quickly be confronted with a litany of potential impacts—all bad. The Center for Biological Diversity refers to it as global warming’s “evil twin.”

“We mean it this time” our greener friends are saying about this current apocalypse. But is ocean acidification any different than the population bomb, global starvation, acid rain, ozone depletion, global cooling, and global warming—all forecast to cause the end of the world as we know it, and all falling a bit short?

It’s beginning to look like the same old same old. In what will come as no surprise to World Climate Report regulars, alarmists are overdoing things just a little. Their biggest mistake comes in assuming that the oceans’ denizens cannot deal either with the pace or the magnitude of the projected changes to the oceans’ chemistry.

The more researchers look into this, the more they report findings to the contrary.

A large and continually updated annotated and summarized collection of findings which report acclimation and adaptation to “ocean acidification” is maintained at the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change. Spend a little time there and you will come away with a completely different view of the subject than was returned to you in your Google search above. The Center also maintains a digital archive of citations to the relevant primary scientific literature, so you can see for yourself.

A new paper just published in the journal Global Change Biology titled “Acclimation to ocean acidification during long-term CO2 exposure in the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa “ is surely soon to be an inductee in the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change database.

The authors, Armin U. Form (no relation to the conservative blogger Charles U. Farley) and Ulf Riebesell, are from the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences in Kiel, Germany. They introduce the problem:

"Ocean acidification, often termed ‘the evil twin of global warming’, is caused when the CO2 emitted by human activity dissolves into the oceans. Presently, the ocean takes up about 25% of man-made CO2, which has led to a decrease in seawater pH of 0.1 units since 1800. By 2100, surface ocean pH values can easily drop by another 0.3–0.4 units. Although there is reasonable certainty about the chemical changes related to ocean acidification, the impacts it may have on marine organisms and ecosystems are still poorly understood. A major gap in our understanding of the impacts of ocean acidification on life in the sea is the potential of marine organisms to acclimate and adapt to increasing seawater acidity. Most of our present understanding on the biological impacts of ocean acidification is based on short-term perturbation studies."

The last sentence nicely sums up the problem underlying the proclamations of impending catastrophe from “ocean acidification”—that is, there are very few long-term studies of the response of organisms to changing conditions, instead, the vast majority of results come from studies which scoop things up out of the ocean, plop them into an aquarium, jack up the acidity of the water, and watch what for a few days to see what happens. That’s about as far from the real world as you can get, and it’s little wonder that the organisms don’t tend to fare particularly well.

Basically, Form and Riebesell follow this same procedure, but in addition to watching what happens over a few days, they maintain vigilance, and follow the response for about 6 months. The organism they are studying is a cold-water coral species, Lophelia pertusa, which they describe as “the most common reef framework-forming and ecosystem engineering cold-water coral with a cosmopolitan distribution.” One reason they chose to look at a cold-water coral is that “cold-water coral reefs are considered the ecosystem most vulnerable to ocean acidification.”

What they found was that in an experiment that lasted only 8 days, that the growth rate of the coral was slowed down by the dissolution of extra CO2 into the aquarium water—the more the researchers added CO2 (increasing the acidity and lowering the pH) the worse the corals fared (Figure 1).

In a second experiment in which the coral specimens were exposed to lower pH levels for 178 days, the growth rate did not decline, and in fact, even appeared to increase under the lower pH (more acid) conditions (Figure 2).

Form and Riebesell describe their findings:

"Growth rates in the long-term experiment (LTE) did not follow the negative trend with increasing pCO2 [decreasing pH] observed in the short-term incubation. Instead, growth rate, which was comparable to that of the control treatment in the short-term experiment, stayed high at elevated CO2 levels… Although not statistically significant, a linear regression analysis reveals an increasing trend of coral growth with rising pCO2 concentration [decreasing pH]." *

They comment on the importance of longer-term experiments:

"It is surprising that the ability to tolerate sub-saturated conditions in terms of maintaining calcification rates is not manifested in short-term high CO2 experiments. This could indicate (i) that it takes several days to weeks for Lophelia to activate the metabolic pathways needed to calcify when subjected to sub-saturated waters, or (ii) that triggering the activation of these pathways requires longer-term high CO2/low pH exposure. …The differences in observed responses between short- and long-term exposure experiments highlight the importance of long-term incubation studies allowing for complete acclimation of the test organisms."

And they have this to say as to the significance of their findings:

"This is the first study showing a positive response in calcification to increasing pCO2 for the predominant reef-forming cold-water coral L. pertusa and, to our knowledge, for scleractinian corals in general." **

Now, Form and Riebesell are quick to point out that laboratory conditions do not necessarily mimic the real world environment and that therefore their results are only the first steps in an extended series of observations and experiments that would be required to establish the in situ response of the corals in their ocean environment and its changing conditions. And we are sure that they are right about this.

But the larger lesson is this: Don’t jump to conclusions based on an inadequate analysis of complex systems. If everyone followed this advice, our future would certainly appear much less “alarming.”

* What has happened to rigorous peer-review? A “trend” that is not statistically significant means it cannot be statistically discriminated from zero, i.e. no trend. This sentence should have said “A linear regression reveals no significant relationship between coral growth and rising pCO2 concentration.”

** Same here; should simply read, “This study shows no negative relationship between coral growth and ocean acidity.”

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

New paper confirms 2010 Russian heat wave was result of natural variability

A paper published today in the journal Monthly Weather Review confirms (along with several other studies) "that the anomalous long-lasting Russian heat wave in summer 2010, linked to a long-persistent blocking high, appears as a result of natural atmospheric variability."

Natural climate change denier Kevin "missing heat" Trenberth, however, continues to cry wolf insisting that the Russian heat wave and every other 'extreme' weather event of 2010 "would not have happened without global warming."
Large scale flow and the long-lasting blocking high over Russia: Summer 2010

By Andrea Schneidereit et al.


Several studies show that the anomalous long-lasting Russian heat wave in summer 2010, linked to a long-persistent blocking high, appears as a result of natural atmospheric variability.

This study analyzes the large scale flow structure based on ERA-Interim data (1989 to 2010). The anomalous long-lasting blocking high over Western Russia including the heat wave occurs as an overlay of a set of anticyclonic contributions on different time scales: (i) A regime change in ENSO towards La Niña modulates the quasi-stationary wave structure in the boreal summer hemisphere supporting the eastern European blocking. The polar Arctic dipole mode is enhanced and shows a projection on the mean blocking high. (ii) Together with the quasi-stationary wave anomaly the transient eddies maintain the long-lasting blocking. (iii) Three different pathways of wave action are identified on the intermediate time scale (~ 10-60 days). One pathway commences over the eastern North Pacific and includes the polar Arctic region; another one runs more southward and crossing the North Atlantic, continues to eastern Europe; a third pathway southeast of the blocking high describes the downstream development over South Asia.


Obama's Plan B For Saving The Climate Is In Effect

A Warmist below cheerily admits that the EPA is trying to do and end-run around Congress

Yesterday the EPA released a new rule setting greenhouse gas emission limits on new power plants, which are strict enough to effectively ban new coal plants that lack the ability to capture and sequester carbon.

This is a major step in the Obama administration's "Plan B" to save the climate and create clean energy jobs, embarked upon after the Senate failed in 2010 to take up comprehensive clean energy and climate protection legislation from the House.
As I wrote two years ago:
It is against the law under the Clean Air Act, the Supreme Court has ruled, for the Environmental Protection Agency to ignore greenhouse gas pollution. And a congressional attempt to gut the Clean Air Act and block the EPA from acting was defeated this year.

That fact has always been part of the argument to press Senators from coal, oil, manufacturing and agribusiness states to accept climate compromises: if Congress doesn't do it, the EPA will.
And that same fact has always the Obama administration's Plan B.
The EPA is not going to announce an economy-wide carbon cap overnight. But it has been and will continue to announce a rule here and a rule there, continually ramping up pressure on Congress to pass legislation that will cap carbon emissions in a way that businesses will find more flexible than what the EPA is able to do.

And here we are.

So Time's Bryan Walsh is right to observe that a regulation on new plants alone isn't enough to save the climate, only to accelerate the ongoing market shift from coal to natural gas.

But this rule is not the end, only the beginning. As Grist's David Roberts notes, under current law EPA has to eventually establish greenhouse gas rules for existing plants.

And the power plant lobby is right to complain that: "By effectively forcing utilities to forgo any new coal generation in favor of natural gas, without commensurate policies to develop commercially acceptable [carbon capture and storage] technologies, EPA’s proposal threatens the viability of coal..."

But the EPA can't issue "policies to develop commercially acceptable technologies." It can't make legislation. Only Congress can.

Only through Congress can we enact a comprehensive strategy to smoothly shift to a clean energy economy, in which we put a price on carbon pollution and raise money to help businesses and consumers make the transition.


Professionally Correct Speech

Why most scientists do not challenge global warming

Recently, while driving, I listened to a satellite radio program called "Doctor Radio," talk radio by doctors.

In the course of the program, the question of alcohol and health came up. All of the participants agreed that evidence showed that a moderate level of alcohol consumption, something like one beer a day for a woman, one or two for a man, or the equivalent in other drinks, was good for you, better than no alcohol at all. All of them also agreed that they would not advise their patients to act on that evidence.

They did not offer an adequate explanation for the apparent inconsistency. There was mention of the fact that a higher level of consumption was dangerous, in particular likely to lead to auto accidents, and that there were problems with prescribing something that depended on the exact dosage—but distinguishing one beer a day from three is not a difficult problem, even for those who are not doctors.

My conjecture was that the real explanation was the reluctance of doctors to appear to be on the wrong side. Everyone knew that alcohol was a bad thing, a source of auto accidents and various medical (and other) problems. By giving a truthful account of the medical evidence, the doctors on the program might appear to be pro-alcohol, when all good people were anti. Hence they had to qualify their conclusion as a purely theoretical matter, not something that would actually affect what they told their patients. Think of it as a different version of PC—Professionally Correct speech.

It reminded me of a similar pattern in a different context. From time to time, I see a news story on some piece of scientific research that somewhat weakens the case for taking strong action against global warming—for instance, work suggesting that, while the IPCC projections were correct about the expected magnitude of warming, they overstated its uncertainty, and hence the risk of some outcome much above the center of the reported distribution of results.

I believe that every time I have seen such a report, it was accompanied by a quote from the researchers to the effect that global warming was a serious problem and their work should not be taken as a reason to be less worried about it. They almost certainly believed the first half of that. On the other hand, their work was a reason to be less worried, if not a reason to stop worrying.

Good people are on the side that believes that warming is happening, is anthropogenic, and is a serious problem that needs to be dealt with immediately. Bad people deny one or more of those claims. If that is what all the people who matter to you, in particular the fellow members of your profession, believe, and you are so unfortunate as to produce results that strengthen the bad people's case, it is prudent to make it clear that you are still on the side of the angels. Just as, if you are so unfortunate as to be an honest doctor aware of the evidence in favor of alcohol, it is prudent to make it clear that have not transferred your allegiance to demon rum.


Fracking: An Existential Threat to Green Dogma

The Sierra Club and other environmental pressure groups are redoubling their efforts to “stop fracking in its tracks.” No wonder. The technology is an existential threat to fundamental “green” dogmas.

Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing is a true “game changer.” In less than two years, this proven but still rapidly advancing technology has obliterated longstanding claims that we are running out of petroleum. Instead, the USA now finds itself blessed with centuries of oil and gas.

Poland and Estonia are using it, China has invited companies to the Middle Kingdom, Britain, Israel and Jordan are evaluating their shale deposits, and other nations are following suit – coaxing oil and natural gas from shale and other rock formations that previously had refused to yield their hydrocarbon riches.

By making more natural gas available, fracking has reduced the US price for this clean-burning fuel to under $3 per thousand cubic feet (or million Btu), compared to a peak of $8 a few years ago.

Natural gas is also supplanting coal for electricity generation. Due to excessive, mostly unnecessary new Environmental Protection Agency regulations, many US coal-fired power plants are shutting down. Replacement plants are far more likely to be gas-powered than nuclear, especially in the near term.

Natural gas makes heating and electricity more affordable for families, hospitals, government buildings and businesses; feed stocks less expensive for makers of plastics, paints, fabrics and other petrochemical products; and the prospect of natural gas-power vehicles more enticing, without mandates or subsidies. That translates into thousands of jobs created or saved.

Companies are keeping chemical plants open that were slated to close, due to soaring prices for oil that they now can readily replace with cheap natural gas. Shell plans to build a $2-biillion ethane “cracking” plant near Pittsburgh – creating 10,000 construction jobs and 10,000 permanent jobs – thanks to abundant gas from Marcellus Shale. Louisiana, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas and other states are reporting subsidy-free employment and revenue gains from shale gas development. More are likely to follow, as companies seek new ways to capitalize on access to abundant, inexpensive, reliable gas.

Natural gas also provides essential backup power for wind turbines. Without such backup, electricity generation from these projects would plummet to zero 70-80% of the time, affecting assembly lines, computers, televisions, air conditioners and other electrical equipment dozens of times every day.

Even harder for environmentalists to accept, cheap natural gas also makes it harder to justify building redundant wind turbines that require large subsidies to generate far more expensive electricity only 5-8 hours a day, on average, while killing large numbers of raptors, migratory birds and bats. It makes more sense to simply build the gas turbines, and forget about the mostly useless wind turbines.

Fracking is also unlocking oil in the vast Bakken Shale formations beneath Montana, North Dakota and Saskatchewan. Oil production there has shot from 3,000 barrels a day in 2006 to nearly 500,000 today – creating thousands of jobs … and a growing need for the Keystone XL pipeline to Texas.

In response, eco-activists are spreading unfounded fears about this proven technology. Using words like “reckless,” “dangerous” and “poisonous,” they say unregulated fracking companies are operating with little concern for ecological values and causing cancer, earthquakes and groundwater contamination.

The claims have fanned borderline hysteria in some quarters and prompted Maryland, New York and other states to launch drawn-out studies or impose moratoria that will postpone drilling and the benefits it would bring.

Facts are sorely needed.

Drilling and fracking have been carefully and effectively regulated by states for decades. As studies by the University of Texas and various state agencies have documented, there has never been a confirmed case of groundwater contamination due to fracking. Even EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson acknowledged that to a congressional panel.

These analysts, drilling companies and even an Environmental Defense expert now say fracking has not played a role in any of the rare cases where methane has gotten into drinking water.

Instead, the cause has generally been a failure of “well integrity” – the result of improper cementing between the well borehole and the steel “casing” and pipes that go down through aquifers and thousands of feet deeper into gas-laden shale formations. Similar failures occur in water wells drilled through rock formations containing methane (natural gas).

The solution is straightforward: better standards and procedures for cementing vertical pipes in place, and testing them initially and periodically to ensure there are no leaks.

Similarly, fracking fluids fail to match the “toxic” and “cancerous” opprobrium alleged by anti-drilling campaigns. Over 99.5% of the fluids is water and sand. The other 0.5% is chemicals to keep sand particles suspended in the liquid, fight bacterial growth and improve gas production.

Although industrial chemicals were once used, almost all of today’s are vegetable oil and chemicals used in cheese, beer, canned fish, dairy desserts, shampoo, and other food and cosmetic products.

As to “earthquakes,” barely detectable “tremors” have occasionally been measured near fracking operations and wastewater disposal injection wells. However, calling these snap, crackle and pop noises and movements “earthquakes” is akin to giving that label to rumblings from trains and cement trucks.

Despite these facts, EPA is nevertheless trying to invent problems and inject itself into already vigilant and responsive state regulatory efforts. The agency has conducted a roundly criticized study in Wyoming and is conducting water tests in Pennsylvania, where state officials view its activities as unnecessary meddling.

Additional over-reach and over-regulation would be hugely detrimental to US and global well-being. Fracking could help create numerous jobs and provide a far more secure, affordable, dependable and lower-pollution future than would ever be possible with wind or solar power.

By expanding oil and gas development, it could make North America the world’s new energy hub. Middle East sheiks, mullahs and OPEC ministers would lose economic, political and strategic power. Threats of Russian pipeline closures would no longer intimidate Eastern European countries. Politicians everywhere would waste less money on “renewable” energy T-Boonedoggles.

Unfortunately, though, fear campaigns are preventing some of America’s poorest counties and families from enjoying the economic benefits of Marcellus Shale development.

Baltimore’s Sage Policy Group calculated that fracking in western Maryland could reduce energy costs, create thousands of jobs, and generate millions of dollars annually in revenue for the state and Allegany and Garrett Counties. Similar studies in New York and elsewhere have reached similar conclusions.

Hydraulic fracturing technologies are proven. Regulations to protect drinking water are in place and improving steadily, as cementing and other legitimate concerns are recognized and addressed.

North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas, Poland and Israel are showing the way forward.

Communities that have not yet opened their doors to responsible drilling, fracking and production need to replace anti-hydrocarbon agendas and fears with facts, optimism and science-based regulations.



Four current articles below

Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson flays green `guerillas'

Resources Minister Martin Ferguson has hit out at tactics used by -"guerilla" environmental groups, warning a decline in productivity could mean Australia misses out on new resources projects.

His comments came as major investors Rio Tinto, Shell and ConocoPhillips warned that coal and coal seam gas projects could be marginalised and investment pushed overseas as Australia became an expensive place to do business.

Mr Ferguson told The Australian Financial Review's National Energy Conference in Brisbane yesterday that green groups were wrong to think there was a fossil fuel conspiracy "which starts in my office" and attacked them for trying to stifle investment. "We must also recognise there are some who seek to manipulate those concerns, and use guerilla tactics through regulatory processes to frustrate economic development and job creation," he said.

Mr Ferguson's defence of the industry came as he weathered a storm from big investors who told the conference that red tape and high costs were a handbrake on the industry.

"Five years ago, Australia was the cheapest place for Rio Tinto to do business, now it is the most expensive," said Bill Champion, Rio Tinto Coal Australia managing director.

Mr Champion argued that a rise in costs and lower productivity had hit the global miner's coal business.

Two of Australia's largest energy investors, Shell and ConocoPhillips, flagged similar worries for the country's $220 billion-strong liquefied natural gas industry.

The president of Conoco's Australian operations, Todd Creeger, warned of the risks of local ventures losing out to rivals in lower cost locations overseas. Separately, Shell's Australian head, Ann Pickard, said there were challenges for Australia as a high-cost gas supply location.

Mr Creeger said: "Australia needs to work on its cost structure. I don't think the supply-demand situation will have a material impact unless Australia blows out on costs. When you sort the projects around the globe, Australia tends to be on the high side."

Tactics used by environmental groups have been an issue for industry figures. Earlier this month, a Greenpeace plan to raise $6 million to disrupt and delay new coalmines sparked widespread concern from resources executives.

The draft proposal, titled "Stopping the coal export boom", aimed to make some projects unviable. It said 2012-13 would be critical years in stopping "tens of billions of dollars in investment being locked in".

Mr Ferguson said yesterday that instead of focusing on balanced solutions and constructive outcomes, "many of these groups are fundamentally anti-growth and refuse to address the realities and complexities of our modern economy".


Victoria's carbon target scrapped

A PLAN to cut Victoria's greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent over the next decade is set to be dumped by the Baillieu government on the basis that it would merely lighten the load imposed on other states.

An independent review of the state's key climate change laws, to be released today, has found "no compelling case" to keep the target following the introduction of the Commonwealth's minimum target to cut emissions by 5 per cent, to be mainly achieved through Labor's carbon tax.

It said keeping the larger state target operating with a smaller national target would put a disproportionately large burden on Victoria, with no benefit to the environment because other states would do less.

It also concludes that keeping the state scheme in place would distort the national scheme as Victoria did more than its share.

The former Brumby government introduced legislation to cut emissions 20 per cent below 2000 levels by 2020 after the failure of the Rudd government's carbon trading scheme to pass Parliament.

In opposition, the state Coalition said it supported the 20 per cent target. After taking power in 2010, senior ministers started describing it as "aspirational".

Premier Ted Baillieu has previously backed the concept of a carbon price as the cheapest way to cut emissions. Despite this, his government is opposed to the carbon tax, claiming it will hit Victoria harder than other states because of its reliance of brown coal.

State Environment Minister Ryan Smith said there was "bipartisan support" for the 5per cent national target. But the government's position on how it should be achieved in the absence of a carbon tax remains unclear, given its earlier support for so-called market-based mechanisms.

Mr Smith said Victoria would do its fair share on cutting emissions. "We will look to support practical areas such as improving energy efficiency," he said.

The review referred to research concluding that even with a Commonwealth carbon tax, meeting the 20 per cent target would have required Victoria to spend an additional $2.2 billion buying permits internationally to offset state emissions.

The government also points to the 2009 climate green paper released by the Brumby government, which said: "The government does not see any benefit in legislating for a state-based emissions reduction target that is inconsistent with a national target." A later Brumby government climate white paper does not contain a similar statement.

The government says it will retain other climate change initiatives, including a four-year climate change adaptation plan and supporting Victorians offsetting their emissions and participating in the national Carbon Farming Initiative.

Labor climate spokeswoman Lisa Neville said dumping the target would "hurt investment, jobs and the environment. It betrays the trust of Victorians who care about reducing the state's carbon footprint".

Environment Victoria chief Kelly O'Shanassy said the target had been about cutting pollution from the economy and attracting clean energy investment. "Either the Baillieu government doesn't understand the threat climate change presents, or they are ignoring it," she said.

"Either way it's an irresponsible decision environmentally and economically ... Premier Baillieu has caved in to the demands of a handful of polluters instead of acting to protect the environment and the public interest."

Australian Industry Group Victorian director Tim Piper welcomed the decision, saying it was important for business to have consistency across the country. "You simply can't have a different requirement in one part of the country, different emissions targets in different states, for industry working across state lines," he said.

A spokesman for federal Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said: "While a carbon price is the most cost-effective way for Australia to cut our pollution there is still a role for cost-effective state and local initiatives that complement the carbon price."

"We encourage the Victorian government to support carbon pricing as the most economically-efficient way of tackling climate change."

Former federal government climate adviser Ross Garnaut said: "I see no need for separate state emissions targets if there is an appropriate national target and policies to make sure we meet the national target."

The Baillieu government's move has been mirrored by the incoming government in Queensland, which is planning to save $661 million over three years by dumping a range of state-based climate change initiatives.


Gillard Government 'way out of step' on carbon tax says Reserve Bank board member

THE Gillard Government is "way out of step" with what most Australians and Australian businesses think about the carbon tax, according to the head of a leading employer association and Reserve Bank board member, Heather Ridout.

Ms Ridout, who is also the chief executive of Ai Group, the outgoing chief executive of the Australian Industry Group, urged the government to take another look at the $23 a tonne tax which takes effect from July 1.

She said she was "concerned" about the impact the Australian price - which is at least double some international carbon prices - would have on the economy.

"I don't know how much more pressure can be brought to bear on the government and on the Greens on this issue because they are way out of step with what most Australians and Australian business think," Ms Ridout told ABC Radio this morning.

"And the Queensland election result, I'm not sure how much carbon played in it, but there's this feeling that people aren't listening."

The EU emissions trading price recently collapsed to about $10, while one forecaster recently predicted the international carbon price could tank to $5 by 2020.

Ms Ridout's plea to the government came as the federal opposition's climate action spokesman Greg Hunt demanded that Prime Minister Julia Gillard insist that electricity and gas companies include details of the carbon tax in their bills to Australian households.

The coalition has written to Ms Gillard asking her to ensure electricity and gas retailers insert a line item in bills to households and businesses post 1 July, which specifies the cost of the tax.

"The Prime Minister has claimed that the electricity prices will go up 10 per cent and gas charges 9 per cent under the carbon tax," Mr Hunt said.

"The Australian people deserve to know if that promise is kept. That can only be achieved by power and gas bills detailing how much the carbon tax has added to their overall charge. Anything less, will be a cover-up."

Mr Hunt said if Ms Gillard failed to act and provide the necessary transparency, the coalition would introduce a private members bill when parliament resumes in May.

"If the Prime Minister is confident that prices will not be higher than the Treasury figures, then she should have nothing to hide and insist that the details are on the bills and easy to read," Mr Hunt said.


Sea level hoax hits Northern NSW coastal properties

By Cliff Ollier, a geologist, geomorphologist, emeritus professor at the University of Western Australia

THE Weekend Australian reported on March 24 that Port Macquarie Hastings Council was recommending the enforcement of a "planned retreat" because of an alleged danger from sea-level rise in the (distant) future.

The controversy has two main aspects: is the alarming rise in sea level projected by CSIRO reliable? And is moving people from near-shore sites the correct response?

The CSIRO projection is extreme, but before explaining why, I would note that the world's main source of alarmism is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This is not really a scientific body but one that adjusts data and subjects it to mathematical modelling before passing its "projections" on to politicians.

The CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology, then further adjust data and produce models with even more extreme scenarios.

In The Weekend Australian on November 7, 2009, the director of the National Tidal Centre of the BOM, Bill Mitchell, reported an Australian average sea-level rise of 1.7mm a year. This is a reasonable level accepted by most sea-level watchers outside the IPCC and CSIRO and gives a sea-level rise of about 15cm by 2100. He said the "upper end was 3mm a year", which gives a 27cm rise by 2100.

At 8.30am on November 18, 2009, ABC Radio National had a program on sea-level changes. National Sea Change Taskforce executive director Alan Stokes said: "The IPCC estimate of rise to 2100 was up to 80cm." No new data was provided to explain the leap and, in fact, the worst estimate by IPCC in its last report was 59cm.

Note that the IPCC estimates have been falling with each report. In its second assessment report the high-end projection of sea-level rise to 2100 was 92cm, in the third assessment report 88cm, and the fourth 59cm. It is good for the reader to look at sea-level measurements. You can see the sea-level data for the US and a few other countries here. Most stations show a rise of sea level of about 2mm a year, but note the considerable variations even within a single state, though these are no cause for alarm.

The CSIRO uses figures far in excess of even the IPCC, which until now were the greatest alarmists. In its 2012 report, State of the Climate, the CSIRO says that since 1993 sea levels have risen up to 10mm a year in the north and west. That means that somewhere has had a 19cm-rise in sea level since 1993. Where is this place? The European satellite says that sea levels have been constant for the past eight years.

How does the CSIRO arrive at its figures? Not from new data but by modelling. Models depend on what is put into them. For example a 2009 report, The Effect of Climate Change on Extreme Sea Levels in Port Phillip Bay, by the CSIRO for the Victorian government's Future Coasts Program, based its model on temperature projections to 2100 of up to 6.4C. That compares with the most extreme, fuel-intensive scenario of the IPCC and implies unbelievable CO2 concentration levels in 2100 of about 1550 parts per million.



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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Emergency! IPCC tells the truth on something

Unusual climate extremes NOT happening!

The full IPCC Special Report on Extremes is out today, and I have just gone through the sections in Chapter 4 that deal with disasters and climate change.

Kudos to the IPCC -- they have gotten the issue just about right, where "right" means that the report accurately reflects the academic literature on this topic. Over time good science will win out over the rest -- sometimes it just takes a little while.

A few quotable quotes from the report (from Chapter 4):

* "There is medium evidence and high agreement that long-term trends in normalized losses have not been attributed to natural or anthropogenic climate change"

* "The statement about the absence of trends in impacts attributable to natural or anthropogenic climate change holds for tropical and extratropical storms and tornados"

* "The absence of an attributable climate change signal in losses also holds for flood losses"

The report even takes care of tying up a loose end that has allowed some commentators to avoid the scientific literature:

* "Some authors suggest that a (natural or anthropogenic) climate change signal can be found in the records of disaster losses (e.g., Mills, 2005; Höppe and Grimm, 2009), but their work is in the nature of reviews and commentary rather than empirical research."

Anytime that you read claims that invoke disasters loss trends as an indication of human-caused climate change, including the currently popular "billion dollar disasters" meme, you can simply call "bullshit" and point to the IPCC SREX report.


Is global warming cancelled?

A view from Russia

Continuous global warming, which has lately been the talk of the day, will not happen after all. In the 21st century, warming and cooling will be alternately replacing each other approximately every 40 years, with each subsequent cooling more severe than the previous one. This is proved by changes in the ice situation in the Arctic, Nikolay Dobretsov, Doctor of Geology and Mineralogy, the Chairman of the Earth Science United Academic Council, has told The Voice of Russia. He is convinced that the hypothesis of continuous climate warming on our planet has considerably exhausted itself.

“There were views that anthropogenic interference, like emissions of greenhouse gases by all heat electric power stations and all industrial influence in general, has resulted in irreversible changes in the Earth’s climate. Those views were based on excessively rapid warming in the 20th century which was thought to continue indefinitely. However, the events of the last three years, when Venetian canals froze and Spanish vineyards were destroyed by frost, and the fact that now Moscow and a considerable part of Europe are having a particularly long winter, prove that temporary cooling has begun. The same is happening to the Antarctic ice. The smallest ice volume and area in the Antarctic were observed in 2007 and 2008. In 2009, 2010, 2011 and early 2012, the volume of ice grew.”

Thus, the academician says, the theory of continuous warming is not getting practical proof. In this century, the volume of the Arctic ice will grow and contract by turns. On the other hand, no one can say when the planet is to expect a new Glacier Period, similar to the one contemporary Europe saw 20,000 years ago, Nikolay Dobretsov continues.

“The Arctic determines the weather on the planet, so we should build a network of stations there for a detailed study of this issue. After that we’ll be able to make a theoretically substantiated forecast.”

The scientist stresses that meteorological and other scientific stations in the Arctic should be equipped with super-modern equipment to raise the reliability of the forecasts. The construction of one of the first stations on Samoilovsky Island in the estuary of the Lena River in Siberia is already in full swing and will be completed in August this year.

Scientific discussions of global warming are many years old, even though geological research testifies that cooling always followed warming on Earth. Contemporary theories explaining the reasons for and consequences of global warming have once again been challenged by the latest American investigation which has proved that Earth warmed and cooled off in the Middle Ages as well. A team of scientists from Syracuse University in New York State has discovered that in the Middle Ages warming happened not only in Europe but also in the Antarctic. This means that Earth has already experienced global warming, even without human influence and emissions of carbon dioxide. The results of the investigation will be published by The Earth and Planetary Science Letters on the 1st of April.


Obama Headed For Defeat in Pipeline Fight

Byron York

To hear the White House tell it, Barack Obama might be the most pipeline-friendly president ever to occupy the Oval Office.

In advance of Obama's March 22 visit to Cushing, Okla, the White House released a fact sheet detailing the president's support for oil pipeline projects. "The need for pipeline infrastructure is urgent, because rising American oil production is outpacing the capacity of pipelines to deliver oil to refineries," the White House wrote. "It is critical that we make pipeline infrastructure a top priority."

When the president appeared in Cushing, White House image-makers positioned him in front of huge stockpiles of pipe -- tons and tons of pipe. Message: Obama loves pipelines. "Under my administration," the president said, "we've added enough new oil and gas pipeline to encircle the Earth and then some."

But Obama wasn't in Cushing because he has approved so much new pipeline. He was there because he is facing bipartisan opposition, in Congress and across the country, for blocking the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would bring about 700,000 barrels of oil from Canada to refineries in Texas every day, creating thousands of new jobs in the process. The opposition appears to be growing, and there's good reason to believe Obama will be forced to reverse himself in the next few months.

A new Gallup poll shows that 57 percent of Americans say the government should approve building Keystone. That number includes 81 percent of Republicans, 51 percent of independents and 44 percent (a plurality) of Democrats. The only good news for the White House is that most Americans aren't following the issue very closely, at least not yet.

In Cushing, the president announced he will expedite approval of the relatively short southern portion of the Keystone project, known as the Cushing pipeline, which will take oil that is already in Oklahoma down to the Texas refineries. "I'm directing my administration to cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles and make this project a priority," Obama said.

But Republicans quickly pointed out that a) presidential approval wasn't necessary for that portion of the pipeline, since it is all domestic, and b) it was Obama's agencies that were responsible for the red tape and bureaucratic hurdles in the first place. "He's out in Oklahoma trying to take credit for a part of the pipeline that doesn't even require his approval," said House Speaker John Boehner.

The GOP has also pointed out that there are many, many pipelines already crisscrossing the United States, including some that cross the Canadian border. In fact, Republicans say, Obama is the first president to deny a permit for a cross-border pipeline.

In addition, GOP lawmakers cite maps showing there are already pipelines over the Ogallala Aquifer, the giant underground water table that stretches below Nebraska and several other heartland states and is the reason environmentalists cite for opposing the Keystone project. "America either should install Keystone XL, with all of its benefits, or -- if such pipelines really are as dangerous as Democrats argue -- yank out all these pipelines that could destroy Ogallala," writes conservative commentator Deroy Murdock, who has argued strongly in favor of the pipeline.

Recently, Senate Republicans forced a vote on a proposal to approve Keystone. The final vote was 56 - 42, with 11 Democrats breaking with the president to vote in favor of the pipeline. The only reason it didn't pass was that the Democratic leadership filibustered the measure, requiring 60 votes for passage. (Liberal critics of the filibuster, so angry when Republicans used it to block Democratic measures, were uncharacteristically silent after the vote.)

If Obama has already lost 11 Democratic votes, with the election still several months away, it's likely he is going to lose more in the future. "Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said after the last vote that the issue would not be going away," says a Senate GOP source. "There is strong bipartisan support, and we'll have more shots at this."

In coming months, Republicans can likely count on the support of more and more Americans who are more and more angry about rising gas prices. As the general election campaign begins, Obama will face determined arguments from Republicans that in his desire to promote green energy -- Obama will hear the word "Solyndra" many, many times this fall -- he is standing in the way of making America more self-sufficient in oil and gas. It won't matter how many photo-ops he stages in front of piles of pipes. In the end, he'll have to say yes to Keystone.


Richard Muller: Climate Profiteer

Remember Richard Muller, the Berkeley scientist who last October declared climate skepticism to be over? Like other alarmists, he is also a climate profiteer.

In the Wall Street Journal commentary that rocketed Muller into the media spotlight, he wrote: "But now let me explain why you should not be a [global warming] skeptic, at least not any longer."

Muller’s tagline disclosed: "Mr. Muller is a professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of “Physics for Future Presidents” (W.W. Norton & Co., 2008)."

But Dr. Muller is no mere Berkeley professor. He is in fact president and chief scientist of Muller & Associates, which is:

"Helping businesses make profitable investments in alternative energy"


"Helping governments build energy strategies that are right for them."

We don’t begrudge Muller’s outside consulting, we do however take issue with his phoniness. Check out our Muller chronology:

Muller: Only scientists can see climate change
Muller flip-flops again?
Have the skeptics been debunked?
Richard Muller no skeptic
Eugene Robinson debunks himself
Muller not a skeptic in 2003, either
Fizzle: Alarmist academics doubt impact from Muller
Muller accused by colleague of hiding data
Run away! Muller backs off attack on skeptics
Muller: ‘I never said you shouldn’t be a skeptic’
Muller trashes WashPost’s Eugene Robinson
Muller: Climategate a ‘scandal’, ‘terrible’, ‘shameful’
Muller admits: Never a skeptic

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Methane cuts could delay climate change by 15 years

His methane claim is complete BS of course but notice that in the course of his presentation, he is forced to note the BENEFITS of higher CO2 Levels: Most unusual from a Warmist.

His methane claims are complete idiocy because NCAR's radiative transfer models show that even a 100X increase in methane would have an almost imperceptible effect on downwelling longwave radiation. Methane is only 1.7ppb and completely overlaps with H2O absorption bands.

THE world could buy itself 15 years of breathing space for fighting climate change, one of the world's top climate modellers argued on Monday.

Peter Cox at the University of Exeter, UK, was speaking at the Planet Under Pressure meeting in London, where more than 2800 scientists gathered to discuss fears that Earth's life-support systems are under intense stress from human activity.

The trick, he says, is to widen our attack on greenhouse gases from carbon dioxide to include the second most significant greenhouse gas - methane. "Methane is a more important control on global temperature than previously realised. The gas's influence is much greater than its direct effect on the atmosphere," says Cox. Curbing methane, he adds, may now be the only way to prevent dangerous warming.

We release methane in many ways - leaks from gas pipelines and coal mines, from landfills, the guts of livestock and rice paddies. Curbing these emissions would bring a manifold benefit for climate, says Cox.

He has studied the way CO2 and methane influence plant growth, and says that these feedback mechanisms mean action on methane could have twice the expected punch.

An atmosphere containing less methane but more CO2 would encourage forests and other vegetation on land to absorb more carbon. This would happen in two ways. First, the extra CO2 would itself act as a fertiliser for vegetation, so it would grow faster and absorb more CO2. Second, less methane would minimise the formation of tropospheric ozone, which damages plant growth.

These mechanisms are well known, but Cox is the first person to calculate their collective impact on the amount of CO2 that can be released while keeping global warming below 2 °C - the widely accepted threshold for dangerous climate change.

He told the conference that a 40 per cent reduction in human-caused methane emissions would permit the release of an extra 500 gigatonnes of CO2 - a third more than previously thought - before we exceeded 2 °C warming. "That is a 15-year breathing space at current CO2 emission rates," says Cox, who admits there are uncertainties in his calculations.

"It looks extremely unlikely that we can stop global warming at 2 °C just by reducing CO2 emissions," he told New Scientist. "That probably requires peaking emissions by 2020. But drastic action on methane would make the task much more feasible."

Cox says most governments have become fixated on combating CO2 emissions, and while that remains essential, the benefits of action on other greenhouses gases have been ignored. He stresses that this is not an excuse to burn more coal. "Nothing in the study contradicts the view that stabilising climate will require large reductions in CO2 emissions, but it does show the unexpectedly large importance of other gases."

Cutting methane emissions is cheaper than cutting CO2 emissions, and brings other benefits. Besides boosting vegetation, reduced tropospheric ozone will increase growth rates for many crops and cut health risks, such as asthma, from air pollution.

John Reilly, an expert on non-CO2 greenhouse gases at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, agrees that a 40 per cent cut in methane emissions is feasible at relatively low costs. It could be done primarily by curbing leaks from gas fields and pipelines, and emissions from coal mines and landfills. But he warned that to limit warming to 2 °C, "we need to accelerate our efforts on everything". Even allowing for a 15-year breathing space, Reilly says, "it's not either CO2 or methane, it has to be both".

If the good news is that reducing methane emissions can have a better-than-expected effect on curtailing global warming, then the bad news from Cox's calculations is that a continued rise in methane emissions would have a more damaging effect than previously supposed. If you let methane go up a lot, then less carbon can be stored in land sinks, Cox warns. Methane is, in effect, the unseen control on how much CO2 can be safely put into the atmosphere.

Besides climate change, the conference has flagged up the over-pumping of underground water reserves, soil erosion, acidifying oceans, forest loss and the accumulation of human-made nitrogen in rivers and oceans.

The meeting is expected to call on the United Nations Earth Summit 2012, being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June, to back the creation of an equivalent of the UN Security Council to put environmental security at the heart of world diplomacy.


Sackett vs. the EPA

A Supreme Court victory but ...

The Sacketts still face months or years in court, paying through the nose for the privilege of defending their tiny piece of land. Meanwhile, millions of other landowners and businesses continue to endure an increasingly harsh and irrational tyranny, and this SCOTUS decision decision does little or nothing to relieve that condition.

It is very important to realize that the EPA still very much has the upper hand in this action as in others. And the EPA is far from alone on their side of the fight. We can include, AT A MINIMUM the Army Corps of Engineers' regulatory bureaucracy, the US Forest Service, the US Bureau of Reclamation, the US Bureau of Land Management, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and dozens of state agencies. The innocent and often-blindsided landowner (or business owner) is outgunned, outmanned, and often, out-of-luck. There are hundreds of similar environmental cases with the regulatory agencies, including air quality, water quality, land quality, solid waste, and related issues. Many of these have been “resolved” by the abject surrender of the landowners and businesses to the demands of the agencies. Many more will be decided similarly in coming months and the SCOTUS decision will not figure in 99 our of 100.

I am, among other things, an environmental engineer and work in WY, SD, CO, and other states, and I know many of my own clients, and many fellow engineers and THEIR clients who have and are facing the same sort of abusive, immoral, unconstitutional, and often illegal treatment by one or more agencies, on a daily or weekly basis. I have known dozens of projects and several dozen firms or enterprises which have been crushed beneath the heels of regulators and the attorneys and political appointees AND elected officials which back and empower and encourage them.

Take, for example, the “administrative process” the EPA used to bulldoze the Sacketts. Most state and federal agencies have a similar type of "administrative" injustice system. They have their own administrative "judges" and "compliance advisories" and threats of ever-increasing fines, enforcement actions, and denial of future permit applications.

All too often, this process is triggered merely because of a failure by the owner to kowtow sufficiently to the inspector on-site and nameless "environmental protection specialists." These bureaucrats are often untrained, inexperienced, and often generally opposed philosophically to the very activities they are regulating.

A typical “environmental protection specialist” for a federal or state agency, showing up in their government SUV with their LLBean shirts and jackets and boots to inspect your property, is often someone with a B.S. Degree (if not just a B.A.) in “public administration” or perhaps “ecological management” or even “general science,” a work history including long stints at McDonalds or Arbys, and membership in the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, and their local recycling group or club; together with a two- or three-month course in “conducting environmental inspections” after they were hired on as a GS-5 or GS-7 (or state equivalent).

Their experience in the field consists of hiking trips and long slide shows about “mining kills wildlife.” Even though they may claim to understand that milk comes from a cow and not a carton, they do not act like they know that. These people, like the USDA and AAA and WPA agents of yore, will tell men and women in their 50s and 60s, with calloused hands and weathered faces from years of construction, farming, ranching, mining, timbering, and other PRODUCTIVE careers, that THEY (the inspectors) will show THEM (the owners) how to do things right.

And if you do not immediately and completely agree with them, their pens are quick to write up reports which turn into compliance advisories and notices of noncompliance and notices of violations. Which translate into consent decrees and fines (or “contributions”) in lieu of legal actions – charges with the local state's attorney or federal attorney.

Even if the EPA can no longer force someone like the Sacketts into stipulating that the agency's claims are valid before they can even file an administrative appeal, much less a legal appeal, the rest of the system remains intact. Month by month, although the statutes and regulations frequently do NOT change, the agencies' and attorneys' “interpretations” change and more and more landowners and businesses are left with less and less.

It is getting worse, literally by the month.

For every EPA 404 action, there are a dozen or two dozen EPA, Wyoming DEQ, South Dakota DENR, Colorado DPHE or DNR, USFS, BLM, and USACE actions, each one claiming a violation based on some interpretation and demanding costly actions and fines – even if projects and lands and businesses are abandoned. I personally have been involved with more than a dozen actions where a company or private landowner was forced to accept a "compliance advisory" for something that made no sense and could have been fought in court - accept, "admit" (under duress) to some crime, and pay fines (in some cases tens of thousands of dollars) and/or do "mitigation" that was very costly. Why? Because the alternative of paying tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, together with months or years of project delays, and the risk of being blacklisted by the various agencies was impossible or unacceptable - leading to bankruptcy, seizure of land or entire businesses, and more.

This SCOTUS decision changes NONE of that – and it will take battle after battle to even HOPE to change that. Even the Sacketts are more likely than not to lose their battle against the EPA and any state agencies which are the EPA's waldos in their case: for most citizens and businesses, there is little chance of even so small a victory as this one.



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


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

2351 Days vs. 2 Weeks

So much for "more extreme weather"

It has been 2,351 days since a major hurricane hit the US, the longest such period on record.

By contrast, in 1893 the US was hit by two major hurricanes within two weeks. Kerry Emanuel says that hurricanes are getting more intense and doing more damage.
The 10th storm of the season, known as the Cheniere Caminada Hurricane began on September 27 in the western Caribbean Sea. After hitting the northeastern coast of the Yucatán Peninsula as a Category 2 hurricane, it moved through the Gulf of Mexico. As it approached the southeast coast of Louisiana, it rapidly strengthened to a Category 4 hurricane, and hit land on October 2. It moved through Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas before dissipating at sea. This storm was one of the first hurricanes to officially receive a Category 4 designation on the modern Saffir-Simpson scale. It killed 2000 people and caused around $5 million (1893 dollars) in damage.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Gen-Y Rejects the Green Life: ‘Let’s all live like the Kardashians’

It increasingly looks like we’re entering the 4th quarter of the great Contest of Truth on global warming. The climate alarmists know they are way behind, and the Fakegate scandal shows they are willing to heave one Hail Mary after another — even in the most underhanded fashion — in a desperate attempt to get back in the game.

Yet those Hail Mary passes expose a rag arm throwing fluttering ducks into a headwind. Fact is: Generation Y — a generation exposed to relentless alarmist global warming propaganda since elementary school — is not very motivated to take the field, catch the pass, and win one for the Green Gipper.

Power Line’s Steve Hayward — who recently wrote one of the best pieces yet about Fakegate in the Weekly Standard — mirthfully notes that “one of Time’s hippest young columnists, the egregious Joel Stein, [has written] a column saying essentially that environmentalists are basically a bunch of losers.”

Hayward quotes the hipster Stein, who wrote of the Gen-Y generation (and quoted the author of a study on Gen-Y’s attitudes on environmentalism):
Compared with boomers and Generation X-ers, Gen Y-ers are the least willing to cut down on driving and electricity use. “There was a lot more questioning of materialism in the 1970s. Now it’s just like, Let’s all live like the Kardashians,” she said. . .

We do stuff not to save the planet as much as to look as if we’re saving the planet. That means I need to spend a lot more on my food, clothing and appliances and let everyone know about it.

Ouch. At least Gen-Y is sufficiently self-aware to recognize the contradiction. The power for all those Macbooks, iPods, iPads, live-streaming, Facebook updates, and Tweeting has to come from somewhere — and Gen-Y demands to be plugged in at all times. Gen-Y will not “power down” for the planet. Stage Two: Giving up paying the poseur premium for reliable, fossil-fueled energy that keeps all them all plugged in — and bursting the media-fed fantasy that wind farms and solar panels will keep an uninterrupted digital world at their fingertips. Gen-Y is at least halfway there. Critical mass comes after the first brown-out in California.

More proof that the game clock is ticking down on the alarmist team and they are out of time-outs? Hayward cites a study from that finds alarmist media coverage of the climate had declined 20 percent since 2010. The metrics are worse for editorial boards, which have cut in half their “we gotta save the planet NOW” work since 2009. Tick … tick … tick …

Read all of Hayward’s excellent Power Line post for its own sake, and to also see an amazing chart of the decline in alarmist media coverage that is impossible to hide. Quip’s Hayward: “Move over hockey stick.”

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Global Warming Models Are Wrong Again

The observed response of the climate to more CO2 is not in good agreement with predictions

By Prof. WILLIAM HAPPER (Princeton)

During a fundraiser in Atlanta earlier this month, President Obama is reported to have said: "It gets you a little nervous about what is happening to global temperatures. When it is 75 degrees in Chicago in the beginning of March, you start thinking. On the other hand, I really have enjoyed nice weather."

What is happening to global temperatures in reality? The answer is: almost nothing for more than 10 years. Monthly values of the global temperature anomaly of the lower atmosphere, compiled at the University of Alabama from NASA satellite data, can be found at the website here. The latest (February 2012) monthly global temperature anomaly for the lower atmosphere was minus 0.12 degrees Celsius, slightly less than the average since the satellite record of temperatures began in 1979.

The lack of any statistically significant warming for over a decade has made it more difficult for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its supporters to demonize the atmospheric gas CO2 which is released when fossil fuels are burned. The burning of fossil fuels has been one reason for an increase of CO2 levels in the atmosphere to around 395 ppm (or parts per million), up from preindustrial levels of about 280 ppm.

CO2 is not a pollutant. Life on earth flourished for hundreds of millions of years at much higher CO2 levels than we see today. Increasing CO2 levels will be a net benefit because cultivated plants grow better and are more resistant to drought at higher CO2 levels, and because warming and other supposedly harmful effects of CO2 have been greatly exaggerated. Nations with affordable energy from fossil fuels are more prosperous and healthy than those without.

The direct warming due to doubling CO2 levels in the atmosphere can be calculated to cause a warming of about one degree Celsius. The IPCC computer models predict a much larger warming, three degrees Celsius or even more, because they assume changes in water vapor or clouds that supposedly amplify the direct warming from CO2. Many lines of observational evidence suggest that this "positive feedback" also has been greatly exaggerated.

There has indeed been some warming, perhaps about 0.8 degrees Celsius, since the end of the so-called Little Ice Age in the early 1800s. Some of that warming has probably come from increased amounts of CO2, but the timing of the warming—much of it before CO2 levels had increased appreciably—suggests that a substantial fraction of the warming is from natural causes that have nothing to do with mankind.

Frustrated by the lack of computer-predicted warming over the past decade, some IPCC supporters have been claiming that "extreme weather" has become more common because of more CO2. But there is no hard evidence this is true. After an unusually cold winter in 2011 (December 2010-February 2011) the winter of 2012 was unusually warm in the continental United States. But the winter of 2012 was bitter in Europe, Asia and Alaska.

Weather conditions similar to 2012 occurred in the winter of 1942, when the U.S. Midwest was unusually warm, and when the Wehrmacht encountered the formidable forces of "General Frost" in a Russian winter not unlike the one Russians just had.

Large fluctuations from warm to cold winters have been the rule for the U.S., as one can see from records kept by the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA. For example, the winters of 1932 and 1934 were as warm as or warmer than the 2011-2012 one and the winter of 1936 was much colder.

Nightly television pictures of the tragic destruction from tornadoes over the past months might make one wonder if the frequency of tornadoes is increasing, perhaps due to the increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. But as one can read at Andrew Revkin's New York Times blog, dotearth, "There is no evidence of any trend in the number of potent tornadoes (category F2 and up) over the past 50 years in the United States, even as global temperatures have risen markedly."

Like winter temperatures, the numbers, severity and geographical locations of tornadoes fluctuate from year-to-year in ways that are correlated with the complicated fluid flow patterns of the oceans and atmosphere, the location of the jet stream, El Niño or La Niña conditions of the tropical Pacific Oceans, etc.

As long as the laws of nature exist, we will have tornadoes. But we can save many more lives by addressing the threat of tornadoes directly—for example, with improved and more widely dispersed weather radars, and with better means for warning the people of endangered areas—than by credulous support of schemes to reduce "carbon footprints," or by funding even more computer centers to predict global warming.

It is easy to be confused about climate, because we are constantly being warned about the horrible things that will happen or are already happening as a result of mankind's use of fossil fuels. But these ominous predictions are based on computer models. It is important to distinguish between what the climate is actually doing and what computer models predict. The observed response of the climate to more CO2 is not in good agreement with model predictions.

We need high-quality climate science because of the importance of climate to mankind. But we should also remember the description of how science works by the late, great physicist, Richard Feynman:

"In general we look for a new law by the following process. First we guess it. Then we compute the consequences of the guess to see what would be implied if this law that we guessed is right. Then we compare the result of the computation to nature, with experiment or experience; compare it directly with observation, to see if it works. If it disagrees with experiment it is wrong."

The most important component of climate science is careful, long-term observations of climate-related phenomena, from space, from land, and in the oceans. If observations do not support code predictions—like more extreme weather, or rapidly rising global temperatures—Feynman has told us what conclusions to draw about the theory.


British Musical Legend Fumes Over Government's Wind 'Scam'

Famed lyricist SIR TIM RICE has taken aim at the government for backing wind turbine schemes, branding the environmental initiative "a scam".

Prime Minister David Cameron's coalition government wants renewable sources to provide 15 per cent of the energy supply by 2015, but the investment into wind farming has divided the country.

Rice admits he is not a fan of the scheme, and has even turned down big money offers to house wind turbines on his sprawling estate in Scotland.

He tells the Sunday Telegraph, "I recently declined to support a Conservative function because I'm so incensed about these wind turbines. Like all so-called climate-change doubters, I am very pro the environment, but I strongly believe that it is something that can only be cured locally. Some insane overall scheme isn't going to cure all the problems. And the money that is wasted!

"As a landowner in Scotland, I've been offered vast amounts of money to stick up wind turbines, which not only will make me richer, it will make less well-off people poorer, and will damage the environment. These schemes aren't doing any good - just making rich people richer, and it's depressing to see great areas of these useless objects up there.

"It's a scam - a con - and until the government has the brains to actually say, hang on, we've got it wrong, this is a total economic and environmental error, then I find it hard to give total support to them."


Rational Environmenalism

I’ve had quite a bit of time to consider what I call rational environmentalism. There is a lifestyle that we live that I don’t believe we need to give back even one bit of comfort on. For instance, not showering when you want in order to save energy, cannot save enough energy to be worthwhile unless you are personally flat broke.

Today in America, we have crossed that threshold of reasonable environmentalism into the realm of self-inflicted industrial harm, an area which the politicians of climate science are miserably bad at quantifying. Gas prices are a perfect example. With hundreds of different mixtures, all producing the same CO2 and similar emissions, certain blends have reached shortfall. Prices are therefore skyrocketing, as intended by the president along with supportive members of congress, and the result is a repression of personal lifestyles – for the low income earners. It also results in less jobs for the middle and high income earners but of course they go second.

Most of these effects are unnoticed by the public, as the circular fingerpointing can go on forever. The point should be to get back to what worked but that is not the subject of this post. I do believe in AGW although I’m unconvinced it is dangerous. At this point, I believe warming has been greatly beneficial – not just a little. Still, new energy sources will be found, new high-efficiency devices will be created, new paradigms of better living will occur. Notice I wrote will, rather than must. Even over-controlling government cannot stop it.

These sources will happen out of the general drive for people to make money and better lives for their families, whether we governmentally encourage them or not. This is one more aspect of the IPCC which is completely missing from the discussion. Do nothing IPCC scenarios don’t properly recognize the incentive that drives new energy exists without government. Sure, biofuel might not win, nor would solar implementation, but development and study is more than healthy. The failure of the self-appointed elite to notice the intellect of the masses has gone on since the beginning of human culture. Certainly, there is a lot of dumb in the world.

Many people you meet can’t even grasp the simple concepts of a post like this yet there are enough in the world, degreed or not, who are not part of the elite, yet have the wherewithal, and more importantly, the intent to change the world.

This mass of self-improving public intellect set free to improve themselves, is what set America apart in the past. The result was NOT bad for the environment, although SWAG and others would beg to differ. Cleaner power, friendlier farming, better air, have all resulted from the excess profits of capitalistic society, yet we Americans live in an all encompassing media-sponsored message of guilt. Guilted to turn over rights, such that the completely fabricated possibility of global warming doom, doesn’t happen.

The worst part about extremist AGW, is that there is no solution to the problem. Infinite money can be spent, and we still cannot stop the emissions. If everyone on earth were made an instant millionaire for conserving their usage, none of our millions would be worth a sandwich because the economic flow would stop. Redistribution, does NOT work to create wealth.

The goal for the Super Warming Advocates Guild, in my opinion, should be much different than it is. Instead of trying to repress the lifestyles of those who they openly consider ‘overconsuming’, they should be focused on solutions with emphasis on minimal impact to the economy, and general funding of research into new energy. Research for energy, is entirely different than implementation of new energy, and is FAR different from blatantly false “all of the above” rhetoric. Implementation of fake solutions in the form of all of the above, is simply a swag at the true goal of repression of lifestyles. Either a solution works, or it doesn’t, there is not much middle ground.

Despite what the AGW alarmists sell, we can change energy production, without giving anything up. Not one penny. In fact, I fully believe the change will happen, with or without our intent.

Economically, nothing could be more important than providing endless cheap energy to society. The ability to ship, travel, heat and cool are paramount in the improved living standards of humanity. Any brief review of the history of energy reveals this.

The inventions of smelting, steam engines, liquid fuel IC engines, turbines, home electricity, pumped water, centrally retailed goods, all have worked to achieve a better lifestyle for the globe. Free to pursue new interests aside from feeding themselves, scientists study climate, medicine, physics, math, philosopy, etc. at their leisure. This was not possible at our present scale even 100 years ago. A true sign of the excesses of productivity.

From all of this, I truly believe a philosophy of limitation of energy, from any source, is very much counterproductive for the environment, for long-term limitation of CO2 emission, and for the quality of life of our children. I have seen no evidence which contradicts this thought process, and more telling, no evidence which makes a real attempt at it. The IPCC takes a very generalized swing though.

So what is rational environmentalism? It is the minimization of damage to our surroundings while prioritizing the collective health of our economic productivity. Maximizing our economy, naturally leads to maximization of technological growth.

Do you avoid eating meat? – Oh hell no. That’s crazy. Eat what you like and live your life. Cow farts do nothing ‘damaging’ to the environment and the very concept is ludicrous to the point of stupidity.

Do you avoid using paper? – No way! It is a farming industry like corn.

Do you build a solar powered home? No again. The cells take a lot of energy to make and are often dirty. They also cost more than the energy they make. Why? Well if you want to do it, sure, but there is little reason. Wait 20 years and we will all change our minds.

Do you build a more efficient home? Sure, if you have the option, this is cheap and saves cash. Insulation, smart design, can all lead to improved lifestyle and save money. Smart stuff.

Do you buy energy efficient lighting? Sometimes it makes sense, others, it does not. If you heat your house around the clock, the old light emitting incandescent heatball, is hard to beat for efficiency.

What about a green clothes dryer? No way. Water requires a certain amount of energy to evaporate. Use the power.

The whole environmentally friendly decision process I personally recommend boils down to whether you can maintain, or improve your lifestyle, while changing how you live. Our company sells energy efficient products. We sell them on longevity and quality, the efficiency is just another bonus. We are all amused that our company has saved more CO2 than Michael Mann or Jim Hansen ever will. Sure they may have influenced the public, but we have designed, produced, sold and distributed actual product in large quantity. Our customers usually don’t even think about the CO2 they are saving, but they are happy about the secondary savings from lower energy usage.

When you are choosing to conserve, I hope you consider that the saving of CO2 emissions may have NO positive impact on the environment. Despite the known warming signal, the percentage of natural vs CO2 warming is unknown, and not one single instance of environmental damage has ever been directly attributed to the fraction of a degree C we have experienced. Nothing.

Also, when you choose to recycle, consider that Waste Management makes billions sorting garbage for the good stuff already. When you choose to buy recycled paper, you are driving down the cost of pulp from fresh trees, sustainably farmed everyday, by capitalist necessity, across the world. Sure a few areas are treating their forests poorly, but when they lose their production, the process stops and the trees grow back.

Conservation is a complicated sport which most people get wrong in my opinion. Instead of conserving usage, we should be focused on conserving low cost production and directing some of that profit toward more efficient technologies, expansion of a better way of life across the globe, while insuring that obvious damage to the environment is minimized. By obvious, I mean things like chemical spills, river pollution, particulate emission, etc. If you are a believer in destructive warming, you and I have a big difference of opinion and one of us is wrong, but my point is that by stopping limitation policy and allowing the global economy to continue, technology will develop far faster and we all will realize a new paradigm in energy production far more rapidly than if we pursue the government forced policies of limitation. Less NET CO2 will be emitted and we can all go back to fighting about the important stuff like whether we evolved from monkeys or whether we should be able to defend ourselves in our homes.


Come on baby light my fire, but watch the cat

Tim Blair has some amusing comments about Earth hour. A few excerpts:

EARTH Hour is with us again this Saturday night, so you'll want to start planning.

For your normal Earth Hour types, this is a simple procedure. Just turn all your lights off at 8.30pm and sit there thinking you're Jesus. But for those of us in the Hour of Power movement, a proper celebration requires substantial commitment.

Just follow my essential power party guide and you'll be set.

First, it's symbolically vital that you turn on every single light for the appointed hour. Sounds easy enough, but there is always a sneaky bulb out on the back porch or in the garage. Be vigilant. Don't let even the smallest or least visible globe escape illumination.

If you know anybody in the local council or the film industry, lean on them for a one-night use of something huge. These people have got lights that you wouldn't believe. Point them at your pool and it'll evaporate like a state Labor party.

Food is important. Put some thought into what you serve. According to a recent study, the basic prawn cocktail has an absolutely massive carbon footprint. Biologist J. Boone Kauffman found that, with transport and refrigeration factored in, just 100g of prawns shipped from a typical Asian farm represents a total carbon output of 198kg.

So you'll be eating prawns, then. Plus pizza. The delivery kid won't have any problems finding your house for once, what with it being lit up like a supernova.

My favourite Earth Hour moment came in 2010, when a Canadian environment minister hosted a candlelit eco-dinner. The smugness was interrupted when their cat caught fire. Holding true to the Earth Hour message, they refused to air the place with an electric fan. Open windows were the only means of dispersing stench of singed cat.

When you're scoping out foreign Earth Hour reports, don't forget to click on the reader comments at the end of every hand-wringing article begging readers to kill the lights. These comments invariably provide delightful counterpoint to the overall Earth Hour message.



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