Sunday, December 01, 2013

Lies My President Told Me

Paul Driessen

“Under my plan, if you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your healthcare plan, you’ll be able to keep your healthcare plan. Period. Nothing changes, except your health insurance costs will go down.”

It was just a couple of renegade IRS agents in Cincinnati. Benghazi was a spontaneous protest that got out of control in direct response to an inflammatory video posted on the internet. During September 2012, our rebounding economy created an astonishing 873,000 jobs. And on and on.

If we have learned anything about President Obama and his administration, it is that they are compulsive, practiced prevaricators – determined to advance their agenda of “fundamentally transforming” America and imposing greater government control over our lives, living standards and pursuit of happiness. When caught, they dissemble, say they were “not informed directly,” issue false apologies, or fire back with “What difference, at this point, does it make anyway?!?”

Keep all this in mind when the President and other Washington politicos bring up “dangerous manmade global warming,” insist that we slash fossil fuel use, and tell us we need to give poor countries billions of dollars a year to compensate them for “losses and damages” they incurred due to warming we caused.

When they claim “97% of scientists say the planet is warming and human activity is contributing to it,” remember: This is based on 75 of 77 “climate scientists” who were selected from a 2010 survey (that went to 10,257 scientists). 700 climate scientists, 31,000 American scientists and 48% of US meteorologists say there is no evidence that humans are causing dangerous warming or climate change.

Moreover, “contributing to” is meaningless. Is it a 1, 5, 20 or 90% contribution? Is it local or global? Do scientists know enough to separate human factors from the numerous, powerful, interrelated solar, cosmic, oceanic, terrestrial and other forces that have repeatedly caused minor to major climate changes, climate cycles and weather events throughout human and geologic history? At this point, they do not.

When the President says “carbon pollution in our atmosphere has increased dramatically,” remember: It’s not “carbon” (soot) – it’s carbon dioxide. It’s not “pollution” – it’s the plant-fertilizing gas that makes all life on Earth possible. Increased “dramatically” means rising from 330 ppm (0.030% of the atmosphere) in 1975, when scientists were concerned about global cooling, to about 400 ppm (0.040%) today.

(Oxygen represents 21% of atmospheric gases (210,000 ppm). Argon is 0.93% (9,300 ppm). About 90% of the “greenhouse effect” is from water vapor. And roughly 95% of the annual addition to atmospheric carbon dioxide levels is from volcanoes, subsea vents and other natural sources.)

Over the past 16 years, while CO2 levels continued to increase “dramatically,” average planetary temperatures did not budge. The eight years since a Category 3 hurricane made landfall in the United States is the longest such period since 1900 or even the 1860s. Even with the recent Midwestern and East Coast twisters, US tornado frequency remains close to a record low. Is that due to CO2 emissions?

There is one point on which the President is correct. In 2008 he said “This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow.” And indeed, they are now rising at a mere seven inches per century.

All of this should fascinate the scholar and climate realist that lurks inside each of us. But what should concern us is the pernicious effects that the constant barrage of “manmade climate change” hype and headlines is having on public policies, taxpayer and consumer expenditures, and our daily lives.

Like threads in a tapestry, “dangerous manmade climate change” is intertwined with anti-hydrocarbon, imminent resource depletion, renewable energy, sustainable development, and wealth redistribution theses and ideologies. They are used to concoct and justify energy and economic policies, ranging from delays and bans on oil and gas leasing and drilling, to the war on coal mining and use, and diehard opposition to hydraulic fracturing and the Keystone XL pipeline.

They promote spending $22 billion just in federal money during FY-2014 on climate change studies; costly solar projects of every description; wind turbines that blight scenic vistas and slaughter millions of birds and bats annually, while wind energy developers are exempted from endangered species and other environmental laws that apply to all other industries; and ethanol programs that require millions of acres of farmland and vast quantities of water, fertilizer, pesticides and fossil fuel energy to produce a gasoline additive that reduces mileage, harms engines, drives up food prices … and increases CO2 emissions.

The policies pummel jobs, families and entire communities around coal mines and coal-fired factories and electrical generating plants, impairing the health and welfare of millions. Being unemployed – or holding multiple lower-paying part-time jobs – means greater stress, reduced nutrition, sleep deprivation, family discord, higher incidences of depression, greater alcohol, drug, spousal and child abuse, higher suicide rates and lower life expectancies. It means every life allegedly saved by anti-fossil fuel regulations is offset by lives lost or shortened because of those rules.

The policies, laws and regulations affect everything we make, grow, ship, eat, drive and do – 100% of our energy based economy, not just one-sixth under ObamaCare – and put legislators, bureaucrats, activists and courts in ever-increasing control over our lives, livelihoods, liberties, living standards and life spans.

Even worse, it’s all for nothing – even if carbon dioxide plays a bigger role in climate change than many scientists believe it does. Germany is relying increasingly on coal for power generation. Australia has junked its cap-tax-and-trade program. Britain is reexamining its commitment to CO2 reduction. China and India are building new coal-fueled power plants every week, and neither they nor any of the real “developing countries” are required to commit to “binding targets” for lower carbon dioxide emissions.

Under agreements signed at the just-concluded UN climate conference in Warsaw, 130 developing nations must merely make “contributions” toward lower emissions, and only when they are “ready to do so.”

But then international climate programs were never really about preventing climate change. As IPCC official Ottmar Edenhofer has admitted, they are about “how we redistribute the world’s wealth.” First, tens of billions continue flowing annually to IPCC scientists and bureaucrats and renewable energy programs. Then we start talking about real money.

Now that the IPCC, President Obama and hordes of other climate alarmists have convinced so many people that climate change is “real,” it’s “happening now,” humans are “contributing to” myriad disasters on an “unprecedented” scale – the Group of 130 expects the FRCs (Formerly Rich Countries) to pay up.

China, India, island nations and poor countries demand “compensation,” “adaptation” and “mitigation” money, to pay for “losses and damages” from rising seas and more frequent, more intense storms and droughts – which they say are happening already, and which they blame on industrialized nations that helped raise CO2 levels from 280 ppm at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution to 400 ppm today.

They want $50 billion immediately, followed by $100 billion to $400 billion per year, plus free transfers of our best energy, pollution control and industrial technologies. It’s too late to prevent, mitigate or adapt to climate change, they say. You “rich countries” need to start paying for the damage you are causing.

20% of the EU budget will now go toward CO2 emission reductions and helping poor countries adapt to climate change: €180 billion ($245 billion) by 2020. What the United States will have to pay in “compensation” and under ClimateCare schemes being hatched at EPA, DOI and Energy headquarters is yet to be determined. But the payments will be substantial, even crippling.

We are caught in a climate trap of our own (bureaucrats and politicians) making. How will we get out?


Faith-Based IPCC Turns Science into Sin

The Fifth Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) makes clear that climate alarmism is now and has always been a matter of faith, and not science.

The just-released report includes remarkable revelations. Contrary to previous IPCC reports, this report shows that planet Earth’s mean temperature is not directly tied to the concentration of one relatively weak greenhouse gas — carbon dioxide — floating around in the atmosphere. It shows that other forces influence the planet’s climate, which for the most part are well beyond our control.

Volcanoes can pump particulate matter into the air, a phenomenon that lowers global temperatures by dissipating sunlight. The planet’s oceans — in particular, the massive Pacific — serve as enormous heat sinks, effectively modulating any natural temperature variations. And perhaps most importantly, the ultimate source of our day-to-day temperature fluctuations, the Sun itself, undergoes its own fluctuations that influence our lives far more than the burning of carbonaceous compounds in order to generate heat and power.

All of these facts, truths that “skeptics” such as the Heartland Institute (and yours truly) have been trumpeting for years, are acknowledged in the latest IPCC report.

However, that same report tells us to believe none of these other influences matters nearly as much as the small amount of carbon dioxide that mankind adds to the atmosphere. Doomsday is still on the way, according to the IPCC. Its arrival has merely been delayed a bit by an unexpectedly frivolous Mother Nature. We must not waver in our confidence that ruination is just around the corner.

We are supposed to forget how confident the prophets of doom were thirty years ago when they first began asserting that unless we kicked the fossil fuel habit, disaster was sure to arrive early in the 21st century. Well, here we are. The global climate is not markedly different from what it was when they started their predictions of doom. The “hockey stick graph” indicating a drastic temperature increase has given way to a broomstick, with temperatures lying flat for the past 15 years.

In just about any realm of human study, being this dramatically wrong would cause the authors of the errors to be dismissed as unreliable, and perhaps as quacks. But in the world of environmental fearmongering, a spectacularly false prediction is no obstacle. There is no “wrong” in climate activism, there is only the message, which must be pushed continuously without regard for contrary evidence or honest scientific skepticism. Unsettling facts must not get in the way of “settled science.”

If you disagree, you are labeled a flat-Earther. The IPCC says the science is settled, what more evidence does one need?

If you have the temerity to question prominent alarmist Michael Mann’s refusal to test his climate claims against real world measurements, you’ll be told that proofs are for mathematics, and that only a blockhead would not accept Mann’s word on the matter.

Climate science is both solid and liquid at the same time, although uniquely neither, a paradox reminiscent of the Trinity in Christian doctrine. And although I’m a fan of the Trinity, perhaps doctrines such as this should be reserved for religion. Though since environmental and climate activism has always been a matter of faith rather than science, perhaps such essentially religious formulations were inevitable.

The First Church of Climate Change needs a reformation. According to its leaders, we peasants are no more qualified to understand the subtle nuances of climate science than the serfs of medieval Europe were qualified to understand the mysterious motions of the heavens. And so we are told to put our faith in the modern-day version of the papal astronomer and to never, ever question the word of the educated elite. To do so would be heresy, a sin that has the most heinous of consequences.


Wind turbines: Health Warning issued

The Waubra Foundation has just issued an “Explicit Warning Notice” (1) to wind turbine manufacturers, developers, acousticians and governments worldwide.

Recently “rediscovered” research funded by the US Department of Energy and involving NASA and multiple other research organizations has shown that the health damaging effects directly caused byinfrasound and low frequency noise (ILFN) emitted by wind turbines have been known to the wind industry, governments and acousticians in general, since 1985 (date of the official field study led by Dr. Neil Kelley).epaw logo But this health risk has been covered up ever since, denounces the Foundation. “Health authorities have been careful to exclude ILFN measurement and exposure limits from noise regulations”, said its CEO, Dr. Sarah Laurie. “To this date, they continue to deny any problem exists with ILFN emitted by wind turbines, ignoring complaints of victims and their right to be protected against known health hazards from industrial installations”.

The wind industry argues that modern turbines are different, but it has not proved that they are safe with respect to the emission of ILFN. The onus is on them, and on the health authorities, to “prove a positive”, argues the Foundation. “Like any product, it must be tested to be safe before it is sold”, says Dr. Laurie. “There is gross negligence on the part of the authorities for approving modern wind turbine installation close to habitations without having verified that these machines are harmless.”

In view of this, and in the name of thousands of victims, the European Platform Against Windfarms (EPAW), and the North American Platform Against Windpower (NA-PAW), are hereby demanding that governments immediately:

1) - adopt the evidence-based health protective ILFN exposure limits recommended by Kelley in 1985;

2) - wherever wind turbine neighbors complain of effects on their sleep and/or health, monitor in their homes the full spectrum of noise pollution and infrasound down to 0,1 Hz, accurately, transparently and independently of wind developers, and

3) - actively enforce regulation breaches, ensuring affected neighbors are able to have the non-compliant wind turbines turned off at night so they can sleep.

“Sleep deprivation has been used as an effective means of torture and a technique for extracting confessions,” stated Dr. William Hallstein in his recent letter to the Board of Health of Falmouth, Massachusetts. (2)

Dr. Neil Kelley said in a recent interview: “ (subsequent research found that) the majority of the physics responsible for creating the annoyance associated with this (1985) downwind prototype are applicable to large (modern) upwind machines.” (3) Dr. Laurie concludes: “wind turbine designs may have changed, but human physiology has not”.


Fads Come and Go -- is the Electric Car a Fad?

Fads come and go, but sometimes they stay around and, after a while, everyone wonders how the world ever lived before. The question here is whether electric cars are just another fad or are they the beginning of a whole new way of doing things, such as going to the beach, or grocery shopping.electric car

In order to get a handle on that question, let’s look at some critical information.

Energy Equivalency

First, consider the amount of a typical gas tank’s worth of electric energy. Let’s say your car has a tank of 50 L (approximately 15 US gallons) gasoline. The energy equivalency is 33.4 kWh (kiloWatt-hours) per gallon of gasoline. Therefore, if your car had batteries and an electric motor only and everything else being equal, you would need a battery system with a storage capacity of approximately 10 times the number of kWh of the number of liters of gasoline; therefore 500 kWh of electric energy storage.

Energy Efficiency

The internal combustion engine (ICE) has a lower efficiency of energy (fuel to usable power) conversion than an electric motor (EM); roughly 27% compared to 80% for the EM. In other words, the ratio of stored power to usable power for the EM is approximately three times that of the ICE. Therefore, in calculating the effective cost of running an electric car this also needs to be considered.

Cost of Electricity

Nationwide, the average residential cost of electric power is in the order of 12.5 cent/kWh, prior to additional costs. Adding those additional costs would bring it to somewhere in the $0.15 to $0.20 range per kWh, depending on other conditions such as “cost of delivery”, taxes and so forth. With that, to “fill up” your electric car with 500 kWh of electricity would cost about $90 on average.

Using a price of $4/gallon, the cost of the equivalent energy in the form of gasoline would actually be less; namely $60.

Cost of Vehicles

Next, let’s consider the cost of an electric-power-only vehicle (EV). Until now, the cost of EVs is well above the average car price. Let’s just say that the average car (all costs included) has a price of $25,000. You certainly have to shell out more for any EV; in fact quite a bit more, sort of like $100,000. A large part (50%?) of that amount is due to the cost of the batteries. Batteries are the real weak point of the EV craze.

Energy Storage Capacity

Energy storage is another critical point. Batteries, being chemical systems, just can’t compete with gasoline. Even the best batteries have an energy density of only 1/40 of that of common gasoline or diesel fuel. Therefore, even the combustion engine’s lower efficiency is negligible in terms of those carbon fuels’ energy storage capacity in comparison to any battery system of equal weight.

Durability and Cost of Batteries

Of course, batteries for EVs must be rechargeable and, primarily for weight reasons, they are lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). You find LIBs in many modern electronic devices such as cell phones, cameras, tablets and the like. These gadgets are using micro-circuits with extremely low energy needs to function quite well for many years.

If you have used such a device for a few years you likely will have noticed a decline in battery performance. Not only are they slowly losing power even when not used, perhaps they even develop a “memory lock” despite (or because of?) regularly being recharged to “top them up.” In short, after a while, they need to be replaced. That’s when the cost hits home; I just had to replace one for a cordless telephone at a surprising $30.

Don’t expect any different “sticker shock” for your EV battery replacement when needed.

Recharging EV Batteries

Companies selling EVs, like Tesla, have come up with novel incentives. Currently Tesla offers free electricity recharge at their stations. Of course, that will last only for a while. But more importantly, even at a charging rate of 120 kW, it’s not an “instantaneous refill” as you would get with gasoline. Even at its super-quick charging stations you have enough spare time to go shopping for a while, i.e. 30 minutes. Other commercial outfits only have chargers delivering 10 kW (using 40 amperes at 250V) where it takes more like 6 hours to “fill-up.”

While Tesla claims a recharge time of 20 min with supercharging it would only give you a 50% recharge under such conditions. Their web site also says that an 80% level (of battery capacity) recharge will take 40 min and a 100% recharge 75 minutes. They also offer a complete (?) battery exchange in less than two minutes at an unstated cost. Having seen one of their cars stripped down to the batteries which cover the entire frame, I wonder how that is done.

Range Limitations

With a fully charged 60 kWh (approximate energy equivalent to 2 gallons gasoline) battery as in the Tesla model S with a curb weight of 4,700 lbs, the company claims a range of 230 miles (temperature dependent) at highway speed. That’s unless you use the air conditioner, go uphill and downhill, turn on the headlights, or drive at a temperature less than 55 F. Quite telling is that their interactive web site does not even allow you to calculate a range limit at temperatures below freezing. Presumably, nobody needs to drive their car in winter.

Putting it All Together

When putting it all together, i.e., the purchase price plus the costs associated with depreciation, battery deterioration and operation of any EV are still much higher than that of any car with a combustion engine. Combined with the range and temperature limitations, EVs are more like expensive toys.

When you count in the time (your time) and frequency of recharging and limited range to go just a couple of hundred miles, even in warm California, it ought to be clear that EVs are not a wise investment, certainly not in colder climes or at this time and, more likely, if ever. Perhaps Tesla’s recent stock price action reflects such recognition.

But if you have money to burn…


Junk Science: Sea Level Rise Paper Exposed

I also scoffed at this study -- on 21 August



By Albert Parker

The lack of global warming over this century in the measurements of ground and deep oceans temperatures and the lack of positive acceleration in the measurements of sea levels suggest that the climate models have greatly exaggerated the influence of the anthropogenic carbon dioxide emission. However, rather than feeling uncomfortable with possibly wrong theories, many authors have recently re-focused their attention from “warming” to “weather extremes”, blaming climate “variability” and “uncertainty” for the lack of warming, or sorting out the most unrealistic explanations for the lack of warming of temperatures and accelerations of seas as it is the case of the claimed storage of 4.572·1012 m3 of water in Australia discussed in the commented paper.

The latest news about global warming report of temporary falls of the rate of rise of sea levels because of formation of Lake Eyre in Australia.

“Global sea level has been rising as a result of global warming, but in 2010 and 2011, sea level actually fell by about a quarter of an inch. Scientists now say they know why: It has to do with extreme weather in Australia. The sea level drop coincided with some of the worst flooding in that continent's history. Dozens of people died and torrents washed away houses and cars, forcing thousands from their homes. Some of those floodwaters simply ran back into the ocean, so they didn't affect sea level. But a lot of that water was trapped on the Australian land mass. That's because the continent has an odd geography.” writes Richard Harris [1] reporting on a work recently published by John Fasullo and others in the paper here commented [2].

The claim by Fasullo surprisingly accepted in the peer review is that “Australia's hydrologic surface mass anomaly is responsible for the fall in the reconstruction of global mean sea level.” Apart from the fact that the global mean sea level (GMSL) reconstructions are not measurements but very questionable computations, it appear unbelievable that the natural formation of Lake Eyre in the centre of Australia can be considered responsible for a drop of a quarter of an inch in the GMSL.

Lake Eyre (Kati Thanda) is the lowest point in Australia, at approximately 15 m below sea level (lowest point when empty) and when it fills is the largest lake in Australia and the 18th largest in the world. The temporary shallow lake is found in South Australia some 700 km north of Adelaide. The surface area is 9,500 km2 maximum, with average depth 1.5 m every 3 years and 4 m every decade.

A good reviewer of the paper by Fasullo should have asked him why the 2010-2011 pattern is not evidenced a decade before in the GMSL computation that started early 1990s.  Similar rain falls were indeed experienced about a decade ago [3], but the oceans did not fall that much.

Same good reviewer should also have asked Mr. Fasullo if he considers conservation of mass must be enforced when asserting that “the sea level dropped by a quarter of an inch during these raining times for Australia though normally it rises by an eighth of an inch per year and since that time the global sea level has risen by nearly an inch”.  Approximately 72% of the planet's surface totalling about 3.6x108 km2 is covered by saline water. In terms of the hydrosphere of the Earth oceans contain 97% of the Earth's water. Half inch of oceans translates in 4.572·1012 m3 of water. The average deep of Lake Eyre should have been 486 metres to store all that water that it does not seem to be the case.

Same good reviewer should have asked Mr. Fasullo why all the long term tide gauges continue to show same oscillations about a linear trend without any sign of accelerations since the beginning of the 1900 and during the two decades of the satellite reconstruction of the GMSL [4-10].

Same good reviewer should have asked Mr. Fasullo why there should be a rise in the level of the oceans if the thermometers have measured a flat ocean temperature up to 2000 m the first decade that measurements have been collected [10] and the ground temperatures have also been stable.

Same days Scott Simon [11] reports on the opportunity to cool down the warming climate with engineering projects.  “Draft report from the intergovernmental panel on climate change was leaked to the media this week. The scientists will report to the U.N. that it is nearly certain that human activity has caused most of the earth's climate change over the last 50 years. Now, this leak is certain to rekindle debates about how best to contend with events like increasing temperatures and rising sea levels, and it might make some people take a new look at what's called geo engineering.” writes Scott Simon.

The best energy policy options according to many climate advocates is to impose huge taxes on everything is carbon related to subsidise projects such as building machines that would suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, reflecting sunlight away from the earth, changing the hydrology of a continent and similar.

With reference to this latter option, it has already been proposed to flood Lake Eyre with seawater brought to the basin via canal or pipeline to increase rainfall in the region downwind of the lake [12]. If the computations of Mr. Fasullo are correct, this would certainly reduce at least temporarily the rate of rise of sea level [2], but we do have some doubts about the “sustainability” of digging channels of almost 700 km from the sea to Lake Eyre then to be kept clean of salt deposits all with tax payers’ monies.

SOURCE  (See the original for  references)

British energy bills expected to fall £50 a year following cuts to green levies

Household energy bills are expected to fall by £50 a year as a result of cuts in green levies to be announced in George Osborne’s Autumn Statement next week.

Final negotiations between the Big Six energy firms and ministers are taking place this weekend and suppliers could announce a reduction in prices as soon as Sunday. Some are also expected to pledge that they will freeze prices until spring 2015, unless wholesale energy costs rise.

David Cameron promised on Friday that by “eroding” the levies on gas and electricity bills, the Government will deliver “sustainably low energy prices” and help households struggling with the rising cost of living. The Daily Telegraph has been given details of the reforms under negotiation ahead of the Chancellor’s appearance in the Commons on Thursday.

The Autumn Statement will be the culmination of the Coalition’s drive to answer Labour attacks over the cost of living and stop the issue dominating the agenda before the 2015 general election. Despite a return of growth, many households are still worse off in real terms than before the recent recession.

“Green” levies contribute £112 to the average annual household energy bill, the Government has said. Without reform, that could rise to £194 by 2020.

The levies include support for renewable energy, and “social” levies to fund insulation and subsidies for poorer households. Industry sources said that ministers were preparing to reduce the impact of “social” costs on bills with immediate effect.

A “warm homes” levy that costs households £12 a year will be funded through taxes instead of bills. Fees imposed on companies for using power distribution networks will be reduced, taking another £5 off bills.

Further cuts will come from reforms of the energy companies’ obligation, a complex set of requirements for firms to reduce carbon emissions by insulating customers’ homes.

The 2015 deadline for meeting that obligation will be delayed. Other energy efficiency levies will also be reduced.

Sources said that the combined changes could be enough for suppliers to promise that the average bill will be around £50 lower.

While ministers will present any reductions as real help for households, a £50 fall would not fully offset increases announced by many of the big suppliers earlier this year.

Those rises have added an estimated £107 to the average dual fuel bill this year, taking it to almost £1,300.

But speaking at an EU summit in Lithuania, Mr Cameron insisted that the Government would deliver on his promise.

“I want to help households and families by getting sustainably low energy prices. Now, the only way you can do that is by increasing competition and eroding the costs of some of the levies on people’s bills,” he said. “I said that’s what we were going to do, that is what we are going to do.” The comments come as ministers denied reports that the Government had asked companies to freeze bills until the election in 2015.

Ed Miliband has promised that a Labour government under his leadership would change the law to freeze energy bills until 2017, a plan ministers have dismissed as a “con”. Yesterday he said that Mr Cameron was “flailing” over energy prices, accusing the Coalition of failing to act on the cost of living.

Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, said that the Government had an “absolute duty” to reduce the bills.

But he insisted that the Coalition would not cut subsidies for renewable energy sources such as wind farms, or help for poorer households. Ministers will “continue to safeguard and maintain our environmental objectives,” Mr Clegg said.

Sophie Neuburg, a fuel poverty campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said it would be “appalling” if big energy firms were allowed to dilute their obligations.

She said ministers should increase funding for energy efficiency if they were committed to reducing bills.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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