Friday, January 31, 2014

Tropical cyclone frequency falls to centuries-low in Australia

In America big wind events have been unusually rare in recent years.  Warmists call them "extreme weather" and pretend that they are MORE frequent and also in some way "proof" of global warming.  Skeptics  simply point to the statistics.  So it is interesting that in far-away Australia we have exactly the same situation -- including a proclamation that the unusual rarity of these  rare events "proves" global warming.  Hurricanes and cyclones prove global warming and the absence of hurricanes and cyclones also proves global warming.  It's pure Leftist logic:  Complete illogic that is guided only by the conclusions it wants to come to.  But it's no surprise coming from the same sort of people who are proclaiming America's present extreme cold as proof of warming  -- JR
The number of tropical cyclones hitting Queensland and Western Australia has fallen to low levels not seen for more than 500 years, new research published in Nature shows.

But while that's seemingly great news for people in cyclone-prone areas, our new research into Australia's past cyclone records also highlights a serious risk.

Low-lying coastal areas such as Cairns, Townsville and Mackay in north Queensland have all been developed on the unproven assumption that the cyclone activity of the past 40 years will continue unchanged into the future.

The concern is that our new results closely matched several recent studies that have projected fewer - but increasingly intense - tropical cyclones for Australian region due to global climate change.

And if those projections prove to be right, we are taking a big gamble with existing homes, roads and offices, as well as threatening proposed developments such as the A$4.2 billion resort casino planned for low-lying coastal land near Cairns.

There is no such thing as a risk-free development, especially when building in cyclone-prone regions. However, being properly informed and cautious about developments in such regions is in all Australians' interests - because if we get it wrong, we all stand to pay through higher insurance premiums and largely taxpayer-funded disaster clean-ups.

Our study shows that current seasonal cyclone activity is at its lowest level in Western Australia since 500 AD and since about 1400 AD in Queensland. That decline began about 40 years ago.

While Australia's official cyclone records only date back to 1906, we can track cyclones further back in time using measurements of isotopes housed within limestone cave stalagmites. Those stalagmites grow upwards from the cave floor as rainwater containing dissolved limestone drips from the cave ceiling.

The isotope chemistry of tropical cyclone rainwater differs from that of monsoonal and thunderstorm rainwater. As a consequence, it is possible to analyse the chemistry of each of the stalagmite layers, which are approximately 1/10th of a millimetre thick, and generate a record of cyclones over the past 1500 to 2000 years.

My colleague Jordahna Haig then matched the isotope records with the Bureau of Meteorology's cyclone record over the past 40 years and generated a Cyclone Activity Index, which plots the seasonal activity of cyclones over the past 1500 years.

In the short term, the recent decline in tropical cyclone activity is good news for all those who live in and visit tropical north Queensland and Western Australia. However, there are some possible dark clouds on the horizon that we would be reckless to ignore.


2014 Antarctic Sea Ice Extent already On Track For Record High Minimum

Antarctic Sea Ice Extent  is very much on track to have the highest minimum in the modern satellite era.

The highest minimum was in 2008 at 3.69176 million sq km on day 51, The 2nd highest was in 2013 at 3.65040 million sq km on day 50.

The earliest minimum was day 43 in 1994. And the latest minimum was day 65 in 1986.

Antarctic Sea Ice Extent as of Jan 27 2014 was 1 million sq km above the 1981-2010 mean and 160,000 sq km above 2008.

Day 27 was the 10th daily record of the year.


Solar Provides 0.2% of Electric Supply--Up From 0.02% Before Obama

He's spent billions achieving virtually nothing

Solar power, which President Barack Obama promoted in his State of the Union Address, accounted for 0.2 percent of the U.S. electricity supply in the first nine months of 2013, according to data published by the U.S. government's Energy Information Administration.

That is up from the 0.02 percent of the total electricity supply that solar power sources provided in 2008, the last calendar year before Obama took office.

“Now, one of the biggest factors in bringing more jobs back is our commitment to American energy,” Obama said in the State of the Union. “The all-of-the-above energy strategy I announced a few years ago is working, and today, America is closer to energy independence than we've been in decades.”

“It's not just oil and natural gas production that's booming; we're becoming a global leader in solar, too,” he said. “Every four minutes, another American home or business goes solar; every panel pounded into place by a worker whose job can't be outsourced. Let's continue that progress with a smarter tax policy that stops giving $4 billion a year to fossil fuel industries that don't need it, so that we can invest more in fuels of the future that do.”

According to the U.S. government’s Energy Information Administration, the United States is producing less electricity now than it did when Obama took office. (See Table 7.2.a.)

In 2008, according to EIA, the U.S. generated a net of 4,119,388 million kilowatthours of electricity. In 2012, the last full calendar year for which data has been collected, the U.S. generated a net of 4,047,765 million kilowatthours of electricity.

From 2008 to 2012, U.S. electricity production declined by 1.7 percent.

In the first nine months of 2013, according to the latest data from EIA, U.S. electricity production continued to decline. In those nine months, the U.S. produced 3,078,460 million kilowatthours of electricity compared to 3,095,504 in the first nine months of 2012.

Coal remains the largest source of electricity in the United States, even though coal-produced electricity has been declining in the Obama years.

In 2008, the U.S. generated 1,985,801 million kilowatthours—or 48.2 percent--of its total of 4,119,388 million kilowatthours of electricity from coal. In 2012, the U.S. generated 1,514,043 million kilowatthours---or 37.4 percent--of its total of 4,047,765 million kilowatthours from coal.

Solar-generated electricity did not make up the slack.

In 2008, according to EIA, the U.S. got 864 million kilowatthours—or 0.02 percent--of its 4,119,388 million kilowatthours of electricity from solar thermal and photovoltaic energy. By 2012, the U.S. got 4,327 million kilowatthours—or 0.1 percent--of its 4,047,765 million kilowatthours from solar.

In the first nine months of 2013, the U.S. got 6,407 million kilowatthours—or 0.2 percent--of the total of 3,078,460 million kilowatthours generated up to that point from solar.

Thus, even though solar generation of electricity has been increasing at a tremendous pace in the United States since 2008, it still supplies only 0.2 percent of the country’s electricity.

A larger supply of U.S. electricity, according to EIA, comes from wood. In the first nine months of 2013, 28,400 million kilowatthours of electricity--or 0.9 percent--of the total of 3,078,460 million kilowatthours generated up to that point came from wood.

“Most of the electricity from wood biomass is generated at lumber and paper mills,” says a brief by the EIA. “These mills use their own wood waste to provide much of their own steam and electricity needs.”

Since 2008, natural gas-generated electricity has increased as a share of the overall supply. In 2008, it produced 882,981 million kilowatt hours—or 21.4 percent—of the 4,119,388 million overall supply. In 2012, it generated 1,225,894 million kilowatthours—or about 30.3 percent—of total of 4,047,765 million kilowatthours of supply. In the first nine months of 2013, it generated 853,969 million kilowatthours—or about 27.7 percent—of the 3,078,460 million kilowatthours of total supply.

Nonetheless, electricity has gotten more expensive since 2008—with the electricity price index now at its all-time high.

In December 2009, the month before Obama took office, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ seasonally adjusted electricity index was 193.965. In December 2013, it hit a record 203.186. In December 2008, the average price for a kilowatt hour of electricity in the United States was 12.4 cents. In December 2013, it was 13.1 cents—the most expensive electricity has ever been in December.


Climatologist Gets It Right

At the turn of the century, climatologist Dr. Don Easterbrook issued his own offbeat prediction. “[I]n 1999 … the PDO [Pacific Decadol Oscillation, a natural cycle that fluctuates between warm and cold phases] said we're due for a climate change,” he explained to CNSNews, “and so I said okay. It looks as though we're going to be entering a period of about three decades or so of global cooling.” Indeed, data reveals his prognostication was correct. “We have now had 17 years with no global warming and my original prediction was right so far,” Easterbrook points out. “For the next 20 years, I predict global cooling of about 3/10ths of a degree Fahrenheit.” And that's not necessarily a good thing: “Cold is way worse for humanity than warm is,” he correctly adds. So as alarmists continue with ostentatious rants about nonexistent warming, just remember that what we're actually seeing was foreseen long ago by someone with facts on their side.


Climate Change Nonsense

In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, Barack Obama warned, “[W]e have to act with more urgency – because a changing climate is already harming Western communities struggling with drought, and coastal cities dealing with floods. That's why I directed my administration to work with states, utilities and others to set new standards on the amount of carbon pollution our power plants are allowed to dump into the air.” Those regulations are greatly harming the coal industry and are thus reflected on your monthly power bill.

Obama then declared, “[T]he debate is settled. Climate change is a fact.”

Indeed, much of the nation saw several inches of “climate change” Tuesday, as snow and ice covered several states as far south as the Gulf Coast. In the South, thousands of people were stuck for hours – often overnight – in traffic or wherever they could find shelter, kids were stranded at school, and a region unaccustomed to dealing with such weather was crippled.

One of the main problems in the South was inaccurate forecasting. Chattanooga meteorologist Paul Barys admitted, “This was just not what we were seeing in the forecast models.” Therefore, road crews made almost no preparation until the snow actually began to fall, and schools waited until then to send kids home, compounding a bad situation. The South isn't exactly known for its snowplows anyway.

It's important to note that weather is not the same thing as climate, but we'll make some observations. First, climatologists also use computer forecast models to show that the climate is changing. Computer models can be wrong, especially if the data entered is faulty, and that's true if the prediction is tomorrow's weather or the next century's climate. Indeed, as we noted above, there hasn't been any global warming in 17 years – hence the change in terminology to “climate change.” Second, alarmists like Barack Obama constantly point to weather patterns – drought and floods, for example – as definitive proof that, in order to prevent climate change, we need draconian government regulations and taxes that will hit the economy like, well, a snow storm in Atlanta. And no matter the weather, these alarmists blame climate change. Truth is the only thing getting plowed.


British weather expert accuses Met Office of 'warm bias' in getting annual predictions wrong 13 out of the last 14 years

Their computers are programmed for it

The Met Office has got every annual global forecast so far this century wrong, bar one, a BBC weatherman said.

Paul Hudson, a forecaster for BBC's regional programme Look North, said the Met Office's predictions had been wrong for 13 years out of the last 14, and said the incorrect predictions had all been 'on the warm side' rather than too cold.

He said on his BBC weather blog that they had predicted the global temperature in 2013 would be 0.57C above the 1961-1990 average temperature of 14C, when in fact it was only warmer by 0.49C.

Mr Hudson, a trained meteorologist with 20 years' experience, said the global average temperature for 2013 meant that: 'So far this century, of 14 yearly headline predictions made by the Met Office Hadley centre, 13 have been too warm.'

He added: 'It’s worth stressing that all the incorrect predictions are within the stated margin of error, but having said that, they have all been on the warm side and none have been too cold.'

He said the 2013 annual temperature also meant that another Met Office prediction, that half the years between 2010 and 2015 would be hotter than the hottest year on record (1998) was wrong already.

The forecaster, who previously worked for the Met Office, wrote: 'The Met Office believe one of the reasons for this ‘warm bias’ in their annual global projections is the lack of observational data in the Arctic circle, which has been the fastest warming area on earth.

'They also suggest another reason why the global surface temperature is falling short of their projections is because some of the heat is being absorbed in the ocean beneath the surface.'

A Met Office spokesman said: 'There is evidence that incomplete global coverage of the available temperature observations may have led to an under-representation of regions that were unusually warm.'

Climate change sceptic Professor Richard Lindzen yesterday told MPs that whatever they were doing to counteract 'climate change', the only difference it would make would be to the country's economy.

He said: 'Whatever the UK is deciding to do vis-a-vis climate will have no impact on your climate.  It will have a profound impact on your economy.

'So you are making a decision to take a problem which might not be a problem, take actions which you know will create problems and feel you have done the right thing.', the Times reported.



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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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Why I am a jellyfish when it comes to global warming theory

Most climate skeptics accept the theory that a rise in atmospheric CO2 will cause a rise in terrestrial temperature.  Where they differ from Warmists is in estimating the quantum of the temperature rise. Looking at both the theory and the data, skeptics think the effect of more CO2 will be so minute as to be probably undetectable.

There is however another camp of skeptics who think the whole theory is bunk.  They think that a rise in CO2 CANNOT affect temperature.  Such thinkers coalesce to some degree around the Principia Scientific publication run by John O'Sullivan.  Their "Bible" is Slaying the Sky Dragon.

One would think that both types of skeptics would get along with one-another in perfect amiability but that is not always so.  The "Slayers" tend to be rather shrill critics of the mainstream critics.  In their dogmatism and hunger for consensus they seem rather like Warmists at times.

So I am a jellyfish.  I take no side in the dispute.  Either side could be right in my view.  I think that Warmism has long ago left the realm of science and become a political creed of the Left.  So the important thing is that both skeptical groups piss on global warming fears.  Just as in politics generally, I think you have to have a big tent for your side to win the contest with the Left.  And I would be happy to have a beer with anyone in the tent.

But I was not always a jellyfish.  For a while the slayers had convinced me.  I thought that global warming theory transgressed the first and second laws of thermodynamics.  After a while, however, I concluded that those laws could be applied only to convective processes in the atmosphere, whereas global warming theory is about radiative heat transfer.  At that point I had a small correspondence with theoretical physicist Lubos Motl and he assisted me towards a view that the theory could be expressed in a way not contrary to the law of physics.

So what  I now make of the theory depends on the old law of the conservation of energy.  Energy is not created or destroyed but just changes guise.  So when  energy (heat) from the sun hits the earth, that energy does not just vanish.  It does a number of things and one of those things is that it bounces back in the direction whence it came.  And when it hits a water or CO2 molecule it in turn  bounces off that.  But it will bounce in all dirtections so only a small portion of the bounced radiation will bounce back to hit the earth.  And since CO2 molelcules are a tiny proportion of the atmosphere, you have only a small proportion   of a tiny proportion of the heat being re-radiated to the surface by CO2 molecules.  So the total effect must be very small indeed.  So even in theory the  Warmists are wrong to proclaim a  detectable effect of CO2 levels.

And  what the theory says is of course exactly what we observe.  Temperatures have remained stable over 17 years during which CO2 levels have risen sharply.  So  there has been no detectable effect of CO2 levels.   Any effect has been too tiny to detect.

But in their typical  way, one of the slayers had a go at me recently  for my view that, even given their own theory, Warmists are barking up the wrong tree.   I reproduce the correspondence:

Spotted this sentence in your lead story today: "On the global warming theory as I see it, CO2 reflection is such a minor source of heating that the effects of variations in it SHOULD be so minuscule as to be  undetectable ..." You've got a PhD, so where do you reckon the "warming" comes from then?  Think a bit further and you can only come to one conclusion: in the open atmosphere, CO2 can only act as a coolant, never a warming agent.  Provide me with just one piece of actual observed proof that there is any warming off atmospheric CO2.

I replied:

I am agnostic about the theory.  The form of it that makes some sense draws on the law of conservation of energy.  If back radiation from the earth hits something opaque in the atmosphere the energy should bounce and some of that should hit the earth.  But since CO2 is a tiny fraction of the atmosphere, its effect should be tiny.  That's the theory but reality could be different

The Slayer replied:

The entire basis of the "theory" you mention is incorrect, hence my email to you in the first place.  The concept of "heating by back-radiation" is a myth, has never been observed in Nature and can in fact not exist!  Imagine if such a heating mechanism did exist, we'd be able to build super-efficient heaters where for an input of 1kW we get 2kW out - or any wattage higher than the input.  For sure, any effect off a tiny fraction is tiny, but the only effect that can be scientifically ascribed to adding any gas to the atmosphere is a cooling effect, never a warming effect.  With CO2 being a radiatively active gas, it will in fact act as a super-coolant!  Only when captured in a bottle will the walls of the bottle warm up more when CO2 is inside, because the re-radiated energy can not get out without first dumping its energy into the material of the bottle. Out in the open, that very same property will cause extra fast cooling of the CO2 molecule, where O2 and N2 can only rely on conductive and convective heatloss.  Also remember that in the bigger picture, the sun dumps its heat onto the surface, the air then takes that heat and convects it upwards and sideways with wind - a heatloss situation at all times! Never can more heat be created by recycling the original solar heat - if only!  Delayed cooling is not warming; that delay can at best increase the average temperature - a rather meaningless concept as all weather stations are measuring the air at some 5-7ft off the ground!

I replied:

I don't think you have grasped the law of conservation of energy. Where does the energy (heat) go when it hits a CO2 molecule?"

The Slayer replied:

Thanks Ray, there is no point to any further comms.

Does the brevity of the final reply mean that I won the argument?  I think so but I also think that the important thing is to have the discussion.  Winning and losing are not what science is about.  And I am still open to conviction either way.  I could be wrong! -- JR

Bill Nye the half-wit guy

How a mechanical engineer got a reputation as a science guy is something of a mystery -- and his deficiencies do show at times.  He refers to Mann's hokey "hockeystick" graph as covering 10,000 years when it in fact covered only 1,000 years.  And he also said that people's breathing is causing global warming.  Even Warmist scientists don't say that.  And he repeats the old Malthusian population scare  -- one of the most disproven prophecies there is.  If he is the best Warmists can trot out, Warmists are in even bigger trouble than I thought

Bill Nye the “Science Guy” joined former Vice President Al Gore in linking global warming to the rapid growth of human populations over the last two centuries.

“In the year 1750, there were about a billion humans in the world,” Nye, who is not actually a scientist, said on Fox Business’ “Stossel.” “Now, there are well over seven — seven billion people in the world. It more than doubled in my lifetime. So all these people trying to live the way we live in the developed world is filling the atmosphere with a great deal more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases than existed a couple of centuries ago.”

“It’s the speed at which it is changing that is going to be troublesome for so many, uh, large populations of humans around the world. Now, you may have heard of the hockey stick graph. This is where, uh, we compare the temperature of the world over the last 10,000 years with the temperature now,” Nye continued, citing the discredited “hockey stick” graph developed by former University of Virginia climate scientist Michael Mann.

Nye made his comments in a debate with global warming skeptic Marc Morano, the editor of the skeptic news site Climate Depot. Morano pushed back by arguing that the “hockey stick” graph has been proven wrong and that peer-reviewed studies have shown that the world was warmer during Roman times and the Middle Ages than it is today.

“It comes down to hundreds of factors are influencing our climate here,” Morano said. “CO2 is not the tail that wagged the dog. Another scientist who has essentially reversed herself is Judith Curry from Georgia Institute of Technology. She now says openly that you cannot control climate by reducing emissions.”

“And that seems to be the entire premise of the United Nations, that somehow, if we tweak emissions through carbon taxes, cap and trade, we can alter weather patterns,” Morano continued. “You opened up with tornadoes and Barbara Boxer. She actually went down to the Senate floor the day of tornadoes and implied a carbon tax would help prevent future tornado outbreaks. This is medieval witchcraft.”

Nye’s comments came after it was reported that failed presidential candidate Al Gore told an audience that “fertility management” was part of the solution to global warming and sustainable development in poor countries.

“Depressing the rate of child mortality, educating girls, empowering women and making fertility management ubiquitously available — so women can choose how many children and the spacing of children — is crucial to the future shape of human civilization,” Gore said at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

The idea that the human populations were too large for the Earth to support became popular in the 1970s when current White House science advisor John Holdren and scientist Paul Ehrlich preached the idea.

Holdren and Ehrlich both testified before the Senate in 1974 that the global economy would stagnate because of overpopulation, which even technological advancement would not be able to mitigate.

“We are going to move to a no-growth [economy],” Ehrlich said. “Now, whether we do it intelligently through the government by planning as rapidly as possible, or whether we move there automatically-by the way, when I look at some of the figures these days, I think we’re moving there much more rapidly than people realize — we’re going to get there, obviously.”

The world population was 3.5 billion in 1968 and food supplies only provided 2,300 calories per person per day in the early 1960s, according to United Nations data. The world’s population has more than doubled since then, but advances in food production technologies have allowed more people to be fed and there are far fewer people in the world suffering from chronic hunger today than in the 1990s. Incomes have also increased and economies have flourished since the 1960s.

Furthermore, global temperatures have been flat for the last 17 years now, despite the fact that the world’s population has grown by about 1 billion people since the late 1990s.


Some Reactions to Obama’s State of the Union Address

“As a society, it is high time for us to recognize and embrace the truth. Contrary to President Obama’s misguided assertion, carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Its increasing concentration only minimally affects earth’s climate, while it offers tremendous benefits to the biosphere. Efforts to regulate and reduce CO2 emissions are simply ludicrous. They will hurt far more than they will help.”

“The president said ‘climate change is a fact’ and vowed action via the Environmental Protection Agency in his State of Union Speech, but he did not ask for any new legislation such as the cap-and-trade bill he touted a year ago. As a scientist who knows without a doubt there is no significant man-made global warming, perhaps I should be pleased the president took a softer stance on the issue, But I am far from happy about the state of affairs on the issue.

“It has become purely a rock-solid, lock-step political position of the Democrat Party to believe in global warming, and of the Republican Party to disbelieve. I see no hint that the leadership in either party is truly interested in opening their minds to a scientific debate — to study the evidence and reach a reasoned non-politically motivated position and take actions accordingly.

“Science and politics do not match well. Science is not settled by a vote, and slogans and platform planks are not scientifically significant. It is my deepest regret this has become a political issue. I think we will make little progress in obtaining an open hearing from the public as long as the political leaders line up their followers on one side or the other.”

“President Obama seems to have toned down his climate rhetoric this year given the obvious reality of no rising global temperatures for 17 plus years and the current cold snap gripping the nation. Saying the phrase ‘climate change is a fact’ — is meaningless.

“When our children look us into the eye, we want to tell them that our generation rejected the belief that regulating emissions alters our climate and weather. We want to tell our kids that we rejected the belief that acts of Congress or the UN or the EPA could alter storms or global climate. We want to say ‘Yes we did’ to our kids when they ask us if we stopped bureaucrats at the EPA and in our government from attempting to restrict our energy choices based on the belief politicians can change the weather.”


Podesta: Obama's 'Warmed Up' to Executive Action; Will Use It for 'Climate Change and Energy Transformation Agenda'

President Obama has "warmed up" to using executive authority, and when he believes "he has the authority" to "make progress" without action by Congress, he will do it, White House adviser John Podesta told NPR Tuesday morning.

"But he doesn't like to do this, does he?" the NPR host asked Podesta.  "Uh, I think he's warmed up to it," Podesta replied, laughing.

"And I think you'll see that across a wide range of topics, including retirement security, moving forward on his climate change and energy transformation agenda," said Podesta.

"There's a lot that he has the authority to do that's vested in him under the laws of the United States and his constitutional powers, and I think that he's looking forward to a year of action, and I think he's looking forward to tonight (when he gives the State of the Union speech) as a breakthrough year where he can lay out some of these practical, concrete ideas that will get people onboard a stable economic footing and see their wages going up for the first time in a long time," said Podesta.

As an example of what Obama finds acceptable and unacceptable, Podesta pointed to immigration: He said the president would not bypass Congress when it comes to comprehensive immigration reform, but he did stop the deportation of young illegal aliens who were brought to the country as children:

"If  he believes, and the Justice department believes, he has the authority to make progress, to strengthen the middle class, give people opportunity in this country, he will take it," Podesta said.

Shortly before Podesta spoke to NPR, the White House announced that President Obama will use his executive authority to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for people working on federal contracts. And he will call on Congress to pass legislation raising the minimum wage for all other Americans.


Climate change: A "serious threat"

By Marita Noon

The current cold covering a large portion of the country has, once again, brought out the climate change alarmists with claims of “serious threat.”

Due to his respected position, as climate scientist at the University of California, San Diego Institution of Oceanography, Richard C.J. Somerville’s recent “Cold comfort” column was published in newspapers throughout the country.

In it, he grouses that the public doesn’t take the “consequences” of climate change seriously — pointing out that they are “here and now.” He cites: “only 54 percent of the public sees it as a global threat to their countries — and only 40 percent of Americans do.”

Somerville suggests: “people either are scientifically illiterate or reject science when it conflicts with their core values or religious convictions.” He posits: “the medical profession and communication experts may have much to teach those climate scientists” because “Priming patients to appreciate the value of medical diagnostic tests has been shown to make them more likely to take these tests and then act on the results.”

What Somerville misses in the analogy is that the data backs up the medical case. For example, getting a mammogram catches breast cancer early and increases survival rates. The data has shown that medical science is correct.

On the contrary, the data doesn’t support the claims made by climate scientists — but they just keep making them. Apparently they believe the “big lie” propaganda technique used so effectively by Adolf Hitler.

In Somerville’s column, he offers several familiar, easily disproven statements:

“Low-lying areas are threatened by sea-level rise” which will result in “millions of environmental refugees” and
“Major threats to agricultural productivity as rainfall patterns change and as heat waves, floods, droughts and other weather extremes worsen.”

Because my expertise is in communications not climate, I reached out to someone who could help me: Robert Endlich — who does in fact have both the education and experience. Endlich, who served as a USAF weather officer for 21 years and holds a BS in geology and an MS in meteorology, offered me pages of data and documentation, which I’ve summarized for my readers.

Environmental Refugees

If the threat of “environmental refugees” sounds familiar, it should. The 2005 UN Environmental Program forecast 50 to 100 million climate refugees. A UN report by Norman Myers: “Environmental Refugees, an Emergent Security Issue,” presented at the 13th Economic Forum, in Prague, May 23-27, 2005 predicted: “The environmental refugees total could well double between 1995 and 2010,” and “When global warming takes hold, there could be as many as 200 million people overtaken by disruptions of monsoon systems and other rainfall regimes, by droughts of unprecedented severity and duration, and by sea-level rise and coastal flooding.” His report was accompanied by a map, indicating areas to be impacted by sea-level rise.

In early 2011, Gavin Atkins asked: “What happened to the climate refugees?” In his Asian Correspondent post, he used census records to show that the populations in the low-lying areas predicted to “flee a range of disasters including sea level rise” had actually grown — including no fewer than the top six of the very fastest growing cities in China.

Based on both in-person observation and historic evidence from Western Europe, Endlich has made a study of sea level rise. Citing geological features such as stream meanders upstream of Pisa on the Arno River and new shorelines on the coast of the Ligurian Sea, and history, he told me: “What may be news to many is that there is widespread evidence in the Mediterranean Basin and the English Channel coast that sea levels in Roman and Medieval periods were significantly higher than at present. The Roman port of Ostia Antica, the port at Ephesus, now in Turkey, and Pisa have histories showing the Mediterranean Seas significantly higher than today’s sea levels.”

Endlich continued: “In 1066, William the Conqueror defeated King Harold at the Battle of Hastings. Less well-known is when William landed, he first occupied an old Roman fort now known as Pevensey Castle, which at the time was located on a small island in a harbor on England’s south coast. A drawbridge connected castle to mainland. Pevensey is infamous because unfortunate prisoners were thrown out this “Sea Gate,” so that their bodies would be washed away by the tide. Pevensey Castle is now a mile from the coast — further proof of higher sea levels fewer than 1000 years ago.”

The glacial-interglacial temperature data from the past 400,000 years shows each of the previous four interglacials significantly warmer than at present. In fact, a careful analysis of the ice cores from East Antarctica, published as a letter in Nature, shows that maximum temperatures from previous interglacials were at least 6C/10F warmer than present-day temperatures, with CO2 values then about 280 PPM, and today’s values near 400 PPM. Leaving one to ask: “if CO2 is such a strong cause of warming, why is it so cold today?”

Worsening weather extremes

Somerville stated: “The consequences include major threats to agricultural productivity as rainfall patterns change and as heat waves, floods, droughts, and other weather extremes worsen.” Endlich shared the following with me:

Heat Waves: Dr. Judith Curry, Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology offered Senate testimony on January 16, 2014. She showed an analysis of 982 stations from the U.S. Historical Climate Network for the 48 continental states with more than 80 years of record.  The data show a strong peak of record maximum daily temperatures occurred in the 1930s, with no increasing trend in the post-WWII years when CO2 started its modern increase.

Of the 50 states, the number of state maximum record temperatures obtained from NOAA’s National Climate Data Center, by decade, shows that in the 1930s, 23 states set their all-time high temperatures, by far the largest number of such record highs. There has not been a single state record maximum set in the 21st Century.

Droughts: The most-often used indicator of drought is the Palmer Drought Severity Index. Curry’s testimony included a PDSI chart, showing the most severe droughts in the 102-year record 1910-2012, were in the 1930s and a lesser maximum in the 1950s. Data show no indication that drought severity has increased as CO2 has increased.

Floods: Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr., from the University of Colorado, testified to the Senate EPW Committee on July 18, 2013. With respect to floods, he provided data from the US Geological Survey, which show in the U.S., floods have not increased in frequency or intensity since at least 1950, and that flood losses, as a percentage of GDP have dropped by about 75 percent since 1940, based on data from NOAA’s Hydrologic Information Center.

Somerville says that increasing CO2 will harm plant productivity, but the opposite is true.  First, realize that both plants and animals, including humans, are carbon-based life forms. With increasing CO2, there is an incredible array of beneficial effects spelled out in the book, The Many Benefits of Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment, by Craig Idso and Sherman Idso. The benefits include: increasing water-use efficiency; increasing biomass in roots, stems, flowers and nectar; larger seeds; avoiding human starvation and plant and animal extinctions; stimulating early plant growth; and resistance to plant diseases. The carbohydrates we consume when we eat are derived directly from CO2 in the atmosphere; carbohydrates are the source of the energy we need to survive and thrive.

Climate scientists, such as Somerville, do have something to learn from the medical profession: if you want people to heed your warnings, they need to be backed up by the data.

Somerville’s climate refugees cannot be found. In the recent past, interglacial periods were at least 6C/10F warmer than the present with a lot less CO2 in the air; and the Minoan, Roman and Medieval Warm periods were significantly warmer than at present. By historic accounts, sea levels were many feet higher as recently as 1066 and 1300 AD. His claims of heat waves, floods, drought and agricultural disruption are easily disproven by looking at real-world data.

Somerville’s argument points out: “climate change does involve serious threats.” The serious threat is the Obama/Podesta partnership pushing the executive order pen to punish people with new policies that kill jobs and increase energy costs all in the name of supposedly saving the planet.


Powering Down America

Americans may look back in a few decades and see that 2007 was the year that production of electricity peaked in the United States and our nation began powering down.

This may make many on the environmentalist left — including President Barack Obama's top science and technology adviser — very happy.

But it will not make life better for you, your children or your grandchildren.

According to data published by the Energy Information Administration, the United States generated a total of approximately 4,157 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2007. We had never produced that much before. We have never produced that much since.

In 2012, the last full year for which there is data, the United States produced 4,048 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity — down 2.6 percent from 2007.

In the first nine months of 2013, the United States produced 3,078 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity — down from the 3,096 the United States produced in first nine months of 2012.

The shift in the long-term trend in U.S. electricity production becomes more obvious when viewed on a per capita basis.

I took the EIA's numbers for annual total net electricity generation in the United States, which go back to 1949, and divided them by the Census Bureau's estimates for the U.S. population in July of each year.

In 1950, the U.S. produced approximately 334,088 million kilowatt-hours of electricity for a population of 152,271,417. That works out to 0.00219 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per person.

In 1959, the U.S. produced approximately 713,379 million kilowatt-hours of electricity for a population of 177,829,628. That was 0.00401 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per person.

In the ten years from 1950 through 1959, U.S. per capita electricity production increased by 0.00182 — or 83.1 percent.

America in the 1950s was powering up.

From 1960 to 1969, per capita electricity production increased 69.8 percent. America was still powering up — but not as aggressively as in the 1950s.

From 1970 to1979, per capita electricity production grew by 33.6 percent. From 1980 to 1989, it grew by 19.3 percent. And, from 1990 to 1999, it grew by 11.3 percent. But from 2000 to 2009, it declined by 4.4 percent.

Per capita electricity production in this country peaked in 2007, the same year electricity production itself peaked. That year, the United States generated 4,156,745 million kilowatt-hours for a population of 301,231,207 — a per capita production of about 0.01379 million kilowatt hours.

In 2012, the United States produced 4,047,765 million kilowatt-hours of electricity for 313,914,040 people — or 0.01289 million kilowatt-hours per capita.

Per capita electricity production has declined 6.5 percent from its peak of 2007.

In December 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the seasonally adjusted electricity price index hit a record high of 203.186.

In the seventeen years from January 1952 to January 1969, when America was ramping up per capita electricity production, the electricity price index rose from 27.5 to 30.2 — an increase of only 9.8 percent.

In the seventeen years from December 1996 to December 2013, the energy price index rose from 132.2 to 203.186 — an increase of about 53.7 percent.

Americans in 1950 were looking forward to producing more people and more electricity and becoming a much wealthier nation.

What do the environmentalists who occupy our White House in 2013 envision?

John P. Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, joined in 1995 with Paul Ehrlich, the author of "The Population Bomb," and Gretchen Daily of Stanford's Center for Conservation Biology, to co-author a chapter in a book published by the World Bank. The chapter was entitled, "The Meaning of Sustainability: Biogeophysical Aspects."

"We know for certain, for example, that: No form of material growth (including population growth) other than asymptotic growth, is sustainable," Obama's future science adviser pronounced with this co-authors.

"Many of the practices inadequately supporting today's population of 5.5 billion people are unsustainable; and [a]t the sustainability limit, there will be a tradeoff between population and energy-matter throughput per person, hence, ultimately, between economic activity per person and well-being per person," said Holdren and his co-authors.

"This," they concluded, "is enough to say quite a lot about what needs to be faced up to eventually (a world of zero net physical growth), what should be done now (change unsustainable practices, reduce excessive material consumption, slow down population growth), and what the penalty will be for postponing attention to population limitation (lower well-being per person)."

As President Obama moves forward with his plans for America's future energy production and economic well-being, Americans should remember that Obama's science and technology adviser declared 19 years ago that "a world of zero net physical growth" was something that "needs to be faced up to eventually."



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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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Global cooling hits again

A blast of freezing rain will scatter snow and ice across the Deep South today, prompting officials from New Orleans to Virginia to ready road crews and close schools in what has been called a 'once in a generation' ice storm.

And as the winter storm system brings freezing snow and high winds to the South, the brutal cold temperatures will continue to rattle the Midwest throughout Tuesday.

Chicago, Minneapolis, Milwaukee and other parts of the Midwest will endure a second consecutive day of subzero highs, while much of the Northeast will see temperatures in the single digits and teens, reported.

Popular warm-weather tourist destinations in the South including Charleston in South Carolina, Savannah in Georgia and Pensacola in Florida are expecting ice and even snow - rare occurrences in places that seldom see prolonged sub-freezing temperatures.

Atlanta and Charleston could see temperatures drop to 16F (-9C), while the mercury could plunge to 24F (-4C) in Pensacola. Embarrass, Minnesota will hold the day's coldest temperature of -34F (-36C).

The Weather Channel warned that the heavy accumulation of ice around Savannah and Charleston could spark long power outages and falling trees, blocking off roads and causing travel havoc.

As temperatures continue to drop, more than 3,200 flights have been canceled across the country, according to FlightStats, and Amtrak has reduced some services. Schools, universities and government buildings across the Midwest and South will stay closed today.

Sun is forecast for the Super Bowl kickoff this Sunday - but it will still be the coldest on record.

The Weather Channel predicts a high of 37F (3C) and a low of 24 F (-4C) on Sunday with sun, a low chance of showers and slow winds in East Rutherford, New Jersey, home to the MetLife Stadium.

While this is far kinder than commentators, fans and meteorologists have predicted in the weeks leading up to Sunday's game, it will still take the crown for the coldest ever Super Bowl.

The current record is 39 degrees, which was set in 1972 in New Orleans.

Winter storm alerts have been issued by the National Weather Service stretching from central Texas through the Gulf Coast into Georgia, the Carolinas and far southeast Virginia.

Eastern and central Texas will endure the biggest snow threat in the South, while east North Carolina and southeast Virginia could get more than six inches of snow, The Weather Channel reported.

Weather Channel meteorologist Nick Wiltgen described it as a 'potentially paralyzing winter storm', while winter weather expert, Tom Niziol, said the South could expect weather 'that many parts have not seen in years' - perhaps the biggest ice storm in a generation, NBC reported.

Schools from the Lone Star State to Florida will be closed on Tuesday, while more than 400 flights at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport and more than 300 at George Bush Intercontinental Airport have already been canceled for the day, NBC reported.

Already 80 million people are affected by wind chill advisories.

By Friday, however, temperatures will rise above normal for much of the country, according to NBC News' Al Roker.

By Wednesday, the winter storm will head towards the East Coast and reach up to Rhode Island, before heading off shore later that afternoon.

Brutal cold will also continue to blanket the Midwest on Tuesday, as wind chills will reach 50 degrees below zero across the Great Lakes.

Schools will also be shuttered across cities including Cleveland, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Detroit, Minneapolis and Indianapolis, and government offices in Indianapolis, Galveston and Milwaukee County will also be closed.

The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor will be closed on Tuesday, the first time in 35 years. Tulane University in New Orleans and The Ohio State University in Columbus has also canceled classes.

Amtrak has also canceled a number of train routes in and out of Chicago on Tuesday because of the frigid weather conditions.

The temperatures are also causing ice to accumulate on the Mississippi and Illinois rivers, slowing the movement of grain barges to the U.S. Gulf, according to Drew Lerner, a meteorologist at World Weather Inc.

National Weather Service meteorologist Andrew Krein blamed the weather on a surge of arctic high pressure out of Canada that has spread over the upper Midwest and central plains.

Even weather-hardy Midwesterners expressed weariness on Monday with the sub-zero cold snap, the second this month.

'I'm real sick of it,' said Romik Stewart, 20, who was waiting for a bus in Milwaukee to go to his job at a fast food restaurant. 'I've had enough of this already. It's too much.'

'I'm very ready for the spring," said 18-year-old Caroline Burns, a student at Marquette University in Milwaukee, as she walked from her residence hall to class.

In Alaska, the roughly 4,000 residents of Valdez remained cut off to road traffic from the rest of the state Monday after weekend avalanches blocked the road to the coastal town, officials said.


Again! Massive fudging on global-warming temps

An independent data analyst whose work has been published by Principia Scientific, where scientists deliberate and debate, throwing out predetermined political results in favor of the truth in the data, says the global warming activists are at it again.

They’re manipulating the data.

In this case, lowering the historical temperatures for years prior to 2000. Which makes the temperatures after that look like they’ve risen. Which makes it look like global warming.

“A newly uncovered and monumental calculating error in official U.S. government climate data shows beyond doubt that climate scientists unjustifiably added a whopping one degree of phantom warming to the official ‘raw’ temperature record,” the report says.

It comes from the discovery by independent data analyst Steven Goddard, who did a study of the official U.S. temperature records used by NASA, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and others.

He found that for the records, when global temperatures plummeted in 1999, on the official U.S. chart, they didn’t.

Essentially, he said, the charge was revised downward by one degree for readings before 2000. But they “left post-2000 temperatures more or less intact.”

“Does this evidence prove an intentional fraud? Goddard certainly thinks it possible,” the science site analysis explains, “and only a full examination of all the files will show that, one way or the other. … The ramifications are that hundreds of billions of tax dollars have been misallocated to ‘solve’ a non-problem, all due to willful malfeasance and/or incompetence in data handling.”

The analysis continued, “Just last month (December 2013), John Beale, the senior EPA policy adviser, was convicted and jailed for defrauding taxpayers out of $1 million in salaries and expenses. Does a culture of corruption extend through departments associated with climate policy?”

“Climategate” exposes the global warming scam. Get it now at the WND Superstore.

At the CATO Institute, a separate report on 2013 temperatures noted, “Please be advised that this history has been repeatedly ‘revised’ to either make temperatures colder in the earlier years or warmer at the end. Not one ‘adjustment’ has the opposite effect, a clear contravention of logic and probability.”

Columnist Vox Day wrote at Absolute Rights that it’s just another “smoking gun in the fraud-filled field of ‘climate science.’”

“What Goddard has uncovered is that the U.S. temperature records are being massaged and manipulated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in much the same way that the Bureau of Labor Statistics manipulates the unemployment rate,” he writes.

“For example, despite the fact that more Americans are out of work than ever before, the BLS has managed to reduce the unemployment rate to 6.7 percent by simply excluding millions of Americans from the labor force. So, even though the employment-population ratio has fallen from 64.7 percent to 58.6 percent, implying 18.9 million more Americans out of work in a country of 310 million people, the official unemployment rate is down from its 2009 highs,” he said.

“In the same way, NOAA has magically transformed a 90-year cooling tend into a 40-year warming trend by reversing the polarity of its V2 temperature adjustment. … In other words, NOAA artificially lowered temperatures from before the year 2000 by one degree, thereby making all post-2000 temperatures look that much hotter and producing the fictitious ‘warming trend’ that no one who ever goes outside has been able to detect,” he said.

Goddard’s findings, he wrote, included that “discontinuity” at 1998, because even though temperatures plummeted in 1999-2000, “they didn’t in the U.S. graph.”

He said, “NOAA made a big deal about 2012 blowing away all temperature records, but the temperature they reported is the result of a huge error. This affects all NOAA and NASA U.S. temperature graphs …”

He has assembled an animation that takes the U.S. Daily Temperature, U.S. Monthly Temperature and several adjusted versions of the nation’s temperatures to turn a clear cooling trend into a warming trend.

“Bottom line is that the … U.S. temperature record is completely broken, and meaningless. Adjustments that used to go flat after 1990, now go up exponentially. Adjustments which are documented as positive, are implemented as negative,” he found.

CATO’s separate report said, “All can agree that the temperatures in 2013 further extended the ‘pause’ in the global surface temperature record – which now stands at some 17 years. A lot of people are at work trying to explain what’s behind the ‘pause,’ but no matter the cause the longer that it continues, the further from reality climate model projections become.”

Also weighing in was well-known scientist Art Robinson, who spearheaded The Petition Project, which to date has gathered the signatures of 31,487 scientists who agree that there is “no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.”

“This kind of shenanigan has been going on for decades,” he told WND. He said in the past often the lie has been revealed by other scientific tests. For example, the temperature leaves a certain oxygen content level in the skeletons of small animals that end up in the ocean sediment. Those measurements, he said, are a proxy record and reveal that temperatures have not been rising like various graphs and models suggest.

WND reported only weeks ago that Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., author of “The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future,” says not only has he seen through the “hoax,” but so have his fellow lawmakers.

In that recent interview with Aaron Klein of “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” on New York City’s WABC Radio, the host asked Inhofe – in light of Al Gore and other global warming alarmists’ failed predictions – how progressives continue to “get away” with pushing their “green schemes” in the name of climate change.

“They don’t get away with it in the eyes of the American people,” Inhofe answered. “I find fewer and fewer members of the United States Senate that are sympathetic to this whole cause.”

The global-warming scam exposed: Sen. Inhofe’s “The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future.”

“Those who have read my book, ‘The Greatest Hoax,’ know that this goes way back a long period of time, started by the United Nations,” Inhofe continued. “When they first started talking about the Kyoto Treaty [President Bill] Clinton and Gore, they were all excited about it, and they never submitted it for ratification because they didn’t have the votes. But anyway, that’s when the whole global warming thing started, and frankly, Aaron, I thought there might be something to it – until we found out the cost it would be to the United States of America of $300-$400 billion a year.

“Then we pursued some of these fine scientists who said that the U.N. had rigged the science; then of course in ’09 when ClimateGate came, people realized the United Nations committee, the IPCC, had rigged the science on this thing,” Inhofe said. “Now they’re trying to say this cold thing we’re going through now is just a bump in the climate. That isn’t true at all. It is a hoax.”


New Fear At Davos: Europe Losing The Energy Battle

One of the biggest themes at Davos this year — and one that was not there last year — was "competitiveness." You encountered it whether in the public sessions in the Congress Center, or in the private sessions, and at the various dinners in the hotels strung along the Davos Platz.

This particular rivalry pits the United States head-on against Europe. And, no question — at Davos this year, the United States was judged the clear winner, much to the dispirit of the Europeans trudging back along the icy, snowy streets of this mountain village.

This concern, however, was hardly limited to the annual conclave in the Swiss Alps. It reverberated with simultaneous developments in both Brussels and Berlin that point to the beginning of a major, if difficult, rethink of Europe's energy policies.

Of course, competitiveness among nations gets measured in many different ways. Sometimes, it is in terms of rule of law and sanctity of contracts, regulatory predictability, risks of litigation and class-actions suits — or even the length of time it takes to start a new business.

But this year at Davos, it was calibrated along only one axis — energy. And that measure is creating great angst for European industry. It is also emerging as a challenging issue for policy makers, who, until now, have been quite assured that Europe was on the right course when it came to energy policy.

It all comes down to shale gas and the energy revolution it has triggered in the United States. As a result of the rapid advance of shale technology, the United States now has an abundance of low-cost natural gas — at one-third the price of European gas. European industrial electricity prices are twice as high as those in some countries and are much higher than those in the United States. To a significant degree, this is the result of a pell-mell push toward high-cost renewable electricity (wind and solar), which is imposing heavy costs on consumers and generating large fiscal burdens for governments. In Germany, it was further accentuated by the premature shutdown of its existing nuclear industry after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan.

All this puts European industrial production at a heavy cost disadvantage against the United States. The result is a migration of industrial investment from Europe to the United States — what one CEO called an "exodus." It involves, not only energy-intensive industries like chemicals and metals, but also companies in the supply chains that support such industries.

A year ago at Davos, this question was hardly evident. I can recall only one discussion on the topic last year, and it was over a cup of coffee in the cramped lounge halfway up the main staircase. But this year, the issue was at the top of the agenda. In one session I attended, a senior European official declared that Europe needs to wake up to the "strategic reality" that shale gas in the United States is a "total game changer." Without a change in policies at both the European and national levels, he warned, Europe "will lose our energy intensive industries — and we will lose our economy long term."

Yet the competitiveness gap will continue to expand as Europe remains locked in a path of still-higher costs — unless there is a change in policy. And the first signs of a potential change of policy abruptly emerged in both Brussels and Berlin during Davos week. European policy makers, struggling with already high unemployment, have begun to visualize the further job loss that will result from shutting down European plants. They have also started to pay attention to the 2.1 million jobs in in the United States supported by the unconventional oil and gas revolution.

In Brussels, coinciding with the first day of Davos, the European Commission released a new policy paper on energy and climate. It reiterated the commitment to substantial growth in renewable electricity and a "low-carbon economy." But, for the first time, it put heavy emphasis on the price of such policies and called for a "more cost-efficient approach" to renewables. It warned of the mortal risk facing "industries that have high share of energy costs and which are exposed to international competition." It declared that policies have to promote "competitive" as well as "sustainable energy" — a juxtaposition that was not heard before. It even warned that "the rapid development of renewable energy sources now poses new challenges for the energy system."

Notably, the new policy statement went out of its way to observe that "the availability of shale gas in the USA has substantially lowered natural gas prices there as well as electricity generated from natural gas." Despite the fervent opposition to shale gas in some quarters in Europe, it pointedly included shale gas as among the domestic low-carbon energy sources that member countries can pursue.

This was all the more significant in that the commission is acknowledging the reality of the shale revolution and rejecting the view of Europe's anti-shale activists that America's shale gas abundance is only a "bubble," destined to soon disappear.

A similar message resounded at exactly the same time from Berlin. Sigmar Gabriel, the social democratic minister of economy and energy in Germany's coalition government, called for reform in Germany's Energiewende — or "energy turn" policy — which has heavily subsidized the rapid growth in renewable electricity. He warned that the "anarchy" in renewable energy and its costs in Germany had to be reined in: "The whole economic future of our country is riding on this," he said. "We have reached the limits of what we can ask of our economy."


Admit It, Greenies: The Game’s Up For Renewable Energy

David Cameron is a most reliable weather vane. Last week, surrounded by billionaire industrialists in Davos, the prime minister proclaimed that Britain would follow America in a single-minded drive to reduce its energy costs for manufacturers, via the oil and gas extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Last month, however, he told Tim Farron, president of the Liberal Democrats, that he agreed that man-made climate change arising from carbon-based energy production was the cause of the recent “destructive” storms in the UK.

But then again, last November the PM told a group of Tories that he would be focusing on getting rid of all the “green crap”— part of his response to Ed Miliband’s pledge to freeze energy prices. Well, that’s coalition government for you — tell your own party’s backbenchers that you are fed up with excessive subsidies for giant onshore wind turbines and your Lib Dem colleagues that you are still “the greenest government ever”.

Angela Merkel seems to manage the running of coalition governments in Germany without giving such an impression of hastily improvised — and contradictory — policy lurches; and the stolid German chancellor has on more than one occasion been exasperated by Cameron’s student-essay-crisis style of decision-making.

On the other hand, it is better to have no plan at all than a bad plan carried out with iron consistency. For it is Germany’s energy policy that is the real disaster — or, as one former EU commissioner put it at a meeting I attended a fortnight ago: “It is the stupidest policy ever proposed by any post-war German government — unless, that is, the purpose is to destroy Germany’s hard-won competitiveness.”

A few days ago the European Commission belatedly acknowledged the self-impoverishment threatened by its renewable energy policies, and abandoned its previous insistence on maintaining mandatory targets for each of the 28 member states in the union.

Europe’s biggest economy had revealed the full idiocy of the existing policy. By giving massive subsidies to renewables — about £17bn last year alone — Germany had, in the words of a Spiegel editorial, “been forcing other power plants out of the market. Only cheap coal can compete on price … The insane system to promote renewable energy sources ensures that with each new rooftop solar panel and each additional wind turbine, more coal is automatically burnt and more CO2 released into the atmosphere.”

In fact Merkel’s “insane” policies, especially the decision to abandon nuclear, the only significant generator of non-intermittent CO2-free power, were also partly based on the exigencies of domestic party politics. Just as Cameron had declared “vote blue, go green” before the 2010 general election, so Merkel had been determined to neutralise the Green party, a powerful political opponent, ahead of last year’s general election in Germany. It worked; but as Die Welt pointed out last week, “It is the German taxpayer who now has to meet the costs of this political success.”

In fact it is increasingly not the taxpayer who will be charged directly for those vast costs, but German industry. The European Commission is mounting a legal challenge to the more than 4,000 subsidies in Germany for renewable energy, partly on the grounds that such handouts were never meant to be given to “mature” industries: believe it or not, the single biggest source of renewable energy in Europe is wood-burning.

Come to that, wind power’s been in use for more than 2,000 years. It was what we used for energy production before we moved to vastly more productive fossil fuels: the breakthrough (known as the Industrial Revolution) that moved millions from subsistence to prosperity.

In modern Germany, industry carries a much more powerful political stick than the ordinary consumer: if it has to pay the full market price for its energy — now more than double that paid by rivals in America — it will simply move out. The Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal was hardly exaggerating when he said last week: “Unless the EU takes action … [it] could destroy the manufacturing industries that are the backbone of the European economy.”

In fact, what is required is not action by Brussels, but masterful inaction: that is, to abandon its catastrophic “green policies” and let European companies buy their energy at the best possible price.

This crisis in Europe — facing nothing less than complete de-industrialisation — is now fracturing, or rather fracking, the green movement here. Last week Lord Deben, the government’s independent adviser on climate change, while insisting that “nobody could be more enthusiastic about renewables than I”, unequivocally backed the idea that Britain should now begin to exploit its vast and untapped onshore shale gas deposits. He told The Guardian that those opposed to all oil and gas fracking were “nonsensical extremists . . . very close to sort of Trotskyite politics”.

The politician previously known as John Gummer had named no names, but the executive director of Greenpeace UK, John Sauven, identified himself, responding that his group “supports John Gummer on many things, but he does make mistakes. His vigorous advocacy of fracking is looking like a bigger one than his famous feeding of a hamburger to his daughter during the height of the BSE crisis … he’d be better off sticking up for energy efficiency and renewables. That is the only sure way to ensure jobs, green growth and stable energy bills into the future.” Sure: jobs in China and America.


Germany’s Solar Energy Jobs Collapse

The number of jobs in the German solar energy industry has more than halved in two years, figures released by the government on Tuesday revealed.

Unable to keep up with competition with Chinese producers, big solar producers such as Conergy, Solon and Q-Cells have all registered for insolvency over the past few years.

With their demise came job losses. Figures from the Federal Office for Statistics, seen by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), revealed a huge drop.

Since the beginning of 2012, more than half of the then 10,200 solar energy jobs in Germany have been cut.

For the first time in nearly half a decade, the number of Germans working in the solar business stood at under 5,000 in 2014.

The number of working hours available to those still with jobs in the sector is 625,000 – compared with 1.4 million at the beginning of 2012.

In an attempt to control the decline, the EU put a protective tax on on imported panels last summer.

This saw lots of Chinese companies raising their costs, but it does not seem to have had much of an effect on homegrown production.


When you need more power to keep the lights on the answer is most certainly NOT blowing in the wind

TERRY MCCRANN comments from Australia

THANK God - or Gaia - for King Coal.  But for our coal-fired power stations, in last week's heat, the lights and air conditioners and everything else would have gone off for Victorians and South Australians.

If we'd been relying on wind farms, we would have had multiple blackouts and hundreds, if not thousands of extra deaths.

No doubt to Green fanatics like Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, that would have been a price worth paying - just like the thousand or more who have drowned because of the disastrous Labor-Green asylum-seeker policies - to enable her consequence-lite moral (actually, totally IM-moral) preening.

As my colleague Andrew Bolt has pointed out, back in 2011, Senator Hanson-Young was asked after another 200 people had been lured to their deaths by the Labor policies they supported, whether the Greens took any responsibility.

Her reply: "Of course not. Tragedies happen, accidents happen."

Presumably she's say the same at the many, many, more deaths that would occur in a heatwave, if we were crazy enough to embrace her dark-Green agenda and close down our coal-fired power stations and replace them - correction, pretend to replace them - with wind and solar.

The evidence is clear, unambiguous and undeniable. Except of course to deniers like Hanson-Young and Tristan Edis of the - embarrassingly, also our - Climate Spectator website.

When you need more power to keep the lights on, to keep industry working, to, at its most basic, keep people alive, the answer is most certainly NOT blowing in the wind.

When we needed more power last week, wind went missing in action. This truth is captured in the graphs.

When power usage was exploding from 6000MW to over 10,000MW and peaking above 12,000MW, the - already marginal - contribution from wind was almost invariably going down.

The graphs show that on only one day of the four-days of plus-40 degree heat across southern Australia, did wind provide anything close to a sustained - but still essentially insignificant - contribution to Victorian and South Australian power supply.

On each of the other three days, wind power essentially went missing for a number of hours right at critical times. On Tuesday, wind output dropped almost to zero for a sustained period right at the peak of the heat in the afternoon.

The data comes from the excellent windfarmperformance website of Andrew Miskelley. He collects the raw data from the official AEMO - Australian Energy Market Operator - feed, and publishes wind farm output at five minute intervals for the full 24 hours of every day.

The data gives the lie to the core claim made for wind farms - that if you scatter them across enough territory, the wind will always "be blowing somewhere."

Well, for three hours on Wednesday, we got barely 140 megawatts (MW) in total out the 28 wind farms "scattered" across NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.

That's 140MW when demand was peaking at over 10,000MW. Thank you coal.

The wind farms are - jokingly - supposed to have a total capacity of 2660 MW. So we were getting power equal to just 5 per cent or so of that 'capacity.'

There are two other equally significant - and utterly damming - messages in the graphs.

The first is that it is precisely when you need more power, that wind falls off. When it gets hot.

Through most of the heat of Tuesday, that 2660MW of joke-capacity was producing 600MW falling to 400MW. On Wednesday, apart from the three hours of essentially nothing, for the whole of the rest of the day, we got barely 300-400MW.

Thursday was the only day where we saw a sustained, semi-reasonable contribution. But then it was still mostly only around 900MW.

Friday saw some hours of around 1200MW. Except it spiked down to 400MW, or less than 4 per cent of power demand - smack in the middle of the afternoon, when we needed the power most.

This points to the second damming message. Precisely because the wind can stop blowing - and as we can see, it can stop blowing right across Southern Australia at the same time - you have to keep real power stations ticking over all the time, to be able to pick up the slack.

Even warmist propagandist Edis tacitly - and completely unknowingly - admits this, in his ludicrous attempt to claim reliability for wind.

On his website he wrote that AEMO had an "ace up its sleeve" - being able to accurately forecast the amount of wind power that would be generated 24-hours in advance.

He charted the forecasts against the actual output and showed a remarkable - indeed impressive - co-relation.

Leading him to triumphantly conclude that gave both AEMO and the generators advance notice as to when "wind generation was likely to be low such that they can be prepared to fill the gap."

In doing so he beautifully - and so totally unknowingly - captured the point: that coal-fired power stations have to be kept ready to take over when …. the wind don't blow.

It also didn't help his case that his article carried a correction that the accurate forecasting wasn't 24 hours ahead but just a single hour.

What a way to run a grid - checking whether the wind is blowing and then 'forecasting' it will continue to for the next hour. And, oh by the way, having a nice coal-fired station to call up when it doesn't.

Further and fundamentally, we can handle this when wind is barely 5 per cent or so - 10 per cent on a rare good day or hour - of the grid. That's to say, while wind is still essentially a vanity highly expensive Green-warmist feel-good form of power generation.

It would be impossible - even with what Edis thinks is the luxury of a single hour's notice - in a grid where wind was a much bigger component. That would be especially so, if the coal-fired stations were actually decommissioned.

In the classic dishonest warmist way, Edis tries to suggest that wind is actually more reliable because in the middle of last week, one of Loy Yang A's generators went down, going from generating 450MW to zero in minutes.

"This outage was certainly not forecast in advance," he snarkily added.

No it obviously wasn't. But there's one huge difference in a rare accident to a single generator in a coal-fired plant and the times - the many times - that the entire wind industry goes to zero or near enough to zero.

Perhaps Edid can tell us how many times have all the generators in all the coal-fired stations gone to zero at the same time?

That's the absolutely damning point about the uselessness of wind. You can't just take a 'time-out' when they go to zero. You either have blackouts or you substitute.

You have to keep extra coal-fired - or gas - stations ticking over, literally 24/7, to be able to supply power when …. what's that phrase again? Oh yes …. when the wind don't (so often) blow.



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.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Fracking could be allowed under British homes without owners’ permission

Fracking will be allowed to take place under homes without the owners’ permission, under plans being considered by the Government.

Ministers have admitted that they are looking at overhauling trespass laws to make it easier for energy companies to explore for shale gas, amid concern that efforts could otherwise be stymied by lengthy and costly court proceedings.

The plans, expected to be published for consultation in coming months, are likely to be the most controversial yet in the Prime Minister’s attempts to encourage fracking.

Shale gas exploration typically involves drilling down vertically and out horizontally, often for more than a mile. Under current law, companies need permission from all the landowners beneath whose land they drill. Case law shows they would otherwise be committing trespass. If a landowner refused permission, the company would have to take them to court, which would decide whether to award drilling rights and how much compensation should be paid.

While compensation is likely to be a nominal amount – probably less than £100 – companies fear the court proceedings could be costly and drawn out by years of appeals, and have been lobbying for the law to be changed.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change has now confirmed that it is reviewing whether the existing process is “fit for purpose”.

A Whitehall source said: “All options are on the table. It would be difficult to implement a regime that removed any kind of compensation. You could change the rules so you have a de facto right, but then you have to pay. The compensation could be less than £100.”

One option would be the introduction of a kind of compulsory purchase regime, similar to that used by companies needing to lay pipelines underground. Fracking involves pumping water, sand and chemicals down a well at high pressure to fracture the rocks and extract gas trapped within them, and is fiercely opposed by environmental groups.

Greenpeace has sought to use the existing law to block fracking by encouraging thousands of landowners in shale-rich areas to declare that they do not give consent for drilling. Legal experts said landowners could attempt to take out injunctions, presenting a further barrier for companies.

If trespass law were changed, companies would still need to negotiate access rights for the surface drilling site as well as planning permission from the local council and other permissions from government and environmental regulators.

A spokesman for the DECC said: “Shale gas and oil operations that involve fracking in wells drilled over a mile down are highly unlikely to have any discernible impacts closer to the surface.

“Like any other industrial activity, oil and gas operations require access permission from landowners. But there is an existing legal route by which operators can apply for access where this can’t be negotiated. We’re currently considering whether this existing route is fit for purpose. Similar access issues apply to deep geothermal energy projects.”


Hard Leftist NYC Mayor Supports Moratorium on Fracking in NY – ‘Too Much Danger’

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio weighed in on the hydraulic fracturing debate in his state during a press conference Thursday in Washington, D.C.

“The one thing I’m firm about is I don’t see any place for fracking,” de Blasio told reporters at the U.S. Conference of Mayors when asked what his policy would be “as far as developing oil, natural gas and other traditional energy sources in the state.”

“The science simply isn’t reliable enough; the technology isn’t reliable enough, and there’s too much danger to our water supply, to our environment in general,” de Blasio said.

“So, my view is there should be a moratorium on fracking in New York state until the day comes that we can actually prove it’s safe, and I don’t think that day is coming any time soon,” he said.

"Hydraulic fracturing is a well stimulation process used to maximize the extraction of underground resources; including oil, natural gas, geothermal energy, and even water," according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

"The oil and gas industry uses hydraulic fracturing to enhance subsurface fracture systems to allow oil or natural gas to move more freely from the rock pores to production wells that bring the oil or gas to the surface," the EPA noted.

In early 2013, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, also a Democrat, effectively put a halt to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the state until the practice was studied by the state’s environmental and health officials, according to the New York Post. The results of those studies have not been revealed, according to the Post, and the moratorium continues.

Reid Porter, spokesman for the American Petroleum Institute, an oil and natural gas trade association, disagrees with de Blasio’s claim.

“Both government and private research, including Department of Interior’s own research finalized since the original May 2012 proposed rule for hydraulic fracturing on public lands, continues to show that there are no documented cases of hydraulic fracturing contaminating groundwater, from the Marcellus Shale to California,” Porter told

“Fortunately, U.S. advancements in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have unlocked vast energy reserves here in the United States,” Porter said. “And those new supplies have significantly lowered the cost of keeping a majority of American homes and businesses warm.”

Porter said the technology is benefitting the New York City and can improve the state’s economy.

“New York City already benefits from hydraulic fracturing,” Porter said. “In New York City Mayor de Blasio has a program encouraging business and homeowners to convert to cleaner-burning natural gas and save as much as 50 percent in energy costs.

“The Upstate economy, three hours from NYC, is the lowest rated economy in the state and needs the economic growth that hydraulic fracturing will bring,” Porter said. “The unemployed New Yorkers who work with their hands, including farmers, landowners and manufacturers, see plenty of room for lifting the moratorium on safe, responsible natural gas development.”


It is immoral for Al Gore to organize "fertility management" for other nations

Eco-Fascists seem oblivious to historical parallels

Various influential and would-be influential people have gathered at the annual meeting in Davos. Folks like Al Gore and Bill Gates are among them. These two participated in the panel

Al Gore started to talk around 14:55 in the video and advocated "fertility management" in Africa, something that sounds scary. You could think that he has explicitly talked about forced sterilization but he actually hasn't – he has left the issue of the methods ambiguous. At any rate, it is very clear that he is obsessed with the idea of the reduction of the number of Africans and in this sense, he is no different than the German Nazis who wanted to gradually phase out Slavs on their stolen territories.

Al Gore may differ from Adolf Hitler in the extent but he doesn't differ qualitatively, in the principle. And both men were or are rooting for morally indefensible policies. In the Western, enlightened understanding of the world, it is up to every family to decide how many children it has – or to allow the kids to arrive as Nature or God wishes. Even in not-so-enlightened nations where the individual rights are not considered precious, it is up to the broader community – the nation itself – to decide whether and how the number of children is regulated.

China just began to dismantle its one-child policy.

It is impossible not to think that there's some racism and stunning hypocrisy if a jerk who has produced four children is "working" on the reduction of the number of newborn babies in a completely different nation.

And let me tell you something. Africa as a continent isn't and, in a foreseeable future, won't be overpopulated. There is one billion people (it should be still below 1.4 billion in 2025) living in Africa whose area is 30 million squared kilometers. So the average population density is the same 30+ people as you may find in the U.S. – which is "like" one-third of Africa, both when it comes to the population and the territory.

To compare, the population density is 130+ in Czechia, 490+ in the Netherlands, and 7,700+ people per square kilometer in Singapore. (Monaco with 18,000+ and Macau with 20,000+ are too small to be taken seriously but Singapore has over 5 million people.)

The continuing relative poverty of Africa isn't caused by overpopulation. It isn't caused by the continent's inability to provide the people with the resources. It is mostly due to the insufficient sophistication of their economies which is linked to poor education systems and perhaps their lower economic potential. But whatever the GDP or IQ or economic potential is, they are still people and should be sort of free.

Al Gore likes to liken climate skeptics to some unpopular groups – "homophobes", alcoholics, and others. His explanations for these analogies are extremely contrived; they really make no sense. He is just calling other people names. His problem is that his similarities to Adolf Hitler are not contrived at all because he is proposing some almost identical policies that as the Nazi leader did.


Ex-EPA Official Testifies of Agency Plan to 'Modify DNA of the Capitalist System'

Well, if anyone has beef with the new regulations coming out of the Environmental Protection Agency, this latest development won't give you peace of mind.  A deposition released by the House Oversight Committee shows an ex-EPA official testifying under oath in December of last year that the agency intended to "modify the DNA of the capitalist system."

Now, it should be noted that the official is John Beale, who pled guilty last September to defrauding the government of nearly $900,000 in pay and bonuses.  He also masqueraded as a CIA agent.

The part about changing the capitalistic dynamic in the U.S. is mentioned on page 19 of the deposition.  Here, he describes a meeting on April 29, 2010 with then-assistant administrator Gina McCarthy of the Office of Air and Radiation - who now heads the EPA.

Beale recounted a discussion he had with McCarthy regarding a project:

    "I'd been working in the environmental business for a long time, and although generally the western world has made good progress, and the United States has been particularly successful about improving the environment in terms of things like water quality and air quality, we're reaching the limits of traditional regulatory process to do that, largely because the fundamental dynamic of the capitalistic system is for businesses and individuals to try to externalize all costs. That's the way the system and individuals can maximize profits and minimize costs.

    "In addition to that, pollution is being transported globally around the planet, and we're reaching the limits of what we can do technologically to protect our citizens without having more impact on other countries. In other words, we need to get reductions from some of these other countries. That's the type of project I wanted to work on. That's what we talked about."

When asked if he worked on the project, Beale said, "I certainly did."

When asked if "any work product ever get produced as a result of that work," Beale said:

   "It depends on how one defines work project. There were several phases of this project as we had outlined it. There's an enormous body of literature on the subject. Sometimes, it's referred to [as] sustainability literature, sometimes it's referred to green economics. And so, phase 1 of the project was for me to become very familiar and transversant [sic] with that literature. Phase 2 would have been out and interviewing academic experts, business experts, people in other countries that are doing things. And, then, phase 3 would have been coming up with specific proposals that could be - could have been proposed either legislatively or things which could have been done administratively to kind of modify the DNA of the capitalist system, which is not new."

"It's happened tens of times through the history of the capitalist system being there. It's not a God-given system that was created once and never changes. It changes all the time," he said.

Now, that's quite a claim, sir.


A Very Cold Reality

By Alan Caruba

It’s not as if those in the Northeast have not experienced bone-chilling cold or that it is predicted to extend from the Midwest down into our southern States. There may possibly be a snow storm that will require the National Football League to reschedule the Sunday, February 2nd Superbowl at the MetLife stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Crews spent 18 hours working to remove the snow from last week’s storm.

A visit to yielded headlines of news stories last week that included “Record Cold—Millions of Americans hit by Propane Shortage”, “Ice and Snow Closed Texas highways This Morning”, “Ice-cover Shuts Down Work on New Hudson River Bridge”, and so you understand this is a global phenomenon, “Kashmir—Heaviest January Snowfall in a Decade”, “Heavy Snowfall Sweeps Eastern Turkey”, “Romania—Heavy Snowfall and Blizzard”. And “Bangkok Suffers Coldest Night in Three Decades—Death Roll Mounts.”

Meteorologist Joe D’Aleo of WeatherBell Analytics and editor of says that, as the President addresses the nation on Tuesday, every State will have freezing temperatures and parts or all of 27 States will be below zero.

All this is occurring as President Barack Obama is anticipated to talk about “climate change”, a warming Earth, during his Tuesday State of the Union speech. He will be speaking to the idiots who still think the Earth is warming because they are too stupid or lazy to ask why it is so cold.

Michael Bastasch, writing for The Daily Caller on Saturday, confirmed D’Aleo’s and other meteorologist’s forecasts. “The bitter cold that has hit the U.S. East Coast is expected throughout February, and on Jan 28—the day of the address—the Mid-Atlantic region is expected to be hit with freezing cold air that could drive temperatures below zero in big cities among the I-95 corridor.”

Washington, D.C. will be one of those cities, but as Bastasch reported, “Environmentalists and liberal groups are urging Obama to use the speech to reaffirm his commitment to fighting global warming. ‘President Obama should rank the battle against climate change as one of his top priorities in his State of the Union speech next week’, said Center for Clean Air Policy president Ned Heime.”

For environmentalists, it does not matter if the real climate is a deep cold. They committed to the lies about global warming in the late 1980s and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel and Climate Change (IPCC) has maintained the hoax ever since. Along the way we learned that the computer models on which it based its assertions and predictions were rigged and bogus, but that has not deterred the IPCC which is now referring to a “pause” in global warming. This is lying on a global scale.

It was the environmental group Greenpeace that put out a television advertisement featuring a Santa Claus telling children that he might have to call off Christmas because the North Pole was melting. How malicious can they get? When a group of global warming scientists and tourists took a ship to the Antarctic to measure the “melting” ice down there, the ship got caught in the ice which also resisted the efforts of two icebreaker ships to rescue them.

We are dealing with environmental groups, the IPCC and government leaders like Obama for whom the telling of huge and blatantly obvious lies about global warming is nothing compared to the billions generated by the hoax for the universities and scientists that line their pockets supporting it and industries that benefit by offering ways to capture carbon dioxide or conserve energy by first banning incandescent light bulbs.

The “pause” has lasted now for seventeen years and, as is the case with all climate on the Earth, the reason is the Sun.

A report published by CBN News noted that “The last time the sun was this quiet, North America and Europe suffered through a weather event from the 1600s to the 1800s known as ‘Little Ice Age’ when the Thames River in London regularly froze solid, and North America saw terrible winters. Crops failed and people starved.”

Jens Pedersen, a senior scientist at Denmark’s Technical University, said that climate scientists know the Earth stopped warming 15 years ago. But the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, of which Pedersen is an expert reviewer, suppressed a recent report from its own scientists that the U.N.’s climate model has been proven wrong.

“Global warming is nowhere to be found,” said David Deming, a geophysicist at the University of Colorado, in a January 16 commentary in The Washington Times. “As frigid conditions settled over the nation, global-warming alarmists went into full denial mode”, adding that “weather extremes also seem to bring out the lunatic fringe” and that is why the public is being told that cold weather has been caused by global warming!

Whatever the President has to say about “climate change” should be taken as just one more example of five years of lies to advance policies that have nothing to do with the welfare of Americans needing jobs or the execrable Obamacare attack on the U.S. healthcare system.

The cold reality may well be a Superbowl played on another day and a President for whom the truth is incidental to his shredding of the U.S. Constitution, the increase in the nation’s ever-growing debt, a lagging economy, and his intention to by-pass Congress rather than working with it.

That kind of thing will put a chill up any American’s spine if you think about it.


Australian Federal government to seek independent review of the health impact of wind farms

The federal government will press ahead with "an independent program" to study the supposed impact on health of wind farms as it emerged a report on the issue has been handed to government but withheld from public release.

Activists, some linked to climate change sceptic groups, say people living near wind farms suffer sleep disturbance and other health effects from low-frequency noise and infrasound, with illnesses dubbed ''wind turbine syndrome'', ''vibro-acoustic disease'' and ''visceral vibratory vestibular disturbance''.

Various international and Australian studies have cast doubt on the sicknesses and the National Health and Medical Research Council began its review of evidence about the effects of wind farms for the government in September 2012. Its findings have been sent to the ministers of health, industry and environment and will be released publicly "in coming months", a council spokeswoman said

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said this month that research should be refreshed "from time to time" to consider whether there were "new facts that impact on old judgments".

"It is some years since the NHMRC last looked at this issue. Why not do it again?" he said.

A spokesman for Mr Abbott declined to clarify whether the Prime Minister knew of the council's latest study when calling for the council to reopen the issue.

Competing concerns

A "rapid review" of the evidence by the council in 2010 found "renewable energy generation is associated with few adverse health effects compared with the well-documented health burdens of polluting forms of electricity generation". About three-quarters of eastern Australia's power comes from coal.

Simon Chapman, a professor of public health at Sydney University, said Mr Abbott appeared to have been swayed by a tiny group of anti-windfarm campaigners, such as the Waubra Foundation, in calling for another study even before the survey of scientific literature is released.

"We all need to be concerned about whether he’s being influenced by little more than a cult,” Professor Chapman said, adding that research to date has failed to link wind farms under current noise guidelines with ill-health.

Sarah Laurie, chief executive of the Waubra Foundation, supports the extra study. “Research and data if done properly is what enables proper regulation,” Ms Laurie said.

The NHMRC study should not only look at noise impacts from wind farms but also similar effects from coal seam gas and open-cut coal mining operations, she added.

The wind industry is concerned the prospect of a new study is the latest sign governments are turning against renewable energy. Mr Abbott, other coalition figures and his senior business advisor Maurice Newman have lately blamed the Renewable Energy Target for pushing up power prices.

The goal, now set at generating 20 per cent of electricity from renewable sources by 2020, will be reviewed this year. Industry sources say the environment and industry ministries are resisting efforts to have the Productivity Commission - expected to take a hardline against the RET - conduct the review.



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.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here