Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Harmless pesticide still used in Australia -- ozone "hole"  regardless

In their role as sand in the gears of civilization, Greenies constantly find reasons to ban useful chemicals,  making pest and weed control difficult and raising costs.  We need therefore to look at where a ban is really needed.  In this case the reason for the ban is a laugh.  Methyl bromide was banned because it allegedly harmed the ozone layer.

But even though the ozone layer "protections" were put in place long ago, the "hole" in the ozone layer waxes and wanes as it always did.  The "protections" have protected nothing. The ozone "hole" is now properly regarded as just another failed Greenie scare.  Although  official meteorological records of the "hole" are no doubt still available, nobody I know even bothers to track it anymore.

So the ban on Methyl bromide should in fact now be lifted completely -- giving farmers and others a colorless, odorless, nonflammable fumigant to use, where appropriate

About 70 per cent of Australian strawberries are being grown on runners that have been fumigated with an environmentally damaging pesticide that has been banned around the world.

Methyl bromide is an odourless and colourless gas which was banned under the United Nations Montreal Protocol in 1989 because it depletes the ozone layer.

Australia agreed to phase it out by 2005 but a decade later, nine strawberry runner growers at Toolangi, in Victoria's Yarra Valley, are still using nearly 30 tonnes a year.

They produce 100 million strawberry runners annually, which in turn generate about 70 per cent of Australian strawberries.

Each year they apply to the UN for a critical use exemption from the ban, claiming the alternatives are financially crippling.

The co-chair of the UN Methyl Bromide Technical Options committee, Dr Ian Porter, said the situation was frustrating.

"Internationally, we've gotten rid of 85 per cent of methyl bromide, and it's a great win for mankind — in fact it's the best environmental gain that's been made," he said.

"[The strawberry runner growers] want to get rid of it, but there's a responsibility to provide high-health runners for the industry.

"It's frustrating ... but we don't want industries to fall over economically or technically. We don't want more disease or pests in Australia."

Environmental Justice Australia said it was concerned the growers were using a loophole to continue their use of methyl bromide.

"I think if people did know more about this issue, they'd be very concerned that the strawberries they're consuming are contributing to this significant environmental issue," chief executive Brendan Sydes said.

"There was a commitment to phase out this chemical by 2005 and yet, despite that, we're continuing to use it in this industry. It's a real concern.

"I think it's a real failure of the industry to come up with some alternative methods of producing strawberry runners, but also of the government to insist on compliance with this important regulatory regime."

Prices would increase to $10 a punnet: industry

The strawberry growers said if they were forced to stop using methyl bromide, the viability of the $400 million strawberry industry would be "compromised" and 15,000 jobs jeopardised.

The industry estimated their costs could soar by 500 per cent if they were to switch to soilless growing systems, similar to those used in parts of Europe.

The runner industry has invested more than $700,000 on research and development to find alternatives to methyl bromide.

That cost would be passed on to consumers, and a punnet of strawberries could end up costing more than $10.

"You imagine turning 100 hectares immediately into glass houses, and the impact that would have," Dr Porter said.

"It's just not the least bit economical at this stage.

"It's tough to weigh up economics, it's one of our challenges. Will consumers pay $10 a punnet? I don't know."


Feisty Ala. climate change critic claims Washington is trying to intimidate him

An Alabama atmospheric scientist who has gained a global reputation as a repudiator of "mainstream climate science" strongly defended his research record at the University of Alabama, Huntsville (UAH), where he is a distinguished professor and director of the university's Earth System Science Center.

John Christy, who has been at UAH since 1987, said this week that all of his research funds are derived from state and federal agencies and that he has never accepted research money from business or industry groups that have challenged the scientific findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the National Research Council and other expert bodies.

Nor has he accepted research funding from groups actively engaged in lobbying against U.S. climate change policies, he said.

Moreover, Christy suggested a recently launched congressional investigation into sources of his and other climate scientists' research funding is an attempt by Democrats in Washington to squelch dissenting opinions about the degree of climate warming and the role that human-generated greenhouse gas emissions have in a shifting climate.

"I've been involved in this issue for 25 years, and I'm past the point of being intimidated," Christy said in an email responding to the inquiry led by House Natural Resources ranking member Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) exploring outside funding to climate researchers at seven U.S. universities.

"This is simply a way for the Administration to publicly draw attention to us as scientists not aligned with their views, implying there must be a scurrilous reason for daring to think the way we do," he added.

Christy said he did not distinguish between Democrats in Congress, where the investigation is playing out, and members of the Obama administration who have cast Christy and other scientists with dissenting views on climate change as being idealogues or beholden to the fossil fuel industry and other polluters.

"They are one and the same to me," he said.

Not a joiner

Christy's comments follow renewed attention brought to his and six other high-profile academics' research records, public engagements and other activities carried out in their capacities as university employees.

Others targeted by the Grijalva investigation are Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Robert Balling of Arizona State University, Judith Curry of the Georgia Institute of Technology, Steven Hayward of Pepperdine University, David Legates of the University of Delaware and Roger Pielke of the University of Colorado.

All seven of the academics have testified before Congress, and several have participated in events hosted or sponsored by groups seeking to disprove widely accepted climate change theories or characterize the phenomenon as a hoax.

Some of those organizations, such as the Heartland Institute and the Institute for Energy Research, have come under scrutiny from advocacy groups, climate scientists and elected officials for their lobbying activities, public statements and financial support for research that promotes climate change skepticism.

Christy, who is credited with important research using balloons and satellites to measure changes in the Earth's lower atmosphere, is well-known to climate skeptic organizations, and his work has been cited in various documents and reports. He is also a well-known figure in both Washington, D.C., and Alabama, where he has been the state's official climatologist since 2000.

In the past, Christy has said he avoids close association, including attending the meetings of climate skeptic groups, to avoid "guilt by association."

He has testified before Congress numerous times, most recently in 2013, and is one of the lead authors of the IPCC's 2001 report in which the satellite temperatures were included as a high-quality data set for studying global climate change. He has since become one of the IPCC's staunchest critics.

Among other things, Christy has said IPCC models suggesting that climate change is an imminent threat are wrong, and he has argued that efforts to arrest climate change by sharply curtailing the burning of fossil fuels will leave the country without its cheapest and most abundant energy resources.

"Someone has just done a terrific job at marketing an [unproven] idea," Christy said of leading climate theories in a June 2014 interview

Before Congress, Christy has often struck a more combative posture.

"It appears the nation has indeed enacted knee-jerk remedies to 'combat climate change' through regulations on carbon dioxide," he told a House panel in December 2013. "I warned this committee in 1996 that these would be 'unproductive and economically damaging.'"

In the same testimony,Christy submitted comments from fellow climate scientist Curry of Georgia Tech likening the IPCC to an entity that has stifled scientific inquiry and worked to infect the scientific and policy communities with false findings, much the way a disease infects an organism. "We need to put down the IPCC as soon as possible -- not to protect the patient who seems to be thriving in its own little cocoon, but for the sake of the rest of us whom it is trying to infect with its disease," Curry said.

Such comments have brought Christy into the crosshairs of numerous climate advocacy groups, as well as Democrats like Grijalva, who last month began digging into sources of financial support for researchers like Christy and the six others targeted in the investigation.

In a Feb. 24 letter, Grijalva asked UAH administrators to respond to a series of questions and information requests concerning Christy's work. Among other things, the congressman asked for all of Christy's testimony before government agencies, as well as detailed information on any "external funding" that Christy has received from non-UAH sources, including "consulting fees, promotional considerations, speaking fees, honoraria, travel expenses, salary, compensation and other monies."

In an email last week, a spokesman for House Natural Resources Committee Democrats declined to provide any information on the investigation's findings to date.

Christy said that the university will be sending a response "based on all of my funding records." As for the investigators' request for all of Christy's public testimony, he said his remarks before Congress are already part of the public record, including information about research funding sources.

Christy also has the backing of his employer. Ray Garner, chief of staff to UAH President Robert Altenkirch, said in a statement that Christy "has always approached his work with the utmost of integrity, and the quality of his research is nothing short of exemplary."


Is Global Warming a Moral Cause?

On March 1, the New York Times published a silly piece titled “Is the Environment a Moral Cause” by Robb Willer (writing from Palo Alto, CA, of course) saying conservatives don’t embrace global warming alarmism and other popular environmental causes because they are more concerned about “patriotism, respect for authority, sanctity or purity” than “protecting people and ecosystems from harm and destruction.”

With all due respect to Prof. Willer, this isn’t even close to the truth. Rupert Wynham’s wonderful March 26 letter to the BBC makes it abundantly clear that conservatives view global warming as an issue loaded with moral concerns of a different kind: truth-telling, respect for others, healthy skepticism toward authority and propaganda, and willingness to publicly debate those who disagree.

Conservatives – and, opinion polls show, a healthy majority of the American public – don’t “believe in global warming” because its advocates utterly lack credibility. They’ve been caught again and again exaggerating, lying, and even breaking the law to end any civil discussion of the causes and consequences of climate change. Ordinary people aren’t fooled by propaganda. They’ve figured it out.

Willer writes, “To win over more of the public, environmentalists must look beyond the arguments that they themselves have found convincing.” That’s only partly right. They need to start speaking the truth, stop believing government agencies and advocacy groups that have been shown to lie and deceive to achieve power or financial rewards, and start debating their critics. Nothing else will restore environmentalism to the status it properly held before it became an appendage of the left-liberal political movement.


Institute of Physics Accused of Corruption as Climate Change ’97 Percent Consensus’ Claim is Debunked

In the nearly two years since John Cook and his colleagues published their ’97 percent’ paper claiming a scientific consensus on climate change, the term ’97 percent’ has become something of a mantra for global warming advocates. President Obama tweeted “Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: #climate change is real, man-made and dangerous.” The Guardian runs a regular column headed “Climate Consensus – the 97%” (regular contributors include co-authors of the original paper).

The paper, published by the Institute of Physic’s IOPScience has been downloaded over 300,000 times and was voted the best 2013 paper in Environmental Research Letters. But does the 97 percent claim stack up?

Richard Tol, Professor of Economics at the University of Sussex and the Professor of the Economics of Climate Change at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, says no. He has penned a blog, since published in edited form by The Australian, thoroughly debunking Cook’s paper, its methodology, its results, and the way it has been used by climate change advocates.

“Climate research lost its aura of impartiality with the unauthorised release of the email archives of the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia,” Tol says. “Its reputation of competence was shredded by the climate community’s celebration of the flawed works of Michael Mann. Innocence went with the allegations of sexual harassment by Rajendra Pachauri and Peter Gleick’s fake memo.

“Cook’s 97% nonsensus paper shows that the climate community still has a long way to go in weeding out bad research and bad behaviour. If you want to believe that climate researchers are incompetent, biased and secretive, Cook’s paper is an excellent case in point.”

Firstly, Tol points out that science doesn’t depend on consensus. A scientific truth is objective not subjective; that is, it’s true whether one person adheres to it, or everybody adheres to it.

Secondly, Cook’s paper, titled Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature, only claims that 97 percent of the scientific literature that takes a position on climate change (most does not) supports man-made global warming hypotheses. Yet supporters have used it to claim that 97 percent of scientists support global warming theories; they do not.

That aside, Tol highlights problems specific to Cook’s paper, such as the fact that, although Cook and his team sampled over 12,000 papers to reach their conclusion, they “did not check whether their sample is representative for the scientific literature. It isn’t. Their conclusions are about the papers they happened to look at, rather than about the literature. Attempts to replicate their sample failed: A number of papers that should have been analysed were not, for no apparent reason.”

That wasn’t the only sampling issue – further analysis has found that their sample was “padded with irrelevant papers,” such as an article on TV coverage of climate change which has been used as evidence to support climate change. “In fact, about three-quarters of the papers counted as endorsements had nothing to say about the subject matter,” Tol says.

Despite these and other issues, the paper’s editor praised the paper for its “excellent data quality”. Refusal to hand over data for third party analysis breaches the publisher’s policy on validation and reproduction, yet an editorial board member of the journal defended Cook’s obfuscation as “exemplary scientific conduct”.

The conduct of the Institute of Physics as the publishers of the report, and the University of Queensland, Cook’s employer, in protecting him has led the blogger Andrew Montford to accuse them of corruption.

“As an indictment of the corruption of climate science it’s hard to beat. That the Institute of Physics and the University of Queensland would stand behind such a blatant piece of politicking and deceit is almost beyond belief.

“As far as they are concerned when it comes to climate science there is no study too fraudulent, no conduct too reprehensible, no deception too blatant,” he said.


Do Joe Romm and Fellow Climate Scientists Think Sexual Misconduct is OK?

Climate science is a world in which wealthy businessmen who make charitable donations to museums are targeted and ostracized. Yet creeps who write about urinating on women get a free pass

A passage from former IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri’s 2010 book, "Return to Almora"

Yesterday the left-leaning US website, ThinkProgress.org, ran this headline: Museums’ Ties To The Koch Brothers Are Not OK, Scientists Say. The story is written by Joe Romm, a gent who tosses around the phrase ‘anti-science’ so frequently he long ago deprived it of all meaning.

We’re told about an open letter signed by Romm and 53 other “Leading climate scientists and museum experts.” These people say they’re

deeply concerned by the links between museums of science and natural history with those who profit from fossil fuels or fund lobby groups that misrepresent climate science.

The letter singles out a particular person, David Koch. The fact that this wealthy individual chooses to donate his money and time to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and the American Museum of Natural History is a scandal, apparently. According to the letter:

We are concerned that the integrity of these institutions is compromised by association with special interests…

When some of the biggest contributors to climate change and funders of misinformation on climate science sponsor exhibitions in museums of science and natural history, they undermine public confidence in the validity of the institutions responsible for transmitting scientific knowledge.

… the only ethical way forward for our museums is to cut all ties with the fossil fuel industry… [bold added]

Ah, yes. Integrity. Public confidence. Ethics. These are all important ideas. Too bad activist scientists such as Romm are so selective about where and when they think such ideas apply. I’ve recently written about a senior Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) official by the name of Jean-Pascal van Ypersel who has worked for and taken money from Greenpeace.

Where is the open letter from 54 leading climate scientists pointing out that the IPCC’s integrity is irretrievably compromised by such a link? Why aren’t these same scientists declaring loudly that there’s no quicker way to undermine public confidence in a purportedly scientific entity than for its officials to get into bed with agenda-driven, green multinationals?

And if ordinary, everyday ethics are the issue where, oh where, are the open letters making it clear there’s no place in climate science for the sort of egregious sexual harassment of which Rajendra Pachauri, the former chairman of the IPCC, now stands accused?

Why hasn’t anyone at ThinkProgress even bothered to mention Pachauri’s resignation? Hello, it happened more than a month ago – on February 24th. Why isn’t anyone on that website talking about the highly embarrassing fact that Pachauri’s resignation letter tells us he’s on a religious crusade to save the planet? Surely a statement such as that shockingly undermines everyone’s confidence in the IPCC’s scientific neutrality.

When a public figure steps down due to allegations of sexual misconduct that’s big news. Why isn’t ThinkProgress reporting this news? At what moment in history would it be more relevant for the public to know that a top climate official finds himself in this kind of trouble? I mean, there’s only a major climate summit scheduled for later this year.

Search for ‘Pachauri’ at ThinkProgress and you’ll get 163 hits, or 17 pages of results. There’s

an interview with Pachauri from May 2007
a 2009 story about Pachauri endorsing the activist 350.org’s campaign
a 2010 defense of Pachauri after he is criticized by Roger Pielke Jr. in the New York Times
a 2011 article that refers to Pachauri – an economist and industrial engineer – as the “U.N.’s top climate scientist”
But the mentions of this public figure stop dead on November 2, 2014. Apparently not a single newsworthy event involving the U.N.’s [former] top climate scientist has occurred since then.

Let us speak frankly: Climate science is a world in which wealthy businessmen who make charitable donations to museums are targeted and ostracized. Yet creeps who write about urinating on women – and who stand accused of long term, outrageous sexual harassment – get a totally free pass.


The tip of the climate spending iceberg

How your tax and consumer dollars finance Climate Crisis, Inc. and hobble America

Paul Driessen

Lockheed Martin, a recent Washington Post article notes, is getting into renewable energy, nuclear fusion, “sustainability” and even fish farming projects, to augment its reduced defense profits. The company plans to forge new ties with Defense Department and other Obama initiatives, based on a shared belief in manmade climate change as a critical security and planetary threat. It is charging ahead where other defense contractors have failed, confident that its expertise, lobbying skills and “socially responsible” commitment to preventing climate chaos will land it plentiful contracts and subsidies.

As with its polar counterparts, 90% of the titanic climate funding iceberg is invisible to most citizens, businessmen and politicians. The Lockheed action is the mere tip of the icy mountaintop.

The multi-billion-dollar agenda reflects the Obama Administration’s commitment to using climate change to radically transform America. It reflects a determination to make the climate crisis industry so enormous that no one will be able to tear it down, even as computer models and disaster claims become less and less credible – and even if Republicans control Congress and the White House after 2016. Lockheed is merely the latest in a long list of regulators, researchers, universities, businesses, manufacturers, pressure groups, journalists and politicians with such strong monetary, reputational and authority interests in alarmism that they will defend its tenets and largesse tooth and nail.

Above all, it reflects a conviction that alarmists have a right to control our energy use, lives, livelihoods and living standards, with no transparency and no accountability for mistakes they make or damage they inflict on disfavored industries and families. And they are pursuing this agenda despite global warming again being dead last in the latest Gallup poll of 15 issues of greatest concern to Americans: only 25% say they worry about it “a great deal,” despite steady hysteria; 24% are “not at all” worried about the climate. By comparison, 46% percent worry a great deal about the size and power of the federal government.

But Climate Crisis, Inc. is using our tax and consumer dollars to advance six simultaneous strategies.

1) Climate research. The US government spends $2.5 billion per year on research that focuses on carbon dioxide, ignores powerful natural forces that have always driven climate change, and generates numerous reports and press releases warning of record high temperatures, melting icecaps, rising seas, stronger storms, more droughts and other “unprecedented” crises. The claims are erroneous and deceitful.

They are consistently contradicted by actual climate and weather records, and so alarmists increasingly emphasize computer models that reinvent and substitute for reality. Penn State modeler Michael Mann has collected millions for headline-grabbing work like his latest assertion that the Gulf Stream is slowing – contrary to 20 years of actual measurements that show no change. Former NASA astronomer James Hansen received a questionable $250,000 Heinz Award from Secretary of State John Kerry’s wife, for his climate crisis and anti-coal advocacy. Al Gore and 350.org also rake in millions. Alarmist scientists and institutions seek billions more, while virtually no government money goes to research into natural forces.

2) Renewable energy research and implementation grants, loans, subsidies and mandates drive projects to replace hydrocarbons that are still abundant and still 82% of all US energy consumed. Many recipients went bankrupt despite huge taxpayer grants and loan guarantees. Wind turbine installations butcher millions of birds and bats annually, but are exempt from Endangered Species Act fines and penalties.

Tesla Motors received $256 million to produce electric cars for wealthy elites who receive $2,500 to $7,500 in tax credits, plus free charging and express lane access. From 2007 to 2013, corn ethanol interests spent $158 million lobbying for more “green” mandates and subsidies – and $6 million in campaign contributions – for a fuel that reduces mileage, damages engines, requires enormous amounts of land, water and fertilizer, and from stalk to tailpipe emits more carbon dioxide than gasoline. General Electric spends tens of millions lobbying for more taxpayer renewable energy dollars; so do many other companies. The payoffs add up to tens of billions of dollars, from taxpayers and consumers.

3) Regulatory fiats increasingly substitute for laws and carbon taxes that Congress refuses to enact, due to concerns about economic and employment impacts, and because China, India and other countries’ CO2 emissions dwarf America’s. EPA’s war on coal has already claimed thousands of jobs, raised electricity costs for millions of businesses and families, and adversely affected living standards, health and welfare for millions of families. The White House and EPA are also targeting oil and gas drilling and fracking.

Now the Obama Administration is unleashing a host of new mandates and standards, based on arbitrary “social cost of carbon” calculations that assume fossil fuel use imposes numerous climate and other costs, but brings minimal or no economic or societal benefits. The rules will require onerous new energy efficiency and CO2 emission reduction standards that will send consumer costs skyrocketing, while channeling billions of dollars to retailers, installers, banks and mostly overseas manufacturers.

As analyst Roger Bezdek explains, water heaters that now cost $675-1,500 will soon cost $1,200-2,450 – with newfangled exhaust fans, vent pipes and condensate removal systems. Pickup trucks with more fuel efficiency and less power will nearly double in price. Microwaves, cell phones, vacuum cleaners, hair dryers, toasters, coffee pots, lawn mowers, photocopiers, televisions and almost everything else will cost far more. Poor and middle class families will get clobbered, to prevent perhaps 5% of the USA’s 15% of all human CO2 emissions toward 0.04% of atmospheric CO2, and maybe 0.00001 degrees of warming.

4) A new UN climate treaty would limit fossil fuel use by developed countries, place no binding limits or timetables on developing nations, and redistribute hundreds of billions of dollars to poor countries that claim they have been harmed by emissions and warming due to rich country hydrocarbon use. Even IPCC officials now openly brag that climate policy has “almost nothing” to do with protecting the environment – and everything to do with intentionally transforming the global economy and redistributing its wealth.

5) Vicious personal attacks continue on scientists, businessmen, politicians and others who disagree publicly with the catechism of climate cataclysm. Alarmist pressure groups and Democrat members of Congress are out to destroy the studies, funding, reputations and careers of all who dare challenge climate disaster tautologies. At President Obama’s behest, even disaster aid agencies are piling on.

New FEMA rules require that any state seeking disaster preparedness funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency must first assess how climate change threatens their communities. This will mean relying on discredited, worthless alarmist models that routinely spew out predictions unrelated to reality. It likely means no federal funds will go to states that include or focus on natural causes, historical records or models that have better track records than those employed by the IPCC, EPA and President.

6) Thought control. In addition to vilifying climate chaos skeptics, alarmists are determined to control all thinking on the subject. They are terrified that people will find realist analyses and explanations far more persuasive. They refuse to debate skeptics, respond to NIPCC and other studies examining natural climate change and carbon dioxide benefits to wildlife and agriculture, or even admit there is no consensus.

They want the news media to ignore us but cannot put the internet genie back in the bottle. The White House is trying, though. It even sent picketers to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s home, to demand that he knuckle under and apply 1930s’ telephone laws to the internet, as a first step in content control

States must refuse to play the climate crisis game. Through lawsuits, hearings, investigations and other actions, governors, legislators, AGs and other officials can delay EPA diktats, educate citizens about solar and other natural forces, and explain the huge costs and trifling benefits of these draconian regulations.

Congress should hold hearings, demand an accounting of agency expenditures, require solid evidence for every climate claim and regulation, and cross-examine Administration officials on details. It should slash EPA and other agency budgets, so they cannot keep giving billions to pressure groups, propagandists and attack dogs. Honesty, transparency, accountability and a much shorter leash are long overdue.

Via email


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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Monday, March 30, 2015

Australia: Infantile Greenies and the "threatened" future of a pretty Tasmanian parrot

The article below is from the environmental writer at the Australian far-Left "New Matilda" magazine so its truthfulness cannot be assumed  -- but the interesting thing is the approach of the article. It is typical of "stop everything" environmentalism.  It offers no compromise and no middle way.  Instead of assisting informed decision-making it just does its best to build a roadblock to action.

In those circumstances, if there are foolish decisions made about environmental matters the Greens are partly responsible for that.  Most of Tasmmania is locked up under environmental regulations so there has been no balance at all so far.  The voters have clearly grown tired of that and gave Tasmania's conservatives an unprecedented clear victory in the last State election.  The conservatives are now doing what they were elected to do -- unlock some of the locked-off areas.  It would be so much better if they could do it in a consultative way with all parties -- but compromise is unknown to Greenies.  "We want it all" is their juvenile cry.

A more mature Greenie response to what the voters have clearly asked for would be to suggest alternative areas that could be opened up that did not threaten environmental harm.  But in a long article (only partially excerpted below) there was no whisper of that.  They are emotional toddlers

Concerns over the Abbott government’s plans to “deregulate” the environment and give up much of its environmental powers to the states found a compelling voice this week, as revelations emerged that the Tasmanian government approved logging in contravention of expert advice, knowingly pushing an endangered bird much closer to extinction.

It’s the sort of industry-first approach that environmental lawyers and conservationists are concerned could become far more common under the federal government’s so-called ‘One Stop Shop’ reforms.

The policy would drastically diminish the federal environment minister’s portfolio and see state governments - which stand to gain much more from big developments, mining, and forestry - vested with assessment and approval powers over matters of national environmental significance.

The government says the ‘One Stop Shop’ will cut red tape without a drop in environmental standards but documents obtained by Environment Tasmania under freedom of information laws, released earlier week, have raised serious questions over the state’s commitment to conservation.

The Hodgman government has approved the logging of at least three out of five areas of forest which provide key breeding habitat for the endangered Swift Parrot, it was revealed, despite repeated advice from experts that it will hasten the species’ already steep decline to extinction.

“Conservation objectives for the species at the [local] and regional scales will not be met” if the areas are logged, scientists within Tasmania’s environment department warned.

Less than 1,000 breeding pairs of Swift Parrot remain. Each year the bird undertakes the longest known migration of any parrot, to breed on the east coast of Tasmania.

The areas the Tasmanian government has now approved for logging are high-quality nesting habitat that are known to host large numbers of the just 2,000 remaining individuals during breeding season.

Cutting down forests in this breeding habitat, scientists within the department warn in one email, “will result in the continued loss of breeding habitat that has been identified as being of very high importance for the species with the further fragmentation of foraging habitat”.

“This cannot contribute to the long term survival of the species.”

Put simply, “there is no scientific evidence to support the position that continued harvesting of breeding habitat will support conservation objectives for the species”.

Ordinarily, where matters of national environmental significance such as threatened species are involved, the federal Environmental Protection Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act would be triggered and the Commonwealth government would be tasked with ensuring conservation outcomes are met.

For the Swift Parrot, though, there was no federal safeguard.

The Tasmanian government was allowed to issue the approvals, and ignore the expert advice, because of a deal with the federal government, known as the Regional Forestry Agreement (RFA).

It’s a deal that is remarkably similar to the wholesale hand-over of powers the Abbott government is pursuing through its One Stop Shop reform.


New Federal Regulations Threaten Fracking Boom

The Department of Interior missed an opportunity for real reform recently when it released new regulations on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on federal lands.

Since the onset of the Obama administration, the U.S. has undergone both an energy boom that was the bright spot in the great recession and a heated political battle over the Department of Interior’s lack of transparency that significantly slowed oil and gas production on federal lands. It also likely is not the last rule coming from the Obama administration to regulate fracking.

In typical “If it keeps moving, regulate it” fashion, Interior started a rule-making process in November 2010 in response to increased fracking activity and public concerns that were exacerbated by fallacious films such as Gasland and Matt Damon’s Promised Land.

The rule updates and expands regulation and will be revisited again in seven years. It is largely duplicative of what states already do to regulate fracking—adjusting construction standards to protect water resources and requiring disclosure of chemicals and advance public notice of fracking activity. Regulations apply to federal and Indian lands as well as private or state lands where the underground mineral rights belong to the federal government. States otherwise would regulate fracking on state and private lands as they have been. Unsurprisingly, extremist environmental groups did not think the Interior Department went far enough.

The Department of Interior should have taken the fracking boom as an opportunity to pivot away from one-size-fits-all regulation and turn management of fracking activity to the states. Regulation at the state and local level—as opposed to from Washington—has been a chief reason for the impressive economic results and environmental record of the new technology. Even the White House Council of Economic Adviser’s noted in its annual report to Congress that the regulatory structure that met local concerns regarding fracking was at the state and local level.

Instead, it has taken Interior five years to develop these new regulations, and politically driven management of federal lands has played a significant role in the loss of productivity on those lands. Meanwhile, states have effectively and efficiently managed the energy boom on state and private lands even as demand to develop oil and gas resources has increased. In fact, states have been regulating fracking for decades. While federal regulators lose even more time putting these new regulations into practice, states already have policies in place that reflect the unique conditions of the state.

Federal management of energy resources also has had a chilling effect on productivity. According to the Congressional Research Service, roughly 43 percent of all proven crude oil reserves in the U.S. are on federal lands. And yet, since 2009, oil production on federal lands has fallen by 9 percent even as production on state and private lands has increased by 61 percent over the same period. In 2010, 36 percent of all domestic oil production came from federal lands; now only 23 percent does. A similar story can be told of coal and natural gas. This activity translated into more jobs and higher incomes.

States have also been more responsive to the unique interests and concerns of their communities, in contrast to Interior’s approach of stalling on granting permits to drill for oil and gas. Not a single case of water contamination has been caused by the process of fracking, and although there are best practices that must be followed, fracking has withstood the many myths demonizing the technology.

Some communities have elected to ban the use of fracking technology. Unfortunate and misguided as that is, good environmental policy puts the freedom to make decisions in the hands of the people who are affected most by management choices. Nevertheless, Interior’s rule prevents this local decision-making.

Congress and energy producers already have responded in kind. In recent days, 27 senators introduced legislation to block the regulation and the Independent Petroleum Association of America and Western Energy Alliance filed a lawsuit against the Department of Interior, calling the rule “a reaction to unsubstantiated concerns” that “lacks the factual, scientific or engineering evidence necessary to sustain the agency’s action.” Ultimately states, not Washington, should regulate fracking activities on federal lands. They are more knowledgeable and adaptable to the conditions of each region.


Gallup: Concern About Environment Down – Americans Worry Least About Global Warming

Americans’ concern over environmental issues such as water and air pollution and extinction of species is down from last year, and the data show that of all green issues, Americans worry the least about global warming (or climate change), according to Gallup.

As part of its annual Environmental survey, which Gallup has done for more than two decades, the surveyors on March 5-8 asked, “I’m going to read you a list of environmental problems. As I read each one, please tell me if you personally worry about this problem a great deal, a fair amount, only a little, or not at all.”

The results showed that when it came to “pollution of drinking water,”  60% worried about it a “great deal” in 2014 but only 55% worried about it a “great deal” in 2015.

For “global warming or climate change,” some 34% worried about it a “great deal” in 2014 but that went down to 32% in 2015.

Commenting on the results, Gallup said,  “Americans' concern about several major environmental threats has eased after increasing last year. As in the past, Americans express the greatest worry about pollution of drinking water, and the least about global warming or climate change.”

“[T]he nature of the environmental agenda may indirectly be influencing Americans' concern,” said Gallup.  “The primary focus of the environmental movement has shifted toward long-term threats like global warming -- issues about which Americans tend to worry less than about more immediate threats like pollution.”

“Importantly,” said the surveyors, “even as global warming has received greater attention as an environmental problem from politicians and the media in recent years, Americans' worry about it is no higher now than when Gallup first asked about it in 1989.”

When Gallup broke the data down by political party, Republican versus Democrat, it found that only 13% of Republicans worry a “great deal” about global warming in 2015 while 52% of Democrats worry a “great deal” about the issue.

“Democrats worry more than Republicans about all of the issues,” said Gallup.  “Notably, Democrats are more worried about global warming now than they were in 2000, perhaps reflecting the shift in the focus of the environmental agenda toward this issue.”

In its survey, Gallup interviewed by telephone a random sample of 1,025 adults, aged 18 and older, in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The poll had a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points.


Thanks to the EPA, Even If You Like Your Shower, You Can't Keep It

A good shower is one of life's simple pleasures. Until it gets interrupted by government.

If you like your shower, you probably can't keep it once the bureaucrats are done. The War on Women and Men Taking Showers began with a 1992 law that restricts how much water can flow through each nozzle. In 2010, the feds cracked down against multiple-nozzle showerheads. Now the EPA wants to limit how long we can stay in the shower.

The Environmental Protection Agency is subsidizing development by the University of Tulsa of a shower-timing system that allows people to be billed according to their time in the shower. The concept starts by providing hotels with real-time reports on each guest. With normal bureaucratic progression, this could soon become a requirement that everybody is metered in their showers at home.

This is government pushing us around. It is part of the “nudge” philosophy pushed by President Barack Obama's former regulations czar, Cass Sunstein. He co-authored the book, Nudge, which describes how laws and regulations can push us to behave the way that government desires. We pay more for light bulbs, pay more for automobiles, pay more for electricity, and get less in the shower, all because government denies us any other choice. Indeed, the EPA grant on timing shower-taking states that behavior modification is the goal.

What difference does it make when our showering is regulated?

Surveys by soapmakers reveal that two-thirds of us shower (or bathe) daily, with the average being 5 showers per week. For American men, we shower 10 minutes at a time, with 15 minutes for women. Those who sing in the shower usually take longer—and evidently that's a majority of us.

The exact times differ in various studies. According to the EPA, the average shower is eight minutes, which they say is still too long. EPA brochures encourage us to drop down by a minute, to what would be a 7-minute norm. That's barely enough time to sing two songs!

Multiple environmental groups want more; they promote a 5-minute max. Many of these advocate taking an even-briefer “Navy shower”: 1) turn on water to rinse your hair and body; 2) turn off the water while you apply shampoo, use soap, and scrub; 3) turn on the water for a quick rinse-off, then turn it off and dry yourself.

That's hardly enough time to sing a single verse.

It's easy to imagine an EPA-run system that shuts off our water automatically when we reach their time limit. The agency claims it has no such plan; it is only making suggestions for shorter showers. But the bureaucratic practice is that suggestions become guidelines, which become policies, which become legally-binding regulations.

Bit-by-bit and drop-by-drop, the feds are stifling our showering.

The original restrictions were enacted by Congress in 1992, signed by President George H.W. Bush. That Clean Water Act dictated low-flow showerheads (2.5 gallons-per-minute max), along with 1.6 gallons-per-flush toilets. Many people turned to multi-nozzle showers to get as one workaround. Then came President Barack Obama. His bureaucrats in 2010 re-interpreted the law and declared that all nozzles combined cannot exceed 2.5 gpm. They filed lawsuits against fixture manufacturers to enforce this.

EPA keeps pushing the envelope even farther. They seek to lower the norm to 2.0 gpm or less, via a series of “WaterSense” incentive awards. Innkeepers, manufacturers, homebuilders, contractors and others are asked to sign a written agreement with the EPA to voluntarily lower their allowed legal limit of water use. Those groups are then allowed to use the “WaterSense” logo on their products and advertising; they benefit from EPA's marketing campaign that supports the label.

Is all this restriction on water usage really necessary? There is no shortage of water, not even what can be made available for drought-stricken California. The problem is that moving, processing and reclaiming water all require energy. And the constant environmentalist crackdown on energy sources keeps making it too expensive to get the water everyplace where it is needed.

The federal restrictions, however, apply equally to all parts of the country, whether local water problems exist there or not.

The law of supply and demand still works. Those who choose to use more H2O can pay higher water bills for the privilege. But green advocates complain that it's unfair to let people consume more of a product simply because they can afford to do so.

What goes unmentioned is that low-flow showerheads cost more for everyone. Manufacturers must add extra internal features to enhance the water velocity, otherwise the low-flow might dribble out and fail to wash away the suds. For decent quality, the lower the flow, the higher the price.

Meanwhile, Americans are engaged in massive civil disobedience about showering. Many purchasers of new showerheads—the majority, according to reports—soon remove the flow restrictor or drill a larger hole in the shower fitting so they can enjoy more than just 2.5 gallons per minute.

Perhaps someday this will lead to a modern-day Boston Tea Party. But this time it would be the low-flow nozzles and toilets that get dumped in the harbor.


Challenging the EPA Steamroller

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week in Michigan v. EPA, a case that has the potential to either check the Environmental Protection Agency’s runaway abuse of power or give it unchecked authority to bankrupt any industry it sees fit.

At issue is the agency’s duty to adhere to the Clean Air Act’s “appropriate and necessary” standard when issuing and enforcing regulations. The EPA published mercury and air toxin standards in 2012 that, by the agency’s own estimates, would cost the economy close to $10 billion annually. The public health benefits supposedly to be gained from the rules would amount to $6 million annually at the most, meaning that every $20,000 of regulatory fees that the energy industry pays would lead to only $1 in public benefit. What a deal.

The EPA argues economic cost is not a factor when considering whether regulations are appropriate and necessary, claiming environmental benefits alone are what concern the agency.

When the case was before the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s dissent took the EPA to task: “Your only statutory direction is to decide whether it is ‘appropriate’ to go forward with the regulation. Before making that decision, what information would you want to know? You would certainly want to understand the benefits from the regulations. And you would surely ask how much the regulations would cost. You would no doubt take both of those considerations – benefits and costs – into account in making your decision. That’s just common sense and sound government practice.”

The EPA, though, is not concerned with common sense or legality. Its goal with the mercury regulations, among the costliest in history, is to drive coal-fired power plants out of business. And it’s all part of Barack Obama’s strategy to make sure electricity prices “necessarily skyrocket.”

During oral arguments before the Supreme Court, Justice Stephen Breyer, one of the Obama administration’s most loyal water carriers, tried to justify the EPA’s position. He suggested that the agency would consider the appropriateness of costs at some later point when enforcing the mercury rule since, under the Clean Air Act, the EPA has the power to apply rules in an “appropriate and necessary” manner.

It’s hoped that the legal minds of at least five Supreme Court justices will be sharp enough to recognize the contradiction of such an argument. If the EPA wasn’t concerned about whether its measures were appropriate at the regulatory rulemaking phase, then where’s the incentive to revisit the appropriate cost later on? Furthermore, if the EPA has the ability to decide whether the regulatory cost was appropriate at a later date, then it’s engaging in an action that it has stated in this case it need not do.

In Michigan v. EPA, the agency argues Rule of Law is irrelevant. If the Supreme Court rightly disagrees, then it will rule against this rogue EPA.




“Sustainability” is a key idea on college campuses in the United States and the rest of the Western world. To the unsuspecting, sustainability is just a new name for environmentalism. But the word really marks out a new and larger ideological territory in which curtailing economic, political, and intellectual liberty is the price that must be paid now to ensure the welfare of future generations.

This report is the first in-depth critical study of the sustainability movement in higher education. The movement, of course, extends well beyond the college campus. It affects party politics, government bureaucracy, the energy industry, Hollywood, schools, and consumers.

But the college campus is where the movement gets its voice of authority, and where it molds the views and commands the attention of young people.

While we take no position in the climate change debate, we focus in this study on how the sustainability movement has distorted higher education. We examine the harm it has done to college curricula and the limits it has imposed on the freedom of students to inquire and to make their own decisions.

Our report also offers an anatomy of the campus sustainability movement in the United States. We explain how it came to prominence and how it is organized. We also examine the financial costs to colleges and universities in their efforts to achieve some of the movement’s goals.

Often the movement presents its program as saving these institutions money. But we have found that American colleges and universities currently spend more than $3.4 billion per year pursuing their dreams of “sustainability” at a time when college tuitions are soaring and 7.5 percent of recent college graduates are unemployed and another 46 percent underemployed.

In addition to the direct costs of the movement, we examine the growing demands by sustainability advocates that colleges and universities divest their holdings in carbon-based energy companies without regard to forgone income or growth in their endowments.

What makes “sustainability” so important that institutions facing financial distress are willing to prioritize spending on it? In this report, we examine that question. Because the idea of “anthropogenic global warming”—or “climate change”—is so closely interwoven with the sustainability movement, we devote a chapter early in the report to laying out the arguments on both sides of the debate.

The appeal of the sustainability movement depends to a great extent on the belief that the world is experiencing catastrophic warming as a result of human activities that are increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Is this belief warranted?

We are neutral on this proposition, but we stand by the principle that all important ideas ought to be open to reasoned debate and careful examination of the evidence. This puts us and others at odds with many in the sustainability movement whose declared position is that the time for debate is over and that those who persist in raising basic questions are “climate deniers.”

The “debate-isover” position is itself at odds with intellectual freedom and is why the campus sustainability movement should be examined skeptically.

We support good stewardship of natural resources, but we see in the sustainability movement a hardening of irrational demands to suspend free inquiry in favor of unproven theories of imminent catastrophe.

And we see, under the aegis of sustainability, a movement that often takes its bearings from its hostility towards material prosperity, consumerism, free markets, and even democratic self-government.

Full report here (PDF)


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


Sunday, March 29, 2015

South Pole's icy edge is rapidly vanishing: Antarctic ice shelves have shrunk by as much as 18% in ten years, claims study

Amusing.  The ice loss has accelerated in the last decade.  But there has been no global warming in the last decade.  So the loss CANNOT be due to global warming.  If the data is sound -- a very big IF when looking at Warmist research -- the effect is probably due to sub-surface vulcanism  -- with a lot of that being revealed recently

Antarctica's icy edge is disappearing in warming ocean waters, with the last decade seeing the rate of ice loss increase dramatically.

This is according to a new study that has combined 18-years worth of ice shelf thinning data from three different sets of satellites.

The researchers claim that some ice shelves in West Antarctica have lost as much as 18 per cent of their volume in the last ten years.

Satellite data from 1994 to 2012 clearly shows the accelerating decline which could hasten the rise in global sea levels, scientists say.

The findings, published today in the journal Science, come amid concern among many scientists about the effects of global climate change on Earth's vast, remote polar regions.

During the study period's first half, to about 2003, the overall volume decline around Antarctica was small, with West Antarctica losses almost balanced out by gains in East Antarctica.

After that, western losses accelerated and gains in the east ended.

'There has been more and more ice being lost from Antarctica's floating ice shelves,' said glaciologist Helen Fricker of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego.

The Crosson Ice Shelf in the Amundsen Sea and the Venable Ice Shelf in the Bellingshausen Sea, both in West Antarctica, each shrank about 18 percent during the study period.

'If the loss rates that we observed during the past two decades are sustained, some ice shelves in the Amundsen and Bellingshausen seas could disappear within this century,' added Scripps geophysics doctoral candidate Fernando Paolo.

The melting of these ice shelves does not directly affect sea levels because they are already floating.

'This is just like your glass of gin and tonic. When the ice cubes melt, the level of liquid in the glass does not rise,' Paolo said.

But the floating ice shelves provide a restraining force for land-based ice, and their reduction would increase the flow of the ice from the land into the ocean, which would increase sea levels.

'While it is fair to say that we're seeing the ice shelves responding to climate change, we don't believe there is enough evidence to directly relate recent ice shelf losses specifically to changes in global temperature,' Fricker said.


Weather Vain: Obama Uses Climate Hoax to Bully Govs

DESPITE the uncertainty expressed by his own FEMA head: "Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Craig Fugate said the frequency of tornadoes and hurricanes is cyclical, and he doesn’t know if global warming has anything to do with it. Should Obama's own FEMA head be denied funding?.

If you can’t beat ‘em, buy 'em! That’s the President’s new approach to climate change skeptics in conservative states. The Obama administration is apparently so desperate for support that it’s willing to blackmail governors into adding global warming to their disaster planning – or block their federal funds. FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said the conform-or-pay rules would go into effect next March. In the meantime, governors have a choice: they can bow down to the Left’s faulty science or lose millions of dollars in FEMA relief planning.

Under the new regulations, only states that tackle the effects of “changing environmental or climate conditions” in their long-term “hazard-mitigation plans” will qualify for funding. Specifically, governors must “identify tools and approaches that enable decision-making to reduce risks and increase resilience from a changing climate.” It’s a shocking amount of political arm-twisting, even for this administration.

Clearly, the rules were made to hurt – and it’s no secret whom. Republican Governors like Rick Scott (Fla.), Bobby Jindal (La.), Chris Christie (N.J.), Pat McCrory (N.C.), and Greg Abbott (Texas) have been openly critical of the administration’s climate push, and these guidelines are payback. Of course, many of these regions – including my home state of Louisiana – are coastal, meaning that they are especially vulnerable to storms and other natural disasters. And while FEMA promises that it won’t attach these same strings to hurricane, flood, or other post-disaster relief, the administration’s word is about as reliable as the Left’s science.

Interestingly enough, FEMA’s extortion plan comes on the heels of a pretty damning report from key environmental experts, who agreed last year that the White House’s National Climate Assessment is a “masterpiece of marketing” that crumbles like a “house of cards” under the weight of real-world evidence. In an open letter, the group of 15 blasted the government’s “climate models” for “dramatically fail(ing) basic verification tests. Nowhere do they admit to these well-known failures. Instead, we are led to believe that their climate models are close to perfection.” The real damage control started well before when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was forced to admit that the world’s temperatures haven’t risen in 17 years. (If you thought the holes in the Ozone layer were big, you should see the ones in the Left’s credibility!)

Without any real science to prop up his agenda, the President is pulling a page from his abortion playbook: government extortion. Unfortunately, this kind of ideological hostage-taking is nothing new for the White House. When Catholic Charities wouldn’t pledge allegiance to the administration’s abortion views, HHS pulled the plug on more than $5 million in human trafficking grants, despite the fact Catholic Charities is among the most qualified organizations to render aid and assistance to the trafficked.

Obviously, the totalitarian tactics of this administration knows no bounds. “This story really brings together all the elements of Obamaism,” writes Dan McLaughlin. As HotAir puts it, “It’s legally dubious; it ignores Congress… it’s an obvious political pander to the Left with a bonus of putting right-wingers in a spot, even at the expense of placing citizens at risk; and it (mocks) state autonomy. Basically, it’s the environmental equivalent of executive amnesty. All that’s missing is 18-24 months of Obama statements denying that he’d ever do something like this before turning around and doing it.”


The Great Oxygenation Event

Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser


Photosynthesis (PS) is the process by which algae and plants convert carbon dioxide (CO2) to organic matter, like the wood of trees. Any other organism on this planet that is not an alga or plant itself feeds on the former. Therefore, CO2 is the source of all life on earth. There is not a single organism that does not require the carbon atom as a basic building block.

Photosynthesis brings about another product, rarely mentioned but vital to all higher organisms on the planet, and that is molecular oxygen (O2). There is no other source of O2 on earth but photosynthesis. Therefore, without carbon dioxide there also would be no free oxygen in our atmosphere.
Oxygen (O2)

Without oxygen in the water there would be no fish. Without oxygen in the air there would be no mammals on land. Oxygen is the material organisms need to turn the plant-accumulated sun-energy into energy useful for our ability to move and propagate. Given its concentration in the air alone, nearly 21%, oxygen is approximately 500 times the level of CO2 that makes up 0.04% (even after burning all the fossil fuels for centuries). As you can see, there is little CO2 but plenty of O2 in the atmosphere.

Given the fact that all free molecular O2 in our atmosphere and water comes solely from CO2 via the photosynthesis (PS) process, you may wonder if this was a “slow and steady” accumulation of O2 or if there were epochs in the earth history that really got the PS process going in grand style. Indeed, the latter was the case and it’s what scientists commonly refer to as “the great oxygenation events” (GOEs). Actually, there were two such periods. The first one some two billion years ago (plus or minus a few million) and second one a billion-plus years later. Now, don’t get the idea that the GOE happened over night or even over a few thousand years. In geological terms such “short” periods are not even mentionable. No, each GEO took many millions of years.

The Great Oxygenation Event

However, the GOE is real, particularly the second one. It was a time of great plant exuberance on earth. Plants like the modern-day horsetail (Equisetum sp.) and the long-extinct scale trees were growing all over like mad. In some of the coal seams, their imprints can still be found. The GOE happened mainly during the (geological) Carboniferous period stretching from 350 to 300 million years ago. During these 50 million years, a great part of the atmospheric CO2 was converted by PS to O2.

Actually, the PS process was so active then that the O2 concentration in the air rose to 35%, nearly double the level it is today. The decline since took many more millions of years to distribute it “more justly” between the atmosphere and the ocean water. Today, the oceans hold much of that formerly “excess” molecular oxygen. But now back to the “evil” carbon dioxide.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

As mentioned already but worth repeating here: the entire supply of molecular oxygen on earth is derived from that CO2. Naturally (pun intended) the PS process did not just create the oxygen, it also had a “side effect” of reducing the atmosphere’s content of CO2. Around the time of the GOE, the atmosphere contained more than ten times the level of today and before that it was more than a 100 times that level.

Despite the planet’s continuous (and still continuing) attempts to keep the atmosphere supplied with an adequate level of that CO2 stuff it had steadily declined to a level of approximately 200 ppm (parts per million). At that concentration, plants simply become starved of available CO2 as its partial pressure can no longer sustain PS. Mother Nature’s PS process consumed more CO2 than all the thousands of volcanic vents and eruptions could push into the air. Luckily for all life on earth, the algae and plants did not die out and managed to slow down their CO2 consumption by “hibernating” until they could once more “breathe again freely” when the CO2 level had increased again. There is evidence in for that in the renewed growth of ancient redwood trees in California.

You’d think these facts alone would be enough to get the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), all “anti-carbon-footprint-advisors” like the United Nations’ IPCC and many NGOs to reconsider. Not a chance. They are hell-bent to call it pollution. Even the U.S. Supreme Court said so (perhaps you can forward the link to this post or a copy to the court and/or to any of the elected officials in your area); they might just be interested in getting this info.

In any event, I think it’s an appropriate contribution to this year’s “Earth Hour” on Saturday, March 28, 2015. The WWF and other NGOs are asking you to curtail your “carbon footprint” for the “sake of Mother Nature.” Some folks then have a candle light dinner or candle light party.

That’s great, burn some candles at Earth Hour. It’s good, really, because burning candles produce more life-sustaining carbon dioxide than modern low-carbon-footprint electric lights.


Major peer-review scandal causes withdrawal of 43 published scientific papers

Peer review cannot prevent dishonesty or bias

There’s a lot of unsettled science going on these days. The peer-review system, which is supposed to serve as a quality assurance system, allowing credentialed experts to pass judgment on new research before it is published, is breaking down. The latest in a series of scandals involves 43 papers, but more are expected to follow.

Fred Barbash of the Washington Post reports:

    "A major publisher of scholarly medical and science articles has retracted 43 papers because of “fabricated” peer reviews amid signs of a broader fake peer review racket affecting many more publications.

    The publisher is BioMed Central, based in the United Kingdom, which puts out 277 peer-reviewed journals. A partial list of the retracted articles suggests most of them were written by scholars at universities in China, including China Medical University, Sichuan University, Shandong University and Jiaotong University Medical School. But Jigisha Patel, associate editorial director for research integrity at BioMed Central, said it’s not “a China problem. We get a lot of robust research of China. We see this as a broader problem of how scientists are judged.”

    Meanwhile, the Committee on Publication Ethics, a multidisciplinary group that includes more than 9000 journal editors, issued a statement suggesting a much broader potential problem. The committee, it said, “has become aware of systematic, inappropriate attempts to manipulate the peer review processes of several journals across different publishers.” Those journals are now reviewing manuscripts to determine how many may need to be retracted, it said."

Science has become a major industry, with the billions of dollars of government funding available not just in the US but worldwide providing incentives for cheating. Promotion in universities depends on publication in peer-reviewed journals, so desperate academics seek it, no matter how trivial or even phony the results. In addition, in medicine, climate science, and many other fields, huge financial stakes exist for non-scientists, leading to pressure on the peers who do the reviewing. As the Clmategate emails revealed, conspiracies among the peers who review can lead to suppression of research contrary to the interests of the conspirators.

The integrity of science – and the continued progress of mankind – depends on the efficacy of peer review. We are at a critical point, with the danger of phony science misleading us into dead ends and worse.


British regulator knocks back Warmist complaint

Decision of the Complaints Committee: 021014 Ward v The Mail on Sunday

1. Bob Ward complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that The Mail on Sunday had breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Exposed: Myth of Artic Meltdown”, published on 31/08/2014.

2. The article reported that the Arctic ice extent had increased over the last two years.

3. The complainant was concerned that the article gave the inaccurate impression that the long-term decline in Arctic sea ice had reversed. He said that the article had omitted the fact that the Arctic sea ice extent in August 2014 had been the seventh-lowest recorded level since records began. He also said that the article had not made clear that the 2012 reading had been the lowest on record, nor had the article explained that, on numerous occasions, the ice extent had increased for one year, without reversing the overall decline.

4. Further, the complainant said that the article had inaccurately reported that there was no evidence that the number of polar bears were declining. He said that latest estimates indicated that, of the 19 sub-populations of polar bears, four are declining, five are stable and one is increasing; there was not enough data to estimate trends for the other nine sub-populations. The article had included a graph recording Arctic Sea extent over the last ten years headlined “How melt has slowed over 10 years”. The complainant said that the graph was significantly misleading as the linear trend in the sea ice extent data was steeper for the period between 2004 and 2014 than it was for the entire record of 1979 to 2014.

5. The complainant said that the newspaper had also inaccurately reported the comments made by the American politician Al Gore; it said that in 2007 Mr Gore had suggested that the North Polar Ice Cap could be completely gone in seven years. The complainant said that it had been significantly misleading to omit that, while he had cited one study which predicted that this would be the case, he had also cited a different study which had suggested it could happen by 2029.

6. The complainant said that the newspaper should acknowledge that the article was inaccurate and significantly misleading, publish his letter in full and provide an assurance that it would take greater care to ensure that future articles on this issue were accurate.

7. The newspaper said that the “myth” mentioned in the headline was the claim that the Arctic might be ice-free by 2014. The article had reported the unexpected increase in Arctic sea ice over the past two years, but it had made clear that the long-term trend remains in decline, caused, at least in part, by human activity. The newspaper said that the article had included a considerable amount of balancing material and had quoted several scientists.

8. In relation to polar bears, the article had acknowledged that that there was “no reliable data from almost half the Arctic, so it cannot say whether numbers are falling or rising”. It had not been significantly misleading on this point.

9. The graph headlined “How melt has slowed over 10 years” had been accurate; readers could see for themselves how the levels of ice have gone down over the past 10 years, and up in the last two.

10. While the newspaper did not accept that the article was significantly misleading, it offered to publish a lightly amended version of the complainant’s letter. The complainant’s letter would make clear that he considered the article to be misleading.

Findings of the Committee

12. Topics such as the effects of climate change and global warming remain matters of intense discussion and debate. Under the terms of Clause 1, newspapers are entitled to publish controversial or unorthodox views on such issues, provided that they are not inaccurate or significantly misleading.

13. The article presented the author’s view that forecasts regarding the melting of Arctic ice had overestimated the rate of decline. The complainant did not dispute that measures showed that the Arctic ice extent had increased over the last two years. The article had made clear that the long-term trend still showed a decline, and the coverage had included commentary from a number of scientists, expressing a variety of views on the matter, including one who had stated that he was “uncomfortable with the idea of people saying the ice had bounced back”, and warned against reading too much into the ice increases. The article had made clear that scientific opinions regarding the significance of the most recent data varied. In this context, the omission of the information that the measure in 2012 had been the lowest on record, and that 2014 had still been the seventh lowest since records began, was not significantly misleading. The article did not suggest that it had been established as fact that the long-term decline in Arctic sea ice had reversed.

14. The article had made clear that the Polar Bear Specialist Group admitted that it did not have the necessary data to establish whether the numbers of polar bears was rising or falling. In this context, it had not been significantly misleading to suggest that there was no scientific evidence to establish that the number of bears was declining.

15. The article had been illustrated with a graph which plotted the Artic Sea extent in millions of square kilometres, titled “How melt has slowed over 10 years”.  While the Committee noted the complainant’s concern that the linear trend in the sea ice extent data was steeper for the period between 2004 and 2014 than it was for the entire record of 1979 to 2014, in circumstances in which the complainant did not dispute that the graph had been plotted accurately, the Committee was satisfied that the presentation of the data had not been significantly misleading.

16. The complainant was concerned that the newspaper had misrepresented a speech by Al Gore. As Mr Gore had cited a study which projected that the Arctic sea ice could disappear by 2014, it had not been significantly misleading to omit that he had also cited a different study which had suggested it could happen by 2029. The Committee also noted that the newspaper had tried to contact Al Gore for comment on this matter. There was no breach of the Code. Nonetheless, the Committee welcomed the newspaper’s offer to publish a letter from the complainant.


It’s Time to use U.S. Oil to make the World Far Safer

It’s Time to use U.S. Oil to make the World Far Safer
by STEVE CHAMBERS March 24, 2015

The United States has the opportunity to use vast, untapped reserves of oil to make the world far safer, now and for generations to come.  These reserves would eliminate the world's concerns about where its oil would come from, how much it would cost, or whether it might be shut off by Mideast warfare or willful disruptions.  They would defund some of the world's worst regimes.  And they would be profitable at today's prices, so pose no economic burden and in fact would provide many economic benefits.  The only thing standing in the way of developing them is feverish environmental fear.

The world consumes about 92 million barrels per day of oil, or roughly 34 billion barrels a year.  The oil market is quite separate from the rest of the energy market.  Lawrence Livermore Labs provides data that show that 70% of oil consumption in this country fuels transportation (the rest going primarily to industrial uses as both energy and chemical feedstocks), while transportation burns oil for 92% of its fuel.  Therefore, the oil market is quite separate from other sources of electrical generation, whether coal, nuclear reactors, or windmills.  This pattern is similar around the globe.  Global consumption has been growing quite steadily at just about 1% per year and is likely to continue to do so, even allowing for the numerous initiatives to make transportation less dependent on oil, including electric vehicles.

The economic growth of China and India, along with smaller countries, makes continued oil consumption growth virtually certain, and they might actually force growth to accelerate.  Each of those two giants alone is likely almost to double current total oil consumption by the time their economies yield per capita incomes comparable to the developed world, which should happen in the next generation or two.  The faster they grow their economies, the faster global oil consumption will grow.

Supplying this growing demand are officially declared, proven oil reserves of approximately 1.6 trillion barrels, which would last approximately 47 years at current consumption levels - but which will dwindle much faster as Chinese and Indian consumption grow.  Almost half of these global reserves lie under the sands of the Mideast, and would outlast reserves in most other areas given the various current production rates, so the world would become more and more reliant on Muslim oil.  As terrorism has bitterly taught the world in the past 14 years, some of the revenues from these Mideast reserves are being used to spread virulent versions of Islamic ideology and its accompanying jihad throughout the world.  If it weren't for these oil revenues, militant Islam wouldn't be a major global problem.

Of these global proven reserves, the U.S. contributes only about 30 billion barrels, or less than 2%, despite the rapid increase of reserves from the shale oil fracking boom.  At the current consumption of about 19 million barrels per day, these reserves would only last 4 years if not supplemented by imports and further discoveries.  Canada officially contributes 173 billion barrels, the third largest in the world, after Venezuela and Saudi Arabia; however, this number grossly understates the real potential in Canada.

The large majority of Canada's reserves come from the heavy oil in the sand formations of far northern Alberta.  These are variously estimated actually to contain between 1.6 and 2.5 trillion barrels - that is 1.0-1.6 times global proven conventional reserves.  Not all of these reserves can necessarily be recovered at current prices, but clearly the potential is enormous.  The lowest cost technology to tap these reserves is economic at about $60-65 per barrel (on a West Texas Intermediate oil price equivalent), according to the Canadian Research Institute, with alternative approaches requiring prices about $30 higher.

But the U.S. reserves are also grossly understated.  In the high scrub brush terrain of the Green River area of western Colorado, eastern Utah, and southwest Wyoming lie shale formations on or near the surface that are estimated to contain up to 3 trillion barrels - twice the global proven reserves.  Pilot programs have demonstrated that these reserves would be economic at about $35-54 per barrel, per the U.S. Department of Energy.  Combining the reserves in the Canadian oil sands with those in the Rockies shales, North America could triple the world's reserves of oil, at today's prices.

Despite the prodigious profit potential of these reserves, only three companies have recently begun tentatively developing them.  This is because the vast majority of the reserves lie on Federal lands that are not available for development.

This was not always the case.  Towards the end of its last term, the Bush administration issued regulatory policies, over the objections of Congressional Democrats, making these reserves more accessible than they had been.  The Obama administration reversed those polices in November 2012.  The reason: concerns about anthropogenic climate change (ACC).

Proponents of ACC theories hate all forms of carbon energy, but they harbor a special animus for both Canadian oil sands and Rockies oil shales.  Producing them requires large amounts of heat, which requires burning natural gas or oil itself, significantly increasing the carbon footprint of each barrel of oil.  As a consequence, environmentalists not only block the development of the Rockies shales, but are also blocking the XL Pipeline that would safely and efficiently transport the Canadian oil to Gulf Coast refineries, where it could be efficiently processed in facilities that were built to handle heavy Venezuelan crude oil.

ACC proponents greatly overstate both the strength of their evidence and the consequences of the potential problems, as an increasing amount of research and findings is demonstrating, including from ACC-promoting scientists.  Indeed, even their common claim that, in the words of Vice President Kerry, "Ninety-seven percent of the world's scientists tell us" that ACC is an "urgent" problem turns out to be a fiction.

Many scientists, including MIT professor emeritus of meteorolgy Richard Lindzen, have repeatedly pointed to flaws in the ACC theories, most recently Lindzen in a Wall Street Journal article.  In his article, he not only points out that ACC promoters' own models have predicted rapidly rising global temperatures for the last 15 years while actual temperatures have been flat, but also that the proposals to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide would be onerous for developed economies and crushing for developing ones.  Not incidentally, he also describes how Congressional devotees of ACC are trying to use the power of the Federal government to silence skeptics of accepted ACC wisdom.

Several panels of eminent economists, including many Nobel laureates, studied the likely impact of ACC under the aegis of the Copenhagen Consensus.  They, along with others such as energy specialist Alex Epstein (in his new book, The Earth is Not a God), have reached conclusions about ACC's economic consequences similar to those of climate scientists such as Professor Lindzen.  They have also pointed out that the policies environmentalists propose would hurt people in developing economies in the short and medium term and thus stunt their long term economic growth.  It's worth noting, incidentally, that the Copenhagen Consensus panels accepted the premise of ACC in reaching their conclusions.

Ironically, by hurting long term growth in developing countries, ACC proponents' policies would make it harder for the people in those countries to deal with the problems that they worry will occur.  If those developing economies instead grew and developed, their people would be able to adapt to and substantially mitigate the predicted negative impacts of ACC - if any in fact materialized.  Consequently, poorer countries are not concerned about addressing ACC.  They recognize a greater urgency to improve the economic lot of their people today and grow their income to the levels enjoyed by developed countries and won't sacrifice these gains to address problems that might or might not occur generations from now.  Nor are developing countries such as Venezuela, Nigeria, and China interested in suppressing their own oil production industries.

The ACC proponents' opposition to American oil is a fool's errand.  They can't stop everyone's oil from reaching the global market, just America's, but oil is fungible, so stopping American oil only is pointless.  Other countries also have large oil reserves, particularly the Venezuelans, who claim the world's largest reserves, at just under 300 billion barrels.  The large majority of these are oil sands, just as carbon-intensive as Canada's, that lie in the nearly inaccessible Orinoco basin.  Their production costs would be comparable to Canada's.  For the time being, the country's parlous economic and political situation are preventing production.  Yet even if Venezuela can overcome these problems, one must ask: Does the world really want this unstable nation and ally of Cuba and Iran to become the next Saudi Arabia?  Would the world not prefer to have the U.S. and Canada be the guarantors of oil security?

Even without the Venezuelans, other producers, such as Russia, Angola, and Nigeria, will bring new reserves onto the market, albeit probably at higher prices than North American producers would demand, and probably with their own political baggage.  High oil prices would be a grudgingly accepted consolation prize for environmentalists, as it might lead to more conservation.  But the price difference would likely be oil in a range a range of $90-110 from higher cost sources versus of $55-90 from the Canadian oil sands and Rockies' shale.  Is the limited conservation that this might induce enough to warrant preventing the U.S. from developing its huge reserves?  Consider the broader context.

Imagine the geopolitical impact of bountiful and moderately priced oil coming from two stable North American democracies.  The greatest impact would be on the militant Muslim petrostates, who are using their oil revenues as a weapon, exporting their extreme versions of Islam and funding terror and turmoil around the world.  Even more troubling, Iran's regime is currently in the process of trying to gain control the oil reserves of the Saudis, Iraq, and the other Mideast oil producers.  If it succeeds, it will be able unilaterally to threaten the non-Muslim world with oil disruptions - particularly if it obtains nuclear weapons.  But with virtually unlimited, moderate cost oil from North America, the oil receipts of Iran - as well as the Saudis - will be far below their current budgetary needs.  Not only will the Iranian regime have less money to fund its jihadist, expansionist plans, but the leverage it would hope to gain will virtually disappear, at least once the U.S. shale reserves are actually producing.  On the other hand, not developing these reserves will be an open invitation to the ayatollahs to continue to use oil as a sword of its jihad.

Moreover, the significant fiscal pressure that Iran would face for the foreseeable future might force the regime to curtail or even drop its nuclear arms program.  As a minimum, such constraints would force them to seek means other than oil exports to fund their regime and its vicious pet programs.  At best, the ensuing pressure on Iran's broader economy and people could precipitate merciful regime change.

This same economic vice would grip the Saudis and other militant Islamic petrostates, as well as Russia and Venezuela.  These bad actors would have to find other ways to finance their mayhem and ambitions.  Better yet, they would have to abandon them, to everyone else's benefit.

Consider also what this would mean for major oil consuming nations.  The Chinese regime would not have to worry about where its oil would come from, or whether disruptions in the Mideast could throttle its economic growth, leading to social unrest that might topple the regime and threaten the lives of the Party bosses.  This would affect their calculations about whether they need to devote so many of the nation's scarce resources to the blue water navy that it is now rapidly building to control sea lanes and dominate offshore oil reserves.  Perhaps with less uncertainty about oil, the Chinese government could be persuaded to be less expansionist and bellicose.

Meanwhile, India and the rest of the developing world would not have to worry about oil security, either, and would be able to focus their efforts and resources on other, more productive matters of economic development.  Furthermore, with secure, moderate cost energy, these countries should be able to grow more quickly than with higher cost oil.  Such higher growth would not only be a global good in its own right, it might enable some poor residents of an India or Tanzania, who otherwise might not survive to adulthood or receive an education, to develop technology that helps control the problems ACC might create- or demonstrate that there are no such problems in the first place.

Turning to Europe, its people would not be held in thrall by Muslim - or Russian - oil exporters.  This should have a liberating effect on their governments' attitudes towards these exporters and the Mideastern immigrants that are causing such burdens on their economies and disruption in their societies.  Stable, moderately priced oil would also produce much wider benefits for their economies.

Summarizing this geopolitical opportunity, America's vast oil reserves could be an important offensive economic weapon to help pacify, stabilize, and develop the world.  America could free the world from the risks of oil disruptions or price gyrations, not to mention the violence funded by Muslim and Russian oil revenues, to which the ACC proponents now subject us.

In addition to all those significant benefits, one must consider the substantial economic gains the U.S. would receive.  Our trade deficit would fall dramatically; every million barrels per day of oil exported would produce about $22 billion in revenue.  The U.S. Treasury would receive sizable windfalls from the combination of additional royalties on the oil produced and taxes on the profits of oil producers and income of workers.  Assuming an average royalty of 12.5%, reportedly the average for the last 100 years, for every additional 1 million barrels per day of production, the Treasury would receive about $2.7 billion.  If the Rockies could supply the incremental growth of the world over the next decade, that would reach roughly 10 million barrels a day in production, or exports of $220 billion per year (roughly half the trade deficit in 2013 of $472 billion) and royalties of $27 billion.  As the late Senator Everett Dirksen would have noted, we'd then be talking about "real money," even if the U.S. had to split the exports with Canada.

In addition to these benefits, the economy would reap many other rewards.  Well paying jobs would proliferate throughout the Rockies and along the routes that oil would follow for refining and export.  The benefits of these job increases would ripple throughout the economy.  Stable energy prices at reasonable levels would lower risk and hence allow higher returns on capital and greater productivity gains throughout the economy.  At the likely price levels, this situation might even help stimulate alternative, "clean" energy technologies by giving them a moderately high and stable price as a target.  Finally, greater geopolitical stability could even lead to a peace dividend.

The U.S. thus has the opportunity to make the world safer while substantially helping its own sluggish and debt-burdened economy.  Our choice is a simple but stark one: to use our energy as a weapon to defund and defang the jihad and a resurgent Russian empire while promoting global economic growth and stability; or to allow ACC proponents to perpetuate policies that endanger world peace and burden the global economy with high costs for dubious benefits.  Once we decide, the next step is simple.  The only thing Washington needs to do is to cut the red tape that is strangling our vast oil reserves (both Rockies shales and others on Federal land) and let private enterprise do the rest.

It's time for the American people to take a hard, clear-eyed, open-minded look at ACC worries and decide whether they really warrant leaving our oil weapon in its scabbard, despite all the good its use could do.  Already, poll after poll reports that Americans are overwhelmingly concerned about economic matters, and are far more concerned about national security than they are about ACC, if they even mention anything remotely like ACC among their concerns.  If Americans conclude that ACC isn't the great global threat some claim, then we should elect a government that will wield American oil for the prosperity and security of the entire world.



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