Sunday, July 26, 2015

Jim's latest scare too extreme even for many Warmists

I pointed out some of the problems with Jim Hansen's latest scary sea level prognostications on Friday.  A few more comments below

Former Top NASA Scientist James Hansen Predicts Catastrophic Rise In Sea Levels – ‘Projects sea levels rising as much as 10 feet in the next 50 years.’ – The paper has already ruffled some, including Associated Press science writer Seth Borenstein, who said on Twitter that he would not cover it — primarily because it had not yet been peer-reviewed, a process that allows other scientists to critique the work.

The Washington Post’s Chris Mooney asked other climate experts to weigh in on the paper. While many said it raised key discussion points, Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research called it “provocative and intriguing but rife with speculation and ‘what if’ scenarios.”

Marc Morano comments: “James Hansen’s new paper ratcheting up future sea level rise numbers is consistent with the new strategy of the global warming activists. Given that current sea level rise rates are not alarming, the only way climate activists can claim anything is ‘worse than we thought’ is to make more dire predictions of the future.

Simply making scarier predictions of the future in order to alarm policymakers is not ‘good science.’ Claiming that climate change impacts are ‘worse than we thought’ because predictions are now more frightening is a well worn playbook of the climate movement.
Simply put, when current reality fails to alarm, make scarier and scarier predictions of the distant future.

It is not surprising that James Hansen — a man who has been arrested nearly half a dozen times protesting ‘global warming’ and who has endorsed a book calling for ridding the world of industrial civilization — would continue to make scary predictions. The world needs to take a collective yawn at Hansen’s latest claims and ask how in the world was this man ever allowed to be in charge of the NASA temperature datasets!”

Warmist publication Mashable on James Hansen’s new sea level scare paper: “’s conclusions so contradict [UN IPCC] consensus views expressed last year.”  Mashable’s Andrew Freedman: ‘The godfather of global warming’s scary sea level rise prediction is getting the cold shoulder.”

NYT’s Andrew Revkin on Hansen’s sea level scare paper: “Associated Press, The New York Times, the BBC and The Guardian..among those who steered clear of [Hansen] study”

NYT: UN IPCC Lead Author Kevin Trenberth on Hansen sea level rise paper: “Rife with speculation..many conjectures & huge extrapolation based on quite flimsy evidence.”

Michael Mann admits Hansen’s SLR estimates “prone to a very large “extrapolation error”


End of the world is not nigh after all (it's been pushed back till 2100)

The end of the world has been put back by at least 50 years by a team of British scientists.

A doom-laden US study in 1972 predicted that the earth would run out of food and resources, becoming uninhabitable by around 2050.

Now scientists at Anglia Ruskin University’s Global Sustainability Institute have claimed we have a little more grace – until the end of this century, or the year 2100.

To come to their conclusion, the team updated the 1970s computer model used to predict how finite the Earth’s resources are.

The researchers four decades ago failed to take into account a number of factors that mean we are safe for a few years yet.

They include the industrial sector creating less pollution and using less energy than expected based on trends in the 1970s. Industry is also doing more to clean up pollution than the earlier forecasts assumed.

They did not foresee a huge rise in the service sector and telecommunications – making the world’s economy more productive .

And innovations in agriculture have allowed more food to be grown on the world’s land.

Aled Jones, co-author of the study in journal Sustainability, said: ‘They made a good attempt in the 1970s but it might have been too pessimistic.  ‘The limit is pushed back to the second half of this century.’  He added: ‘Many questions remain on exactly when planetary limits will be reached and what the consequences will be.

‘When you run the newly-calibrated World3 model forward in time, society still collapses this century based on reasonable guesses of these limits, although there is of course great uncertainty around exactly what these limits are.

‘Growth cannot continue indefinitely if it is based on material consumption, and not grounded in our understanding that the planet has limited land availability and resources.

‘Society has started to address some of the problems outlined in 1972, but we need to learn lessons from what we have already achieved and focus our efforts on avoiding these limits.’


Environmental Protection Agency Flooded With Lawsuits Over Controversial Water Rule

Twenty-nine states, more than half the stars on the American flag, have filed lawsuits against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for redefining the “Waters of the United States,” or WOTUS, erasing “navigable” and usurping states’ rights by including local seasonal streams, farm irrigation ponds, roadside ditches, and even “connective” dry lands placed under authority of the Clean Water Act.

The WOTUS rule, published the morning of June 29, potentially subjects every food, energy, transportation and manufacturing industry in the nation to high-handed regulation by one of the most reviled and least trusted federal agencies, dreaded for its cadre of “revolving door” officials hired from anti-industry green groups.

The astonishing response began on the afternoon of June 29: states teamed up in clusters to file their lawsuits in a common U.S. District Court. Utah and eight others filed with Georgia in Augusta’s U.S. Court; Alaska and 11 others filed with North Dakota in Bismark. Days later Mississippi and Louisiana filed with Texas in Galveston; Michigan filed with Ohio in Columbus; Oklahoma filed alone in Oklahoma City.

Each state lawsuit asked a federal judge to declare the WOTUS rule illegal and issue an injunction to prevent the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers, co-administrator of the rule, from enforcing it. Each state also asked the judge to order both agencies to draft a new rule that complies with the law and honors state authority.

The WOTUS rule is so alarming because it enables agency bureaucrats to control virtually anything that gets wet, including a desert dry wash that gets a “drizzle,” actual EPA language criticized by House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) at a Heartland Institute conference in Washington in June.

Heartland Research Fellow H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D, commented, “Farmers, ranchers, developers, industry, and individual property owners would now be subject to the EPA’s arbitrary, unsound, and often incomprehensible regulatory system. It cannot be trusted.”

American Farm Bureau Federation general counsel Ellen Steen announced the group’s lawsuit with similar distrust: “When EPA and the Corps first proposed the rule in March 2014, they promised clarity and certainty to farmers, ranchers, builders and other affected businesses and landowners. Instead we have a final rule that exceeds the agencies’ legal authority and fails to provide the clarity that was promised.”

More than a dozen national agricultural and production organizations also filed suit against EPA, including the National Alliance of Forest Owners, American Road and Transportation Builders Association, National Association of Home Builders, National Association of Manufacturers, and Public Lands Council.

The non-profit Pacific Legal Foundation sued on behalf of the state cattlemen’s associations of California, Washington, and New Mexico. When contacted for comment, the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association’s president, Jose Varela Lopez, said what many ranchers feel. He told The Daily Caller, “My family has been on our land for 14 generations, each leaving it better for the next. Water is the source of all life and after all our generations, our water is clear and the land lives on. We have the history to prove that we are caretakers of the water and the land without the help of the Environmental Protection Agency.”

The alarm over WOTUS is not just about strangulation by regulation. Corruption has become a primary issue: evidence has emerged that EPA officials unlawfully lobbied crony green groups to send “one million comments” supporting the rule, according to a May 19 New York Times article. The Army Corps of Engineers examined the comments and found that 98 percent appeared to be non-substantive mass mailings.

Three lawmakers from the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and two subcommittee chairmen, Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), immediately sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy demanding answers about rigging public input with YouTube videos, Twitter accounts, and many other social media marketing tools.


Gallup Poll: Climate Change Causes Pope’s Poll Numbers to Implode in U.S.

Despite hysterical forecasts by some scientists, there’s been no empirical evidence of climate change for more than 18 years. But that has just changed – dramatically.

In the time since Pope Francis this spring publicly embraced global warming as “real” and “man-made,” his popularity numbers in the Gallup Tracking Poll have plummeted by 17 points. Climate change, Gallup suggests, caused, in large part, that dramatic drop in papal approval.

“Pope Francis’ favorability rating in the U.S. has returned to where it was when he was elected pope. It is now at 59%, down from 76% in early 2014. The pontiff’s rating is similar to the 58% he received from Americans in April 2013, soon after he was elected pope,” reports Gallup, on its web site. “Pope Francis’ drop in favorability is even starker among Americans who identify as conservative — 45% of whom view him favorably, down sharply from 72% last year. This decline may be attributable to the pope’s denouncing of ‘the idolatry of money’ and linking climate change partially to human activity, along with his passionate focus on income inequality — all issues that are at odds with many conservatives’ beliefs.”

The pope’s reputation has also taken a hit among liberals and moderates, pollsters said.

Pope Francis fares even more poorly when contrasted with one of his recent predecessors in the papacy, Pope John Paul II, who was highly esteemed.

“Pope John Paul II, who served as the spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic Church for nearly 27 years, always polled above 60% in the 1990s and 2000s, reaching a high of 86% favorability in late 1998,” the poll said.

One wonders what the gurus of Gaia worship, Jeffrey Sachs and Ban Ki-Moon, at the United Nations, and Francis’s other secular supporters think of this development. Their ham-handed attempt to hijack the Vatican for the progressive cause of sustainable development is now failing spectacularly, and is yet another liberal strategy that will live on, only in infamy.


Britain's disastrous Green Deal is ditched: Flagship scheme to insulate homes is branded a £170million failure

The Government’s flagship scheme to insulate homes has been axed after it was branded a £170million failure.

Ministers set up the Green Deal three years ago to encourage homeowners to save energy by installing loft and wall insulation and more efficient boilers at no up-front cost.

But Energy Secretary Amber Rudd announced yesterday that the scheme would close with immediate effect because of low take-up and to protect taxpayers from further losses.

Miss Rudd said the government was still committed to the goal of insulating homes, and that she would work with the industry to come up with an alternative scheme.

In her first major speech today, she will say that tackling climate change must not be seen as a left-wing issue but a ‘vital safety net for families and businesses’ which can be achieved in a more cost-effective way.

She has undertaken a review of all current energy policies, and cut subsidies for onshore wind and solar power, before turning her fire on the Green Deal which is widely seen as poor value for money.

Which? director Richard Lloyd said the scheme, pioneered by former Lib Dem energy secretary Chris Huhne, had ‘spectacularly failed to take off’.

The Green Deal Finance Company, which delivered, it will close. It offered people loans for up to 25 years to carry out the work, paid back on their energy bills, and has received £59million since 2013.

But take-up was low due to high interest rates, and the fact that loans were attached to a property, like a mortgage, so had to be paid off or passed on to the next owner if the applicant moved.

The Department of Energy and Climate said by the end of last month, around 10,000 properties had installed measures using the scheme.  Another 5,600 which are in progress, will not be affected.

The Green Deal Home Improvement Fund - which offered people cash back ‘vouchers’ for home improvements which householders bought up front - will also shut due to spiralling costs.

Some £114million was allocated for 27,000 energy efficiency measures, an average of £4,200 per job.

When the energy efficiency programme was set up, it was billed as the ‘biggest home improvement programme since the Second World War’ and ministers hoped to eventually reach 14million homes.

But last year MPs on the Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee said take-up had been a fraction of what was expected and called the scheme a ‘disappointing failure’.

Miss Rudd said: ‘We are on the side of hardworking families and businesses - which is why we cannot continue to fund the Green Deal. It’s now time for the building industry and consumer groups to work with us to make new policy and build a system that works.’

The government will seek to insulate a million homes by 2020 with a new scheme, she said. Energy companies will still provide energy saving measures to low income households under the ECO scheme.

Labour welcomed the closure of the scheme. Shadow energy minister Jonathan Reynolds said it was a ‘complete and utter failure’.

He said: ‘Installing energy efficiency measures in the home is an important way of getting consumer bills down, but the Green Deal never represented value for money…the Government urgently needs to lay out what plans they have to replace the Green Deal.’

Green campaigners concede the scheme was not a success but Greenpeace said scrapping it without a replacement in place was a ‘false economy’ and accused ministers of ‘giving up on efficiency’.

Energy companies were among the providers of the Green Deal, but one senior figure at an energy firm said: ‘The Green Deal has long been dead, and now needs a decent burial.’


The Australian Left still loves "renewables"

Labor under Bill Shorten seeks to win the next election by re-fighting the climate change issue with a renewable energy spearhead, pledging a fairer nation and using progressive identity politics — yet its fatal flaw is economic policy.

It is an extraordinary situation. Labor intends to recontest the battles of the Rudd-Gillard era, asylum-seeker boats being the likely exception.

Rather than reform itself because of the Rudd-Gillard experience, Labor has decided it was essentially right. It will ask the Australian public to think again and this time vote down Tony Abbott.

The ALP will prioritise climate change action via higher prices, operate in lock-step with the trade unions, flirt with quasi-protectionist economics, downplay market-based reforms and champion a litany of progressive causes: female equality, same-sex marriage, indigenous recognition and the republic.

At a time when Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens warns that Australian growth is falling to permanently lower levels — the implication being that stalled economic reform has diminished living standards — Labor offers phony words and hollow policy.

It is locked into the old politics and mistakes, playing to its loyalists and institutional interests.

Shorten is a weak leader trying to look strong. He is conspicuously devoid of policy strength. The lesson of Shorten’s leadership, illustrated by his speech yesterday, is the limits of leadership. Nearly everything he does is about adaptation to Labor power realities, ideological orthodoxies, trade unions and polling. He is driven to defy party sentiment on asylum-seeker boats for only one reason: the current policy is a veto on election victory.

These tactics overall should deliver Labor a formidable election campaign. It will be competitive. But Shorten’s latest ploy, the 50 per cent renewables electricity target by 2030, reveals all the problems.

This is plain irresponsible policy. It means Labor has no interest in the most cost-effective method of tackling emissions across the next 15 years.

It has no interest in trying to combat climate change consistent with a competitive growth economy. Labor can duck and weave but it cannot escape financial reality: the cost of renewables remains vastly more expensive than fossil fuels.

Anyone with half a political brain sees through this ploy. Because Shorten knows he must fight on climate change and because he knows pricing carbon risks another “carbon tax” scare, he wants to redefine the contest to “who loves renewables the most”.

Abbott’s ineptitude invites such easy exploitation.

The upshot is that Shorten has shifted much of Labor’s policy response on to the single most ineffective and high-cost mechanism.

He will punish Australian households and businesses with high costs in the interests of his own political convenience and vote-buying. It is the essence of trashing the public interest for party political gain.

At least when Abbott was being irresponsible he merely promised to abolish a tax.

In his speech yesterday, Shorten’s election vision was “more solar panels on Australian rooftops” and more farmers “putting wind turbines on their land”.

It sounds like a joke from a satire program. Sadly, it’s not. The party faithful, evidently, think this is terrific. It is the latest example of how far Labor has sunk.

Shorten pretends he’s being bold. In fact, he’s being weak. Expect that the carbon pricing commitment via an emissions trading scheme will be downgraded. Instead of Labor relying on carbon pricing with the renewable energy target becoming less necessary, Labor seems to be moving in the opposite direction. This is Shorten Labor: 100 per cent political expediency and defective policy.

He pretends this will create investor confidence. What nonsense. Investors will know that renewable energy policy is a volatile political war. The proof is the fact the Coalition and Labor cut a compromise a few weeks ago for a 23 per cent RET and Labor has turned that upside down.

In a re-run of history, the climate change lobby, vested interests and much of the political media will applaud Shorten — meanwhile, the Australian public, concerned about climate change but sceptical of costs, will be far harder to persuade than Labor believes. At this point, Labor has no details, no modelling, no analysis. Its self-obsession is revealing.

A fight over renewables is exactly the wrong fight Australia now needs for good policy. It is being staged solely for politics. The need is to reduce the overall carbon footprint by the most cost-efficient method (obviously including renewables) but both sides now have highly dubious policies.

If the Abbott government has the brain and skill to publish a credible study of the massive income transfer this policy involves from the Australian public to the renewable sector then it will ­destroy the policy.

Is Labor actually pledged to the 50 per cent target? Who knows? Shorten called it an “aim”. This implies it is qualified, but qualified ­according to what conditions? Is such a policy feasible? What are its economic consequences? What are the costs? What business and industry groups did Labor consult about such a long-run distortion of financial resources?

None of these questions is ­answered. It is folly for Shorten to conceal the holes in his 50 per cent pledge with phony “bring it on” bravado. Labor has had 20 months since the last election to prepare a structured policy and, to this point, it has failed to produce any such model.

As for Abbott, his mistake has been monumental: his scepticism towards renewables has been projected as prejudice rather than founded in rational policy.

Indeed, his inability to explain himself on renewables has been a free kick to Labor. But Shorten, in turn, has now tried to make too much of the political opportunity Abbott has given him.

Just as carbon policy was pivotal in ruining the economic standing of the Gillard government, so Shorten embraces the same risks. The combined signals Labor sends on economic policy are damaging and point to policy regression.

There was no mention in Shorten’s speech of the core reality — that Australia faces a growth slowdown, that living standards growth is being reduced, that the budget faces a challenge on both the tax and spending side, and that new measures are needed to ­improve productivity.

Is reality too unpalatable for the Labor Party? More to the point, is the platform agenda and party ethos singularly out of touch with the challenges that would face a new ALP government?

Shorten says higher taxes are a sign of Abbott’s failure. Pardon? Labor tax policies so far involve tightening superannuation concessions at the top end, a new tax on multinationals with the ALP premiers, as their preferred choice, backing a hefty increase in the personal income tax burden via the Medicare levy to fund future health costs.

It is true Shorten pledges to cut tax for small business but Labor’s overall thrust is unmistakable: its strong preference, facing a budget deficit and pressure on core ­services, is for the adjustment to be made via taxation rises.

Shorten says Labor believes in free trade and new markets. Pardon? The ALP conference endorsed yesterday a strong union-driven campaign against the Australia-China free trade agreement on the grounds that it will see Aussie jobs lost to the new Chinese workers coming into this country.

Michael O’Connor, from the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union, said the FTA “smashes our labour market”.

Opposition trade spokeswoman Penny Wong is now pledged to improve the agreement, a high-risk ­exercise.

There is no sign the government will seek changes. Labor needs to be careful of these tactics, preserve its flexibility and avoid being trapped in a situation where it has condemned the agreement but cannot change it.

Shorten’s speech signalled his symbolic priorities. His first pledge was to indigenous recognition in the Constitution. His second ­declaration was to trade union ­fidelity. Shorten sang from the Julia Gillard songbook.

After a week that saw many iconic ALP figures call for fundamental reform of the Labor-union relationship, Shorten lauded the unions, mocked the royal commission into union governance and, by implication, repudiated the calls for internal reform.

In truth, Shorten’s position is becoming more dependent on the trade unions, a repeat of Gillard’s situation, and anyone who thinks this won’t have policy conse­quences is a fool.

Shorten depicted his policy on renewables as creating the “jobs of the future” and claimed that it meant “cutting power bills for ­consumers”.

This claim arises because the electricity generation market is currently oversupplied and more renewables will add to supply and reduce prices. That is true.

It avoids, however, the bigger reality that the higher cost of renewables compared with fossil fuels means a higher cost structure that consumers will have to meet.

Labor has switched priorities — it has moved from using price to decarbonise the economy to a massive prioritising of renewables without proper regard for costs involved and the consequences for households and business.

This runs against the real interests of workers, families and capital. It will extract, over time, a fearful toll on Labor.

Meanwhile, try not to be ­deafened by the guaranteed ­applause.



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